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Gillian Whitlock

the Danish writer also known as Isak Dinesen, who lived in British East Africa (present-day Kenya), was born Karen Dinesen at Rungstedlund, Denmark, on 17 April 1885. Her father, Wilhelm Dinesen, was a military officer, landowner, and Member of Parliament; the Dinesens were an ancient Danish family of landed gentry. Her mother, Ingeborg Westenholtz, was the eldest daughter of the wealthy businessman and finance minister Regnar Westenholtz. Following the suicide of Wilhelm Dinesen in 1895, Ingeborg Dinesen raised her three daughters and two sons in a maternal household, where Karen was known as “Tanne.” As a young woman, Karen Blixen attended art school, mastered several European languages, frequented the aristocratic circles of upper-class young people in Denmark, and began to publish short stories in Danish periodicals in 1907 under the pseudonym Osceola None of these early stories attracted particular attention and she felt discouraged as a writer ...

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Jeremy Rich

first female prime minister of Senegal, was born in the coastal city of Saint Louis, Senegal. She came from a family of lawyers, including her father, one brother who worked for the Supreme Court of Senegal, and another brother who received an advanced law degree, became a professor of international law, and eventually became the head of the University of Dakar. Boye herself attended primary school in her home city before graduating from the Lycée Faidherbe secondary school and enrolling in an undergraduate law degree program at the University of Dakar in 1963 She then studied law at the Centre National d Études Judiciaries CNEJ in Paris Once she finished her studies in France she returned to Senegal and began to work as an assistant prosecutor for the government Boye became an assistant judge in a court at Dakar and later rose to be president of the Senegalese Court ...

Article

Born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Zola Budd was seventeen years of age in 1984 when she set an unofficial world record for the 5000-meter race with a time of 15 minutes, 1.83 seconds. At that time South Africa was barred from international sport because of its policy of Apartheid, so Budd adopted British citizenship in order to qualify for the 1984 Olympic Games. This move caused a good deal of controversy because it allowed a white South African athlete to defy the ban and appear in international competitions. At the 1984 Games Budd gained international attention when in the last lap of the 3000 meter race American runner Mary Decker Slaney the world record holder in the 3000 meter and the favorite to win tripped on Budd s foot and fell Both Budd and Decker Slaney finished out of the medals Budd initially received much of the ...

Article

Joyce Youmans

a Nigerian sculptor, was born in Buguma, Nigeria, the principal settlement of the Kalabari people in the eastern Niger Delta region. She moved to England as a teenager, where she was raised by her brother-in-law, the anthropologist Robin Horton. From 1979 to 1980 she attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She then returned to England and enrolled at the Central School of Art and Design in London where she earned a bachelor’s degree (with honors) in 1983. While an undergraduate, she received the Amy Sadur Friedlander Prize (1981) and the Saatchi & Saatchi Award (1982). In 1983 Camp was awarded the Princess of Wales Memorial Scholarship and the coveted Henry Moore Bursary at the Royal College of Art in London. She graduated from the Royal College in 1986 with a master’s degree in sculpture.

Camp received additional education in Nigeria where ...

Article

Prudence Jones

queen of Egypt, was the last ruler in the Ptolemaic dynasty, which held power in Egypt from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The Egyptian ruler referred to as Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII, daughter of Ptolemy XII, one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals.

The identity of Cleopatra s mother is not known for certain She may have been the daughter of Ptolemy XII and his first wife Cleopatra V Cleopatra V disappears from the historical record sometime before 68 BCE however and it is unclear whether this disappearance occurred before or after Cleopatra s birth in 69 BCE It is possible that Cleopatra s mother may have been a concubine of Ptolemy XII who himself was the son of Ptolemy IX and a concubine The third option is that Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII s second ...

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Jeremy Rich

Senegalese medical researcher and government minister of health, was born in 1951 in Dakar, Senegal. She attended primary and secondary schools in Dakar, where she drew attention because of her aptitude for science and her athleticism. She played on the Senegalese national women’s basketball team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Coll-Seck received a medical degree from the University of Dakar in 1978 and commenced her medical practice the same year. She worked as a doctor in hospitals in the French city of Lyons as well as her hometown of Dakar in the late 1970s and the 1980s.

In 1989 Coll-Seck was named to the faculty of the medical school of the University of Dakar and chief medical officer of infectious diseases at the Dakar public hospital. In the 1990s Coll Seck was noticed by the international medical and public health community for her ...

Article

David E. Gardinier

first lady of Gabon. Patience Dabany is the name adopted by Marie-Joséphine Kama Bongo in 1986 following her divorce from President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. Marie-Joséphine Kama, known informally as Marie-Jo, was born on 22 January 1937, at Akiené in the Upper-Ogooué Region, which until 1946 formed part of Middle Congo. Her father was an officer in the French colonial army. Both her parents were part of the Assélé clan of the Obamba people to whom the Téké people of their district, including the family of Omar Bongo, were tributary. Marie-Jo’s father was an important figure in the ndjovi, a secret initiation society of the Obamba that wielded much influence, including among the Téké.

