PANIC CHILUFYA, Nyimba
â€œI HAVE always been a supporter of women`s rights thatâ€™s why in my music, I have always been an advocate for wom-en`s rights, says HeforShe music champion Shadreck Mumba known as Yachi has said.
He was speaking on Monday at Nyimba grounds before he performed with Kondwani Kaira aka Chef 187 at a road show organised by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Gender and Child Development to promote gender equality in Zambia.
MUSIC champions Kondwani Kaira aka chef187 (right) and Shadreck Mumba known as Yachi (left) performing during the HeForShe sensitisation roadshow held at Nyimba grounds on Monday. PICTURE: PANIC CHILUFYA
The HeforShe campaign is a global solidarity movement that was started by the UN women in September last year to advo-cate gender equality.
The aim of the campaign is to remind men folk that the struggle for gender equality is not a battle for women alone because men are often the perpetrators of gender inequality. Other partners are the Irish Aid and Swedish governments.
Yachi explained that even before he was appointed as a campaign champion, two months ago, his music has been for the women empowerment. His latest and fourth album, entitled Lenshina is testimony of his conviction for gender equality.
â€œThis is a way to remind all of us the existence of a very powerful woman called Lenshina. She lived to empower other women,â€ he explained. The album won during the 2013 Zambia Music award.
The father of a week old daughter explained that â€œmany men like me with daughters would love to see them prosper and achieve their full potential; I do not want my daughter to experience barriers because of her sex. Men with daughters will un-derstand my feelings,â€ he said.
Yachi said, with gender equality and empowerment, the country would be able to achieve total development. He gave an ex-ample of Rwanda which he said 20 years ago was in a mess after the 1994 genocide.
But Zambia now lags behind in terms of women empowerment when compared to Rwanda because of the deliberate efforts to empower women politically and in in leadership and decision-making positions. The key to development is empower Zambi-an women as much as possible.
He said he dreams of a time when women would be given the empowerment and respect they deserve because thatâ€™s the only way gender-based violence (GBV) will be eradicated.
He noted that it is important to inculcate this respect for women because lack of it is the root cause of GBV. When equality is achieved there will be no conflict like it is experienced currently.
The HeforShe campaign champion said that violence is not a sign of power but is actually a sign of weakness.
â€œWhen you beat someone, how do expect them to respect you?â€ it is more of fear which is different from equality,â€ he said.
Yachi who is also passionate about deforestation, good education for children said there is need to preserve traditional values and this can be done through music.
And Chef187 speaking after the performance, called on men to become part of the global movement to promote women`s rights as advocates and stakeholders.
Chef who won the best mainstream album entitled Heart of a Lion during this year`s ZMA awards is the younger brother of singer Mulaza Kaira aka MackyII who was a contestant during the ninth session of Big Brother Africa early this year.
He said people were curious and had shown interest which was evident by the crowds that came to see the duo perform the songs to rally support for the message.
Having been raised by his mother and sisters, Chef said he attaches great importance to the HeforShe campaign and pledged to do everything possible to influence and support women using whatever means.
â€œEmpowering women means we have a happy home, society and nation at large, therefore I would like to see more women being empowered like our boxing ladies Esther and Catherine and other women in leadership and decision-making positions,â€ he said.
He wished that more women can be given an opportunity to participate in decision-making positions and political arena so that they are able to compete equally and favourably with men.
He however noted that major challenge to gender equality is the issue of norms, values and cultural beliefs. The inclusion of traditional leaders in the campaign will definitely assist in changing the mind set of people in various communities.
Chef said it was a privilege to be part of the campaign using his music to influence the community in a positive way and chang-ing lives especially for women.
According to UNDP communications officer, Moses Zangar Jr, the duo was picked as campaign champions because of the commitment and willingness to work on music for HeforSHE on a voluntarily basis.
And Zebron Nyirongo, a resident who came to watch the performance believes that although gender equality is a new concept, it is possible to change the mind set of society especially men with such sensitisation and awareness campaigns.
He said that in homes where there is gender equality, things are easier because the couple complement each other; which is not the case when a woman has to depend on her husband for everything.
â€œI was brought up in a difficult situation because although my father was working, my mother was a housewife. Homes that exercise gender equality are more successful and even the manner in which children are brought up is usually very different. There is need to change the mind set of men that gender equality is for their benefit and family as well,â€ he said.
Mr Nyirongo, who is single, believes that women are better thinkers because they usually have the interest of the entire family at heart which is often not the case with men.
The HeforShe campaign by UNDP and MGCD have localised the campaign in partnership with the Irish and Swedish gov-ernments. The road show was part of the campaign to launch the village One Stop Shop on gender in chief Nyampande`s chiefdom on Wednesday, which was then rolled out into five other chiefdoms in Petauke.