#AfroStyles: A Simple Wash ‘n’ Go.

Mondays are hectic, as compared to any other day of the week it’s filled with chaos and confusion. Now imagine waking up and your natural hair is a mess. What are you going to do? Don’t answer that because the right answer is…. WASH ‘N’ GO! This is the simplest beauty secret that I’ve ever come across and after watching numerous tutorials I have actually kind of mastered it. Before you start celebrating, this hairstyle does not take a lot of time but it requires a lot of patience.

Here goes something.

Firstly you need to remember these simple rules

  • It’s not washing your hair and getting out of the shower and dashing to work or school.
  • You need to work in sections
  • Know the products that work for you
  • Use the right tools
  • Give your hair time to dry

Now that you know the rules, here is a video from a Zimbabwean YouTuber on how to achieve this easy hairstyle.

Do you have an easy hairstyle that saves you time when you are late? If yes then be sure to share in the comment section.

Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe!

4 REASONS YOU NEED TO FIND A LIFE PARTNER

I am at the age where most of my friends are married and have children and those who have not ‘achieved’ these life goals are starting to get pressed about it.  I am so glad my family is so broken; there is no pressure on me from them to achieve these goals that would seem to benefit them financially.

I am not pressed for marriage, this may have something to do with the fact that I cohabitated and the experience was sour. It probably played a part.

In 2019, there were so many engagements, weddings and births to bundles of joy from my twitter followers and it sparked a lot of conversation around love and the type of partner you need to have for a successful marriage.

You would find a lot of people saying, ‘find a kind person, it is enough.’

Is it though?  I say find yourself a life partner.

  1. A life partner will support you

    You need someone who will pour into you and not just take from you. So when you give them a high 5 for winning they will be right there to give you a double for your win. When you are feeling like you cannot do it anymore, they will be there to remind you that you are indeed the best at what you so. When anxiety is killing you because you are about to start a new job or launch your dream company, they will be by your side to help you get through it. The all-things-are-possible type of partner is the one you need.

  2. A life partner will inspire you

    They will open your eyes to bigger opportunities and open your mind to the possibilities you did not see before. They will rub off on you in a positive manner, find yourself feeling more confident to be yourself and be the best at it too.

  3. A life partner makes your days better

    If you find yourself dreading the time that your person comes home then something is wrong. This is the person who should bring some light to your day, they are the person you should lean on if you have had a bad day and by the time you go to bed they would have turned your day around. Their hug, their words, their touch and their presence should be your source of light.

  4. A life partner believes in you

    Get yourself someone who will boost your faith when yours is running out. We go through things in life, we hit snags and they can be very disheartening and discouraging. It is at this time when you need someone who knows your strengths and your worth to remind you who you are and what you are capable of.

If you are two people who choose to be life partners then you will win in life. This relationship is one for people who have great communication and who have taken the time to get to know each other. You do not need to be with someone who wants to change you and turn you into their mother or father, find someone who has accepted who you are and the things you love.

Once you pick up on something you do not like and know you cannot live with forever, please step away because it is not going to go away. Do not ignore the red flags.

Otherwise, love is beautiful and I wish you the very best in this love quest. CIAO!

Written by Nobuhle Nyoni

It’s ok life moves on

Most times we worry ourselves too much about unnecessary stuff and get thrown into this deep hole that we have no idea how to get out of. Myself, I prefer to worry about the things that l can control and forget about the things l can’t control, if only it were that simple for most of us.

One thing that constantly worries some women is why am l still single or unmarried. You probably have friends, who have boyfriends and are happy or sad whatever the case may be, the fact is that they have someone in their life. And you probably can’t seem to make it past the 2nd date and if you do, the relationship always has an untimely death. So you’re single most of the time.

What we don’t realize is the pressure we then add to ourselves. Why am l still single? Is something wrong with me? What did l do to mess up the relationship? Then, you let yourself be with any kind of man even those that seriously don’t deserve you all in the name of not being regarded as single.

You see ladies it’s ok to be single, we’re not in a race where if we don’t find a partner we have lost the race, nope it isn’t like that. For one to be in a relationship you especially have to be emotionally ready for one cause if you’re not you then find yourself jumping from one ship to the next and they don’t last.

Or maybe it’s not about being emotionally ready cause you will be, maybe you’re in that phase of your life where you just can’t find a man. No guy looks at you with a lustful eye or wants to date you or be in a relationship with you. It sucks but it happens.

Do not beat yourself up over not having a man, its ok, life moves on. When the universe decides to give you a man it will. Everything happens in due time. And society should stop badgering those late 20s and early 30s women for being single cause it isn’t their fault that they are single and sometimes it would be a choice to be single because of what men have put them through.

And ladies let’s not give our friends the unnecessary pressure or talk bad about them because they do not have a man in their life cause l believe at some point in time we all passed through a phase where we didn’t have a man. We just need to be there for each other, be strong for one another like the real women that we are.

Like the Bob  Marley song says don’t worry about a thing cause every little thing is going to be alright and surely it will.

Gracia Casandra

Fashion Corner: QPD designs

Meet Ms Tadiwa Muronda. An Africa University graduate that decided to venture into fashion and started her own brand. We recently got hold of her and asked her to tell us more about her brand and the future of the Zimbabwean fashion industry.

Tell us about yourself and your brand.

