Live course
Restorying Afro-descendant Women and Social Change
Price
$
300
Weeks
8
weeks
Date
Apr 9
-
May 29, 2024
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Course summary

What is the true role of African and black women within our societies? Are they merely passive figures, molded by the expectations and imaginations of others, or are they dynamic visionaries, shaping grand futures for themselves and their communities? This exploration seeks a radical reinterpretation of the positions, power, and agency wielded by women of African descent. It challenges prevailing narratives, aiming to uncover and celebrate the multifaceted contributions and potential of these women, not just as participants in their own stories, but as key architects of societal progress.

Over the course of 8 weeks, we will unravel and reweave the multifaceted narratives of African descendant women, delving into the complex interplay of sociocultural forces, historical trajectories, psychological imprints, and mythic narratives that have shaped their expressions and experiences across the globe.

We will explore and uplift the revolutionary contributions of African and Afro-diasporic women, and contend with the challenges and complexities of our expressions. Led by a collective of scholars, cultural workers, and wisdom carriers, we will explore how a radical retelling of Afro-femininity can illuminate alternative conceptions of power, relationality, identity, and collective transformation.

Why this course?

We are in a critical time where global societies must urgently re-evaluate their foundational narratives. This pivotal moment is fueled by a global reckoning with the legacies of colonialism and systemic injustices, alienation from essential ancestral wisdom, and the critical need for diverse perspectives in shaping our collective future. Amidst this backdrop, the persistent underrepresentation and misrepresentation of African and Afro-diasporic women is not just a missed opportunity for richness in our cultural tapestry; it is a critical gap in our understanding of ourselves and the world. This course is a call to those who seek to engage in a profound, multi-dimensional discourse, reimagining the role and representation of African and Afro-diasporic women in shaping our societies and futures.

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What to expect

  • Explore the influence of historical events and cultural myths around black, African and Afro-diasporic women on their role and experiences in society.
  • Appreciate and embrace the diversity of expressions among women of African descent, understanding how this enriches personal and community identities.
  • Deepen your understanding the historical construction of power in relation to African-descendant women and explore Afro-feminist philosophies and practices that challenge and redefine power and liberation.
  • Learn about the significance of sisterhoods and the role of global solidarity networks in fostering resilient and interconnected communities.
  • Engage in self-reflection to understand personal journeys within the broader Afro-feminine narrative and discover storytelling as a tool for reshaping identity and bridging cultural gaps.
  • Co-create visions for the future of African-descendant communities, and understand the role of African and global black feminisms in societal transformation.

The course will be hosted by the founder of Ijeruka, Anwulika Okonjo, and taught by 13 teachers from around the African continent and diaspora. A unique experience featuring reflection exercises, live performances and interactive workshops, it will be broken up into 11 sessions spanning 8 weeks, held every Wednesday from April 9th to May 29th 2024.

  • 3 Modules
  • 11 live sessions (sessions are recorded so you can catch up if you miss a session or rewatch in your own time)
  • Community discussion area
  • Curated reflections and resources
  • Video and audio, and supporting transcriptions

