The media has a tendency to highlight some of the worst aspects of our world, rather than bring attention to the virtuous things that happen every day. The deeds of thousands of good samaritans consistently go unnoticed, and it’s time we bring a few of them into the spotlight.
For years, Africa has been portrayed by the media to be a charity case in need of help from other countries. We hear reports of child trafficking violations, illegal poaching, and other moral outrages on a daily basis.
It’s true that some countries in Africa still suffer from these crimes. However, there have been countless women throughout the continent who’ve fought for change, and have accomplished feats beyond anyone’s imagination. These women are the true epitome of girl power, and are models of both moral strength and compassion.
Here are three women who exemplify these values:
1. Chief Theresa Kachindamoto
Chief Theresa Kachindamoto is the supreme chief of the Dedza District, which includes part of the impoverished country of Malawi. Malawi is infamous for its outrageous child marriage proportion, which at its prime was 1 out of 2 girls by the age of eighteen. When appointed to her new position, Kachindamoto took it upon herself to effect real change in the region.
She met with locals in the region that told her about their traumatizing experiences as child brides to exhibit solidarity. She also drafted an accord which would end child marriages in her district, including those that occurred prior to the signing of the accord. Kachindamoto proceeded to fire any of the chieftains that disobeyed her orders. Over 2,000 child marriages have been broken apart by the chief during her tenure. Today, she continues to fight for justice for girls and young women who continue to be cheated by systems designed to work against them.
2. Kelly Lee Chigumbura
Kelly Lee Chigumbura had been raped as a teenager, and ended up bearing her rapist’s child. After losing custody of her baby, she lost hope in the world and the idea of a better future. However, everything changed when she was presented with the opportunity to be a wildlife ranger for the Phundundu Wildlife Park. Later on, more women were recruited from similar backgrounds as Chigumbura, and were assembled into one all-female team.
Damien Mander, the man who had started the movement to protect local reserves from illegal hunting in the region, states that “Phundundu is the first nature reserve in the world to be managed and protected by an all-women ranger unit.” Chigumbura and the other rangers are still fighting against poaching. They are living proof of a women’s full range of capabilities, which can range from both homemaking to warriorship.
3. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Bethelehem Alemu was brought up in a poverty-stricken region of Ethiopia. From a young age, Alemu had always been interested in ways to better her community by bringing it out of poverty. She accomplished this as a young college graduate when she created soleRebels, a company dedicated to footwear. Not only did Alemu and her company create jobs for her community, it also inspired entrepreneurship in small African regions.
According to the soleRebel website, Alemu’s company is the “1st global footwear brand to ever emerge from a developing nation.” As a young woman, Alemu was able to make a name for herself, her hometown, and her country. She is a pioneer for young girls in Africa who have a desire to innovate and make a difference in the world.
These three women are just a few of the hundreds of others who have effected real change in Africa and around the globe. Known or unknown, these heroines are the key to the progression of Africa as we move further into the future.
It’s critical that we do not let their achievements get overshadowed by the western mainstream media who attempt to portray African culture in a much darker light. It’s our responsibility to learn the names of these women and others so that we can spread their messages on whatever platforms we can. Otherwise, we do a disservice not only to them, but to ourselves.
Featured Image: John Hain from Pixabay