Rebirth Issue 2013
Celebrating Women of African Heritage
FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Patricia Miswa COPY EDITOR Kellie Miller ONLINE www.afroellemagazine.com WE ARE SOCIAL
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AFROELLE MAGAZINE | Encourage. Empower. Entertain. Elevate
Photographer: T. Rogers Model: Shailaun Manning Make-up: Kassie Coleman Hair Stylists: Jeâ€™Ray Norvell & Shakyndra Manning Wardrobe: Jewels Jay
Thank you to all our contributors who helped make this issue possible!
IMAN FOLAYAN Writer HOUSTON, TEXAS
ASHLEY MAKUE Writer SOUTH AFRICA
TSHOLOFELO DIKOBE Writer BOTSWANA
CAROL STEWART Writer UNITED KINGDOM
Happy New Year! Quotes to keep you inspired can go back and Make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new beginning. - Carl Bard There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…. Not going all the way and not starting. -Buddah Start wherever you are and start small. -Rita Baily
Editors Note Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -Saint Francis of Assisi The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can. -Mike Dooley The beginning is the most important part of the work. - Plato You will never win if you never begin. - Helen Rowland If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. - Rumi What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe The way to get started is to quit talking ad begin doing.—Walt Disney The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.– Mark Twain
Patricia Miswa Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
CONTENTS Music, Books, Art & Culture
9 In Her Good Books– Grace Biskie
20 Sister Somalia
10 In Her Words—Tokie LaotonBrown
32 a few words with Tshego Senne
12 Musicians You Should Know 13 5 mins with Matu Saye 16 Joya Mooi- The New Face of Jazz 14 Music Review– Rajdulari
36 The Awakening of Shai
48 Special Feature Women in Leadership
Fashion, Home, Food & Travel 46 Cooking with Mama 40 Conversation with Neo MotseosiOoke of African Lace 44 The Fest Gurus: Bringing you the Best of Africaâ€™s Festivals
Tiffany Dufu Marceline Kongolo-Bice Nina Oduro Vienna Mbagaya Aya Chebbi Neema Iyer Esther Eshiet Leyla Gozo Regina Fuller
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In Her Good Books Grace Biskie describes herself as a Lioness-hearted, big dreaming, Jesus following, wifey, Mama, writer, speaker, advocate & community activist. She speaks on women's issues, race and racial/ ethnic reconciliation, sexual abuse, healing and recovery among other topics. Learn more about Grace at www.gracebiskie.com The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lammot
This was the first book by I read this Ann book at a Lammot time I I'd ever could read. I'd barely stand to face finally myself. Wrestling with unforgiveness of myself, given in to see what all self-hatred and a healthy the "Annie" hype was dose of self destruction I about. When I read this book I saw for the first couldn't see clearly on time that writing about much of faith and fear doesn't anything. Brennan have to be stuffy or Manning has a theological but personal wonderful way of helping you see right into and tangible. yourself and loving what This book inspired me to you see. practice the craft of The book was able to communicate so clearly the type of love God has for me and wants me to have for myself.
writing and above all to tell my story in my own unique way.
Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot This was one of the 1st books I read after I'd decided to give my life to Jesus at 19. I was simply blown away by the commitment of Jim Elliot the murdered missionary this book tells the story of. I'd never seen or experienced anything remotely similar to the life style Jim set out for himself and to say I was intrigued would be putting it lightly. After reading this book, I decided I wanted to take my faith as seriously as possible.
Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Quite possibly one of my favorite memoirs of all time. Being biracial there are very few who are able to write and communicate the mutual feelings of confusion and angst that experience can bring, but Obama was able to do that, and miraculously. Page after beautiful page, I felt like he'd read my journals. His language was poetic and beautiful. The whole book was smooth like just softened butter. Not only was I inspired to keep working on my own memoir but the book produced in me a significant amount of inner strength and courage to face my life in the same selfsacrificial way Obama has done for himself.
In Her Words Tokie Laoton- Brown Tokie Laoton- Brown wears many hats and amongst many things is a mother, wife, architect and astute business woman who has recently released her short book Recession Buster: 10 Steps to Managing Your Household Budget. This is a must have for people who want to know the basics of how to manage their household budget. Having read her book, Afro Elle’s Carol Stewart caught up with Tokie to find out what the inspiration was for writing it and what keeps Tokie driven. C.S. What inspired you to write your book Recession Buster: 10 Steps to Managing Your Household Budget ? T.LB – The book was written as a result of personal experience and what I have been through over the years. Having 3 children and having previously been a single parent, a lot of people wondered how I was able to do the things I did financially. I had to literally draw on resources to cover expenses. I started off by helping a few families, telling them what I did in certain situations and they were like ok, could you just write something down that we can refer to and its been going on for years like that. My mum came to visit and we were discussing the recession and I said ‘you know what, I’m going to give myself a week and pull all my notes together and write a booklet’ and that is how the book came about. C.S. When you wrote it, who did you have in mind? T.LB - When I first started writing the notes I never thought it would target specific people. I realised as I started writing that more and more of it had to include what Africans do generally. We always send money to family, we are always doing things for extended family
which we never budget for. I think this is one of the reasons why financially we dip or we tip depending on how far we fall because we always have to send money home that doesn’t necessarily cover our nuclear family household. I started to realise that was where most people in the Diaspora usually fall. Another thing that kept coming up was tithes for church. I find we never budget for things like that and then we tend to dip in to money that is meant for something else and then we fall short. So basically I began to realise that the book is actually targeted at people in the Diaspora regardless because it just doesn’t tie into the norm when it comes to budgeting. C.S. – and that is probably an interesting angle to look at it from. As you say that is not something a lot of people will give a lot of consideration to. You have done many things from international relations to architecture to local elections to housing. You’re bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. What have been some of your biggest challenges? T.LB - My husband always says my biggest challenge is me . It’s just sometimes when things happen, for instance when I went in for the local elections I had no idea what the people
C.S. – That seems like very sound advice, particularly in this current climate. T.LB – Exactly. I find it very exhilarating when I find women who don’t just do one thing. There are different facets to a woman and I think she should use all that. That’s why we’re blessed with multi tasking. C.S. - That concludes the interview but just one final question, how can people get access to your book? T.LB – On Amazon and through Ronke Lawal’s management services.
in Galway were like. I had only lived in Galway for 4 years and my biggest motivation for going into politics then was because I didn’t have a playground near my house. With the housing, that just came as a default. I was elected from the community to represent the housing sector which would also include my playground. Another challenge was that I was modelling at the time in Galway, and I found out that most of the black girls weren’t represented for some strange reason. So, the rebellious spirit in me decided to have my own Miss Ebony Ireland. I just wanted to do something to tell the girls that they can do something if they put their mind to it. To inspire them. C.S. It is quite an achievement what you’ve done. What advice would you give to women who are just starting out in business and are not yet seeing the results that they would like to see? T.LB – It is always difficult at the beginning. What I advise people to do is, don’t limit yourself to one thing. Have as many skills as possible because you never know what might just bring in the money and you might be able to fall back on a particular skill at a particular time. So even as an architect, I can still paint and I can still do the plumbing. So I can always fall back on plumbing or painting depending on the season of architecture, or I can do kids hair. People always laugh when I say that but it has got me out of sticky situations. If I have to pay a particular bill and I don’t know where the funds are coming from, then I decide ok bring your kids I am going to do their hair and that might be it. You can use your different skills at different times and it is very important for a woman to have various skills in my opinion.
Born in Wurzburg, Germany to Nigerian parents, Tokie Laotan-Brown is currently undertaking a joint PhD Program in Economics and Techniques for the Conservation of the Architectural and Environmental Heritage at the University of Nova Gorica and Universita Iuav di Venezia, Italy. Tokie currently works as a property manager and as a consultant in the housing sector, as an environmental architectural technologist. With a background in Sustainable Construction and Architectural Technology, she hopes to travel extensively to Africa, Central and North America, and Central and Eastern Europe to study how environmentally sensitive homes and communities are affected during pre and post occupancy periods. Her book, Recession Buster: 10 Steps to Managing Your Household Budget is a simple but effective guide to managing your household budget and how you can deal with creditors if you are in dept. For individuals who have no understanding of budget management, this 10 step guide provides a framework for how to get a grip on their finances and tackle issues head on. The book sets out in a straightforward way how to work out your budget and how to do a financial forecast without the use of jargon. It provides a good, concise guide for anyone who is struggling financially and lacks financial management skills, enabling them to manage their budget and become debt free. 
Musicians You Should Know Compiled by Ashley Makue Photo credit: Flo Mokale
Angela Nimah is a South African singersong writer, poet, womanist, soul-sistah and the inventor of the “Voodoo Soul” music genre, which she describes as the fusion of soul, RnB, funk and indie music with whimsical chants.
Sowetan singer, Lwazi Mthembu is an eminent performer and music maker. She began singing when she was three years old and became captain of her school choir when she was in tenth grade.
Angela’s talent and passion for the arts was somewhat of a birth right; both her parents were artistic and their work sparked such an interest in the young Angela that by the time she was seven, she had started writing songs and poetry.
She joined the Zuko Collective band as a vocalist and later co-found South Africa's fastest rising neo-afro jazz band, About That Life.
She began recording unofficial EPs in 2011 and successfully attracted a large audience with her alluring jazz voice and the authenticity of her songs. She is currently working on an official EP which will be released early in 2014.
