We are in the final stages of pulling together our next We Will Lead Africa volume, filled with stories of African WOMEN everyday leaders who are making an impact across African countries. Last year, in a moment of feeling creatively stuck on what the vision for this volume should be, I was challenged by my colleagues, friends and sisters Judith & Yabome, to write a letter to my future child about why this volume would be important...Today, International Women's Day 2019, I share the letter with you. For the next few weeks, we are still accepting final stories for our volume (which I am co-editing with Chenge Maruziva and Moyra Keane) - see the end of this letter for more details.
My dear child,
I write and live and breathe and work to make alchemy with the pain that we - women - have all carried, are all carrying. As I write this, I write with that knowing ache deep in my bones and my texture... and also with an optimism and hopefulness for what is emerging from the cracks of a system that seems finally to be gasping it’s last breaths.
You will know suffering, and pain, and sadness and anger - because it is hard to be human - but it will not be because you are a woman, nor because you are African. I do not want to protect or shelter you from the full and fraught experience of being alive, but I want you to grow in a place that makes room for you and for all that it means to be an African woman.
The wounds that we - humanity - carry, in all their varying shapes, colours and densities have guided us a long time. Undermining, undervaluing and undoing the contributions that women make has been the norm, and has harmed us all for too long…our struggles have been different, and have been defined by the variety of expressions we embody, have depended on what intersections we lived in and with, and on the specific context and challenges through which we moved.
And despite this, we were leaders, scientists, mothers, activists, soldiers, artists, doctors, home-makers, academics, carers, farmers, politicians.
I hope my stories show you that when our contribution - our full contribution - is valued then the world comes to life. Potential bubbles over and possibilities open up. I hope they show you the story of everyday women, across African countries, leading for the prosperity of their communities and contributing extraordinarily to the future Africa.
In wisdom, power and hope,
An everyday African woman, leading and loving everyday.
Share your story with us: We are looking for stories of everyday magic of African women from across the continent. Our vision is for the volume to be as representative as possible, so getting a beautiful mix of stories (geographies, themes, sectors, perspectives, identities, struggles and insights) is important ... help us reach beyond our network to the amazing stories that the world needs to hear. We want the volume to hold up your incredible lives and impact. We want it to be bursting with hope and inspiration. And we want it to honour the reality and fullness of life. If you want to share a story by the 22nd March, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share the criteria and guide. Follow We Will Lead Africa on facebook, twitter and instagram.