MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE STORIES 2017: GENDER EQUALITY ADVOCATE- VIOLA SIGAUKE
archived | 07 Aug 22
Viola Sigauke is a small scale tomato farmer from Murehwa,Ward 30.Before Viola was trained on women’s rights to land, she indicated that she was an oppressed woman who didn’t know her rights as aperson. “I was an oppressed person because I never used to enjoy the proceeds from selling my tomatoes as my husband was the one who would sell the tomatoes and then decide how the money would be used.”
Viola went on to explain how she also did not have any voice over the land on which she grew her tomatoes as she only got a small piece of land from her husband. According to Viola, the piece of land was not hers but it belonged to her husband who would always remind her as to who owned the land any time she tried to make any decisions over the piece of land that she has access to. Viola mentioned that she was told that as a woman she was just a helper and was not entitled to land because “mukadzi muuyi, haana musha”.
She explained how she was constantly reminded of the lobola that her husband had paid for her whenever she tried to affirm her position as the mother of the house. She felt abused but she thought that the Shona culture as well as the Bible says the head of the home is the man so she just succumbed to being violated and thought it was normal.
However, after attending the training workshops organised by Rozaria Memorial Trust in partnership with ZWRCN, her eyes were opened. She suddenly understood what it meant to own land and to have access to land. She therefore acknowledges the fact that she personally does not own land but has access to land. Nevertheless, this knowledge did not discourage her from continuing to be productive on the small piece of land that she has been given. The training workshops motivated her to work harder and produce more as she now understood her rights over the small piece of land that she has access to. She now grows her more tomatoes and she sells them to the locals without involving her husband as the middleman.
After being capacitated Viola managed to explain to her husband that she has rights over her piece of land and all that she produced. As such she has every right to independently sell the tomatoes and enjoy the proceeds without any interference from the husband. Now that she knows her rights over land, Viola mentioned that her husband now respects her decisions and this is quite different from the way he used to treat her before she was trained. She indicated that now, she has the ability to make decisions because she will be having some money of her own from selling the tomatoes. According to Viola, poverty is belittling and men tend to abuse women when they know that the woman does not have any source of income. Viola is grateful for the training workshops and feels that they truly opened her eyes and liberated her. Her wish is to practice horticulture at a larger scale but the only limiting factors are the resources to set up a greenhouse.