Zuma lauds Africa’s women leadership
SOUTH Africa has a lot to learn from Liberia, the first African country to elect a female head of state who stabilised the country after being ravaged by years of conflict, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.
“We are very happy that as South Africa, believing in the empowerment of women, have seen a woman in Africa that has come in a country that was troubled and she stabilised it. She then began to develop that country. As if that was not enough, Ebola attacked and she led from the front, fought it and defeated it at a point when many were saying it was going to finish off the population,” Zuma said at a joint press briefing with visiting Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Pretoria.
“That country is important to have a good relationship with, and we will learn a lot.
“We believe that whoever will take over from her, will take advantage of the work she has done, and also depend on the wisdom that she has displayed. As South Africa, we will definitely strengthen the relations more.”
Sirleaf has led Liberia since 2006.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, together with her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman a pro-democracy campaigner from Yemen.
Sirleaf said in Africa, women had already broken the glass ceiling and were ready for more leadership roles.
“As I go around, I’m always asked ‘what word do you have for women? What encouragement would you give to women?’ And I stop and say, wait a minute, look at what’s happening. Look at the level of women that today are holding positions all over the continent and all over the world. Look at the names of parliamentarians in many of our countries – Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda – all great examples of that.
“Look at our market women in the informal sector. The one thing in Liberia that, though poor, (they) are the vibrant part of our economy.” – ANA