I live in Uganda and work across the continent of Africa in various countries. I use my expertise as an adult educator to raise people’s political consciousness around gender and macro economic injustice that would ultimately see them organising to challenge it. I am also a trained facilitator and work as a consultant to facilitate meetings and conferences, training workshops and other large and small gatherings.
I call myself a feminist because I am staunch believer in justice for women and the validity of women’s perspectives. I am dedicated to giving visibility to this knowledge of women, particularly the knowledge of women leaders in rural areas on the practice of leadership. I believe in the rights of women to be all they can possibly be, their right to happiness, to control the fruits of their labour and to control their bodies.
In my work I have sadly found an extremely high prevalence of internalised oppression due to religion and socialisation. Supporting women and men in becoming conscious of their own rights and responsibilities is an important strategy to ensure that we enlist men as allies and activists in this struggle for social justice. This will allow men to unlearn or become conscious of the effects of their privilege and power on women. I find that when they do, there is some change but their comfort with their innate indulgence of self-occupation is a major hindrance to change.
I think that African feminists, like feminist in other parts of the world, face the biggest challenge of the hegemony of patriarchy. Helping women at the community level become aware of this hegemony is very important. A fresh struggle to overcome new manifestations of patriarchy is constantly beginning; and it seems a matter of perpetuity. Another challenge is to popularise feminism by building the mass frontline of grassroots women who are feminists. The third challenge is a dearth of literature on African feminism that keeps a public discourse moving in tandem with the hegemony of patriarchy. Most feminists are overworked and have little time to reflect or theorize on their experiences. Secondly, the oral tradition has not been easy to break. We can address some of these challenges by popularising the feminist movement, give grants for publishing on feminism and for theorizing on experience and hold writers workshops on feminism and publish the outputs.
I am deeply committed to work intensively at the grassroots, experimenting and learning how to help grassroots women do feminist activism, how to be clear about their agenda, the importance of having an agenda and going after it until results are evident. Sometimes it seems like extracting teeth with the bare hands. Other times, when the situation is poignantly critical, it works. It is however baffling why the daily oppression of women is not sufficiently upsetting and heart-rending to catapult women into action. Activism is time consuming and rural women are overburdened.
Rural women inspire me. They are the passion of my life and I will do everything and anything for their empowerment. Their knowledge and expertise are crying for a receptive ear, for powerful questions that will unearth and challenge their wisdom.