Friday, 16 September 2011


'Raising a generation of young feminist leaders’

16th September 2011,
YOUNG WOMEN the Missing Piece in the Forthcoming Elections
Among the 1, 064, 730 new registered young voters, more than 60% are young women between the ages of 18-35 yet, none of the political parties have nominated a single young woman and none of them are talking about addressing the needs of young women.Young women are the hardest hit by any adverse situation experienced by the country including the impact of HIV and AIDS (16% prevalence rate among women aged 15 -49), unemployment and poverty. This situation calls for political commitment towards addressing the unmet needs for young women.
Equal access of men and women to power, decision-making and leadership at all levels is a necessary precondition for the proper functioning of democracy. However, women, especially young women remain an exception to the rule as very few are selected to actively participate in leadership and decision making, and more needs to be done to overcome the major obstacles that inhibit women’s participation and representation in decision making.
Due to the unequal power relations between men and women there is no significant representation of women let alone young women in decision making processes at national level. In the previous National Assembly, women made up only 14 percent, which fell far below the original target goal of 30 percent set by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) states, and the current goal of 50 percent set by the SADC and the African Union. Yet, for the upcoming elections only a few women have been adopted as candidates by their parties. Women can certainly do more than wear party chitenges, sing songs and welcome party leaders. Women are capable of leading.
As young women, we strongly urge voters to support women candidates by voting for them in the 20 September Elections. This will help bridge the gap between men and women in leadership positions and thereby increase Zambia’s progress towards meeting the SADC and AU target. We further urge the voters, to ensure that they conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and desist from any form of violence, intimidation and attacks on women candidates and other political party supporters.
We strongly urge political party leaders, that should they win the 2011 elections, they should ensure that they take affirmative action to ensure that women, especially young women, are appointed to take up leadership in the cabinet, and various decision making positions in the various ministries.
As young women, we are in solidarity with women candidates, and therefore, urge them to ensure that they actively participate in leadership and decision making and work towards addressing the various issues affecting women.
phone: +26 0967 374624

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

In All Ways A Woman

I love this piece by Maya Angelou titled: 'In All Ways A Woman' on..its a gr8 piece...

In my young years I took pride in the fact that luck was called a lady. In fact, there were so few public acknowledgments of the female presence that I felt personally honored whenever nature and large ships were referred to as feminine. But as I matured, I began to resent being considered a sister to a changeling as fickle as luck, as aloof as an ocean, and as frivolous as nature. The phrase "A woman always has the right to change her mind" played so aptly into the negative image of the female that I made myself a victim to an unwavering decision. Even if I made an inane and stupid choice, I stuck by it rather than "be like a woman and change my mind."

Being a woman is hard work. Not without joy and even ecstasy, but still relentless, unending work. Becoming an old female may require only being born with certain genitalia, inheriting long-living genes and the fortune not to be run over by an out-of-control truck, but to become and remain a woman command the existence and employment of genius.

The woman who survives intact and happy must be at once tender and tough. She must have convinced herself, or be in the unending process of convincing herself, that she, her values, and her choices are important. In a time a nd world where males hold sway and control, the pressure upon women to yield their rights-of-way is tremendous. And it is under those very circumstances that the woman's toughness must be in evidence.

She must resist considering herself a lesser version of her male counterpart. She is not a sculptress, poetess, authoress, Jewess, Negress, or even (now rare) in university parlance a rectoress. If she is the thing, then for her own sense of self and for the education of the ill-informed she must insist with rectitude in being the thing and in being called the thing.
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a woman called by a devaluing name will only be weakened by the misnomer. She will need to prize her tenderness and be able to display it at appropriate times in order to prevent toughness from gaining total authority and to avoid becoming a mirror image of those men who value power above life, and control over love.

It is imperative that a woman keep her sense of humor intact and at the ready. She must see, even if only in secret, that she is the funniest, looniest woman in her world, which she should also see as being the most absurd world of all times. It has been said that laughter is therapeutic and amiability lengthens the life span. Women should be tough, tender, laugh as much as possible, and live long lives. The struggle for equality continues unabated, and the woman warrior who is armed with wit and courage will be among the first to celebrate victory.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


I ask myself:  what makes me a woman?  Is it my biological makeup that makes me different from men? For most that’s what makes women different from men. This biological make up is actually reason enough to treat women differently as regards decision making, employment specialisation and so on. As common as this may be, it is actually unjust. I believe women should be accorded the same opportunities to participate in decision making positions as their male counterparts. 
As a feminist, being a woman means I can handle many circumstances just as well as a man can. It does not mean that I am against men; it means that I refuse to be treated differently by virtue of being a woman. I believe the hand that rocks the cradle can also rule the world.  It’s not just an adage, but a notion that has every possibility of becoming a reality. I envision a world where men and women can be treated equally, where a woman is not undermined or belittled because she is regarded as the ‘weaker sex’.  I believe this world will achieve goals much quicker than the prevailing one where a woman is second guessed when it comes to corporate decision making but embraced when those decisions are made on the home front.
What makes me a woman is not the fact that I can nurture, but that I can use my nurturing spirit to make all encompassing decisions which do not segregate but can accomplish results which can benefit everyone. What makes me a woman is not the fact that I can bear children, but that I can bear children who will learn values and attitudes from me that will enable them contribute positive change to the world.
 Sibongile Ndaba

