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Hope Masike, Karen Muriuki & Amanda Marufu

NEWS

Meet The IKONS: Amanda, Hope & Karen

Three women changing the way we view the world

BY YAZA Team

Mar 27, 2021, 07:56 AM

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Hope Masike, Karen Muriuki & Amanda Marufu
Throughout the month and in honour of International Women's Day we will be sharing 100 stories from 100 African women as part of IKON 100. Today, we speak to Hope Masike, Karen Muriuki & Amanda Marufu

These women are from different countries, backgrounds and professions but what binds YAZA, them, and you together is the fact that we all fundamentally believe that when women support women great things happen. 

They say the future is female, we say the future is now.

Amanda Marufu

My 2021 is, and has been about speaking out. From releasing my book, At What Age Does My Body Belong To Me?’ and being a part of an anthology, In Her Words: African Women's Perspectives on Gender Equality. Featuring 15 women from 7 different African countries.

It’s shown me that; Africa is diverse and that there are many different ways to not only speak out but to stand up for what you believe in. That we need to own up to this diversity but allowing women the agency in their own lives to not only define their struggles because struggles look different to all of us and to also be a part of defining and creating the solutions. We are past the time of one-size-fits-all ready-made solutions from organizations because in the end the person who truly knows us best is ourselves.
Amanda Marufu: Zimbabwe
Through our differences, It’s also shown me how much we are the same even in our diversity and how many women out there are doing absolutely amazing, groundbreaking things that deserve to be amplified. This is why I hope by the end of the year to be able to have built more platforms. TV Shows, Series, Blogs, Apps etc to not only share and connect to more amazing women but to showcase and continue to amplify each other so we are able to contribute more on a continental and global scale. 
"I aim to change; the number of women featured in and behind the scenes in media as it’s something that I’ve personally struggled with."
I would also love to change how we approach Mental Health. As someone who has a Personality Disorder and who struggles with anxiety, I would love for there not to be only more awareness but more done to actually assist and help people. Love changes everything and if we can only love each other regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. I truly believe the world would be a better place.

Amanda Marufu is a producer, digital marketer and author

Hope Masike

There is no better time to be alive, young, gifted and Black.

In 2021, I hope to continue to learn to do all things in love; to love myself a lot more; to love others more and to love life more.
Hope Masike: Zimbabwe
I struggle with managing to always respond positively to social injustices, patriarchy- induced ones especially. It hasn’t been easy for me to learn horrible truths about how other humans have been content with deliberately keeping the other disempowered while the other half just doesn’t see it all. 
"I struggle with managing to always respond positively to social injustices, patriarchy- induced ones especially."
How it happily gives a blind eye to unfairness, imbalances and abuse. The worst has been how many of the oppressed don’t care to see it anymore because it feels as though we’ve been losing more battles than we have ever won. I dream of equality, an equality that embraces and respects our ‘undistorted’ culture and natural biological roles.

Hope Masike is a musical artist

Karen Muriuki

It’s crazy for me to try to define “African woman” from my perspective, against the millions of African women that exist, despite the millions of stereotypes we face.
Karen Muriuki: Kenya
Am I book smart? Do I even know how to read? Do I sell goods in the market? Do I participate in genital mutilation rituals? How do I maintain culture and independence at the same time? Do I bleach my skin? If you turn off the lights will you find me in the dark? Would you want to? How has colonialism affected me in present day? How has independence? What does my family mean to society? What does my family mean to me? Do I wear nappy hair? Braids? Weave? Do I love my curves? Do I wish I were white? Am I proud? Am I loud? Am I desired by African men? Am I desired? Am I desirable? Am I docile? Am I sexual? Am I too sexual? What does it mean to be me? Which of these qualities are good? Which are bad? Who told you so?

Personally, before I can define what an ‘African woman’ is, you would have to be open to thinking of us as women who could potentially blow your mind with all that we are. At minimum, you would have to discard all the things you think we are.
"I’ve struggled with realizing my self-worth, but as I grow older, things are changing in me, and around me in that aspect. And I’m thankful for that."
In 2021, I want to come back to the home that is me. I want peace. I want to love and nurture myself. I want to show up for myself in every way possible- something I have struggled with all my life. I want to create boundaries. I want to spread love. I want to inspire. I want to write. I want to travel. I want to be intentional in my relationships.

Karen Muriuki is a staff writer at Africa New Media Group

Read: Meet the IKONS