A Letter from our Founder

Through the Eyes of African Women began as a way for me to make sense of my own experiences by learning more about the experiences of other women like me. However, my mission has evolved into something far greater. It has evolved to include a brilliant team of passionate young African feminists and network of women that I am so excited to see expand over time.  We are not just creating a space where African women can share their stories. This is about creating a space where young African women feel powerful because they are equipped to claim the limitless possibilities that should be theirs.

At Through the Eyes of African Women, our mantra is: WE ARE FIRE WALKING. WE ARE THE REVOLUTION ON ITS WAY. At first this was something that I would say to myself from time to time when I needed a reminder of the power that I hold within in me and the purpose it can serve. But it has become the call of our community because I believe that all women hold that same power within themselves.

Through the Eyes of African Women is built on the belief that with knowledge, confidence, support and by working in collaboration with one and other, African women and girls can radically transform our realities. As women's movements  grow around the world and women's voices continue to be empowered, our resolve to unleash the power of young African women strengthens.

There are many things that I have learned so far as a fellow in the Social Movements lab at Duke's John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, and a student of International Comparative Studies. The most important I have learned (so far) is that of all the activities that activists and other change makers engage in, cultivating the right mindset and social and political consciousness are the most important. That is why TEAW is about sharing the wealth of knowledge that generations of African women from all backgrounds have created, and are currently creating, through their lived experiences and work in different fields.

I chose to dedicate this platform to African women in particular because our stories have historically been underrepresented, distorted or left out all together. African women are contributing, and have always contributed, to shaping our societies, both globally and locally. This comes in many different forms, and I believe that every single one is important. Whether we are creators; academics; activists; filmmakers; artists or anything else, our experiences need to be paid attention to. When we fail to fully recognise African women as the important knowledge-producers and change-makers we are, we fail humanity.

Moreover, more work needs to be done to address the injustices that many women on the continent  face. Through the Eyes of African Women is not about the economic benefits of liberating women. We are about humanity, and common sense. Women are people. That means we deserve to exercise our autonomy and choice. We are ALL deserving of respect and dignity. We deserve equal access to opportunities and protection against any and all forms of violence.

To the young women who may be reading this, it is time to demand that the status quo changes. This space is for you, and we are so happy to have you as part of our family. While we fight for you, you must fight for yourselves. Remember that what you bring to the table is important. Remember that there should never be any conditions on anyone being treated as a full human being. I strongly believe that by using the knowledge we gain from our experiences and from building our understanding of the experiences of the most marginalised in our communities, we can form immensely impactful strategies for change. By using our power as a collective to push our voices to the forefront and exercise our right to shape our communities, our nations and our realities. By allowing our powerful network, made up of individuals with shared values and shared missions to empower each of us to live courageously, according to the values we want to enact in our societies. Our power as youth goes well beyond hashtags and clicktivism. When we work together not only can we build our collective understanding of each other, but also each of our individual capacities as leaders. We are warriors in a battle for social and political transformation that will lead to better, more inclusive societies for all people.

I am certain that with the help of women from all backgrounds we can equip young women in Africa with the mental fortitude, confidence and knowledge we need to realise our most complete selves. I am looking forward to going on this journey with you all, and on behalf of the TEAW team, I would like to say thank you for stepping up to the challenge.

Thank You,

Anwulika Ngozi Okonjo (ANO)