Trailblazing democracy activist, Namatai Kwekweza, has been listed as one of the speakers at the 2023 edition of the Athens Democracy Forum scheduled for the 27th-29th of September in the Greek capital.
Kwekweza will be a key speaker at the Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize ceremony on the 28th. The invitation comes on the back of her winning the inaugural Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize.
The accolade, administered by the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Democracy and Culture Foundation (DCF), is awarded to a young leader between the ages of 18-30, with the aim to recognise exceptional leadership and inspire more young people to commit to the advancement of democracy.
“Im excited to be one of the speakers at the Athens Democracy Forum this year in association with the New York Times. The conversation on democracy and human rights is much more important now than ever given the threats on our fundamental freedoms globaly”, Kwekweza happily announced.
She will share the platform with distinguished speakers from diverse disciplines of life; presidents, EU bloc officials, artists, journalists , business leaders and more.
The Athens Democracy Forum (ADF) is an establishment inspired by the pro-peace and democracy works of former UN Secretary General and world citizen, Kofi Annan (late). Held annually in association with the New York Times, the ADF is an important fixture headlining the International Day of Democracy.
We Are The Leaders
At only 25, Kwekweza is a visible figure in Zimbabwe’s civic space where she fights for the the promotion of democracy and inclusion of young people in leadership positions. Through her non-profit organisation, WELEAD Trust, which she founded when she was 18, Kwekweza has spearheaded advocacy campaigns and intiatives across the country and has also lobbied the government and parliament on matters to do with the constitution and rights of young people and women.
During the run-up to Zimbabwe’s 2023 general elections, WELEAD was active in mobilizing and encouraging young people to register, vote and also participate in the actual process by running for political seats. In an environment dense with political intimidation, victimisation and apathy, their effort was much needed to influence mindsets and thaw fears across the vast youth demographic.
Being a democracy ativist is a hard-hat job in many parts of the developing world. I’ts difficult to stand up to Power without stepping on its toes. Kwekweza has had her share of brush-ups with the the Zimbabwean authorities in the course of her work, resulting in arrest and detention.
But she has remained resolute and ebullient in the face of all these challenges, and continues to be vocal on issues that matter to her as a young person.
“I’m excited to join the conversation and share the African story on democratic and human rights, as well as to encourage multilateral co-operation in solving world challenges and defend human rights!”She posted on her Facebook page.