Two elderly people walk brisky from their maize and groundnut plot in the Insukamini Irrigation greater scheme area of Midlands. They talk animatedly and laugh. Visible on their left hands are gleaming silver rings. They are Mr Vanga Mbhele (83) and his wife Daisy Dade Mbhele (76) who tied the knot after receiving training in Gender Action Learning System (GALS) from SIRP. The couple had lived together harmoniously since 1983.
Mr Mbhele said “We are grateful to have received training from SIRP on a number of issues including Farming as a business, post-harvest management, GALS. After the GALS session we deliberated on the issue of formalising our marriage and resolved to have a white wedding. This was after we realised that it was important to have a marriage certificate. We got married on the 22nd of April 2022.”
He continued, “The good thing about the lessons on gender is that I learnt that we are partners in the home with my wife. We work together and make our decisions together. For us, it strengthened our resolve to treat each other well. The sessions also dispelled popular beliefs within the community, that when a man makes lots of money, he should start searching for an additional wife. As for me, I resolved that the wife that I have is enough, I don’t need another one. We make our decisions as a couple especially on what to plant in the field as well as how to use the proceeds from the sale of our produce. My wife actually keeps our funds in the home.”
Commenting on the community’s reaction to the wedding, Mr Mbhele said, “There are younger couples in the area who were surprised when we got married. Some of them have approached me to find out how they can formalise their marriages because they thought that one is required to pay a lot of money to get married. I explained to them that I only paid ZWL 1000 only, chose a date and then went to court to solemnise the marriage. Some of them also come to me to get tips on the conservation agriculture that we practise in our field popularly known as intwasa. pfumvudza. I have been practising this for many years and harvesting good yields.”