If there is one thing that 2012 has confirmed, it’s the fact that African women are on the rise. Throughout the year we have witnessed the list of women occupying spaces of power and influence grow. The first notable victories were Ellen Johnson Sirleaf becoming the president of Liberia, Joyce Banda taking over the reigns in the Republic of Malawi and local politician and former anti-apartheid activist Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma becoming the first female to lead the African Union.
Now, as the year comes to an end, two young South African women are solidifying our ascent. Multi-award winning singer and songwriter, Lira, aka Lerato Malapo Kohl, is one of them. This weekend it was announced that she will be performing for US President Barack Obama at his inaugural ball in Washington DC. She was chosen from a shortlist of African musicians who were nominated to perform at the ball, which will be held on the 21 January 2013.
Another woman worth celebrating is Yolanda Zama Sangweni, the senior editor/producer of Esscence.com, one of the leading publications for black women in the United States. She is also a singer, jewellery designer and the co-founder of AfriPOP!, an online magazine focusing on African arts and culture. Yolanda made it onto Forbes list of the 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa 2012.