Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a Woman in the Forefront…
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Politician and Anti-Apartheid activist was born in Kwa-Zulu Natal on January 27, 1949. Her current position as the Chairperson of The African Union, amongst other positions she has served, has put her under Nunnovations limelight and we have identified her as a game changer.
The African Union is aimed at accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it to play a rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalisation. For a woman to be chairing such a high portfolio, it makes us proud to call her one of our own.
She has in previous years served as the South African Minister of the Department of Home Affairs, She is also a member of the African National Congress Women’s League National Executive Committee and the National Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa.
This is a politically rounded woman. During the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) negotiations in 1992, Dlamini- Zuma was part of the Gender Advisory Committee. After the first all-inclusive South African elections of 1994, she was appointed as Minister of Health in the cabinet of our late President Nelson Mandela. When we speak of Dlamini-Zuma, we speak of a struggle hero. It was in 1976, that she too, along with other struggle hero’s, fled into exile and began shaping the future of our South Africa.
It is through this woman, that the Tobacco Products Control Bill in 1999, was made legal. This meant that people could now smoke in public places. It was this very same woman, who, during her tenure as Minister of health, de-segregated the health system and gave poor people access to free basic healthcare. When we speak of people who made a difference in history and are still making waves, we speak of women like Dlamini-Zuma.
Dlamini-Zuma was suggested as a possible ANC candidate for the Presidency in the 2009 election and for the leadership of the party. On 15 November 2007, she said that she would be willing to accept a nomination by the ANC, the following day, her spokesperson said that she had not entered the succession debate in the ANC. It was believed that she declined this offer after speaking to her children, which she parents with President Jacob Zuma. They were married in 1972 and got divorced in 1998.
Fast forward to 2012, Dlamini-Zuma sought to become the Chairperson of the African Union Commission by running against incumbent Jean Ping. It was in the first election where there was a dead-lock in the voting as a result of inability to secure a two-thirds majority of the vote. This resulted in Jean Ping’s term being extended by six months.
July the same year, an election took place at the nineteenth session of the Assembly of the African Union, and Dlamini-Zuma was elected over Jean Ping. Ex-husband to Dlamini-Zuma, President Jacob Zuma congratulated her and exclaimed that her election “means a lot for Africa…for the continent, unity and the empowerment of women”, while Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that “She’s a freedom fighter, not a bureaucrat or a diplomat”.
The women of South Africa who put us on the map, the tireless soldiers who are at the forefront of the struggle that continues, these are the women who are making a difference in the lives of millions daily, the women we aspire our daughters to be. We thank you.