QPD_designs is a Zimbabwean based, modern-fashion style brand founded by Tadiwa Muronda (Cupid) in 2018. Her co-designer and operations manager is Thomas Mulande (Tomingo). Our style secret is Quality, Precision, and Definition; which in turn abbreviates the brand name. That is respect for fabric and taste; attention to detail and infusing definitive style and personality.

We are not restricted to a genre. Inspirations usually eminent from vintage and African styles, without being regular. We maintain our uniqueness and remain punctilios in our craft. The brand designs special events clothes for both men and women as well as everyday streetwear. Retail clothing is specific and is modified as per client order but generic designs are welcome. You can reach us on our social media platforms:

Why did you decide to choose fashion designing as a career?

  • As a young African female, with traditional parents who believed that fashion solely was not a career, fashion designing started off as a hobby. My voracious appetite to exhibit my skills started in High School. However, I also had interests in economic trends and the financial sector. So I decided to transform my passions into businesses and allow them to co-exist.

What according to you is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?

  • My favorite part of being a fashion designer is being able to be a trailblazer in creating looks and moments that elevate people’s egos and esteems just by the way they dress. It brings such joy to see
    the impact made when someone wears a piece with pride and confidence. It is without a doubt that attending events where the audience appreciates the work and being given recognition for doing something I love brightens my day, always!

The designs you created are no doubt good enough, but who and which things were your inspiration while creating such designs?

  • Just like with any other form of art, fashion designing is used as an outlet for emotions, events and as a statement to set the mood. With this said, most of my collections have meaning and sentiments
    communicated through them. Sometimes simple things like the season or color inspire me, but it goes without mention that fabric trends and fashion icons such as Janelle Monae, Chenesaink, J.L Bunny, Devvonn Terrell, and Ishmael do help.

How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?

  • I spend most of my days glued on my Pinterest and Instagram. I visit a few fashion houses and boutiques in the local market and constantly checking on trendy magazines, issues, and collections through celebrity social media platforms.

Say something about your background?

  • Having the honor of encountering multiple fashion gurus afforded me the chance to be under their wise wings before embarking on my own journey and starting my own brand, QPD designs. QPD’s first official showcase was at the HFW Illumination in 2018.

What do you consider the important facets of the fashion industry?

  • The most essential trait one should carry is humility. Social net-worth is important in the fashion industry as most businesses thrive on recommendations. How you treat the next person is important.
  • Research is critical because you might shove something down the market’s throat and receive discouraging feedback.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

  • Wow, 10 years is a whole decade of greatness. In 2030, I see QPD designs being an international household name. Making exclusive collections for family members and friends and definitely investing in fashion schools for teenagers.

How would you describe your personal style?

  • My personal style is modern and vintage, with a touch of the power woman. I would say it is a mix of Liv from ‘Liv and Maddie’, Jackie from ‘That 70’s show’ and Janelle Monae, depending with the
    occasion and mood.

How is your brand going to change the fashion industry in Zimbabwe?

  • Eco-friendly fashion is the future to secure a healthy environment for the next generation and QPD aspires to be a part of this movement as their corporate social responsibility. The fashion industry in
    Zimbabwe is failing to manufacture enough fabric to supply all fashion designers, hence there is the importation of fabric going on.

    This causes the prices of finished clothing to be very high compared
    to other competitive markets (pre-loved clothing). As QPD designs, we plan to have an upcycling culture, where old fabrics and material is used to recreate new clothes and/or produce fresh and clean fabrics. This will assist in saving the fashion Industry in Zimbabwe thus creating new jobs for creatives, engineers and scientists.
  • Cupid is a passion-preneur who believes in empowering young and vibrant creatives as she was also mentored by incredible fashionistas. She believes in giving back to the community, so where possible QPD designs is open to collaborations and mentoring upcoming designers in ways around the industry.

Find QPD Designs here:

Instagram – @qpd_designs
Facebook – @QPD_designs/ @empireboutiqueZw
Website – www.qpddesigns.co.zw
Email – qpddesigns@outlook.com

Cupid the designer
Instagram – @tadiiebear
Facebook – Tadiwa Michelle Muronda (Cupid)
LinkedIn – Tadiwa Michelle Muronda
Email – tadiwamichellemuronda@gmail.com

5 EFFECTS OF GROWING UP IN A TOXIC FAMILY

Have you ever found yourself wishing you were given the opportunity to choose which family you fell into? I mean, this will only make sense to those who grew up in dysfunctional families. The effects of growing up around a toxic family do not die when you reach adulthood; those voices never die, I say this because I live this life.

It is a very suffocating life because you don’t really know how to get out of the bubble. Someone once said to me, ‘Whoever told you that you weren’t good enough really ruined a good thing.’ In my head, I replied, ‘My father figure.’ But in Africa, you do not get to have these conversations because your job is to be grateful for what they did for you.

Your job is to be thankful that they kept you alive, yours is to also take responsibility for your own shortfalls. It is never their turn though, the rules of the game do not go that way.

So you carry around unanswered questions and they turn into self-hate and self-doubt that you might not get past. I have achieved really cool things but I rarely celebrate them because, as a creative, I was never celebrated. I was supposed to be something else, so I was never enough for my father figure.

Here are some effects that come with growing up in a toxic household or family.

  1. You develop communication issues

    You may have grown up around people who just burst into a rage for the simplest of things or for whom the silent treatment was the solution to their problems. Or you may have been in a family where there was a lack of love and affection, so you were never told how much you were loved or appreciated.  You may find yourself, later in life, having issues with showing affection or communicating your problems.  It may also become very difficult to accept affection when you come across people who give it.

