Zimbabwe had its first pre-rising activity on February 5, 2014 in partnership with the Literary Arts & Music Enterprise( FLAME). The discussion and story circle was attended by a vibrant group of female artists ,musicians, lyricists, filmmakers , directors, poets and activists at the Book Café in Harare. A brief insight into the history of V-Day was given and how it grew as a movement out of the play The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. This led to the artists questioning where art and activism intersect. The conversation was deep and insightful, and it was journey of self- discovery for some of the artists. The artists shared their personal experiences with violence in different spaces ; at work, in their homes and on the streets. At the end of the conversation the artistes made a commitment to work towards ending violence against women with and they suggested that they would collaborate on a music album to for women by women . They also pledged to infuse messages about ending violence in their work.
Additionally, over five hundred villagers and their Chiefs (Custodians of Culture and Traditional courts) will gather for a Bira, a traditional Shona Spiritual ceremony at a primary school in Chiveso, a village in Mashonaland central province, Zimbabwe. There will be traditional dance performances by young women and other groups in the community. The young activists who are involved in One Billion Rising for Justice will talk about rape and petition the chiefs so that they are able to go from village to village educating communities about how rape and violence against women destroys communities. We are hoping this will enable us to provide sex and sexuality education to young men and women in this context and to use initiation rituals and ceremonies as the gateway in. This area has the highest rates of reported sexual violence (66% of all cases reported in Zimbabwe). Rape is endemic to this area which saw the most horrific gang raping of women and girls in the run up to the 2008 presidential elections. Activists will engage the chiefs and headmen by asking them to sign a pledge to deal with Violence against women, using the traditional courts (dare). The pledge will have clear action points that they Chiefs will commit to, and the commitment will be made in the presence of their community members who, along with the activists will hold them accountable to their promises. The pledge will be written and translated into ChiShona.
This is one way in which the One Billion Rising Campaign is catalyzing transformation in grassroots communities to ensure an end to Violence against women and girls. Knowing that they have the solidarity of women across the world is giving young activists energy and courage to tackle one of the most difficult and entrenched pillar of communal life: culture and more specifically those elements of culture and practices that are harmful to women