Chief Theresa Kachindamoto is the only Malawian who has made a cut to the list of 68 women nominated in miscellaneous categories in the 2017 New African Woman Awards.
Kachindamaoto has been named in the New African Woman in Civil Society category.
In the category, Kachindamoto faces Francine Furaha Muyumba from DR Congo, Nigeria’s Hadiza Bala Usman, Salimata Lam from Mauritania, Theo Sowa from Ghana and Zainab Hawa Bangura who is from Sierra Leone.
The Africa Press Organisation (APO) there are 12 categories from where the winners will be announced on 12 April at a Gala Dinner in Dakar, Senegal. A panel of judges is currently adjudicating the list.
There were public nominations from across the continent and its Diaspora
The categories are range from Business, Education, Politics, Science, Finance, Media, Agriculture, Sport, Arts and Culture, Woman on the rise, Civil Society and the cross cutting Woman of the Year
The Awards ‘celebrate and honour exceptional African women who have made a positive impact and contributions in their communities, and the continent at large, in the past 12 months – take place on the eve of the New African Woman Forum, which takes place at Dakar’s Terrou-Bi Hotel on 13 April.’
Kachindamoto had stormed the world having annulled 330 customary marriages – of which 175 were girl wives and 155 were boy fathers in Dedza district.
She had worked to encourage these youth to return to school, and continue a healthy childhood.
Her decision however faced resistance from other community and opinion leaders, young couples and their parents—especially in marriages where a dowry had been involved—but she continued door-to-door campaigning in the community with mothers’ groups, members of the Village Development Committee, faith-based leaders and NGOs– lobbying, sensitizing and even annulling marriages.
Chief Kachindamoto also suspended village heads that had consented to child marriages, as the community’s bylaws forbade it, even before the new Marriage Act. Now that Chiefs have been recognized for their role in the new Act, it makes it easier for the suspensions to be regulated under this law.
Award winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o is nominated in the New African Woman in
Arts & Culture Category, South African Olympic gold medallist Caster Semenya is in the New African Woman in Sport category.
Other top names on the list of the nominees include Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ethiopian tennis player Dinknesh Tamiru and Tanzanian entrepreneur Rose Funja.K