    In other situations, you may become seek validation so much it is like a drug to you because you did not receive it enough growing up. It may become draining for those who want to be around you because you want more than they can give.

  2. You become too critical

    Mostly of yourself, because nothing you did was ever enough. You find yourself questioning every little thing that you want to do. It leads you into perfectionism unless something is perfect to the T you will not open it to the world.

    Constructive criticism may not be your favorite thing because it just sounds like you are not good at what you do. On top of being critical of yourself, you may shut down completely when you feel like it is too much for you to handle.

  3. You are constantly depressed

    Feelings of being unworthy of anyone’s love or respect, feelings of being worthless and useless will fill you more often than once. Lack of support from the people you call family will have you stuck in a world of hopelessness.

  4. Your life is a ball of confusion

    You do not know what love is, how it should feel or how you should be treated so now you are in the world with no clue whatsoever. You are constantly trying to find your place but you do not know what that will feel like either. Your relationships do not last long enough. You want love but you do not. It is a terrible space to be in.

  5. You will suffer from anxiety

    I am not sure how much clearer I can be with this point. Toxic people are emotionally and mentally taxing and it births trauma. Small things can trigger you and next thing you know you have a whole panic attack going.

I am still unlearning some of these things myself, I grow every day and the one thing I can tell you is you need to do it for yourself. Nobody is really coming to the rescue and if you are expecting an apology then you are reaching. I mean, you might be lucky and get one but like I said, your job is to be thankful they put food on the table, clothes on your back and took you through school.

If you are looking for external help, try therapy. I wish you healing as you continue to fight this battle.

Love and light unto you. CIAO!

Written by Nobuhle Nyoni

Power of the spoken word; How Patricia Nkiwane is transforming lives through speaking and coaching. #WCW


Who is Patricia Nkiwane?


I am a mother, sister and entrepreneur. A life coach and a transformational speaker. I also have the role of producer and presenter of a TV talk show called Woman to Woman that airs on channel 291 Dstv Maru TV.

I am also an academic excellence coach after surviving life through school on dyslexia. I was labeled the most stupid student by most teachers. I advocate for women and girl child empowerment as well as the transformation of the lives of our youth in Africa.


One of my favorite projects is called Women with scars. So far been to most parts of Africa on it. It’s about healing women and helping them to redefine themselves and build their resilience. Whilst doing that project I felt that men were left out hence we did another called Beauty in the Brokenness for both men and women.

My other project is called A tomorrow woman, it’s a girl child empowerment program, I have a program called spot a child for street kids, and 2 academic excellence programs, Discover the genius in you and Below average. Then we have an annual program, that I call The Advancing Man it’s a transformational program for all.


What is transformational speaker?


It is another version of motivational speaking but with transformation we are not all about showing you the light, it goes deeper than that, it’s about holding you by the hand and walking every step of the way with you to the light.


How has been your experience in public speaking as a woman?.


Being a woman in the public speaking industry is not a walk on the red carpet, you have men reminding you it’s not a female thing, you have family reminding you if you keep as busy as you are, you are never going to get married, you have people doubting you simply because you are a woman, and at times you have to deal with having to leave your children behind, so you can attend to speaking engagements, and it can be exhausting but nothing beats the feeling that you have changed a life for the better.


Does transformational speaking change character?


Transformation is all about change, change in every aspect of your life, be it your career, your character, and your behavior so yes transformational speaking does change character.


What is your advice to women aspiring to be in the public speaking industry?


Your story, your authenticity, is all that guarantees you excelling in the industry

It’s one thing to aspire, it’s another to wish and it’s yet another to go out there and do it. So you will never know if it’s for you unless you try and you will never excel until you put in the work. No one is going to come and start it for you so get up and do it.


What have been your key achievements?


I am a holder of the Festus Mogae academic excellence award, the Sir Seretse Khama Ian Khama spirit of Botho award. I am the Botho university brand ambassador, also labeled 2018/2019 top40 most influential women in west Africa.

By Tatenda Rungisa

More than half the men in Zimbabwe force & demand sex for jobs.

An article that was published two days ago surfaced with the title that said ’Half of women in Zimbabwe exchange sex for jobs’ and before we go into why that title in itself is very problematic or why the media plays a huge part in perpetuating stereotypes lets take a good look at the facts.

The article begins with the paragraph, ’More than 57% of women surveyed by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) said they had been forced to offer sexual favours in exchange for jobs, business contracts, medical care and even when seeking placements at schools for their children’

Let’s look at the most important word in that sentence, ’FORCED.’ More than 57% of women report being forced to offer sexual favours. Now there’s a phrase for that, that’s clearly missing here.

This ladies and gentlemen is what we call, Sexual Harassment. 

Where is the part of the title that highlights that this means rampant abuse of power. Where is the part of the article that talks about these men in positions of power who are abusing women and forcing them to give sex for basic human rights like medical care?

The article also highlights that, ’The report, entitled Gender and Corruption, found women were increasingly vulnerable to sexual abuse amid the deteriorating Zimbabwean economy.’ 

And this again bids me to ask the question. Then why, oh why is the focus not on the fact that the abuse rate is rising?

Where is the research that undertakes who these men are? That puts these men out into the lime light and makes them answerable to this form of corruption? 

