The Sunday Mail
Today is not Mother’s Day. It isn’t even tomorrow or the week after that.
But we won’t wait for a strangely set day to celebrate the immense contributions womenfolk have made to creating a better world for all of us to live in.
Since the dawn of civilisation, ordinary and influential women have done extraordinary things in an ordinary world.
Millions do these things silently, far from the lenses of the media, knowing that raising better families creates better nations. They are every day heroines, silently carrying out seemingly mundane acts that shape the ebb and flow of history, often without even realising it.
Others, by the whims of history, the arbitrariness of fate, or the stimuli of circumstances they have no direct control over, are thrust into the spotlight and bravely assume the mantle bestowed upon them.
Such is the situation of first ladies, women who perhaps did not want to enter the public eye and merely desired a quiet life with their other halves who for whatever reason decided to enter national politics.
Yesterday, the two ends of the spectrum met as President Emmerson Mnangagwa informed the nation that his wife, First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa, was relinquishing her seat as House of Assembly representative for Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe.
Unbidden and spontaneously, a group of women started weeping as they were told that their Member of Parliament would henceforth no longer be their Member of Parliament, albeit because she had to assume the larger role of First Lady of a nation that still smarts from the wounds of recent abuse of that station.
Amai Mnangagwa wept, too, with another towering national female personage by the name of Cde Oppah Muchunguri-Kashiri comforting her.
Although the role of the Office of the First Lady has never been officially defined, not only in Zimbabwe but across the whole world, they figure prominently in the political and social life of nation states.
There is a reason why the ordinary women of Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe were disconsolate as they surrendered Amai Mnangagwa to the rest of Zimbabwe.
Amai Mnangagwa has her mind set on something big, something very far away from the politics of warring and bickering that have traumatised our country.
In a recent meeting with female journalists at State House in Harare, she pledged that her office would practise an open door policy and assist wherever it could to improve the lives of all the people of Zimbabwe.
Socio-economic reform projects, especially those that empower women and children, are evidently her thrust.
Since she became First Lady last year, she has already visited several hospitals and children’s homes to appreciate the challenges that they face every day.
She has used her station to source resources to make the conditions at these institutions more palatable, and all of this done not for any self-serving political reasons, but because she cares.
Prior to her assuming the role of First Lady, she was not really known. That is because she is a quiet woman who does not want to steal the spotlight.
If anything, she very well may not appreciate our drawing attention to her in such a manner in this newspaper space today.
That is because for all intents and purposes, Amai Mnangagwa is an ordinary woman living in extraordinary circumstances.
That she is capable of doing extraordinary things does not make her any different from millions of other women – and men – across Zimbabwe.
Rather, it shows that all of us, regardless of standing in society, material wealth, intellectual capacity, creed or tribe, are capable of making a difference to people’s lives.
And this is not done for our own personal benefit, though we are indeed edified by every act of community building, but for the benefit of a future that we may not see but which we hope is better than our present.
We need not wait to acquire stupendous sums of money, we need not wait to attain PhDs to prove our worth.
We only need to treat each Zimbabwean as we ourselves would want to be treated for us to be heroes.
That simple credo is the basis of eradicating corruption, destructive greed, stultifying indolence.
Zimbabwe today is in dire need of ordinary people doing the ordinary things in an honest way that history will view as heroic, extraordinary acts.
That is the challenge that is before each and every one of us as we build a better, equitable and brighter Zimbabwe.