On December 16, 2011, the Zimbabwe Association and the Zimbabwe Action in Solidarity (ZAS) Leicester Drop-in Centre hosted people from many different nationalities and walks of life as well as from many of the partner organisations that we work with here in Leicester. And together, we commemorated World AIDS Day and we talked about some of the ways in which we are supporting one another in our collective effort to make life bearable for refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants who are living in Leicester and in the United Kingdom.
Organisations and groups that were represented and without whose support the event would not have been the success that it was include:
- the Leicestershire Aids Support Services (LASS)
- the British Red Cross
- the Leicester Quakers
- the Leicester Faiths Group Supporting Asylum Seekers and Refugees
- the Basis Project
- De Montfort University Student Action for Refugees (DMU STAR)
- the Leicester Secular Society
- Leicester City of Sanctuary
- the Leicestershire Constabulary
- the Council of Zimbabwean Christian Leaders
- the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe (NANGO)
- the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, and
- the Zimbabwe Association.
People who gave presentations at the event include:
- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director, Macdonald Lewanika;
- NANGO’s Policy, Advocacy and Development Advisor, Christopher Mwembe;
- NANGO’s deputy director, Machinda Marongwe;
- CZCL co-ordinator, Rev. Qobo Mayisa;
- the Leicestershire Constabulary’s community engagement officer, PC Ravat;
- Zimbabwe Association co-ordinator, Sarah Harland;
- Zimbabwe Association trustee, Margaret Ling;
- British Red Cross Refugee services project worker, Piotr Kuhiwczak;
- the Leicester Quakers’, Angela Walker;
- the Leicester Faiths Group Supporting Asylum Seekers and Refugees’, Dr Albert Mosley;
- the Leicestershire Aids Support Service (LASS) African Communities Outreach Worker, Eric Gore;
- DMU STAR members, Stanley Zvekare and others;
- ZAS Leicester Drop-in Centre working group member, Lilian Chirombe;
- Leicester City of Sanctuary chair, Pam Inder; and,
- the Leicestershire Aids Support Services’ sexual health promotion coordinator, Celia Fisher.
Video footage of the whole event — including the Q&A session that followed the presentations by Christopher Mwembe, Machinda Marongwe and Macdonald Lewanika — is available on YouTube through the Civic Leicester Channel.
Photos from the event are also available on Flickr.
As part of their presentation, Mwembe, Marongwe and Lewanika gave feedback on the outcome of the consultations that Zimbabwean civic society organisations conducted with Zimbaweans living outside the country on how the potential of the Zimbabwean diaspora can be harnessed as well as on the progress and effect of political reforms that are currently under discussion in Zimbabwe. The consultations culminated in the publication of the reports, Harnessing the Diaspora Potential for Socio-Economic Development in Zimbabwe: Investment, Trade and Participation in Political Process (University of Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies and the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, 2011) and Civic Society Position Paper on the New Constitution of Zimbabwe (National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the Civil Society Constitutional Coordinating Mechanism, 2011).
Both reports were received well by the Zimbabwe Association and the ZAS Leicester Drop-in Centre and were accepted as presenting a true reflection of the views of our members. Many of those present at the December 16 event agreed with the findings and recommendations of the reports which, among other things, highlighted that politically-motivated violence was still prevalent in Zimbabwe and which emphasised the need for a people-driven constitution to pave way for free, fair and independently monitored elections in Zimbabwe.
In all, close to 200 people attended the event.
Some of those who attended the event include: Agrena Mushonga, Alice Shandenyi, Amanda Mroma, Andy Williams, Angela Moyo, Angelina Chirunga, Arnold Matsa, Bambeni Nonkisinathi, Benjamin Ndlovu, Bernard Tapfuma, Bertina Taruvinga, Brian Sande, Catherine Tewo, Charles Ndelemani, Chenai Chawira, Chipo Happy Nhandara, Crispen Kulinji, Chrissie Tsikirayi Christina Ndlovu, Christina Rufu, Christine Nyamaparo, Christopher Dzikiti, Clara Muyengwa, Clever Marufu Munemo, Cloud Chunga, Cosmas Ndlovu, Crosby Chisango, Dambudzo Marimira, Daniel Chirombe, David Kasiyamhuru, David Moyo, Denisa Psenicka, Diana Mahachi, Dickson Magagada, Ebineth Ntizhila, Elizabeth Mungadzu, Ellen Mavita, Esther M Magenga, Ethel Maloba, Eunice Manunure, Evas Magenga, Evelyn Chibanda, Evenia Mawengera, Fadzai M Chikwanha, Faines Jamu, Faresi Mahlasera, Garylyan Dingolo, Godfrey Ndlovhu, Golden Ngwenya, Gondayi Madhungwe, Goodness Munthali, Grace Nhamburo, Hillary Kamera, Hynek Psenicka, Irvine Chirombe, Jean Viaji, Joel Chitsa, Joseph Dzavakwa, Joyden Mukwe, Karen Baum, Karen Zakeyo, Kenneth Mawomo, Krish Sulan, Kudzaishe Wasunga, Kundai L Magenga, Lesedi Bambeki Dzavakwa, Lilian Mukudu, Lizzwey Jose, Lorraine Zakeyo, Mandy Nyama, Magret Matizha, Marcus Robson, Marian Hove, Marian Mangani, Martha Mupepura, Martha Matowa, Martha Mutima, Mary Muteyerwa, Mbongeni Dube, Mercy Muranganwa, Mick Walker, Mitchell Meki, Molly Madzima Ngavaimbe, Mthokolisi Sibanda, Musarurwa Kanyoka, Myron Hinds, Naledi Dzavakwa Bambeni, Nastancia Daraban, Negin Eskandary, Netty Marozva, Newton Chikwanha, Nigel Nestha, Nomfundo Ncube, Olivia Chamboko, Pardon Gurupira, Patson Muzuwa, Patson Tamburai, Pelagia Hungwe, Pelani Ziba, Peter Patson Muzuwa, Promise Ndlovu, Rachel Ngandine, Richard Taruvinga, Rose Dhlamini, Sarah Pfende, Sekesai Zonda, Sibangani Msimanga, Sibangani Sibanda, Silas Mapanzure, Simeon Wasunga, Simon James Bikishon, Sithembiso Chilufya, Spiwe Ncube, Stella Ngorima, Tambudzai Chikwanha, Tamisha, Taye Ndlovu, Timothy Kudzai Magenga, Timothy Mapara, Tinotenda, Valentine Sibanda, Vimbai Chirisa, Yenzani Moyo, Wadzanayi Mupandawana, Willard Madondo, Zenzile Chabuka, and many more who did not want to be mentioned.
Once again, thank you all for your support.