The article reads that, ’Sexual harassment is institutionalised, and women have been suffering for a long time. There is need to actively deal with all forms of sexual harassment in all sectors,” says the report.

The study shows women are being coerced into corruption, while many fear reporting sextortionists as some police are thought to be part of the corruption chain.’ 

Who is holding the police accountable for the lives of these women that are suffering because of this abuse of power? Why aren’t we talking about that? 

Why aren’t we highlighting that we need better protection for whistle blowers and those that dare to speak out. That we need to create a system that allows women to say no and be able to keep their jobs, to.keep their livelihoods.

“All the key informants who took part in the research indicated that Zimbabwe lacks a robust corruption reporting system. They also highlighted the need for a system to promote and protect whistleblowers,” TIZ reported.

“Even the police officers require some form of payment to help you. They may ask for transport or fuel to enable them to investigate. In the end they also get bribed by the perpetrators.”

You may ask, well Mandy why are you highlighting the same results posted from the article and my answer to that question is simple; because it is time we put an end to reckless reporting and a misleading headline.

This is a misrepresentation of the hard working women of Zimbabwe who have often had to work twice as hard as men both in the home and the workplace. Have had to earn their place and still fight to keep it and above all have been subjected to this form of abuse for decades. 

Women who are subjected to an unfair pay gap, women who are subjected to sexual harassment every single day at work, at school and within the health care system.

This and we will call it a mistake made by this title has turned a conversation that should be about how to change the culture in our country and within the work space to instead talk about women using sex for jobs.

The media and journalists are tasked with the very important job of representing voices and perspectives and also being the bridge that conveys messages to the masses and this fails at doing that.

Let’s face it more than half the people who encounter this article did not even read the article and have based their opinion on the title alone. 

This means for the masses they have been fed one more gender bias and one more tool to use in their victim blaming arsenal. 

To the editor and the writer at the Zimbabwe Voice on behalf of those who are tired of being misrepresented, we employ you to do better.

Curtesy of Amanda Tayte-Tait Marufu

You can find the full article here: https://zimbabwevoice.com/2020/02/08/more-than-half-of-women-in-zimbabwe-exchange-sex-for-jobs-study/

Sexual Harassment on LinkedIn: Ladies share their stories and advice

What does it mean to be safe?

”Ask a man what his greatest fear is about serving jail time, and he will almost inevitably say he fears being raped. What can we deduce from the fact that jail is to men what life is to so many women?”

Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger

For many men being on an online platform like LinkedIn is simple. It’s a professional platform they utilize to make connections and advance their careers.

For women, the truth isn’t at all so simple. Sexual Harassment of women online and offline isn’t a new topic but in 202, even professional platforms like Linkedin are still rampant breeding grounds for Harassment.

According to LinkedIn, distribution of global audiences 2019, by gender :

During the survey period, 43 percent of LinkedIn audiences were female and 57 percent were male.

At first glance, this could mean absolutely nothing, but when you take a closer look at the culture and growing rates of Harassment on LinkedIn you begin to notice a number of women who are more and more feeling fed up with the site and opting out instead.

According to human resources online, ‘Some women like Andrea Myles are taking matters into their own hands. Tired of the level of harassment on LinkedIn she took to pretending to be a man on LinkedIn so she could use the service in relative peace.’

Drastic? Or Not? 

Last week I took a small survey with 5 groups of women averaging around 500 women and it was evident that almost all of them had dealt with sexual harassment at some point or another.

Below are a few of the stories the ladies had to share and some pieces of advice. Names have been kept anonymous to protect their identity.

”So this has been happening all the time on LinkedIn. I’m talking real grown men with influential positions in the corporate world. The scary part is that this even happened when my profile picture was 14 year old me (it was the only picture I could access when I created the account). At first, these man dm me talking about what they do and how they can help then boom they’re talking about their “needs”. 

The worst one was a perv that claimed to be a software engineer in America, single and a virgin. He said he was looking for a wife and he was 56 years old. He didn’t even say hie, he went straight to the point.”

‘’ Yes, it has. 

How to reply to them: 

“Your comments are inappropriate. I have no interest in communicating with you beyond discussing our areas of professional intersect. If you wish to continue interacting, you will have to communicate with me with dignity, decency and respect.”

Beyond asking if you are well, there is no need for a person to know any other detail of your life. That information is on a need-to-know basis, and connections on LI do not need to know. 

Use my reply as a template. DO NOT TRY TO BE “CUTE”. Emojis are not necessary. Do not think you have to apologise for ‘misleading’ them. If it is not the attention you desire, there is nothing to apologise for. Do not use words/phrases such as maybe, perhaps, I’m not sure, sorry, I was hoping. Do not reply using a sarcastic tone. 

State:

(i) *how you feel*: I’m uncomfortable with the direction this conversation is going in. 

(ii) *what they said that made you feel that way*: Calling me sexy is completely inappropriate. 

(iii) *what your boundaries are*: I have no interest in discussing any beyond business. 

(iv) *what the consequences are of violating your boundaries*: If you insist on speaking to me in this manner, I will report (and block) you.

The only way to deal with the fear is to speak to a trusted friend/mentor/counselor/HR or Labour Law Professional/lawyer. And get your support network into gear. 

