The African Union Diaspora Africa Forum in collaboration with the United Nations Women held an historic two day event in New York to award African Women of Excellence. Great sisters in the African Diaspora whose magnanimous humanitarian works have uplifted Africa and the African Diaspora.
On September 11, the honorees convened at the United Nations Women Conference Room for a roundtable discussion on global African women’s Issues.
Chaired by Excellency Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (Former Deputy President of South Africa & Executive Director UN Women) and H.E. Dr. Erieka Bennett (Head of AU-DAF). At the start of the meeting participants acknowledged one minute of silence for 9/11. The honorees discussed their lives journeys and imparted strategies for success with female mentees who also shared their experiences. Ms. Rosemary Duncan, manager of the Rita Marley Foundation (JA) among them.
In an emphatic message Mrs. Rita Marley conveyed,“I grew up black oriented and keen on my identity as a black queen. My mantra has been ‘Say it loud. I am black and proud.’ I am happy and honored to open the eyes and minds of young girls to love their African identity. As my husband said in his song No Woman No Cry. ‘Oh little sister don’t shed no tears cause everything is gonna be alright.’ He also said ‘So much trouble in the world. All we have to do is give a little.”
The following evening the distinguished women received awards during an exquisite ceremony at the Warwick Hotel. Mrs. Rita Marley is one of two remarkable women bestowed the highest honour, the Living Legends Award. The Marley family matriarch made recipient for philanthropic works in Africa and Jamaica through the Rita Marley Foundation and for being the driving force that has kept Bob Marley’s legacy alive.The other Living Legends awardee is Madame Xernona Clayton a philanthropist & founder of Trumpet Awards.
In an eloquently delivered message Mrs. Marley stated “I want to show some love to Africa, Jamaica and our ancestors. As Bob Marley said ‘Africa Unite cause we’re treading on the winepress for far too long.’ United we stand, divided we fall.”
It further read, “The Foundation works in Ghana and Jamaica to improve the lives of women, children and the elderly through health, education, nutrition and community projects. This Living Legends Award means the Rita Marley Foundation is on the right path. However, I tell you that all of us gathered here this evening still have a great deal of work ahead of us; because right now in Africa young girls and women are being killed for pursuing an education. Children and women are also the most impoverished people on the continent. At this moment little girls are condemned into childhood marriages and young girls forced into prostitution; In 2015 women (Africa & the Diaspora) are victimized for being women and earn less than men for similar skills and labour. Right now in Africa women walk long distances on lonely dangerous roads to seek food and water for their families. Also the majority of people injured or killed during conflict are children and women.”
The other AWEA awardees: Excellency Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; Hon. Justice Julia Sarkodie-Mensah; Ambassador Alice Dear; Dr. Gloria Herndon; Dr. Arikana Chihombori; Mrs. Vivian Derryck; Mrs. Cecilia Anim; Ms. Claudette Perry and Ms. Florizelle Liser.
Dr. Joyce Banda ( Former President of Malawi ); Dr. Toni Luck ( African Transformation & Development Specialist) and Olivia Jordan (Miss U.S.A 2015) were among the acclaimed women who participated in the event.