Today’s Dame of the Day is Amandina Lihamba (1944-). As one of Tanzania’s leading playwrights, Lihamba wrote her Ph.D dissertation on the evolution of ngonjera, the a form of verse drama. Today, she is a professor at Dar es Salaam University. Over the course of her tenure, Lihamba founded a community theatre festival for children and a drama group for girls.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Sheila Tlou. After studying education and public health in the United States, Tlou returned to Botswana to teach HIV/AIDS education and serve as the country’s Minister of Health. She co-authored a reference book for people working in the field of HIV/AIDS, spread awareness about the disease, and reduced the stigma surrounding it. In addition to her in-country efforts, Tlou also consults for UNAIDS and the World Health Organization.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Kaltouma Nadjina (November 16, 1976-). As a student, Nadjina showed promise as a sprinter; when she got older, a grant from the International Olympic Committee allowed her to leave her native Chad and move to Canada to train full-time. Nadjina holds the Chadian records for the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Hawa Abdi (May 17, 1947-). Following her high school graduation, a scholarship from the Women’s Committee of the Soviet Union allowed her to study medicine. After she became a mother, Abdi practiced medicine during the day and studied for her law degree at night. Today, Abdi puts both her credentials to use as founder of the Rural Health Development Organization and the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation. These organizations offer free and low-cost medical care to Somalian women and children.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Princess Elizabeth of Toro (1936-). This Ugandan princess and lawyer became the first East African woman to be accepted by the English bar. Her official title, batebe, deems her the most powerful woman in the kingdom of Toro and positions her as the king’s most trusted advisor. In addition to her political work, Princess Elizabeth also built a successful modeling career and substantial track record of charity work.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Mariama Bâ (April 17, 1929 – August 17, 1981). Growing up in Dakar, Senegal, Bâ struggled to get an education at a time when schooling for girls was considered wasteful. As an adult, she married and later divorced, leaving her a single mother of nine. Bâ channeled her frustration with sexism and oppression into her novel, So Long a Letter. Through her writing and her own personal live, Bâ served as an example of modern womanhood to future generations of Senegalese women.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Betty Reid Soskin (September 22, 1921-). Born in Detroit and raised in New Orleans near her Creole and Cajun roots, Soskin and her family later relocated to Oakland, California, after a hurricane and flood destroyed their business. Over the course of her working life, she served as a clerk during World War Two, wrote songs during the Civil Rights Movement, and worked as a field representative to California State Assemblywomen Dion Aroner and Loni Hancock. Through her efforts, Soskin and the Congresswomen were able to establish Rosie the Riveter/WWII Homefront National Historic Park in 2000. Today, she serves as Ranger at the park and, at 93 years old, is the oldest serving National Park Ranger.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Thuli Madonsela (September 28, 1962-). Born in Johannesburg, Madonsela attended the University of Swaziland and obtained a law degree. While she has been involved with the ANC for years, she respectfully declined a position in Parliament because she felt she could make more of an impact through law. In 2009, South African president Jacob Zuma appointed Madonsela to be the nation’s Public Protector.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Graça Machel (October 17, 1945-). Machel began her career as a schoolteacher in Mozambique and later transitioned into politics. As a humanitarian, Machel defended refugees and presented a groundbreaking report to the United Nations on the traumatic impact of war on children. She is also the only woman in history to be first lady of two countries; she was married to Mozambican president Samora Machel and later to South African president Nelson Mandela.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Rosemary Nyirumbe. While a video condemning Ugandan dictator Joseph Kony went viral in 2012, Sister Nyirumbe has spent her life dedicated to the victims left in his wake. As Director of the Saint Monica Girls’ Tailoring Centre, Nyirumbe provides a safe space for girls to recover and teaches them tailoring skills so they can support themselves. To date, Nyirumbe’s program and sister program have helped 2,000 girls work through past traumas and lay the groundwork for more promising futures.