Marie Jo received her entire schooling in the French language She graduated from a government program that prepared teachers at the primary level Thereafter she was married to Dieudonné Pascal Ndouna Okogo 1937 1977 ...

Article

Martha Saavedra

Ethiopian long-distance runner, and the first sub-Saharan African woman to win an Olympic gold medal, was born on 21 March 1972 in Bekoji 80 miles 130 kilometers south of Addis Ababa Ethiopia Like many in their community her father Tulu and her mother Derartu Kenene were farmers who raised cows sheep and horses Despite a population of only 30 thousand Bekoji in the Arsi zone in the central Ethiopia highlands at an altitude of 9 800 feet 3 000 meters is also the birthplace of many successful distance runners from Ethiopia These include Kenenisa Bekele and Derartu s younger cousin Tirunesh Dibaba 2008 Olympic 5 000 10 000 meter and multiple World Cross Country women s champion Like the majority of the country s elite runners as well as athletes in other sports in Ethiopia Derartu is from the Oromo ethnic group A study of Ethiopian national senior and ...

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Frances B. Henderson

Mozambican politician and prime minister from 2004 to 2010, was born in Tete Province, Mozambique. Diogo held one of the most powerful positions in Mozambique, and was among the first women to break through the gender barrier into the upper echelons of political office in Africa. She has also been a tireless advocate of accountability and good governance in southern Africa. Diogo is widely credited with facilitating economic growth and development in Mozambique.

Diogo was raised in Tete City and attended school there until she was fourteen years old. She attended high school in the capital city of Maputo at Maputo Commercial Institute, and she then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance from Eduardo Mondlane University, also in Maputo. In 1983 Diogo went to London to continue her studies in financial economics at the University of London, where she earned a master’s degree in 1992 ...

Article

Jenny Murray

Algerian writer and filmmaker, was born Fatma Zohra Imalhayène in Cherchell, Algeria, on 30 June 1936 to Tahar Imalhayène and Bahia Sahraoui. Her father was a teacher in the French colonial school in Mouzaïaville in the Mitidja region, and her mother was a descendant of the Berkani tribe. Djebar attended the school where her father taught, and from 1946 to 1953 she studied classics and English at the French secondary school in Blida. In October 1953, after passing the Baccalauréat examination, she enrolled in the Lycée Bugeaud in Algiers for the hypokhâgne, the first year of a preparatory course for entrance examinations to the École Normale Supérieure. Djebar moved to Paris in October 1954 to complete Première Supérieure in literature Greek and Latin at the Lycée Fénelon The following year she was offered a place at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure de Sèvres and from May to ...

Article

James Kilgore

Zimbabwean freedom fighter and politician, grew up in a politically minded family. Her father, a bricklayer, was frequently detained by the white minority government, and Dongo recalled visiting him in prison when she was just seven years old. At fifteen she left secondary school and walked two hundred miles to Mozambique to join the freedom fighters of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU, later ZANU-PF, for “Patriotic Front”). ZANU was conducting a liberation war against the colonial regime led by Ian Smith, leader of Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Dongo trained as a medical assistant. She took the Chimurenga (“liberation war”) name of “Tichaona Muhondo” (“We shall see on the battlefield”).

At independence in 1980 she returned to Zimbabwe, completed a typing course, and worked as the Secretary for Women’s Affairs in the national headquarters of ZANU-PF in Harare. In 1983 she took a position in the Ministry of State Security ...

Article

Terza Silva Lima-Neves

Cape Verdean singer, was born on 27 August 1941 in São Vicente, Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony that gained its independence on 5 July 1975. Cesaria Evora, commonly known as Cize, was one of five siblings. Her mother Joana worked as a maid, and her father Justino was a musician. Justino, who played the cavaquinho (ukulele), guitar, and violin and was a friend of the great Cape Verdean composer B. Leza, died when Cesaria Evora was a young girl. Evora was raised by her grandmother and educated by Catholic nuns.

As a young woman, Evora performed in bars and on the main square of Mindelo, the capital city of São Vicente. She sang traditional Cape Verdean music such as Morna, similar to American blues and Portuguese Fado, as well as Coladera an upbeat genre of music Evora also performed on ships docked in the main ...

Article

Stephen Clingman

South African novelist, short story writer, essayist, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was born on 20 November 1923 in the small gold mining town of Springs east of Johannesburg Both her parents were Jewish immigrants her father Isidore was a watchmaker and jeweler from the Lithuanian Latvian border her mother Nan came from England Her father with his foreign accent and ways was disparaged in the family he also absorbed the dominant racial models of the time while her mother took more readily to anglicized colonial mores Gordimer grew up in a nonreligious environment though she attended a convent school for the sake of its superior education Early on she was a dancer and sometimes a truant exploring the physical possibilities of veld and mine dumps with innate energy and relish At the age of eleven however her mother withdrew her from school on the putative ...

Article

Stephen Zunes

Western Saharan nationalist and human rights advocate, is the most prominent figure in the ongoing nonviolent resistance movement in Western Sahara in support of human rights and in opposition to Moroccan occupation of the country. Widely known as “the Sahrawi Gandhi,” as of the early twenty-first century Haidar serves as president of the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA). Born in 1966, she currently lives in El Aaiún in occupied Western Sahara and received her baccalaureate degree in modern literature. She is divorced and the mother of two adult sons.

