#IWD2020 - Zuze's Day

In this #MakingWorkVisible piece, Tariro Mapako reflects on her experiences of the unpaid work done by women in Zimbabwe. Tariro blogs about periods over at everythingbloody.

A rooster does not stand a chance against Zuze, an African mother of 3, when it comes to waking up early. On any given day Zuze is up way before the crack of dawn, to start her household duties.

A road runner does not stand a chance against Zuze, the fastest thing on two feet, when it comes to walking miles from her mud hut to the river to collect buckets of near-to-clean water for her family. One loaded bucket on top of her head and two more in her arms, Zuze makes haste as she returns to her home just in time to start a fire and boil water for her children to bath.

In this never developed village, electricity is a dream. Zuze, like every other woman, must toil day in and day out to find wood, to build a fire, to fetch water, and to make like a plough and plant crops for her family with her bare hands.

One seed at a time, she works the soil. Her finger nails are cracked from all the weeding and digging, the soles of her feet are painfully cracking, what with all the walking she does in her eroding thin based flip flops.

In unfavourable conditions, with limited resources, Zuze manages to wake up early every day, fetch water, cook, clean, hand wash the laundry, bathe her children, discipline her children, educate her children, feed her livestock, water her vegetable garden, stand under the scorching sun as she takes on the active role of a scarecrow to wand off the greedy monkeys that drool over her maize crop from a distance.

Never without her infant on her back, Zuze gets the job done.

Now as the sun sets, it does not set with Zuze’s workload. Oh no, she does not get to do the old punch in and punch out.

Her work continues.

And so she cooks dinner for her family on a smoky fire, puts back the chickens in the hen house, feeds the livestock, washes the dinner plates, and when all is said and done, a tired and lethargic Zuze will now retire to her bedroom.

Alas, her job is not over just yet, her husband has needs too, and he’ll be damned if he has to go to sleep tonight without Zuze satisfying them.

This blog was commissioned as part of Engender's #MakingWorkVisible campaign. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Engender, and all language used is the author's own.

Tags: MWV2020
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