Magodonga Mahlangu

Female, Person

71

Who is Magodonga Mahlangu?

Magodonga Mahlangu is a women's rights campaigner from Zimbabwe who in 2009 was awarded the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Mahlangu is a leader of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, founded by Jenni Williams. When presenting the award to them both, Obama commented: "By her example, Magodonga has shown the women of WOZA and the people of Zimbabwe that they can undermine their oppressors' power with their own power -- that they can sap a dictator's strength with their own. Her courage has inspired others to summon theirs." In her remarks accepting the award, Mahlangu quoted Robert F. Kennedy, saying, "The future is not a gift: it is an achievement. Every generation helps make its own future."

As of 2008, Mahlangu had been arrested more than 25 times by the Mugabe government. Human Rights Watch denounced the repeated arrests of Mahlangu and Williams, stating after one arrest that the Zimbabwean government should release the women and "allow civil society the right to demonstrate peacefully".

Mahlangu was raised in the South Matebeleland area and educated at a private school where she received a diploma in coaching and sports administration. Eventually she had her own athletics club. She began organising protests for WOZA in 2003. Mahlangu's family now live outside Zimbabwe. She is unmarried and has no children.

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Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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