Course modules

Select module
Lesson
1
:
Opening Ceremony: Awakening the Future
April 9, 2024
We set the stage for our journey with a captivating virutal performance by the Kukily AfroFeminist Arts Collective. As Xtræncestors from a future where black people live in abundance and pleasure, the collective invites us to explore our collective memory to envision a liberating future. This interactive session not only introduces the core spirit and guiding questions of the course but also provides a unique opportunity for participants to connect with one another, sharing dreams and intentions for the journey ahead.
Instructor
Kukily Afrofeminist Art Collective
Artists
Lesson
3
:
Pan-African Mythologies and the Matriarchal Spirit
April 17, 2024
Guided by Buki Fadipe, we delve into the heart of Afro-spiritual traditions, mythologies and archetypes, uncovering their profound influence on African-descendant and diasporic women's navigation of the world. Buki will uncover the rich tapestry of pan-African spiritual cosmologies, deeply rooted in matriarchal societies—both real and mythical—that once presided over social order and justice. Spotlighting the diverse breadth of feminine mythologies from the Mami Wata archetypes, the Siblys prophetesses of the classical world and the Àjé wielding cosmic mothers of the Yoruba tradition and beyond. This class will confront the colonial erasure and suppression that have obscured these powerful narratives. Examining the rise of patriarchal power and its lasting scars on the collective feminine psyche, including gender biases and the reshaping of socio-political dynamics.
Instructor
Lesson
4
:
Humanity Beyond Binaries
April 24, 2024
In this class, Hakima Abbas collaborates with Afro-transfeminists Puma Camille and Maria Clara Araújo dos Passos to explore the intersections of Afro-trans femininity and the expansive scope of human identity beyond the gender binary. Together, they will delve into the nuanced experiences and contributions of Afro-trans individuals within feminist movements and broader society, shedding light on the significance of recognizing and honouring humanity in all its diversity.
Instructor
Hakima Abbas
Political Scientist & Activist
Lesson
5
:
Crafting Futures: African-Descendant Women as Architects of Change
May 1, 2024
In this class, we will reclaim memory and narrative, affirming the agency and impact of African-descendant women to societal transformation. Amina Doherty collaborates with Gesiye Souza-Okpofabri and Timiebi Souza-Okpofabri to explore compelling narratives and examples that illuminate the ingenuity, creativity, connections and transformative power African-descendant women hold in rewriting their stories and reshaping their communities.
Instructor
Amina Doherty
Lesson
6
:
African Traditions of Sex and Sexualities
May 8, 2024
In class, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah will introduce historical and cultural practices that have shaped African understandings of sexuality, highlighting the ways in which knowledge has traditionally been passed down through generations. Drawing from age-old rituals and practices, she will explore how these ancestral insights can inspire expansive models of feminine liberation and freedom today. This session offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with a more liberated and inclusive approach to discussing and embracing sexualities within African and Afro-diasporic communities.
Instructor
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
Writer
Lesson
7
:
Writing Ourselves: The Power of Storytelling
May 15, 2024
Chika Unigwe, an acclaimed novelist and professor of creative writing, will discuss the power of storytelling in representing the multifaceted experiences of African-descendant women. Chika will illuminate how stories can confront crises, challenge societal perceptions, and ultimately, contribute to the reshaping of identities. Discover and harness the strength of your own stories, learning how storytelling can not only represent lived experiences and foster a deeper sense of self, but also express nuances and truths about the world around you.
Instructor
Chika Unigwe
Writer
Lesson
8
:
Inscribed Identities: Exploring Body Markings and Expression in African Women's Lives
May 22, 2024
In this visually stunning exploration, Jessica Horn and Laurence Sessou will traverse the traditional and contemporary realms of tattooing and scarification, revealing the deep connections between body markings, heritage, and the ways African women assert agency over their bodies and stories. In a discussion about their project, ‘the temple of her skin' Jessica and Laurence will explore the cultural significance, personal narratives, and artistic beauty of tattooing and scarification, offering insights into an often under-explored aspect of African women's expression and identity.
Instructor
Jessica Horn
Women's Rights Advocate
Lesson
9
:
Unravelling Fear and African Feminist Imagination
May 22, 2024
Pumla Dineo Gqola, renowned Chair for African Feminist Imagination at Nelson Mandela University, will delve into the intricate layers of feminist thought, literature, and liberation. Drawing upon her extensive body of work, including the pivotal texts "A Renegade Called Simphiwe," "Reflecting Rogue: Inside the Mind of a Feminist," and "Female Fear Factory," Pumla will guide participants through a profound exploration of the ways in which fear has been manufactured and utilised as a tool to suppress and control women's bodies and freedoms across history and cultures.
Instructor
Dr. Pumla Dineo Gqola
Writer & Academic
Lesson
11
:
Re-creating Ourselves Workshop
May 29, 2024
Join Doriana Diaz in a transformative exploration of self through the art of collage. This workshop transcends traditional craft, inviting you into the process of "Re-creating Ourselves" through visual praxis and thematic storytelling. Learners will be invited to reflect on the lessons they’ve learned throughout the course, as well as their own experiences, learning about how engaging with archives and forming ritualistic practices can provoke reflection on self-identity, evolution, and help shape our understanding of ourselves and our journey through life.
Instructor
Doriana Diaz
Artist, archivist, and memory worker

