Tag Archives: African women

What’s New – HER STORY: Sisterhood That Transcends At Gallery Of African Art

Gallery of African Art London presents HER STORY: Sisterhood That Transcends. From 22nd September until 21st of October, the Mayfair gallery will be showcasing the art works of Nigerian artist REWA and photographer Dagmar Van Weeghel.
While listening to a podcast yesterday Oprah asked a very interesting question that does not seem to go away. “What is the new role of women?” referring to the role of women in the modern world. This exhibition comes right in time to shed some light to this.

It’s been often said that in times of uncertainty that the arts have a key role to play. Perhaps to lead discussions on controversial themes or to stir people’s consciousness? The role of women and gender equality are relevant and GAFRA is bringing them to centre stage in this new showcase.

Artists REWA and Dagmar Van Weeghel are exploring female identity in “HER STORY: Sisterhood That Transcends”. Her story (that of a woman) includes roles women play i.e. mother, sister, daughter, friend, lover. There is a connection that all women share which binds them together – Sisterhood. Through “Her Story”, the current exhibition seeks to celebrate and uplift womanhood.

 “All women play a part in a ‘Sisterhood that Transcends.'”

This is exciting to read and we’re even more excited to see the show on Thursday. Each artwork that will be shown, has a unique story and representation. REWA will be displaying her new body of work titled: ONICHA ADO N’IDU (Naming Rites & Traditions of the Igbos of Nigeria).

REWA Somadina, 2017 Gallery of African Art (GAFRA)_sisterhood

REWA is a self-taught visual artist. From an early age, she was encouraged to experience and appreciate art. She grew up in London where she started her professional career. Travelling widely, she now calls London, Lagos and Johannesburg home. Each of these cities has played a role in her artistic practice – fortifying her and emotionally challenging her life perspectives.

REWA tells Gallery of African Art that her works are not necessarily portraiture. She comments “My spirit is neither moved by landscapes, nor by still-life or portraiture, but rather by what I refer to as “depicted sentience” through the celebration of the female form in bright, vivid colours.”
Through ONICHA ADO N’IDU , REWA celebrates the women in her culture. She pays homage to the relevance of “naming rites” and how they shape and create a path for the individual. The objective is to help the viewer to identify a certain part of “her women” within themselves.

REWA says it best: “My subject matter is WOMAN – I celebrate her in her many forms. I use traditional materials: ink, acrylic paints and brush on cartridge paper to capture an essence — making the paint assemble and the ink announce. I want my audience, whether male or female, to look at one of my women and be able to identify with her story and the meaning behind her name. I want her to represent a message, a memory, a story or a prayer for the viewer.”

Dagmar Van Weeghel Lapis Lazuli, 2016-Gallery of African Art (GAFRA)_sisterhood

For Dagmar Van Weeghel, creating a narrative is an essential element of her photography. African women play a central role in her compositions. Major themes explored by Van Weeghel’s works include identity and African
women’s migration within the diaspora. She also delves deeply into the subjects of cultural assimilation, exotification, racism and sisterhood.

Her portraits are beautiful and ethereal, the story behind them intriguing. Each work takes the viewer on a journey, exploring the women depicted in the stories they tell, captured through the eyes of the artist. The relationship between the women and Van Weeghel is symbiotic.

A bond of sisterhood is formed – a union that transcends race and class, one that creates a “safe space” for stories to come forth and be shared. Van Weeghel says: “I tell stories that advocate for the strength of people, especially for women and girls. I seek to offer another perspective on the way people see the world, and each other, through the stories I tell visually.”

