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31 May 2011

South African Activist Details Work on Empowering Rural Women

Founder of the Rural Women’s Movement Sizani Ngubane met with a group of DSG faculty and researchers Tuesday, learning about DSG and outlining the work of the RWM to empower rural women in South Africa. 
In “Securing the Legal Rights for Women to Own and Control Property,” Ms. Ngubane explained how the apartheid regime had systematically withdrawn ownership of land from indigenous Africans, and how this shortage of land (which she stressed was the most precious resource of rural peoples) has been the driving force behind the disenfranchisement of women from their property rights. During the meeting, representatives of DSG’s Gender and Public Policy Program explained the work done by the Program, and outlined the situation of women in the UAE.
Sizani Ngubane founded the Rural Women's Movement (RWM) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in 1999. Under her leadership, it has grown to a membership of nearly 50,000, along with 2,000 orphaned children. She has inspired thousands of indigenous women to become part of the movement, with a vision to assist in the advancement of women in rural communities.
Sizani worked for almost 10 years as a gender specialist for the AFRA in KwaZulu Natal. Prior to that, she worked for the South African Women's National Coalition as a provincial coordinator. Her skills and abilities were recognized when she was appointed the first organizer in the Northern Natal Region by the African National Congress (ANC), which had recently been made legal. She has been an activist for women's rights for over 40 years, and is particularly passionate about women's independent rights to land, property and inheritance.
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