A few days ago I was having a conversation with a friend and I remember telling him that “when I was young, I wanted to see Afrikan womyn on television just so I could know that even I could be and do big.” I wish mainstream media would highlight these strong, influential and of course beautiful womyn that have been and are changing the face of Afrika whether one country at a time or even through using resources outside the continent. It is important for the young Afrikan people (especially ladies and womyn) to know that there are womyn fighting for them, putting Afrika on the map and many who fight colonial mentality unlike the common ideology that Afrikan womyn need western womyn to save them.
So here are a few Afrikan womyn that you need to know about.
B for late Brenda Fasie, iconic South African musician. She was South Africa’s youngest “Black pop star”. During the apartheid, she stopped singing in English as a movement to end colonialism and encourage nationalism. Her song “Black President” dedicated to Nelson Mandela and a narrative of the horrific acts done to black people in South Africa during the apartheid was banned in her motherland but was a great tool in raising international awareness.
C for Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, Nigerian Author and activist. Notable for novels such as Purple Hibiscus and Americanah and TedTalk “We should all be Feminists” that highlight intersectional feminism, flaws in mainstream feminism and indigenous Afro-feminism.
D for Damme Van Phumzile, South Africa’s member of Parliament
E for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Politician and activist, Liberia’s president. One of the four female Afrikan heads of State.
F for Funmilayo-Ransome Kuti, Nigerian women’s right advocate, activist. Mother of Afro-jazz legend Fela Kuti. Mother of modern female empowerment in Nigeria.
G for Gbowee Leymah, Liberian women’s right activist (from second civil war).
H for Hope Azeda, mother of Rwanda’s Mashirika Peforming Arts. Has given platform to numerous Rwandans to develop their artistic talents. Hakizimana Lydie, Rwanda’s business woman, distributor of higher educations books. Owns the business that provides books to all Rwandan higher education schools.
I for Iman Abdulmajid, Somalian fashion legend, actress and model. Creator of Iman cosmetics
J for Jeanette Kagame, Rwanda’s First Lady, women’s and peace activist. Founder and president of influential Imbuto Foundation in Rwanda aimed at empowering young girls.
K for Kanakuze Judith, Rwanda’s creator of gender policy. Peace and women’s activist as well as politician. Rwanda now stands as the one of the governments in the world with the highest number of womyn in the parliament (64%).
L for Lupita Nyong’O, Oscar award-winning and Kenya’s daughter. Actress, notable for MTV Base series, Shuga, that promoted sex education and women empowerment in Afrika. Also the multi-award-winning 12 Year’s A Slave. She promotes animal conservation and sex education in cultural communities.
M for Mushikiwabo Louise, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, a women’s activist and politician. Known for challenging Western views on Afrikan politics.
N for Nayla Kakenya, Kenyan humanitarian and activist. Advocates against young marriages, Female Genital Mutilation and advocates for Girl education. N for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Dr.), Nigerian once serving Minister of Finance.
O for Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigerian Businesswoman. Influential accountant and worked for World Bank. Omotola Jalade, Nigerian actress and activist. Founder of Strong Woman campaign to empower Afrikan womyn.
R for Redi Tlhabi, South African journalist. Popular on SABC and different channels on DStv (an Afrikan network cable). A women’s activist that is very well known for owning motherhood. She creates platforms for mothers to voice their struggles and come up with solutions. She advocates strongly for Breastfeeding rights. She once appeared on her talk show 702 and breastfed her baby while the show was airing.
S for Saran Kaba Jones, a Liberian activist. Advocates for provision of clean water and owns projects to support this cause. One of her projects was the foundation of Face of Africa which she is CEO for. Face of Africa has gone to provide clean water for millions of Liberian people in the rural areas.
T for Theo Sowa, Ghanaian businesswoman and activist. CEO of Afrikan Women Deveopment Fund (AWDF) and women’s rights and empowerment advocate. She advocates for the reformation of Western feminism to include Afrikan women’s voices.
U for Uwamahoro Angel, One of Rwanda’s young poets, Presidential scholar and activist. Notable works include: performance at international Rwanda Day, UN and broadway (New York). Member of Mashirika Performing Arts.
W for Wek Alek, South Sudanese model and activist. Advocates for women’s empowerment, and is a businesswoman. She has used her role in the modelling industry to put to light the fact that Afrika has numerous pontentials and combats stereotypes about the continent.
Y for Yawa Hansen Quao founder of Leading Ladies Network and Yasmin Belo- Osagie, founder of She Leads Africa which gives platform to Afrikan womyn to develop business ideas and helps put them into action.