Breaking taboos to save lives
Sitshengisiwe, 38 years old, is a married mother of two. She is a WASH champion, a trained volunteer with the SELF project in Norton, a town of 69 000 people situated 40km outside Zimbabwe’s capital Harare. A team of 26 trained WASH champions aim to work with Norton Town Council Staff to reach 33.000 people with health and hygiene messages. Sitshengisiwe is a fearless activist against open defecation. “We form community health clubs, train the members and support them in health promotion activities through theatre performances, community learning sessions, songs and poetry.” She talks openly and freely against open defaecation in a manner that most would not do. She is aware that she is breaking taboos to talk open about “dhodhi/feaces”, a word that most do not dare talk about since its culturally taboo. However Sitshengisiwe says, 'If we can do it in the open, why then are we shy to say it in public? If it is taboo to talk about it in public it should be taboo to do it in the open.'