Langiwe Maumba

UN human rights worker in South Sudan
Maumba, left, with other members of the conference

Langiwe Maumba's Story

Langiwe Mwale Ngoma is a delegate from South Sudan who participated in the WPSP Institute "Peacebuilding and Development" at Bryn Mawr College. She is a renowned human rights defender who contributed to the production of a report entitled “Breaking the Silence” that eventually paved the way to peace initiatives in Zimbabwe. Mwale spearheaded the establishment of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Commission in Binga and is a founding member of the Zimbabwe Peace Project.

As a WPSP delegate, Maumba met delegates from all the four corners of the world. At the Institute, we discussed what women would do if they were in leadership positions.

Maumba's first field visit following the Institute was to an area in Mayom County in Sudan with a high level of rebel activity, awash with interstate and intrastate tribal conflicts. There, she met with women who had never been to school at all and asked them the same WPSP question: what would they change if they were leaders? They told her exactly the same things as the WPSP Institute delegates articulated at Bryn Mawr.  Most women in Africa south of the Sahara are not literate, but they can articulate their needs just like educated women.  Langiwe Maumbe recognizes the need to incorporate all women in political change, and continues to work to do just that.

Leadership is not about the level of education you have attained, Maumba emphasizes. It is about knowing, articulating, and meeting the needs of your constituency. Although they might use different language, women’s perspectives can cut across academic education, color, or creed. Women at every level prioritize education, security, water, sanitation, and health.

Since becoming involved with the WPSP, Maumba has started writing a constitution for the Civil Society Council that would be a training and mentoring ground for women aspiring to be leaders.

Langiwe Maumba's first leadership position was State Coordinator with the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a human rights monitoring and documentation organization. Currently, she am working with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan on peace consolidation and extension of government authority – especially involving the voices of women and young people. Apart from the WPSP, she also belongs to World Pulse and Peace, Development, and Collaborative Network.

Maumba's next step will be creating a platform for women to mentor emerging female leaders to make the transition into leadership positions easier for them, guided by the goals and actions of her role model, Hillary Clinton. Aspiring women leaders must believe in themselves and develop an “elephant’s skin,” but also remain objective, Maumba explains. They must learn how to build relationships at an individual level in order to be able to enact necessary changes.

Men are able to make politics a violent game unappealing for women, Maumba explains, but her hope is that my country will create an inclusive government that encompasses both female and youth perspectives. One of her personal goals for the future is to run for elective office so that she can contribute to this vision.