The women’s rally was characterised by chanting of different women rights issues and slogans, singing of songs, mainly in English, as well as playing of music and dancing. It culminated into a march. Many solidarity messages were however expressed in English, Spanish and French.
Some of the music was played by a big stereo installation to help disseminate the information to as many people as possible. Music is a good information and communication technology (ICT) tool, as it brings people together no matter the language. People from different countries of Africa danced to the music provided by the Women’s rally.
Isatou Touray, a feminist from Gambia, said African feminism was a reality and that it was not an influence from the West.
Charter of Feminist Principles
The African Feminist Forum (AFF) contributed to the feminist movement by launching a Charter of Feminist Principles for African Feminists at the 3rd International Feminist Dialogue, which was held at the 7th World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi, Kenya, running from January 20 to 26, 2007.
The AFF took place last year in Ghana in the form of an autonomous space in which African feminists from all walks of life, at different levels of engagement within the feminist movement could reflect. Mobilising women fighting for empowerment at local level, as well as academics, the AFF triggered discussions on a collective basis and gave those attending, the chance to chart ways to strengthen and grow the feminist movement on the continent.
Breakthrough in African feminism
Mercy Siame, an activist from Zambia, saw the launch as a breakthrough in African feminism and encouraged other feminists to rally behind it and support it. “It may be difficult for the AFF to be accepted. We should spend more time and explain the ideologies to the people, especially our leaders,” said Mercy.
The director of the Coalition of African Lesbians, Fikile Vilakazi, a first time participant of the International Feminist Dialogue was amazed to be able to see how the space was being used to pull as many different and active backgrounds together. She said she had learnt a lot on the situation of women in conflict areas and on gender based violence, “a different experience from my native South Africa,” she added.
The International Feminist Dialogue was held prior to the WSF on January 17 to 19, 2007, under the theme "Transforming Democracy: Feminist Visions and Strategies".
World Social Forum in Nairobi, 2007
Published originally on: APC WNSP