African Feminism Discussion paper July 2022
Introduction | Global: Brief history of feminism | Continental: African Feminisms | African feminism spectrum | Charter of African Feminist Principles for African Feminists | Regional: Southern Africa | Local: South Africa | Feminist organisations in South Africa | Role of young women | Young women led feminist groups in Africa | Challenging harmful cutlural practices | The role of men | Why we still need feminism | The future of African Feminism | Questions for discussion
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Contemporary African feminist researchers1 indicate that their feminist identity is not qualified with ‘Ifs’, ‘Buts’ or ‘Howevers’, The first African Feminist Forum in 2006 in Accra, Ghana brought together over 100 feminist activists from all over the region and the diaspora. The space was designed as an autonomous space for African feminists from all walks of life at different levels of engagement within the feminist movement to convene. The key outcome of the forum was the adoption of the Charter of Feminist Principles. In the preamble the principle of naming and identity is underscored:
“We define and name ourselves publicly as Feminist because we celebrate our feminist identities and politics. We recognise that work of fighting for women’s rights is deeply political and the process of naming is political too. Choosing to name ourselves Feminist places us in a clear ideological position. By naming ourselves Feminists we politicise the struggle for women’s rights, we question the legitimacy of the structures that keep women subjugated and develop tools for transformatory analysis and action. We have multiple and varies identities as African Feminists. We are African women when we live here in Africa and even when we live elsewhere, our focus is on the lives of African women on the continent. Our feminist identity is not qualified with ‘Ifs’, ‘Buts’ of ‘Howevers’. We are feminists. Full stop”
Today, African feminists scholars, activists, artists and politicians such as Leymah Gbowee, Joyce Banda, Simphiwe Dana and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as well as feminist organisations such as the African Feminist Forum and the African Gender Institute are at the forefront of using activism, knowledge and creativity to change situations that affect women negatively.
1 Ayesha Imam, Amina Mama et al