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What happened to me made me come to a decision. I intend to spend the rest of my life, yes, even to sacrifice it if necessary, fighting against rape," says Nzigire Mwa Shekeza. Photo: Joakim Roos

Shekeza – fighting for women's rights over the airwaves

Shekeza is a passionate change maker who is working courageously alongside others so that people living in poverty can gain power over their own lives.

11/5/2013 Publisher: Magdalena Ackeberg

Had enough of violence against women

"In 2004, our village was crawling with soldiers and rebels. They stopped us at roadblocks, demanded money and assaulted us. On Easter Sunday that same year, the rebels came to my home. They raped me and my daughter. And that’s all I want to say about it. But what I will say is that thanks to the courses I had taken, I was aware of the risk of getting HIV. My daughter and I went immediately to the hospital and I'm so grateful that we escaped that."

No plans to give up

"But what happened to me made me come to a decision. I intend to spend the rest of my life, yes, even to sacrifice it if necessary, fighting against rape," says Nzigire Mwa Shekeza in eastern Congo.

Shekeza is deeply committed to issues that concern women and their situations. In the village of Budodo, she is the vice president of the listeners' club of AFEM, which provides both men and women in the village with advice about their rights in family disputes and inheritance matters. AFEM stands for Association des Femmes des Médias and is a human rights organization that receives support from Diakonia.

Uses radio to involve and inform

On the radio, Shekeza interviews other women about their situations and talks about sexual violence in the family and in society, the importance of registering one’s marriage and children officially with the authorities, and why it is so important to have legal documents.

Shekeza married while she was still at school. The marriage was never registered officially, which remains common in some villages today. This has led to women not having any right to inherit from their husbands. After Shekeza had borne him three children, her husband abandoned her.

From half-hearted to full commitment

In the early 2000s, Shekeza came into contact with AFEM. At that time she was only half-heartedly involved because she didn'diakonia.set believe that she was the activist type or had the courage to really get involved. But after the rape, she became more seriously involved, wanting more than anything else to help others.