The name “Ntosake” comes from South Africa and means “She who walks with lions; she who carries her own things.”
The History of Ntosake—Women Who Walk with Lions and Carry Their Own Things
In response to deep, historical systems of patriarchy, in 1993 a group of women organizers and leaders from across the Gamaliel Network created the “Women’s Weekend.” This weekend was conceived as an opportunity for women to freely explore building a life as a leader in their communities and congregations.
We found that women hungered to find new and powerful ways to transform their lives.
Knowing that women often do not find spaces that are bold, life-giving and affirming, the planners were mindful that they should also honor the spirituality of women. The centerpiece of a closing sermon given by Rev. Dr. Brenda Hayes of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was a word, “Ntosake.” Ntosake originates from several indigenous languages from the southern part of Africa and means, “She who comes with her own things.”
Upon hearing the word and its definition, an awakening swept through the room and 75 women declared “We are Ntosake.”
Ntosake Participant Criteria
Criteria for Ntosake Track 1:
1) Must be invited by a leader or an organizer
2) Must have attended Weeklong National training or be committed to attend within the next 12 months.
3) Must be pursuing a leadership position or in a leadership position.
Criteria for Ntosake Track 2:
1) Must be invited by a leader or an organizer.
2) Must have attended Weeklong National training.
3) Must be in a significant leadership position.
4) May have attended a previous Ntosake event.
Training is designed for those who are or who want to become Ntosake women. We require that women who attend should have attended or plan to attend the Gamaliel's National Weeklong Leadership Training.