By Takemore Mazuruse
She is vibrant, determined and blessed with the looks and confidence to open any doors in life. Though hardly 30, her hands are full and she is pursuing various interests all aimed at empowering others.
Born and raised in Masvingo’s Runyararo West suburb, Alice Tagwira (pictured) is a women’s rights activist and founder of She Glows, an organisation which seeks to address the plight of single mothers and creating as many opportunities for them as possible.
“My main interest right now is in young people and women, single mothers to be more specific. Young people need opportunities to participate in the development of their communities. We must improve their creativity and access to information towards positive transformation,” Tagwira told Standard Style.
“On the other hand, I want to fight the stigma that single mothers face. I want to establish a strong support system that helps and encourages them in carrying out their double duty. I want to fight women abuse. My mom faced it, I faced it and I have seen some women facing it. It’s a nightmare which we must stop.”
The passionate feminist also told Standard Style that it was important to advocate for proper and fair legal and economic representation of single mothers.
“These mothers need jobs, scholarships. They need to be taught about wealth creation, parenting skills and so forth. I have also seen mothers suffer with their kids. I believe that co-parenting must be imposed with tight measures as long as it works in the favour of children. As for the rest of the women, I want them to take up space in male-dominated environments. Their political, economic and social rights should not be infringed,” she said.
A member of the budding youth-oriented Zimbabwe Young Influencers, Tagwira said she grew up in environs that opened her eyes to the many challenges that marginalised and disadvantaged communities face.
“At some point in my primary education, I stayed in the rural areas walking 3km to school. I then did my high school at Masvingo Christian College, an urban set-up, though standards were very low and people would jokingly call the school ‘Huyai Mose’ given its open to-all-approach,” she said.
“I am happy the school has since been renovated and improved. As part of my ongoing community development and women’s rights work, I hope to give back to my former schools. The schools gave me a cherished foundation, better understanding of life and appreciation of community challenges and I am duty-bound to play my part.”
A respected community builder and media player, Tagwira studied Early Childhood Development before temporarily moving to Botswana. She then came back to study Business Administration and is now studying journalism.
“I never had a deep interest in education, but now my view is renewed. I believe education is the spice of life and being someone who loves researching, I am happy to be advancing my knowledge through studying,” she said.
Operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen the world shutting down and economies tumbling, has its setbacks and Tagwira said the situation today calls for character and regard for others, hence her organisation was doing all it could to assist single mothers.
“As She Glows, we had struggling mothers who didn’t know where their next meal was to come from. Through help from sponsors, we managed to prepare food hampers and distributed them among the needy,” she said.
“Our WhatsApp platforms helped us conduct different series of online trainings to help them cope and stay afloat. We covered entrepreneurship, computer literacy, parenting, conflict resolution, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and Aids, among others.”
Tagwira also encouraged entrepreneurs to be self-driven during these difficult times and said she was facing a lot of fights from male chauvinists who cannot appreciate that empowering women is good for development and the community in general.
“The journey is not for the faint-hearted. Abraham Maslow said, in any given moment, you have two options and that is to step forward into growth or step back into safety,” she said.
“Opportunities are everywhere depending on your foresight, insight and outsight. Light came out of darkness.
“For all my passion in women rights issues, I get attacked by men every day. The feel like I am advocating for women to rule over them yet feminism is simply the belief in the equality of both genders.
“The reason why I sound like I favour women more is because of our patriarchal society which for long has disadvantaged them. I do not hate men; I am actually going to remarry. My feminism is liberal, only weak and abusive men feel attacked.”
Though challenges abound in her quest for self-actualisation and empowering communities, Tagwira said her vision would keep her going.
“What keeps me going is the vision that I carry. I will not rest until it’s fulfilled. The good thing about me is, with or without support, I believe and I have faith in myself. I’m self-motivated. I’m results-oriented,” she said.
“Being part of Zimbabwe Young Influencers, a network composed of celebrated achievers, made me realise that I can do more. I can actually be a global influencer.”