Lwazi Mthembu's music is a symphony of afro-soul with jazz undertones that will have you swooning for all things glorious. Her quirky musicality and charming voice will have you nostalgic over pleasant childhood memories and leave you pining for a real-life love story.
Cécile McLorin Salvant The French-American jazz singer with the golden voice, Cécile Salvant’s endorsement is for the richest jazz of this time; offering more than music and lyrics in her theatrical interpretation of the jazz standard. Cécile started classical piano lessons when she was five years old and by eight she had joined the Miami Choral Society as a singer. She went to the Darius Milhaud Conservatory in Aix-enProvence, France to study music and began her career, recording her first album, Cécile, in 2009. Her current album, Woman Child, is a precise compilation of her brilliantly crafted music. She has you catching feelings at the very first song with her impassioned vocal nuances and distinct storytelling. Hers is the sound of this and the past eras of jazz music.
Ntjam Rosie Photography by Richard Barr
Ntjam Rosie's music could be described as a wealth of butterflies, goose bumps and stricken chords- a Sunday afternoon's colourful sunset in the glory of home. The Holland based Cameroonean singer fell in love with music as a little girl and went on to study at the Codarts Music Academy in Rotterdam, Holland where she now resides and runs her record label Gentle Daze Records. Her discography is a line of fine-detailed artistry; from her first album Atouba to her current At The Back of Beyond, Ntjam's mix of pop, jazz and soul music is an expression of genius musicality. www.ntjamrosie.com
5 Minutes with Gospel Recording Artist
Matu Saye My music is inspiring, soothing and encouraging. I have been told by many listeners that I have a unique sound with a calming effect and lyrics that bring encouragement and healing to the soul. I would suggest however that new listeners decide for themselves. My first experience with music? Wow. It was such a long time ago. My first music experience was in Liberia at the age of 11 when I joined my church choir. I remember being so timid and shy at first but eventually fitting right in because I enjoyed singing so much. I was the youngest member of the choir and I sang most of the lead to our musical selections. I also remember how we traveled to smaller cities and towns for musical concerts. We were pretty good; we even won awards for our performances. My songs speak about faith, hope, love, worship, Christ and overall life experiences. Songs like “Smile” and “Never give up” are songs on “Let there be light” that speak hope and encouragement to listeners. My musical influences are numerous. The list goes on and on with different genres, however at the top of my gospel music list of influences is Ms. Cece Winans. She is a true inspiration to me. I admire her spirit, voice and her undying commitment to her faith in Jesus Christ. Lecresia Campbell, Rebecca Malope of South Africa and many others make my gospel music list. I have a new found love in Jazz that I’m currently exploring and nurturing. I am currently listening to Jonathan Butler’s “Grace and Mercy” contemporary Praise and Worship Album. He has such a rich voice and a unique sound. He too is a great inspiration to me. He has such a vast reach of audience that I would hope to reach some day. I also love Jean Baylor, formerly of the group, Zhane. I am working an EP titled "Love Story" that I’d hope to release before next fall. 
Matu Saye is an international gospel recording artist from Liberia, West Africa. She has a contemporary flare of Cece Winans and the soulful sound of Lauryn Hill. Matu recently released her debut CD album titled “Let There Be Light” available at cdbaby.com/Artist/MatuSaye 13| www.afroellemagazine.com
Album Review By Iman Folayan
In her sophomore album, songbird Rajdulari gives you the same classic jazz we fell in love with on the debut album, Honeywine, plus a twist of lime. Though no stranger to music, Rajdulari shows a more personal side to her artistry with her first solo-album more so than in previous works. Journey of a Woman is a candid expression of her growth as an artist and a personal soundtrack for the everyday woman. The upbeat bass lines blend wonderfully with her melodic tones, and her lyrics flow like poetry from a diary. This album brings to the jazz world a hip interpretation of the blues and chronicles the many everyday problems and their solutions. If you’re running late to work, and need some tunes to keep the day going smoothly then you’ll love her single “Peace”. If you’re in more of a sultry mood then “Journey of a Woman” will take you to that perfect place of reflection. What’s best about this body of
work is the variety. If you’re tired of jazz music that lacks the enthusiasm of the more popular genres then this album will leave you pleased. Her smash hit “Natural” beams with personality and will have you singing along by the second hook. It was also the song created after Rajdulari was selected by Visions Beauty Distributors to write and perform the theme song for their first annual Natural Hair and Health Expo. With such variety, this album provides for a great listening experience. It is all about the different dynamics that make up the journey of a woman and does a great job expressing the many moods and personalities of a woman. For such a developed body of work it will leave you wondering what more is in store for Rajdulari as she continues her journey as a woman and a songstress.  You can order a copy of Journey of a Woman CD @ rajdulari.com
Joya MooiThe New Face of Jazz By Iman Folayan
ass. Drums. Piano. Trumpet. Melody. Jazz is like the younger sister of classical music, and the middle child followed by the new pop generation. It may not reach the mainstream radio waves like superstars such as Rihanna, but it is the pulsing beat that is keeping music alive. Like all art forms, jazz has evolved over time and now, ushering in the new face of Jazz is The Netherland’s own Joya Mooi. Her sultry voice, poetic lyrics and classic jazz melodies can best be described as a blend between Jill Scott and Nina Simone. Large shoes to fill for an artist not even 25 years old but her musical maturity cannot be questioned. The music speaks for itself. But her rise has not come without some obstacles. As a Dutch and South African woman she has had to persevere in a society where images and admiration of African woman are not common. Yet despite that she has grown and much like a crystal her music is a prism for all listeners to see through. AfroElle: As a Dutch artist, who or what can you say has been a source of inspiration? Joya: I wouldn’t say it’s a typical Dutch influence. I listen to jazz so that’s my reference. And I’m really inspired by the new school like Christian Scott, but I don’t think my location has anything to do with my inspiration. Music now is so global and everybody can listen to any kind of music from all over the world. I think I have the same inspiration as any other jazz singer. AE: Jazz is a genre that isn’t very main-stream but is still very much appreciated. It has changed over the years much like every other genre. In this day and age, what does Jazz mean to you being a part of the school? J: That’s tricky because I still write in jazz chords but they’re all mixed in with rock and pop and classical. I think it’s more of a mind state. I love writing in those classic jazz lines and melodies but I don’t always write the chords in jazz. I think that’s what’s cool about the new jazz artists that are listening to rock and pop music. Black Angel is my favorite rock band and that’s
AE: 2013 was a great year for you career wise. How would you summarize all that you accomplished ? J: 2013 was very good. In 2012, I decided to put my full focus on music and was not sure where it would end. In 2013, I formed a new band and we tried to set up a tour. We started writing the album in March and everything went quickly and organic. AE: Your new album is Crystal Growth, that’s an interesting title. What message are you trying to give your listeners with this? J: Some years ago I saw a documentary about crystals and how they shape overnight. So when I was writing the album I realized it has a lot of the same elements. This album is about my life and about choices I make.
“I’m proud of my skin color and what it means for me and my family. Our history is so much richer and has so many more elements. I love that my skin is darker and I see it as a gift but the media doesn’t portray it as a gift because the media is white. I think more people should see it as a gift.”
time I recorded a video overseas and that was very cool. I actually felt like a major artist. I’m really looking forward to my upcoming tour in Indonesia. AE: Your music is so mature. I’m sure you take people aback when they find out you’re only twenty -two.
I’m still very young and I wanted to let people know that I am still growing. I’m almost there so that’s why the title was crystal growth. AE: I know the music is so much a part of your life, but on a normal day what do you do outside of music? J: I really enjoy spending days with my cousins. They are two and four and they are the best. I think that’s a great age. They’re always so curious and they always want to sing with me and play. I also like chilling out with my musician friends and we don’t make music together we just talk. That’s something that keeps me busy when I’m not doing music. When I sing I don’t always have people around. Singing is a private thing for me so when I’m with my friends I like it because I’m not the one singing all the time. AE: Where all have you toured, and what other places would you like to go? J: A few years ago I went to California to do a small tour and I really loved L.A. I was amazed. I thought “Okay, this is going to be so plastic and everyone is going to be so fake”, but I made some good friends and I would really love to go back. That was the first
J: It’s weird because I started studying jazz at the conservatory when I was fifteen and I was always the youngest in class. I never feel like the youngest because at a very young age I decided to make music. I also studied dance for a long time. I really just believe in doing what you love; my parents taught me that. I’m thankful that they taught me that because I never had the mind frame of “I have to get a job” or I have to pursue a job or dream that my parents or society has for me. No, I’m going to do what I love to do. I don’t see success as hearing your music all over the world. I had a showcase once and there was a girl there from San Francisco who came to Paris for the week. She flew all the way to Amsterdam just to come to my show because she really enjoyed my music. That meant so much to me because that girl didn’t know me but she felt connected to me through my music. That was so inspiring. And that’s what success is to me. AE: Do you feel any pressure as an artist because you’re a minority? J: Yes. Lately I’ve been thinking about how my life would be if I were part of the majority. I think it’s a role that you can’t switch. If I were white, I’d get another treatment; you’d get everything different. I’m proud of my skin color and what it means for me and my family. Our history is so much richer and has so many more elements. I love that my skin is darker and I see it as a gift but the media doesn’t portray it as a gift because the media is white. I think more people should see it as a gift. 
