A tale of ZIMTA’s SG meteoric rise

In December 2023, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) chose a new National Executive and long-time labour activist Goodwill Taderera, landed the Secretary General’s post.

A man who is passionate about the welfare of teachers, deserved to occupy this coveted post, considering his long history in teachers’ union structures.

Hence, in an interview recently, Taderera opened up about his upbringing in Bulawayo, career, vision, leadership, and desires to see the life of a teacher change for the better.

Taderera said he was born to a Ndebele mother and a Shona father, and this explains his character as a “well-grounded and balanced person”.

“I would describe myself as a simple person who grew up in a rural set up herding cattle but would often visit the city during school holidays,” he narrated, adding, “I am married with three children, two girls from my first marriage in which my spouse passed on in 2007, and one boy in my second union. I believe in one man one woman, and I am happily married to Maulidia Chaonza, who is also a teacher.”

Turning to his ZIMTA membership and teaching career, Taderera revealed that he joined the association as a temporary teacher in 1988, and went to college from 1991 to 1993.

During the early 1990s, Taderera said, the only teachers’ union was ZIMTA and on appointment or assumption of duty, he was given the forms to join the union by his headmaster then.

His reasons for joining ZIMTA are crystal clear, and he cherishes every moment he has spent in the union.

“Back then, members would celebrate and enjoy themselves at the end of every term or year during parties. Every teacher had to be part of ZIMTA somehow by natural assimilation. One couldn’t imagine not being a member,” said the ZIMTA Secretary General.

Taderera also spoke about his long journey in teacher unionism dating back to the days he was a school representative before moving into branch level as a Primary Schools Teachers’ representative.

He later rose through the ranks to become a District Secretary, Provincial Primary School Teachers’ representatives and a Provincial Secretary, Provincial Chairperson for two terms.

His meteoric rise climaxed when he became the ZIMTA Acting National Secretary General until election as a substantive National Secretary General at the December 2023 National Conference.

“I have been a SATO games ZIMTA chairperson and l have facilitated in many ‘workers’ rights, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) HIV and AIDS sponsored workshops and a ZIMTA PATC writer,” he said.

Asked about his achievements in his career, Taderera said some of the major highlights were that he managed to secure over 80 stands for teachers with Chegutu Municipality, over 300 stands with Karoi Town Council and other rural and urban council housing projects and schemes.

He also facilitated 300 stands with Craft Properties in Kadoma and sourced computers and laptops for teachers with various companies, motorcycles for teachers, Farm and City building materials, poultry, Econet cellphone schemes for teachers.

But his career path was not all rosy as he encountered some challenges, which he managed to conquer.

“l have had a highly unpredictable membership – a membership that tells you to do one thing and does another. I have had an employer who holds the bigger end of the stick, an employer, government which is not responsive to the teachers’ plight owing to the economic crisis bedeviling our country,” said Taderera.

He went on: “We are dealing with a government, which ignores the situation on the ground and just remains insensitive to the currency volatilities. To that end, with the highest of inflation of 80% USD to 20%, RTGS usage severely handicaps our product supply and service delivery.

“We are also having difficulties handling a government that expects you to be at work 24/7 even when one shows them through research that you can’t meet all your basics, rentals, medicals or health insurance, school fees, utilities, food, and transport.”

But in all these challenges, Taderera believes that social dialogue is the way to go to solve some of the critical challenges with the employer.

During his tenure, Taderera said he would contribute towards fulfilling the ZIMTA vision through a collective approach.

His role, he added, was guided by the ZIMTA membership, constitution, ZIMTA Strategic Plan and Philosophy.

“I will put all my efforts into not speaking my mind but sticking to the vision, mission, and values of ZIMTA. l am aware that my role is to speak on a representative capacity because I lead nearly 40 thousand members,” Taderera noted.

He also has an undying passion to see teachers’ welfare changing for the better, saying teachers must be paid based on scientific calculations.

His focus will continue to be on advocacy and social dialogue as guided by the ZIMTA philosophy and structural input from the member, branch, district, Province, National Executive, and the National Conference.

“I know ZIMTA now exists on most media platforms both electronic/digital and print. There has to be a strong advocacy for Labour Law reforms to create an enabling negotiations platform that improves the welfare of teachers,” opines Taderera.

Some say some people are born leaders, and this could aptly describe Taderera who is a Deputy Head but also holds other leadership positions such as the Church Warden in the Anglican Church after having been a secretary, treasurer, and men’s fellowship chairperson.

He has been actively involved as a Provincial Treasurer of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI), and he sits on the ZIMTA Provident Fund board.

Taderera is also the Vice President of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, formerly, APEX, a forum that negotiates for all public sector workers.


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