1. Temitope Ajileye
Title: New Spaces for Africa and Africans in Oxford
“ In Spring 2017 I got behind the scenes of AfriSoc as a volunteer for the Oxford Africa Conference. I was moved by the sympathy and enthusiasm of the students around me to seek a greater participation into the activities of the Society.
The events and discussions I helped organise as the General Secretary or took part in, the people I met in the last year have confirmed in me the belief I had that the Society has a lot of resources to offer its members. I have also realised how difficult it is to keep these resources in time and how easy it is for connections to slip away when committees change.
The two primary functions of the Africa Society are to provide its members with a supportive and welcoming community and a platform to discuss African issues. Over the course of the past year and the recent meetings, it has become clear that we are struggling in both. To address them, we need to reassess our responsibilities, potentials and limits, and push against the walls that have caused us to have a narrower idea of Africa and the Africa Society. We will strengthen the first function with a focus on active welfare and the second by creating retentive structure that can keep the expertise of our alumni and alumnae close to us.”
2. Papa Kojo Botsio
I’m a DPhil candidate from Ghana researching Education and Welfare Policies to widen access to secondary and higher education for vulnerable students. In our community, I’ve led initiatives including the first ever African Choir at Oxford and mentored students through the Scholarship and Access team. Since February 2018, I’ve been on an independent funding campaign for African students, meeting with 15 major administrative and financial heads including twice with the VC, pressuring them to urgently facilitate an increased access of Africans to Oxford.
As President, I will be dedicated to transforming Afrisoc into a safe, welcoming, truly inclusive and representative, ambitious, rooted, and exciting society for all Africans.
1. I will establish the Afrisoc Orientation Day where members receive Consent, Sensitivity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training.
2. Introduce Supportive Welfare Officers for addressing members’ concerns and well-being.
3. Organise frequent gatherings for open discussions amongst members and host Cultural Diffusion Initiatives.
4. Embark on bold, sustained Fundraising, Scholarship and Access Efforts.
5. Strengthen Alumni Relations and Institutional Memory.
It is my sincere desire to share this immense passion and energy for advancing Africa’s presence and influence at Oxford and beyond, by serving as your Afrisoc President for 2018-2019
3. Mbalenhle Matandela
My vision as President of the Africa society is to transform its institutional culture. I will foster Pan-Africanism as a foundational ideology that will drive the work of the society, in service of our community in Africa and our diasporic community. I will do this by focusing on the following:
- I intend to introduce more consciousnesses-raising events in the society;
- I am committed to addressing issues related to discrimination on the grounds of religion, gender, sexuality, disability and class, as evidence by my involvement in the newly established sexual harassment committee and my activism in the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Movement;
- I intend to widen the Africa society relations with African societies including the African Caribbean society, other African societies in the UK, US and Africa itself;
- I am committed to work with organisations such as AfOx and networks that I have access to as both a Rhodes scholar and a Mellon scholar to get more African opportunities for funding
1. Nada Kurdi
I am a British second year Dphil in chemistry at Jesus College of mixed Sudanese and Egyptian descent.
During my role as deputy social secretary of the Oxford Africa society, I was able to wittiness the idiosyncrasies of Africa Society. I organised bops, social gatherings and talks with the aim of community building. This experience allows me to be uniquely positioned for the role of vice president.
Although my time on the committee was fulfilling, I felt like it only emboldened me to empower those that have historically been overlooked by the Oxford Africa Society, I therefore have some core agendas these are as follows:
Sexual harassment and Gender based violence: There is desperate need for a policy which will help prevent sexual harassment and gender based violence, I will spearhead this movement and push for the support of victims.
North African Agenda: My involvement on the committee will not convince North Africans to accept their ‘African identity’ which historically and culturally some may deny. However, I have intimate understanding of the culture. Therefore I will be better able to cater for their needs. This may help galvanise groups of people that have historically felt underrepresented in the society. Oxford University educates the next generation of North Africans, who will perhaps return and influence the continent in a plethora of undefinable ways. These influencers need to be exposed to different modes of though on what it is to African for the betterment of all.
