Official Statement: Founder of Africa Matters, Farai Mubaiwa, receives the Queen’s Young Leader Awar
On 29th June, Mubaiwa was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Young Leader (QYL) Award at The Buckingham Palace, along with two other South Africans, Chantelle De Abreu and Aditi Lachman. Farai was chosen out of, over 2000 applications across the Commonwealth, and only 60 applicants were chosen as the recipients of the award.
Mubaiwa was awarded the QYL award in recognition of Africa Matters and her involvement in the #EndRapeCulture movement at Stellenbosch University. Despite the QYL award being a Commonwealth award and thus linked to colonialism, Africa Matters was praised by the QYL Advisory Board as an important African initiative that created necessary platforms for engagement about African Identity, decoloniality and leadership.
The QYL award recognizes exceptional young people between the ages of 18 and 29 across the Commonwealth who are driving tangible change and transforming their communities. Award winners participated in an online Leadership Course from the University of Cambridge, and also received training and mentoring from field experts. Included in the award winner package, was a two-week residential programme in the United Kingdom which consisted of further training at the University of Cambridge, networking with influential figures, and receiving the award from Queen Elizabeth 2nd.
When asked about her experience at the QYL, Farai stated "The Queens Young Leader programme has taught me so much. From the critical thinking Leadership based sessions in Cambridge, to the various visits in London which sparked robust dialogue among the Leaders and the people we engaged with, Africa Matters will never be the same. I have learnt so much from the courses and from other leaders that I will take back to the team, and also transfer to our reach."
Africa Matters is a youth-led organization dedicated to creating spaces for African expression and robust dialogue by embracing our complex identities and history through online platforms, workshops and summits rooted in ‘Afrocentricity’. Africa Matters recently launched leadership courses offered to school students, corporate clients, and NGO’s, namely; African Feminism (Womxn in Leadership) and Leadership for the Modern Africa.
When asked about the controversy of receiving an Award rooted in Colonialism, Mubaiwa responded “The world is structured in such a manner that former Colonizers have an abundance of resources, and I believe that in order to empower Africa Matters and Africa, I need to benefit from these resources where I can. I advocate for #RhodesMustFall activists applying for the Rhodes scholarship to empower themselves, and also to agitate colonial spaces. Africa Matters challenges the West’s domination of the African narrative, and by receiving this award and gaining from the training and mentoring, I can transfer the knowledge to Africa Matters Team Members and the people we engage with in workshop and media platforms to ensure that we have a ripple effect of knowledge transfer across the continent. Moreover, travelling to the UK to engage in the various sessions gives me the platform to discuss topics that often make people uncomfortable and to thus strengthen Africa’s positionality and Africa’s dominion over our own narrative.”
In conclusion, Mubaiwa believes "There is a vision for Africa Matters that is bigger than any of us can comprehend, and receiving the award from Buckingham Palace last night reaffirmed that. The team and I have so much work to do. But I am excited about our journey ahead. We look to expand our bases to the rest of the continent and the diaspora. I am truly humbled by this experience.
In the next 5 years, Africa Matters aims to register as an NGO, expand workshops into Southern and Central Africa, multiply platforms for engagement by the African diaspora, and to partner with various schools and government agencies to develop curriculum that is rooted in Afrocentricity.
For more information on Africa Matters visit: