Four South Africa women make it on BBC’s 100 Women List 2016


The BBC has released its 100 Women List to celebrate the world’s most influential and unshakable female leaders of 2016.

This is the fourth year in the UK broadcaster's list of the world’s leading female voices, from artists to politicians, activists to models.

Some of 2016's big names are songstress Alicia Keys, model Winnie Harlow and bestselling Zimbabwean author of The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins. The highly influential list includes a mixture of trailblazers, entrepreneurs, engineers, sportswomen, business women, fashion icons and artists from across the world. The list also features South Africa’s very own leading women such as: Gcina Mhlope

Gcina Mhlope (58) is a South African author, poet and playwright, her work has been influenced by the tales her grandmother told her as a child and has been produced across the world. “I am immensely grateful to be bathing in the timeless river of ancestral stories.” Zulaikha Patel

Zulaikha Patel (13) became a symbol of the fight against a high school’s policy which forced black girls to straighten their hair.

“Asking me to change my hair is like asking me to erase my blackness.”

Thuli Madonsela

It’s no secret that the person replacing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has big shoes to fill. PHOTO: Dino Codevilla PHOTO: Dino Codevilla

South Africa's Public Protector from 2009-2016. Thuli (54) is credited with combating maladministration and corruption in the exercise of state power and control over public resources.

“As long as there is injustice somewhere there can’t be sustainable peace anywhere.”

Zoleka Mandela

Zoleka Mandela with her autobiography When Hope Whispers.

Granddaughter (36) of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, whose life has been very tough – she has lost two children, survived sexual abuse, struggled with addiction and is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.

“I think when you are emotionally broken and destroyed you look for validation in other things.”

Other African women on the list include:

  • Aline Mukovi Neema, a student activist campaigning for political change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Egge Kandé, a community leader and mother of 6 children and 8 grandchildren from Senegal. Egge works closely with teachers to advise young girls about education.
  • Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, the first woman to be elected bishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
  • Funke-Bucknor Obruthe, who plans glitzy and celebrity weddings in Nigeria and elsewhere, ranging from 500 – 2000 people.
  • Lucy Finch, the founder of Malawi’s first and only hospice.
  • 'Mary', a Kenyan survivor of abduction and repeated rape by al-Shabab militants.
  • Nadia Khiari, the creator of cartoon character 'Willis from Tunis', a cat whose adventures reflect news in Tunisia.
  • Omotade Alalade, the Nigerian founder of the Beibei Haven Foundation, which helps those who struggle with infertility.
  • Prathiba Parmar, a Kenyan writer, director and producer of non-fiction and narrative films about women.
  • Riham el-Hour, an award winning cartoonist from Morocco.
  • Doaa el-Adl, a cartoonist from Egypt who is one of the pioneers in a field that has long been dominated by men, she believes art can be the best medium to break taboos.

For the full list of BBC's 100 Women view here, and more content is available at, and join the conversation on Twitter with the official hashtag #100women. 

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