Sowing seeds for the revolution

By Rudo Chigudu, Africa Girls Fund Fellow

Rage consumed me for many years. It’s seeds were sown through stories of how my grandfather and others were killed or injured during Zimbabwe’s independence struggle. It was further nurtured as I observed racialized social inequalities in education, in economic opportunities, etc. My father seldom spoke of his torture and detention during the struggle for independence when I was growing up, but when he did, his voice was unusually low and trembled slightly. He spoke of the injustices of colonialism and the importance of restoring access to and ownership of viable agricultural land to Black Zimbabweans.

Growing up I spent school holidays working on the land in our rural home – planting, weeding or harvesting. I hated it, but my parents were inflexible in this respect. I remember the pink pair of trousers I used to wear to the fields and how year after year they got shorter as I grew taller, how I continued to wear them until my mother made them ‘disappear’. When I think of my relationship with the land, I see my eight-year-old self in those pink trousers dropping seed into the earth and covering it. In that act I planted more than food, I was sowing the seeds of a life-long love for the land that I did not realise at that time.

While I inherited rage over generational injustices tied to colonialism, it was only when I acquired the language to name this that I transformed my rage into activism. Since then I draw inspiration from community organising and the song and dance that goes along with it. South African singer Letta Mbuli’s song, ‘Not Yet Uhuru’, echoes in my head reminding me that even with flag independence, freedom has not yet been achieved and that the struggle continues. The struggle also looks very different for different groups of people in our societies and real freedom – ‘uhuru’ – only comes when all of us are free.

In my own journey, it is women and girls whose struggles for land and autonomy have been front and centre. Joining Thousand Currents as a Girls Fund Fellow is a continuation of this fight. This role allows me to build solidarity with like-minded folks whilst exploring the possibilities that may exist for girl-led and/or girl-centered organising around food sovereignty, economic justice and climate justice. I see supporting girl-led and/or girl-centered organising as one of a few important ways to sustain the necessary connections between communities and land. The Girls Fund presents an opportunity for understanding the involvement of girls in their communities and exploring whether there are opportunities to better support this.

I am both humbled and inspired to be part of a team that is deeply invested in land, food, and the environment. Land is not merely about what food it can produce, it is also about culture and connection to ancestry. It is about belonging and security and must be respected and sustained for generations to come. I am very honoured to be part of organising that recognises and supports this.

I also believe deeply in nurturing soul, individually and collectively, and investing in processes that facilitate this. As a result I brought with me to Thousand Currents and the Girls Fund my love for the creative arts in the forms of spoken word, music, and theatre. When the moment calls for it I am known to burst into song, and when it is time to unwind, I am first on the dance floor!

 


What is the Global Girls’ Fund at Thousand Currents? 
Thousand Currents is part of the Global Girls’ Fund, a 7-year initiative, seeded by the NoVo Foundation, to support the growth of a flourishing eco-system of funders committed to increasing the resources to, and visibility of, girl-centered and led groups across movements globally. Though this initiative, Thousand Currents seeks to learn from and support existing and new partners that are advancing the self-determination of adolescent girls and young women within food, climate, and economy movements. 

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