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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018: Film screening and ‘I am Woman’ photo exhibition
9 March 2018

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2018, the Women’s Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Department of Library Services, University of Pretoria collaborated to screen the film, Queen of Katwe, and also revealed the ‘I Am Woman’ photo exhibition. The Centre’s Assistant Director, Norman Taku, opened the event by discussing the historical context in which we celebrate International Women’s Day. He shared his thoughts on how women persevere and prevail in a world designed to challenge them at every opportunity, and called on participants to fight for women’s rights, not only on International Women’s Day, but on every day of the year.

Queen of Katwe is a story of ambition, courage, determination and skill. Phiona, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe, dared to strive for success, despite the despair piled around her. She learned to play chess, advancing to international competition, and ultimately became a beacon of hope to her entire community. Reflecting on the film, participants, who came from across the UP community, shared their reactions on how the characters in the film portrayed the different ways in which women exhibit fortitude and resilience. Quotes mentioned include ‘Sometimes the place you are used to, is not the place you belong’ and ‘In chess the small one can become the big one’. They also gave their opinions on how they can press for progress in line with the International Women’s Day theme for 2018.

The ‘I am Woman’ photo exhibition, prepared by  Adebayo Okeowo, Advocacy Coordinator of the Centre, accompanied the event, and was designed to promote women’s strength, audacity, resilience and courage through visuals. Adebayo discussed the importance of the role of men in uplifting and amplifying the voices of women, and reminded participants to either join the movement to press for progress for gender equality or step aside. The photo exhibit captured the spirit and character of women from across Africa, with each photo accompanied by a quote from the models expressing their thoughts on what makes women strong.                 

If you would like to share with us your thoughts on how you will join activist and advocates from around the world to press for progress, please tweet to us @chr_humanrights

A strong woman is not for public consumption nor objectification. Instead her worth is defined by the beauty of her soul, heart and moral character.
Ammaarah Mookadam

Being a strong woman means finding peace being who you are, accepting others for who they are and standing firmly against anyone who threatens that peace.
Vanessa Akibate

Being a strong womxn means that I embrace my vulnerability, my flaws, my fears and my regrets. I define myself on my own terms, despite living in a society that is constantly scrutinising, criticising, and robbing womxn of the right to be every reimagined expression of womxnness that we should be free to be. My womxnhood serves as a protest against heteronormativity, patriarchy and  violent misogyny.
Thiruna Naidoo
Being a woman, to me, means being magic. It means strength. It means resilience.
Thandeka Khoza
​Being a woman to me means daring to live life on my own terms, unapologetically, and without feeling the need to seek for permission to be me or to conform to set stereotypes of what I can or cannot be.
Henrietta Ekefre
Woman: I ask you, write the words “unforgivingly flawless” across your bathroom mirror
Write in the same shade of red that bleeds from your body so frighteningly 
Paint your eyelids blue as tribute to your sisters who do not need makeup for that
- Clara Van Niekerk
Being a strong woman means you don't give up! Even when you cannot go straight ahead, you take the next bend.
- Oluwaseyitan Solademi 
A powerful woman is a woman who rises beyond her weaknesses and raises others tenfold in the process. 
- Lesego Diutlwileng 
Being a woman means being bold enough to reach out and break all barriers put against me, conquer the unconquerable and still come out with a smile and a shine, because I can! 
- Thabang Ramakhula
Being a strong woman is knowing all the power that a woman has and inspiring others around her.
Hanna Abebe
- Author Centre for Human Rights
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Last edited by Yolanda BooyzenEdit
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018: Film screening and ‘I am Woman’ photo exhibition