I am a feminist writer, blogger and activist, living and working in Lagos. There is no other name than “African feminist” that can best describe me and make me comfortable to answer with pride. Being referred to as “that African feminist and writer” is a very satisfying experience.
I am an Ashoka Fellow and currently work as the Executive Director for Alliances for Africa which is an African- led human rights, peace and sustainable development organisation. I am passionate about training, and love to work with other Africans in a training context exploring the issues and building the skills needed to affirm human rights, justice and Africa’s future.
We face many challenges as African feminists. The most pressing is religious fundamentalisms in all its ramifications, which is sweeping across Africa. Related to this is cultural conservatism and isolation encouraged by religious fundamentalism. We have ongoing problems such as traditional practices that impinge on the ability of women to engage in making informed choices on issues that affect their lives as young women and the lack of political will to address the sweeping negative oppression affecting women.
As the feminist movement gathers force, we must continue to invest in creating feminist leadership with adequate foresight and mentoring opportunities for our young sisters. The transfer of leadership opportunities cannot happen in a vacuum, we have to acknowledge that young women in the movement need mentoring and we need to create this leadership transfer, while at the same time addressing the role that older feminists can and should play. We need to be braver about addressing contentious issues such as same sex relationships within the African context. And we need more financial and other resources!
As I live out my feminism in my personal and professional life, I always remember that my own mother was courageous enough to leave a violent relationship, and to save herself and her children from further victimisation. This memory gives me strength, and affirms my belief that it is possible to say no to violence and to change your life. I am raising my own children with that belief, and look forward to seeing them make confident choices about their own lives and futures. I am passionate about writing short stories, as they provide me with the opportunity to dream, imagine and describe the many places, people and things that I have experienced.