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From Pretending to be a Man to access Tanzanian Mines to having over 70 Employees, here’s Pili Hussein’s Story



From Pretending to be a Man to access Tanzanian Mines to having over 70 Employees, here's Pili Hussein's Story - BellaNaija

Pili Hussein

Pili Hussein was 31 when she fled from her abusive husband’s home to the Mererani mines at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, she told UN Women.

At Mererani, she learned women were not allowed to access the mines.

She didn’t know if it was the law that forbade women, or it was the men who did not want them there. She secretly followed the men to watch them mine raw tanzanite.

She told herself, I can do this too. “Why should it matter that I am a woman?”

She took a man’s name and disguised as a man and would work 10 – 12 hours every day.

She would drink the local gin with the men, talk about women they liked, and no one suspected a thing.

The miners treated her as an equal, she said, and often sought her counsel. “I was able to convince them to stop harassing the village women,” she said.

After almost a year, she found two clusters of tanzanite stones, 1000 grams and 800 grams, and her life began to change.

She bought more tools, employed miners to work under her, and bought a farmland with her savings.

When she had enough money to apply for a mining license, she did, and to her surprise discovered the law did not forbid women from mining! She said:

Today, I have 70 employees working for me, 150 acres of land, 100 cows and a tractor. I have sent 32 children from my family to school. I want to work with younger women to teach them how to do business in the mining sector. I never had anyone to guide me and had to live with a false identity as a man, just to access the mines. It doesn’t have to be this way for the next generation.

Read her full story on the UN Women website.

Photo Credit: UN Women


  1. Avocado

    January 2, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Very brave woman!

    • kilimanjaro Boy

      January 3, 2018 at 8:56 am

      The Women from under that Kilimanjaro mountain are f—ing insane when it comes to looking for money. But its an ethnic hybriding situation similar to what is happening with the yorubas, or tutsi ethnicty. At some point they gained access to aryan bloodline, so they realy like moneyy!

    • kilimanjaro Boy

      January 3, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Most prob via down trecking Ethiopians. They are called the Chaga and are only rivaled by the Haya, in Tanzania, who also gained access to that Ethiopian geaneology.

      The rest of Tanzania is ordinary Bantu stock, they arent captivated by money and dont understand that situation.

  2. Ooolala

    January 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Awwww….such courage and bravery.
    Well done woman!

  3. Sherri

    January 2, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    Very Inspiring.

  4. John Matilda

    January 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Wow!. I doff my hat for you pili hussein

  5. Adamazi

    January 2, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Wow!!! Kudos and thanks for telling your story. Men want to control everything.

  6. Loki

    January 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    What did we do to men though? Why do they despise us so much?

  7. Hmm

    January 2, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    A man who can not stand a brave and confident woman, is a man who does not know how to celebrate the “self” in his masculinity, thus his ego leaves him afraid with inadequacy,

    • John

      January 2, 2018 at 10:13 pm that what you they teach you womyn in feminist schools.

      Anyway experience has taught me that there is always more to this kind of stories.

    • Ada_ugo

      January 3, 2018 at 4:04 am

      @John, you come across like a smart guy from reading many of your posts. But if you make it a habit to be antagonistic on every post applauding female strength and resilience, it makes you seem hollow, which I am sure you are not.

  8. Mamamia

    January 2, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Oh wow… A movie needs to be made on this. Correct…??

  9. John

    January 2, 2018 at 10:14 pm that what you they teach you womyn in feminist schools.

    Anyway experience has taught me that there is always more to this kind of stories.

    • Chyy

      January 2, 2018 at 10:34 pm

      Kedu ife a ga-eme gi this John?

    • Bolaji

      January 3, 2018 at 2:49 am

      basically, bella blocked your first comment, you posted it again, then they approved the first one too , so now you have two!

  10. zzzzzzzzzzz

    January 3, 2018 at 10:05 am

    This is what being courageous is about and succeeding against all odds

  11. Eniola

    January 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    wow! brave woman, very motivating,.she just changed the whole thing,. god bless her hustle

  12. Eniola

    January 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm


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