Skip to comments.Celebrities back tampon rebels of Zimbabwe
Posted on 05/06/2006 10:28:51 PM PDT by MadIvan
SHE has been arrested 22 times, tortured so badly that her front teeth were knocked into her nose and had an AK-47 thrust up her vagina until she bled. Thabitha Khumalos crime: to campaign against a critical shortage of tampons and sanitary towels in Zimbabwe, one of the least talked about and most severe side-effects for women of the countrys economic crisis.
Now her cause has been taken up in Britain by celebrities including the actors Anna Chancellor, Gillian Anderson, Prunella Scales and Jeremy Irons.
Later this month they will launch Dignity. Period!, a fundraising campaign to buy sanitary products for Zimbabwes women. It will start with a night of entertainment at the 20th Century theatre in Notting Hill, west London, hosted by Stephen Fry.
So desperate is the situation that women are being forced to use rolled-up pieces of newspaper. Zimbabwe already has the worlds lowest life expectancy for women 34 and Khumalo believes these unhygienic practices could make it drop to as low as 20 because infections will make them more vulnerable to HIV. Its a time bomb, she said. The shortage is forcing schoolgirls to stay at home when they start menstruating.
The crisis began in 1999 when Johnson & Johnson, the healthcare manufacturer, pulled out of the country because of the worsening economic situation. Zimbabwe then had to import products from neighbouring South Africa. But the collapse of the currency and the worlds highest inflation, now more than 1,000%, have made the products unaffordable to all but the elite.
In a country where the minimum wage is Z$6m (£17.14) a month, the cost of a box of 20 tampons is Z$3m. Who in their right mind is going to spend half their earnings on tampons? asked Khumalo. As it is most people can only afford to eat once a day. Women are being forced to choose between their own health and the survival of their family.
Khumalo, 45, general secretary of the Womens Advisory Council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and a mother of two, started her campaign after she saw a woman walking awkwardly on the street: She told me she was going home from work because she had her period and could no longer afford sanitary protection or cotton wool.
When an MP raised the issue in parliament, government ministers fell about laughing and dismissed the matter. Khumalo has tried to highlight it through public meetings and distributing scarves printed with demands for affordable sanitary wear. As a result she has been repeatedly arrested and beaten, but refuses to be deterred.
god thats terrible
to tell you the truth i woulda just shut up about the tampons rather than get tortured about it. less painful bleeding
Ah, another "benefit" of driving out the evil Europeans. The joy-joy times in Zimbabwe just keep on rollin' ever since the bad ol' white man was driven out.
with all due respect, what did women in the 3rd world do before Johnson & Johnson invented the "tampon"?
I asked that same question.
its amazing the things we can do so easily in america that people in other countries cannot.
makes my skin crawl to think about being completely controlled by idiots in power
at what point is that ape Mugabe going to dragged out into the streets and strung up from meat hooks like Mussolini ?
Actually better than he deserves.
The only thing that will cure Zimbabwe's problems is military intervention and a new goverment. Zimbabwe has no oil. It won't happen.
This is what happens when the eeevil pharmaceutical companies are forced to pull out.
makes my skin crawl to think about being completely controlled by idiots in power
That's why in the end we vote against Democrats.
yes the evil western world; manufacturers of absorbent hygenic products
I don't know what they did in Africa, but in this country they used old rags torn up and wrapped up in a piece of cotton cloth. This construction was then pinned inside their drawers, and washed when it was saturated. Not very pleasant, comfortable, fragrant, or hygienic.
When I was on active duty and we visited foreign ports, one of the most popular items that the chaplain and volunteers took to schools and orphanages were tampons, pads, etc. Never really understood why, but I guess this story helps explain it.
I guess you do what you do to get by.
The american indians had huts the women went into and stayed while they had their period.
personally I don't use tampons anyway...well very rarely. So I am sitting here wondering why women would roll up newspapers rather than just line their britches with newspapers.
the former sounds awful
All cultures are equal..
There are no absolutes, like right or wrong - or good and evil.
Africa for the Africans...
This is what Africans and the World's leftists wanted - The whites robbed and evicted and the Africans "reclaiming" the land......
I'm happy for them....
"or cotton wool."
I understand, but what did women use before having to purchase sanitary products?
They are probably using the New York Times
in an odd coincidence the dune thingy kinda looks like the tip of a tampon
Rastus, thanks for the info.
Yes, I was referring to the Dune image. I'm sure you can understand the miscomprehension.
Yes, I can. I've just happened to see a few of Ivan's other posts recently, so I knew it was just a misfortunate automatic posting.
"This is what happens when the eeevil pharmaceutical companies are forced to pull out."
Or in the case of Sudan, blown up by the Clinton Administration.
absorbent pads are used externally in most of the world. They are not comfortable. They leak, so most women do not move about much on those days.
A really poor country loses a lot when they lose a quarter of its work force for 3 to 5 days a month.
In Asian countries, that I'm familiar with, the females would wear a narrow cotton cloth diapper like item. The items would be washed out and reused.
I'm sure that the same type of item was used here in the US back in the "Good Olde Daze".
Since this is by the Sunday Times, I'm sure much of it was taken out of Kotex.
You don't need one when you are always pregnant.
They used unsanitary disease-spreading cloths.
I'm sure our "feminists" will be quick to protest this ACTUAL horrendous abuse of women, just as soon as they're done decrying pay scales for female college diversity studies professors. First things first.
Peat moss? Any relation to Kate moss?
-Pity About Africa...--
-South Africa - The sellout of a nation--
-Cry, the Beloved Country--
-Robert Mugabe and the Struggle for Power--
-A Capsule History of Southern Africa--
-Rhetoric of blame is now a white lie--
-First it was Rhodesia then SA now America paying the price of silence--
-Parallels between Apartheid SA and USA--
-Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight--
bookmark for backhoe's post
I wonder if that isolation included a few days beforehand. This could be a tradition to reconsider bringing back.
Later this month they will launch Dignity. Period!, a fundraising campaign to buy sanitary products for Zimbabwes women
don't want to rust those AK-47's
Uh no, the crisis began when they allowed Mugabe to stay on as Thug-For-Life.
Rather than donate tampons, they should be taking a few hundred thousand and hiring a professional assassin to take out Mugabe.
Guns or butter
Medicine or rent
Tampons or rice
The beat goes on.....
The don't have toilet paper in Iraq. I was told never to shake anyones hand over there....especially the left hand?
Do they have "social justice" yet? Isn't that what they were supposed to get by voting in that mugabe tyrant and killing/driving off all the white people?
The hippies down the street try to sell these door-to-door occasionally.
Mugabe hangs on, but for how long. The black led opponents are organizing, occasionally the BBC gets smuggled reports out and they showed a meeting calling for "non-violent reisistance."
Mugabe is trying to win the few whites back by actually offering them land to farm, after he took all their farms away from them.
He needs to be taken out for good. These celebrities should be paying for mercenaries along with the pads and tampons.