From Victims to Victors An in-depth look into the work of Sister Somalia
ape is often a subject that usually gets a blind eye and a mute tongue, but it is an unspoken evil that affects the lives of millions of women worldwide. In a world where the honorable thing is not always the most popular, Ilwad Ali, director of programs for the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, tirelessly works to enhance the lives of sexual victims. Ilwad sits with AfroElle for an exclusive look into the history and work of Sister Somalia that landed her the prestigious International Woman of Courage Award. AfroElle: Both parents have played pivotal roles in activism and humanitarian causes. For you, what was your main inspiration for getting involved with Sister Somalia?
demobilization and reintegration of children and youth in armed forces and groups. To this extent my father developed a fitting slogan, “Drop the Gun, Pick up the Pen.” One which ‘til this day is found marked on the ruins of Mogadishu and continues to resonate amongst the young and old alike.
Ilwad Ali: Sister Somalia is a project of the organization I work for, the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, founded by my mother Fartuun Adan and my late father Elman Ali Ahmed. This organization incepted in the late 80’s pioneering human rights work in Somalia. When UN agencies did not have presence in Somalia and foreign aid was not available, my parents independently funded and set up social support centers and services for the most vulnerable. After the war broke out in the early 90’s, the organization went on to tackle various sociopolitical issues centered on human rights, peace and the disarmament,
Through his economic reintegration programs, hundreds of children abandoned their posts as guards or foot soldiers or warlords and instead, learned skills that he taught and gained meaningful, safe employment in his establishments. My father was killed in 1996, during the height of the conflict, because of the massive number of children and youth he was disarming and who in turn were leaving the warlords unprotected. His murder was never solved but it is of common knowledge in Somalia that it was of political influence. My father till this day is considered the Somali Father of Peace, and his work and mission is sustained by peace and human rights activists in a country fraught by constant risks and uncertainty. Because the organization had worked in human rights for so long, both in monitoring and reporting, but equally in the promotion of rights and advocating for victims, my mother founded the first rape crisis center, Sister Somalia, to respond to the pervasive
â€œI come from a family of strong leaders whose lives are governed by compassion, who are certain of their convictions, and who have made the ultimate sacrifices for their beliefs. My greatest inspiration for returning to Somalia were my parents and trying to contribute to this unspoken goal they have; the one my father lost his life for and the one my mother left the comforts of Canada for.â€? I come from a family of strong leaders whose lives are governed by compassion, who are certain of their convictions, and who have made the ultimate sacrifices for their beliefs. My greatest inspiration for returning to Somalia were my parents and trying to contribute to this unspoken goal they have; the one my father lost his life for and the one my mother left the comforts of Canada for, to help finish what they started essentially.
issue of sexual violence, which was astonishingly dominating the majority of human rights reports the human rights department of the organization was receiving regularly from the field staff. When I returned to Somalia, Sister Somalia had just been launched. On an impossibly modest budget, which relied on individual donations from concerned men and women from around the world, a dedicated team of volunteers, and a three-room office space in the heart of Mogadishu City, we began responding to the issue of sexual violence in two key ways: One, by providing life saving services such as medical, psychosocial support and counseling, education and business start up grants to rebuild lives and escape the cycle of violence and by changing the local & global discussion on sexual violence and the suffering of women in Somalia through the press.
But since coming to Somalia, I know now that my greatest motivation for staying is the friends I have made and the beneficiaries I have been able to support, and the understanding that, I have the option to pack up and leave, but the people my organization works for to support do not, so I couldnâ€™t either. AE: Tell us more about the mission and goal of Sister Somalia and how it got started. What does a typical day consist of? IA: Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre co-founded the first rape crisis centre in early 2011; since its inception, the catalytic support system which provides emergency health care, psycho-social counseling, education and livelihood opportunities to survivors of sexual violence has expanded in geographic coverage as well as services offered.
Sister Somalia now operates in Mogadishu, LowerShabelle and Galgaduud Regions of South and Central Somalia. The program has grown to respond to all forms of sexual and gender based violence women and girls are subjected to; as well as introduced the first mobile clinics in rural parts of central Somalia, the first and only safehouses for those considered to be at a heightened or acute risk of being re-attacked and also offers legal representation for those seeking justice.
The mission of Sister Somalia is not only to respond to the rampant issue of sexual violence but to put in place sustainable measures to prevent such violence from reoccurring and have the center serve as a platform to realize just that. Sister Somalia focuses on the empowerment of survivors, cultivating leadership and developing them into ambassadors for change; transforming them from victims to victors. When such mechanisms are in place, the center is entrusted to a group of survivors over seen by senior staff from the organization; and the Sister Somalia team moves on to a new acute area; and strives to achieve similar success and continue to move forward; until every rural and urban area alike can respond and prevent the pervasive violence against women from continuing on at the community level. A typical day at the Sister Somalia centers varies
depending on the region, and although emergency services are provided in house, there are other longer term developmental services we also offer the following services to the survivors of violence. 1) Women and girls learning skills, with practical and theoretical skills training sessions on going as a means of equipping survivors with a vocational trade skill to enter the work force with. 2) Survivors learning financial literacy, business management and receiving grants to start their own businesses as a means of not only rebuilding their lives post-trauma and violence, but reclaiming their lives. 3) Conversations on the past, the future, dreams and aspirations over tea and finger foods in any of the common areas in the centers.
4) Group or individual counseling sessions in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Fun and unconventional forms of therapy are introduced by the organization staff to build trust, to create an open environment and treat somatic symptoms of psychological abuse- Yoga, Dancing, Arts and Role Playing are ranked as the most fun, but some of the more serious cognitive approaches to therapy offered at the centers are perceived the strongest in the healing process. 5) Workshops on Health, Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health, caring for children and nurturing children born from rape, Women Human Rights, Self-Sufficiency, Leadership, and much more. The centers also offer survivors an opportunity to request workshops and guest speakers of their interest and to the best of our abilities we try to facilitate. AE: In India the issue of rape has gained international attention. In Somalia how has the rape issue shaped the social environment and how are people outside of the victims affected by it, even if they're not aware?
IA: Rape is not just a woman’s problem, it is not country, race, age, or religion specific; it is a global issue. And much like in India, some of the highest profiled cases in Somalia have gained international attention, but that does not begin to paint even a fraction of the real extent of the issue on ground. Three years ago you could not even mention the word rape and Somalia in the same sentence. Despite the country having been in war for more than two decades and rape is a known weapon of war, Somalis still romanticized a “culture” which does not rape women, and instead of talking about rape or responding to it. It was swept under the carpet, mediated by traditional elders and community leaders. It was taboo; highly stigmatizing survivors who spoke out but denied when aired in public. Since Sister Somalia took the issues of rape in Somalia to a global platform it has become very much on the political and social agenda. People now admit that rape is a serious issue in Somalia and that it happens and must be stopped.
“ Despite the country having been in war for more than two decades and rape is a known weapon of war, Somalis still romanticized a “culture” which does not rape women .”
The highest members of government including the president have addressed this and while the dialogue exists, the environment for preventing this from happening has not yet bore fruit. Since we set up the first crisis center, numerous service providers have started rape specific services, which is phenomenal. But Sister Somalia remains the pioneer as it decentralizes its services and remains mobile, going to the rural areas so women do not have to trek for days just for aid in the city, and continues to introduce innovative services and leads the coordination of various gender based violence information and coordination groups to ensure the response and prevention strategies are from a united front. Acts of sexual violence usually go unpunished in Somalia, or are dealt with under the customary system whereby perpetrators are not individually prosecuted. Instead, a solution is worked out between clans, which usually results in a transfer of funds or assets (camels) from the clan of the perpetrator to the clan of the victim, if that, with little or no compensation or recourse for the woman or girl in question. Rapists are rarely tried or convicted, and in the unusual cases where justice is initiated, the victims are not provided with any form of protection from the perpetrators in which they accused. More than often, retaliation is initiated and they once again fall victim, with a more than often fatal ending the second time around.
In some cases perpetrators are forced to marry their victims that ultimately results in long-lasting and devastating psychological and traumatic consequences that seriously affect their lives. Survivors are now demanding justice, but a horrific precedent of women alleging rape being jailed instead of their rapist is taking form in Somalia because it is still easier to deny and persecute the victims than it is the rapists. People outside of the victims are also greatly affected by this culture of victim blaming because it instills that there is no accountability, that rape is not punishable, and that rapists will get off scotch free. This deters other victims from reporting violence because they fear instead of justice they will be jailed. This is where Sister Somaliaâ€™s greatest battle is now, ensuring accountability and fighting for justice. AE: Patriarchy seems to be a common theme in all the nations of the world. What main points do you believe the world is ignoring when it comes to women's rights? AI: Rape is a womenâ€™s issue that most are aware of and in many contexts is being addressed in great scale. Even in Somalia it is on the political agenda with new legislation and state lead task forces put in place. However, other forms of violence against women are still considered necessary milestones in every girl childâ€™s life; female genital mutilation, forced marriage, widow inheritance, domestic violence, honor killings. These are still ignored, and because of their deep- rooted traditional connections are not considered abuse, but just things
women must endure. The right to family planning, sexual and reproductive rights, divorce, inheritance, and property ownerships are women rights issues that are extremely poignant but ignored and inadequately addressed. AE: Please share one of your most transformative experiences since working with Sister Somalia.
worked in Al-Shabaab controlled areas, government controlled areas and areas controlled by regional authorities that are not bound by any formal courts or penal codes. All of this is possible and exasperated by the network of women who continue the work we have initiated and many of which are survivors of violence themselves.
