Source: Open Society Initative for Southern Africa
My dream is a big dream - to build a new society where all people - women and men, the young and the old - are aware of their role in promoting democracy and good governance through political participation - and where this participation does not simply translate into affiliation to a political party but into demanding their rights, adhering to their responsibilities, accessing opportunities and having social respect. My struggle is a tough struggle - to persuade women to join this revolution and to transform Mozambican youth into a real power in the country.

As a member of the Youth Parliament of Mozambique, I have faced a lot of challenges, mostly because the political system is not yet prepared to engage different approaches and perspectives, such as true freedom of expression, gender equity and non-partisan activism. In my society, women are expected to be in private spaces because, despite the high levels of cosmetic female political participation, most people in our society still believe that political engagement is reserved for men.

And this belief is not restricted to Mozambique. It is the consensus across the region. That is why we - all of us young Southern African women leaders - have such a steep mountain to climb in this great struggle for gender equity. Not just because men want to retain their power and control and so many still see women's activism as deviant behaviour that is dangerous to their community values but also because so many women still believe that they don't have the same rights as men.

In recent years, I have participated in several national and international conferences that allowed me to share experiences, build wider networks and get a new perspective on youth and women's affairs - including Africamp in Kenya and the Lusophone Human Rights Camp in Angola that were both organized by OSISA as well as the Young African Leaders Forum with President Obama in America and the Young African Women Forum with Michelle Obama in South Africa, which were both organised by the US government. These moments were extremely important since they proved to me that there are many other young leaders - and particularly young women leaders - around the world who are deeply engaged in the struggle for the same principles and values as mine - building a democratic and vibrant generation.

And that is why I signed up for OSISA's Southern African Young Women's Festival in Swaziland - in the hope that it will have a synergetic effect, spreading our voices across Southern Africa in order to help foster a New Revolution that will see Women Triumph!

Sharing experiences we will re-charge our batteries so that we can return to the struggle with new energy to vibrantly mobilise, motivate and engage a huge number of young women and men in our countries and work with them to make change happen! 

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