A Journey of Discovery: Representing Matabeleland Aids Council at the ‘Women Deliver’ Conference
By Luckson Bashoma
The day for the much-anticipated Women Deliver Conference 2023 (WD2023) had finally arrived, and the excitement was palpable from the very beginning. Having won a competition organized by #GenderLinks through the Amplify Change Fund, where the winning team was awarded a trip to the WD2023 conference, my colleague Sibonokuhle Mguni and I were chosen to represent Matabeleland Aids Council at the prestigious event. As we prepared for the journey ahead, Sibonokuhle hesitated, stating that she was an older woman who had seen and travelled a lot and she insisted that I should represent the organization.
The preparations were in full swing, and a couple of weeks later, our tickets were confirmed. The mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety started to bubble up within me. While I was thrilled to embark on this adventure, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous as I had never been on an airplane before and had only travelled to two countries, South Africa and Botswana.
Leaving Zimbabwe for a region with a different way of life was both thrilling and daunting. Fortunately, I was in the company of fellow delegates and teammates, Mary Chigumira from #UnlimitedHopeZimbabwe, Tinotenda Matenda from #RootsAfrica, and Carren Liando from #PHOLA, who helped ease my flight anxiety.
Upon arriving in Kigali, Rwanda, the warm weather brought a sense of relief from Zimbabwe’s cold temperatures. We were warmly welcomed by our designated driver, organized by Nomthandazo Mankazana, the coodinator from #GenderLinks, whose outstanding arrangements made the journey smooth and stress-free.
The Mountain View Apartments, where we were staying, greeted us with another warm welcome. Leonora Tima from #Kwanele and the South African delegation, including Thenjiwe Ngcobo from #Incema and Khensani Masaba from #Lifesavers, welcomed us with delicious food, making us feel at home in this new environment.
Luckson Bashoma is the programme manager at ROOTS. This article is part of a series being produced during Women’s Month based on participation by VCSAFund grantees in the Women Deliver Conference held in Kigali in July.