It is with a sad heart that we announce the end of an era and bid farewell to our fierce feminist, mbokodo, visionary sister - Fatima Shabodien. Fatima joined the organisation in 2012 as a small country programme with a staff complement of 11. Through her strong leadership, persistence, and guidance ActionAid South Africa has grown to an organisation known for its visionary work in the mining sector and as a leader in feminist leadership and women’s rights activism with over 34 members strong.
As a maverick, she took up the challenge to infuse her activism into the hallways of log frames and NGO bureaucracy because she believes that the politics of the work we do in this sector, are as important as the accountability and trust placed in organisational processes. She brought the conversation of race, class, and gender to challenge and build spaces that in practice champion women.
Fatima will be remembered for her love of ActionAid, her faith in the spirit and need for political conscious activism, her indomitable spirit that challenges patriarchal norms and finally for her compassion for women that is evident just from speaking to her. Her ability to weave global, local and personal politics into all conversations is both a skill and an art that leave all of us challenged - ensuring that our work remains locally relevant and rooted in the global policy-making that adversely affect women living in the global south.
As someone convinced and aware of the injustices facing black women, she is also refreshingly hopeful that the war against inequality and social injustice should be taken on and gains can be made. This principle continues to make her a leader among leaders, and we trust she will continue to speak truth to power. While we are truly sad to see her go, we proudly celebrate her contributions to all of our personal and political lives.
On behalf of ActionAid South Africa, we wish you well Fatima S! We are certain that you will continue building feminist futures for black women everywhere you go!
“Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists