Janah Ncube
Janah Ncube.jpg
Born (1974-12-27) December 27, 1974 (age 47)
EducationUniversity of Bradford, UK
OccupationPolicy Advisor, Civic Leader, Human Rights Advocate
Spouse(s)Norman Musimwa
ChildrenTwo daughters

Janah Ncube is a renowned Zimbabwean policy advisor, governance specialist and feminist who has worked for leading African institutions including SADC. She has worked with governments, ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats and civil society in over 35 countries across Africa. She was one of the architects of the SADC Gender Protocol, the African Union African Governance Architecture and SADC Poverty Observatory. In 2011, the JCI named her one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Zimbabwe for her contribution to politics and governance in Zimbabwe.

In 2019, Janah relocated to Zimbabwe having spent 15 years living and working on the African continent, particularly Botswana and Kenya. Upon her return, President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed her to his Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) [1] owing to her expertise in civic society.

Janah, who is a devoted Christian affiliated to the Word of Life church and a prominent civic leader, has repeatedly voiced her disquiet over the savaging of rights and opposition groups by police [2] undeterred by her PAC role.


Janah was born on 27 December 1974. She lives on a farm at the outskirts of Bulawayo, with her husband Norman Musimwa and their two daughters.


Janah is a Chevening scholar who attained a Masters in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. She was awarded a distinction for her MA thesis titled, Gendering Parliament: - Do Women MPs Represent Women? The case for women parliamentarians in Zimbabwe.

In 2005, she received an award from the University of Bradford in recognition of her outstanding contribution in managing diversity. She has completed international leadership programmes at Oxford and Exeter Universities and programmes such as Salzburg Seminars, the British Council Performance Leadership Initiative, and the African Women Leadership Institute.


Janah is currently serving as the Global Campaigns Director for Crisis Action[3]. Before this, she was Pan Africa Director for Oxfam[4]. In the last decade, her work has had a particular focus on Africa’s regional integration and civil society development on the continent. Her work experience includes human rights with a particular focus on women’s rights; conflict reduction and peacebuilding; reducing poverty and injustice with organisations such as the SADC Secretariat, the Centre for Citizens’ Participation on the African Union (now the Pan African Citizens Network), SUNY Zimbabwe, Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU), amongst others [5]. Janah is a trailblazer who has, in her various professional roles, initiated, introduced or contributed to numerous innovations. In her role as Pan Africa Director of Oxfam, Janah led the development and launch of a pan African Advocacy campaign on governance issues across 10 countries http://www.myafricanunion.org; whilst as Executive Director for Centre for Citizens’ Participation in the African Union (CCP-AU) she was one of the key crafters/contributors of the African Governance Architecture (AGA). When Janah served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the SADC Secretariat, she organized the first Heads of State and Government Conference on Poverty and Development. Janah also coordinated and facilitated the development and negotiation of the SADC Poverty Observatory. Under her leadership as Executive Director, WiPSU contributed to the establishment of the multi-party women parliamentarians’ caucus, which worked on Zimbabwean women’s priorities across the political divide. Janah is a respected analyst on current affairs in Africa, and at a TedX Talk Lagos in 2018, Janah addressed why Africa must harness the power of collective action [6]. She is a true Pan Africanist at heart and believes that Africans have the capacity, resources and answers to lift Africa out of poverty and transform it such that it works for Africans[7].

Civil society roles, arrest and opposition politics in Zimbabwe

Janah rose to prominence as a political lobbyist with expertise in gender, human rights and democracy. She was:

  • Chairperson of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe
  • Vice-Chairperson of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (was the second person to hold the position when the Coalition was formed)
  • Executive Director of Women in Politics Support Unit
  • Board member of the Women’s Action Group
  • Sub-committee member of the Thoko Matshe-led National Constitutional Assembly
  • Arrested with other civic leaders and activists on November 18, 2003, for demonstrating against government’s mismanagement of the economy, high inflation and taxation [8].
  • Assaulted as a result of MDC intra-party violence in September 2001, together with Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Gabriel Chaibva and Edwin Mushore, whilst attending a provincial executive meeting in Dzivarasekwa, Harare [9].

Quotable quotes

…the government has power over what the police do. The Zimbabwe Republic Police can be like police in many countries across Africa, where they serve and protect citizens and are not unleashed to bash, beat and maim their own people.[10]

Being in the opposition doesn’t make one less Zimbabwean. The ZRP have a responsibility to care for and protect for all. Our military has no business in police uniforms and no business operating within Zimbabwe against Zimbabweans. Police beating women and young people and the elderly who want to protest against the government or want to support their party is wrong by all moral and just laws. The government of Zimbabwe has power over this.[11]

Who then, is really in charge at the African Union? Who decides what initiatives and developmental projects are to be embarked on? If our continental institutions and even our governments themselves obtain a majority of their funding from external donors, then, who really drives the African agenda? Who defends Africa’s interests in the global arena where these donors have great influence?”[12]

The women’s movement must confront and engage with the broader politics; time to talk to women alone is over, it is preaching to the choir, we must start to ‘evangelise’ preach to those who do not know/understand the issues we articulate about women’s human rights. This, of course, means confronting one’s own personal beliefs, things at home, in our workplaces, the institutions we engage within our daily lives and indeed our governments. These things are very political and so we must be political actors.[13]

Our political legitimacy and clout increases when we engage with politics in all issues that affect our lives and communities and not only the ones that concern women’s issues.[14]

When the state cannot provide for its citizens, women become the subsidizers of the state by providing for unrecognized and unrewarded skills and services.[15]

Community Service

Janah is at the helm of several community initiatives including being a Trustee of the I am for Bulawayo Fighting COVID-19, which is a multi-stakeholder platform that brings together individuals, the business community, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), churches, health experts and institutions [16]. She is also a Trustee of The Zimbabwe Institute, and the Business Fighting COVID-19, as well as a Coach and Mentor for Inspiring Africa. Additionally, she serves as part of the Secretariat team for the Council of African Apostles in Africa and provides strategic support to the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ).


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

  1. Zim President sets up advisory council The Southern Times, published: February 04, 2019, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  2. Discord hits ED advisory council . . . as unhappy members publicly slate government policies Daily News, published: December 23, 2019, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  3. Team Profiles, Crisis Action, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  4. Oxfam's Pan Africa urges Africa to guard their independence: Jana Ncube SABC News, published: May 25, 2016, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  5. Janah Ncube | Speaker Profile, Africa Innovation Summit, retrieved August 11, 2020
  6. Why we must harness the power of collective action | Janah Ncube TEDxLagos, published: 02 October 2018, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  7. Janah Ncube | Speaker Profile, Africa Innovation Summit, retrieved August 11, 2020
  8. Zimbabwe: Charges against activists dropped Pambazuka News, published: November 27, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  9. EDITORIAL COMMENT: Violence part of MDC-T DNA The Sunday News, published: August 13, 2017, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  10. Mnangagwa’s adviser breaks ranks Newsday, published: November 23, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  11. Mnangagwa’s adviser breaks ranks Newsday, published: November 23, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  12. A stream cannot rise above its source Pambazuka News, published November 21, 2012, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  13. Fast Tracking to Women's Equality in Africa Pambazuka News, published: February 07, 2007, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  14. Fast Tracking to Women's Equality in Africa Pambazuka News, published: February 07, 2007, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  15. Fast tracking to equality: The SADC gender journey Pambazuka News, published: February 09, 2006, retrieved: August 11, 2020
  16. COVID-19 exposes incompetence in health service delivery Kubatana.Net, published: July 29, 2020, retrieved: August 11, 2020