If they try to block you from work it’s a difficult one unless you can prove it. i.e. the person threatened you and it’s in writing or you recorded the phone conversation’’

”I had an international PR company approach me, they were in South Africa and wanted to expand into Zimbabwe (this was about 2 years back), I was working the job I dreaded, a tad bit desperate and unsure but it was a dream job situation typa back. Something felt off from the minute I was sent details about it, with much persistence from a colleague I gave in (tried to see it as an opportunity). I fixed up my media kit on my tablet, sent it via email and a meeting was setup. He was a quirky American very well vested in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa in general. I picked up he had a wandering eye over the interview but again shrugged it off because I was tryna be professional. I got the role on a probation basis, he sent me a tonne of content related work but I couldn’t keep up. One day at work a picture came through WhatsApp, I was too busy so I left it thinking arggghh more work! Later when I was settled I opened the message, but I did not open the picture because something told me it was a dick pic – I froze because I immediately knew what it was. I kept quiet for two days straight. He ended up texting sporadically and crazy emails apologizing for what had happened and said it was his mistress from Paris (he was very well travelled and connected with top brands in SA), I kept my chill and I told him sternly I will not tolerate this kind of behaviour or any kind on any other level in the future. At the time, I wasnt in the right head space (work exhausted me) so I let it slide; looking back I should have taken abit more action BUT I have all the emails and chats backed up. He just went quiet after that and that was it. I don’t know what happened and quite frankly didnt reply the last batch of emails.

I think as young women we need to pray about these things (literally) because in any workplace we are targets. It seems as if it’s something that we cannot avoid (I worked in the medical field and this guy placed his hand on my lower Abdomen area, he was a radiologist administering a scan because I wasnt feeling too well and I think he saw it as an opportunity. Problem is i really liked him so again i let it slide, wrong of me because I should have reported it). I did however approach him in private and he brushed it off, I think at the time I was unsure and even though I approached him (and liked him) nigga had a wandering eye and threw snarky sexual comments to women as jokes (hence ladies pay attention to these things because predators actually mean what they say). He had a very good position in the clinical practice, handsome so it was easy to fall for him but looking back the guy was a serious pervert.

Lessons learnt;

1. Your gut/6th sense does not LIE!

2. DO NOT PLEASE PEOPLE – I grew up in a very strict and well-mannered home so being rude was a no, hence I equally struggled saying no even when it made me feel uncomfortable. But you need to have thick skin in the working world because that shit is fucked up!

3. Again LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

4. Report if you have too, even if your job is on the line you might actually save someone who didn’t have the balls too.

5. Pray about your job when you walk in because some people are seriously broken.”

‘’Apologies for a delayed response. I had a busy week and wanted to answer when I can give it time to respond.

I have about 11500 LinkedIn contacts and I have had many men inbox me and say suggestive things. Same thing on Facebook and on WhatsApp groups.

The easiest for me is to not respond and block them.

I agree with all the responses given and would add that don’t accommodate it or flirt then try to pull out of the convo. The man will think you are playing hard to get.

Pick a brand and stick to it. It is a small market and one slip up and that become your brand – discrediting all your hard work. People will think you got where you are only because of your bum work

Beyond the online advances, we also need to be alert and reject any in-person advances. 

I was watching a movie on the sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes at Fox & also looking at the metoo campaign and was just thinking of how many women don’t act on sexual harassment. We need to start speaking out!!!’’

’’Most of the time your gut/intuition is spot on re your initial feelings about a man being extra nice(read as crossing the line). It sucks though but here we are. I’ve personally had to block men I met at meetings or gave my business card to who would then call or text me in the middle of the night and try to take it further because they think they have a right to our bodies, time, etc. I think we all have had some experience of this behavior. Let’s not even go into the unsolicited body part pics that some have received. Just always have your boundaries and never bend them for anyone.’’

’’This has happened to me. Especially when they notice that your bio says you’re looking for work. They’ll ask for your number, ask you to lunch etc. I (unfortunately) took one lunch offer coz I thought it was going to be work related. I even carried my CV and everything only for the man to ward off any mention of work talk and he started calling me baby etc. I went home and blocked him. Now if someone asks me to lunch I ask if its business (because I freelance as a side hustle) or a social lunch. If he says it’s the latter, politely decline. If it’s the former, ask for specifics and send him an email (yes be extra 😅) outlining what you’ve agreed to discuss in the meeting. I guarantee you if he was playing, he’ll back out of the meeting. Otherwise, always keep your responses and interactions as short, formal and curt as possible on LinkedIn because the predators hiding behind big positions are PLENTY.’’

’’Went to a meeting with my boss once and the man (senior in his field) we were meeting looked at my card and when he didn’t see a mobile number asked for it. I looked him dead in the eye and said I don’t have a mobile work phone. When we stepped outside my boss asks me why I didn’t give him my mobile number. I told him men don’t understand boundaries when they think they like you and till the office gives me a phone and number, my personal number is off-limits. The ride back to the office was uncomfortably silent but he got the message.’’

’’This is so true, it has happened to me before and just today I received an email from some guy asking me out and he sent me his pictures and a rose😳

Such emails I block and delete.

For those local that I meet at workshops I make sure I don’t entertain them I strictly keep our conversations as business and make sure that person sees I’m not the flirty flirty type. Put on a lions face if need be so that these men don’t take u for granted. I have gained respect from it before. At times I smile to get what I want then block and delete. Never open your legs but string them along if need be. 

If the person blocks you… I would say that’s not the end of the world…more and better opportunities will come. And when something is your no one will ever block it or deny it from happening.’’

