The shifts in our movements and UAF-Africa to a deeper appreciation for care, healing, wellbeing and wellness is reflected across all our internal systems and extrenal programming work. Whether we are engaged in support and solidarity work, knowledge leadership or advocacy and agenda setting, these care and healing issues are central. They are not an add on or activity and event.
The infusion of these ideas into UAF-Africa is also expressed in and through the Feminist Republik, which is a Special Project dedicated to advancing these ideas as an integral part of our activism as African womn.
The rationale of the Feminist Republik is:
- African Women Human Rights Defenders (AWHRDs) and feminist activists in Africa have a right, while struggling for the rights of all, to be secure, to enjoy good health and to receive care and healing as part of an organising culture and within the contexts of state obligations.
- AWHRDs and feminist-activists have been and will most likely continue to be targeted and attacked for who they are and for what they do. While many programmes in multiple organisations recognise the risks and threats of physical and online security and “protection”, and whilst there is an awareness that psychosocial health is important in this process, the particularities of understanding and addressing the needs for wellness, wellbeing, care and healing is still developing.
- AWHRDs and feminist-activists have, in the past, been generally unable, unwilling or reluctant to prioritise their own health and wellbeing and needs for care and healing. There are various reasons for this. This means that exhaustion, burnout, breakdowns, trauma, psychosocial crises and the effects on them – dis-ease – have been common and even became expected and accepted as what happens when womn engage in activism. This cannot continue.
- For almost a decade, the language of self-care and later, collective care have been articulated in feminist and womn’s human rights circles, organising and spaces. Taking ourselves as feminist movements into a new culture of care and healing, of holistic wellness and wellbeing has been slower than we needed it to be.
- Taking our own health, wellness, wellbeing and healing seriously requires not just events, projects and activities. It requires a shift in culture. This includes a movement-wide commitment to these issues as part of agenda setting and supporting each other to embed and embody this commitment and consciousness as individuals and in our formations as part of a new organising culture we are building collectively.
The Feminist Republik is an incubation project geared towards learning and practice to inspire, mobilise, popularise and build this care and healing movement culture with feminists and AWHRDs more generally.