A Moment of Silence

November 27, 2017

Vimbai Chandaengerwa,

Hivos joins the rest of the world in the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV), a time when we stop and reflect on GBV and how we are working towards making it end, how society deals with victims and in what new forms it has shown itself in a continuously evolving world.

Gender Based Violence takes up many forms, it is not just physical violence towards women and children, but violence towards any being. As Hivos, this year we focus on the voices of the survivors, the support structures and the witnesses. We bring you #16Days16Voices a series which seeks to put a face, a voice and a possible solution to the fight.

Each day a video message will be shared in line with the campaign.

As our Day 1 opener, we feature a poem from Zimbabwean poet, Wadzanai Chiuriri.

A Moment of Silence

A moment of silence for the other ones,

The ones that must be reminded

Of the thing between their thighs whenever they blink

The ones that must pretend to be unable to think,

The ones that must speak never too boldly when permitted to

Those who must spread legs on office carpets before they can earn.

The same ones, that work hard to break the glass ceiling

Only to watch it shutter in their eyes.

A moment of silence for the women who cannot spell the words

Opportunity, business, or entrepreneur,

Those that have never seen the inside of a library

Or the preface of a book,

The ones too woman to be allowed in class

But their backs break every day to educate their children

A moment of silence for the girls whose hips grow too soon,

The girls whose breasts bloom too quickly to let them stay in school

The young virgins we break with our silence

The ones whose innocence we steal when we look away as they are taken

When our eyes see, but our words remain unspoken

A moment of silence for the child brides, taught to sleep naked,

To wait patiently for their husbands to come home wasted

Girls who have never been taught that their bodies are sacred

Girls who should have been taught to grow

Taught to know, that they can say no.

A moment of silence for the silent ones.

The ones who rise each day,

And leave their dreams where they dreamt them

Those ones that suffer politely,

The ones that bite their tongues and cover their shame

As they take the blows

Those ones that will never stop loving

No matter how much it hurts.

A moment of silence for the wives of geological scandals

The women who know too well the mathematics of rape and war

Whose hips spread wide for battles of diamonds

Whose loins know all too well the value of cobalt

Robbed of the minerals at the meeting of their thighs

Whose uteruses bleed for Uranium


This moment of silence is for us to remember

That the hunger for power has broken us to pieces

That it has caused us to forget,

That to be woman is beautiful, that to be man is beautiful

That to be coloured is beautiful, that to be white is beautiful

That to be young is beautiful and that to be different, is immaculate.

By Wadzanai Chiuriri