‘’Hi ladies

My advice to young professional women is: be very clear why you are pursuing the career path that you are on. Because you are a woman in the business environment you already have a few things that work against you. No matter how hard you work, they will always be people who want to link your personal success to some male influence even though all your achievements are on merit.

Avoid flirting of any sort with business associates. Be very clear who you give your number and why you do. Keep all business interactions formal.

Some men have twisted ways of interpreting women’s actions. But at the end of the day, we have control over who we allow in our circles.

One thing I have come to appreciate with time is that there is no man that can close me out of any business deal that I am qualified to do. They can try but position your skills in such a way that they are valued and needed. Create your own seat at the table.

Most of us disadvantage ourselves by tolerating nonsense in the hope of creating professional ladders through links that have no business in our lives in the first place

Clarity of who you are, where you are going, what you want to achieve is critical in weaning and warding off unwanted attention. Also, ladies listen and pay attention to the subtle advances and deal with them immediately’’

‘’I recently heard someone say, “We legalise what we cannot control.”

We (humankind) cannot control physical, sexual, emotional and mental abuse, so we were forced to create laws to determine the point at which the illegal has occurred. How flawed the human heart is and how dysfunctional  the brain is, which can figure out how to send rovers to Mars but we still have toxic workplaces…’’

‘’As a woman, you have to be able to stand your ground all the time. Also, you have to bear in mind that to an extent men gossip more than women. Any character slips up on the woman’s part is openly discussed by men in different forums.’’

‘’Hi Amanda, yes this has happened to me a few times. I remind them this is a professional site and their line of inquiry is inappropriate. If they continue I delete them as a connection. Young women should value themselves and all their hardwork. It isn’t wrong to professionally communicate when you feel uncomfortable or disrespected.’’

‘’First, observe personal space by avoiding hugging everyone.

By not entertaining sexual toned jokes from non-friends of the opposite sex

By telling them you are not interested

Avoid getting intoxicated around them some people may cross the line when drunk or high

Knowing when to stop if you enjoy flirting’’

‘’YES, I was younger and curious so in a sense I did not immediately understand what was going on. I just stopped replying when I realized what was going on. Also the guy was really aggressive.

Your intuition almost never wrong, if the conversation begins to feel personal, it probably is.

We all learnt communication skills but when all else fails just don’t reply or report the account for unprofessional behaviour. Reporting is anonymous so they won’t actually know it was you.

the moment conversations become personal, make sure you screenshot the conversations for future use. Like Thembi said, it’s the year of Monica Lewinsky done right. Always cover your bases.

I actually left LinkedIn because of this nonsense behavior’’

‘’Not on LinkedIn but I had an older male colleague try to get his sexual harrasment rocks off. At first I tried the usual avoidance tactics then I reported him to HR. When HR approached him he resigned to avoid a hearing. He told people he would ‘get’ me 🤷🏾‍♀  never heard from him again.

Colleagues were like ‘was it even that serious’ but those are women who think men are entitled to women’s time and attention. It’s all fun and games until you’ve had a man corner you in your office and refuse to leave without a kiss.’’

‘’When I was a waitress. There was a manager who liked me and because it took the smallest things to be fired I would smile and be nice to him. One day he gave me toilet duty and when I was done he came and stood in front of the men’s bathroom and I was trapped inside the only thing that saved me was a mop I threatened to feed him’’

‘’Yes, it’s happened numerous times. I didn’t understand it at first but when the guy was trying to be too close I usually said I have studies to do or help my parents or simply didn’t reply at all. If I got harrassed too much via texting then I told it to my boss or showed it to my head  

Recognize at first whether the person is taking up your personal space, digital abuse, trying to text too much maybe. Follow your intuition when you feel something is not right.

Say you have to complete the work immediately and that you can’t reply much. Maintain boundaries at first 

If we keep fearing that said person who threatens to harm our future opportunities.  You can leave that place or complain to your head or always have evidence maybe of when they made you feel threatened  ( last part I am only saying it in my opinion)

Keep the evidence ! Anything that proves that they will harm you in the future, so that  you don’t have to fear them.’’

Offline and online it seems we are still years away from having a society where sexual harassment is a thing of the past.

Don’t forget to share your story or a piece of advice on the comments below.

By Amanda Marufu

16 Days Of Activism VS 365 Days Of Reality

Imagine!

It’s the third time he’s done it, you tell yourself but in reality you know it’s been so much longer. 

You’re  bleeding this time. Screaming in the background is your 2-year-old child. He promised he wouldn’t do it again. He promised he would stop. Said this was the last time. He loves you. He always loved you. He kneels by your side and he begins to cry but that’s what he did the last time and the time before that 

Before you know it, you’re running. It didn’t work with your family, your mom told you to go back. Your Tete showed you her scars, this is what men do. This is what they do.

But you can’t take one more second, you need to do something, anything. Your child can not grow up in this situation. You’re fast walking now, almost running and you can’t breathe, can’t think. 

You picture that girl you saw, lying dead on the concrete. The way her black eye now matches your own. He was always gentle, how could this be you now? 

You’re running but you really want to scream. You graze something, only now realizing you’re bare foot. Your leg is bleeding but then so is your soul.

You stop and look at the building in front of you. You made it all the way to the police station but should you go in?

No. 

You pause for a long time and you sit down. Take out your phone and think. Could this really be you now? The love you once shared. His sweet voice in the morning. Could this really be the last time?

