Student activist challenges women to stand up for rights

Vimbai Tizauone is one of the few female student leaders who is vocal about the socio-economic plight of students. She believes that until more female students decide to stand up and advocate for their rights, the welfare of female students will remain plagues with inequalities and challenges.

Vimbai Tizauone, ZINASU Vice President.
Vimbai Tizauone, ZINASU Vice President.

“There is power in numbers and until that time when we are able to stand up for ourselves, we are going to continue having decisions imposed upon on us – whether they are good or bad,” said Tizauone, the current vice president of the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU). She said she identifies with the proclamation by the Cincinatti-based Africa advocacy group, Africa Foundation- USA, that Africa is it is on the move and rising to greater heights. “Become a member today and prepare for the take-off,” proclaimed the Africa Foundation- USA in a recent statement.


But unless students become members of the “Africa which was about to take- off”, they would remain marginalised and would not be active participants in the development of their continent, said Tizauone.

“It is disheartening to note that most students want things done for them while they are busy grumbling and crying foul and doing nothing about it,” she added. “The trend is that most students, especially females, prefer to take a back-seat in fighting for better standards.”

Because of this, most students were left behind and side-lined in making critical decisions that had a direct bearing on their welfare. “Decisions are imposed upon us because we are not forthcoming with our input,” said Tizauone, adding that students’ welfare deteriorated not only because of the harsh economic climate, but because student activism had lapsed over the years in the face of police brutality.

“Today’s students are in this predicament because there was a generation that let us down and we are suffering the consequences of their inaction,” she said.

Rough path

The vocal ‘VP’ as she is affectionately known at college and within the constituency of ZINASU described the rough path that she has travelled as an activist. Since she assumed her leadership role in ZINASU she has encountered persecution left, right and centre. “Most students do not take you seriously especially when you are female,” she said. But this did not stop her from pursuing what she viewed as the right path in championing students’ rights.

“My mother is totally against my participation in student activism because she believes that what I do is predominantly a male domain. She says I should not actively participate in the leadership of ZINASU,” she said.

Currently a student at the Dutch Reformed Church university, Tizauone’s participation in student activism started when she enrolled at Seke Teachers’ College in Chitungwiza four years ago.

It was at this institution that she realised that she had to stand up for student’s rights and ensure that their concerns were considered.

Causing chaos

“The lecturers believe that being actively involved in students’ activism is for individuals who are bent on causing chaos. This is not the case. It is just being open,” she declared. Because of her position at the ZINASU, she has been judged and labelled all sorts of names, some of which are called to her face. “I have been labelled as a man, but I am not offended because I know that if I do not speak out, I will remain exploited,” she said.

ZINASU is an association of students whose duty is to lobby and advocate for equal access to educational opportunity, a student friendly environment and the development of socially adjusted youths.

The union aims at creating a platform for students in the fight for good governance, human rights and empowerment of underprivileged youths. It boasts a membership of students from most of the country’s tertiary institutions from all 10 provinces.

Post published in: News
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