Reflecting with Leading Feminists: inclusion, voice, ownership and African Agency
This panel discussion centers the argument of voice, inclusivity and the importance of ownership for Africa’s future by drawing on the leadership journey of three leading feminists who have made momentous contributions to issues of gender equality across their different contexts, highlighting the imperative of grassroots movements, the power of the role of collective with the individual and African agency in driving lasting change. These contributions have ripple effects on the overall transformation of the continent. This panel is in celebration of International Women’s Day #InspireInclusion.
- Dr Beverly Ditise: LGBTQ rights activist and filmmaker, Leading feminist at the African Leadership Centre at King's.
- Coumba Toure: Educator and author, Leading feminist at the African Leadership Centre at King's.
- Zeedah Meierhofer-Mangeli: Execuitve Director of the Meeting Place and Resource Centre for Women, Leading feminist at the African Leadership Centre at King's.
- Chair - Dr Adeoti Dipeolu: Coordinator of the Leading Practitioners Program and Leading Feminist Voices in Africa Project.
This event is part of the African Leadership Centre's Africa Week 2024 celebrations taking place 4-8 March 2024.
About the speakers
Dr Beverly Ditise
Dr Bev Palesa Ditsie (Hon) is radical gender non-conforming lesbian activist, an award winning filmmaker, musician and TV director who was instrumental in bringing LGBTIQ+ rights into focus in the late 80’s and 90’s in South Africa and the world. They are a founding member of the first multiracial LGBTI organisation in South Africa, GLOW. In a major visibility campaign, Bev became the first black lesbian to come out in the media challenging the discrimination against queer people. They spoke and led the first Pride March in 1990. Their first film, Simon & I, won Best documentary at the Oxfam/Vues ‘d Afrique in Montreal, Canada, in 2004.
They are a first of many things, but is best known for being the first African lesbian to address the UN at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), the subject of their latest documentary, Lesbians Free Everyone, filmed entirely during the global lockdown of 2020. They have directed some of the biggest Reality TV Shows in South Africa including: Big Brother Africa; Survivor South Africa; All You Need Is Love; The Voice SA and Project Runway SA. Independently, they has also written, directed, produced and consulted in over 20 socio-political and human rights documentaries, screened nationally and Internationally, such as The Release Mandela Campaign, A Family Affair, The Commission, Women Now, etc. The honorary doctorate was bestowed by Claremont Graduate University in California in 2019 in recognition of their work as a human rights defender who uses media to advance and represent the marginalized.
Born and raised between Mali and Senegal, Coumba Toure is a writer and storyteller. She publishes children's stories and organises art events targeting children’s minds through Kuumbati. She also designs popular education programs focusing on impacting women and children. Coumba is the chair of TrustAfrica and Aci Baobab and the co-coordinator of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, and Dignity. She has extensive experience facilitating meetings internationally, engaging young people, designing, implementing, and evaluating training programs to promote human rights, especially women. She has worked with organisations such as the Institute for Popular Education in Mali, the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement in Selma, Alabama, and the Youth for Environmental Sanity in Santa Cruz, California. She is a member of the African Feminist Forum and the Per Ankh collective. Coumba has served on the board of the Urgent Action Fund for Women in Africa.
Zeedah is trained in the fields of sociology and pedagogy (BA), with an MA in Conflict resolution and management. She is an educator and a specialist on social justice, women’s sexual and human rights and race relations. She is the founder of the Resource Center for women and Girls Trust Machakos, Kenya. With many years of leading work on youth, Zeedah has a passion for mentoring adolescent girls and supporting legacies created by African women which she records through various oral herstory projects.
Zeedah is a sought-after facilitator and trainer for Leadership, Personal development and Feminist theory and practice. Her hobby is photography. Her photographs, all recording the lives and profiles of African women, have featured in exhibitions in Switzerland, Uganda, London (UK) and at the United Nations in New York. She has won various awards for her work, including an award for innovation (UK), and for her pioneer work for Migrant people in Switzerland and she has also been recognised with an Award from the City of Zurich for her work.
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