That picture flicks through your mind once again. That can not become your story, so you pick yourself up and take that leap.

 You look for a tap as you straighten your dress, you wash your feet and finally take the walk into the station.

You see her, it’s a man by the counter but there’s a woman behind him so somehow you feel safer. You push yourself forward and before you know it, you’ve told them the story, though you know they can see it on your face.

‘What’s his name?’ he asks

And you tell them, watching the recognition hit his face.

‘Ah, such a respectable man, what did you do?’

What did you do? The thoughts begin swirling. What did you do? It’s your fault, it’s always your fault. 

He laughs with the woman, and you realize that you missed what they were saying.

‘So was there a witness?’

‘No,’ you whisper, almost choke out.

The woman comes forward, talking directly to you for the first time, ‘I suggest you go and talk this out with your husband, you can not leave a man over this, men get angry sometimes, ndozvavari.’

You stare down at your feet, grateful they didn’t notice and walk right back out the door.  

Does this sound like fiction to you?

According to The Independent, ‘Data from Zimbabwe National Statistics Office indicates sexual assault is on the rise. From 2010 to 2016 there was a 42 per cent increase in rape cases, with at least 21 people raped every day. Taking into account the fact that many don’t report sexual violence, this figure is likely higher.

Domestic violence continues to be a major issue, with 78 per cent of women who had experienced violence claiming it was at the hand of their husband or partner.’

In the past year I’ve heard two distinct stories of women who have visited Highlands police station and told to work it out on their own with their spouse. Sure, one must remember to prosecute there must more than just the words of the victims but what are we doing inorder to assist our mothers and sisters?

One question is often asked by both men and women. When it goes too far ‘Why didn’t she just leave?’ but this is the reality we live in.

Most women when they approach their families they are told thats how men are and that is how men behave. They are met with, he is your husband. He paid lobola for you. And most prominent of all, ‘What did you do that made him do that?’

In December we held the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence and just like that for most of us we were done with it but for others this is still a reality that they face every single day.

We’ve seen the trending videos that go around social media when it’s just another topic to discuss but are you helping your neighbor? Your work mate? Your daughter?

We have so many women who still feel stuck, without voices and like they have nowhere to turn to because their own peers, friends and family are only talking about their situation like gossip, they even laugh until it’s too late.

Often when the person dies, you realise just how many people knew what was happening but didn’t say anything.

Last year a CUT student was killed by her boyfriend and only after did her friends admit that he had beaten her before but none of them had spoken about it or even dared to utter the truth.

This year I learned of a woman whose staying under her mother’s roof with her husband who abuses her and yet still nothing has been done against him because he is a man, and he sometimes gets angry.

Most of this abuse takes place in dark and hidden places but a lot of the time, someone knows but isn’t doing anything to stop it because after all, it is not your place to stand between husband and wife.

But it is!

We have often asked why it is necessary to talk about these issues on social media and how that helps?

And the answer is because you are your sisters keeper.

Did you know that domestic abuse leads to more than 30 000 deaths a year?

30 000 and that’s because we as society do not stop to think and intervene.

Stop telling your sister, daughter and mothers that this is okay. Stop only consoling your friend as she cries that he’s done it again; only to forget about it the next day and move on with your life.

This reality is not something that women are living with for 16 days a month but the life they live with daily.

So what are you doing in your corner to make sure that a person that you know does not have to suffer alone?

If you are going through this, visit Padare. If you know any other NGO’s that help with Domestic violence please comment below.

My Body, My Choice: The Truth Behind Birth Control, Abortions and Miscarriages

‘I support the right to choose. Because no one can tell me what to do with my body. No body can tell me the cells that may one day be a human is more important than my life right now.’ Anonymous

While in many countries around the world abortion laws are a topic constantly in debate. In Africa and in many countries like Zimbabwe legalized abortion and the right to choose is not yet a topic of conversation and neither is Women’s Health but shouldn’t it?

In Zimbabwe, ‘’Government estimates indicate that more than 80,000 illegal abortions happen every year, resulting in around 20,000 maternal deaths. In 2017, the Ministry of Health and Child Care official Dr. Bernard Madzima estimated that illegal abortions caused 16% of maternal deaths, half of whom were adolescents.’’

When you look at the stats it’s scary to find out just how many people are going through this process alone in hidden corners because they have nowhere safe to turn to and more than that how little research has gone into safe labor.
.
‘Zimbabwe has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, estimated at 651 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. In contrast to a worldwide trend of declines, maternal mortality has increased in Zimbabwe over the past 25 years.’

 

And why might women choose to get an abortion? One woman said, ‘’A lot goes into pregnancy. Finances. Living arrangements. Future schooling. Careers. Etc. you’re life has to be solid to have a healthy pregnancy and not be stressed to the max and you’re still going to be stress’’

Looking at the issue of Abortions some might be quick to look at the young generation and think that abortion and sex itself has become a trend or rather that there is a lack of education about the use of birth control and the options available, but looking deeper into this issue I discovered that Birth Control and its dangers come with misconceptions of their own.

‘According to the National Cancer Institute, there is mixed evidence that hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer but reduce the risk of endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers.

The hormones in birth control, including progesterone and estrogen, may stimulate the growth of some types of cancer cells and reduce the risk of others developing.’

26 studies also indicated that Birth Control can also cause blood clots. Blood clots increase a person’s risk of a stroke and heart attack. People who smoke may be especially at risk for developing blood clots when using birth control pills.

