Iconic Women Who Transformed Africa’s Culture


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Africa has had hundreds of well known men who gave us freedom and civilization and millions of unknown men  who fought in different ways for our civilization; yet, amidst the accolade these men received were women who changed our culture. Africa could not have been complete without the impact of these strong and bold women. We can boldly say that our world would have been less soulful if not for these women.

READ ALSO: First Black Filipino Woman Crowned as Miss Universe Philippines

These iconic women have helped in building culture through their overall brilliance, creativity, leadership, and activism. No sane society has been complete without the contribution of women, who go overboard to change their niche.

Here are some of these iconic women:

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a champion of women’s suffrage in her country, Nigeria. She was many things in a woman. She was an aristocrat, a fearless politician, and a great teacher, who became the first women to drive a car in Nigeria.

She was famous for saying”As for the charges against me, I am unconcerned. I am beyond their timid lying morality so I am beyond caring.” To put it simply, she was a colossus.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai, an environmental political activist in Kenya, became the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, in Africa.

She had a clean record that spoke of peace, democracy, and sustainable development in her country. She was quoted as saying “African women in general need to know that it’s okay for them to be the way they are—to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.”

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is known as the “Queen of African Music.” She has won the Grammys to prove that she is worth that name. She is a Beninese musician, an activist and a global ambassador. In her words, “We women around the globe, we carry the world on our back. We build society.”


Iman is an iconic supermodel from Somali, whose work as a philanthropist speaks volumes in the world. She has become a beacon of hope to millions of girls around the world. She has a famous quote that says: “The women I gravitate to are the ones who defy convention and reinvent themselves – hence, they reinvent the world around them.”

Flora Nwapa

Flora Nwapa is often called “The mother of modern African literature.” She became the first woman in Africa to get her works published in the English language in 1966. 

The Nigerian writer got her international recognition when she wrote her debut novel Efuru.

Her famous quote includes “When I do write about women in Nigeria, in Africa, I try to paint a positive picture about women because there are many women who are very, very positive in their thinking, who are very, very independent and very, very industrious.”

Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba, a South African popularly known as “Mama Africa,” won an audience with her striking voice and infectious charm across the globe. She sang and spoke against racial injustices during the Civil Rights Movement.

One of her quotes includes “Age is getting to know all the ways the world turns, so that if you cannot turn the world the way you want, you can at least get out of the way so you won’t get run over.”


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