Dr Casta Tungaraza


Dr Casta Tungaraza comes from Tanzania and migrated to Australia over twenty years ago. She was a lecturer of Development Studies at the University of Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania and achieved her Doctorate degree in International Politics from Flinders University in South Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) in International Relations and a Master of Arts Degree in Development Studies. She joined the Murdoch University’s Politics Department as a Research Fellow and later was appointed as the University’s Equal Opportunity and Social Justice Manager. She is also the Director of the Australian Academy of Race Relations at Murdoch University.


Casta’s area of interest is gender equality and empowerment of women, human rights, among other things. In 2011 she was nominated as one of the WA Patrons for the Centenary of the International Women’s Day Celebrations.


Casta believes that the participation of women in social, economic, cultural and political life of a nation is crucial in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. As the founding member of the African Women’s Council of Australia she would like to see the advancement of African women and children in Australia and foster their contribution to the development of Australia by achieving equal participation in social, economic and political life. She looks forward to building networks and forming relationships with like minded women’s organisations in Australia and Globally to remove barriers to women’s achievement of a world free from gender discrimination and violence against women.


Dr Casta Tungaraza is a community worker who goes beyond the call of duty to volunteer her time whenever and wherever needed. She is the former Chairperson of the African Community in WA, the President of the Tanzanian Community in WA, and she is currently an Executive Member of the Federation of the African Communities Council of Australia (FACC) which is a national body.


Casta has served and continues to serve on a number of Government Advisory Boards for more than ten years – such as the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (Federal), the Western Australian Citizenship and Multicultural Advisory Council (WACMAC), the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia’s New and Emerging Communities Policy Advisory Committee (National), and the WA Government’s Anti-racism Strategy Steering Group.


She is a member of the WA’s Multicultural Advisory Group to the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests. The Multicultural Advisory Group plays a key role in contributing to the State Government’s vision to build an inclusive and cohesive society which draws on its cultural and linguistic diversity to enhance the social, economic and cultural development of the State.


Dr Tungaraza is currently the Director of the Australian Institute of Kiswahili Language and African Culture. She speaks five languages and takes interest in cultural diversity matters.




Ms Wynette Francis


Wynette Francis is the Treasurer of the African Women’s Council of Australia. She is originally from South Africa, currently working at Murdoch University as the Voice Communications Officer and Supervisor. She is a motivated person, with extensive experience in Supervision and Office Administration. Wynette has a keen interest in women’s equality.


Ms Francis is multi-lingual, and she has exceptional communication and negotiation skills. She is committed to developing and maintaining effective work relationships between the Council and key-stakeholders and strengthening networks with like minded organisations. She uses her highly developed competency in interacting with a wide range of people from varying backgrounds to promote a range of services offered by the African Women’s Council and to broaden the pool of volunteers in the community.


She has been a member of many community associations nominated to serve on committees in various capacities, and she is not new to the team of volunteers in significant events – national and international. She has provided service to community for over 20 years including volunteering in: Melbourne Commonwealth Games; Protocol Assistant, Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre; Arrivals Assistant, Commonwealth Games Village -2006; Volunteer Swimming Instructor, Asthma Foundation 1998 to 2005; and she is now one of the  volunteers for the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth 2011.


Wynette possesses a high level of self motivation, passing this enthusiasm onto others by positively conveying the benefits of superior service delivery skills. Through example, she has inspired young African girls to become volunteers in the community.


Wynette Francis is committed to the advancement of women in society, and promotes initiatives that result in the attainment of goals and objectives of the Council by providing a quality focused service.




Mrs Gertrude Chelagat Williams


Getty Williams was born in Eldoret in the western highlands of Kenya – the eldest of ten children. After graduation in Kenya she obtained a BA in politics and Psychology from Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan and since coming to Australia she has obtained a Grad Dip in Public Sector Management from Curtin University.


Ms Williams arrived in Australia in 1990 and moved to Perth with her husband, Ian. They have a son 20 and a daughter 18 years old. She has travelled widely in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, both with her husband in his work and privately. For the past two years has worked in administration in the motor vehicle industry.


Getty is a founding member of the African Women’s Council and her main interest is working with African women whose
skills and qualifications have not been recognised fully and helping African women to reach their best potential and to
achieve the equality and merit they deserve.


Ms Williams is also committed to mentoring African girls to build their self esteem and confidence to pursue their chosen






Ms Ivy Lekera


Ms Ivy Lekera comes from Malawi and currently pursuing her PhD in Nursing at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.


Ms Lekera is a Psychiatric Nurse (also qualified in the nursing field of midwifery and family planning) who is currently working as a Clinical Nurse Manager in Western Australia. She is a Trainer of Trainers in Palliation and Dementia care including Advanced Health Directives. She has been working as a volunteer in the African Community in Western Australia for many years and one of her field or area of accomplishments is Orthopedic Nurse. She is a role model to young African women who aspire to entre in the field of nursing and she assists in Teaching and mentoring student nurses. She has vast experience in the field and worked in Malawi, Australia and the UK as a registered nurse.


From 1991 – 2006, prior to coming to Australia she was a Lecturer in Nursing Research; Mental Health Psychiatric Nursing; and Health Assessment at Kamuzu College of Nursing in Lilongwe and Blantyre Campuses. She achieved a Diploma in Mental Health Psychiatric Nursing from the Sterkfontain College of Psychiatric Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia.



Zahra Farah Mahamed


Zahra Farah Mahamed is the President of the Somali community in Tasmania and the founding member of the Tasmanian African Council.


She was born in Somalia in 1978 and went to elementary school in Alexandria Egypt where she went on to pursue Agricultural studies at the University of Alexandria before coming to Australia in March 2000.


While in Australia she studied English and Information Technology in Melbourne and worked in various jobs including hospitality and retailing.



Her work and studies were interrupted when she had her first baby in 2004 however she devoted most of her time working as a volunteer in the Somali community in Sydney helping new arrivals to settle, in particular, she assisted in removing language barriers working as an interpreter in different social settings as well as in accessing government services.


In August 2009 Zahra moved to Tasmania and since then, she has been working with Centercare as a bicultural worker, helping new arrivals to navigate the two cultures and settle smoothly in their new home. Currently, she is also working with Centerlink as an interpreter.




Ms Elena Sesay


Ms Elena Sessay is originally from Liberia and since her arrival she has been a very active member of the West African Women’s Group in WA. She was a school teacher in Guinea, West Africa and when she came to Australia she realised that her qualifications were not recognised therefore she undertook various courses in community health and aged care while raising her children.


Ms Sessay volunteers in community settlement programs assisting new arrivals to settle in Australia. She is committed to building strong communities and coordinates youth and women activities in the community, proactively responding to emerging issues to ensure the advancement of the new and emerging African communities in Western Australia. In particular, she is interested in women’s wellbeing, appropriate services for children with disabilities, removing racial discrimination at the workplace.




Ms Lilly Tosiki