Professor Emeritus Wanjiku Mukabi Kabira is a remarkable woman who is an erudite scholar, a global academician in several fields and a prodigious writer. However, if you would ask her what her life’s work is, it would undoubtedly be improving the lives of all women, particularly Kenyan women.  

Professor Kabira is coming to Madison for 2024 Women and Gender Studies Consortium (WGSC) Spring Conference.  She will share with attendees on Saturday, March 13, The Future of Global Feminism from the perspective of the founder of The African Women’s Studies Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.  The theme of this year’s conference is Honoring Our Past, Securing Our Future: Resilience and Reclamation in Higher Education.  There will be three days of transformative presentations, useful information, womanist education, and a celebration of women everywhere.  Professor Kabira, who will present on African women from the continent, will be joined by Lilada Gee, from Madison, who will present on Black girls and women in Wisconsin at this Saturday panel from 11:45am-1:00pm at the Pyle Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  This is a wonderful opportunity to be updated on the status of girls and women in Wisconsin and in Kenya.  It is also an opportunity for women to hear about The African Women’s Studies Centre, the degrees it offers to women from around the world and their cutting-edge research..

I met my friend, Wanjiku, when we both young graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying for our Masters in the Department of African Languages and Literature.  We became instant friends as two young women far from our homes.  I met many people from all over the African continent while studying for my degree, however, Wanjiku is the only one who travelled down South to meet my family, visit historical locations in Southern Black life and experience our culture firsthand.  She really came to know me as an African American.  Years later, when I was studying for my PhD, I stayed in her home, visited her family, travelled all over Kenya with her.  We came to love each other’s family as our own. 

Through years of tireless work, Professor Kabira became the Leader of the Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Hub and the Director of African Women Studies Research Centre (AWSRC), University of Nairobi.  She is a professor of Literature and a writer, a literary critic, and a gender and policy analyst. She has taught oral literature for many years, carried out field work in many parts of the country and has been widely published. She is also an expert in East African and West African Literature where her focus has been on the broad areas of leadership, colonialism, ideology, philosophy of leadership, women in Literature, the role of the people in social transformation, nationalism, change and transformation, corruption, exploitation, among others in addition to theoretical and conceptual issues. She specializes in African American, Caribbean literature and Black Aesthetics: This has been her area of expertise for over three decades.  She has also contributed to the development of literary criticism by reviewing manuscripts for publishers and writers including critically acclaimed Kenyan writer, Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Professor Kabira is also an expert in policy analysis and evidence-based policy advocacy. She has worked with policy makers and civil society organizations and brought her academic expertise to the national and regional levels. She has been a gender advisor in national parliamentary committees. She has developed research analysis tools such as ABC of gender analysis, people-oriented planning tools, gender analysis frameworks, among others. ABC of gender analysis has been useful in literary analysis and discourse even in literature. Professor Kabira has published widely in the field of Literature as well as gender and women studies. She has over 100 publications in the form of books, chapters, journal articles and creative writing. 

She served as a commissioner and a Vice Chair of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission where she helped revise the Kenyan constitution to include rights for women.  She has documented the role of women and their gains in her book, Time for Harvest: Women and Constitution Making in Kenya – 1992 to 2010. Professor Wanjiku Mukabi Kabira has worked with and has led various women’s organizations in Africa. She has been awarded the Kenyan national honors of Chief of the Burning Spear and Elder of the Burning Spear.  Along with all these accolades, she is also a revered mother, grandmother, and friend.  Don’t miss this Women’s Conference.  There will also be a reception in Professor Kabira’honor to meet women in the community and to answer questions about The African Women’s Studies Centre at The HUB on Wednesday, April 10 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.  The HUB is located at 2352 South Park. The reception is sponsored by The African Women’s Health Network, The Foundation of Black Women Wellness and The Creator’s Cottage.  

Professor Wanjiku Kabira & Lilada Gee Speakers

Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 11:45 am

UW Alumni Lounge, Pyle Center

702 Langdon Street

This event is free and open to the public

Advance registration is not required for Kabira & Gee Talk.

More details about the 2024 Women’s Conference,
April 11-13

WAIVER24 for fee