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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, speaking at the 21st Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, drew parallels between the Taliban's restrictions on women in Afghanistan and the apartheid treatment of Black people. Yousafzai highlighted the severe limitations imposed by the Taliban, stating that if you are a girl in Afghanistan, the Taliban dictates your future, denying access to education and limiting freedoms.
Survivor of a Taliban assassination attempt at the age of 15 for advocating girls' education, Yousafzai declared the Taliban's actions as "gender apartheid" and warned against normalizing relations with the group. Since returning to power in 2021, the Taliban has curtailed women's activities, including work at aid agencies, closing beauty salons, and restricting travel.
Expressing concerns about the erosion of sciences and critical thinking, Yousafzai emphasized the international community's responsibility to safeguard education, ensuring it is of quality and not indoctrination. She also called for an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war in Gaza, emphasizing the impact on children's lives and the disruption of normalcy caused by conflicts.