By Bose Adelaja
MRs. Graca Machel, widow of former South Africa President, Nelson Mandela has set a roadmap for Nigerian women in their quest to be relevant in the in economic, political and social development of the country.
Machel spoke in Lagos over the weekend on the topic ‘Breaking Barriers’ at a Women’s Power Lunch, a programme organized by Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF), a non-profit organization founded in honour of the memory and in furtherance of the ideals of the late General Murtala Muhammed, the former Nigerian Head of State.
She said that women are too strong to be ignored in any society and they must therefore rise up and take their rightful positions as they won’t get it on a platter of gold. “This precisely is the transformative ways in which African women have to act. They do not need to underestimate the powers they have but to always use the powers positively knowing it is our right.
We are not asking anything that we are not entitled to. But we need to be organized and we need to know how to do it”. She pointed out that women need to organize themselves if this objective must be achieved saying “Ten years from now, we need to begin to take the African woman to another stage.
We have to define the target of what we need to change. What we are and what we are doing is not good enough because it is leaving millions behind. And because of that, we have to restrategise knowing exactly what we want to change”. She promised to be at the fore front of the change agenda in line with the ideals of her Foundation, the Graca Machel Trust, which is dedicated to improving lives, inspiring hope and a more just and equitable world.
“I promise that I will be there with you to effect the changes. We really don’t have a place that we don’t have a door. The doors are with me to open. When I go to them and say that I want to see them, they allow me in and because I know that you are all behind me, you go with me and take the front seats why I sit behind. That is what I do globally”.
Machel is one of the world’s leading advocates for women, children and communities affected by conflict and injustice. She is a founding member of The Elders, a played a key role in establishing Girls Not Brides.