Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nigerian Women Crucial to Politics

"Today, women are participating more actively in political issues than ever before as a result of political re-awakening and awareness.

Despite the difficulties faced by women in politics, they continue with their political ambition, contributing enormously to political and national development in their own way as the challenges militating against them are not present, although Nigeria is yet to have a female president.

In 1957 during the pre-independence era of Nigeria, a couple of women political activists such as, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Mrs. Janet Mokelu and Ms. Young were members of the Eastern House of Assembly. The late Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, though not a full-fledged politician, was a very strong force to reckon with in the politics of the Western Region. And Hajia Gambo Sawaba waged a fierce battle for the political and cultural emancipation of women in the North.

The Babangida era marked a turning point in the history of women struggle in Nigeria, when Maryam Babangida institutionalized the office of the first lady in 1987. She became the first working First Lady and launched the "Better Life for Rural Women" program. Other women who have made impact in the country's political scene include, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala former minister of finance, who saved the nation records of billions of Naira as a result of her hard working nature as a public officer. Mrs. Obi Ezekwesili also laid a land mark in the history of Nigeria politics. Prof. Dora Akunyili, the NAFDAC boss has also performed credibly; leading the fight against adulterated pharmaceutical drugs, her name can never be forgotten in the annals of history."

Women still have a long way to go in obtaining larger representative numbers in government - but at least they have they feet firmly in the door.

Benazir Bhutto

Word on the street is that former Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, will be posthumously awarded the UN Human Rights Award on 10th December 2008 - UN Human Rights Day.

According to sources, the President of United Nations General Assembly, Mr Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, is in the process of informing President Asif Ali Zardari who took over the reins of Pakistan People’s Party as its co-chairman after Ms Bhutto’s murder.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Very Wicked Woman

Could this be an image of one of the Renaissance's most notorious women???

From the Herald Sun:
"A mystery painting held by the National Gallery of Victoria for 43 years is being hailed as a "revelatory" portrait of the infamous, incestuous Italian Renaissance woman Lucrezia Borgia.

The mystery of the portrait has finally been solved, more than four decades after the gallery took possession of it as a work by an unknown artist, featuring an unknown subject.

The gallery today revealed the woman in the portrait is Lucrezia Borgia, captured by famed Renaissance artist Dosso Dossi (circa 1486-1542)."

And from The Australian:
"The oval painting, purchased by the gallery in London in 1965, was titled Portrait of a Youth, by an unknown northern Italian painter.

It had baffled every expert on the subject since it came into public view during the later 20th century and it was always assumed it was of a young male."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Queen Sesheshet

From Reuters Africa:
"The pyramid, found about two months ago in the sand south of Cairo, probably housed the remains of Queen Sesheshet, the mother of King Teti, who ruled from 2323 to 2291 BC and founded Egypt's Sixth Dynasty, Zahi Hawass told reporters.

"The only queen whose pyramid is missing is Shesheshet, which is why I am sure it belonged to her," Hawass said. "This will enrich our knowledge about the Old Kingdom."

The Sixth Dynasty, a time of conflict in Egypt's royal family and erosion of centralised power, is considered to be the last dynasty of the Old Kingdom, after which Egypt descended into famine and social upheaval. Archaeologists had previously discovered pyramids belonging to two of the king's wives nearby, but had never found a tomb belonging to Sesheshet."

From ABC News:
"Hawass said he believes the pyramid belonged to Queen Sesheshet, who is thought to have played a significant role in establishing the 6th Dynasty and uniting two branches of the feuding royal family. Her son, Teti, ruled for about a dozen years until his likely assassination, in a sign of the turbulent times.

Still, only about a third of the Saqqara complex has been explored so far, with recent digging turning up a number of key finds. The last new pyramid, found here three years ago, is thought to belong to the wife of Teti's successor, Pepi I."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ann E Dunwoody

Or ... General Dunwoody.

Ann Dunwoody has achieved what no other woman has - she has attained the rank of 4-Star General with the US Army. And this she has done after 33 years of service.

From BBC News:
"She said no one was more surprised than she and her husband. "Behind every successful woman there's an astonished man," she added.

There are 21 female generals, most of them one-star, in the US army. Women make up 14% of the army's active-service strength of more than 500,000 soldiers.

She is now head of the Army Materiel Command, in charge of weapons, equipment and uniforms for the army.

Women are barred from combat roles but have been allowed in the last two decades to serve in a wide variety of other positions."

A much deserved "well done Ann!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miriam Makeba - "Mama Africa"

Miriam Makeba - the "Voice of Africa" - has passed away in Italy.

Miriam was performing at a concert in the Italian town of Caserta, when she collapsed. She later died of a heart attack.

Miriam, born in Johannesburg in the 1930a, was the first black Africa woman to receive a grammy award - this was in 1965 - and she shared the honour with Harry Balefonte.

Miriam was the headline act at Melbourne's Commonwealth Games Arts Festival in 2006.

The loss of such a woman and performer will be felt world-wide.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Helene Berr

The war-time diaries of a young French girl are being published.

Helene Berr was a young Jewish girl, living in Paris at the time of the German occupation, during World War II.

She kept a journal of her time in Paris until her capture and imprisonment. Although she and her family could have escaped and thus saved their own lives, they chose to remain behind and assist in the escape of young Jewish children.

The Telegraph has a three page article:
"She began writing in April 1942, when she was 21 and life was still relatively good for prosperous professionals like the Berrs.

But their initial belief that they would be protected by their centuries of Frenchness was pitifully eroded - first as they were forced to wear the yellow star, then as friends and colleagues were rounded up and stories filtered back of death and degradation.

They were arrested and deported to Auschwitz on her 23rd birthday, March 27. Antoinette Berr was gassed and her husband, Raymond, an inspiration to the other internees, was poisoned.

Hélène survived the death march from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen. Sick with typhus, she was beaten to death because she was too weak to get up from her bunk for reveille."