Neema Namadamu, Congolese grassroots women leaders


congo women

The Democratic Republic of Congo was recently dubbed ‘a never-ending nightmare’ by the New York Times, but over 200 Congolese grassroots women leaders—- self-identified as the Maman Shujaa, or ‘Hero Women’—- have emerged from the shadows to organize a movement denouncing violence and demanding peace.They have utilized our platform to request a voice in the decisions that affect their lives, and the world is taking notice.

As the 20th African Union Summit kicks off this week, with Hero Women Neema Namadamu and Jeanette Ruhebuza taking their seats at the summit table, we invite you to experience their journey, grasp their vision, and meet the new faces of Congo.

From the grassroots women leaders of Congo to the women leaders of the White House

teal people

Maman Shujaa are calling on you and women leaders at the White House—- to take immediate action in solidarity with the women of the Congo. TAKE ACTION

Neema Namadamu
A Voice for a United Congo

congo womanI was born in a very remote village of South Kivu Province in Eastern Congo. I remember those early years of community, when each family was part of every family around them. We lived and worked together and in support of one another, as if we were all close relatives. Due to the richness of the land and our relationship to one another, we wanted for nothing. Even as the virus of racial separation injected by our colonizers began to infect our remote setting, we still lived above that ideology.

But after the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide fled to my province in 1994, bringing an utter hatred of my ethnicity and a demand for our annihilation with them, a very different world emerged. I was immediately whisked off to university in another country for safety. And when I was able to return a few years later, it seemed that every tribe now saw itself as separate from another. Division had arisen and the family tie of our nation was broken.

I have lived in this conflict zone and seen horrible atrocities. My own daughter was beaten by police forces for no reason. But I have a vision for my country that compels me. It is a big shift, but I have learned that making the impossible possible simply requires a different set of rules.

I have joined a chorus of Maman Shujaa — Hero Women in Swahili—and in harmony we’re raising our voices with all our might. As the women of Liberia stood together and made their wishes known before their government and the world, so are the women of Congo making our wishes known. Abraham Lincoln fought for the rights of those who had been given no rights. We too are tired of being enslaved by the brutal and unbridled passions of unprincipled men and nations.

We need the world to unite with us for Peace’s sake, for all of Congo’s sake, and for the sake of the entire world with which we are One.



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