To mark 7 years this April, and following the success of its inaugural Forum and Awards in London last month, the April/May edition of the New African Woman magazine – out now – sees a soft re-branding and a shift in its editorial slant and aesthetics. The issue also kickstarts its new series of interviews with successful African women in male-dominated fields, starting with Nigerian businesswoman and architect Olajumoke Adenowo. Teeming with inspiration – the issue is out now and heading to newsstands across the globe, but is digitally available right now via Exact Editions as well as on Apple and Android app stores.
While the magazine will still maintain its popular black fashion and beauty flair for which it has increasingly been associated with, the April/May edition – out today – is laden with broader, deeper and more compelling and engaging coverage on the status of African women today.
According to its founding Editor reGina Jane Jere, this edition heralds the shape of things to come – a content-led publication that will highlight real issues and how ground-breaking African women from politics, business and civil society spheres are “changing the game” – the theme of the New African Woman Forum which attracted some of Africa’s most respected and successful women to the two-day event on 10-11 March.
“This months marks 7 years of the NAW. I stated in my very first editorial back in 2009 – African women both continental and in its Diaspora are an indispensable element to Africa’s development across all spheres…and the NAW was founded on the ethos that it will be a platform that will enthusiastically, boldly and positively amplify their voices and deeds. I think we deviated a little from that and we are simply going back to where we started and want to deliver on the founding promise. African women should not be judged by the way they look, their hair or dress sense. Although we do love to look beautiful, we are more than that. So it is a question of striking the right balance in our coverage,” Ms Jere explains.
African women should not be judged by the way they look, their hair or dress sense…they are more than that.
Fittingly, gracing the African and international Covers ( except the UK version) of this issue is Nigerian architect, businesswoman and philanthropist Olajumoke Adenowo, who is also the New African Woman of the Year in Business, and hers kickstarts the NAW envisaged series of interviews in with African women in male-dominated fields. In the Cover interview Adenowo tells NAW: “There are thousands of educated, empowered, capable African women that the majority of the mainstream media doesn’t find it convenient to celebrate.”
Aptly, in a 20-page New African Woman Forum special coverage, the magazine celebrates and interviews some of the high-profile women who attended the event such as the former and Malawi’s first female president Joyce Banda, Former world Bank Vice President for Africa Oby Ezekwesili, Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hanna Tetteh.
Leading the rallying call, Mrs Banda stresses in her interview: “Empowered women need to be where laws are made – parliament.”
She decries: “Many professional women get discouraged from entering politics because of the treatment they get when they are trying to get into positions of power – the name-calling, the scandalisation, the smear campaigns and much more. This is a big problem, because the empowered woman, the well-educated woman does not end up where the laws are made, changed or passed.”
And a powerhouse in her own right, Hanna Tetteh adds her take: “An African woman is not an object of pity… an African woman is strong, she is resilient, she is focused, she is innovative. She is able to do so much with so little and few resources…. She is not somebody who exists on the fringes, but is the reason why Africa has continued to survive, in spite of everything we have been through.”
In terms of economic empowerment and African women’s contributions to Africa’s economic success, Oby Ezekwesili, (who is also renown for her relentless campaign #bringbackourgirls) spoke on the issue at magazine’s Forum.“More women in boardrooms mean more profit…people are now aware of the important missing piece in the development process – make women part of decision-making. Everyone knows this is more than common sense,” she says
Fashion & Beauty
The New African woman magazine will still continue to highlight African talented in the creative industry, and in this edition, the magazine celebrates fashion royalty Deola Ade Ojo who gets candid about her latest collection Komole Kandids in the UK Cover of the same edition.
On the beauty front following the racial abuse suffered by Ugandan model Aamito Lagum over her full lips as featured by the giant cosmetics company MAC on its Instagram page in February, this edition provokes debate by questioning in its Hot Issue section, why most westerners and many white-dominated entertainment, creative and beauty industries uphold the idea that blackness and all that it encompasses is beautiful and valuable – but just without its black canvas.