The second woman to be celebrated in this series is Getrude Matshe-Kanicki. Getrude is originally from Zimbabwe but is based in New Zealand where she relocated to in 2001.This woman wears many hats: She is an Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Author Rooney International Scholar, TED Speaker and Rotary Member.
As an Entrepreneur She started Medical Recruiters of New Zealand Ltd, GM Global Investments Ltd (Property) and Simzisani Ltd, a talent agency catering for the film and advertising industry. As philanthropist Getrude founded a not for profit organisation Africa Alive Education Foundation, an organization that supports HIV orphans in Zimbabwe.
Getrude has written several books including ‘Born on the Continent – Ubuntu’ and “It’s not what happens to you that matters!”. As someone who has been a TED Speaker she has a conference called HERSTORY circle that gives women a platform to speak and share their story.
We celebrate you our heroine Getrude, keep doing the amazing work that you do!
In Côte d’Ivoire, young people are doing their part to keep their community safe, and one such person is Dédé Zeïnabou Tounkara Cissé. Having an awareness that her country will find it challenging to cope with the Coronavirus crisis because the health care system is barely managing patients with other illnesses. People who are ill can, at times, find themselves victims of fake drugs or visit informal clinics if they are unable to access health care. So Dédé then co-founded MaiSoin with Mario Romero. Dede has a background in health, with a Master’s in Public Health from Emory University.
Maison is a cloud-based mobile application that helps patients to be connected to health care providers. House medical visits are possible where needed in non-emergency cases. Examples services include follow up on patients taking medication and maternal heal consultations. Even without the internet, patients can use the app without internet and health personnel can be able to track the patient’s medical history with the app as well. The details of the patient are safe as only the patient and the person treating them have access to their information.
To find out more about MaiSoin and the projects that they are working on, you can visit their website: MaiSoin
For the last part of my heroine series, I go back to my home country Zimbabwe, to celebrate a phenomenal woman who has inspired generations. This woman is none other than Charwe Nehanda Nyakasikana(Mbuya Nehanda). She stood at the forefront of the first Chimurenga(“Revolutionary Struggle”) to resist the Colonial Settlers when they initially arrived. She carries the title Nehanda because she was a spiritual leader as well, a spirit medium.
Cecil Rhodes arrived in the country with the British South Africa Company( BSAC). When the BSAC invaded the country, they possessed the land, imposed heavy taxation and forced labour on the indigenous people. This oppression now led to a rebellion. Mbuya Nehanda and other leaders such as Sekuru Kaguvi were responsible for organising and directing people to resist the invasion.
The resistance began in 1896 till they captured Mbuya Nehanda and sentenced her to death by hanging 1898. The defeat came as they ran out of resources and the BSAC had superior firepower. This first resistance of colonialism was not in vain, as there was a second Chimurenga(“Revolutionary Struggle”) which gave birth to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
The story of this great woman’s, bravery, leadership and resistance to colonialism will be passed on to future generations. We celebrate you Nyakasikana; you continue to inspire Zimbabwean women to be strong leaders!
For the second part of my African heroine series,I am celebrating Wangari Muta Maathai(1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011), a political and environmental activist from Kenya. Although she is now late, she made a significant contribution to the African continent. This great woman was the first Africa woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize when she won in 2014. Also, she was the first woman in East Africa to have a Doctorate degree when she got her PhD in 1971 from the University of Nairobi.
Wangari studied Biology, getting her Masters from the University of Pittsburgh and also obtained a PhD. In 1977, she started the Green Belt Movement, an organisation that mobilised women in rural Kenya to plant trees, reverse deforestation, stop soil erosion while they make an income and have a source of fuel. By the early 21st century, the Green Belt Movement had planted about 30 million trees and had inspired similar projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
We celebrate this great heroine, continue to rest in power Wangari!
To start our women Celebration series, we begin our trip by going to Liberia, a West African country that gave the African continent its first female president. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made history the day she became president. For the first time ever, a woman was president on the continent. This was quite a landmark achievement on a continent that struggles with a history of toxic patriarchy. Issues that affect women and girls in African nations range from child marriages, female gender mutilation, minimal Economic opportunities and other problems. Having a Female president brought hope and showed that one of the highest glass ceiling could be shattered.
Madam Sirleaf has impressive credentials, she studied Economics and Business Administration, and got a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University. Before becoming president she served in public office as a Finance Minister during the Doe regime. She clashed with the head of state during this time, and as a result she was imprisoned, nearly executed and finally exiled.During her time in exile, she was an Economist for international organisations such as the World Bank.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ran for presidency in 2005, was sworn into office on 16 January 2006 and remained in office till 2018. In 2011 she won a Nobel Peace Prize. Additionally, she won the 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, recognizing the good changes that happened in Liberia during her presidency.