Top 10 African Women of 2014
As we welcome 2015, we look back on some of the remarkable African women of 2014, whose contributions in all spheres of work, from the arts, to politics, to feminism have stood out and touched many lives.
- Amma Asante
A filmmaker of the future generation, Asante directed one of the highest grossed films of 2014, Belle, in which she captivatingly tells the story of a young black woman in 18th Century England. The film was highly acclaimed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and stands amongst the influx of Hollywood motion pictures directed by and starring black creatives. We definitely think she is one to watch in the years to come.
- Judge Thokozile Masipa
Irrespective of the controversy surrounding the South African Court’s final verdict on the Oscar Pistorius case, we cannot dismiss the media attention given to Judge Thokozile Masipa this past year. Throughout Pistorius’ trial, social media was flooded with references to “My Lady.” As one of the first female black judges in South Africa after Apartheid, Judge Masipa thoroughly deserves a place on our list, not only for her achievements, but also the dignified and calm manner in which she approached such a high-profile case.
- Meriam Ibrahim
The bravery and dignity of 27-year-old mother, Meriam Ibrahim, touched many hearts in the past year. Persecuted and sentenced to death for her Christian beliefs in Northern Sudan, the pregnant mother refused all attempts of the authorities to convert her, instead, she displaying courage – standing strong in her beliefs. Her strength and integrity have been acknowledged around the world with the likes of even Pope Francis singing her praises.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
No list of inspirational African women is complete without writer, speaker and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Ngozi Adichie has somewhat put feminism on the map this past year as something ‘cool’ and acceptable. The clips of her TEDxEuston talk, We Should All be Feminists in Beyoncé’s hit song, Flawless, reintroduced the issues of female empowerment in popular culture.
- Lupita Nyong’o
2014 was, without a shadow of a doubt, Lupita Nyong’o’s year. From becoming the first African woman to win an Academy Award, her touching Essence speech on black beauty, to her being crowned the most beautiful woman of 2014. Lupita Nyong’o is an inspiration to thousands of black women, not only for her acting abilities, but also as a positive and dignified role model.
- Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe
At the Saint Monica Girls’ Tailoring Centre in Gulu, Uganda, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe dedicates her time to helping women and young children affected by rape and violence in a country still suffering from civil war. The work she does gives hope and a future to countless women and serves as a model for other African countries afflicted by war.
- Thuli Madonsela
Thuli Madonsela, advocate and Public Protector of South Africa, demonstrated her integrity and drive towards creating a more transparent Africa. In a continent full of corruption and smokescreens, Madonsela shed public light on the questionable spending of South African President, Zuma; earning her the Transparency International Integrity Award as well as the South African of the Year Award.
- Dr. Oby Ezekwesili
It is very difficult to think about African news in 2014 without remembering the kidnapping of the 200 plus Chibok girls. Activist and humanitarian, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, was one of the early forces raising international awareness surrounding the kidnapping of the girls. Her admirable advocacy and determination to bring back our girls is still evident today, whilst many, if not most, have sadly forgotten.
- Hadiza Bala Usman
Hadiza Bala Usman is a modern-day media stormtrooper. Not only did her initiation of the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign garner international support from figures such as Michelle Obama, but it also shed a scathing light on the internal conflicts taking place in the North East of Nigeria.
- Dr Ameyo Adadevoh
A modern-day heroine, the late Dr Ameyo Adadevoh deserves our top spot due to her dedication in the Nigerian healthcare service, which, in an attempt to fight Ebola, tragically ended in her passing. The work and sacrifice she made in order to curb the spread of Ebola in Nigeria is truly a triumph and has saved countless lives.