If we do not focus on making the environment safer with protective mechanisms at the social and policy level, Sister Somalia will fail. Our goal is to prevent sexual violence from happening by breaking the cycle and creating community based responses for sustainable solutions.
AE: What future goals do you foresee Sister Somalia achieving?
AE: How can people get involved and help support the cause?
IA: Sister Somalia takes in women and girls at the point of emergency, and provides life saving intervention. We nurture, educate, empower and equip survivors with the necessary life, economic and emotional skills to rebuild and reclaim their lives. I am most proud when one of the survivors we supported becomes an ambassador for change in her community. She begins to refer others in the same situation she was once in to the center, and begins to lead trainings to mentor other women. She becomes a foot soldier in the fight for womenâ€™s justice in Somalia and lives her life knowing that this tragic incident happened to her but does not own her any longer. This transformation is one I have seen over and over again which humbles me incredibly but also drives me to do more and be more. In a mere three years we have been able to expand Sister Somalia to rural and urban areas alike in three different regions of Somalia, which is huge. We have
IA: We have already begun developing models for responding to sexual based violence in conflict, hoping that these tools can be of use to countries with similar context as Somalia for emulation. We have expanded our services to decentralize from the city, and since the first crisis center in launched in 2011 we have opened doors for many other NGOs to follow. We plan on continuing to expand, continue to engage with men, religious leaders, and the State on the preventative side of the issue.
IA: Sexual violence is a global issue and we need global solutions and allies from around the world to achieve this. Our website sistersomalia.org shares our contact details and how to get involved. 
Model: Shailaun Manning Photographer: TJ Rogers Wardrobe: Jewels Jay Makeup: Kassie Coleman Hair: Je'ray Norvell
Model: Shailaun Manning Photographer: TJ Rogers Wardrobe: Jewels Jay Makeup: Kassie Coleman Hair: Je'ray Norvell
The Awakening of
orn in Mineral Wells, Texas and raised in Arlington, Texas, a suburb right outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, singer and songwriter, Shailaun Manning was the middle child of three girls raised by her mother. For as long as she can remember, she has been an artist and has always been connected to all things music. Shailaun has been described as a teacher, humble, with an old soul, and a blessing with gifts that will brighten the world. She admits that she's had very little formal training, mostly learning by ear and making music with just about any instrument she picks up. She considers some of her favorite sounds to be those made of string instruments, such as the viola and guitar, vocals, and percussion-west African tribal drums. Celebrating new beginnings; releasing her first album in 2014 to launch her music career and embarking on a personal journey to remain abstinent from sex till marriage, Shailaun shares about her past journeys and new beginnings. What have you been up to since we last featured you in the magazine? Wow, where do I begin? There are so many things that can happen over the span of three years and they most certainly have, very quickly. Shortly after AfroElle launched the first digital magazine, I was re-awakened to the reality of my spiritual journey to enlightenment. I surrendered myself to God releasing all of my fears and leaning not unto my own understanding but instead, my feeling, as God was speaking from within me. For the first time in my life I began traveling alone to places where I had known very few people if any at all, putting all of my faith in God alone. I officially began my journey in the winter of 2011 making an attempt to ground myself in New York. That didn't quite work out as expected and I ended up moving to Chicago where I landed my first national ad campaign for a natural hair care line called As I Am. The line ended up being advertised in magazines and television networks
that cater to people of African descent; Ebony Magazine, Upscale Magazine, BET, The OWN Network, and TV One just to name a few. In Chicago, I wrote my first single The Sun is Shining for Us among many other songs. Inspired by my musician friends, I picked up the guitar and began performing at some local open mics until I departed for Los Angeles; another soul inspired move. In LA I landed a few roles modeling and acting in some celebrity music videos, a few commercials and above all, I bought my first guitar, produced my first songs on garage band, and made sure to leave the town with a memory of my love, performing live in the center of downtown LA. Shortly after, the spirit spoke again and I was well on my way back to Texas although I really didn't understand why until I got there. Only days after my arrival, I became reacquainted with a producer who had heard my music before. We ended up collaborating and before we knew it, I had an enough music to create an entire album: The
Awakening of Shai. I was inspired to travel abroad to Madrid, Spain shortly after completing the album and ended up performing live in a few bars and open mics including a surprise opportunity on my birthday. I have been blessed. One Danny Kaye once said “to travel is to take a journey into yourself.” What did you learn about yourself while you traveled? I do believe that “to travel is to take a journey into yourself” and from my most recent adventures, I've realized that I have a deep appreciation for the unknown, that I am blessed, and that I’m ever alone. I have learned that I enjoy the most simple pleasures in life. Things that are found in nature, music, people, food, and in peace of mind bring me lots of joy. As an artist and having traveled to different places how can you compare the music scene in NY, Texas, Chicago, LA and Spain? Where did you feel more at home musically?
“Right now at this point in my life I have just decided to surrender to the spirit within me and I feel I'm being led to create music for the world to experience, embrace, and treasure, so that's what I will do.”
NY has a lot of hip hop, jazz, and salsa. I found that some of the best acts might be heard at the Apollo. In Chicago, there are lots of indie bands who perform a lot of alternative, funk, and hip hop music. You might often here live jazz and other performances in the streets and at the train stations in Chi-town which I loved. Los Angeles seemed like more of a pay to play city and the DJâ€™s at some of the hottest clubs played a lot of electronic music. Texas is almost the largest state in the U.S. and has several different types of music in each major area, most popularly ranging from Tejano, Hip Hop, Soul, Religious, and Rock. Madrid's music scene has a close community feeling which made me feel welcomed and right at home. What seemed to be most popular there was soulful sounds of jazz and flamenco. I could also notice a big American influence. You mentioned that you made a commitment to be abstinent from sex until marriage, what led you to that decision and why is it important to you? I I lost my virginity in high school to a young male who
did not take no for an answer. From that experience along with having no father figure in my home, I also lost my sense of self worth. I started believing that love was only secondary to sex, which is not true. My consciousness caught up with me and I told my last boyfriend that I wanted to save myself for the man I marry. Instead of abstinence he eased my mind with a promise of marriage which he never fulfilled. I considered this my last heartbreak and came to a firm decision that I am no longer going to allow any man to take from me something that I feel is purposed for the will of God; pleasure and creation through a blessed union â€“ marriage. Moreover, abstinence also helps to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and I feel it's one of the best decisions a person can make for themselves and for the future of humanity. Take us back to your childhood, what was the first song you remember listening to and what music did you love hearing back then? What did you love most about music then and is it still the same?
One of the first songs I remember listening to was called 'Old Time Rock and Roll' by Bob Seger. In elementary, my physical education teacher would play music during our exercises. It was so much fun to listen to because we would have hula hoop contests and the music made it easier to keep the rhythm which eventually led to me winning a few rounds.There is also a song that my church at the time created using the hook from the Ohio Players song called 'Fire'. The choir changed the lyrics to “God don't need no matches he's fire by himself. No more water...no more water but... Fire!..Fire!” I remember it like it was yesterday- the sanctuary being completely black with red and white lights flashing every time words came out of their mouths. The gospel remake of 'Fire' may or may not have been the first song I ever remember listening to but, it was surely one of the first songs I remember truly experiencing.
“There's a song that says “give, and it will come back to you” and that is my relationship with music.”
As a child, I was very sheltered from what my mom would call “secular” music in order to protect my ears from not so positive messages. So, the only time I would actually listen to music was while I was in church, at school, or with family listening to “mom proof” melodies. Under those circumstances, the kind of music I really enjoyed back then was Gospel, R&B, and anything with a positive message. (smiles) Today, I am still very much into music with a positive message but, I have an appreciation for all genres. The things I loved most about music as a child remain the same today. It's how specific arrangements of sounds inspire my emotions like a best friend would; always there right on time to relate and bring me joy. There's a song that says “give, and it will come back to you” and that is my relationship with music. How would you describe your music to someone who has not heard it before? 37| www.afroellemagazine.com
I would describe my music as sacred, warm, soul fusion. It can excite and lift your spirits, stir your imagination, make you feel happier and more alert, and possibly heal you. Healing sounds like a bit much, I know, but there was once a guy who came directly to me in tears requesting that I play for him two songs off of my album, and from it he found relief and his tears turned into gratitude.
Do you write your own songs and what is your process like? Yes, I do write my own songs. The process is interesting and it always changes depending on my current situation but, I am usually alone in a dim lit room in complete silence. I would think about an experience then I would note it in my journal. From that point I usually pick up my guitar and experiment with melodies until one resonates with the noted thoughts. From there, the magic is created and a song is formed.
