Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
The Rotary Peace course equipped fellows with a detailed analysis of conflict to understand the causes of conflict and how it affects society and the global village. Various tools of conflict analysis were learnt. The stakeholders and actors involved to negotiate for peace. The conflict narrative below also highlights how conflict is perpetrated at individual, family, community and national levels. Very interesting a beautiful exciting three months journey of examining conflict across the world from Africa, Asia, Europe and other continents. Field trips and reflections to conflict areas were conducted, locally and internationally.
Most importantly this story telling is dedicated to the International Women’s day. As women as mothers we have a huge role to play in peace processes. The UN sustainable development goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, gender equality goal 5 yearns for women participation. Goal 1, no poverty and goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities means that can be achieved with our full involvement and focus. Peace begins with women in the home. When we carry a child for nine months regardless of their sex and making the choice to give birth. We do not discriminate whom we give birth to. We bear children, breastfeed, care for them, have sleepless nights when they have an ailment. Then, why do we allow our children to be discriminated when we gave birth to them. We know what pain is when we give birth. Why do we watch to see those that do not give birth torture and traumatise our children? We have the power to stop such ignorance, brutality and torture. We are a global voice to end this and Balance for Better in line with 2019 International Women’s Day Theme. As women I believe we have humanity packed in the purest form!
Story telling: Surviving Conflict & hostility. The lived experiences of the LGBTIQ community in Zimbabwe.
I never liked pink as I grew, they forced me! One day, I cut off the lovely braids plaited on my head at six years old. I replaced with an English haircut. It felt so good, it was me. My mother was furious…, but…that was not me. My mother, my aunties, my elder sisters forced me to do girlish female roles. If I refused, they assaulted me, punished me. Was labelled a rebel!
Primary school was a nightmare. I exchanged clothes with my brother in the village on our way to school. If I used the girls’ toilet the girls screamed…There is a boy, there is a boy…! If I wore sport attire, shorts, you could not tell the difference. They called me Joe.
High school began, I had a hoarse voice. I played mostly with boys, I was teased, some teachers tried to court me, I was punished most often, some sexually abused me, I was labelled, I realised I was different from other girls.
I tried to commit suicide, I had no one to turn to. I thought there was something wrong with me. That maybe I was abnormal.
I never dated, I had identity confusion. However, I worked hard and passed my “Ordinary level” despite the low marks I got from the teachers. I proved a hard worker by passing Cambridge!
I secured employment in the army, a job I really loved. There congratulations and ululations from friends, family and relatives showing their happiness… I looked after my family financially, I supported my mother who was widowed.
Expectancy Theory: (social norms and values) When do I see my son in law? When do I see my grandchildren? It was a polite way of asking me, “When I was getting married?” I pretended not to hear and to some I replied, “soon” just to rid them off.
Suitor: In no time I was introduced to a local boy who worked in town. I pretended to love him. One day, he raped me…. I could not say… I never told anyone, where would I report, I had to get married to him. The most depressing time of my life. He paid lobola there was a feast, I was there but not there. My heart pounded, I felt like escaping but, I was pregnant!
I bore a boy child Goodwill, that’s his name. Marriage was torturous for me. I abused alcohol to cope, he raped me ever since we married in that relationship for one and a half years. I broke down, he left, it did not work…
I felt better, I continued with my work I so loved, I had good relationships of course discreet but nice, I quite enjoyed most of them, I was happy for once in my life to have same sex relationships… until one day I was shocked to be on headlines: on the 18/08/2016 the H-Metro read “Shocker: a soldier has been fingered in a shocking lesbian romance involving a married woman after their photos went viral.” The Daily News: “See how female soldier was caught having an affair.”
A friend had leaked my WhatsApp conversations and photos with my intimate partner relation. I was dumbfounded, silent.
The Army Deputy Commander announced and condoned the behaviour during parades. My fateful day came I was court marshalled by the army in 2017 and sentenced to one-year imprisonment. I don’t know for what reason, what was the charge, what crime I had committed? The law does not say anything about lesbianism only mentions sodomy and same sex marriages. My partner was a daughter of a General Brigadier, nothing happened to her. No one came to see me in prison, I was surprised one day my sister came with a Counsellor from an NGO. They brought me water, fruits and sanitary wear including a fresh meal with protein. My brother who is a pastor shunned me, he never wanted to hear about me.
I’m out now, with no job, I came out from incarceration, Chikurubi Security Maximum Prison September 2018.
My name is Joyce Simbi, a 30-year-old lesbian, that is my narrative of stigma, discrimination, harassment and threats.
“Nowhere to run in your own country.”
Grace Badza – Zimbabwe
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 26