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Leadership Lecture Series: ‘Let Africa lead: Women at the Centre of African leadership’

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African Women Leadership was the focus of a leadership lecture facilitated by the Centre for Women Leadership (CWL) at the Mancosa [GSB] on Thursday, 17th March 2016. The Centre for Women Leadership, serves as a platform to foster women leadership in diverse ways. Activities such as promoting active discourse and encouraging research on themes related to women leadership, as well as networking with stakeholders and interested parties are the main focus areas and objectives of the centre.

The lecture entitled, “Let Africa Lead: Women at the Centre of African Leadership,” was delivered by Yaa Ashantewaa Archer Ngidi, a transformational facilitator, motivational speaker and African history educator. According to the Head of the Centre for Women Leadership, Dr Claudine Hingston, such a lecture was timely and important as leadership in many African countries continue to be male dominated, even though research has shown that women leaders perform better than men. She added that it was time to reposition African women as a tool to solve current social and economic challenges in Africa.

In her lecture, Mrs Ngidi, stated that Africa should engage more in communicating and practising leadership roles in senior management. She said that it was time for Africans’ themselves to define what is African leadership and to place African women at the centre of Africa’s development. Women in leadership positions worldwide face a struggle and African women are particularly impeded by “patriarchy”, said Yaa Ashantewaa. She added that for more African women to be given a chance to attain leadership roles and positions, the concept of ‘womancentrism’ should be embraced. The concept of ‘womancentrism’ calls for a woman centred approach and for women to be focused on and given opportunities in senior positions. She further added that African women should have more conversations with men and strive to follow in the footsteps of powerful African female leaders, such as Queen Kandaka of Ethiopia (332 BC), Queen Nzinga of Angola (1580- 1663), Queen Amina of Zaria, Nigeria ( 1588 -1589) and Queen Nandi of Azania (1750 -1828).

According to Yaa Ashantewaa, Africa needs leaders that are transformative and can deliver rather than those that make promises. Africa also need leaders who are visionary but compassionate, attributes that women best possess. All women have a greatness inside them and Yaa Ashantewaa, inspired the women present at the lecture, to work on their greatness. Her final remark was that if women want to excel, they should work together. The lecture ended with a comprehensive question and answer session.

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