Keith Goddard : the human rights activist and change agent
Keith Goddard and KUNZWANA Trust have always been committed to the promotion and dissemination of the human rights creed. He and the organisations he was working for have had no choice but to react in the strongest terms against the atrocities committed against the Ndebele people and the continuing gross violations of the rights of individuals in Zimbabwe. Furthermore KUNZWANA Trust has been supporting the ever-growing number of local performing artists who are committed to promote the fundamental principles of social justice and human rights.
Keith was also Director of the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), an organisation which represents a community subjected to intense discrimination, harassment and violence, all of which is sanctioned and encouraged by the organs of state. GALZ's activities and cultural projects are intended to dismantle the prejudice and demonstrate forcibly that homosexuals co-exist within African cultures and are deserving of the same rights as others in society. Keith oversaw the setting up of a counselling hotline and started HIV/AIDS campaigns. Representing GALZ, Keith also sat on the board of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHR). There is a distinct linkage between his commitment for the promotion of social justice and human rights in general and for minority rights in particular.
“One of the threats of globalisation is that the less powerful run the risk of being overwhelmed by the more powerful. But we need to be careful about censoring what we communicate and share because of some misguided belief that it will recolonise minds that are vulnerable and unprepared. If we decide on what is suitable for the Tonga to consume and to experience, we put ourselves on the same level as those who patronise Africa as the continent of the begging bowl. By maintaining the attitude that the Tonga are to be preserved and left to their own separate development smacks of apartheid and continues to propagate the exotic myths of racial and sexual others that were used by colonialism to subjugate the colonised and keep the colonisers safe from what was called racial contamination. Besides, nobody can stop globalisation: it is not possible to stem the tide of history even if some want to and think that they can. The idea of the internet expresses the human right of everyone to receive and impart information: our accompanying responsibility is to ensure that its expansion is properly shaped and that the powers and advantages globalisation brings are available to all and not just to a privileged elite. At the moment, access remains extremely uneven.” - Keith Goddard at Ars Electronica Festival / Symposium “Unplugged - Wireless Africa” 2002
“It is said that people who are forced to push wheel barrows eight hours a day to keep the wolf from the door have no time to think of political niceties like democracy and the right to equality, freedom of movement and expression. These are luxuries that are irrelevant to their immediate needs of basic survival. The Tonga men and women I know all work very hard but there is time to rest and talk. The Tonga women I have talked to do not see themselves as victims like so many of the women I come across in urban areas. Life is not equal but women speak out forcibly and vocally. Human beings are more than bodies with stomachs to feed. We are also thinkers with ideas.” - Keith Goddard, Tonga.Online project, statement of purpose www.mulonga.net