Human rights activist and musician Nyaradzo “Nyari” Mashayamombe (pictured right) on Friday launched a talk show on national television — ZTV — called Identities/Umhlobo/Zvatiri, which is aimed at addressing socio-economic issues in an edutainment manner.
By Staff Reporter
Mashayamombe, who is also the executive director and core founder of Tag a Life International Trust, made her debut on national television on Friday at 5:30pm. She told The Standard Style that the weekly programme was inspired by her own journey as an African “Brown” woman.
“As a musician, I heard other races say that my voice was not good enough and yet I knew that God created this voice and my musical style to glorify him. Look at Tuku! In our communities we are brought up to believe that being ‘deep chocolate’ isn’t beautiful enough,” she said.
“I grew up thinking that I was light-skinned because my brothers affirmed this by telling me that I was beautiful and clever. It only occurred to me when I was grown up that I was actually quite chocolate brown. I grew to appreciate my own body shape in its roundness. I only felt more beautiful and more confident the day I decided to have natural hair. I’ve never looked back”, she said.
Mashayamombe said she realised the misconceptions and social dictates imposed on women by fellow Africans as well as other races did not allow African women to embrace their beauty.
“The concept of the television programme came up after my own struggles with what people defined as beauty which often is the ‘lightness of one’s skin’, whether or not a woman’s hair is straightened by chemicals, with society ridiculing women with fuller figures and frowning upon slimmer women. I realised I had to start a conversation to address these issues using mass media,” she said.
The child activist said the name Identities/Umhlobo/Zvatiri, which is also the title of her 2015 music album, was derived from the idea that women were being misunderstood by society and their wellbeing being dictated by others.
“Through digging up the issues that affect our society, I realised that the crisis of identity and oppression isn’t only affecting women across races, as men and boys are victims too. I have found out that violence, patriarchy and machismo that manifest in men from all walks of life is as a result of socialisation.
“Men are often told that they shouldn’t cry when they go through pain, they are not allowed to cook or wash dishes by parents who want to ensure they are ‘real men’, hence, in present-day society our men are struggling with sharing chores with their wives, hence, the increase in domestic and gender-based violence.
“In Zimbabwean society when a man is caring and understanding of his responsibilities as a partner, they are labelled as ‘too domesticated’”.
The talk show is produced and hosted by Mashayamombe and aims to bring to the fore a wide range of issues. A number of people from all walks of life will participate in the programme.