Mathabo Kunene has dedicated her live to empowering and connecting black communities. Wife of the late Professor Mazisi Kunene, a world renowned writer/author and activist who is known for writing in his home language of IsiZulu as well as his critical role in the liberation of South Africa. The importance of removing the colonial way of thinking and embracing African culture has been always formed an essential thread to their bond; to understand who we are, and constantly believe in ourselves as descendants of the great civilizations of Africa.
After Professor Kunene's passing, Mrs. Kunene has continued their joint mission with determination and vigor. Mrs. Kunene understands the essential role, especially women have, in being the keepers of Black culture and heritage.
Breaking down Mrs Kunene’s presentation we grasp what it truly means to decolonize the minds, to truly liberate oneself from western constructs. She says that the responsibility and the power is in our hands. Mrs Mathabo Kunene insists that we need to be fearless and unapologetic because our elders struggled so that we can hold on to our Identity. It’s appalling to watch the continued distorted portrayal of African people. It’s hard to believe that this far in the future, in the year 2021 we are still facing the same exploitation, racism and neglect our ancestors fought against for hundreds of years. The systems, institutions and lopsided value-chains built against black people globally still remain. A little above 15% of the entire human population is of full sub Saharan African descent, yet we are taught very little to nothing of our sub Saharan roots. The decay of African cultural values has gone so deep that it is beginning to consume us from the inside out. We have been disconnected from our own beliefs and identity, forced to adopt those of our colonizers. We support western brands, and find no value in our own...discrediting black owned brands. Our communities are dependent on government aid, when we could be living off the land. These are the habits we aim to destroy through decolonizing the mind and“Smashing that begging bowl”, to quote Mrs Kunene.
Throughout Mrs Kunene’s passionate presentation we heard about the women in the coffee fields breaking their backs in Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Rwanda and across Africa. Women are of course the backbone of the global coffee production, making up almost half of the agricultural workforce. Mrs. Kunene laid out out how we must take back our communities even if its one stitch at a time, as with the women she empowered to start making school uniforms in KwaZulu South Africa. She emphasized how women are in the best position to organize and collaborate to bring change, especially when they fully understand their own strength and value. I do encourage you watch this very stimulating presentation for yourself, just click here. I look forward to your comments.
That's how we wrap up the month of March. Stay tuned for April's web event and follow us on Instagram @royal_women_in_coffee, let's stay connected sis.
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Hammond Darling Linda. " Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education." BROOKINGS, March 1, 1998
Walker Vanessa and Archung. N. Kim. "The Segregated Schooling of Blacks in the Southern United States and South Africa" Comparative Education review vol.47.no1, February, 2003
Palmer Colin. "DEFINING AND STUDYING THE MODERN AFRICAN DIASPORA." Perspectives On History, September 1, 1998
Brones Anna. "The Future of Coffee Farming Is Female." Sprudge Newsletter, Marcch 26,2019