LGBTQI: Africa’s attitudes towards the LGBTQI is slowly changing, they no longer are marginalised groups of people. Despite this LGBTQI human rights in Africa are very limited relative to other parts of the world; I believe it is our duty to provide a platform for these marginalised people to thrive in. I possess the experience and the skills to make a success of this role and the willingness to not only adapt to the needs of the position, but also to learn. I believe that the combination of my experience, approachable nature and my commitment to excellence will make me an asset to the committee.
Find out more about Nada by reading her CV.
1. Simphiwe Laura Stewart
Simphiwe is a DPhil student from the Kingdom of eSwatini. Now In its 60th year, Simphiwe believes that the Society needs an Executive that goes “back to basics” in order to move forward at optimum capacity. She proposes a Secretary who adheres to the mandate of the position as described in the Bylaws in an effort towards identifying and remedying challenges as well as maximizing opportunities for the position,executive committee and Society at large. In this way, sustainability, capacity building and solutions – oriented leadership are inculcated into the functioning of the Society.
Adding to her experiences and sustained successes applying sustainable leadership strategies to similar positions across the Diaspora, Simphiwe proposes the need for a Secretary who can apply the principles of Pan-Africanism to the role. She looks forward to building on the vision and lessons learned from previous administrations who endeavored to create a more reflective and representative society (e.g increasing North African representation during the Chigora administration and advancing Francophone participation during the Kané administration) by looking beyond regionalism towards unity, intersectionality and broad based representation at every level of the Society.
Find out more about Simphiwe by reading her application letter for the post of Secretary-General and her CV.
1. Nolianga Imasiku
I am an innovative and proud Zambian currently reading for the Master of Public Policy with the Blavatnik School of Government. Oxford Africa Society has for me provided a network of vibrant Africans passionate to drive Africa into the future. It is thus my desire to contribute to the community by using my experience and expertise to source, manage and minimize the financial risk exposure of Afrisoc’s finances. The society may find useful my accounting, investment and financial management experience with ZCCM-Investment Holdings and the Ministry of Finance, Zambia. Further, my experience with external financiers at the Ministry provides me with not only the experience to effectively manage international financiers, but also with the network to draw additional sponsors to the society.
With Africa’s growing potential, the need for a vibrant society of Africans has never been more profound and I believe in the potential of AfriSoc to expand beyond its current reach. This should be done with the support of sponsors who not only provide finances but also reflect the ethical, moral and community values of the society. I bring to the table the ability to see this through while having the society smiling all the way to the bank.
Find out more about Nolianga by reading her CV.
1. Olayinka Makinwa
Olayinka was born and predominantly raised in Vienna, Austria, to Nigerian parents. Upon completing her secondary school (Matura), she moved to London to embark on a BA Development and International Studies programme. Following that, she worked in London, Shanghai, Vienna, and Lagos; before stepping back into academia, completing a MA in International Business and Export Management in Austria, and a MSc in Management and Leadership in Sweden. She is currently reading for the MSc in Social Anthropology at Oxford and will be transferring to the DPhil in October to deepen her research focusing on migration, integration and the (re)construction of identities.
In her capacity as Social Secretary she particularly seeks to afford special attention to the needs of individual members of the society. Consequently, beyond large-scale social events (such as the AfroBops or well-attended conferences), she seeks to create a number of vibrant small communities based on individual members’ interests (e.g. book clubs, cooking & dining evenings, squash teams, etc.) within AfriSoc, as well as foster a strong sense of community engagement (e.g. group volunteering at Oxford soup/food banks or the KEEN charity focusing on supporting physically and mentally disabled individuals) outside the four walls of our university.
Find out more about Olayinka by reading her application letter for the post of Social Secretary and her CV.