As feminists and women activists sometimes we think what we are fighting for women is out there somewhere in some village, but at times what we are fighting against is right next to us. We are fighting jealousy, bad mindedness, intimidation, lack of sisterhood all which gets in the way of doing the real work. We fail to realize that the feminism, the real sense of feminism is the relationships that we encounter everyday and what we bring to them. If we can't embrace those everyday female relationships in a positive manner, what makes us think that what we are trying to do out int he world is making any impact? The change begins with that woman you sat next to on the poda poda, tro-tro, the woman you work with, your little sisters etc. Of course in the most obvious situations, feminism and activism becomes more "needed" when you meet that young girl whose close friend committed suicide to avoid being married off by their parents, or the young girl who things it is okay to sexually harassed or even worse by a teacher than receive a bad grade, or the woman who is denied the right to her own property after her husband passes away because she's a woman, the examples go on. But even in the less visible instances were women are discriminated against, sometimes and most of the time it is women fighting against each other, feminism is needed I would argue even more, because the only way you can fight on another woman's behalf or help women become empowered is to understand what true empowerment is and practice what you preach.
I have always seen a common thread between feminism and sisterhood. Even when one looks historically, at women's movements most mass protests occurred and policy changes because women worked together and believed in the feminist ideals. Therefore it is my belief that women should do more to work together to tackle the various issues we are fighting for or bringing to life. Some of the toughest forms of discrimination I have experienced in my life have come from other women, surprising but true. As sisters we should be aware of what some of these values of feminism and sisterhood are and what we are advocating for. It is not about competition, or stepping on top of other women's shoulders to advance. Since that encounter I looked towards more women who would continue mentoring me, and extended that mentorship and sisterhood out to other young women and girls myself. lf I were to see her again I would say what motivates me as an African feminist are women like you, who cultivate sisterhood, and encourage women to speak up, and join forces to work towards the greater good for all women. I will forever cherish her and the moment and what it taught me along with the many other women who I know who exemplify what it means to be true feminists and sisters. So to the question does African Sisterhood exist I would say yes but we need more of it.
For this month we will showcase the voices and perspectives of different women on their take on feminism and sisterhood. We hope you enjoy our Feminism and Sisterhood Series!