#015: Honest Mistake?
After leading Mauritius for almost 3 years, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is embroiled in an expenses scandal and has expressed through lawyers that she will step down. President Ameenah is the only current female Head of State in Africa and Mauritius' first female president - so this is quite the blow. Her downfall comes in the form of allegedly using a charity credit card to purchase expensive clothes and jewelry - her camp maintains that it was an honest mistake as the charity credit card was identical to the President's personal card. The expenses charged to the charity (26,000 USD) were fully refunded. Given President Ameenah's position, this story is quite unfortunate. However, Mauritius' due diligence and zero tolerance for financial scandal in political leaders should be lauded.
Read for: "Gurib-Fakim claimed the use of the NGO credit card for these expenses was purely accidental, saying she used the PEI credit card because she also owned a personal credit card from the same bank."
For the Love of Tutu
Nigerian painter, Ben Enwonwu's breathtaking 1974 painting recently sold for over 1.6million USD after being missing for over 40 years. The beautiful painting of Yoruba princess, Tutu Ademiluyi, was found in a family house in London and smashed sales expectations (which was estimated between 275,000 - 413,000 USD).
I must admit, it irritates me to no end to hear the painting referred to as "the African Mona Lisa", as though it needs equivalence to something else to be valuable. To me, it is simply Tutu. Tutu, the Ife princess depicted in the painting - with black skin, warm brown eyes and the thick blue scarf stately resting on her shoulder - looks well-deserving of every dollar.
Read for: “According to Bonhams, "Tutu" was painted after Enwonwu encountered the princess walking in the Nigerian countryside. The artist created two other pictures of Ademiluyi, both of which remain missing."
A Degree for the Lady
Duke University will award Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an honorary degree at its 2018 Commencement ceremony on May 11 2018.
She will be awarded alongside 5 other remarkable contributors to society, including Mary Barra (CEO of General Motors), one of my role models in business.
Read for: "'Duke is proud to recognize the contributions that this distinguished group has made to society"
Children of Blood and Bone
Speaking of Nigerian literary geniuses, Tomi Adeyemi, 24-year-old author of Young Adult fiction trilogy, "Children of Blood and Bone", is carving a name for herself. Children of Blood and Bone, her debut novel, received a million-dollar book deal and has had its film rights purchased by Fox 2000.
The novel tells the story of a young girl fighting to return magical powers to her African nation of Orisha. The story taps into Yoruba mythology and folklore along the way. It was published earlier this month and has been lauded for its approach to race and power relations (and cliff hangers!). Yes, I ordered a copy.
Read for: "Throughout the writing process, she enlisted the help of her Nigerian mom to come up with names of spells, which were directly taken from the traditional West African Yoruba language."
Some Relief for Dapchi
According to the BBC, 101 of the 110 abducted Dapchi girls have been returned to their families. In our Feb 26 issue, Empower46 reported on Boko Haram's attack on the all-girls boarding school in Northern Nigeria.
Now, per Nigerian officials and locals of the area, the militants brought the girls back (5 died during the raid, the others who are Christian girls were held captive). The government insists that no ransom was paid and that girls have been taken to the hospital for counseling. Although this particular instance might largely be a relief for Dapchi, the fact remains that girls in schools in Northern Nigeria are by no means safe - and that the government is ill-equipped to assure their safety or rescue them, in the likely case of Book Haram attacks.
Read for: “While many parents celebrated, the father of one girl said she was being kept by militants - thought to be from the Book Haram group - because she refused to convert from Christianity to Islam. In a radio interview he said he was happy that she had not renounced her faith."