IWD: Honouring African Women – Part 1

On International Women's Day, African bloggers have chosen to honour African women. We honour our mothers, sisters, grandmothers and daughters. Women whose names you will not see written in newspapers or hear on the radio but nonetheless women with courage whose spirits will always remain with us and guide us through our daily lives.

Ore's Notes

In my life, I feel that I have been touched by so many great, wise and wonderful women — from my mother, other family, women I've worked with and many great friends — so it is very hard for me to pick just one woman to pay tribute to. For that reason, I decided not to select just one woman, but to celebrate ALL the women who have been significant in my life

She honours her mother “She is an engineer (still a fairly rare job for a woman), a leader of (many) men, an enterpreneur, an amazing mother, who despite her frenetic schedule still manages to keep up with the minutae of her family's life“; A Kenyan lady she worked with in Boston for some years who “showed me a different life for an African woman than I was accustomed to“; her best friend who “serves as an inpiration for living life by your own rules“; and her sister who is “someone I can always count on to tell me the often hard, cold and unpleasant truths that no one else will.”

What An African Woman Wants celebrates The Ordinary.

I’m inclined to celebrate ordinariness for the very fact that it does not stand out in a crowd and therefore it is about you and me and her. ……..Once upon a time, she was the daughter of M. Then she was Mrs K. Now, for the most part, she is Mama W, W being the name of her first born. Or Mama M, M being the name of her only son. This is what her friends, her neighbours, her acquaintances, even her husband, call her. Mama W or Mama M. Her children, of course, call her mother, mum. And at the office, she is Mrs K.

007 in Africa uses poetry to honour the mother she met from the village of Kole in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Because you are raising 10 grown children; without the help of a husband by your side (he exists but is unseen); Because you smiled for the full 24 hours; I spent with you and your girls; Because, in you, I can see the way my ancestors lived; and it inspires me to continue working in health and development

Sokwanele – This is Zimbabwe celebrates the women of Zimbabwe through WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise)

WOZA stand out as a group of women who, through non-violent peaceful action, give a public face and press-friendly words to the experience that weighs on all women in our country……..We honour them not only because they are undeniably brave, but because we recognise that their actions give a voice to the experiences of Zimbabwean woman struggling to survive on a daily basis. And through honouring them we recognise the courage of all Zimbabwe women battling in these difficult times – not just for today, but for every day of the year.

Weichegud!ET Politics honours Ethiopian mothers who have buried their children – “slaughtered in the name of a wanton revolution

On International Women’s Day, I honor the many thousand Wubalems of Ethiopia- past and present; women who, as my mother put it, “have not stopped crying for thirty years.”

Jangbalajugbu Home Stories honours Dora Akunyili who as head of the National Agency for Food and Drug Andministration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria swas shot by would be assasins in December 2003 but survived her bullet to her head.

Numerous letters have also been written to this woman, threatening her life and that of her family. Her job has been described as “the most dangerous job in Nigeria”. Many in her shoes would have given up for fear of their lifes and that of their loved ones. But definately not Professor Dora Akunyi

Guessaurus honours honours her mother…

the ones we overlook coz they are so ‘obvious’ and aren’t celebrated worldwide, or in the media or on TV or even in our everyday lives. They are always there, always ready, always willing, and always supportive, they seem to have supernormal strength – taking care of others, of us, seemingly not needing any support themselves (or so we think) and seeming to get along alright, make all the right decisions, do all the right things, even in suffering they don’t complain.

Feminist African Sister chooses to celebrate the progress women have made in the struggle for equality. She names her grandparents, her mother, younger women signing up for the struggle, a civil servant who has brought gender awareness to her community, the women who have gone before her and the sisterhood of her friends.

To women in this struggle, this year has taught me several things I wish for you all to take on the long journey ahead. Speak out! Standing strong for equality. Remember and cherish the bond of sisterhood with all its contradictions and joys. Support each another

Black Looks chooses to honour the women of the Niger Delta through the life of Mrs Odua, a grassroots defender of human rights who despite great personal sacrifice never waivered in her resistance to power.

She paid a high price for her activism and beliefs. Ostracised from her community, abandoned by her husband, disinherited by her in-laws. We should not underestimate the honesty and courage of women like Mrs Odua who resist the everyday oppressions in their own local communities.

