A few years ago, in my research into Nigerian/African women leaders, someone caught my eye. A poet, erudite scholar and teacher, who advocated nomadic education and empowerment for women as far back as the 13th century.
Her name is Nana Asma’u (the daughter of Usman dan Fodio, founder of Sokoto Caliphate). Asma’u represents the education, influence and independence that is possible for women across all faith and remains a model for African feminists till date.
Erudite and well versed in Arabic, Greek, and Latin classics and fluent in Arabic, Fulfulde, Hausa, and Tamacheq, Nana Asma’u was reputed to be a leading poet and scholar in the West Africa AND a wise, trusted adviser/counsel to Kings.
This March, in honour of #InternationalWomensDay, on my blogs: www.wholewomannetwork.org; www.julietkego.com, I’ll be profiling African (in particular Nigerian) Women, (Historical and Contemporary) who’ve influenced my value construct and personal philosophies. And also shaped my awareness and beliefs on Family, Leadership, Faith, Empowerment and Community Service.
Women like Pastor Esther Ibanga, who’s worked in the background since the 90s on issues of safety for women/girls in violent-prone areas in Northern Nigeria. She is also the founder of the “Women Without Walls Initiative” (WOWWI), an NGO that promotes the rights of women and children and provides a non-violent approach to conflict resolution across different faiths and tribes….
Others such Funmi Ransome-Kuti, Wangari Maathai, Margaret Ekpo, Professors Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, and Dora Akunyili, Emotan of the Benin Empire, Angelique Kidjo, Miriam Makeba, Buchi Emecheta, Madam Tinubu, Hajia Gambo Sawaba, My beloved principal, Educationist Mrs Mary Okobi, and one of my favourite lecturers at the university of Lagos (UNILAG), erudite scholar of classical philosophy, -Professor Sophie Oluwole etc.
It is so painful to see that a lot of the younger generation have no inkling about these SHEroes and the vital role they played in our history. With the aid of technology and social media I believe it is easier to introduce them to a new audience and hopefully inspire and raise a unique generation of transformational African leaders.
Who are you celebrating this #IWD2015? At the top of my list are my Mom, my sister, Grandmothers, Aunty Kate (Bestest auntie in the whole wide world, as my seven-year old son would say) and My Mother-in-law (Yep, we may not have always agreed, two strong personalities et al 🙂 lol, however, I learned a lot from her and loved and respected her a great deal). #TogetherWERise
I’ll love to hear from you. Which African woman has inspired and influenced you? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Facebook: (www.facebook.com/wholewomannetwork) or (www.facebook.com/julietkego). A huge thank you to those who already shared their list.
Be social! Read | Comment | Share | 🙂
Love, Light & Truth!
-Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, MBA (www.julietkego.com)
Poet | Master-Certified Leadership Coach-Trainer -Consultant|
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Whole Woman Network
Raising a New Generation of Empowered, Transformational & Creative African Leaders
~Take empowered ACTION towards a Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier YOU!~
[Photo credit: Artwork by Heba Amin – hebaamin.com]
Postcards From Africa is a WWN Feature about creating a new, positive narrative of Africa by Africans. This is a movement about igniting an empowered citizenry to make a difference by bridging the integrity gap. It is about changing the status quo, from waiting passively for ‘leaders’ to embracing a new paradigm that WE, are the leaders we seek. We are committed to raising and/or celebrating a new generation of Transformational, Passionate and Creative African leaders, one idea, one person, one project and one community at a time!
Do you know anyone or cause that should be featured? We’d love to hear from you: email@example.com