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Magodonga Mahlangu

Magodonga Mahlangu

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award

On 24 November 2009, US President Barack Obama awarded the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award to the leaders of a Zimbabwean women's rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza). The award was presented by US president Barack Obama with the words: "By her example, Magodonga has shown the women of WOZA and the people of Zimbabwe that they can undermine their oppressors' power with their own power – that they can sap a dictator's strength with their own. Her courage has inspired others to summon theirs." In her remarks accepting the award, Magodonga Mahlangu quoted Robert F. Kennedy, saying, "The future is not a gift: it is an achievement. Every generation helps make its own future."

Our struggle has been worth it, because the world is seeing and other fellow Zimbabweans see that they are not alone

Magodonga Mahlangu is a longtime woman human rights defender in Zimbabwe and a founder of Women of Zimbabwe Arise! (WOZA). She has been targeted by the authorities for years, spending many nights in jail, as a result of her human rights work. Woza has organised more than 100 demonstrations in favour of democracy and women's rights in Zimbabwe since it was formed in December 2002. 


Mogodonga Mahlangu