On 7 September, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (CHR) celebrated a milestone in hosting the tenth edition of the Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture, together with the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape (UWC). This was the tenth edition and to celebrate this feat, the annual event was hosted in the City of Cape Town, at the Lagoon Beach Hotel.
Helen Kanzira is a graduate of the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme, presented by the CHR in collaboration with a number of partner universities across Africa, including the UWC. She was part of the first cohort of 2000 (the ‘Pioneers’). A few years after completing the programme, she passed away while giving birth. Her legacy lives on because she carried the fight for human rights beyond the classroom, and took it back to Uganda. The Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture was instituted to honour her memory, and to draw attention to the neglected issue of women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
Representing the CHR was its Director, Prof Frans Viljoen and Dr Primrose E.R. Kurasha, the Programme Manager of the HRDA. Expressing gratitude on behalf of the CHR, towards Prof Usang Maria Assim and the Dullah Omar Institute, for an exceptional partnership over the years and this edition of the Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture, Prof. Viljoen reflected on the necessity to safeguard the current gains in female emancipation and empowerment by continuing to address any violations and inequalities towards women and also other vulnerable groups. In doing so, he said, humanity will also be preserving the legacies of activists such as the late Helen Kanzira. Sharing with the audience the essence of the HRDA, Dr. Kurasha marketed it very well by highlighting its unique selling points, thus enjoining the legal experts and activists in attendance to apply for the highly competitive programme. Dr. Kurasha went on to reveal the impact of the HRDA on the graduates’ careers, who have gone on to become global policy-makers and human rights activists, including members of African Union human rights bodies, cabinet Ministers, Judges of international tribunals, senior legal counsel in Bretton Wood institutions and international organisations.
For more information, please contact
Dr Primrose Kurusha
Post-doctoral fellow, Centre for Human Rights