By Abdi Ali
Published April 17, 2017
A Gambian has been recognised, celebrated and honoured as African Woman of the Year in a continental awards that “recognise, celebrate and honour African women who have made exceptional impact and change in their countries or communities in the past 12 months.”
Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajan who now serves as Minister of Women Affairs and Overseer in the Office of the Vice President of The Gambia, is said to have been instrumental in galvanising the opposition that eventually led to the defeat and exile of strongman Yahya Jammeh in 2016.
Kenya’s Vivian Onano won the New African Woman on the Rise (The Next Generation) award for her role as girls’ rights activist and UN Women youth advisor.
While Nigeria’s Amina J Mohammed, the new United Nations Deputy Secretary, took home the New African Woman in Politics and Public Office, Morocco’s Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch,went home with the New African woman Award in Business as Zimbabwean philathropist and educationist, Tsitsi Masiyiwa, received the New African Woman Award in Education for her work with Higherlife Foundation.
The New African Woman in Sport award went to Senegal’s Fatma Samoura, the FIFA Secretary General, a position she was appointed to in 2016, becoming the first African woman to hold the post.
The New African Woman in Civil Society Award was given to Theresa Kachindamoto, a chief who is repported to have annulled more than 300 child marriages in her village in Malawi, a feat that played an important role in forcing the government to ban child marriages in the country.
The Award for Women in Health, Science and Technology went to Namibia’s Dr Helena Ndume, a pioneering ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon who, to date, is said to have performed more than 35000 sight-restoring surgeries on Namibians free of charge.
Other winners were Nigeria’s Joan Okorodudu (New African Woman In The Arts & Culture) for her services to raising the profile of African models and fashion); Mali’s Binta Touré Ndoye (New African Woman – in Finance); Amira Yahyaoui of Tunisia (New African Woman in Media) and the former African Union Commissioner Agriculture and Rural Development, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace from Uganda, won the New African Woman in Agriculture for pushing the importance of food security and adding value chain to African goods.
The winners were selected by a special panel of judges from 68 shortlisted candidates across 12 categories and announced during the second New African Woman Awards ceremony held in Dakar, Senegal, on April 12, 2017.