Victoria Ruzvidzo In Focus
In First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe has been blessed with a mother whose humbleness, simplistic character and passion to see others prosper will impact on the lives of many in this country. She exudes an aura of dignity, alertness, intelligence and an extraordinary work ethic yet she remains down to earth.
I am fully aware of the fact that President Mnangagwa has said the couple is not one that is excitable by hero-worshipping and such behaviour by those that may want to endear themselves to them. But I hope I am within the confines of narrating an experience from which many can benefit.
On Monday this week, female journalists from the public and private media had a rare opportunity to meet the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa for a good three hours or so. It was a constructive engagement of a high proportion. She set the ground rules from the onset.
It was a mother and daughters engagement and we were free to say anything and everything to advance the cause of women journalists and women in general that are keen on rebuilding Zimbabwe.
It was an occasion filled with so much joy, laugher and gladness as the journalists mingled with royalty. It was also one for self-introspection as the First Lady gave us life-lessons and the importance of self-actualisation while challenging us to rise to the occasion to become game-changers in our profession and families, and the country at large.
What struck me the most was her evident desire to see an economically empowered woman and a female journalist whose life should not end the day she leaves her job.
It is not every day that journalists get the pleasure of walking in the State House garden and for many it was the first time that that had happened. Journalists are often viewed by some as members of the periphery who should serve at the pleasure and convenience of sources, but the First Lady showed the way.
We are an important constituency in the development discourse of any society and country and should thus be accorded our status. Female journalists often feel hard done as newsrooms have generally remained patriarchal, but the First Lady broke the ice.
A sad reality is that of journalists, who become paupers the minute they leave employment, but the First Lady encouraged us to work hard and embark on income-generating projects to augment our salaries and have a fall-back position.
The tête-à-tête was very constructive as we all emerged from the meeting with transformed mindsets and the impetus to go and make it in this life. Many could identify with the story of her humble upbringing and her tenacity as she narrated to us. She is an achiever and a goal-getter, a character trait I long picked in her, but was buttressed by what she shared with us.
She is not only knowledgeable and she is quite learned, currently working on her PhD. The sum total of her attributes have produced a woman and a mother that Zimbabwe needs at this juncture.
The story of the chickens that many were harping about all week was an invitation she made to us as a mother when she said you can come to my farm and get a chicken or a duck for yourself. “Kana muchida huyai kumba kwangu ndigokupai huku. Handikutengeserei. Kungokupaiwo zvangu,” were her words to us. (If you are interested you can come to my house and I will give you some chickens. I will not sell them to you but will give you for free.
It is unfortunate that some on the social media have taken this out of context. TelOne managing director Mrs Chipo Mtasa and CBZ Bank divisional director —Business Banking Mrs Molly Dingani — accompanied the First Lady to the meeting. They encouraged us to start businesses premised on value systems that ensured success.
They emphasised on mentorship as a key success factor in business and in life in general. Indeed, Zimbabwe needs women of such aptitude to transform this country and induce better standards of living.
The First Lady has been on a countrywide tour visiting hospitals and orphanages to improve service delivery and to bring a smile to orphans and other underprivileged members of society. On Wednesday she also led an exercise to encourage women to be tested for cervical cancer to ensure early detection and, hence, treatment.
These are key tenets to development, which have already begun to yield results. She is a woman we should emulate if Zimbabwe is to have a better tomorrow. The country is presently going through a rebuilding process in which women should not be bystanders, but should take an active role.
Indeed, we have seen many women rising to the occasion in Government and the private sector. But we need more to occupy the main arena and help shape our country. We obviously note that other women are doing wonders in the informal sector. Cross border traders are also carrying out an important function in the economy.
They have on many occasions been summoned to plug loopholes in the economy, particularly in instances where the country did not have enough goods. They brought in foodstuffs and necessities from their escapades beyond the borders.
Many of them take their children through school, build houses for their families and contribute to the economy in a big way. This should never be trivialised. The economy is on a roll. We should not let the bus leave without us as women. On Tuesday President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had attracted $3 billion in Foreign Direct Investment in seven weeks! That’s no mean feat.
“We have secured more than $3 billion in foreign direct investment in just seven weeks. We want the country to move forward. We want jobs for our children. For a start, we are addressing the production levels of agriculture where we are modernising all forms of production. We will move into modernising the processing chain,” he said, while addressing thousands of people in Mashonaland Central on Wednesday.
This effectively means there are opportunities being created for women to exercise their business acumen and join hands with men to rebuild our country. So much is happening in this country in terms of progress and happening fast. It requires that we all be alert to opportunities to ensure we are not left behind. The country is open for business for real and every Zimbabwean also has a role to play in reviving the economy.
Zimbabwe is headed for better days!
In God I Trust!