The 10th issue of BUWA! is focusing on Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs). Across the globe, continent and much more recently in southern Africa, there are increased reports of political violence, arbitrary detentions, systematic attacks on human rights and pro-democracy activists. We are alive to the fact that while all HRDS have increasingly faced tougher operating conditions in the past decade, WHRDs have faced even more multiple layers of the brunt in such a context – given the manner in which patriarchy often colludes with other oppressive systems that characterise the field in which HRDs work.
Buwa! 10, therefore, comes at an opportune time to look back on decades of promoting and defending women’s human rights in Africa. It unpacks the experiences of WHRDs on the continent, highlighting their struggles in a context where civic space is increasingly and systematically closing. The issue unpacks how WHRDs, in particular, have navigated this 70-year-old terrain and the 2 decades of dedicated ‘recognition’ of their commitment to stand in the gap for others. The issue shines the spotlight on WHRDs to understand their struggles, victories and lessons to further shape the terrain in which WHRDs operate.
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