by Mkhululi Chimoio and RelZim.org staff

A passion for members of her sex, innovative ideas and the audacity to step out of her comfort zone are all elements that keep Joice Dube (59) working hard to transform her community.

Joice Dube

Having grown up in the communal area of Esigodini in Matabeleland South province, Dube has tried her hand at several trades. But promoting the empowerment of women, fighting against oppression and curbing human rights abuse remain her goal.

A former teacher and qualified sangoma, now born-again Christian Dube migrated to South Africa in 1990.

In Johannesburg  she founded Superkids Early Learning Centre in 1998.

Her passion for seeking justice for her fellow women led Dube to establish the Southern African Women’s Institute for Migration Affairs in 2003, to lobby and advocate for refugee rights.

To promote independence amongst women, in 2010 SAWIMA pioneered a Sewing Project which saw many women empowered by giving them skills to help them become self-reliant.

She once explained the reasonings behind the decision, “There is considerable talent amongst Zimbabweans in South Africa. During the same period we also donated more than 50 blankets to refugees residing at Central Methodist church – whom we have always cared for.”

At the height of political violence which hit Zimbabwe after the 2008 elections, the country plunged into famine. This propelled Dube to establish another organisation to cater for suffering women. She called it Southern African Women’s Institute for Development Affairs. Its sole purpose was to source food for hungry refugees and her community back home.

Dube has also been involved in community developments initiatives throughout the region. This has seen her touring countries like Swaziland, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia teaching women’s empowerment and encouraging respect for human rights.

In 2012, Joice had the opportunity to return to her home country and start an initiative for rural communities in Zimbabwe to help them become self-sustainable. And, by doing so, to prevent people leaving in search of survival in South Africa.

Achievements of Joice Dube

Winner of the Peace and Justice Award from Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (2008)

Tearfund’s Inspired Individuals Initiative nominee (2005)

100 Women Unseen Powerful Women Who Can Change The World nominee (2005).