Murewa Rural District Council Ward 1 Councillor, Resta Dzvinyangomba (44) is an embodiment of the fighting spirit inherent in women.
Despite dropping out of school at the age of 17, working as a maid, and marrying a man 14 years her senior, she never lost the will-power to strive.
Her journey to become a councillor is inspiring. She cut her teeth into politics in circumstances which could have dispirited many.
A year into their marriage, Dzvinyangomba’s husband consigned her to the village while he ran a small family business at Murewa Centre.
Instead of wallowing in misery, Dzvinyangomba took the bold move of participating in grassroots politics.
She was elected to various ZANU- PF youth leadership positions, which included treasurer and secretary.
It is from these humble beginnings that in 2004, she eventually spread her wings, soared to the council chambers and has never looked back.
She won the ruling party primary elections held in April this year and is looking forward to retaining her council seat in the upcoming harmonised elections.
Speaking in an interview in Murewa recently, Dzvinyangomba said: “Being a girl and growing up in a family in which opportunities were the reserve of the boy child, it was initially difficult for me to be initiative, but, somehow I kept hope alive.”
As if to seal her fate, after dropping school before sitting for Ordinary Level, the only avenue for livelihood open to her was to be a house maid.
Yet, her grandmother had other ideas and wanted her to marry an older man.
“I used to admire other girls my age who were still going to school. I had hoped to continue with my education when I was working as a domestic worker, but the dream was short lived. By the grace of God, our marriage was preserved and we are blessed with four children,” she said.
Dzvinyangomba has been a councillor for 14 years now.
She said most women in rural areas did not have good education.
“We lacked opportunities while growing up.
“I continue to fight for the rights of the girl child particularly ending early child marriages and girls dropping out of school. I know the issues from experience.”
She is the gender chairperson at Murewa council and in 2017 she pushed for a policy to help end child marriages. The policy has been put into practice.
Since 2016, through the council gender committee they have been holding annual campaigns and raising awareness on ending child marriages. They have been doing this through public speaking competitions, which most schools in the surrounding communities participate.
Child marriages are an issue that Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Zimbabwe has been advocating for and working to educate communities.
Further, the country’s supreme law prohibits girls to marry off before they reach the age of 18.
Section 78 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly stipulates that “Every person who has attained the age of 18 years has a right to found a family.”
Dzvinyangomba has also facilitated the acquiring of land and construction of Chenhuta Secondary School in her ward. The school has been operating since 2015.
“Ever since I got into the council I helped my ward to acquire land to build a secondary school. I also mobilized my community to mold bricks used for building the school. This gave them ownership of the project,” she added.
Among some of her achievements Dzvinyangomba was appointed Vice secretary of the Heather Chimoga orphanage care in her ward, an organization she supported to acquire land.
To date hundreds of children in three wards including hers, get food aid, have their fees paid and are given uniforms.
Despite her age, Dzvinyangomba is now pursuing her studies.
“I still believe education can take me far. I am working towards upgrading my studies and aspire to have a degree.”
Dzvinyangomba prepares to defend her council seat in the July 30 harmonised elections.
Indeed, Civil rights activist Maya Angelou had people like Dzvinyangomba in mind when she wrote her often times quoted statement, “You cannot decide on events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Dzvinyangomba did not allow events that happened in her life to pull her down. She has won several awards for defending women’s rights, among others she recently won the Genderlinks (a regional Non-Governmental Organisation) Driver of Change accolade for her gender work.