JASS Southern Africa

“Many of us women might say, I’ve been abused and believe that it’s just my husband without realising that it’s a system,” says activist Primrose Kavhumbura. Along with 19 other feminist activists, Primrose participated in a feminist movement builder’s school convened by JASS Southern Africa and Katswe Sistahood in Zimbabwe. It was a dynamic week of sharing and learning how women are challenging what it means to be a “good woman” and breaking the silence on sex, sexuality and violence in their communities.
For too many women, questioning whether they are beautiful is part of a daily routine. For women of color, the concept of “beauty” is even complex. One merely has to open a glossy magazine or walk down the aisles of a supermarket in Harare and look at the faces you see on certain kinds of body lotion or shower cream—to realize that “beauty” and ideas of beauty are political.
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It is hard to conceive the magnitude of what Malawian women activist leaders with whom JASS works and the hundreds of women they represent in their communities have accomplished through their organising and the Our Bodies, Our Lives Campaign for Better ARVs. Let's take a look at the story beyond the numbers.
“I am officially legal,” gay activist Frank Mugisha tweeted shortly after Uganda’s Constitutional Court ground-breaking decision to overrule the country’s notorious anti-gay bill. Uganda’s LGBTI community and human rights activists the world over rightly applauded the ruling. However, activists are asking: is this enough?
In 2013, we lost a courageous leader in our community– Jamillah Katombo–an outspoken HIV+ Muslim grassroots activist. Jamillah dedicated her life to breaking the silence around HIV/AIDS in her community in Zambia, organizing scores of women to speak up about their status and demand access to quality treatment. We honor her by sharing her story.
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Fungai Machirori questions how women's rights and solidarity efforts can be authentic in a world that often seems more concerned with the next big 'hashtag' movement.
“If you want women’s votes in 2014 put 75 billion on the table for better ARVs,” was the challenge that Malawian activist leaders put on the table in the run-up to the general elections on May 20. While Malawi’s bid to ensure 50% representation of women in politics was not realized in this election cycle, HIV positive women activists stood up boldly to voice their demands to presidential and parliamentary candidates.
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Read Everjoice Win's razor-sharp snapshot of the Southern Africa's changing context—dynamics and trends—as well as opportunities and challenges for women's rights agendas.
Fungai Machirori, founder of Her Zimbabwe, sat down with fellow feminist journalist, Pat Made at the JASS Southern Africa Strategic Planning & Review to explore the ins and outs of communications for feminist movement building and the importance of getting people to talk differently so that they can think differently.
For three days in Johannesburg, JASS has been asking the big questions for feminist movement building and activism in Southern Africa: where, what, who, why and how.

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