My grandmother, clan leader

Women are Africa’s leaders. Or in a more universal sense, women are humanity’s leaders though you would not believe it looking at the world and the way most tribes and societies treat women. This is done willfully by men who form gangs and groups that make certain women are not effective leaders. There of course are some few exceptions; but they merely go to prove the rule of man’s domination — quite often by force and violence. Such an exception was my grandmother, a slight, short woman, who didn’t say much but when she did, it was always something of gravity, some wisdom or some instruction that everyone paid attention to. Indeed my father and other men paid heed to grandmother’s words; listening to her with close attention and often doing what she advised. This in a tribe where men were regarded as better and superior to women.

Like my grandmother, her peers and her daughters raised African nations.

It is with grandmother’s words of wisdom in mind that I have struggled to build on a dream of creating Africa America Higher Education Partnerships (AAHEP), an organization that will allow her voice to pass on to a new generation of women. I believe that African women, despite archaic and illogical tribal beliefs, are the proper leaders of the African family, clan, and tribe. They are the keepers of the tribe’s traditions, those who watch the rise and fall of their children and their tribe’s fortunes. It’s their tears that water the tribe’s tree as it grows, whose sorrow watches as the tribe’s men are cut down by wars, who bury their dead children and remind their men folk when the tribe loses its direction. They are the unsung heroines.

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Like my grandmother, her peers and her daughters held families together, and raised African nations. They have been, in their quiet but energetic and forceful way, the real leaders of Africa. At AAHEP we want to raise our communal voices and say that the heroine, one that, if she holds onto the staff of leadership, will lead Africa to prosperity and a bright future. We want our scholars to realize and acknowledge their leadership role — probably not of clans or tribes — but of a new energetic and technologically savvy Africa. Equipped with this knowledge, a science Ph.D, a woman’s intuition and wisdom and the places where they properly belong, AAHEP scholars we believe will be tomorrow’s Africa’s leaders.

My grandmother had a Ph.D in psychology of tribal customs and environmental health. She was a voice of moderation and gentle wisdom. It’s this wisdom, to nurture all, to take all of Africa’s children as their own that we hope AAHEP scholars will embrace. For our part, we who oversee the running of AAHEP promise to do everything we can to support these women — tomorrow’s African leaders.

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