Olita Talent Nyathi
I am a 46 years old mother of three children, two boys and a girl. I am Zimbabwean currently living in South Africa. As a Christian I have worked for social justice all my life. Starting with the Lutheran church where I was a Sunday school teacher at 12 and a youth leader at 15 years of age.
At adolescence I got involved in the struggle for the liberation of my country. During this period I started literacy programmes for illiterate girls in the refugee camp. When I got back home I continued to participate in forums that questioned the values of the struggle and audited the performance of the liberation movements as ‘Government’ Although this created problems for me, I am still convinced that working for social and economic justice is the purpose of my being. I worked in the cooperative movement and set up adult education programs for cooperative members who in the majority were former freedom fighters.
I worked for The Ministry of Community Development for 9 years. During this period I worked on community research projects with a team of four people. The results were +- 15 publications mostly on the themes of leadership, social, political and economic justice. Due to high demand for books and services we left the government and formed Africa Community Publishing. The books are used by grassroots and civil society organizations in Zimbabwe and other countries. Working on these books was a learning curve in my life. I began to understand what writers like Freire mean by ‘organic intellectual’ I learnt so much from the old men and women I talked to than I got from school and some of the books I read.
As mentioned earlier I started a rural libraries organization for the purposes of accessing information to the marginalized and the poor. To date the project supplies +- 200 rural libraries with books.
I was also actively involved in poverty reduction projects through the UNDP and The Poverty Reduction Forum of Zimbabwe housed at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe. Currently I am a volunteer facilitator with The Training for Transformation Programme at the Cape Town Grail Center in South Africa. I volunteer in the center’s community development programmes. I am currently designing training modules for community activists training.
I submitted an MA development studies research proposal ‘Development and Livelihoods’ to Kimmage University. The University responded positively, but suggested that I go to the campus. As a single parent with children in school, I find this strenuous. This is something I would real love to do as a result I am still fundraising.
I love reading and writing poetry, biographies and history. It stimulates me. It’s a vibe that I could never live without. I love participating in discourse on themes such as ‘world order’ and ‘alternatives’ from the perspective of the poor. I do read a lot of books on leadership, spirituality, psycho- social. I read books for fun too. I am just but a bookworm. I guess the only prison I could ever be in is a place without books. I love walking and having space to be with myself.
I also feel that I am at the cross- roads. If I do not make something out of myself now I might never be able to. Sometimes I feel depressed that for the past 46 years I did not do much. I feel like there is so much to do and very little time left.
I am a very spiritual person, have respect for nature as a result I enjoy listening to the melody that comes out of classic music, sounds from the wind, singing birds and the waves from the ocean.