Asserting the Power of African Women

On this Africa Liberation Day, the Coalition of African Lesbians yet again asserts our determination to keep crossing lines drawn by the systems of patriarchy which seek to control, regulate, restrain and contain those of us born in female bodies and socialised as women.  We will not be constrained by the multiple systems of oppression. We will continue to resist the forces – from any geography or source – that seek to regulate us, our bodies and our lives. Our bodies are our own. Neither our fathers, brothers, husbands and male partners nor the state, religious and traditional institutions and leaders own us.

We remind you, and ourselves, all that owning another human being is slavery. Slavery has been abolished, at least formally. We expect to be freed from the remnants of slavery, mostly reserved for women in all contexts all over the world. Enough.  We refuse to be anyone’s property.

Whilst we stand up and assert our insistence on these matters, we recognise that for millions of women all over the world, such resistance is not possible or not in the ways that we are able to exercise. We stand in solidarity with all women and we salute and affirm women who have slowly chipped away at or created and delivered massive pushes forward against patriarchy and militarism, conflict, capitalism and crises of democracy and all forms of extremism. It is because of these women that many of us, though recognising that it is gender that has to go, claim political standpoint as women. We cannot afford to ignore the deep oppression with little chance of escape faced by us as women. We therefore assert women as a critical political category. We will not be moved.

The African continent continues to be plagued by the greed of men within the system of patriarchy which feeds their domination and violent interventions from the home and household, through the community and to institutions at all levels from the traditional and religious  through to all socio-cultural, political and economic systems. These men are from the global economic north and from African countries themselves. The imperialism and colonialism that sticks on our every effort to lead ourselves out of the brutal contexts must end. Whether global north greed and patriarchy or global south greed and patriarchy, women will confront, expose and intervene to work for and bring peace and development to our land and continent.

We will continue to resist and refuse and renounce and revolt and rebel against all of the interventions and actors – state and non-state – that push African people/women into an unnecessary poverty and wars equipped by United States, Russia, China, Germany, France, U.K, Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Israel, which then take the moral high ground to intervene to fix the violence and conflict in the world.

On Africa Liberation Day 2016, we call you to order.

African women won’t wait.

African women will keep exercising our right and responsibility to advance social justice for everyone on the continent and elsewhere!

-Dawn Cavanagh

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