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Isisele Senyathi
Women's Hub on African Women's History

About Isisele Senyathi

Isisele Senyathi is the nation’s first public exhibition and educational Hub dedicated to African women’s history

Decades in the making, Ilitha Labantu has established the Isisele Senyathi Women’s Hub on African Women’s History in Cape Town. The Hub celebrates women’s accomplishments and stories, particularly our unsung heroines, the history they made, and the communities they represent. The Hub further explores the lives and legacies of African women who have shaped and continue to shape the South African experience and uplifts the voices of indigenous women by promoting lifelong learning and intergenerational dialogue. It aims to keep women’s voices and victories alive by sharing their untold stories and ensuring they are part of our history.

Since our establishment in 1989, Ilitha Labantu has served as a historical hub for women’s stories dedicated to ordinary women, leaders, visionaries and change makers who made history of today. Over the last half-century, scholars have brought more and more of their stories into the foreground.  The women’s Hub for African Women’s History will continue and expands on this essential work as the nation’s first public exhibition and educational Hub dedicated to African women’s history.

We believe that now is the time for Ilitha Labantu to fully realize its mission to preserve African women’s past, share our country’s and continents’ stories and connect people with history in meaningful ways - for today and for tomorrow, because history matters.

Annual Conference

The annual conference of Isisele Senyathi Women’s Hub on African Women’s History is held each year in September. The conference aims to bring together anyone interested in women’s history. For many of hub members, the conference is the highlight of belonging to the network. 


Ilitha Labantu held the first edition of the Conference from 26 – 29 September 2022 at the Cape Peninsula University. The conference theme was “Mobilizing African Women Memories through Collective and Collating Historical Knowledge”. Discussions focused on safeguarding intangible African women’s history by championing “herstory” and collecting and collating historical knowledge of African Women. A crucial component of the conference was recognising the connection between African women history and current challenges faced by African women and examining these links. 

View the first edition of the Isisele Senyathi Women's Hub on African Women's History Annual Conference below.

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The conference stimulated storytelling and documentation. As a young woman, the stories told challenged my assumption about the actual liberation struggle with a particular focus on women (our mothers who have gone ahead of us)  as very few women's efforts are highlighted, taught and documented. It was inspirational and encouraging to me as an advocate.
I recommend that men also be a part of this conference to listen first-hand to the experiences of women making a difference in their communities. I am still digesting my takeaway points from the conference as it left me with so much to reflect on. Thank you Ilitha Labantu!

Winnie Mabena, Zambia

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