Inaugural African Women Awards held last weekend

The African Women Association hosted the inaugural African Women Awards on the 7th of November at the Meikles Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The oversubscribed event had tickets sold out within two weeks of release and was attended by 220 notable local and international members of society.  Guests arrived at the Meikles Hotel from 5.30pm and were ushered into the beautifully decorated Stewart Room at Meikles Hotel. The World class staging, sound and lighting was provided by AWA sponsor Stage-con. The Stewart Room interior which set new standards in the Zim Events scene was done by Phenomenal Events. Classic Meikles 3 course dinner was then served while guest where entertained by music from local artists Gemma Griffiths and Brian Kadengu and spoken word artist Rutendo Denise. International star attraction Sheillah Mololekwa (Botswana Artist and former BBA contestant) whose stay was hosted by AWA sponsors – the Meikles Hotel, also serenaded guests. The event ran smoothly with nominees who were unable to attend the awards being represented by their Embassy’s representatives, family and friends. Nominees from other African countries such as Madagascar and Zambia were in attendance at the much anticipated awards. Embassies of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and South Africa attended the awards to represent their countries and support the nominees from their countries. Her Excellency’s the Ambassadors of Namibia and the deputy Ambassador of the United States of America also graced the event.  Josey Mahachie the event’s Guest of Honour encouraged Africans to value and tap into the resources of the continent and open their eyes to the opportunities of intra-trade within the continent. The Minister of Women’s Affairs and Gender Equality, Honourable Minister N. Chikwinya gave the final remarks of the evening emphasising that women are hard workers, compassionate, not prone to corruption and carrying the communities interests at the heart of everything that they do; they should therefore be given a chance to rise in leadership.

The African Women Awards is the first multi-sectoral and pan-African Awards ceremony.

The Award ceremony is a platform under the the African Women Association that was founded by Carol Nyazika and co-founded by Lisa Chiriseri in March 2013.

African Women Association launched in December 2014 with an aim to play its part towards the African Youth Charter Agenda 2063 which aspires to ensure that ‘women are empowered and play their rightful role in all spheres of life, there is full gender equality in all spheres of life and look to engage and empower the youth’. The Awards aim to:

  • to create a fresh brand  of African role models within Africa and accessible to African globally
  • to pay tribute to African women who have contributed to the development and positive image of Africa as a whole
  • to share success stories of successful African women on popular international media  platforms
  • to share what is achievable by women in order inspire the new generation and change the perception of female African success
  • to create a platform spotlight and celebrate excellence in Africa

Prior to the awards, AWA has been involved in numerous radio interviews, article features in newspapers such as The Standard, News Day, Herald and Zimbabwe Independent. Bloggers from across the continent have been supportive of the Awards and blogged about the nominees and the Awards. On the day of the awards, #AfricanWomenAwards was trending on social media which showing the global excitement and appreciation for AWA from As far as the UK and USA.

AWA hosted a breakfast at the Meikles Hotel on the 6th of November in partnership with AMH and NABW where the nominees, panel and sponsors were present. Guest were served with a delicious breakfast and entertained by upcoming artist; Gemma Griffiths as well as hearing more on AWA and the initiatives they have alongside the Awards.

The awards were hosted by Mutsa Samuel Kajese and Ruvheneko. Three gorgeous presenters Itai Muthiniri, Misred (Samantha Mussa) and Candice (Zifm) presented the awards for each category.  Other guests included representation from South African Airways, Brainworks, AAG, CBZ, Vault Cosmetics, United States Embassy and others.

The winners for the 2015 African Women Awards are as follows –

Entertainment and Arts 

Creative Visionary Award Winner

  • Danielle Allen, Fashion Designer (Zimbabwe, Nigeria, UK)

Media Excellence Award Winner

  • Farai Gundan – co-Founder FaraiMedia, 2015 Young Global Leader – WEF, speaker, host, Forbes Contributor (Zimbabwe, United States, Africa)

Star Power Award

  • Bonang Matheba – Talk show host, brand ambassador, designer, radio host

Promising Personality Award

  • Dillish Mathews – BBA season 8 winner, entertainer, brand ambassador, entrepreneur (Namibia)

Living Legend Award

  • Biola Alabi – African media expert (Nigeria) 

Business and Enterprise Category 

Young Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

  • Nadia Rakotovaoarison – Founding Director Of A Private School “Frisquette”, President Director General of the Top Prime Radio  (Madagascar)

Business Achievement Award

  • Bethlehem Tilahun AlemuCEO & Founder Sole Rebels (Ethiopia)

Industry Excellence Award

  • Natalie Jabangwe-Morris – Econet Head Business and Marketing Development (Zimbabwe)

Dynamic Start-up Business Award

  • Jackie Mgido – CEO and Founder Vault Cosmetics (Zimbabwe)

Living Legacy Award

  • Mrs Folorunsho Alakija – A business tycoon involved in the fashion, oil and printing industries (Nigeria)

 Community and Politics

 Grass Roots Impact Award

  • Esther Kalenzi – Founder of a nonprofit organization called 40 days over 40 smiles Foundation (Uganda)

Young Activist Award

  • Sarah Toumi – Activist (Tunisia)

Social Humanitarian Award

  • Zeinab Blandia – Peacemaker and community leader from the Nuba Mountains in Sudan (Sudan)

Young Change Maker Award

  • Juliana Tahina Ratovoson – Director of Partnership and Development at the Ministry of Youth and Sport in Madagascar (Madagascar)

Living Leader Award

  • Dr. Jennifer Riria – Kenya Group CEO of Kenya Women Holding (Kenya)

AWA would like to thank their sponsors – Cyrex Business, Blackarmoor Clothing, Lyfstyl, and Stage-con. As well as their partners that include AMH, Meikles Hotel, His Presence Ministries International Church, Fund A Child’s Education Zimbabwe (FACEZ) Education Fund,  Optimass Art Photography and Videography, Arundel Village and NABW – Zimbabwe Chapter under the Graca Machel Trust.

This is just the beginning for the Association. More activities and events will be conducted throughout the year till they prepare for the awards for 2016. Members of the public are encouraged to watch the press for news on next year’s awards as tickets will once again be limited