Our Movement

Give me back my Politics

(Patience Mandishona)

“When did we lose our politics?”

This is just a reflective piece on LBT organizing in Africa

Do we have an identity anymore? As an LBT community do we still have an identity within the LGBTIQ community and beyond? Are we still considered an important group that has value and contributes to the growth and sustainability of the movements we were a part of? Are we just statistics in a report of some donor agency or organization in Zimbabwe also hoping to get the scarce funding that’s available and will use the LBT discourse for these gains?

Did we get lost in the tidal waves? Are our contributions valued in society and broader? Did we just follow the tidal wave that was flowing in a direction that we fought so hard to challenge? Did we give up swimming and decided to lie there and float with the tide of power and privilege of resources and we lost our strength to swim back?

What happen to “turning silence into action and words?”For a long time we were silenced and it took a struggle to break out of this silence. We used to pride ourselves in turning silence into action and words. What happened to those words? Did they get swallowed again into silence? What about our action? Who and how did we let our action be determined for us by others. It was our silence it should have been our action. We were silenced as women, as lesbians, as citizens and as people.

Did we play into the trap? Did we not realize that forces around us both personally, politically, socially were also just an open trap waiting for us to fall into? and for sure we fell hard into it, the trap was shut and closed .Did we not think there was a way outdid our organizing become closed up in social spaces where there was not much room to take on political issues? Are we identified by actions around socials, barbeques and music and dance, clubs, booze and smokes only….?

When did we give up challenging?-we gave up challenging both within and without? Did we not feel the imbalances, the injustices, the homophobia, the lesbophobia, the transphobia? Or did we become so comfortable in such spaces that we became a part of these same systems?





“The day we lost our politics”

Fear and Rejection-The moment we became afraid we lost our politics. There was fear of the hostile environment, the hostile homes and families we come from, the hostile relationships we are in full of violence , blackmail and extortion, hostile movement full of dominance of some over others and phobias, hostile inner selves. The existence of this fear and hostility facilitated the gradual loss of our politics and identities. The greatest fear was that of rejection, one would rather chose to dig a hole underground and bury themselves than challenge and be rejected both on a personal level and even within the movements, the rejection existed.

Intimidation-Patriarchy-Dominance-There were also different forces that were strategically taking away the women’s voices and visibility and strategically ensuring that access to our power and voice was as limited as possible. This is true as to how even the discourse of gender equality was created to perpetuate gender inequality. Patriarchal forces exists everywhere that we exists and when our power was strategically taken from us, we did not have a foot to stand on and challenge this

Silencing-Divide and rule -as women and LBT persons in Zimbabwe, the moment you speak out you might lose the important elements of your life thus strategic silencing of our voices exists and the backlash of speaking out especially if you have a lot to lose are greater thus the choice of silence became the best strategy. Over the decades of women’s organizing, one strategy that has worked to break the movement was to divide and rule and this was done strategically you wouldn’t realize it until it hit you straight in the face, as a movement we fell into the similar trap of divide and rule and we didn’t see it until it was staring us right in the face.

Lost Ownership-as LBT persons we lost ownership of a lot.  firstly our identities, who now owns our identities and what power did they have to own our politics and our identities, we lost ownership of the movement itself, who is making decisions for us , who is owning our issues and how are they using these issues and to who’s benefit is it if we cannot feel it






Give me back my politics

my feminism-I want my feminism, my radical feminism, I want to speak, I want to shout , I want to fight , I want to dance

my power-am going to claim back my power, my power in my knowledge , my power in my sexuality, my power in my voice, my power in my actions, my power in my silence and my power in my presence, am going to be in the moment

our collectiveness-I want to see us have that collective voice even in our different spaces, different moments but I believe we are fighting the same cause , we all want to challenge the same systems so lets come together and speak on common issues and separate when we need to  I believe there is strength in collective voices that will cascade down to actions that will bring about positive change believe no one owns a movement, a movement is not an institute or organization, lets speak for the movement and ensure there is transformation and collective consciousness

our identity as black LBT persons I am a woman, I am a black woman, I am a black  lesbian woman, I am a transgendered person, am gender non conforming, or whatever I am I want to name and define my identity and not let someone define and own it for me .I want to be able to speak out on issues affecting my identity because I know it better and do not define my identity issues in reports and proposals that I did not input in , do not think you understand my issues because of what you found on Google about my identity , I will tell you how I feel and what my issues are

my citizenship-am a Zimbabwean woman , I have a right to everything that every Zimbabwean woman has rights to , I want to claim my citizen rights and ensure that am protected and safe within those spaces, I want to be able to have full access to everything without reservations

my movement-I want my movement back, I want that movement that will move, a movement with politics, a movement with people, a movement with direction a movement that is determined by the individuals in the movement, a movement that makes sense and is not afraid to challenge and speak out, I want that movement back …it remind me of the saying “I am a movement by myself but we are a force when we are together” yes that force.



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