After independence the government worked hard towards liberating women to enable them to take part in the main economic stream.Todayâ€™s feature traces back the journey travelled by women in search of emancipation since the days of colonialism.
Rhodesia was an undeclared apartheid system. On the very top were the white men while Asian and coloureds were second class. One would think that all the Africans were third class citizens.
But alas, the African man was third class while the African woman was seen as nothing. They could not own property, hold position of influence in society, business or in politics. Life for the African woman in Rhodesia was unbearable.
For Mbuya Keresia Rusireve from Seke, the African womanâ€™s wish was that of her husband. Sending a girl to school was seen as a waste of resources as her position was supposed to be in the kitchen and bedroom.
The African womanâ€™s only economic activity was safeguarding the wealth of her husband and off course child bearing.
During the colonial era, African women were barred from conducting any legal proceedings with their husbands expected to do it on their behalf. It also followed that the African woman could not own property neither could they open bank accounts. Ambuya Savhiriya Machingwa from Goromonzi clearly remembers how it was like during those days.
Thus the coming of independence in 1980 was not only about a black government assuming power but it signaled emancipation of the African woman.
For Mbuya Betty Mpofu, the new Zanu-PF leadership brought a lot of hope for women and the girl child as opportunities were opened up.
But freedom has its dangers too, warns Mbuya Mpofu who thinks Zimbabwean women and girls should not become wild but should instead behave in a dignified manner.
Through various legislations and deliberate policies to empower women, Zanu-PF government since 1980 embarked on programmes that have seen the restoration of the African womanâ€™s dignity while some have been uplifted to lofty heights.
Currently the country has a female Vice President, Cde Joice Mujuru as well as several cabinet Ministers.
It appears the adage, educate a woman and educate the nation has truly been embraced.