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At AfWID, African women mull AU Agenda 2063


Zanele Mbeki

Founder and Chairperson of Zanela Mbeki Development Trust (ZMDT), Zanele Mbeki, has said that the African Women in Dialogue (AfWID) platform would serve as a tool to materialise the African Union Agenda 2063.

Speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of AfWID 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mbeki stressed that the forum would be a critical contributing partner in galvanising African women to become agents of change. “We can achieve this by being a very strong continental women’s movement that gives voice to all. We need to be a strong and capable society women’s movement that can contribute substantially for Africa to reach its aspirations. It is in our hands to give effect to the African dream,” she the octogenarian.

Mrs. Mbeki pointed out that this year’s theme, ‘Women’s Power and Voice as agents for change’, aimed to spur the women to seize their power to change their own conditions.

“Let us not be passive victims who forever need to be liberated by others,” she added.Also, ZMDT Managing Director and AfWID Coordinator, Linda Vilakazi, said that the real peace on the continent could not be attained without the active and meaningful participation of women at all levels. She noted that the five-day programme would include reflection on international declarations that impact on the continent’s prosperity and well-being, such as the impending anniversaries of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) and Beijing +25.

The maiden edition of AfWID last year had only 16 African countries represented. But this second edition has 1,000 women from all the 54 African countries in attendance.The executive director of UN women, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, lamented the many challenges on the continent despite its abundant wealth.“Some countries still face deadly conflicts, which were often started by men too old to continue in the fight and the women are always the victims.”

“Women must ask questions about the pedigree of leadership that would bring peace and reaffirm the women’s voice in as agents of peace,” she added.Ngcuka urged women to leverage the foundation already laid by UN.“We cannot be by the side, but must raise a collective voice on the implementation of the continent’s policies,” she added.

While stressing that women were descendants of great warriors, she urged the women to go into war against poverty, underdevelopment, patriarchy and violence, and question double standards.On her part, Editar Ochieng of Feminist for Peace Rights and Justice Centre, Kenya, said the only way to change the biases against women was for women to get involved and be on the policy-making table.

She said, “Women must agitate, organise, educate and liberate themselves.”For Burnie Sexwale, the struggle for women started with the inheritance of patriarchy, where women struggle for voice.“We must contribute to make feminism an act of love,” she added.


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