By Leopold Munhende
POPULAR for her role in the history making Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War as ‘General Okoye’, Zimbabwean Danai Gurira has been appointed as a United Nations (UN) Goodwill Ambassador.
Gurira who is only the fourth African to be on the list after the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, Didier Drogba and Jaha Dukureh of The Gambia joins stellar cast that includes fellow Hollywood starts Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway and Emma Watson of the Harry Potter fame.
Under-secretary general and UN women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka revealed Gurira’s appointment in Johannesburg at a Global Citizen Festival held at a packed FNB stadium.
“UN Women is delighted to welcome Danai Gurira in her new role as Goodwill Ambassador to support our work on gender equality,” Ngcuka.
“As a playwright, actor and activist in pursuit of women’s empowerment and gender equality with her sharp human rights lens, she is uniquely qualified to communicate and inspire.
“She recognizes the challenges of intersectionality and will connect with the diversity of women living on the margins of society.
“Her engagement with us will bring generations of girls greater belief in a positive future; As an influential role model in both her personal and professional life, and a voice for those who have not yet been heard, we look forward to her ability to drive action on gender equality in communities across the world.”
As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Gurira will lend her name and dedicate her support to putting a spotlight on gender equality and women’s rights, as well as bringing unheard women’s voices front and centre.
UN Women’s Executive Director highlighted the power of advocacy and the urgent need to get everyone involved in efforts to end violence against women and girls and to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment reaches the most marginalized globally.
Gurira will engage with over 200 young women leaders at the African Leadership Academy in South Africa, discussing their challenges and experiences within academia and the work force, and in ending violence against women, as part of the ongoing 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence global campaign.
Gurira said that she was delighted to partner with the UN, “I have always sought to push the boundaries and tell the stories of those who are often marginalized and unheard.
“My own advocacy for women and girls has made me deeply aware of UN Women, I have experienced the work of this organization on the ground as well as internationally, and I am delighted to partner with them to amplify many more stories from around the world, and give a voice to those who are working relentlessly to make gender equality a reality.”
UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors are prominent individuals from the worlds of arts, sciences, literature, entertainment, sport and other fields of public life who wish to work on women’s rights and gender equality and raise awareness of UN Women’s efforts globally.