(This series was updated on 25 March 208)
[The 3rd installment is here…yep, we continue to virtually tour the continent for our Inspiring African Women series].
I have decided to do a top 16 of African women doing amazing things in their fields. Whether they are in the entertainment industry, the media, or in the government affairs; whether they are running NGOs to improve the lives of others or just a young girl who stood up for her rights and challenged the status quo in South African schools like Zuleika Patel did; these women are breaking barriers and making a huge impact not only within their communities but also worldwide. These women are sharing their African colors with the world.
9. Mo Abudu
Occupation: TV host and producer, Media entrepreneur, HR specialist
Country of origin: Nigeria
Bio Express: Described by Forbes Magazine as ‘Africa’s most successful woman’, Mo Abudu was born in the United Kingdom. She graduated from the University of Westminster with a Master Degrees in Human Resources Management. Although Mo Abudu started her career in recruitment and HR and has worked for companies like the Starform Group in London and Exxon Mobile, the American oil and gas multinational based in Nigeria, she was dreaming of being the Oprah Winfrey of Africa. In an interview with the UK newspaper, The Independent, Mo revealed that she has sent tons of emails to Oprah studio, asking if Oprah could mentor and guide her into being Africa’s talk show hostess and executive producer of her show. In 2008, Mo ventured into television with her own talk show, Moments with Mo, the first ever syndicated African talk show. Her show is broadcast across Africa via DSTV (and Without Mama O’s help if you are still wondering if she ever got a response to her emails!). Through her talk show, Mo has interviewed prominent personalities such as Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde of the international Monetary Funds and much more. In 2013, Mo launched Ebony Life TV, Africa’s first global black entertainment and lifestyle channel. Ebony Life produces original content like dramas, series, talk shows, reality and entertainment shows, etc. Way to go, Mo!
10. Nicole Armateifio
Occupation: Creator & Co-Producer of ‘An African City’
Country of origin: Ghana
Bio Express: Nicole is originally from Ghana but was raised in the United States. Prior to embracing a career as a TV producer, Nicole had a successful career in international development at the Whitaker Group. Before that she was the first ever social media strategist focusing on the African region at the World Bank, when she launched her hit series ‘An African city’. An African city is a YouTube series that showcase the lives of 5 professional women, who have spent most of their lives abroad and return to Ghana. The web series shows how these successful and educated women balance their personal lives and try to adjust to life in their home country. In an interview to CNN, Nicole said ‘I was tired of the sole narrative of the African woman being about poverty and disease. I wanted to see another narrative — one of beauty, glamour and intelligence. I knew I had to do something about it. I couldn’t keep complaining about the problem’. So one day after watching a re-run of ‘Sex and the City’, the idea sparked in her mind to create ‘An African city’. The series is in its third season and is available via YouTube and Netflix.
11. Noella Coursaris
Occupation: Model, philanthropist and founder of Malaika, DRC
Country of origin: DR Congo/Cyprus
Website: http://www.noellacoursaris.com and http://www.malaika.org
Bio Express: Noella has a mixed Congolese and Cyprus background. Born in the DRC, she was sent to live with relatives in Switzerland at the age of 5, after the passing of her father. After a long absence from her birthplace, Noella returned to visit her mom and was shocked by the poverty and the lack of opportunities for women. Noella used her modelling career as a platform to advocate for girls’ empowerment. She founded Malaika, a nongovernmental organization that empowers Congolese girls and their communities through education and health programs. Through her foundation, Noella has built a free school for girls in Kalebuka, a small village situated near Lubumbashi, the second biggest city of DRC. What I absolutely love about Noella`s organization is that it is committed to the betterment of the whole community of Kalebuka where the school is located. Through the school, Malaika is transforming the lives of Kalebuka with health programs and various community projects . Through Malaika’s well documented social media pages and regular fund raising events, we are able to see the growth of the school and the development of the students. Malaika celebrated its 10th anniversary this May 2017. Well done!
12. Diane Audrey Ngako
Occupation: Founder of Visiter L’Afrique
Country of origin: Cameroon
Bio Express: Diane Audrey belongs to this category of people that has to travel far from home to find themselves. Born in Cameroon, she left for France at age 12. After being subject to teasing and prejudices from friends at school because of her skin color and accent, she went through a phase she called ‘a blackout of her African roots’ in an effort to assimilate with her school friends. But a travel to the USA in 2009 to pursue studies in political sciences fortunately changed this. There, she met young Africans, proud of their roots and origin and this experience is said to have changed her outlook on her identity. She quit her political scinces studies, went back to France and studied Communication. In 2013, ten years after her departure, she traveled back to her native Cameroon. She was surprised by how things have changed for the better, saying ‘it wasn’t the same Cameroon I left in 2003’. She was further amazed by the bustling city of Nairobi in 2014. Shaped by these travel experiences, Diane Audrey launched her platform Visiter L’Afrique in 2012. Visiter L’Afrique is a travel and lifestyle website that aims to showcase the best of Africa. It’s a collaborative platform supported by a network of contributors and ambassadors across Africa that create content promoting travels and discoveries of African countries. Diane Audrey who was a social media editor at the French newspaper, Le Monde, left her job and relocated to Cameroon to focus on her start-up and a content media agency. So don’t wait, go Visiter L’Afrique (at least via their social media pages )!