Every day we celebrate many foreign heroes’ and forget our own, in this column we are going to be featuring African greatest men and women.Today we feature the first female president in Africa.
Her name is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; she was born 29 October 1938. Ellen Johnson’s mother was a teacher, her father an attorney, and the first indigenous Liberian to serve in the country’s legislature, a body long dominated by the descendants of the American settlers. Her parents placed a high value on education, and young Ellen received her secondary education at the prestigious College of West Africa in Monrovia, the nation’s capital.
She won the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006, Sirleaf is the 24th and current President of Liberia; and she was a successful candidate for re-election in 2011. Sirleaf is the first elected female head of state in Africa.
A grandmother of eight, President Sirleaf has become a popular symbol of democracy and women’s rights, not only in her own country, but throughout Africa and the developing world. In 2011, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, along with women’s rights campaigners Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. The Nobel Committee credited Sirleaf’s contribution to “securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women.
President Sirleaf is a clear example that when we study hard anyone especially girls can become anything we want to be and achieve what we want to achieve no matter our background.