I was asked by prolific and award-winning author Imelda Tsumba to make a contribution to her book STOP THE ABUSE. Below is an extract of my speech at the launch on 9 November 2018. The book is available locally and you can get in touch with us for a copy or visit Amazon. Buying a copy through us means you make a contribution towards the work of G.R.A.C.E Foundation with the homeless and vulnerable.
ABUSE of human beings by fellow human beings, in all its forms, is a societal ill that is a reality and cannot be wished away. The effects of abuse manifest themselves in many different ways and at varying stages in one’s life. That is why it is vitally important to address the root causes that push some individuals to become abusers. However, in order to deal with abuse at all, we need to acknowledge that abuse does exist and is on-going.
According to a five year review of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development in Africa Beyond 2014 – done by the technical committee made up of African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), there is a growing gap between the wealthy and poor in Africa. And, ironically, the wealthy are having fewer children while the poor are having more. Whilst most people in Africa have traditionally lived in the rural areas, there has been a sharp increase in rural to urban migration, as people search for jobs to sustain their families. The tragic reality, however, is that there has been no industrialisation of our African economies and, as a result, there is not much happening in terms of job creation. More families find themselves with no choice, but to live in slums, whilst many are literally homeless and living on the streets. Abuse is rampant amongst such communities.
Throughout the Bible, we find that the areas of highest concentration of demons is in the dry places: the young man possessed with a legion of demons lived in the graveyard; Jesus was sent into a dry place – the desert – to be tempted by the devil; lepers had to live outside the cities in dry places, etc. In our times, if we are to consider our world objectively, without avoiding the facts, we can see that where there is more lack, there is more violence, theft, abuse and negative behavior patterns. The most violent clashes between opposing political activists in Zimbabwe take place in the high density suburbs; all the xenophobic hot-spots in South Africa were in the so-called townships, where the South African poor rose up against other Africans; the racist, neo-Nazi British National Party was established in the east end of London, UK, where its white supremacist activists continue with their ‘war’ against blacks and other ethnic minorities. The east is London’s poorest area.
I know first-hand how abuse can impact and affect a child and how the effects last a life time. I say a lifetime because the memories do not go away. One has to adopt a positive coping mechanism. But that in itself presents a mammoth task, which can be insurmountable for some, because as human beings, we are wired differently and are blessed with varying strengths. Some victims of abuse become abusers of others or abuse themselves with drugs, alcohol, prostitution, etc. because they would have failed to break the cycle on their own.
Zimbabwe has seen an increase in reported cases of abuse and bringing out the issues into the open is a first and important starting point. Although the issues highlighted therein can be overwhelming, abuse needs to be tackled if our country is to move forward progressively. As Zimbabweans, our circumstances may be very difficult, but we are still alive. As long as there is life, there is HOPE. That hope is what should inspire us and encourage us to look upwards and forwards.
Our country, Zimbabwe, is blessed with so many unmatched resources:– a very intelligent and hardworking population, fertile farming land, vast mineral reserves, beautiful nature, etc. I have watched Zimbabweans remain resolute even when the economy is upside down. Look around and observe how we have generally maintained a high standard of life as we build ourselves beautiful homes and send our children to school. We are problem solvers. We find a way of making things work. The issues of abuse or homelessness are not unique to Zimbabwe. They are everywhere in the world, including first world countries. However, I totally believe that Zimbabwe has been uniquely blessed with the spirit of an eagle. We are a prophetic nation. Prophets offer solutions. Prophets are game changers and Zimbabwe is coming out of the mess we see ourselves in today because Zimbabwe is a beacon. She is an Oracle of God. Her people are being trained to find solutions. I believe that together we can conquer the mountain of poverty which breeds abuse and creates problems such as homelessness.
There can be no true development of a nation, if her people are left behind in the doldrums of poverty and abuse. However, development is not driven by the government alone, but by all sectors of society, down to each one of us as individuals. I am blessed with the honour and privilege of walking with the Lord Jesus Christ every day. He opened the eyes of my spirit to see the problem of homelessness on the streets of Harare and I understood that behind every problem, there is a solution. After taking time out to listen to the voice of God, I answered His call to work with vulnerable and marginalized people, including the homeless. As a result, G.R.A.C.E Foundation (God Remembers All Children Everywhere) was registered as a trust after interacting with these precious people for over two years. We are in the process of registering as a Public Voluntary Organisation (PVO).
Our mission is simply to minister the love of God to another human being. That love is what inspires hope and we are hopeful for a better tomorrow. However, hope alone will not get us there. We need to take appropriate action as we are directed and inspired by the Holy Spirit. I will be reaching out to all Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora, so that we can work together in order to achieve the goals of GRACE Foundation.
My husband and I have 4 beautiful children aged between 8 and 24, and a grandchild aged 9 months. I had all of my children by cesarean section and although I had to endure excruciating pain for at least 2 weeks after delivery, I found a positive coping mechanism to help me out of that pain. I would focus my mind on forthcoming joyous occasions such as Easter, Christmas and birthdays, when we would have quality time as a family. I relished the prospects of witnessing key milestones in the development of each and every one of my children, as well as fulfilling our divine purposes. That is what hope does and that is how I overcame all the abuse I experienced as a child. The love of Jesus Christ does cover a multitude of ills and abuse can be overcome and stopped with love. If each one of us can do our part, we will win. Indeed together we can and must STOP THE ABUSE.
If you have been a victim of abuse, and in need of counselling and prayer, do feel free to get in touch on my contact details as provided.