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WOZA - 18th May 2008

It could be just another ordinary week day in Bulawayo. Folk scurrying around doing their daily business, vendors plying the wares, battered old cars weaving their way between the potholes. But to the experienced eye, there is something afoot !

Is it the abundance of red articles of clothing or is that just a coincidence?

Is it the the presence of so many women thronging the streets, nipping in and out of shops, loitering on the sidewalks?

Is it the feeling of tense excitement in the air?

As long as I live I will never forget those familiar words that will, on the stroke of the hour, peel out across the noise of the traffic. "Hey Ta " which calls the thronging women to attention followed by "Woza moya" , which means "Come Holy Spirit"

The reply from the multitudes is "Woza"!! The word reaches a crescendo and goes up in a mighty roar. "Umkhonto wo thando" again a mighty roar from the rapidly swelling masses.

This means a love spear and the retort is " Zhii' a mighty cry which sends shivers down the spines of all who know just how strong is the bond and might of these women who have dared to make such a difference to the lives of so many, who have been down trodden for so long.

"Woza" choruses the response and yet another WOZA march begins in the City of Bulawayo, founding home of the many thousands of WOZA and MOZA men and women.

Suddenly as if from thin air, a crowd amasses, banners are unfurled from beneath long skirts, posters and flyers emerge from shopping bags and the Women of Zimbabwe arise once more, as they have done countless times since 2002.

These days there as many men as there are women, and peacefully, without anger, handing out roses and pamphlets to interested passers by, they surge their way through the streets, gathering strength from the shoppers, to a pre-ordained place where they will deliver their petitions and requests to city, government or police officials.

On May 18th there were three priorities to be dealt with following 100 days of the Government of National Unity - democratisation, ending the humanitarian crisis, and stabilizing the economy.

The Woza men and women choose love over hate. Their sign is a hand making the letter "L" for Love.

WOZA means "Come Forward" it is by Women, for Women and with Women, across race, colour, creed, class or political persuasion. Empowering women to be courageous, caring, committed and in communication with their communities. There are 70 000 Woza members in Zimbabwe and they are routinely beaten, arrested and intimidated.

And they are courageous. Many many WOZA and MOZA men and women have spent many many days in hideous conditions in jail, and countless days and months on remand.

On May 18th the many police present huddled around the drillhall watching in silence, as the crowd marched on towards the government offices. The Woza men and women delivered their printed petition and then walked off, for once untouched by the riot police, to continue their tireless, dedicated and courageous work for the people of Zimbabwe.


David Wheeler says:

I am sitting in my little attic room in London wiping away tears as I finish reading this article. And, if I had a hat on, I would take it off to these brave women. (And men - but it was the women who provided the front line shock-troops from the beginning.) These women have shown immense courage, determination, fortitude and perseverance in situations, which can only be described as horrendous, an have suffered terrible brutality and humiliation - words fail me - as a result.
The other words that come to mind are loving, humble, dignified, peaceful, and meek but not weak. Their power comes from the Holy Spirit, and even the gates of Hell cannot resist that power.
That they were able to hold a demonstration and deliver a petition without police interference is the mark of a major victory. I salute you!
When Zimbabwe is once again a free country, we shall humbly acknowledge the enormous debt we owe to these brave women.

Submitted by David Wheeler on 21 May 2009 - 8:49am
kathy says:

YOU GO GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by kathy on 21 May 2009 - 1:02pm
Portia says:

In 1990 I was told Africa will lead the way.

Africa will show the world how things can be done peacefully.

Let us all arise world wide.


Submitted by Portia on 24 May 2009 - 11:39am
KiwiKevin says:

I too pray daily for deliverance from this disease that is affecting some of our fellow country men and women.
I also shelter in a humble council flat in New Zealand, and wish I had the financial resources to support these courageous WOZA and MOZA revolutionaries. At least I still have a roof over my head, food in my stomach and do not have any recent broken bones nor bruises.
Onward to peaceful transition.

Submitted by KiwiKevin on 31 May 2009 - 3:11am

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