Exhibition Information:
Private View: Thursday, 21st September, 2017 | 6 – 8:30pm
Exhibition: 22nd September – 28th October 2017
Artist Talk: Saturday, 23rd September 2017 | 2-4pm
Visitor Information
Opening times: Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm and Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: FREE
Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) 45 Albemarle Street London W1S 4JL
Nearest Underground Station: Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines)

Nominate an Inspirational Entrepreneur for AWIEF Awards

AWIEF Awards recognises and honours women entrepreneurs and business owners in African across various industries. These women are those who, through their businesses hand economic performance have contributed to the African growth and development over time.
The candidate can be from any African country and can be emerging and established entrepreneurship in the private and not-for-profit sectors.
 AWIEF Awards candidates are women who have demonstrated outstanding vision and inspiration, and have overcome challenges to make a significant social impact and/or become successful in their businesses.
The areas mostly covered in the award are innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and socio-economic development.
2017 AWIEF Awards will be presenting the following categories:
    This Award goes to a young female entrepreneur and start-up under the age of 35 years, who has demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial spirit and skills to build and grow a successful and sustainable business or businesses, and is an inspiration to other young entrepreneurs.

    This Award goes to a woman entrepreneur who has used science or technology to create an innovative new business, offering new knowledge, service or product for solving extant problems.

    This Award goes to a woman who with her business has made significant social impacts in the community and has proffered solutions to social, cultural, technology, environmental or financial challenges with her innovative product or service delivery.

    This Award goes to a woman entrepreneur or business owner who has created a world-class product and global consumer brand to take advantage of the powerful and rapidly-growing African middle class and the global luxury consumer market.

    This Award goes to a woman who has achieved significant recognition and business success in the field of agriculture and agribusiness with a great impact on food security in her community or country.

    This Award goes to a woman who has greatly contributed and invested in inspiring, mentoring and empowering other women entrepreneurs.

    This Award goes to an established woman entrepreneur and business owner, a role model who has displayed exceptional business leadership in her field, excellence and outstanding business performance and achievements over time. This Award also recognises the substantial contribution made to job creation, the economy, the community and society at large.

Follow this nomination guideline if you’re interested in the award:

  • Nomination should only be made relating to achievements made by a female entrepreneur and national of an African country, with a registered business and operation in one or more African countries.
  • Nominees can be nominated or self-nominated.
  • You can nominate a woman entrepreneur for more than one category but you must complete different nomination forms.
  • You may be asked to support or verify the evidence you supply as part of the nominations you make.
  • Three nominees will be shortlisted for each category and invited to the AWIEF Awards on Friday 6 October 2017 in Cape Town.


You can nominate a candidate for AWIEF Awards: Click here for more information and to nominate!

Choiseul 100 Africa 2015: These 4 Dynamic African Women Will Change The Future of Africa’s Economy

Istitut Choiseul for International Politics and Geoeconomics, the world renowned independent research center has released the second edition of top 100 young economic leaders in Africa. This year’s ‘Choiseul 100, Africa 2015′ report features successful entrepreneurs, budding business leaders, investors who will play a major role in the economic development of Africa in the nearest future. This list includes future leaders who are 40 years old or  under 40 and was put together based on their “image and reputation, background and skills, power and function, influence and networks, potential and leadership.”

The President of the Institut Choiseul Pascal Lorot says that “As a unique ranking of young African economic leaders, the study intends to highlight these women and men who build today’s Africa and prepare the one of tomorrow. By honouring them, by presenting them to the world, the way Africa is perceived is changing, it’s becoming more positive and more accurate to what the continent is really today: a land full of future promise for humanity’s history.”

Out of over 30 women on this list, see the four women represented on the list that are set to change the economic landscape of Africa in a few years.

Carole Kariuki, 40
Rank: 14


Kariuki is the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), a limited liability membership organization that brings together business community to influence public policy for an enabling business environment in trade, investment and industrial relations.

Due to her role in business sector development, Carole has won several awards such as: the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) 2012, Heads of State Commendation (HSC) 2011, Business Daily’s Top 40 under 40 women in Business, Outstanding role in creating public private partnerships for business growth by International Labor Organization women entrepreneurship Development 2011.

Rania Al-Mashat, 39
Rank: 38

Al‐Mashat, is currently Sub-Governor for Monetary Policy Department Central Bank of Sub-Governor for Monetary Policy Department Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). Prior to joining the CBE, she was a Senior Economist at the IMF in Washington DC and she also had a stint at Deputy Project Director at the Institutional Reform and Informal Sector Center (IRIS) at UMCP.