Meet our instructors

Jessica Horn
Women's Rights Advocate
Jessica Horn is a feminist activist, strategist and writer with roots in Uganda. With a background in medical anthropology her activist organising and writing has been rooted in the movement for embodied liberation. She has worked in women’s rights for two decades, supporting the struggle for women to live healthy, autonomous lives in their own bodies. With a passion for documenting African women’s lives and resistance, Jessica was co-founder and commissioning editor of Our Africa on openDemocracy.
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
Writer
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, celebrated for her groundbreaking work "The Sex Lives of African Women" and co-founder of "Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women," is a pivotal voice in African women's sexual liberation and pleasure. In 2022, she was cited by the BBC in its list of 100 inspirational and influential women from around the world. In 2023, New Africa magazine listed her as one of 100 inspirational Africans.
Chika Unigwe
Writer
Chika Unigwe is an award-winning writer and Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College. Born in Enugu, Nigeria, she is the author of four novels, including On Black Sisters Street and Night Dancer. Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Guernica, Aeon and many others.
Laurence Sessou
Artist Muse and Bodywork Therapist
Laurence Sessou is a bodywork therapist, aromatherapist and an artist muse, with roots from the Republic of Benin, and has been practising for over 14 years. She is founder of Azoouiwa, a platform that champions the work of women activists, healers and creatives
Dr. Pumla Dineo Gqola
Writer & Academic
Pumla Dineo Gqola is a South African academic, writer, and gender activist, best known for her 2015 book Rape: A South African Nightmare, which won the 2016 Alan Paton Award. She is a professor of literature at Nelson Mandela University, where she holds the South African Research Chair in African Feminist Imaginations.
Kukily Afrofeminist Art Collective
Artists
Kukily is an Afro-feminist artistic collective that creates interdisciplinary works around topics such afro-descendent identity, the place of afro-descendent women in society, and the necessity to express ourselves through art
Hakima Abbas
Political Scientist & Activist
Hakima Abbas, is a lifelong liberation activist who has been at the forefront of African and global activism for over two decades. She is a co-founder of the Black Feminist Fund and former Executive Director of the Association for Women's Rights in Development and Fahamu, a Pan-African support organisation. She was also a co-editor of the "Queer African Reader" and "Pan-Africanism and Feminism" issues of Feminist Africa.
Siphokazi Tau
Feminist Scholar
Siphokazi Tau is a healer and African feminist academic. Her areas of research include, gender and pop culture in South Africa as well as African women and leadership in South Africa's higher education landscape. She is a coordinator on the Imbali yakwa Tyefu is a project that interacts with the heritage of the rural land mass between the Great Fish River and Keiskamma River, eNgqushwa (Peddie), Eastern Cape, and an assistant on the Encyclopaedia of African Feminisms project.
April-Autumn Jenkins
Clinical Social Worker
April-Autumn is a seasoned Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and public speaker, CEO of Sparks Innovations/establisHER Counseling and Life Solutions, known for her expertise in facilitating crucial dialogues and training across various sectors on violence prevention and relationship counseling.
Doriana Diaz
Artist, archivist, and memory worker
Doriana Diaz, a Philadelphia-based multidimensional artist, archivist, and memory worker, is celebrated for her impactful collage works and workshops, exploring themes of loss, memory, and identity through visual storytelling. She believes art has DNA, Her work is an exploration of cultural agency, archival documentation, and rhythms of resistance and expansion.
Amina Doherty
Amina Doherty is a Nigerian/Antiguan feminist. She is a co-founder of the Black Feminist Fund, the first global institution of its kind focused explicitly on supporting Black feminist movements globally, and the founding Executive Director of FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, an organization that aims to strengthen the capacity of young feminist organizations around the world. Her strengths as a storyteller, community builder and leader help her envision new futures for women across the globe, and her deep experience in management, philanthropic strategy and thought leadership help her guide organizations to bring these visions to fruition.
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Frequently asked questions

