Back to Index
of Africa's top women achievers
The Guardian, UK
March 08, 2013
web site recently asked their Internet audience to name women from
across the continent who they feel that deserve recognition.
Here is the
top 25 . . .
first woman to be president of Malawi and an award-winning gender
activist. Since coming to power, Banda has won praise for moves
such as cutting her salary by 30% and auctioning the presidential
jet bought by her predecessor.
renowned humanitarian and activist, recently appointed president
of the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London.
Machel is an advocate for the rights of women and children. She
has been made a British dame for her humanitarian work and helped
formulate an influential UN report on the effect of armed conflict
first woman to become Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal
Court. Bensouda from the Gambia, began her international career
as a legal adviser at the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda.
Oye Lithur (Ghana)
minister for gender, children and social protection is also an acclaimed
human rights lawyer. She has strenuously campaigned for the equality
of same-sex relationships in Ghana. Her advocacy centre has been
credited with helping hundreds of poor people gain access to justice.
Dlamini-Zuma (South Africa)
South African ANC stalwart won a fiercely fought contest to become
first woman to lead the African Union. She has a reputation as a
no-nonsense, “can do” politician.
she became Nigeria’s finance minister Okonjo-Iweala says she
was nicknamed Okonjo-Wahala, or “trouble woman”, because
of her crackdown on corruption. She has worked for the World Bank,
and has been touted as a future president. Her country publishes
government budgets in newspapers and online to improve transparency
and allow Nigerians to hold authorities to account.
Crockett (South Africa)
pastor who became instrumental in setting up hospices for people
with Aids in South Africa, which has more people living with HIV
than any other country. Crockett talks openly about the transmission
of HIV during her sermons, and has remained steadfast in her work
despite criticism from religious conservatives.
Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
celebrated author won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for
her first book, Purple Hibiscus, and the Orange Broadband prize
for fiction for her second, Half of a Yellow Sun, which has been
made into a film.
Nigerian author of The Spider King’ Daughter started writing
when she was just 10. Onuzo signed with a literary agent at 18 and
had her first book published when she was 21.
Tilahun Alemu (Ethiopia)
Ethiopian businesswoman who hopes to make her ethical footwear brand
global. soleRebel makes sandals and shoes from reclaimed tyres and
other recycled materials.
young Nigerian fashion designer who is hoping to transform the country’s
retail industry. Ogiemwonyi created the fashion label Obsidian.
She helped set up a monthly shopping event in Lagos called Le Petit
Marche to give fellow designers a platform to display their work
and expand their businesses.
much-loved musician, Sangaré made a big impact on the Malian
music scene with her first album Moussoulou (Women) in 1991, which
addressed issues such as polygamy and female sexuality. She is also
a campaigner for women’s rights and a United Nations goodwill
joint winner of the 2011 Nobel peace prize, who led the women’s
movement to help end war in Liberia. She risked her life to lead
thousands of women each day in prayer, fasting and peaceful protest
against the conflict in the country, prolific gang rapes and the
use of child soldiers.
helped start Woman of Paradise, an organisation that aims to eliminate
genital mutilation in Kenya. Gatuma has also been part of an advocacy
programme campaigning to prevent post-election violence in 2013
similar to that in 2007-8 that saw the deaths of hundreds of Kenyans.
Kaba Jones (Liberia)
Jones and her organisation FaceAfrica are working to help solve
Liberia’s water crisis by building water pumps in villages
and small communities. They have provided tens of thousands of Liberians
with access to clean safe drinking water, which she sees as an essential
start to breaking the poverty cycle.
Moloi-Motsepe (South Africa)
medical doctor turned businesswoman, Moloi-Motsepe is the driving
force behind African fashion week. She also promotes emerging talent
in South Africa through African Fashion International. The Motsepe
Family Foundation was established to help support young people in
a range of disciplines from sport to music. The foundation also
funds health and educative initiatives.
is a Kenyan blogger who co-founded Ushahidi. By crowdsourcing information
the site can be used as a tool for reporting violence around the
world. Ushahidi’s live maps were used to collect information
on the violence that erupted after the Kenyan presidential elections
of 2007, and has since been used to improve information flow and
transparency in disaster situations in Haiti and Congo.
co-founder of Ecopost, a company that makes an eco-friendly alternative
to traditional timber. Her company employs hundreds of young Kenyans
to make durable fencing posts and lumber from waste plastic materials,
and is expected to create 100,000 positions over the next 15 years.
artist originally from Kenya, Jepchumba founded the site African
Digital Art to showcase work from around the continent. The site
features diverse range of artists, and includes everything from
animation to short films and graphic/art design.
International’s recently appointed executive director is also
an aeronautical engineer, a former African Union diplomat and an
ex-MP in Uganda. Byanyima has also worked at the UN Development
Programme, and is considered an authority on gender issues, climate
change and economic policy making.
Dusabe (Uganda & Rwanda)
a biologist in Uganda, Dusabe is running a rural support programme
in Rwanda. Her team helps farmers become more sustainable by developing
new practices to combat soil erosion and make the best use of water
works in Nigerian healthcare industry. At 25 she is a medical doctor,
a helicopter pilot and managing director of West Africa’s
first air ambulance service, Flying Doctors.
Featherstone (South Africa)
started Soil for Life in Cape Town, a non-profit organisation that
teaches people to grow their own food. Staff and residents create
gardens together, with the aim of tackling local food insecurity,
poverty, waste management, social degradation and unsustainable
Chigudu (Uganda & Malawi)
Ugandan feminist campaigning for gender equality, Chigudu has spent
more than 30 years working to improve the status of women, specifically
through policy reform and legislation. A skilled organiser, Chigudu
has helped form women’s groups to lobby for the rights of
minorities, such as sex workers.
a businesswoman from Senegal, is the founder of Spot One Global
Solutions, which helps companies establish themselves internationally.
She also organises TEDx Accra and Dakar, and supports young Africans
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.