Meet Vanessa Chisakula

“There can never be enough Feminist Leaders. Every day we need someone new to join this movement and declare this as their leadership style”.

Vanessa Chisakula, aka Van-Van, is a multi-award winning, unapologetic spoken word artist, women’s rights champion and 2019 MILEAD fellow who uses poetry as an activism tool. She is currently a CIVICUS Youth Action Labber under gender justice and a Center for International Private Enterprise fellow with a commendable project on peaceful and free elections in the case on the August 12th, 2021 Zambian general election.

Vanessa is co-founder and curator of a Pan-Africanist social movement called Word Smash Poetry which promotes youth’s participation in governance issues using art, making her one of the pioneering voices in breaking the barriers in between art and civil society organizations.

In 2020 she published a poetry chapbook called Africana, had her work included in the Women Scream anthology 20’, and published on PePeta Africa’s “Finding our voices” digital booklet. She has an award-winning piece on women’s rights to her name, titled ‘her place’ – see her recite it in the video above!

Vanessa believes in democracy: its dependence on participation makes her believe young people, who are the majority population, have a huge role to play in seeing to it that true democracy is realized.

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