African Grandmothers Stand Up

Grandmothers from 13 African nations march in Manzini, Swaziland to call for increased support. May 8, 2010 Photo credit: Ricki Horowitz

At the first African Grandmothers’ Gathering in Manzini, Swaziland, 500 grandmothers from 13 countries issued a clarion call to the world, demanding economic independence and the necessary resources to build their own capacity to raise healthy families in the midst of the AIDS pandemic.

Describing themselves as the backbones of their communities, they declared, “Africa cannot survive without us.” They called for action to prevent acts of violence against them, to ensure social security and to enact laws that uphold their rights and those of their grandchildren.

Organised by Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL), one of the continent’s leading AIDS advocacy and support organizations, the reflected the momentum and strength of the international grandmothers’ movement just four years after it began at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto in August 2006. Standing in solidarity with the African women were 42 Canadian grandmothers from the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.