Amandla is a word used among the Nguni languages of South Africa that means power. Amandla became a rallying cry against apartheid in South Africa and continues to be a rallying call for social justice.
The Amandla! African Women in Law Speaker Series is a global diversity awareness program that aims to amplify the achievements and stories of African women in law. The Series is a collection of short stories on women’s achievements, challenges, resistance, resilience, and solidarity. Through this project, we hope to inspire, encourage, and provide hope for future generations of young women across the globe.
Women across Africa have made remarkable strides in the legal profession, yet these achievements are often hidden in global discourses on the legal profession. As a scholar-activist, I constantly encounter discourses and spaces that attempt to erase or marginalize the voice and agency of the African woman. Whether it is in the telling of our history, in decision-making processes, or in mainstream discussions, this erasure occurs in multiple spaces across the profession. From Algeria to Zimbabwe, women continue to play important roles in the fight for social justice.
However, women's sacrifices, bravery, and contributions to nation-building are frequently relegated to the annals of history, rendering their achievements invisible. The silencing of women’s experiences finds expression in the “African” proverb “until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” The Amandla Series aims to disrupt the “hunter’s story” by creating a platform for the “lioness” to be her own historian and tell her own story.
The roadmap to achieving the United Nations and African Union gender equality targets must begin with acknowledging the strength, resilience, and contributions of women. To loosely interpret the Akan Adinkra symbol, Sankofa— we should not forget our past, for it guides our future. Through legal narratives grounded in African storytelling, the series makes visible the professional trajectory of African women in law.
Through legal narratives and storytelling, African women in law speak truth to power!
J. Jarpa Dawuni, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director