The kingdom of Morocco, which claims Western Sahara as an integral part of its territory, has occupied most of the former Spanish colony since 1975. The Polisario Front, the nationalist movement which had initially battled Spanish colonialist forces, waged a guerilla war against the Moroccan occupation until a cease-fire agreement in 1991 A series of United ...

Article

Julia A. Clancy-Smith

Tunisian lawyer activist and writer was born in Halq al Wadi La Goulette the port for Tunis to Tunisian Jewish parents from the large Taïeb clan Zeiza Gisèle Élise Halimi s gender made her unwelcome at birth Her father Edouard an Orthodox Jew of precarious economic resources had desired a second son Despite or perhaps because of the fact that her parents had no formal schooling and distrusted education and books Halimi evinced a passion for reading and studies from early on which she satisfied through the public library in Tunis Since most of the family s meager income went for her older brother s schooling Halimi s prospects for high school seemed dim at best so she took a scholarship examination and earning the highest grade was able to attend lycée which eventually opened the door to a university education in France Before studying law she had two other ...

Article

Mary H. Moran

Liberian president and the first woman elected president of an African country, was born Ellen Johnson on 29 October 1938 in Monrovia the capital of Liberia the daughter of Carney Karnley Johnson and Martha Dunbar Johnson Her paternal grandfather Jahmale sometimes known as Jahmale the Peacemaker was a well known chief of the Gola ethnic group As an important rural leader in the northwestern hinterland Jahmale had close ties with the coastal Liberian elite and placed his son as a ward in the home of a Monrovia family where he received his education His indigenous name Karnley was Anglicized to Carney and he took the surname Johnson from Hilary Wright Johnson the eleventh president of Liberia who had encouraged his father to send him to school He studied law as an apprentice to a practicing lawyer and was elected to the national legislature one of the first representatives of ...

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Susanne M. Klausen

teacher, social worker, and antiapartheid activist in South Africa, was born Helen Beatrice May Fennell in Sussex, England, on 8 April 1905. She grew up in London and graduated with a degree in English from King’s College, the University of London, in 1927. She taught at the Mahbubia School for girls in Hyderabad, India, from 1927 to 1930. After a serious horse-riding accident, she resigned and moved to South Africa in 1931 to take up a less demanding post at a school in Durban. Between 1942 and 1946 she worked full time as a Welfare and Information Officer in the South African Air Force, and during this period she learned a great deal about black South Africans’ extensive poverty. Consequently, after World War II, she trained as a social worker.

In 1951 Joseph became secretary of the Medical Aid Society of the Transvaal Clothing Industry In ...

Article

Tiffany Gleason

internationally known singer and performer from Benin, was born Angélique Kpasseloko Hunto Hounsinou Kango Manta Zogbin on 14 July 1960 in Ouidah, Benin, to Franck Zogbin, a postal worker from the Fon ethnic group, and Yvonne Kidjo, a Yoruba woman. Kidjo was a choreographer and dancer, and at six years old, Angélique began to perform with her. Kidjo’s father played the banjo and she sang along with him from an early age. One of eight siblings, by the age of eleven, she was singing with her older brothers in their band, the Kidjo Brothers. By the time she was a teenager, she was singing on the radio in Cotonou, Benin.

Her first success came when a Cameroonian producer and friend of one of her brothers helped her record her music in 1983 She then moved to Paris where she initially enrolled in law school but dropped out after a ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

physical anthropologist and archaeologist who discovered evidence of early human life in the Rift Valley of East Africa, was born Mary Douglas Nicol on 6 February 1913 in London, England. Her father was the painter Erskine Edward Nicol and her mother was Cecilia Marion (née Frere) Nicol. During Mary’s childhood, her family moved around a great deal. Erskine Nicol painted various portraits and subjects in England, France, Italy, Egypt, and elsewhere. Mary’s prolonged sojourns in southern France provided her with the chance to develop a fluent command of French. While she enjoyed greatly her talks and walks with her father, she found her mother’s Catholic faith stultifying even as she developed some friendships with individual priests. Her childhood came to a sudden end in the spring of 1926 when her father passed away from cancer Mary s mother decided to place her daughter in a Catholic convent but ...

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Anthony Chennells

, Iranian-born British novelist and short-story writer, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, was born Doris May Tayler in Kermanshah, Persia, now Iran, where her father, who had been crippled in the First World War, worked for the Imperial Bank of Persia. In 1924 while on home leave, Tayler, who disliked office work and wanted to farm in England, visited the Empire Exhibition at Wembley and was attracted by the possibilities Southern Rhodesia seemed to offer, including land grants to British ex-servicemen. The settler electorate had been granted Responsible Government in the previous year. With the country experiencing an agricultural boom, the exhibit at Wembley held out to prospective settlers the hope of riches from maize and tobacco.

The Taylers arrived in Rhodesia in October 1924 shortly after Lessing had turned five In the event the agricultural boom was short lived The Tayler farm was under capitalized and ...