As a specialist in applied macroeconomics, international economics and monetary policy, Rania is a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum for Arab countries, Iran and Turkey.

Amira Elmissiry, 32
Rank: 80

A trained Barrister, Amira holds a Masters in Law and Restorative Justice. Prior to her current role as the Special Assistant to the president of the African Development Bank (AFDB), she served as the AfDB’s Senior Legal Counsel in Private Sector and Microfinance Operations and worked with various international organizations.

As the Special Assistant to the AFDB president, Amira is in charge of operations, policy and strategic issues.  She also assists with monitoring delivery of complex commitments to the top management of the institution.

Razia Khan, 37
Rank: 87

Formerly an Analyst at Standard Chartered Bank, Razia is now the Africa head of Economics. With a BSc Hons degree in Economics and an MSc in Development, including Monetary Economics and International Trade Law, she is in charge of advising bank clients on Africa strategy and also provides updates to finance ministries, multilateral institutions and central banks in Africa.

A member of the advisory board of the Royal Africa Society, Razia has served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on Population and on Poverty and Development.

12 Business Lessons We Learned From Ibukun Awosika

Mrs Ibukun Awosika made history yesterday as she became the first female chairperson of First Bank Nigeria. The appointment made waves and garnered numerous praises all over social media and beyond. As one tweet finely put it, Mrs Awosika dared to dream and dared to achieve. We’re inspired by her accomplishment and new assignment in the banking sector.

However, we did our own homework on the First Bank’s newly appointed chairman to find out how she has made it in business. Ibukun Awosika started her career as an Audit Trainee during her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at Akintola William & Co (now Deloitte). After her NYSC she moved to Alibert Nigeria Ltd a furniture company where she worked as a show room Manager for three months. She resigned from Alibert Nigeria Ltd at the age of 25 to begin her entrepreneurship journey. She started her own furniture manufacturing company; Quebees Ltd which later evolved to The Chair Centre Ltd.

Having faced ups and downs that accompany business operations, with Ibukun’s determination and focus, The Chair Centre Ltd is now a market leader in office furniture and banking security systems industries with a modern factory and office facility in Lekki, Lagos state.

Apart from her enterprising role,  Ibukun is a fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and a multiple award-winning entrepreneur. In addition, she is the First Nigerian recipient to be nominated for the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award of the US Department of State in 2008.

Inspired already?

Here are 12 business and life lessons we learnt from Ibukun Awosika:

  • You don’t need to have a factory or cash to start your business but you have to be ready to learn the ins and outs of the business  “Do I have capital? No. The three and a half months were critical to my life story. Within those months, I saw the inside out of furniture making. I understood what is involved. Did I ever think I could go into furniture making before then? No. I never did. Not for a second did I think of doing that. But from the onset, I made up my mind that any customer who is interested in my product should pay 70 per cent upfront. So what do I need a start-up capital for? The customers provided the capital.”

    “Did I have a factory? No. Did I have workers? I could only afford to hire carpenters, but I didn’t have to pay them for one month. They operated from their workshop. Their service was in advance but their payment was in arrears. I also had labour in advance. Did I have the machines? No. But all the machines and machinists were available. I paid per unit of what they produced for me. I didn’t need a generator because they would provide their own generator. I was paying them for what they did. For spraying, I discovered that I could rent a spray gum on a day-to-day basis.”

