7 Influential African Women to Celebrate
At Inamunai, women are celebrated every single day. But as March is the designated Women’s History Month, we find it fitting to present some outstanding African women who have taken the lead in fashion, politics, business, arts and entertainment. We also want to recognize those who have paved the way and shown us some real woman power!
Have a look at some of the most influential African women out there:
1. Samira Bawumia, wife of Ghana’s vice president
A former beauty pageant contestant/TV host, Mrs. Bawumia is not new to the lime light. She is the only daughter of politician Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, the National Chairman of one of the main parties in Ghana (People’s National Convention) and Hajia Ayesha Ramadan. She is the perfect balance of beauty and poise. Samira was declared the best student in her MBA program. She exudes poise, elegance and has impeccable fashion taste! At Ghana’s 61 st Independence Day, she wore the most magnificent outfit! We at Inamunai definitely shake our heads in approval!
2. Wangari Maathai, environmental activitist
Kenyan. 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Human rights advocate. Wangari is indeed a breath of fresh air. Such a radiant soul. Such a giver! Maathai gained her education in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica (Benedictine College), the University of Pittsburgh as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. She founded the highly recognized Green Belt Movement in 1977 which focuses on tree planting, environmental conservation and women’s rights.
3. Yaa Asantewaa – Queen Mother of the Edweso tribe
There is nothing more exhilarating than when a woman rises, demands for a change and leads! This inspiring queen warrior led an army against British colonials in 1900 in a war that was later dubbed the War of the Golden Stool. Unfortunately, the British captured her in the war and she was exiled to the Seychelles where she later passed away. Asantewaa’s dream for her country to
be liberated from British rule became a reality on March 6 th , 1957 (Ghana’s Independence Day).
4. Women Soldiers of Dahomey (Benin)
In the 18th century, the elite “Dahomey Amazons” were formed. This was a group of revered female warriors who were given the responsibility of protecting the king and land. They were not afraid to give their life, if need be. According to smithsmonian.com, “In the latter half of the 19th century, they lost at least 6,000, and perhaps as many as 15,000. In their very last battles against French troops equipped with vastly superior weaponry, about 1,500 women took the field, and
only about 50 remained fit for active duty by the end.”
5. Sibongile Sambo
Sometimes a little bit of rejection goes a long way! What am I talking about? Well, look at Sibongile Sambo. A native of South Africa, she applied for a flight attendant job with South African airways and was rejected. Instead of giving up, she remained determined to pursue her dream of flying and started her very own aviation business! Today, she is the founder and managing director of SRS Aviation, the first black female-owned aviation company in South Africa. Ha! Moral of the story: never give up on your dreams because of a little rejection. It just
might take you places you never even dreamed of.
6. Hajia Bola Shagaya
Hajia, a Nigerian, began her career in banking working for the central bank of Nigeria. She established her own business in 1983 and she is the founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International (BGI). Not only does BGI deal in oil, real estate, banking and communications but in 2005, Shagaya became the managing director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria.
7. Njeri Rionge
Talk about humble beginnings! Njeri Rionge, a Kenyan, started her first business at the age of 19, selling yoghurt at schools in the capital, Nairobi. Now, Njeri Rionge is one of the women pioneer investors in the IT sector in Africa, having co-founded Wananchi Online, East Africa’s first mass market internet service provider which has grown to become the region’s leading internet company. Njeri is also playing a role in grooming the next set of young entrepreneurs in Kenya. She is imparting knowledge and skills and helping them develop individual businesses.