Over a thousand women from all over Africa came to Johannesburg to participate in the African Women in Dialogue conference organised by the Zanele Mbeki Development Trust. The theme of the forum is “Women’s Voice and Power as Agents of Change.”
The event started on November 4 at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg. It will last until November 8. During various activities, the women from 55 African countries share their ideas about how to empower women to help their countries and communities change for the better. The conference also seeks to encourage networking amongst the women across the continent.
“Represented in this room are mainly rural women, young women, disabled women and other marginalised groups. We all have the same standing when we are interacting on this platform. There is no minister, no NGO worker: we all have the same voice,” one of the speakers, Advocate Mojanku Gumbi, the founder of Mojanku Gumbi Advisory Services and former Special Advisor to South African President Thabo Mbeki, exlained. “We must come with a clear commitment to the realisation of the objective of an Africa free from hunger, wars, the waste and wanton theft of the resources meant for her children at the end of these gathering on Thursday.”
According to the event co-ordinator, Linda Vilakazi, the dialogue was launched last year in November by key South African women. They felt there was no platform for the African women to meet and engage on how to move the continent forward, so they invited a thousand women from 16 countries. The success of this venture led to the planning of the current conference.