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Kore Kore women: tensions and solutions

In this video lecture, Dr. Elizabeth Mudzimu tells about her research and we see Kore Kore women speaking about navigating SRHR.
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ELIZABETH REVAI MUDZIMU: I’m convinced that we can never build a sustainable society without bringing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights to the table. I’m writing a doctoral project, with the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, in which my focus is on investigating the challenges that the Zimbabwean women face regarding their sexual and reproductive health and rights and the strategies that they use to navigate these challenges. This is in the context of the Korekore women of Mount Darwin district, the northern part of Zimbabwe, which spills over the high plateau in the Zambezi Valley. The investigation is against the backdrop of the Catholic teaching on sexuality and African cultural practices and religion.
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What is at the centre of the Catholic teaching on sexuality is marriage and family. In essence, the goal of sexuality is procreation in the education of children. What that means is, couples are not allowed to use artificial family planning methods. They should rather resort to natural family planning methods, specifically periodic abstinence. Yet the research shows that the method has not worked for all women.
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While the women struggle with the challenges of natural family planning methods, African culture adds another layer of complexity. For instance, when bride price is being paid for them, especially a portion called dunga in Shona language, Zimbabwe local language, cattle in English. The women automatically lose their sexual and reproductive rights. They’re expected to have children, as many as are equal to the amount of cattle that has been paid for them.
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As if that is not enough, the Zimbabwean economic situation, at least at this point of writing, is turbulent. And this hits the women hard. All these and other factors put pressure on women. Under such a quagmire, I would like to ask, and ask why must. Number one, what are the strategies that they use to navigate these challenges? Number two, to what extent are these strategies transformative and sustainable?
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My research is of both scientific and practical relevance. Scientifically, I aim to push the scientific boundaries regarding knowledge and methodologies of understanding the dynamics around Zimbabwean women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. And at a practical level, I use Paulo Freire’s empowerment theory to train women for transformation, so that they develop strategies that are transformative and sustainable. Thus, becoming masters of their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

You will see a video lecture in which Dr. Elizabeth Mudzimu explains how the Kore Kore women navigate their way through the different tensions and pressures they face from religion, tradition and SRHR advocates. While watching this lecture, think about your reflections and discussions from the previous steps. Pay attention to:

  • where you hear and/or see the disconnect between the lived realities of the Kore Kore women, the Catholic church teachings and the aims of SRHR.
  • what challenges these women say that they experience in realizing sexual wellbeing.
  • what responses these women propose to navigate the challenges they face.
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Religion and Sexual Wellbeing: Pleasure, Piety, and Reproductive Rights

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