Malawi’s former President Joyce Banda will be among five leading African women who will be honoured by the African Union (AU) at its 25th Summit, which will be held at Michelangelo Hotel, Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa from June 11 to 13, 2015.
The five will receive the ‘Living Legend’ Award.
Banda will be honoured alongside Nigerian Dorothy Anyiam-Osigwe, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia and the first female Head of State on the continent, Dhlamini Zuma, current AU Chairperson and Winnie Mandela, South African anti-apartheid heroine and wife of former President of South Africa, late Nelson Mandela.
An entrepreneur, activist, politician, and philanthropist, Banda was President of the Republic of Malawi (2012-2014). She was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. She is married to retired Chief Justice Richard Banda.
Voted as Africa’s most powerful woman by Forbes Magazine for two years running and voted as one of the most powerful women in the world by the influential Time Magazine, Banda is a strong advocate for women, children, the disabled, and other marginalized groups’ emancipation and empowerment. She is a prominent civil rights campaigner.
Before becoming President of Malawi, Banda served as a Member of Parliament; Minister of Gender and Child Welfare; and Foreign Affairs Minister and Vice President of the Republic of Malawi.
While serving as Minister of Gender and Child Welfare, Banda championed the enactment of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in 2006, which provides a legal framework for the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
She is a recipient of more than 15 international accolades including the “Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger” shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 1997. Using part of the prize money, she established the Joyce Banda Foundation in 1997.
The Foundation provides integrated rural development services to hundreds of thousands of resource poor beneficiaries. The services that the Foundation also provides include free secondary school for orphans, early childhood development and orphan care, youth development, food and Income Security, Maternal health and Safe motherhood, Water and Sanitation, Women’s leadership, Economic Development for women.
According to Dr. Erieka Bennett, Head of Mission (AU) Diaspora African Forum Committee, the continental body chose Anyiam-Osigwe, the only non-political leader among the awardees, “because of her commitment to the political, social and economic impact on Africa and the African Diaspora”.
The theme of the 25th Summit of the AU is ‘Year of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :