Women's talk entertains grim Zim

Zimbabwean police clash with MDC supporters at the high court in Harare. (AP)

Zimbabwean police clash with MDC supporters at the high court in Harare. (AP)

“I’m keeping my maiden name, even in marriage.” “My albinism doesn’t define me.” “Cervical cancer: Zimbabwe’s silent epidemic.” “What exactly do people mean when they say homosexuality is unAfrican? Define Africanness.” “Pushing 30 and still single: is there any hope?”

These are some of the talking points on Her Zimbabwe, a website that aims to give a voice to Zimbabwean women, which is fast gaining attention since its launch three months ago.

With a mix that includes musings on romance and relationships as well as some humour, the site offers respite from the relentless diet of violence, politics and poverty that dominates much of Zimbabwe’s media.

Fungai Machirori, a feminist journalist and blogger formerly resident in the United Kingdom, has returned home to run the site. She was inspired by meeting young people at an international awards ceremony in Austria last year.

Her Zimbabwe
“When I landed back in the UK from the awards event, I was immediately on my laptop writing out my first thoughts about how a web portal for Zimbabweans could look,” 28-year-old Machirori said.

“It was a cold UK evening in December when my friend Tafadzwa Dihwa and I first took to the task of trying to name Her Zimbabwe.
In between chats, Tafadzwa was watching CSI Miami in warm Bulawayo, while I was trying to find the most convenient position I could sit in to get maximum heat from the radiator in my room. The temperature was -3°C. I couldn’t have felt colder in my body.” They hit upon Her Zimbabwe, with the tagline: Her Voice. Her Revolution. Machirori decided it was time to give the project her all, starting on a zero budget.

“The road less travelled is always the scariest to pursue. It entails courage and a lot of hard work. The day I finally decided to book my return ticket to Zimbabwe from the UK was the first step of courage I took.”

The site has earned praise from the Zimbabwean newspaper as “an intimate space that is alive with human stories, provocative ideas and sizzling debate about gender … a kaleido­scope of Zimbabwean voices, both male and female”. – © News & Media 2012

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