#Okay100Women

DANAI GURIRA

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

I first noticed actress Danai Gurira, the “Zimerican” actress, as the katana swinging, zombie slaying, always keeping it 100 with Rick Grimes, goddess called Michonne in The Walking Dead. Then I fell in love with her all over again in Mother of George, a Nigerian movie about a couple in NYC who are desperately trying to get pregnant. She delivered a poignant, unforgettable performance that made me feel blessed to have my brother’s Netflix password.




In 2015, her play Eclipsed, starring Lupita Nyong'o, made a stunning debut in NYC. It tells the story of five Liberian women during the end of the second Liberian Civil War. Eclipsed is the first all black, all women cast and team to premiere on Broadway. She has also written the play, Familiar, about the oldest daughter of Zimbabwean parents who wants to wed a white man. I’m sure it is an interesting observation on interracial dating, immigrant parents and everything in between.



Gurira has said that she was inspired to become a playwright to strengthen her talents as an actress and to tell empowering stories about the eclectic women she identifies with. Based on her record so far, she is definitely broadening the possibilities of storytelling.



-AA

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Image supplied by Candice Chirwa.

In Conversation with Candice Chirwa: 'Menstruation is More than Just Bleeding for Seven Days.'

South African activist Candice Chirwa, the 'Minister of Menstruation', speaks to us about what a period-positive world looks like, the challenges menstruators face even in 2020 and her important advocacy work with QRATE.

It's 2020, and naturally, tremendous advancements have been made across various spheres of society. From the prospect of self-driving cars and drones delivering medicines to rural areas to comparatively progressive politics and historic "firsts" for many disenfranchised groups, we've certainly come a long way. However, in the midst of all that progress, there is still one issue which continues to lag behind considerably and consistently, particularly in less developed countries: menstruation.

Candice Chirwa is a young Black woman on a mission to fiercely change the disempowering narratives and taboos that still shroud the issue of menstruation. The 24-year-old South African activist, who is endearingly known as the "Minister of Menstruation" on social media, wants young girls and women to not only accept but embrace their bodies fully in a society that insists on speaking in hushed tones about a perfectly normal biological process. Both Chirwa's research and advocacy work with the UN and her award-winning NGO, QRATE, has focused on dispelling common myths about menstruating, removing the shame and stigma around it and giving menstruators the knowledge and tools they need to navigate their world through impactful workshops.

And when Chirwa isn't collaborating with Lil-Lets, one of the biggest sanitary product brands on the continent, or co-authoring a bad-ass book titled Perils of Patriarchy, she's dominating the TEDx stage and making sure that her audience, no matter how diverse or varied, leaves the room feeling comfortable and courageous enough to boldly shout the word "vagina".

We caught up with Chirwa to discuss what initially compelled her to become a "period-positive" activist, her continued advocacy work with QRATE and what kind of world she imagines for menstruators.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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The Nigerian Army Has Denied Opening of Deadly Fire on #EndSARS Protesters

Despite considerable footage depicting #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate having been shot at by security forces, the Nigerian military has denied that they were responsible.