Growing up in a serious patriarchal society, a strong feminist says her personal experiences of great inequalities pushed up her desire in feminism. “My mother, Christine Rusere being a single mother, a high school teacher for many years and a woman who is a strong feminist but with knowing it greatly inspired me to venture into the field of advocating for women’s rights” she said in a very welcoming tone.
She is a very fable lady as quickly sensed by the writer as she was introducing herself. “I am Netty Musanhu, a lawyer, a feminist and an advocate of women’s rights”, she said. Netty Musanhu is popularly known as the founder of Musasa Project but she is rather the energizer of the organisation. “I did not find Musasa project, let me share with you what really transpired…”, she said with the great zeal of sharing her own story. Netty Musanhu said Musasa project was opened in 1988 with two white ladies and among them was Sheila Stewart. “I joined the project in 2010 and during that time the organisation was almost scolding with one car and one shelter, it couldn’t even satisfactorily pay me…”, she said this describing the state of Musasa project during the time she joined.
Cheerfully, with great pride and joy Netty Musanhu said that she dedicated her 24hrs to transform Musasa and turn it into a better place. “After ten years of full dedication, Musasa project is now a better place…”, she said. Leadership qualities within the lady and her vigorous character towards providing a voice for women and children transformed Musasa project. To date, Musasa project has over 10 shelters around Zimbabwe, it has built up 24 hour core centres and the continued voice of women is being heard through the organisation. She managed to achieve all her setup goals through believing in herself. “ I have inner belief, I am a hardworker, I am dedicated to achieve and I take risks this is the only way I manage to achieve my won setup goals”….she said explaining her personal attributes to the success of Musasa project.
Netty Musanhu is indeed is risk taker who has taken numerous risks with the determination to achieve. As the energizer of the then ‘sleeping giant’ she took many risks in the process of transforming Musasa Project to be the leading organisation which advocates for women’s rights. “I am a risk taker, I have taken so many risks in order to put a smile on the faces of women and girls”, she posited. In 2008 before the runoff of elections, Netty Musanhu took a risk she is proud to say out today. She mentioned that it was during the times of elections when she received a call from women and girls in Chiendambuya, Zimbabwe with issues of political violence appealing for her help. Despite the prevailing situation that was in the country, she took the risk of travelling with her team to assist the ladies . “in the middle of the assessment we got harassed, tortured and arrested by the police…” she said showing her vigorous nature in working towards providing a voice for women.
Like every normal individual, Netty Musanhu also has an active social life despite Musasa Project having taken most of it. “ Musasa Project took most of my social life, but I am a proud mother of 4 kids, 3 girls and a boy, I am a wife, I have friends and I am a very serious entrepreneur…” It is not easy to balance work and social life but as for Netty Musanhu she uses one unique way of balancing the two. “I do not go home stressed, I am very upfront and I talk to it out with my friends”, she said. Farming is Netty Musanhu’s getaway, she practises farming on her spare time and this makes it possible also for her to be able to come back in her world of advocating for women’s rights with help.
Netty Musanhu is indeed one tough broad when it comes to issues to do with advocating for women’s rights.My greatest success in the leadership of Musasa Project is not only the way she transformed Musasa but also the minds of some masculinises like traditional leaders. “I engaged with traditional leaders for women to be heard during the constitutional reform process”, she said. As a true leader must have confidence and with great confidence and persistence Netty Musanhu managed to make traditional leaders champions of women’s rights.
Putting a smile on the faces of women and girls is Netty Musanhu’s main goal in her leadership of Musasa Project. Currently she is now also a team leader for another organisation called Stop Abuse and Female Exploitation (SAFE). A great leader in issues to do with feminism indeed.
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