What is Ijeruka, and how does it differ from other educational platforms?
Ijeruka is a Pan-African digital learning community that makes it possible for anyone to explore world-changing ideas through transformative virtual experiences with Africa and its diaspora’s most brilliant minds. Unlike other platforms, Ijeruka focuses on creating a deeply engaging, multi-dimensional discourse centred on African-descendant perspectives and wisdom. For more information, visit ijeruka.com/about.
Who is this course for?
This course is designed for anyone with a keen interest in deepening their understanding of gender, race, African and diaspora cultures, and social change. t’s particularly crucial for people of African descent across all backgrounds and identities, fostering a comprehensive exploration of African and diasporic women’s experiences, contributions to society, and histories.
Why should I consider becoming a member of Ijeruka instead of just enrolling in individual courses?
Becoming a member of Ijeruka offers unparalleled value, especially when compared to enrolling in individual courses. For the price of a single course, such as "Restorying Afro-femininity" ($500), with Vanguard membership, you get everything we have to offer, including: Free access to all Ijeruka courses, both past and upcoming. Ongoing access to Ijeruka community space, where you can connect and collaborate with fellow members. Exclusive invitations to Ijeruka's monthly member events. Special access to exclusive talks and workshops with various speakers throughout the year.
Can I participate in this course without being a member?
Yes, the course is open to both members and non-members. However, Ijeruka members enjoy complimentary access to this course as part of their membership benefits, along with our entire course library and other exclusive perks. Non-members can register for the course individually. Becoming a member provides better value.
How is the course structured?
Over eight weeks, there will be live classes weekly on Wednesdays, between 7 - 9pm GMT (2pm - 4pm EST). The course is divided into 3 modules focusing on reclaiming memory and narrative; exploring gender and global solidarities; and re-creating ourselves. Each module includes sessions led by scholars, cultural workers, and wisdom carriers.
What happens if I can't make a live class?
If you can't make the live sessions, recordings of each class will be available and easily accessible via your Ijeruka account so you can return to them at any time.
What makes this course different from other gender studies courses?
This course stands out by providing a multi-dimensional discourse that prioritises the voices and experiences of African and Afro-diasporic women, exploring a broad spectrum of themes from historical narratives to the future visions of Afro-femininity. It’s a journey that invites curiosity, vulnerability, and solidarity, aiming not just to educate but to inspire personal and societal transformation. It aims to move beyond essentialist views and disempowering narratives, fostering a space for plurality, complexity, and agency.
Are there any prerequisites for joining the course?
No. The course is crafted to be accessible to a broad audience.
What can I expect to gain from this course?
Participants will gain a renewed understanding of the nuanced identities of women within African-descendant cultural contexts and how these insights contribute to reclaiming power, agency, and position. You’ll also dive deep into the core tenets of African and global black feminisms, confronting and recalibrating the contradictory ideologies these movements tackle.
What is the course's approach to exploring femininity and masculinity?
The course challenges conventional understandings of femininity and masculinity, fostering a space to embrace diversity and authenticity. It investigates how societal constructs have influenced the perception of Afro-femininity and explores expansive models of gender expression and liberation.
Will there be any opportunities for networking or community building?
Yes, fostering a sense of community and solidarity among participants is a central aspect of the course. Through our community space, participants will have the opportunity to connect with each other and the instructors, share experiences, and build lasting relationships.
How long will I have access to the course recordings and materials?
You will have access to the materials for as long you have an account with us on Ijeruka.com.
Do you offer refunds?
As a general rule of thumb we don't offer refunds. Please get in touch directly using admin@ijeruka.com if you have a specific query.
What happens if i can't make it to the live classes?
Recordings of sessions will be available for all registered participants. As long you have an account with Ijeruka, you can login and watch the recordings at any point.
Do I have to become a member to attend the course?
You can join Ijeruka as a Vanguard member where you can access all of Ijeruka's media including access to past and future courses. You can also purchase a one-time registration to any of our courses and events. All pricing options will be shown when checking out.
Do you offer refunds?
As a general rule of thumb we don't offer refunds. Please get in touch directly using admin@ijeruka.com if you have a specific complaint.

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