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Leading ladies shine for Africa

AN AWARD night dedicated to recognise outstanding contribution of women from Africa and the diaspora held its fourth event in London last week.

Women 4 Africa, a collaborative effort of husband and wife team Sam and Tola Onigbanjo, since its inception in 2011, has been concerned with rebranding Africa with women at the centre.

Sam Onibanjo said: “Most of the women are very humble…but it’s your time. Shine for yourself, shine for your continent and shine for your gender.”

Meet some of the trailblazers below:

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Fashion Designer of the Year - Tina Lobondi (Democratic Republic of Congo)


FASHIONISTA: Tina Lobondi

Congo-born Tina Lobondi is an international fashion designer with over seven years experience in the industry. At the heart of her brand is elegance with timeless style and has won her A-list fans including Thandie Newton and Lianne La Havas. Championing fashion with a purpose, the designer has used her brand to support charities including The Sacred Childhoods Foundation, an NGO that protects and nurtures abused young people.

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Businesswomen of the Year – Jennifer Obaseki (Nigeria)


BUSINESSWOMAN: Jennifer Obaseki

As the senior partner of Obaseki solicitors, Jennifer Obaseki is regarded as one of the UK’s most trusted legal practitioners in the black community. With Obaseki at the helm, the firm recently celebrated it 10th anniversary further contributing to the family legacy of practicing Law and servicing their local communities for over 100 years.

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Temi Koleowo (Nigeria)


BUSINESSWOMAN: Temi Koleowo

After being made redundant in 2009, Koleowo battled her way back from unemployment to create a business dedicated to helping others do the same. With Business First Steps, the savvy entrepreneur has redirected her skillset into developing the passion and ambition of others into businesses opportunities.

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Media Personality of the Year - Lukwesa Burak (Zambia)


JOURNALIST: Lukwesa Burak

Born in Zambia, Lukwesa Burak is a Sky News presenter who began her career in media as a broadcast assistant for BBC Weather. The 41-year-old is also an ambassador for No More Malaria UK After a personal experience with the disease left her hospitalised. In 2011, the presenter added another role to her impressive resume as the director of a natural hair products company Gidore.

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Career Woman of the Year - Funke Abimbola (Nigeria)


CAREER WOMAN: Funke Abimbola

A lawyer, a leader and a proud mother, Abimbola is an advocate of greater diversity in the legal industry. She is a recognised legal expert and award-winning solicitor an also manages to carve time to be an ambassador for aspiring solicitors. As a mother, her parenting excellence has been recognised as a finalist in Tesco’s Mum of the Year Award 2015. She said: “This has come at a time when I really needed some encouragement to keep forging ahead. I am so grateful for this award, especially as it provides another avenue to publicise and really push the legal diversity agenda even further.”

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Humanitarian of the Year - Ifrah Ahmed (Somalia)


CAMPAIGNER: Ifrah Ahmed

Somali-born Ahmed is a campaigner against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Since emigrating to Ireland in 2006, the social activist has campaigned for the rights of young girls at risk of FGM and women living through it. In 2010, Ahmed established the United Youth of Ireland. The non-governmental organization provides support to young immigrants in their business, artistic and creative pursuits.
 

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Inspirational Woman of the Year - Susana Edjang (Equatorial Guinea)


INSPIRATIONAL: Susana Edjang

Edjang is an international development, global health and policy expert presently using her knowledge as an officer at the United Nations to improve the health of women and children around the world. With three degrees already under her belt, Edjang was selected to be a part of Yale University’s prestigious leadership development program while continuing her work with the UN and co-founding the Zambia-UK health workforce alliance.

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Young Achiever of the Year - Remel London (Nigeria)


YOUNG ACHIEVER: Remel London

Nigerian-Guyanese presenter Remel London has utilised her broadcast journalism degree to create a burgeoning media empire with herself as the architect. The 25-year-old host is a familiar face on the young London scene, building up her brand one contact at a time. She said: “It was an absolute honour to win. It’s so good to know there are people out there who notice what I’m doing.” On the back of launching her own show, the host has been the voice and face for a number of major platforms including Vox Africa, Capital Xtra and Sky. She added: “The ceremony was proof there are a lot of hardworking and independent women across the country who are representing women of colour.”

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