Mrehwa Rural Councillor braces to retain seat – Resta Dzvinyangomba,
Mrewa Rural District Council Ward 1 Councillor, Resta Dzvinyangomba, 44 is an embodiment of the fighting spirit inherent in women. Despite her dropping from school at age 17, working as a maid, and marrying a man 14 years her senior, she never lost the will-power to strive.
Her rise to being a Councillor is an inspiring journey. She cut her teeth into politics in circumstances which could have dispirited many. Her husband consigned her to the village while he ran a small family business at Mrewa centre a year into their marriage.Instead of wallowing in misery, Dzvinyangomba took the bold move of participating in grassroots politics. She was elected to various ZANU- PF Youth leadership positions, which included treasurer and secretary.It is from these humble beginning that in 2004, she eventually spread her wings and soared to the council chambers. She has never looked back since then. She won the ruling party primary elections held in April this year and is looking forward with determination to return her council seat in the upcoming harmonised elections.
Speaking in an interview in Mrewa recently, Dzvinyangomba said, “Being a girl and growing up in a family in which opportunities were the reserve of the boy child, it was initially difficult for me to be initiative, but, somehow I kept hope alive.”As if to seal her fate, after dropping school before sitting for Ordinary Level, the only avenue for livelihood open to her was to be a house maid. Yet, her grandmother had other ideas, for her like marrying her to a cross generational man.“I used to admire other girls of my age who were still going to school. Initially I had hoped to continue with my education when I was working as a domestic worker, but the dream was short lived. Though by the grace of God, our marriage was preserved and we are blessed with 4 children,’ she said.
Dzvinyangomba has been a councillor for 14 years now. Speaking about her views about the community, she said, “Most women in rural areas do not have good education. We lacked opportunities while growing up.” “I continue to fight for the rights of the girl child particularly in ending early child marriages and girls dropping out of school because I know from experience,” the councillor said. She is the gender chairperson at council and in 2017 she pushed for a policy to help end child marriages, as it stands it has been put in place.
Since 2016, through the council gender committee have been holding annual campaigns and raising awareness on ending child marriages through public speaking competitions, which most schools in the surrounding communities participate in.Child marriages is an issue that Women and Law in Southern Africa WLSA) Zimbabwe has been advocating for and working to educate communities. Further, the country’s supreme law prohibits girls being married off before they reach the age of 18. Section 78 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly stipulates that “Every person who has attained the age of eighteen years have a right to found a family.”
Dzvinyangomba has also facilitated the acquiring of land and construction of Chenhuta Secondary School in her ward. The school has been operating since 2015.“Ever since I got into the council I helped my ward to acquire land from the council to build a secondary school and mobilized my community to own the project by molding bricks used for building the school,” she added
Among some of her achievements, Dzvinyangomba, was appointed Vice secretary of the Heather Chimoga orphanage care in her ward, an organization she supported to acquire land. To date hundreds of children in three wards including hers, get food aid, have their fees paid and given uniforms. Despite her age, Dzvinyangomba is now pursuing her studies. “I still believe education can take me far, am working towards upgrading my studies and aspire to have a degree.”
As Dzvinyangomba prepares to defend her council seat in the July 30 harmonised elections, it seems civil rights activist Maya Angelou had in mind the never say die attitude of the likes of Dzvinyangomba when she wrote her often times quoted statement, “You cannot decide on events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”Indeed Dzvinyangomba did not allow to be reduced by events that happened in her life. She has won several awards for defending women’s rights, among others she recently won the Genderlinks (a regional Non-Governmental Organisation) Driver of Change accolade for her gender work.