Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini – Zuma is an inspiration to many women young and old within the continent. The ex-wife of former President of the republic of South Africa, Mr JG Zuma, Nkosazana, has created her own sterling legacy and history worth celebrating in the continent. As the first woman in the African National Congress to formally contest for the position of President in 2017 at the 54th National Conference, she has firmly put the agenda of South Africa’s readiness for a female President squarely on the table. It can no longer be business as usual where contestation for the highest in the land is discussed.
She was elected as the first woman to lead the African Union Commission as its chairperson in July 2012. During her tenure in office she spearheaded the launch of Agenda 2063, which is a long-term vision with a clear direction of where the continent wishes to be in 50 years’ time. Nkosazana Dlamini’s Zuma’s appointment at AU was critical for women on the continent. Not only did it shut down many critics who argued that women were not ready to lead the AU, it also created more opportunities for women to participate at that level. She managed to crack the glass ceiling in Africa as the first woman to lead the continental organisation. She made women’s rights the theme of two consecutive AU summits and the continental body started a major campaign to end child marriage which, together with similar campaigns by other organisations, seems to be bearing some fruit. In 2017, 2 women out of 5 candidates, contested the position of AU Chairperson.
Thou Dr Dlamini – has had an impressive political career, with various accolades such as being called the Stateswoman from BBC of the year Award in 2004; the Order of Peter the Great; First Class, Russian Federation in 2005; Honorary Professor of the Belarusian State University in 2007 among many others; her contestation for the highest seat in the land as the President of the ANC, subsequently the President of the Republic of South Africa, has been marred by the ‘supposed’ endorsement she received from her ex – husband, Mr. Jacob G Zuma. It is believed that the increasing baggage of the corruption revelations by former President Zuma slowed down her campaign and destroyed her chances for the highest office in the land.
Her political approach in leadership is quite diplomacy and vision focused, always opting for clean leadership. However, her inability to make public declarations on current affairs has earned criticism that her conflict prevention tactic through development in various conflict-ridden countries on the continent made her appear too slow to react at a time when she should have been addressing burning issues and providing solutions.