New stories to be told

Society & Culture | By Karolina Jeppson, Journalist | 03 October 2015

During three months this year, I stayed in the village of Kufunda, southeast of Harare. Kufunda is just 35 minutes by car from the city, or 25 minutes by kombi and then a walk of 8 kilometres. Kufunda is not an ordinary village. It is based on principles of inclusion, co-creation and belief in the human being. During the month of March, Kufunda facilitators arranged a training program for young women in the Harare region, called Young Women are Medicine. The training program is meant to be a zone for self-discovery and self-knowledge, in order to support the women’s interest for carrying out inclusive leadership in their home communities. 

This program opened up many hearts, eyes and doors. As a co-creative participant, I must say that it did change me. We shared our personal life stories, we learned from each other and I was overwhelmed by the passion that arose within each and every one of us. This passion and talent were expressed in different creative activities, such as writing, performance poetry, handicraft, facilitating, singing, dancing, cooking, sports, storytelling and a lot more. These young women are fighters! They have been struggling in their childhood, in their youths and as adults. Society and the structures of daily life did not encourage them to bring forward their dreams, passion and talents enough. The poem to this text, Child Within, tells the story of finding your own voice.

Being a writer and journalist myself, I came back to Sweden one month ago, carrying the voices of so many people in my head, in my heart and in my body. Not only from Young Women are Medicine and the community of Kufunda, but also from the many interviews I made with Zimbabwean writers, poets, publishers and musicians. I am trying to share the stories of young women, of Zimbabwean music and literature in Sweden. Not least, I want to talk about the cultural and creative vibe I found in Harare and Bulawayo, which inspired me immensely. I am grateful to have learnt a lot of new things and I feel that the task is important: Stories need to be told about contemporary culture and daily life in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is so much more.