Demokratische Republik Kongo: Gege Katana Bukuru

What gives me energy is the success in the setting-up of peace centers in villages: our principle of non-violence in action.

— Gege Katana Bukuru

Gege Katana Bukuru (44) is known as the “Iron Lady” of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for her courageous activism for women’s rights. She has been imprisoned several times and witnessed people being tortured. Gege has been a member of Solidarity of Activist Women for Human Rights (Sofad) for four years. She forms groups of women leaders and organizes campaigns to support women victims of sexual violence. In addition to workshops, training and advocacy campaigns, she has created peace centers in villages which have earned her respect in many provinces.

Despite facing enormous difficulties and the pain of being forsaken by colleagues, Gege Katana will not abandon her people. She is the eldest daughter of a traditional chief, who instilled in her a strong conscience regarding her responsibilities toward her people. Gege believes in God and in His power to help her focus on her work despite her shortcomings. She is gifted in identifying people and circumstances that are resourceful for her activities. Gege expresses herself clearly and simply, earning the respect of even her opponents. Her frail appearance hides the perseverance and strong will that earned her the nickname “Iron Lady”. As a member of Sofad, she has formed groups of women leaders and organized campaigns to support victims of sexual violence. Her initiatives have helped 1700 women. She has also conducted workshops, training and advocacy and peace centers in villages. Gege is renowned and emulated in many provinces. Her network comprises many women at the grassroots level. Sofad members are determined to realize peace cells and to structure women’s rights activities in order to sensitize more women on their rights. Sofad works in collaboration with other institutions that work for peace, for the protection of human rights and NGOs involved in local and international development. At international level Sofad partners with Amnesty International and others. Gege’s vision is for women to enjoy their rights without restrictions, injustice and fear.

Solidarity of Activist Women for Human Rights (Sofad)