Thabitha Khumalo, a human rights defender

In honour of Black History Month (currently celebrated in the UK), I would like to introduce: Thabitha Khumalo- who gave an exceptional speech at a TED Talk event at the United Nations in Geneva (Switzerland) last Thursday February 11th. She proved to us, through her tough journey, what a woman of steal she is, who continually fought for democracy in her country: Zimbabwe, particularly against what she felt were human injustices and intolerances towards the people.

She has been a democracy advocate whom, although having been mistreated in her profession, as a member of the National Assembly for Bulawayo East Consistuency, the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe, has never stopped defending the rights of citizens- and fighting for the causes she believed in, even if it meant disagreeing with the leaders who controlled people’s choices.

Being well known in the political scene in her country, she was former labour leader, trade unionist, organizer and founding member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), an active political movement in Zimbabwe. By trying to respond to people’s problems, she was even arrested for impersonating a member of parliament- and severely beaten many times. All she cared for was to reach people directly rather than just staying quiet all day “in an air conditioned office” as quoted from her speech:

“Because I believe in democracy, I believe in people, they need to be heard”

“As members of parliament our number one goal should be to make sure we deliver the rights to the people”

“After all, the government is the people”

Supporters cheer as Zimbabwe's opposition Movement For Democratic Change

Supporters cheer as Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement For Democratic Change

Party Colours and Slogans

What price will it take to reach democracy?

As a an active member of parliament, her goal has always been to respond and react to the people’s pain’s, and express their emotions at the political level.

As a children, and woman’s rights defender, she is no stranger to controversy in her country, as she has sparked attention through many boycotts, and demonstrations.

She was appointed member of the Parliamentary Forum of the Southern African Development Community, where she chaired the Standing Committee on HIV and AIDS, and has taught and trained people about HIV aids, as well as the measures to take in order for people to get proper medication.

In 2011, she was appointed to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Advisory Group on HIV and AIDS and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and served as its Vice-Chair until 2015. She was also active in the Parliament Select Committee on the new Constitution, responsible for crafting a new Constitution under the Zimbabwe Government of National Unity, and served in the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, known as the supreme decision making body of the Parliament.

Thabitha giving her speech at the United Nations in Geneva (February 2016)


The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)