Immigrant Women Leaders Rising up 

Tusimame Wanawake: Leadership Training Workshop

On the 13th of August 2022 Tusimame Wanawake (TW) in partnership with Africa Unite hosted a Leadership Training. The purpose of this training is to capacitate TW women so that they can be leaders for their movement.  The training was conducted by Lynette Maart (the facilitator) who has vast experience in building movements. There were 12 women from 7 African countries (DRC, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Ghana, and South Africa) who attended to be trained as leaders in their communities. 

The discussion started with introductions and a brief explanation of an immigration issue the women are passionate about. The issues that came up were high unemployment rate, lack of documentation, misinformation among immigrants, lack of information among immigrants, immigrant children’s identity crisis, and leadership development among immigrants. This showed that the TW women were aware of the struggles of immigrants living in South Africa and that they only needed to be guided so they can address the issues in this movement which showed the importance of having the training.

The facilitator went to talk about the fact that there are other women movements in the past that have been very successful, and it is important that we learn from their successes and mistakes. The example she gave was the Black Sash Movement. She presented a video https://www.blacksash.org.za/index.php/our-legacy/history-of-the-black-sash to the women on the origins which was in 1955 with only 6 white women who mobilised during Apartheid to challenge the laws that hindered people of colour from voting. The most important lessons noted in the video is how they used the daily struggles of people of colour to advocate for them, offered free legal advice, shared information and engaged the government on these struggles. 

After the video the women went on to discuss their takes on the video. The women drew a lot of similarities between the Black Sash movement, and TW, both are women led movements that are dealing with the challenges faced by people in their time that is Black Sash was Apartheid and TW with immigrant challenges. Because these groups are similar this means they could learn from the Black Sash’s visibility through their black sash branding and as discussed above takingthe small practical steps, to help the success of the movement. 

The training moved on to introduce a movement in the United States of America (USA) called the Suffrage through a video presentation   https://www.google.com/searchq=suffragette& oq=&aqs=chrome.0.69i59i450l8.489560812j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 and they also looked at the article called From Suffrage to Sisterhood: What is Feminism and what does it mean?

This was a continuation of the Suffrage video as it illustrates how the movements for women’s rights has progressed post the Suffrage movement. The Suffrage was led by women who were advocating for women’s right to vote in the 1900s in USA. This video showed their struggle to be heard in the patriarchal society, the importance of a clearcut objective to fight for and how they ultimately succeeded even though it took a very long time. This is what TW women could learn from other Women movement. 

The TW group went on to look at an article with the guidance of the facilitator as part of the training. The article is This highlighted how TW is part of a series of ongoing movements, how we are not fighting a new fight and need to constantly draw lessons from the previous movements. What this article also shows is how the movement for women’s rights adapts as it progresses. For example, in the 1900 it was about the women’s right to vote, and now it has expanded to equal income and intersection between gender, race and sexuality. This shows how the TW movement is in the right direction as it narrows down to immigrant women who are vulnerable in this time.

Then the facilitator went on to guide the group in going through a pamphlet titled Leadership: the creative balance. The take home from this informative session was that leaders should ensure that they have a clear vision. They should ensure that old ideas are completed before moving to new ones. They must encourage fellow members to participate, delegate and be accountable to mention a few. 

Lydia the Coordinator of movement building from Africa Unite with the help of the intern Ashley explained the commissions and encouraged women to choose which commission they would serve under. They did this with enthusiasm, a link was also shared so that women who were not there can also select a commission to serve under.  

In conclusion, the leadership training session served to inspire the TW women to be leaders by showing how other women in the past led movements successfully despite the challenges. Finally, key aspect of being a good leader were shared and will be helpful to women as they lead various commissions. 

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