Danai Gurira, a playwright and actress, is a champion for the stories and experiences of African women, weaving narratives that challenge societal norms and illuminate overlooked traumas. On Friday (Nov. 17), her work was honored with a TIME100 Impact Award at TIME’s inaugural Africa Summit and Gala in Kigali, Rwanda.

‘’This award stands as a reminder of all I must get on with doing, and to make sure voices are amplified and more barriers are broken,” Gurira said as she accepted the award. For her, the work is simple: “To create narratives that amplify the voice of African women.”

“I continue to seek to bring African storytellers onto global stages, to dispel stereotypes, to disrupt the status quo, to reach the goal of performance, so that our narrative never goes unheard.”

She expressed gratitude and emphasized individual responsibility, the uniqueness of personal contributions, and recounting impactful encounters with inspiring African women, including those in Rwanda addressing climate issues and pioneering intersections between mental health and technology.

While Gurira is perhaps best known in the U.S. for her roles in television’s The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Black Panther movies, she is an accomplished playwright. Her plays transcend cultural boundaries, fostering empathy and sparking conversations on gender, race, and identity.

Beyond the stage, Gurira’s impact as the founder of Love Our Girls and a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador actively addresses the injustices faced by women and girls, mobilizing communities and bridging the gap between artistic expression and tangible change. Love Our Girls raises awareness and also catalyzes action, while her U.N. position amplifies her influence in advocating for a more equitable and inclusive world.

The TIME100 Impact Awards Africa are sponsored by Visit Rwanda, Kigali International Financial Centre, and RwandAir

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.