Kubatana: Circles of Women

Kubatana: Circles of Women

Sheltered beneath cool thatch
surrounded by green lawns and fig trees

a circle of Zimbabwean women sit passing a stone
sewing beads onto a red velvet cloth as each one spoke

women’s work

they cross three generations
mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, grandmothers
facilitators, lawyers, counselors, activists

What is it, we asked, that we celebrate about being women?
‘Our ability to love,
to take responsibility for our children, our families
to take responsibility for the food, and the schooling
our ability to hold serious jobs
to talk about our feelings
to share the load’

And what is difficult about being  women here, at this time?

‘Being disrespected
often abused,
by the men with whom we live
sexual harassment
political rape and violence’

It was a story of attrition and overwhelming responsibility

One of the elders spoke
of the infidelities of her husband
of the pain it had cause her young soul
as she watched over her small children

and of the growing strength of realization
that she was the one

she would not seek what was impossible
she would take the responsibility
and do the work
and love her children
because she had the courage and strength to do it

of the power and satisfaction her life had brought her
of the wonderful children she had grown into the world
of the circles of women she shared her life with

They spoke of strong, enduring, loving mothers
of the father who had supported one young woman’s journey
allowed her the freedom to make her own choices
of her gratitude for this trust in her abilities

They spoke of the ‘enemy within’
their own jealousies
of women’s part in infidelities
the insecurity they carried

And then they looked at what they could change
and of holding circles with men

It is the first conversation of many, many conversations

everything changes

Bev Reeler

Bev Reeler is a Zimbabwean poet and feminist, who writes, among other places, at Kubatana.net, where this poem first appeared: http://www.kubatanablogs.net/kubatana/?p=7784 Thanks to Bev Reeler and to Kubatana for this collaboration.