The Sun is Shining for Us- what's the story behind this song? When I wrote “The Sun is Shining for Us' I was living on the 5th floor of a high rise apartment in downtown Chicago area. I had been disconnected from the guy of my previous relationship for almost six months until one day he decided to send me a text message that read “the sun is shining for you.” I remember at that moment feeling like the most loved and admired person in the world but, my heart also felt broken because I was missing something; my admirer. I wished right then for the sun to be shining not just for me but, for us. I cried a little to release my pain but, I knew that I had to be strong for myself and for the people around me. So, I wrote myself, my friends, and my admirer a positive message to uplift my spirit. “I'm going to smile today. I'm going to give you all my pretty face. I'll show you that there is no other way to go. Look at the sky and see the lovely clouds are there for you and me. I know the sun is shining brilliantly for us.” How long did it take you to record your first album and can you share some interesting facts about your album– The Awakening of Shai? I wrote the first song on the album during late summer 2011 and recorded the last song on the album in the summer of 2013. The Awakening of Shai is truly a blessing and I am still astonished today that it even exists right now. Seeing this album come to life has been like giving birth to a child without ever noticing I was pregnant; it was a great surprise. Although almost every song on the album was written from a very dark place, many of them provide hope and comfort.
I have actually had visions of myself as a fusion rock star and I would love to dabble in rock. I am learning the acoustic guitar right now and I've already used it to create music but, there is nothing like the sound of an electric guitar screaming “I am in this room, listen!” I love the way rock music commands attention and allows for a story to be felt, seen, and heard with such deep, powerful, and electric vibrations. Who are some of your musical influences ? Some of my musical influences are Erykah Badu, Sade, Lauryn Hill, and India Arie. These women, from my perspective, exercise raw talent and strength the way it should be. They allow the essence of their inner selves to be expressed through sounds with depth, divinity, and sensuality. They are like instruments with consciousness; soulful and spiritual voices that I can relate to. Like big sisters, they have influenced and inspired me to express myself naturally.
What are you currently listening to? Well, I really do listen to almost every genre of music but, I've most recently been listening to music that sounds similar to Zen Garden and Liquid Mind. It's typically the sounds of birds chirping in a rainforest, chimes and bells, streaming water, and other sounds of nature sometimes accompanied by a piano. I've also been adding a little funky 70's music and a couple of love songs into the mix every now and then to feel more human but, for the most part it's just “feel good” music. Where do you see your music career heading in 2014? After receiving positive feedback from my fans in 2013, I can feel that the release of my album in 2014 is going to lead my music career into success like I have never experienced before. 
Eye on Botswana DesignerNeo Motseosi-Ooke of African Lace
Neo Motseosi-Ooke, 31, of African Lace, a savvy serial-entrepreneur and formidable advocate of creativity and change in business practices is an accessories designer based in Botswana. Her designs reach out to you with a unique lifestyle, full of richness in culture and diversity. They pride themselves in being one of Africa’s Crafters of unique handmade ACCESSORIES in tribal print cloth, jewellery, shoes, neck-pieces, bags, clutches and cell phone pouches. She tells AfroElle’s Tsholofelo Dikobe why her vision is to make impact with creative pieces. Why the name African Lace, what inspired the name? AFRICAN LACE was founded in January 2012 as a hobby to take my mind off my fulltime job. It’s a brand name used for handmade products that includes handbags, purses, necklaces, bangles, earrings, home décor items such as cushion covers, ottoman covers, ,pouches etc. All products are made from colourful printed fabrics. Currently I am focused on ‘African print cloths’ commonly known as ‘Ankara’ and ‘kitenge’. The name African lace is inspired by the initial designs. I started out making necklaces in African print cloths and they became an instant hit. African represents the origin of the raw material and the end product and ‘Lace’ represents the product’s beauty. How does your work set you apart? My designs set me apart from other products in the industry in that I incorporate a lot of colour in my pieces which has become the signature look for all the pieces. The other thing I really work on is making the designs very current and trendy and with outstanding craftsmanship although everything is handmade. That is how the brand has been able to be sustainable because the market is always looking for something new. Working with a small market like Botswana, there is need to always bring a new thing because you are dealing with the same customers. They say inspiration is all around, what qualities do you see in your favorite designer that you want to emulate? My favorite designer is Aisha Oboubi of the Christie Brown brand. Although the brand is in a country where a lot of people are doing the same thing it has managed to become distinct and international.
My vision is to make the brand international because already in Botswana it is quickly becoming a household name. In the near future I’m looking partnerships with boutiques overseas to supply them in bulk to resell. The main reason is to get the label across to a bigger market and alongside big brands. I believe that big brands will boost my brand. The other plan is to launch a webpage and establish an online store. Talking about Botswana becoming a household name, How do you think you've been able to contribute your own quota to the Botswana fashion industry? My main contribution to the fashion industry in Botswana has greatly been to bring something new to the accessories industry. Previously the pieces that I design were somewhat exotic and out of reach for most fashion lovers. Now they are available to anybody. Over the past quarter century Botswana has found recognition in the entire continent with reputable designers like Mpho Kuaho and Koketso Chiepe. Since then more and more designers have emerged each year bringing a lot of diversity and creativity and I would therefore say we as Botswana designers are “getting there’’ What have been the biggest challenges in fashion over the past quarter century? Opportunities?
The pieces created by this designer are ever so amazing and shows a lot of creativity. And the other thing I like about Christie Brown is that the brand is a trendsetter Nowadays social media seems like the root of business start up. How important is social media to your brand?
The biggest challenge is the lack of market. Consumption is for a specific gender, (mostly women), which means already you are working with a small market. The other challenge, it is not easy to find stockists locally to carry the brand since most shops are from South Africa. Challenge number three, is finding a suitable production method while at the same time protecting the brands integrity i.e. avoiding ‘’copycats’’.As for Opportunities, unlike other commodities- accessories are easier to transport i.e. ship out therefore it is ideal to sell online. Last words to aspiring African accessory designers out there?
I draw inspiration for my designs from the internet, social media such as Facebook and Pinterest and Tumblr. Magazines TV and clothing shops also provide the same. Much consideration is given to current fashion trends when making the products. Social media is the fastest way to get a product across. The age group that use social networks constitutes over 50% of my market. Therefore id say social media is very important to African lace to market the products and to draw inspiration for new designs. What have been the biggest changes in fashion over the past quarter century, and what do you think the future holds?
To aspiring designers, research is essential. The internet has so much information about any and everything. You have to know the industry, be observant and creative. Sometimes you don’t have to think far because after all, ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ - (Coco Chanel). 
CREDITS Photographer: Kago Seatile (Kagography) Fashion Stylist: Gaone Mothibi & Tsholo Dikobe (GaTsh Fros) Make-up artist: Lolo Monare M.A.C Botswana Models: JuiceTsile & Naledi Mabena Designer: Neo Motseoisi-Ooke African Lace Location: Accuracy Hair Salon
a few words with Tshego Senne Of Get Nail'd by Ashley Makue Tell us about yourself and what you do. My name is Tshego. I am a Wits graduate currently working in advertising. But my heart, however, is invested in my nail art, which I do part time. I discovered my love for it about a year and a half ago.
"Get Nail'd" is quite the quirky name, what is the story behind it? To be honest, I just wanted the name to reflect my sense of humour. “What if every time I did someone’s nails I could say they got nailed by me?” I had said that to one of my friends as a joke and loved it ever since.
When and why did you establish your business?
I started about 2 years ago. I used to do my own nails when I was still in university and had a lot of people come up to me and ask if I charged. At the time I didn’t understand why people would want to pay me for something I taught myself but I had many more people tell me that I should use my “talent” to my advantage. And now look at me being interviewed about it.
What services does Get Nail'd offer? I do mainly nail art, the only differentiations I offer for now is if you want the art painted onto your own nails, or I paint them onto nail extensions and glue those on. What goes into the creation of complete nail artwork?
That depends on each client. Some come to me with an exact design that they would like me to replicate, but my favourite are the ones that challenge me a bit. Some will come with a picture of an outfit or even a font and want me to come up with a design that theyâ€™d like. I like to always challenge myself so those are the ones I love because I get to get as creative as I can. Are there any artists whose work influences yours? One of my favourite artists is Sophy Robson. She is an incredible nail artist from London who always does amazing things. Another is Sophie Harris-Greenslade who is the owner of The Illustrated Nail, she is where I would like to be one day in terms of incredibly intricate designs. Which nail products are your favourite to work with? I love using Sally Hansen because it is one of the best brands, it keeps the art looking fresh for up to a month. Others include Essie (for its amazing shades), Revlon (has some of the best fast-drying colours) and Seche Vite (brilliant fast-dry top coat that seals everything). As nail art should require healthy nails, what nail care advise can you share with us? Nail care is pretty simple, just like having healthy skin and hair, you need to remember to care for it as often as possible. Drink a lot of water because that makes them stronger, do not use too many products (acrylic, or gel, or even adhesive nails too often) on them. I tell my clients to try keep their nails plain at least every two weeks. Also, always use a base coat, many people forget this and then use some polishes that dye your nails (you can try clean this off with lemons if it does occur). Invest in a good base coat that strengthens and whitens your nails (I recommend one that is by Sally Hansen). What are some of the highlights of your career? One of my highlights was doing nails at the Wits OWeek Flea market early last year and doing a bride's nails at an important wedding. What are your current projects? I am currently working on hosting pamper parties in collaboration with masseuses, homeopaths (for facials), make-up artists and Get Nail'd to do pampering home calls for girls and their friends.
