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Baqi<ayn>e Bedawi Muhammad

Sudanese educator and human rights activist for women’s rights and an advocate for freedom and democracy, was born on 30 May 1935 in Omdurman one of three cities that constitute the capital of Sudan Khartoum Khartoum North and Omdurman Her parents were originally from the Nubian region in northern Sudan Ahmed was the only female among her three siblings She grew up in an environment that helped shape her future life as a liberal and progressive individual Her father Ibrahim Ahmed was an engineer who worked as a teacher in Gordon Memorial College Sudan He played an active role in Sudan s independence movement and served as the first Sudanese Deputy to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Khartoum the first chairman of the University of Khartoum Senate a member of the Executive Council the first Sudanese Parliament and founder and president of Mutamar a l Khiregeen Graduates ...

Article

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

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 ...

Article

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

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 ...

Article

Ariel Bookman

Kenyan pioneer, horse trainer, aviator, and memoirist, was born on 26 October 1902 in Ashwell, Leicestershire, England, to Charles Clutterbuck, a former army officer, and Clara, née Alexander. Her parents, attracted by the intensive British government effort to promote white settlement in Kenya (then British East Africa), moved there with Beryl and her older brother Richard in 1904. Beryl’s early life was thus shaped by the unique opportunities open to a white child in a frontier colony: she spoke Swahili nearly as early as she did English; learned hunting, games, and mythology from her father’s Nandi tenants; and grew to recognize herself as part of Africa. As she phrased it in her 1942 memoir West with the Night with characteristic, figurative simplicity, “My feet were on the earth of Africa” (134).

Her mother soon returned with Richard to England where she remarried According to one of Markham s biographers ...

Article

Joyce Tyldesley

consort of Akhenaten (formerly known as Amenhotep IV; r. c. 1352–1336 BCE), the tenth pharaoh of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty. She lived with her husband and six daughters at Amarna, where she played an important role in the worship of the solar deity known as the Aten.

Nefertiti s origins are obscure We know that she had a younger sister Mutnodjmet who appears in contemporary scenes depicting the Amarna court but she had no other known relatives Her name which translates as the Beautiful Woman Has Come hints that she may have been a foreigner maybe a foreign princess who literally arrived in Egypt to marry the king But Nefertiti s name was not extraordinary and as the lady Tiy wife of the courtier Ay claims to have been Nefertiti s nurse it is now generally accepted that Nefertiti was born a member of Egypt s wealthy elite Circumstantial evidence suggests ...

Article

Kathleen Sheldon

the last queen of the Merina Empire in Madagascar (r. 1883–1897), was born Princess Razafindrahety, daughter of Andriantzimianatra, and was educated by Protestant missionaries. She first married Ratrimo, a nobleman who died in 1883. Later that year the ruling Queen Ranavalona II died, and Razafindrahety was named queen, taking the name Ranavalona III. She followed the pattern of the previous queens by marrying the prime minister, Rainilaiarivony, who was the actual ruler and a leading convert to Christianity.

Despite her limited ceremonial role, Ranavalona III was involved in the maneuvering that led to the French conquest of Madagascar. She signed a treaty with France in 1885 that gave the French certain rights and concessions and led to the declaration of a French protectorate over the entire island Though she sent gifts to US President Grover Cleveland seeking American help in fending off French interests the United States ...

Article

Roanne Edwards

Known affectionately as Bené, Benedita da Silva is one of Brazil's foremost political figures. Born and raised in Brazil's Favelas, or squatter settlements, she became a leading community organizer. In 1980 she helped found the leftist Partido dos Trabalhadores (the Workers' Party, or PT), a broad-based coalition of workers, grassroots organizers, and intellectuals. Six years later she became the first black woman to enter the Brazilian Congress, where she was one of only 26 women and seven blacks among 559 deputies. Silva has consistently fought to prioritize racial, class, and gender issues within both the PT and Brazil's political institutions, and has strongly opposed discrimination against women and blacks. Indeed, in her opening speech before Congress in 1986 she stated If our opinion is not taken into account and we women are not guaranteed equality we won t feel obligated to respect your laws We are ...

Article

John C. Shields

writer of poetry and epistolary prose, was probably born along the Gambia River in 1753. Her mother and father were almost certainly of the Fulani peoples of West Africa and were members of the aristocracy. Wheatley indicates in her poems that she was well acquainted with animistic ancestor worship, solar worship, and Islam. Her emphasis on the importance of these three faiths recurs throughout her 18 extant elegies. This multiple religious consciousness the young girl of seven or eight brought with her to Boston, where she was, on 11 July 1761, sold on the block “for a trifle” and named by John and Susanna Wheatley “Phillis” after the slave ship The Phillis which brought her In that grotesque and insensitive act of naming Wheatley would thereafter be forced to recall the horrific Middle Passage With her already multiple religious consciousness Wheatley soon blended New England congregationalism and ...

Article

The beginning of the Francophone novel in Africa (works written by French-writing African authors) is usually associated with the late 1950s to the early 1960s, when African countries gained their independence from France. The first female voices, however, did not emerge until the early 1970s.

Until then, African women appeared either as peripheral, misrepresented, or nonexistent under men’s pens. Ousmane Sembène and Mongo Beti did grant prominent roles to female characters, giving them a certain complexity. But for the most part, African women were literally and literarily silenced in public. There was thus a definite need for women to speak out.

Still, the 1970s saw only a handful of titles, mostly from Senegal: Nafissatou Diallo’s De tilène au plateau: Une enfance dakaroise (1975) (A Dakar Childhood, 1982); Aoua Keita’s Femme d’Afrique: La vie d’Aoua Keita racontée par elle-même (1975 Woman of Africa The Life of ...

Article

Hanna Rubinkowska

empress of Ethiopia (r. 1916–1930), was born Askala Maryam on 29 April 1876 in Inewari, the third and youngest child of Emperor Menilek II. Her mother, Abchiw of Wello, was one of Menilek ‘s consorts. Zewditu’s birth caused Menilek’s wife at the time, Bafena, to take military action against her husband.

As a child, Zewditu stayed at her father’s court under the care of Bafena. In 1882 when she was six she married the son of Emperor Yohannes IV Ras Araya Sellase who was about thirteen years old The marriage was arranged for political reasons as it was meant to bind the interests of the then king of Shewa Menilek with those of Yohannes and was related to the taking of Wello Province from Menilek by the emperor who then gave it to Ras Araya These northern domains played a role in the ties linking Zewditu with the ...