  • Your starting point is irrelevant. If you insist on doing the right things and doing it well
  • There is nothing like “this is Nigeria” and ” things are done in certain ways”:  “That is not a sustainable theory. No, Nigerians have value and it’s not right that Nigerians are corrupt people. There may be some corrupt people in Nigeria. Nigerians have integrity and value it. There could be some people without integrity, but such people also exist in other countries of the world – It’s not peculiar to Nigeria. Who you are is who you choose to be. Tell me a Yoruba or an Igbo or a Hausa man who knows where a thief is celebrated? Where is it honourable to do what is wrong in Nigeria? We need to change the image of the country from the bad image that the corrupt minority do. Every one of us should know that we need to seek knowledge to whatever extent possible. 
  • Who you are is who you choose to be.   “Tell me a Yoruba or an Igbo or a Hausa man who knows where a thief is celebrated? Where is it honourable to do what is wrong in Nigeria? We need to change the image of the country from the bad image that the corrupt minority do. Every one of us should know that we need to seek knowledge to whatever extent possible.”
  • Take a personal decision to be excellent in whatever you do “Seek knowledge to whatever extent possible. Take a personal decision to be excellent in whatever you do. Take whatever knowledge you have learnt here seriously. Seek knowledge to whatever extent possible. Take a personal decision to be excellent in whatever you do. My commitment is to deliver international standard and topmost quality business within Nigeria with pride without saying this is Nigeria. A time would come when the guy who knows the right thing would come up and when he does, he would judge by what he sees. It doesn’t matter if you can do better, he will judge you by what you have presented to him.”
  • Find your niche and challenge yourself to be the best in your field “My challenge to you is that whether you produce one product or a thousand; make the best of the best from number one so that if you get to the last, it would still represent the best that you are capable of doing. When you deal with one customer, do the right thing. You don’t know the “small” customer who buys a small thing today. You might think you know him because he’s a small man – tell me who knows the future of any man? The man you deal with today may turn up in 5 or 10 years time, based on your service he could come to order 5,000 or 10,000 units of what he bought from you.”
  • Invest in people “Your investment in people matters. The people I dealt with many years ago- doing their babies’ chairs and beds, are still around. Even when I said I was not doing any house furniture again, people thought I was crazy. In Nigeria, everybody does everything. They think you increase your chances of making more money than limiting yourself to office furniture. But I stood my ground. Sometimes you have to take a hard decision and when you take such decision, you have to stand by it. It’s not everybody who sees what you are seeing.”
  • The real world is full of challenges “There are challenges everywhere.You must have tenacity; you must have strength of character not to cheat. Don’t run at the sight of the first problem. He who confronts challenges wins, you must learn every day-you must seek in order to find.”
  • Do not despise the days of humble beginnings    “No amount of money can keep you away from your dream if you stay focused. If you start big, your problems too would be big. The best of your business plan is full of assumptions. You’ve assumed your market; you assumed your customers, you’ve assumed taste and level of reactions. You might think they would not want to buy. It’s better to test your assumptions small. There could be hiccups, but you can adjust. If you go out big, the cost is also very great and huge. Going to get huge machines, large place and if it turns out that your assumptions are not right, what happens? You can grow a business from within the business.”
  • Keep going, even when they call you names  “People called me all manners of names – you this Ijebu woman. I said to them, I was doing a business that was capital intensive when I had no capital. I allowed the business to grow itself. I was going out in taxis. If the car breaks down on the way, it not my business, I simply would go down and wave bye to the driver. What I always tell people is that if you have sand and you play with it, you have sand. If you increase the sand, you still have sand. If you add more sand, you still have sand. But if you make the sand into a block, you have a block. So never you talk about your sand until you have moulded your block. Sand in this sense is your disposable income. I could buy a car every two months if I wanted to. But a car was not my priority. The business was my priority. When I decided to buy myself a car, I bought a used car. My friends were harassing me. I simply ignored them. I knew what I was doing- I kept building.”
  • Invest Invest Invest        “I advise you not to eat up your profit. The day you go out for money, they look at the papers. Open an account for every penny that comes through your business. Don’t think about the COT. It will cost you more if you don’t keep your money in a financial institution.”
  • Nigeria is your biggest market    “I never wished to be a Beninoise, Togolese or Ghanaian or South African. Tell me how many countries have a population of 150 million? That’s what they call market. It’s not only the 150 million Nigerians; you are looking at the whole of West Africa. That gives you like 280 million. These smaller countries have less than the size of Nigeria; just add them to what you have. They don’t have your production capacity either. Go out there and conquer the world.”

Mrs Awosika has mentored and helped sevaral entrepreneurs start their own venture including Tara Durotoye, Founder, House of Tara.

All the quotes were culled from Mrs. Ibukun Awosika’s address as Guest Lecturer at the Second Convocation Ceremony of the EDC, Lagos on November 20, 2009.