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


On the first day of the Young Women's Feminist Course organized by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and Africa University in Mutare Zimbabwe, I became aware of a few distinct things that would shape our journey as young women. One of them was our unique abilities shaped by our various backgrounds.
We came in as 36 distinct individuals from nine countries in Southern Africa, individuals with various concepts about feminism and what being a feminist entails. We are not a homogeneous group as we have experienced life differently thus we have different abilities, skills and gifts that set us apart, one from the other. 
We engaged in heated debates,  self reflection, and critical analysis of spheres of society that some of us were not comfortable to question. We did not always agree on certain issues yet, as we leave this course we each have a vision that involves seeing a balance in power relations between men and women, women as equal and effective contributors towards development in all spheres of society and each of us believes we need to be proactive and act collectively in order to effect the change we want to see. 
We have been together for nine days learning and sharing each according to the elements that make them unique. We recognized that we were different yet we we found a common standing in the fact that even though we each experience it in different settings and varying degrees, we all experience injustice stemming from the system of patriarchy. 
As we analyzed how patriarchy manifests and maintains its power over women most of us realized that in many instances, as women we aid the system to grow stronger when we, for whatever reason, choose to be silent when we should speak out or question injustice experienced personally or by other women, when we remain inactive when we should be moved to act against unfair and inhuman treatment of women, when we uphold and enforce social, religious and cultural values that perpetuate the oppression of women and when we discriminate against other women on the basis of their age, physical ability or status. 
As we strive towards claiming our equal share of power we should take time to pause and undertake an honest evaluation of ourselves not only should we hold others accountable but we Should also hold ourselves accountable in order to ensure that we are not following patriarchal norms within our structures. 
As we graduate from this course I feel a a common understanding among most of us, a commitment to take what we have learned, shape it according to our special talents and abilities and draw on each others strengths and experiences including the experience of our elder sisters to  contribute collectively towards effecting change at community, country, regional, and global level.
 By Wala Nalungwe!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Power of ICT's/ Social Media in Womens Movements!

I am currently in Johannesburg South Africa at the Feminist Tech Exchange organised by Womens Net and Just Associates (JASS) Southern Africa.  I am so excited about being here because the FTX is empowering me in my knowledge and usage of ICTs and their effective and strategic use.

Not only that, the FTX is also equipping me with added essential skills to deepen my usage of technology within the African Women's Movement.

My participation in such a forum like the FTX is timely in that I am member of a young Zambian feminist movement dubbed: Generation Alive. Generation Alive is a movement formed by young Zambian women from heterogeneous backgrounds and is committed to giving voice and visibility to young women in decision making and leadership.

I am now cognizant of the powerful role that ICTS and social media play in creating and influencing change, and as such for the past 2 days, I am usually online trying to explore new ways that I can effectively use the internet through social media and other forms of ICT's such as the traditional ones like radio, telephones, cell phones which are all essential tools that can be utilized towards the attainment of the movement's goals.

This particular Feminist Tech Exchange was organised by Women's Net and JASS. Womens Net is a feminist organisation that works to advance gender equality and justice in South Africa,  through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and JASS is dedicated to strengthening the voice, visibility and collective organising power of women.

Being at this Feminist Tech Exchange has given me an opprtunity to see ICT's from a new light. For instance Im now aware that ICTS/ social media are a powerful tool for attaining gender equality and stopping patrachy! doubt!

by: Chanda B Katongo

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Young Women in Zambia Launch a Feminist Movement

Like in many Southern African countries, women in Zambia are still underrepresented in government and nongovernmental organizations – and particularly in leadership positions.

Women make up just 14 percent of Zambia’s Parliament, which falls far short of the original target goal of 30 percent set by the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, states and the current goal of 50 percent set by the SADC and the African Union.

The underrepresentation of women in decision-making in Zambia is what united a dozen young Zambian women from various backgrounds and nongovernmental organizations – including myself – to form a feminist movement called Generation Alive. The movement encourages young Zambian women to attain leadership roles in politics and civil society.

Wala Nalungwe, a Generation Alive member, described the movement as an initiative that unites young women from various educational, social and economic backgrounds and draws on their strengths to bridge the gaps in leadership.

“We are committed towards creating a balance in power dynamics between men and women and between young women and older women,” Nalungwe says.

The movement aims to train and coach at least 10 young Zambian women in leadership by 2016 and get them to vie for office in the 2016 Parliamentary elections.

Nalungwe says that Generation Alive wants to achieve a significant membership base of young female leaders from all spheres of society that have the capacity to influence policy formulation, program design and implementation in Zambia.

Another Generation Alive member, Nana Zulu, described the movement as “a collective effort empowering young women to articulate issues affecting them.”

“Generation Alive is here to create an environment where emerging young female leaders in Zambia can interact and share experiences with older women leaders so as to bridge the generational gap in women’s leadership,” Zulu says.

Generation Alive was formed after several leadership and political facilitation trainings conducted in Zambia by the Southern Africa chapter of Just Associates, JASS, a global community of justice advocates. After the trainings, the group identified the need to increase young women’s participation in decision-making and formed Generation Alive. Although JASS Southern Africa guides and assists the movement, the group says that its biggest challenge is inadequate resources.

Generation Alive is currently researching the proportion of young Zambian women who are in leadership positions or have decision-making roles. The group members say they hope to channel their collective power to transform the lives of young Zambian women.