COMMUNITY FIGURE, Mary Consolata Namagambe
- August 19, 2020
‘Community Figure’ is a campaign that aims to celebrate black creators, artist, entrepreneurs, authors, educators and influencers. We have so many amazing people doing great things in our community, but we just don’t hear about them. Each week, we will introduce you to a community figure and their work.
Meet your Community Figure, Mary Consolata Namagambe
Mary was born in Uganda and raised in Denmark from childhood. She holds a Master’s degree in law, and is the founder and CEO of She for She, a company that produces reusable pads in Uganda, and empowers young girls and women. At a young age Mary faced many issues in a majority-white society that she could not accept for herself or for her fellow Afro-Danes. There was prejudice and intolerance that was expressed in small gestures that were difficult to talk about back then. The history of slavery and colonialism was never taught at school. Accusations of racism were often denied as most Danes do not perceive themselves as such. This means Afro-Danes have had to carry the burdens and effects of racial violence & discrimination without proper recognition. Mary has since she was a teenager worked to challenge issues facing minorities in Denmark, and created her own organizations such as UVU and The N-word Hurts as she saw a gap in rights and empowerment for people of African descent as well as other minorities. Mary continues to fight against the racism and discrimination the African diaspora faces in white-majority societies as well as dedicating herself to women empowerment on the African continent.
- Which norms do you see yourself breaking or would you like to see yourself breaking? Answering this question I will start with this quote “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” –Andre Gide
Every culture has different expectations but this pressure to do and be x, y, and z usually begins at an early age and is most often created by our parents and our immediate environment. We subconsciously absorb these messages and try to live out the rest of our lives fulfilling these expectations (most of the time without even being aware that we are doing it). The expectation to go through the general steps of life such as getting good grades, going to college, getting a degree, having a professional, traditional and respectable career, making lots of money, getting married, buying a house, having kids, settling down, living nearby family, are some that we have to deal with. While this lifestyle may work for some, for me it is limiting, I want to be my ancestors’ wildest dream, I want to be my own wildest dream and therefore I have to define my own life .
- What inspires you to be and do what you do today? What inspires me to do the work I do, is that I as a woman have a privilege, to live a life that many women only dream of and therefore its my duty to use the privilege I have to help better other women and girls lives. Because “You have no idea what your legacy will be because your legacy is every life you touch.”-Maya Angelou
Beside that I’m inspired by risk. Starting something I have no idea how to finish, witnessing people go for something new, makes me wanna do something new.
- How do you see the reshaping of the black future? That we as black people being seeing ourselves as Martin Luther King had a dream that someday his children would “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” We know that systemic racism and governmental neglect still exist. We in the black community must look at ourselves and understand our own responsibility. We must realize – and believe – that, for all the external hassles we face, we are not helpless.
We can overcome the odds and succeed in spite of the obstacles. And we must try. For black people to hold their heads high even today means getting rid of internal feelings of inferiority. Despite the fact that racial discrimination has not been eliminated, black strength lies in the resolve to keep on keeping on, never quit, never give up. It is time to think positively and act positively. A people armed with the will to want to get better, armed with the will to win, and armed with knowledge of the past and present, can move forward and take action, succeed, and reclaim their dignity.