The Fest Gurus: Bringing you the Best of Africa’s Festivals
he Holiday Season may be over but with the Fest Gurus, the celebration never ends! The world never sleeps you just have to know where the party is, or rather the festival. In ancient times festivals were so deeply embedded into the culture and society of the people, unfortunately, there were no instant messaging or social media sites to let you know what you were missing. Today you still may not have access to all of the world’s festivities, but the travelling quartet, Lorraine, Mazuba, Gwinyai, and Ngonizashe ensure you get an exclusive glimpse into the best festivals in Africa. Gwinyai Mabika and Ngonizashe Chinara, co-founders of Crafted Media Production teamed up with Lorraine Bgoya, a Tanzanian born, Zimbabwe based radio personality for Off The Wall on ZiFm, and Mazuba Kapambwe, a Zambian native, Social Media consultant, and Afro-Entertainment correspondent for Australian based Radio Afro, and thus Fest Gurus was born. With the help of social media and crowd sourcing platform, what started as an idea became a revolutionary feat to bring all of Africa’s festivals to your doorstep. Mazuba talked to AfroElle’s Iman about the developments of Fest Gurus and what’s next for the traveling team. What was the inspiration for starting the Fest Gurus? How did it all get started? The idea of the Fest Gurus began in early April 2013. Lorraine and I had both lived in the US for a few years where festivals like Coachella and South by Southwest (SXSW) are huge. We’d always wanted to attend those festivals, but never did. I stumbled on an article about African festivals by Okay Africa, and I thought it would be awesome to get paid to travel around Africa attending festivals. I tweeted my thoughts and soon after, got a message from Lorraine (who I hadn’t met in real life) about making a show about attending festivals. She invited me to Harare, Zimbabwe for the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA). There I met her, Zash and Gwi from Crafted Media, and we began filming the pilot of the show.
Africa has such a rich culture with a wide variety of peoples and customs, the media often has such a negative portrayal of Africa, but what do you want people to know about the continent? We’d like people to know that Africa has such a great variety of festivals that could easily rival the Glastonburys of Europe. There’s jazz festivals, hip hop festivals, drumming festivals, and some that bring together all these genres and combine art, fashion, music, poetry and more. What are the biggest festivals that everyone must attend in their lifetime? The biggest festivals in Africa that everyone must attend in their lifetime are The City of Stars in Lilongwe, Malawi, The Cape Town Jazz Festival, Harare International Festival of Arts, BushFire Fest in Swaziland, Sauti Za Buasara in Zanzibar and Mazawine Festival in Morocco. In the upcoming year, what events will you be attending? We kick-off season two of The Fest Gurus this month in Zanzibar at Sauti Za Busara, which will be from February 1316. Performers include Wumni. In March, we’ll be attending the CapeTown Jazz Festival in Capetown, South Africa where Erykah Badu is headlining, so we’re excited about that. It will be the 15th anniversary of the festival, so we’re sure it will be amazing. The dates are March 28-29. In April, there’s Kariba Music Festival on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zambia (Easter), then at the end of that month, we kick off what is known as ‘The Fire Fest’ route which includes HIFA in Zimbabwe, (29 April to May 4), Azgo in Mozambique (23- 24 May) , Safiko in Reunion Islands (May 23-25) , and BushFire in Swaziland (30 May-1 June). We haven’t finalized our schedule for the second half of the year, but I’m sure we will attend Lake of Stars in Malawi again, since we had such a great time last year. It will be held in September. We hope to also attend the 30th anniversary of Zaire 74 festival in Kinsasha, Congo. The original festival was held to support the memorable
‘Rumble in The Jungle’ fight between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman. It featured a ‘whose who’ of major African and African American artists at the time like Mirriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Cesario Evara, James Brown, Tabu Ley and more. Nelson Mandela recently passed, what impact do you believe this had on the continent as a whole, and do you think there will be any festivals in his honor? There were so many events held in honor of Mandela around the world. We can only speak on the impact he’s had on us. He once said “There is no passion to be found in settling for a life less than you deserve” and we definitely take that to heart. We are passionate about travelling and spotlighting the creative sectors of our continent, so that has stuck with us. He also said “The curious beauty of African music is that it uplifts even if it tells a sad tale”. We believe that! 
Cooking With Mama Cooking With Mama (CWM) is a cookery school that creates significant culinary experiences for participants by way of exploring different cultures through food and traditional recipes from the â€˜mamasâ€™. Sayo Ayodele, the director of CWM and currently based in London, UK, grew up across 4 continents . CWM was started by Sayoâ€™s friend Jennifer Fong because of her belief that food can be a tool for social change. Sayo was inspired by the idea that she decided to volunteer. She took over the organization when the founder left the UK and she has been running it since May 2013. CWM currently has four mamas from Sri Lanka, Brazil, Cameroon and Trindad who lead their supper clubs and cooking classes. As the director, Sayo oversees all of CWM, including the classes, operations, finances, mama development and more. Read her interview with AfroElle.
What inspired the name cooking with Mama and what are some lessons you've learnt in the kitchen while cooking with your mother ? The name Cooking with Mama was inspired by the feeling of being an expat in London and missing your mama's cooking wherever she may be. It's also inspired by the fact that there are many mamas all around us who have developed a specialist skill in home cooking that we wanted to bring to a London audience hungry for authentic cultural experiences, while supporting women to achieve their culinary dreams. Food always tastes best when cooked from the soul! How did you all ( the four mamas) come to meet? The four mamas came together through cooking with CWM and through our mama days, where we bring our mamas together to share tips and recipes, and invite different industry experts to come and provide some training to our mamas - i.e. on recipes, cooking class management and more! Three of them also go to the same church. What are the supper clubs and what takes place there? CWM supper clubs are an opportunity for the London public to come together and
enjoy one of our mama's delicious cuisine! They are distinct from our cooking classes because participants come just to eat - they don't have to do any of the cooking or the washing up!
start cooking until my final year of college, when I became a vegetarian and had to fend for myself! I discovered new recipes and a whole new world outside meat full of delicious and versatile ingredients.
Take us through your CWM events from start to finish?
What do you love most about food?
Anyone and everyone who would like to attend is invited and we sell tickets online through our website and other marketing channels. At our cooking classes, you'll arrive and meet the mama s and the other participants. Then it's time to get your hands dirty in mama's kitchen! You 'll get to cook a three course meal with the expert guidance of our mamas. After a demonstration and tutorial from our mama, you'll learn how to cook delicious authentic meals such as a Brazilian moqueca or a Sri Lankan chicken curry and at the end, you'll have a delicious culinary feast with friends old and new to enjoy your creations.
I love its ability to bring people together! At CWM events, most people arrive and don't know each other, so there is generally a nervous energy at the beginning. After everyone starts cooking, they are talking and laughing as though they've known each other for ages. It's really wonderful to watch.
What inspired your love for food and cooking? I've always loved food, and I was quite a large child as a result! I also developed a love of food through travelling - I believe the best way to experience a culture is through its food. However, I didn't really
As a globe trotter, what interesting fact have you learned about food in general? I always to go for a mix of nice restaurant for my meals in a new place and the sketchy looking roadside shack. I sometimes regret it in the morning but it's always worth it for the lipsmackingly delicious food that hasn't been tempered for the tourist palette. What is your best food memory? I have so many great food memories, it's really hard to pick one!
Mama Robertaâ€™s Supremo de Bacalhau Ingredients - 1â „2 kilo of salted cod, soaked overnight and water changed twice - 1 kg potatoes, peeled, and cut in medium size pieces - 1 onion chopped - 2 cloves of garlic - 1 small pot single cream - 1 tube Philadelphia cheese - 1 egg, separated yolk and white - 200ml milk - 200gr black olives From this year, I would have to say it was tasting Mama Roberta's moqueca (Brazilian fish stew) for the first time at one of our cooking classes and providing her with an opportunity to share her delicious food with so many people across London over the course of the year.
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese - 2 tbsp spring onion, chopped finely - 2 tbsp olive oil
What food trends are you currently excited about?
Directions Healthy baking! I love to bake but like to substitute healthy ingredients for the traditional ones. For example, using beetroot instead of food coloring for red velvet cupcakes - all the taste, only some of the guilt. If in London, how can one be a part of CWM? We are always looking for volunteers, participants, new mamas and friends! You can connect with us through our website www.cookingwithmama.org
- Boil the potatoes and mash them. Add the yolk, half of the cream, the parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp of spring onion. - Spread this mixture on a oven proof dish covered with 1 tbsp of the oil so the mash doesn't stick to it. - On a frying pan, add the other tbsp of olive oil and stir fry the onion and garlic in a low, medium heat for 5 minutes so the onions are transparent and lightly colored. - Add the broken pieces of salted cod and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
New Generation Leaders
We profile a new crop of young female leaders—these women are paradigm shifters, powerhouses, fire starters, soldiers, advocates and leaders who are leading the way. Complied by Ashley Makue
Vivian Onano is a senior at Carthage College majoring in business administration with a minor in biology and economics. She is a member of the Carthage Biology Honors Society and Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honors Society. Vivian has a strong commitment to women’s leadership on campus and is also a Moremi Initiative fellow, a ONE Campaign Congressional District Leader, a UNA-USA campus advocate, a Half the Sky Movement Campus Ambassador, and an alumnus of iLive2Lead International Leadership organization. Vivian’s goal is to help create sustainable healthcare systems in rural areas of Africa. Vivian has a diverse background working with a variety of organizations, including the MasterCard Foundation, where she served as an external reviewer for their scholarship program in SubSaharan Africa. As a blogger for Huffington Post, Vivian uses her oral and written communication skills in service of her passion –– providing holistic approaches to solving community problems. Vivian has participated in a number of global international development gatherings, including as a panelist at the Nexus Global Youth Summit, Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative University, and CARE International’s Conference on the Policy Agenda to Unlock the Power of Girls. She also served as a Youth Representative at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2012 and recently was profiled as one of the 70 outstanding members and leaders of UNA-USA as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations. Intel recently featured her as a Girl Rising everyday hero. Vivian can be reached via Twitter (@vivianonano).
