Connected Career Women Series

Three Amazing African Women And Why They Inspire Me

On 25th May countries across Africa and the world will celebrate “Africa Day”. On 25th May 1963 the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded at a conference hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. The OAU was the precursor of the African Union (AU) and it initially set out to decolonize Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia. This date has been celebrated ever since to commemorate African unity against oppression and to celebrate African cultures and peoples. What better time to celebrate the African women who inspire us? We all have role models and I am no different. This week I want to introduce you to three amazing African women and explain why they inspire me.

The authenticity of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie famous for novels like Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah, is an inspiration to many. When reading her books or watching her TED Talks there is something very constant that emerges: Chimamanda is not afraid to share her truth.

She stresses the importance of context, diverse voices and the importance of hearing different stories portraying different perspectives. She is not afraid to tackle difficult topics like ‘race’ and ‘feminism’ and does so artfully whether it is in writing or during her famous talks. Proud of her Igbo accent she cherishes it as a part of her identity. Finally, if wanting to have the same rights and opportunities as men makes her a feminist, then so be it. She is in her own words, a “happy African feminist, who does not hate men, who likes lip gloss, and who wears high heels for herself (but not for men)”.

“It’s not your job to be likable. It’s your job to be yourself. Someone will like you anyway.” 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    (featured photo courtesy Brittle Magazine)

The expertise of Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo is a Zambian-born economist and global opinion leader on macro-economics and global affairs.

With Master’s degrees in Finance (MBA), she started off her career at the World Bank. She pursued a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a PhD in Economics and continued her career at Goldman Sachs. Her first book “Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (2009) was a New York Times bestseller and brought her global acclaim. Since then she has written three more New York Times bestsellers, has travelled the world over to speak and advise on macro-economic policies. She serves on several boards of multinational companies.

One thing that inspires me in Dambisa Moyo is how she has established herself as an opinion leader of international acclaim and influence.  She is a sought-after speaker, consultant and board member operating on a global scale. Her sometimes controversial messages are based on a solid foundation of research, real-life exposure, and a refreshing perspective.

I have to tell you, this is my favorite thing about being raised in Africa; we don’t do labels very well, we don’t do this, ‘Oh, you’re a Democrat; oh, you’re a Republican.’ Because we live in the real world.

Dambisa Moyo
  • Dambisa Moyo

The activism of Graça Machel

Graça Machel is a renowned advocate for women’s and children’s rights, humanitarian and politician. She is the widow of both Nelson Mandela and, before him of Samora Machel, the first President of Mozambique after its independence. Graca Machel was involved in the liberation struggle of Mozambique where she is from and has always kept that sense of activism. She served as Minister of for Education and Culture of Mozambique between 1975 and 1989.

In her later career she has done so much to promote the rights of women and children on the African continent and her study on the impact of war and armed conflict on children is still a go-to reference for humanitarians in that field. She has won numerous awards and served on numerous advisory committees to further develop Africa for the benefit of all of its citizens with a special focus on women and children. Her focus, her energy, her activism is outright contagious and I was greatly inspired having heard her speak in 2017 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

Our lives will only have a meaning if each one of us can confidently say that I was able to bring five, ten, fifteen and twenty women along with me. What I am saying is, do not climb alone!”

Graça Machel
  • Graça Machel

Closer to home, there are many inspiring role models in Rwanda and many of the members of the Career Women’s Network are role models in their own right.

Instead of choosing in your place, I therefore decided to ask you: who is you favorite Rwandan role model?

Want to join a tribe of successful women who have your back? Contact the Career Women’s Network Kigali: info@careerwomensnetwork-kigali.com and +250783719431

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