 

Post by @Kimanami on Facebook

It is important to note that most women do not have any side effects to the birth control pill but that these risks do exist and it’s important to learn what your body reacts to and what it doesn’t and more importantly knowing what your body needs.

As part of this article I talked to a number of women who have experienced abortions, miscarriages and giving birth and I noticed one common trend around the world there is need for more research and better treatment in hospitals.

One woman I talked to shared her story below:

‘So I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Meaning I get cysts on my ovaries that mess with my hormone levels. Thus making getting pregnant and carrying to term extremely difficult and highly unlikely without costly fertility treatments.

When I was married to my ex husband we found out I was pregnant July 6th 2016. On July 8th I went to the hospital for vaginal bleeding but no pain. There the doctor did an ultrasound and said my body was having a spontaneous abortion, the medical term for a miscarriage. They told me to come back in two days for repeat blood work to make sure my hcg levels were decreasing as they should and to enjoy the rest of my day. I had just lost the ground beneath my feet and was told to have a good day.

After the doctor left the nurse walked me down the halls and through the lobby of pregnant women all happy and healthy with their big round bellies and I was forced to wait in the lobby while I cried for a nurse to draw my blood in the lab to start a base line for my hcg levels. Not only was it embarrassing but I was so angry at these women I didn’t know for having what I had lost.

Two days later July 10th. I went back for my repeat blood work. That morning I had woken up with a weird cramp in my upper left thigh. Almost like I had worked out and was sore. Gradually through the day this pain increased and moved into my lower abdomen and groin area. By the time I got to the lab at the hospital I couldn’t walk I was in so much pain. The lab tech there called the ER to have someone come get me and admit me. They did more tests and more ultrasounds and still said “you’re having a miscarriage. Here’s something for the pain.” After hours of no relief a doctor finally came in and said they saw a small cyst on my right ovary and he believed that accompanied with the miscarriage was the source of my pain. He decided to do an exploratory laparotomy, basically go in through my belly button with a camera and look around, and drain the cyst.

Turns out I had a tubal, or ectopic, pregnancy in my left Fallopian tube. They barely caught it in time before the tube burst which would result in a partial hysterectomy and make another natural pregnancy near impossible.

Based on my labs they had said I was 3/4 weeks pregnant. I was closer to 8-10. It was a very traumatic experience. Which led me not to go to the doctor when I found out I was pregnant again. I didn’t want to go in right away and be told I was pregnant only to lose my baby a week later and go through that emotional trauma again. So I waited.

Two weeks later and lots of positive pregnancy tests I started bleeding. Two weeks later no more positive pregnancy tests and I was on my period. The losses eventually led to the end of my marriage as he wanted “a real wife and family”.

In October of 2017 I was recently divorced and partying it up. Like crazy white girl hoe partying. I was dumb. I was later The guy was an alcoholic and didn’t want to be a dad. I figured there was no way I was pregnant with my issues and if I was I’d lose the baby so it didn’t matter. We just put it to the back of our minds basically.

Well. The day before Thanksgiving I’m sick as a dog and go to the doctor. I’m pregnant. And the baby was healthy. And I had a son in July of 2018. I went through a pregnancy alone. With no job. No stable income or living. No partner to share my burden. And extremely stressed. But I had a son. And he’s perfect in every way. He’s had his issues. And my pregnancy was hell. I had hyperemesis gravadarium. Meaning my morning sickness was so bad and all day long my body didn’t have time to process nutrients. I lost fifty pounds while pregnant. Then because my uterus is tilted my baby grew to my right side and crushed my right ureter, the tube connecting kidney to bladder to drain, and put me in stage one kidney failure.

I was offered a medical abortion at 20 weeks. I refused. I had six surgeries while pregnant. I had to be induced a week early to avoid a seventh. During the induction my sons heart rate dropped into the 80s and I had an emergency csection. At 2am on the dot of July 29th, 2018 I had a 4 pound 9 ounce 17.75 inches long baby. He was smaller than a teddy bear but healthy. And alive. And had all the right parts. He didn’t even have a cleft palate birth defect like I did.

He’ll be turning one soon. My fiancé has been in his life since the beginning and two months ago we found out we were pregnant. We’d only known for two weeks and hadn’t even told anyone when I started bleeding. We went to the hospital where I waited in tears in the lobby for 3 hours before being called in to triage. I waited another 2 hours before I had a room in private. I was given an ultrasound and sat in a hospital room. Where I waited. And waited. For an hour. For some young doctor to walk in shake my hand and my fiancé’s look at us and say the pregnancy isn’t viable and you’re having a miscarriage. I’m sorry. I’ll have a nurse bring by your discharge papers and out the door he went.

The health care field is extremely overlooking when it comes to women and to early pregnancies. They just don’t care. and it’s pathetic and wrong for a doctor to turn away when a patient needs them. It’s wrong for a mother to wait for hours knowing her child is gone just for a doctor to shrug and open and close his mouth like a fish when asked why, why her baby.’’

If you’re thinking this story isn’t common, it’s more common than you think, ‘For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent) end in miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies.’

With miscarriages, still births and maternal deaths occurring at this rate coupled with the fact that the scientific world has yet to perfect safe birth control in a world where thousands of money is poured into sex, shouldn’t we be more concerned? And shouldnt we be talking about this more?

By Amanda Marufu