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The Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Women and Gender Studies hosted former Malawian president Joyce Banda for a public lecture on women and leadership in Africa on Saturday afternoon.

The centre partnered with the vice-chancellor's office and African women leaders' platform, Vokal.

Banda, Malawi's first woman president and the second woman to head a state in Africa, spoke on the importance of empowering women and including them in leadership in the journey to achieve a Pan African agenda.

She urged fellow African leaders and education stakeholders to eradicate potential threats to women and girls' access to education.

Their education, among other measures, was needed to achieve an economically liberated Africa, Banda said.

“There is a shared feeling among many African leaders that the only way Africa can achieve its rightful place on the global stage is to have an Africa that speaks in one voice, Africa that is inclusive and in control of its destiny,” Banda said.

She addressed students, representatives of universities, members of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, female pupils from Bay schools and a wider virtual audience in the live streamed lecture.

Banda cited inadequate access to education, a lack of infrastructure and corruption as some of the challenges that threatened the progress of the continent towards achieving its goals.

“Education is where we all start to achieve an inclusive and gender sensitive Pan Africanist agenda. Girl children born with leadership skills are stuck in poverty in rural areas and, because of that, Africa stands to lose,” she said.

The Centre for Women and Gender Studies, under the interim directorship of sociologist Dr Babalwa Magoqwana, was launched in October 2019 with the primary aim of providing an inclusive gender agenda’ that is informed by the broader transformation project of Nelson Mandela University in creating a non-sexist, Africa-centred and inclusive society.

Former Malawian president Joyce Banda
Image: Zamandulo Malonde

This article appeared in the herald of 29 February 2020 written  by Zamandulo Malonde 

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