Zimbabwean Pundit Through the story of Grandmother – “Ambuya vaSeka” he honours all the women of Zimbabwe and of Africa. Ambuya is caring for 5 children. What happened to their parents?

Mzukuru (grandson),” ambuya intoned, her voice breaking up as the emotion welled up inside of her, “upenyu hwakaoma (life is hard). Vaurikuona ava ndivo vatova vana vangu (the infants you're looking at now my children). Vangu vekuzvara vasopera kare, amai vaChipo kadikidiki aka karimumaoko angu takavaviga pasina kana negore rese (All my offspring have long since died, you see Chipo over here, we buried her mom less than a year ago)

He calls on his fellow African men to join together with the women and quotes Jonah K. Gokova the founder and chairperson of Padare Zimbabwe's men's forum on gender equality:

Men of Quality are Not Afraid of Equality! — Real Men Do Not Abuse Women!

Molara Wood
honours Marie Fatayi Williams and her son Anthony who was killed in the July bombings in London last year. The pain at the loss of one's child is indescribable. Mrs Fatayi Williams represents all the mothers who have lost their children to wanton violence.

This is my son, Anthony, my only son, the head of my family!” she cried out, and we could not but be moved. And when it was later confirmed that Anthony had indeed died on the number 30 bus, we had a profound appreciation of the enormity of the loss to those who loved him. In an obituary published on August 3, 2005, the BBC website wrote: “No one could be left in any doubt about the passion with which Anthony Fatayi-Williams was loved by his family after hearing the deeply emotional speech delivered by his mother in the wake of the London attacks.”

Poi honours and remembers all women – her mothers, grandmothers, aunts, all Kenyan woman.

May this day be a memoriam for all fallen women! For each woman is her own self-made HEROINE! I recognize you, each woman, out there. I'm against anyone who puts down, or misjudges a woman. For how else can we know where a shoe pinches lest our foot be in it?

AfroBlog chooses to honour her mother and asks “What does it mean to honour an African woman?”

It means to reflect upon her life – a daily testament to her strength.
It means to be inspired by her wisdom and humility.
It means to be amazed by her vision for her family and humanity.
It means to be humbled by her sense of justice.
It means to acknowledge her dignity.


  • learner

    Peace be to you.learner

  • […] African bloggers are using the occasion of International Women’s Day – today – to honor great African women, whether these women are public figures, or simply figures significant to their lives. Global Voices Africa editor Sokari Ekine has a comprehensive roundup in two parts on our site. It’s an amazing tour of the women in the public sphere and family life of bloggers across the continent. Sokari chooses to honor OC Odua, a Niger delta activist who stood up to powerful oil companies who attempted to displace her and her family from her community in the Niger delta. Also very much worth a read is Sokwanele’s celebration of WOZA – Women of Zimbabwe Arise. Happy International Women’s Day, and congratulations to the amazing women honored in all these posts. […]

  • Donna Akuamoah

    Very inspiring. Thanks to all the African ladies who took the time to write about the deepest connotations of African queens– our mothers. You have proven yourself just as worthy to be celebrated and just as selfless to be recognized!!! – Donna

  • I’m so happy that I didn’t miss this chance of honoring African women today, and thank you Sokari for the brilliant idea. Is there any chance of sharing the general messages to women throughout Africa. I know it won’t fill the bellies of the starving nor would it put roof over refugee women in Darfur, but may be it will give a faint ray of hope to know that somebody somewhere far away is thinking of them.

  • […] Kenyan Bloggers celebrated International womens day this past wednesday, with their entries being covered by global voices in Part 1 and part 2. Several gentlemen also joined the women in celebrating this day. Magaidi has a tribute, Ntwiga honors his wife Njeri, his mom and Wangari Maathai; Kenyan Analyst shares a piece about Liberia’s Ellen Sirleaf Johnson. […]

  • […] Kenyan Bloggers celebrated International womens day this past wednesday, with their entries being covered by global voices in Part 1 and part 2. Several gentlemen also joined the women in celebrating this day. Magaidi has a tribute, Ntwiga honors his wife Njeri, his mom and Wangari Maathai; Kenyan Analyst shares a piece about Liberia’s Ellen Sirleaf Johnson. […]

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