As we close another chapter in our lives and bid farewell to 2011, we unearth some of the memorable quotes made by the incredible women who graced our covers. May these wise words inspire you to make great strides in the journey to becoming the best you can be in this lifetime! A blessed New Year to you all.
Towela Jere, Programmes Manager with the NEPAD e-Africa Programme, who holds a Bsc and PhD in electrical engineering.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t derive my sense of self from what others say or think about me because there will always be detractors and they come in various forms. There are those who are downright hostile and whose only mission in life is to put you down; then there are those who pretend to like you yet harbor some deep-seated resentment.
So, the way that I deal with critics is that I refuse to acknowledge them; people will only tear you down if you give them the permission to do so. I know what I want from this life and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I focus on.
Hellen Zalira, selected to represent Africa at a student festival Norway, beating 4 871 other applicants and joining the ranks of past participants that include His Holiness the Dalai Lama,Ã‚Â Professor Wangari Maathai and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu.
I am driven by a great fear of failure. I know that one thing is promised in life and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death.Ã‚Â I believe God has mapped out certain milestones in every personsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ life and when these are missed due to disregard, laziness or a general lack of commitment to the greater good, then on judgment day the Almighty will ask you: You spent most of your life asking for me to bless you, yet when I left a door open for you to walk through, you chose to ignore it!Ã‚Â Why? I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to disappoint God for giving me the blessing of life which so many others would appreciate and do much more with. To me suffocating oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own potential is a grave sin to both God and mankind.
Edda Chitalo, one of the first active female politicians in the country who has worked with MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three presidents.
I think then younger generation is more interested in money and other material things. The women I grew up with were hard workers who loved taking care of their families.
Lilian Saka, acting executive director of PANOS Africa, heading projects in 10 countries in the Sadc region.
I have learnt that it is important to respect people regardless of their status. Just having that human dignity, I think that is key. For me, the most important is to believe in God. I pray all the time. I never travel without my Bible and I believe that I cannot do anything on my own. In fact, when I was selected acting director, I prayed to God and said Ã¢â‚¬ËœIf You are not with me in this, I know that I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do it, but if You are the driving man, I know for sure I will succeed.Ã¢â‚¬Â I have gone through bad experiences where I asked God why this was happening, but he always came through for me. Even when things donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to go so well, I know God is there for me. I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t reached that point where I am so disappointed that I have lost my trust in God.
Bhatupe Mhango, HIV and Aids activist, author of the book; Kufinya mandimu, kukonza chakumwa and contributor toÃ‚Â a short story series Whisper Not.
I have had a lot of people telling me to shut up. They say because I love dressing up and I am looking well, I should not fight for the others, the voiceless. But I love fashion and had dreams before being infected with HIV. I am still working towards getting married and having children. I know that this will not come easily for me, but that it is not impossible. I continue to give and receive love. I have learnt to be at the centre of my response and of my own life. My rights as a person are not dead. I am not a plague, but just a young woman living with an incurable diseaseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Actually, HIV is the only infection that is not a disease. HIV is a highly, psychologically straining infection. For me, I was okay, I never had issues, I never doubted myself. When HIV came into my body, it raised all sorts of questions. I realised I have given this thing too much of my time and it canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t continue to dictate to me how I lead my life. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give it any respect. I say you are in my body and you will do as I say. I try not to let it control me and I take the pills. But I want to say that no matter where or how you contracted HIV, remember that it is just a teeny-weeny virus. We can and we will overcome it.
Mary Tuscherer, Voice Flame Writers International founder and executive director.
From the women of Malawi, I learned that the emotions of love, compassion, grief, understanding and curiosity know no country or cultural boundaries. Although we all express ourselves uniquely and our daily lives are explicitly different, we share the common bond of being a woman. We all have the desire to be seen and heard and to make a difference in our families, communities and beyond. We all want the best for our children. We all want to dream and have the opportunity to make our dreams come true. VFWIÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s intention is to model to the females of Malawi that it is a human right to share oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story, that everyone has creative genius, that to be a woman is a gift and that to belong to the sisterhood of women carries a responsibility to support and love each other.
Patience Ozokwor aka Mama G, Nollywood star who performed in Malawi in 2011
Nigerian women have the passion to succeed in life and we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like to lag behind in activities we feel can develop the nation. We believe in utilisation of what God has given us and we take full advantage of any chance that we can get our hands onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Most Nigerian women are active and we play major roles in development of the country. If women in all countries did this, I believe African nations would succeed tremendously.
Slyvia Singo, who survived cancer of the cervix and the oesophagus in 1989 and 2002, respectively.
I look at myself and think I am a survivor. God has kept me alive for a purpose and I thank Him for giving me another chanceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I would like my life to be a testimony to others. I would like to help counsel and encourage other cancer victims on what to expect. As a Catholic (C.I member, formerly of St Theresa of Peter and Paul), I have been given the last sacrament, the one they give when someone is about to die, but I have survived and that should tell you something. What I have from all this is that cancer awareness is very important. It is important to have all necessary tests and present to the doctor at the earliest stage so you catch the cancer before it spreads. I am living proof that cancer can be beaten if detected at an early stage. All you need is a strong will to live and believe that God is the heavenly physician.
Nia Mokgadi, whose daughter, Nyasha was diagnosed with autism in 2008. (Pictured on this page)
I have learnt that it is important to accept where you are in life, after which you start seeing things differently. You start to see the beauty in those hardships youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve endured. If I could rewind time, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do it any differently, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t change anything. This journey with Nyasha has made me stronger, made me appreciate motherhood even moreÃ¢â‚¬Â¦I believe in miracles. Some people never experience a miracle, some do once in their lifetimes but I have had the privilege of experiencing a miracle every day since 15 September 2005. That miracle is my daughter. She was given 30% chances of survival when she was born at 29 weeks gestation weighing just 860g. She has defied many odds including an autism prognosis of never speaking or effectively communicating, never learning self help skills and many other nevers. I never gave up on her or on belief that she may speak some day. Today she talks nonstop, she is exceptionally intelligent and interacts with her peers. I believe that if I had given up on her and tuned into the prognosis of doom, she would not be where she is today. I refuse to give up on her.
Thokozani Unyolo,Ã‚Â AirtelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s data and Value Added Services (VAS) manager.
As they say Ã¢â‚¬Å“a great leader aspires to do more than simply accomplish her objectivesÃ¢â‚¬Â, I have always strived to achieve beyond expectations and infuse passion in whatever I do; wherever I have worked, my ultimate goal has been to leave a legacy. I also believe that you should treat people like you would want to be treated. Also, on course to achieving big dreams, take good care of the little things in your life. Think big and your situation will soon expand accordingly. Carry yourself like the person you want to become. Openness and listening are essential. I am someone who is very open and easy to talk to because I am a good listener.