In terms of the traits leadership theory, what distinguishes you as a leader and how does the paradigm of leadership shift, if at all, to define women leaders? Leadership is about serving other people; it sounds like a cliché but the truth is you cannot shove orders down people’s throats while you are doing the opposite. I have learned to resonate with people and make sure the people I lead love me. I think this is one main outstanding trait that distinguishes me from my peers. In any of my initiatives, I have always made sure that I am not the highhanded leader but the servant leader. So far it has been effective because the people that I work with or lead always want to learn from me and be leaders too. I always make sure I inspire the people I interact with to be productive members of the society and to believe in their own potential. Leadership doesn’t happen with just a snap of a finger, it has to be nurtured like an egg to make sure it hatches properly. Women are still yet to be respected and counted as leaders in our society. Globally we have only 20.4% of women in parliament, but this is an improvement from the 19.6% at the beginning of 2012. There is need for more support from both men and women to ensure more women ascend to leadership so that we can have both genders play their roles effectively in development. More often, women leaders are judged more harshly than their male counterparts. Although majority of women leaders out perform their male counterparts, unfortunately some women leaders have been a hindrance to women leadership because they feel threatened by rising young women. Young girls need to be encouraged to take leadership roles so that they can build on their skills. Those women who have climbed up the ladder should reach out to those at the base of the ladder and help them climb up through mentorship and empowerment. It is very encouraging to see many more young women and girls in my generation striving to make a difference despite the harsh conditions that they face. We need more collective efforts to make sure that many more girls have access to proper secondary and college education so that they can mold their lives to be great contributors to the socioeconomic success of their communities. And as the late Prof. Wangari Maathai once said, “African women in general need to know that it's OK for them to be the way they are - to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.” Let us not forget that, Leadership starts with the girls!
“ Unfortunately some women leaders have been a hindrance to women leadership because they feel threatened by rising young women. Young girls need to be encouraged to take leadership roles so that they can build on their skills. Those women who have climbed up the ladder should reach out to those at the base of the ladder and help them climb up through mentorship and empowerment.”
“Not only would we be able to solve our biggest problems with more women in leadership, more women role models would inspire more women to pursue positions of power and influence.”
What are the greatest challenges women in leadership experience? My life's work is advancing women and girls. While I'm more motivated by solutions than I am problems, it's important to understand barriers in order to over come them. Here are the core challenges to women's leadership that solutions like Levo League and Lean In are addressing: Greatest Challenge #1: The Chicken or the Egg The greatest challenge that women in leadership experience is not having enough women in leadership! Whether the issue you care most about is healthcare, education, the environment or our global economy, at the end of the day there are people at the highest levels making decisions that impact each and every one of us. Currently, women comprise about 18% of those positions despite the fact that we're over half the population. And research shows that having a diverse group of decision makers leads to more innovative outcomes. Not only would we be able to solve our biggest problems with
Named to Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women and by the Huffington Post as one of 19 women who are leading the way, Tiffany Dufu’s life’s work is advancing women and girls. She is a nationally renowned expert and speaker on women’s and Gen Y leadership. Tiffany serves as Chief Leadership officer, Levo League and on the Launch Team for Lean In. She is former President, The White House Project, and was previously at Simmons College and Seattle Girls’ School. Tiffany is on the board of Harlem 4 Kids and lives in New York with her husband and two children.
more women in leadership, more women role models would inspire more women to pursue positions of power and influence. As Marian Wright Edelman said "You can't be what you can't see." Greatest Challenge #2: Bringing Home the Bacon and Frying It Although women are in the workforce in higher numbers than ever before, our culture hasn't abandoned the 1950's notion that women's rightful place is in the home. Women often feel the dual pressures of climbing the corporate ladder and managing everything on the home front, which is impossible to sustainably accomplish without support - whether internal or outsourced. Until we have a revolution that truly makes household labor not just "women's work," balancing work and life will continue to be a huge inhibitor for women who have ambitions to make an impact in both the public and private sphere.
Greatest Challenge #3: The Mirror Women often struggle with advancing their leadership without a full understanding of how they might be contributing to their own stagnation. Furthermore, suggesting that women are responsible for their lack of representation in leadership feels a lot like blaming the victim - an unpopular concept. Nevertheless, until women fully embrace that they are the most powerful change agents in their own journey, they won't have the resiliency, humility or creativity to realize their dreams. One of the biggest mistakes I've seen young women make in the workplace is to assume that if they simply put their heads down and achieve great results, they will be successful. They aren't politically navigating their environment. Often after training and coaching, they discover that one key to success is ensuring that the right people know about your wins and are promoting you. If you want something you've never had before, you'll have to do something you've never done before in order to get it.
Fern Holland Award winning is the founder of SOS Femmes en Dangers, a non profit organisation that aids rape victims. Marceline grew up in the Maniema province of Congo where she witnessed war and its infringement of womenâ€™s rights. At age thirteen she was imprisoned along with her family for refusing to wed a commandant. After the dangerous flee from Maniema that claimed the lives of both her father and brother and chased her from town to town, Marceline finally settled in Fizi where the work of the SOS Femmes en Dangers began. With the organisation, she supports and empowers rape survivors by educating them about their rights, equipping them with knowledge and skills to improve their lives and providing them with formal schooling.
Ghanaian-American, Nina Oduro is the founder and editor of AfricanDevJobs.com, a platform for Africabased development job opportunities and career advice with a special focus on highlighting the contributions of Africans and the African Diaspora in the field. Committed to women’s empowerment, education, and youth leadership development, she has worked as an education advisor, trainer, and facilitator for programs and initiatives aimed at positive youth development in the US and Africa. In addition Nina believes in the power of mentorship and devotes time to mentoring young leaders. She is a member of the Diaspora African Women’s Network’s (DAWN) and was selected by members as the “DAWNer of the Year” for 2013, honoring her leadership and commitment as a next generation woman leader. She received a Master’s degree in African-American Studies from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.
“Education is the reason why Africans can celebrate the significant gains that women have made in breaking barriers at leadership tables.
How can education aid the advancement of women's leadership and ultimately, that of Africa? One of the major challenges to leadership around the world is the lack of female representation in decision making spaces. This is a critical issue that affects many countries. Although there has been significant progress in many places to improve the gender disparity at leadership tables, more work has to be done to ensure that women are equally represented everywhere. Education is key determinant of a womanâ€™s ability to make empowered decisions and research shows that inequalities in education for women in Africa is linked to increased chances of poverty and underdevelopment of communities. Furthermore, education is vital for the advancement of women into leadership positions on the continent. Education is the reason why Africans can celebrate the significant gains that women have made in breaking barriers at leadership tables. In recent years, the continent has seen two women heads of state in Malawi and Liberia, a female Prime Minister in Senegal, a female leader of the African Union, and the victory of nearly 64 percent of Rwandaâ€™s parliament being women. Without access to quality education, these women would have been excluded from participating in the development of their countries and Africa as a whole, leaving governance to largely male dominated elites. The journey to becoming a leader in ones community and nation begins as a girl. Girl child education must be prioritized in order for African girls to become women leaders. Through educating young girls, cultural and social issues such as early marriage and pregnancy, which prevent girls from accessing quality education, decrease significantly. As a result, they are able to acquire the education and skills needed to improve their lives and become the next generation of leaders.
Vienna Mbagaya, a Kenya native, is an Epidemiologist and entrepreneur in Washington, DC. She has worked for a number of organizations at international, federal, state and community levels in the areas of infectious disease research, social behavioral health and military psychological health. Vienna is the DC Chapter Representative for DAWN (Diaspora African Women Network), whose mission is to develop and support the next generation of African Diaspora women leaders focused on African affairs. She is the founder and director at Vienna Nairobi LLC (http:// www.viennanairobi.com), a public health consulting firm, whose focus is on Epidemiology and Biostatistics as applied to women’s health, health disparities, and global health. Vienna also founded “The Invisible Neighbors” (http://theinvisibleneighbors.com) to showcase immigrants’ contributions to the U.S., and their committed roles as stakeholders in the community and the American workforce. As co-founder of Bidii Children Foundation (http://www.bidiifoundation.org), Vienna champions efforts toward empowerment among women and children in rural communities.
Even as we raise future female leaders, we inadvertently limit their potential by prescribing to one definition of success and leadership.
How has academia and research defined the leadership of African women in and outside Africa and their influence?
