Les Amazones d’Afrique are back with new single ‘Amazones Power’

The all-female collective of West African musicians made a huge impact with their 2017 debut album, République Amazone. Singing out against gender inequality, Les Amazones d’Afrique believe that music has the potential to be a weapon against the systematic disempowerment of women across Africa and beyond.

Les Amazones d’Afrique in 2019 features some new faces, but the message remains loud and clear: Violence against women must stop. Women must be able to realise their potential and not be held back by the dominant patriarchy. ‘Amazones Power’ tackles these issues head on. “Never again, silence, violence. I want to live and to be free.”

Three generations of women sing out in unison, calling for a future without the threat of female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual violence, lack of education and forced marriage. Women should be able to express their anger. Things must change.

Les Amazones d’Afrique recognise the need for women to support and respect their fellow women. The majority of FGM is carried out by women to young girls— not because they wish to inflict cruelty upon the younger generation, but because they feel duty bound to uphold the cultural traditions. Girls and women who avoid “the cut” —choosing instead to pursue education— will face immense pressure from fellow women, and will be seen as a bad example; a woman who has shown disrespect for her family and community.

Organisations like AMREF Health Africa are working with communities in Africa— currently with the Maasai in Kenya with plans to expand throughout the continent. Where FGM is considered as a right of passage from girl to womanhood, they encourage change by implementing Mother to Girl, Father to Son and Elders forums to discuss these issues, encouraging training for girls with a one day ceremony where the whole community celebrates these girls becoming women, without the  cut.

We are saying let us retain the beautiful part of our culture and replace the cut with education. Investment in education is very important when you’re trying to change any kind of gender-based violence,” explains AMREF activist Nice Nailantei Leng’ete recently on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. “Keep the beautiful dances, the songs, the way we dress.

With powerful positivity and the most beautiful voices, the women of Les Amazones d’Afrique insist that girls have an eduction, and the right to choose who they love and marry. Women, stop judging each other and show support. Don’t talk behind my back because I choose eduction and flee from sexual violence. Be proud of your beauty, strength and sexuality. Teach your sons to respect women, to support and look after their sisters.

‘Amazones Power’ features female musicians from West Africa, joined by those from Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Guyana, Spain and Algeria. Also featured are the male voices of Douranne and Magué from the Parisian band Nyoko Bokbae, urging: “Mama, marry the one you like. And finally, be happy”.

Les Amazones d'Afrique - Amazones Power (Official Video)

The Facts

  • According to Unicef, 200 million girls and women living today have been victims of sexual mutilation. 30 million girls risk suffering the same in the next 10 years. The majority live in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, but it is estimated that 5% of these mutilated women live in Europe, including 53,000 in France. Source: www.unicef.org

 

  • UNICEF have called for an end to female genital mutilation by 2030. “It robs girls of their autonomy and violates their human rights. It reflects the low status of girls and women and reinforces gender inequality, fueling intergenerational cycles of discrimination and harm.Source: www.unicef.org

 

  • The reasons for child marriage differ from country to country, but in sub Saharan Africa and South Asia —where the practice is most widespread— the key drivers are gender inequality, and poverty. Deep rooted patriarchal beliefs, the low value placed in girls and the desire to control women, especially girls’ sexuality underlie child marriage. Communities expect girls to become wives and mothers, and with limited opportunities or education and work there are often not many alternatives. Even if opportunities are available, the social norm of valuing boys over girls means parents often do not think it worthwhile investing in their daughter’s education. Source: actionaid.org

 

 

Les Amazones d’Afrique will perform at festivals and select venues across Europe this summer.

Featured release

  • Amazones Power

    Les Amazones d’Afrique

    Released 03 May 2019

    Les Amazones d'Afrique in 2019 features some new faces, but the message remains loud and clear: Violence against women must stop. 'Amazones Power' tackles these issues head on. Three generations of women sing out in unison, calling for a future without the threat of female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual violence, lack of education and forced marriage.

By Sophie Beck

Published on Fri, 03 May 19

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