June 16, 2016

International Women of Courage Jestina Mukoko

If someone tells me they are having nightmares, I know what they are talking about. 
My name is Jestina Mukoko. I'm from Zimbabwe, I work for the Zimbabwe Peace Project. I'm currently in the U.S. as an alumni of the International Women of Courage Award. I received the award in 2010, for the work that I'm involved in with the Zimbabwe Peace Project, where we monitor and document around human rights violations, specifically looking at politically motivated human rights violations. 
If you look at me today I'm putting on heels, but in 2010, I could not put heels, because of the torture I had suffered. My feet were hurting. 
And I think this is the difference that I recognize today since I received the award in March 2010. Because of the work that I do, I was targeted by state sponsored violence in 2008 when I was abducted, tortured, and I was not protected. The fact that after I got out of that experience, I still felt I had a responsibility to go on doing human rights work, and I think that's how I got the International Woman of Courage Award. 
The experience of being among other courageous women, for me was the best, because we were able to share experiences and for me that actually brought out the fact that I am not alone; and the Zimbabwean situation is not unique; the situation that women find themselves women like us, find themselves is actually quite common throughout the world. And somehow I got encouraged and inspired to say that what I went through in 2008, had nothing to do with anything that I did wrong but I suppose all that I have been doing right.