"Exhibiting You" - Story

LIVE! from South Africa: Blog Entry 1

November 1, 2008: Cape Town Bound for the AWID International Forum

By: Masum Momaya, Curator
Submitted: 10/31/2008

Starting next week, I will be blogging from Cape Town, South Africa as I attend two events on behalf of the International Museum of Women. First, I will be part of a retreat called the Feminist Technology Exchange (FTX) in which NGOs from around the world who uses technology to advance women’s rights will gather to share strategies about how to use the internet, radio, cell phones and web 2.0 technologies to raise awareness about women’s issues and build social change movements. The FTX will be the first of its kind so it’s very exciting!

The organizers of the retreat, the Association for Progressive Communications, have a fabulous initiative called Take Back the Tech, which aims to put technology in the hands of people, not the media conglomerates who dominate (and increasingly own) the airwaves and broadband. We at IMOW are honored to embrace the spirit of and be part of the movement for internet democracy.

Then, from November 14-18, I will attend the an International Forum put on by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), where 2000 activists, advocates and scholars from around the world will gather to share the most current thinking and strategies employed by women’s movements worldwide. I have attended two previous AWID International Forums, in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2002 and in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005, and I know of no better space to think and connect. I’ve posted some photographs from the Forum in Bangkok so you can see what it’s like.

In addition to photographs, I will also post some video and audio files as well as some links to others blogging from the 2008 Forum so you can be part of the proceedings.

This month (November 2008), in our Women, Power and Politics online exhibition, we are bringing you a focus on Women’s International Organizing, and I’m blogging so that you can see and feel what this actually is like. Please feel to post questions for me using the "submit a comment" feature below, and I’ll do my best to respond.

On a personal note, I am particularly excited to go to South Africa as it’s the birthplace of the first social movement that I, as a member of the Indian diaspora ever learned about – the movement for India’s independence. Twenty-six years ago, when I was just five years old, I watched the film Gandhi. In the film, the main character, the future Indian independence leader, was kicked off of the first-class compartment of the train by British officials in South Africa while traveling there as a young attorney because he was Indian.

That moment was a turning point for him, in which he was treated as less than human, and it seeded India’s movement for self-determination and self-rule. Watching this scene gave birth to my own commitment to social justice and my passion for doing my part to ensure that women and other oppressed groups are treated as human. This photograph of the train posted here reminded me of that scene and my connection to a place that I will visit for the first time next week! What a beautiful landscape, huh?

Thanks for reading my first post – and “see” you in Cape Town!

Until next time,

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