Tendai Manatsa is renowned Zimbabwean guitarist married to Selmor one of the nine famous female musicians who collaborated in the ONE Campaign song for gender equality, Strong Girl.
Tendai and Selmor have been committed to the campaign and made an effort to ensure that they keep it alive in Zimbabwe. After meeting Bono in August 2015, Tendai said, “For Bono and other people from abroad to come and fight for our women, is sad because we as African men should be doing more for our women. We would be fools to not do more for them because this is close to home. I saw this opportunity and said to myself, there is no turning back, I have to see this cause to its end.”
Below is an extract from a conversation I had with Tendai to find out more about why the Poverty Is Sexist Campaign is so close to his heart.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am an artists and my father is a popular veteran Zimbabwean musician, Zex Manatsa. I have been married to Selmor for almost nine years and we have three children, one girl and two boys.
Why would you allow your wife to participate in this campaign? I say allow, because I am sure some African men have reservations about their wives leading the conversation on gender equality.
Firstly, I let Selmor participate in this campaign because I’m confident of myself as a man. I’m not threatened by my wife’s success, actually I’m proud of her. Secondly, as a father of a girl child, I believe in the empowerment of girls and women. I don’t want my daughter to be denied opportunities because of her gender.
Do you believe women get a raw deal and why?
YES women do get a raw deal! When I was young, my father was involved in an accident that left him in a coma for three weeks and when he woke up he had amnesia. All of a sudden our mother found herself with six boys to feed, educate, and shelter. Unfortunately she wasn’t employed so we went through a really tough time. My father believed that my mother did not have to work since he was making enough money to take care of the family. This taught me that you never know what the future holds; a man cannot assume that he will always be there to take care of his family so there is no harm in having an empowered spouse.
How has your journey with ONE shaped your views on gender discrepancies?
ONE has given me an opportunity to speak out on a large platform where I can influence a lot of people. I always believed in the empowerment of women because of my life experiences but only implemented it at home. But now that I’m working with ONE I find myself able to do more and even influence policies that empower our women.
What would you like policy makers to consider as we usher in the new development goals?
I would like governments to remember that poverty can only be eradicated when women are secured. From my life story, it is clear that when women are not empowered they are more susceptible to poverty and their vulnerability will in turn affect their children. So as they think of poverty eradication they must ensure that women and girls are prioritized in addressing gender discrepancies.
Anything else you would like to share?
I want all the guys out there to know that when you support your woman in realizing her dreams, she will treat you with all respect and she will give you all you want…. if you know what I mean!