The other day, someone asked me what the single most essential quality that makes a woman beautiful is. It was a no-brainer, really. “Defiance.” I said. And who says defiance has got to be a bad thing?
Defiant fire burned in Margaret Ekpo’s eyes as she championed the economic and political rights of women during the colonial era. When a group of coal miners were shot dead by ‘colonial masters’ in Enugu, her protest helped draw worldwide attention to the brutal killings. Unlike many today, she did not remain silent in the face of injustice. She was an African Woman of Substance.
In the spirit of defiance, Mrs. Grace Alele Williams, at a time when education was hardly a priority for females, became the first female PhD holder and university Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria. She had grace and a whole lot of substance.
Till this day, glass ceilings hinder many women from attaining their full potential. But that didn’t stop Oprah Winfrey from becoming the first female billionaire media tycoon. Neither did it stop Michelle Obama from becoming the first ‘Black Woman of the White House’. For some women, clearly style is not enough. They must have substance too.
Flora Nwapa gave women a voice in the male dominated publishing world when she became the first black African woman to publish a novel in the English language. Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt movement in 1977, planted over 10 million trees to prevent soil erosion and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Despite living conditions many cannot imagine, women in many parts of Africa are striving for an education, starting small businesses, nurturing their families and leaving a legacy for future generations. It is women of uncommon beauty and courage, hidden heroes, such as these that have inspired the debut literary novel Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman.
So who are the women of substance we have left out? What women have you known to defy the odds – economically, emotionally and socially? What odds have you defied in your own life? Gentlemen, please don’t be left out. Tell us about the women who pleasantly surprise, support and inspire you.
The top 2 contributors will be selected/announced on the 28th of November 2009 and will win autographed ‘collector’s edition’ copies of the inspirational new novel, Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman. You can also participate in the contest by tweeting/facebooking/trackbacking this post and adding your comments along with the link.
About the New Novel: Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman – is an inspirational, albeit heart-wrenching story, of a remarkable young woman who dares to defy the odds (economically, emotionally and socially) in order to become who she is destined to be, juxtaposed with the struggles of her motherland – Nigeria (also striving to rise above her past and achieve greatness). Do they have what it takes to succeed?
Set in the politically charged colonial and post-independence Nigeria (as well as the vibrant capitals of Uganda, Sierra Leone and Britain), Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is a novel that fearlessly chronicles the history of Africa’s most populous and complex country whilst tackling big themes such as ethnic identity, domestic violence, gender equality, entrepreneurship and self actualisation, as well as universal themes such as love, mother-daughter relationships, betrayal and forgiveness.
To see excerpts, photos, author interviews and more about Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman – the exciting literary debut novel that’s already getting rave reviews and making an impact, visit: http://www.elpwoman.com
Now, go for it!