White House: Recognizing Women of Zimbabwe

Monday, November 23rd, 2009 (Washington, DC) – This afternoon Africa Action will participate in a ceremony at the White House to honor the recent recipient of the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Human Rights Award, Magodonga Mahlangu and her organization, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).WOZA, an Africa Action coalition partner, is a grassroots movement of over 70,000 Zimbabweans working to empower, mobilize and educate women to take non-violent action and speak out against injustice. The group formed in December 2002 and has since conducted over 100 peaceful marches for democratic reform and women’s empowerment within Zimbabwe.Africa Action was proud to have nominated Ms. Mahlangu for the RFK Human Rights Award and take part in elevating her heroic work to an international platform.Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy will present Ms. Mahlangu the award for her well-deserved recognition in the struggle for human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe during a ceremony on November 23rd, 2009 at 4pm at the White House.Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said, “We congratulate Ms. Mahlangu, and her organization WOZA, for their courage and leadership that is so important towards empowering women and civil society in the region. They are a vital voice as Zimbabweans move to thrust their country into an era of democratic governance, economic security and social justice.”Commenting on the awards Ms. Mahlangu said, “Now I know I am not alone, the world is watching and one day Zimbabwe shall be a normal society – with the determination of the members of WOZA, anything is possible.”With the formation of the Inclusive Government in February 2009, Africa Action notes there is a new prospect for democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe. The space available for democratic actors is opening up and there are visible signs of economic recovery. Africa Action is committed to working with WOZA, and other Zimbabwean leading civil society organizations, in this transition period to further expand democratic space and foster economic security for communities. Africa Action is working to change U.S. foreign policy and the policies of international institutions in order to support African struggles for peace and development, in partnership with activists and civil society organizations throughout the United States and in Africa. To find Africa Action’s reports, analysis, media and upcoming events, click here or visit www.africaaction.org

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