Every year around this time, people around the world wait with baited breath for BBC to let us know who they think owned 2018 in terms of leadership, power and influence. From 60 countries of Earth, the BBC 100 Women list is a showcase of females from as young as 15 to as old as 94 who through action, passion, indignation and anger, have impacted and contributed to a change in the world.
A proud moment for Africa, 14 of the coveted pedestals were represented by women from all over the continent who have shared their stories with the world and brought much needed attention the struggles that face the African woman on a day to day basis.
As we celebrate all 14 women, we can’t help but marvel at how the world took notice of South African activist, poet and model, Thando Hopa, who through sharing our quest for media to look #BeyondBeauty in it’s conventional state, captured the attention of international media when she was featured as the first African in the Pirelli calendar 2018 and carrying the beauty-in-albinism flag. See her tweet below when she discovered the recognition.
In order of how they appear on the list, see who have carried the global flag of Africa below:
1) Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, 33 – Social impact entrepreneur, Nigeria.
Abisoye is the founder of GirlsCoding, an NGO that teaches girls how to code, design and build websites that help solve problems in their communities.
5) Nimco Ali, 35 – Writer and activist, Somaliland.
Nimco is an award-winning FGM (female genital mutilation) activist.
26) Noma Dumezweni, 49 – Actor, eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland).
Noma is the first woman to play the adult version of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, playing in London’s West End and Broadway, New York.
28) Shrouk El-Attar, 26 – Electronic design engineer, Egypt.
Shrouk is a refugee and full-time engineer, who uses belly dancing to raise awareness and campaign for the rights of the LGBT+ community in Egypt.
30) Raghda Ezzeldin, 26 – Free-diver, Egypt.
Raghda is a record-breaking free-diver, who descends to extreme depths without breathing apparatus.
32) Mamitu Gashe, 72 – Senior nurse aide/fistula surgeon, Ethiopia.
Mamitu is now an internationally certified fistula surgeon, after being treated for fistula (an injury which can occur in childbirth) herself.
41) Thando Hopa, 29 – Model, lawyer, activist, South Africa.
Thando is a diversity and inclusion advocate. Cast in the Pirelli calendar 2018, she is the first person of colour in South Africa to have featured in the publication.
58) Ruth Medufia, 27 – Metal worker, Ghana.
Ruth is a female welder who lives in an urban slum community and aspires to be a role model for young women in the construction industry.
60) Amina J Mohammed, 57 – Deputy secretary general, United Nations, Nigeria.
Amina is a former minister of environment in Nigeria and has previously been a special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
66) Helena Ndume, 58 – Ophthalmologist, Namibia.
Helena has performed sight-restoring surgeries upon 35,000 Namibians, free of charge – many of her patients now call her “Namibia’s miracle doctor”.
74) Brigitte Sossou Perenyi, 28 – Documentary producer, Ghana.
Brigitte is an award-winning documentary producer, who told her story of being a Trokosi – a practice that sends girls to serve priests in shrines as payment for the “sins” of their family – and being trafficked from Togo to Ghana.
79) Fatma Samoura, 56 – Fifa secretary general, Senegal.
Fatma is the first woman and the first African to hold the position of secretary general of Fifa.
80) Juliet Sargeant, 53 – Garden designer, Tanzania.
Juliet is a doctor-turned-garden designer working to make “places that feel as good as they look”.
93) Bola Tinubu, 51 – Lawyer, Nigeria.
Bola is a corporate lawyer who established the first free children’s helpline in Nigeria.
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