TODAY we celebrate an extraordinary and remarkable woman who embodies the spirit of resilience, determination and leadership — all rolled up in one.
Meet Melody Chingarande whose journey began from humble beginnings. She faced countless challenges, including incarceration and being recalled from her elective position.
Chingarande defied all odds and emerged as a beacon of hope in the Kwekwe community.
Through her unwavering perseverance and dedication to public service, Chingarande has risen above adversity to become the deputy mayor of City of Kwekwe.
Chingarande’s story is not just ola tale of personal triumph but also a testament to the power of tenaciousness and the ability to turn hardships into opportunities.
In an interview, Chingarande said the political terrain is tough and needs someone who is brave and courageous.
“My advice to my fellow women is let’s stand our ground and take leadership positions. It’s not easy because we are called with derogatory terms so that we shift our focus, I believe women can make better leaders than men,” said Chingarande.
They say leaders are born, not made; most individuals are either naturally born with leadership qualities and it is impracticable for them to learn how to be a leader through experience or training.
In 2005, Chingarande began her political journey in Bindura, Mashonaland Central and later moved to Mutare Teachers’ College where she became the secretary-general of the Student Representative Council (SRC).
In 2018, Chingarande decided to contest as a ward councillor, but hardship emerged when she came face-to-face with harsh prison life at Kwekwe Prison after she was arrested for leading a flash protest against President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In 2022, Chingarande bounced back and, after assuming the office of deputy mayor for only three short days, she was recalled by Douglas Mwonzora during the MDC-Alliance leadership debacle.
She was suspended again in 2023 by the then Local Government minister July Moyo following some budget skirmishes at the local authority.
Chingarande hopes to push for a safe space for young girls and boys to desist from taking illicit drugs.
“With the help of our women’s quota system, I am happy we will work together towards pushing things that have to do with child abuse, early child marriages and to promote education for boys and girls so that they stop abusing drugs,” she said.
Currently, Chingarande is reading towards a master’s degree in sociology at the Women’s University in Africa (WUA).
She holds a diploma in secondary education attained from Mutare Teachers’ College and she has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in sociology from the Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University.
*This article was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Centre for Public Interest Journalism (The NewsHawks)