Maame Afon Yelbert-Obeng

Individual African feminists

I was born and raised in Ghana and have been living in the US for the past 12 years. Over the past decade, I have had the joy and privilege of working to support initiatives that bring significant and meaningful changes to the lives of women and girls across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). For five years […]

I was born and raised in Ghana and have been living in the US for the past 12 years. Over the past decade, I have had the joy and privilege of working to support initiatives that bring significant and meaningful changes to the lives of women and girls across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). For five years I worked as Program Officer for SSA at the Global Fund for Women, making grants to support women’s groups. From early 2011 to June 2012, I worked with Women’s Earth Alliance as the Sub-Saharan Africa Program Director, partnering with Africa-based organizations to address climate change issues and promote environmental and economic security.

I am passionate about building women’s leadership, with a specific focus on facilitating transformative mentorship for young African women. Just as important in my life is music – I am an accomplished singer and released my debut album RISE globally in May 2012 in the U.S., kicking off an international tour. RISE is an expression of the multifaceted woman that I am, an embodiment of music and a message which transcends multiple genres, ranging from gospel and inspirational to music for social justice. RISE pays tribute to the richness of African music.

I call myself a feminist because I believe in the power of women and our collective ability to effect change. Growing up with a single mother and several aunties and female cousins, I saw how the women around me managed every aspect of life – career, love, children, and all other societal obligations – with strength, tenacity, versatility, a sense of humour and a forward-looking vision. Juggling motherhood, work and all the different aspects that come with being a woman, I am experiencing first-hand this beautiful story of being a whole woman. As whole women we are free to bring all of who we are – our fears, tears, triumphs, gifts, faith, talent etc., to all that we do, recognizing that what we do is just as important as how we do it.

The fragmentation that exists within the women’s movement has the potential to erode the gains that we have made. As we forge ahead, it is important to replenish where our gains and accomplishments have been compromised. It is also crucial to build, practice and invest in sisterhood at all levels to unlock and realise the bright and promising future of African Feminism. In addition, we have to build alliances with men and welcome them as ambassadors for women and girls in Africa.  

I am proactively addressing these issues by embodying sisterhood in all its forms and expression. I bring other parts of me such as my gifting and love for music, my crazy sense of humour and infectious energy to women’s gatherings, infusing them with fun, laughter, promise and hope. I believe that it is important for the  feminist movement in Africa to capture the richness of our culture and enjoy the vast plethora of Africa’s musical rhythms, sounds and stories.

I am inspired by the shoulders on which we stand today to reclaim and restore our spaces, and lifted by the stories of many women and girls who lead the way with courage, dignity, grace, wisdom and beauty.


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