First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has reached out to thigh vendors and urged them to leave the world’s oldest profession. She called on the women to stop peddling their bodies and to earn money that is clean through various income-generating projects.
Amai Mnangagwa made the remarks when she met with women plying the world’s oldest profession in meetings held in Mbare, Hatcliffe and Domboshava on Monday. The First Lady emphasized that the women were putting their bodies in jeopardy. She highlighted that they faced the risk of se_xually-transmitted diseases, cervical cancer and violence.
The First Lady was accompanied by several speakers whom she had chosen to help the women. Speaking at one of the meetings, the First Lady said,
“I have come so that we map the way forward vana vangu. As a mother, I want to walk with children who want to work, use their hands and brains. I want you to appreciate that you are important my children. To me saAmai, there is nothing difficult or shameful. We want to come up with something tangible and I have brought many speakers so that we teach each other on certain issues.”
One of the speakers, Apostle Alice Muridzo told the women,
“I have come here to urge you to go back to school. I am a testimony because I went back to school while in my marriage. There is no limit in education, age is nothing but a number. Amai is touching every corner not leaving anyone behind and why should you lag behind? Let’s use our hands and brains. Our mother is actually creating opportunities for us, let us embrace them.”
The First Lady’s efforts appear to be bearing fruit. Several women who attended her workshops said they were leaving the risky business. They also expressed their gratitude to Amai Mnangagwa for seeking them out and for offering them better alternatives.
Some of the women talked about going back to school while others talked of venturing into projects which include cooking, Chicken rearing, rabbit rearing, mushroom farming, detergent making, sewing and baking.
“I have learnt and am actually emotional why I engaged in sex work when there are vast opportunities out there. Had it not been for Amai, I would not have known this. All these skimpy outfits, I need to burn them and start on a clean page. We are ready to work,”
Another commercial se_x worker said,
“I admit that I bed men in the presence of my child behind the curtain. After this discussion, I have learnt that I am teaching my children wrong things. I am now leaving my wicked ways.”
A third woman said,
“One time I was hired by a man who after using me pushed me out of a moving vehicle and I fell into a bridge along Bulawayo Road where I got injured. One man took me to a house where there were a lot of other men and they gang-raped me without protection. It is by grace that I did not contract diseases.”
“Even under the circumstances, I did not quit because I was seeking survival. However, with the teachings I got here, I am willing to change. I am leaving the streets since I am now a new creation. I cannot continue being used by men” she said.
Acting Harare Mayor Councillor Stewart Mutizwa also said the city would allocate the women factory space and places for home industries that are currently idle.