The Sunday Mail
Mash Central Bureau
MEN and women in Mashonaland Central have welcomed First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Nharirire yeMusha programme and vowed to cement family bonds needed to raise morally upright children.
The programme was held at Chipadze High School, where Nharirire was described as handy in preventing unwanted outcomes.
Parents are role models for their children, who emulate and imitate what they do, hence men and women in Mashonaland Central agreed with the First Lady that it was important for them to first look at the way they conduct themselves.
Participants from the province then listed the qualities of a model woman and man.
Domestic violence, verbal abuse and lack of family time were identified as some of the hindrances to nurturing and moulding well-behaved children.
Amai Mnangagwa said it emerged during her Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba programme with children that parents were partly to blame for children’s bad behaviour.
Parent-to-child communication and respect between parents were said to be missing.
Therefore, the Nharirire yeMusha programme becomes a holistic approach to child delinquency, which is tearing into the cultural fabric that binds Zimbabweans as a people.
The First Lady brought together men and women in Bindura to deal with root causes of the challenges.
Child marriages emerged as the topical issue, with women calling on men to stop lusting over young girls and sexually abusing them.
It emerged during the discussion that men are abusing alcohol and denying their wives conjugal rights as they are always drunk.
Some women in the province admitted to being culpable of selling drugs to young people, seducing men and some going to the extent of killing their husbands to inherit property.
There was consensus on the qualities that make up an ideal mother and the word “amai” was considered synonymous to the words “Akatendeka”, “Muyananisi”, “Akarongeka”, “Imhare” (honest, mediator, organiser, strong).
Presenting contributions from female groups, Mrs Barbra Chitando said an ideal woman is loving, good-mannered and fends for her family.
“An ideal mother is a good communicator; well organised, starting with cleanliness at the home. A good mother doesn’t rely on the father for everything but assists in taking care of the family. She organises her chores and prepares for tomorrow’s work in time,” she said.
“An ideal woman for Mash Central is a hard worker, faithful and is content with what her husband earns. She dresses respectfully, speaks calmly and is honest.”
Men also came up with qualities that make an ideal father.
Some of them included being a protector, provider, forgiver, good communicator, level-headed and an educator of cultural values.
Mr Kaguda Tadeu also said communication within the family and with neighbours are some of the characteristics that make a good father.
“You cannot start a family when you have not properly married your wife. Give rules for your children and maintain a peaceful home with your wife,” he said.
“A good father saves money for future use and is a good example for his family. He is hygienic, helps other struggling families in the community and never loses his mind when he gets drunk.”
In her remarks, the First Lady said: “Nharirire yeMusha programme stemmed from the Nhanga/Gota/Ixhiba, which I conducted with children throughout the country’s 10 provinces.
“We are losing children to morally reprehensible behaviour. We are adopting other country’s cultures and disregarding our own culture.
“Children are intoxicated by illicit beer and drugs. They sleep helplessly all day like a dead person. We wonder if they will become productive, mentally stable or of sound health. They dress and talk disrespectfully.
“Girls refuse to be out shined and compete with their fathers in drinking beer, no one can reprimand her and she engages in unsafe sexual activities, bringing back home children from different fathers.”
Amai Mnangagwa said the buck stops with parents, some of whom are failing to guide their children.
She said it emerged that some greedy parents were marrying off young girls to older men for trinkets.
The First Lady said she felt embarrassed that while she was busy advocating for the observance of local culture and norms, Mashonaland Central, where she hails from, leads in child marriages.
“Is it about harmful cultural practice, love for material things or religious beliefs zviri kukutumai kuroodza vanasikana vedu vachiri vadiki? Let us discuss this and tell each other the truth. Are parents aware of their roles and responsibilities? Are you available at home and guiding your children, and if so, then whose child is getting drunk and engaging in prostitution in the streets?” she said.
She took the opportunity to counsel women and men on the importance of communication in maintaining peaceful and happy families.
Women were encouraged to start income-generating projects and seek assistance of the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank.
Chief Musana concurred with the First Lady, saying it was disheartening to note that the province was leading in child marriages.
“Let us stop child marriages and make our First Lady and the country at large proud. We believe the scourge is mainly happening in mining and farming compounds,” he said.
“Go back to your communities and advise people to desist from child marriages. We want to thank the First Lady for fighting for a better life for people in this province by taking us back to our cultural values as a nation.”
Mashonaland Central Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Monica Mavhunga and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe attended the programme, which was held under strict Covid-19 regulations.
Those willing were also vaccinated at the venue.