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The Rural Women’s Assembly (RWA) is an independent and self-organised rural movement of smallholder women farmers and peasant producers from across the Southern Africa region. In 2009, 250 rural women established RWA with the slogan Guardians of Land, Life and Love. More than a decade later, RWA has a membership of over 150,000 active in ten countries in the region, still guided by the chant that rural women are the Guardians of Land, Life, Seeds and Love.

RWA is firmly rooted within the countryside, built through struggle (i) to protect traditional seeds and local knowledge against corporate capture; (ii) for land, climate justice and food sovereignty; (iii) to resist all forms of patriarchy while working to build conscious women’s leadership and the confidence to stand up and speak for themselves.

The Seed Journey took place in seven countries. RWA has a membership of 23,000 in Swaziland, 2,050 in Malawi, 5,000 in Lesotho, 9,000 in Zambia, 9,017 in South Africa, 65,000 in Zimbabwe, and 10,000 in Mozambique.

The production of this photo-documentary project was made possible thanks to the active participation of 504 seed guardians: 10 in eSwatini, 66 in Lesotho, 83 in Malawi, 60 in Mozambique, 17 in South Africa, 169 in Zambia, and 99 in Zimbabwe.

The RWA members and seed guardians eagerly shared their stories and dared to disclose intimate knowledge about their lives. The members of the research team are humbled and appreciative of all our keen hosts and everyone who welcomed us at rural homesteads across seven countries. A special thanks to all the RWA sisters who facilitated assemblies and seed fairs during the research process.

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