First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has urged societies to shun gender-based violence and work hard towards promotion of women emancipation in all sectors.
She also urged people in the arts industry to emulate former artist Anne Nhira popularly known as “Vimbai” in soap opera, Studio 263 whom she described as a great young and promising fighter of women emancipation who promoted African values and raised the Zimbabwean flag high in supporting the local arts industry.
The First Lady said this yesterday while addressing mourners gathered in Manyame Park, Chitungwiza to bid farewell to Anne who died on March 11, from injuries sustained during a mugging.
The First Lady attended the funeral at the Nhira home and later attended the burial at Zororo Park in Chitungwiza where she laid a wreath at the grave.
At the funeral, she was given a detailed account of how Anne met her fate and while following proceedings she also shed tears.
Anne was accorded a State-assisted funeral.
The First Lady said the character “Vimbai” in Studio 263 was of a woman with strong and noble personality which contradicted the stereotyping of women as weak and less-focused.
She urged people particularly women and girls to draw lessons from the role Anne played which exhibited attributes of a well-groomed girl child in terms of culture, comportment, decorum and dignity of Zimbabwe women.
Amai Mnangagwa applauded Anne for her different roles in the arts industry, from the Studio 263, as a musician which saw her participating at the 2013 edition of the acoustic night at the German talent search and scout programme.
Anne also won roles in several international soap operas and films like Therapist 2013, Ndafunga Dande 2013 and participated as a judge on Miss Zimbabwe-South Africa. She also featured in SA’s Zabalala 2014.
“She helped young talents to realise their dreams and embarked on women wellness school. These achievements should be an eye opener to all women and young children who should emulate Anne and possibly surpass Anne for the betterment of our society.
“A heroine is not a woman who does magical things, but the one who is able to make positive change to a situation and entails an example of an ideal woman in society.
“This is a woman we are all gathered to inter. A great young and promising fighter of women emancipation. Let us not lose hope because of this sad departure of our favourite artist but let us embrace everything good that she did which will positively change the lives of our parents and future generations,” she said.
She said Anne had died during the Women’s history month.
“It is that time we bring to the fore the fact that women were never historically allowed by their male counterparts to play any role in theatre or on stage since antiquity.
“Thus my speech in focusing on promoting the national policy and strategies for gender equality, adherence to international and regional instruments for the protection of human rights of women, increased diversity in the mechanisms promoting and monitoring attention to gender equality.
“No doubt the circumstances under which Anne died in South Africa are directly an indictment of men generally to desist from exerting violence against women.
“It is possible that such cowardly characters are still lingering in our society in this modern age of enlightenment,” she said.
The First Lady expressed concern over the increase in domestic violence during the Covid-19 lockdown as couples were now spending more time together.
Amai Mnganagwa encouraged couples to live in peace and expressed concern over the increase in domestic violence cases during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“We should live in harmony. We should not fight each other. I wish to reiterate that health, education and work are areas included in seven interdependence strategic priorities identified by the marked millennium staff on gender equality strengthening opportunities for post primary education of girls, guaranteeing women’s property and inheritance rights reducing, gender inequality in employment, increasing women’s representation in political broking, combating violence against women, gathering data and developing indicators of monitoring progress and financing costs of interventions to achieve gender equality.
“Now despite Zimbabwe’s strides to achieve most of the above strategic priorities, statistics have shown that there is still a hurdle in preventing violence against women.
“It does not matter that Anne died in South Africa. What is important is to acknowledge that the characters that caused the untimely demise of our fellow citizen and high flyer in the person of Anne in South Africa are also rampant in Zimbabwe.
“It is in this context that I urge all and sundry to condemn acts of violence against women,” she said.
Nhira family members and artists saluted The First lady for leaving her busy schedule to come and mourn with them and praised Government for according their daughter the State assisted burial.
Legislator Tatenda Mavetera who acted as Tendai Jari in Studio 263 said artists were humbled by the love shown by the First Family.
“This is not the first time that artists have received such honour. The First Family also chipped in at other artists’ funerals including Gringo,” she said.