I find that there is a disparity in how leadership is defined for women, versus how we articulate it for ourselves. Does our culture truly nurture leadership skills in young girls and women, and encourage autonomy to orchestrate their success? Throughout my academic career and early professional career, I sought secondary leadership opportunities and to further shortchange myself, I prescribed to a singular definition of success. Soon, I found myself devoted to a path that was not truly my own, with work that was not impactful. At that time, it was important that I reach out to my immediate network to help close the gap between the work that I dedicated myself to every day, and the evidence of its impact. It took purposeful focus to painfully let go of what I was taught to me about success and leadership, and forge
on outside of the learned parameters. With this privilege comes the freedom to pick and choose among the tenets that are taught about women and leadership, in order to design template that is specific to my strengths and passions. Embedded in a lot of cultures is a womanâ€™s potential; however it is often presented in concert with the limits to that very potential. Even as we raise future female leaders, we inadvertently limit their potential by prescribing to one definition of success and leadership. It takes female leaders, through their big or small rebellions, and courageous wanders outside the comfort zone, to valiantly challenge these cultural anchors and dare us to do the same. What would you do if you were not afraid, they ask? I am doing it.â€?
Aya Chebbi is a young Tunisian blogger, women's advocate and peace activist. She started her activism as Peer Educator on HIV/AIDS, Red Crescent volunteer and Soliya Facilitator on conflict resolution. Aya helped direct the National Organization for Tunisian Children aiming to improve the lives of children and protect their rights, where she volunteered at the refugee camps on the Tunisian-Libyan borders during Libya’s civil war. She also worked on youth development projects at the Danish Program Office in Tunisia and elections monitoring at the Carter Center for 2012 Presidential Elections in Egypt.
“ For Africa to embrace feminism, we need first to change the perception of being a feminist, because we do not ask to dominate humanity- as man did for decades- but to have equal opportunities, duties and responsibilities.”
Following Tunisia’s revolution, she has been widely speaking about social movements worldwide for conferences and rallies in United States, Canada, Poland, Turkey, Kenya and South Africa among other countries. In 2013, she was named as one of 28 Africa's most outstanding women leaders by the Moremi Institute. Currently, Aya is Africa and Middle East Youth Coordinator at World Peace Foundation, an international organization that promotes peace worldwide, co-founder of the Voice of Women Initiative and Co-chair of the Youth Advisory Group of CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation.
How important is it for Africa to embrace feminism and the leadership of women? In Africa, we have been disadvantaged for decades by cultural norms, customs and traditions of our societies that became a source of legislation and limited our roles as housewives and mothers. However, women were gradually breaking the chains of patriarchy by being in the frontline of social movements, running farms and businesses, leading community associations and running for political office. Still, we are challenged on a daily basis and under-represented with limited participation at key leadership positions in public service, politics, governance and other sectors. Yet, the few African women who have made it to the top level of leadership proved that women can lead! So, if we are heading towards democratizing our systems in Africa, it is essential and crucial to start by providing women a central role in the journey of nation building and development whether in the sphere of public life, government or outside. We
don’t even need to look up to the Western experience but to learn from examples inside the continent and how women leadership transformed societies and governance such as in Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya and especially Rwanda. Taher Hadded, a Tunisian scholar and politician, said: “women are half of humanity”. For Africa to embrace feminism, we need first to change the perception of being a feminist, because we do not ask to dominate humanity- as man did for decades- but to have equal opportunities, duties and responsibilities. I think when women and men in Africa make decisions together, the decisions will better reflect and respond to the diverse needs and rights of the entire population. The shortage of women in leadership isn’t only a gender issue because the advantages don’t accrue just to women and children but gender inequality harms the society as a whole. We need to share power in partnership with our men counterparts based on inclusion and collaboration. 57| www.afroellemagazine.com
Born in Nigeria to Indian and Tanzanian parents, Neema Iyer is a Uganda-based program manager working for Text to Change, an organization that uses ICT tools to reach people, start dialogues and create opportunities in developing countries. As a life-long learner, she spent several years in the United States studying and applying concepts in public health before returning to Africa to work in the exciting field of health technology. Viewing the world from the lens of three different continents that she has called home, Neema brings a colorful perspective to her work and passions. She is particularly interested in social entrepreneurship, womenâ€™s empowerment and the elimination of violence against women. With this in mind, she started Sum of Girls in 2013 to empower young girls and women through technology by providing creative and innovative training, mentorship and equipment. Neema deeply enjoys creative arts, connecting with people and is an aspiring marathoner.
As leadership is often task oriented, what is the assignment of women's leadership in social entrepreneurship? I believe that the assignment of present women leaders in any sphere of life is to inspire and serve as a role model to the next generation of leaders. A study by famed economist Esther DuFlo found that female leaders have an immense positive influence on the attitudes, ambitions and achievements of young girls in their communities. Women in power have the ability to make girls dream bigger. Women leaders have the task to lead by example and use every opportunity to teach and mentor other women to reach their full potential. As such, we should look at other upcoming women as a source of collaboration, support and learning together in social entrepreneurship rather than as competition. It is exciting to see women rising throughout the world and we need to celebrate these women who have succeeded in their fields and have been trailblazers for others in their areas.
Esther Eshiet is a professional social worker and development blogger with core competence in sexual & reproductive health /rights, entrepreneurship, policy and strategy. With over 7 years of work experience which spans through organizations such as Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI), Youth Action for Change (YAC), Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) and the Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDs (GYCA). She has volunteered on numerous local and international projects ranging from being the Lead -author of the UNGASS National Youth Shadow Report for Nigeria presented the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS,2008. Esther became a 2010 Fellow of Moremi Initiative, which inspired her to founded the Afterschool Peer Mentoring Project; her MILEAD Pet Project which provides Career Guidance and Counseling as well as employability services as well as Social Broking Services for young persons in transitional stages of their lives in Calabar and Nigeria.(www.afterschoolproject.org) What provisions must be included in public policy to advance the leadership of women in Africa? In order to advance women’s leadership in Africa; a series of multi -faceted strategies and solutions is required. However public policy has the opportunity of driving this desired social change through the adoption of the following provisions: Gender Mainstreaming: In order to scale up the action participation of women in leadership in Africa there is need for vertical and horizontal gender mainstreaming process in the public and private sectors across the continents. Gender issues must be integrated into business and development plans, policies, programmes, as well as actions and not merely accorded a ministerial position at government. All stages of project planning, implementation, and Monitoring and evaluation must integrate gender based programming in every institutional structure, mechanisms, and operational guidelines as well as promote a culture that facilitates gender mainstreaming. Gender based budgeting: World over, it has been proven time and time again that investing in women has multiplier effects and quicker turnovers. While
gender isn’t just a “women’s Issues” resources both human and financials should be mobilized to seamlessly operate a gender sensitive budgeting policy and systems. There has to be a disaggregated budgeting systems that provide for budgeting and financing for gender with prioritizing key investments for girls and women. Community and country led ownership of international legal instruments: While we have seen incredible successes by some country is in the region in the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, the Millennium Development Goals; this further proves that country and community led ownership of development processes is the most effective way of driving change via the bottom up and the top bottom approach. Hence there has to be a common ground established between the political will and the citizens in the promotion of women’s leadership in Africa and all social instructions especially the family must play its pivotal role in entrenching this.
â€œFrom financiers to artists, "tech moms" to politicians, professors to entrepreneurs, farmers to civil engineers, women are playing at higher levels, contributing positively to the African intellectual space and are still doing their best to be great mothers and wives.â€? As the Founder & Managing Director, Leyla
drives projects in advocacy, develops policies and strategies for the public and the private sector. She serves as advisor to Government officials looking for creative solutions in her area of expertise. Leyla Gozo is a member of the Global Agenda Council on Africa â€“ World Economic Forum chaired by President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka. She is also Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Community in Lome, Togo, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, leading a group of dynamic young leaders working to improve the state of their communities. She led several projects on behalf of her hub in Lome.
Social media is an important platform for empowerment by information sharing, what are the most important messages to drive about African women leaders?
models in our society with strong values and principles.
Social media has completely changed the way we communicate, especially in Africa. Thanks to it, information is spread widely. We can instantly learn more about incredible women who are achieving amazing things in less traditional sectors. The best outcome is that, there are more role models for younger generations.
As leaders in different sectors, from financiers to artists, "tech moms" to politicians, professors to entrepreneurs, farmers to civil engineers, they are playing at higher levels, contributing positively to the African intellectual space and still doing their best to be great mothers and wives. It is their duty to inspire and empower more people by raising awareness on important issues, and collectively tackling them with concrete and positive actions, in order to ensure development.
We are in an era where Africa, is turning into reality, its potential to be a world power. African women leaders have an important role to play in this process, and they are committed to do so.
That is where social media has its role to play. The percentage of African women leaders, using this tool for empowerment is growing, and we need to be encouraging them to be more active online
It is the responsibility of women to act as role
Regina Fuller is a community educator who has lived in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Brazil. Most recently, Regina spearheaded Exponential Education Services, a SAT and college preparation program for high school students in Kumasi, Ghana. She graduated from the University of Ghana in 2013 with a masters degree in African Studies. A fluent speaker in Spanish, Regina has worked with AfroLatino communities in Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicarauga. Currently, she is a Fulbright English Teacher in Campo Grande, Brasil.
Education is the biggest tool for empowerment. What education will raise quality women leaders in Africa? Though not a part of the "formal" education system, I believe positive female mentorship is key to raising a new generation of women leaders in Africa. From my undergraduate experience in the US to postgraduate experience in Ghana, it has been female professors, business leaders and friends who have taught me how to follow my passions and hone my leadership skills. Plus, these same women have opened professional doors in my career. Mentorship is one of the best education women in Africa can truly benefit from.
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