#AfricanWomen’sDay2023: Celebrating The African Woman Experience with Lulu Haangala-Wood, Samantha Mogwe, Vanessa Zino, Juliet Nyarko Adansi and More


The African Woman Experience is a captivating and dynamic phenomenon shared by every woman of African descent.

It manifests in the relentless determination we exhibit in finding solutions to the challenges faced by our continent, much like the inspiring Wangari Maathai.

We reclaim our narratives and share our authentic stories on a global stage, shattering misconceptions imposed upon us, just like the trailblazing Mo Abudu.

Our souls are filled with music that we cannot help but share with the world, as seen in the beautiful melodies brought to life by Angelique Kidjo.

The African Woman Experience shines in global boardrooms, leading enterprises that drive economic growth, and is at the forefront of Africa’s technology boom, creating numerous social impact ventures.

In honor of African Women’s Day 2023, we interviewed seven remarkable women from across the continent. Through their diverse stories, experiences and cultures, they shared their unique experiences as African Women, discussing female inspirations, media representation, and the true essence of being African.


Cynthia Mwangi

She is a Kenyan journalist- turned-producer who is passionate about creating business-changing content through storytelling and targeted messaging. With more than 10 years of experience in radio and inbound marketing, she has constantly found innovating new ways to produce content that is effective and useful. She is currently the head of radio at Hot 96 and executive producer, as well as the host of her own show, “The Morning After”. Additionally, she hosts a digital show called “Behind the Mic” on East Africa’s largest digital platform, Citizen Digital, where she interviews media personalities.

Cynthia Mwangi

Cynthia’s passion for activism has led her to work with NGOs on health bills that influence the nation’s outlook on young people, and she is dedicated to supporting the SDGs and Kenya’s Vision 2030 goals of quality education, gender equality, and climate action. She has also worked with organizations such as FilmAid and the UNDP on initiatives aimed at creating a better, fairer world by 2030.

On the African woman that most inspires her: 

“One of the women that have inspired me so much, especially as a Kenyan, is Wangari Maathai. Growing up, I saw her on TV and Newspapers and she fought a fight that very few people have been able to do. 

From founding the Greenbelt movement, to then shifting her focus to Women empowerment not just in Kenya but across the continent, she just had this drive to look for solutions that mattered. Especially in the African context.

Wangari Maathai saw the need for environmental sustainability way before the conversation became popular in recent years. I really couldn’t have asked for a better mentor to walk this journey with”


Lady Juliet Nyarko Adansi

She is a young African leader, from Ghana, focused on gender and youth advocacy with a professional interest in managing and evaluating development oriented projects within Africa. She currently manages the Girls Start Up program for Seeds of Fortune Inc.-USA in Ghana.

Lady Juliet Nyarko Adansi

Previously, she served as the regional leader for Girl Up United Nations Foundation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana from 2020 to 2023 and was a member of the Girl Up Climate, Sustainability and Gender Equality Action Group that won the Our Future Agenda and United Nations Foundation-led Unlock the Future Coalition in 2022 during the Big Pitch. She is also an alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) where she received leadership training on public policy and management from the West Africa Regional Leadership Center.

On the representation of African women in the media and entertainment industry, and the changes she would like to see: 

“In the past African Women in the entertainment industry and media have been subject to restrictive and negative portrayals. However, the rise of Black-owned media outlets dedicated to presenting authentic and celebratory perspectives of Black women has caused a shift in that narrative. I really commend the work media outlets like Essence and LLA are doing in that regard.

While there have been impressive progress, I would like to see a lot more stories where African women are depicted truthfully and not distorted to fit pre-existing false narratives”

Lulu Haangala-Wood

She is a sought-after Zambian media personality and entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience in the media industry, she has become not only one of the most visible but also one of the most experienced media personalities. Lulu’s extensive background as a Media Consultant, Moderator, Speaker, Host, TV presenter, Voice-Over Artist, Media agency partner and Brand Strategist has turned her into a household name with influential and broad expertise.

Lulu Haangala-Wood

In 2019, Lulu joined the digital revolution by co-founding a digital platform called Afrishop, an e-commerce platform that offers African users an easy shopping solution for goods directly from China. She has also co-founded The Wood Kitchen with her husband, showcasing her life and experiences as a home-cook using digital media such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

On the statement ‘You can take Africans out of Africa but you can’t take Africa out of them’:

“I agree with that statement completely. 

There’s a special uniqueness that comes with being African. It can be seen in how Africa is now shaping and influencing global industries such as music, fashion, technology and sustainable living. 

This current positioning is happening because Africans went out into the world, taking their flair with them and unapologetically, stating ‘THIS IS AFRICA’. Considering how little information was previously given through telling of unauthentic stories about us on the global stage, it’s no wonder the world is fascinated with us”


Samantha Mogwe

She is a multi-faceted creative of Motswana origin. Samantha started as a writer of poetry, but her love for music led her to become a singer/songwriter with a passion for Soulful-RnB. Her musical style is heavily influenced by legends like Aretha Franklin and Brandy. Samantha’s unique approach to music involves layering vocals and harmonization to create beautiful melodies. 

Samantha Mogwe

Samantha’s exploits go beyond the creative industry as she is also a bludgeoning academic. She holds a degree in Theology and has studied Music with the Trinity College of London. She is also currently pursuing her studies in Project Management. 

On a creative piece of work that shows the multifaceted role of African women in the society:

“I am truly inspired by the movie, Queen of Katwe. It is based on a true story of a Ugandan female chess prodigy. The movie showcases the beautiful resilience, intelligence, strength and tenacity that is embedded in African women. In the movie, we follow the journey of the chess prodigy as she manages to get out of the slums, going beyond societal norms and goes on to make world history”


Sahra Benjamin

She is the co-founder of The Ladies of Sosa platform and collaborates with her partner, Christine Lado, to create content that fearlessly addresses African taboos while celebrating the rich South Sudanese culture, food, and traditions. Additionally, she is the proud owner of Sahara Meets Nile, an online women’s boutique offering exquisite pieces inspired by her Nilotic heritage and South Sudanese roots.

Sahra Benjamin

Sahra holds a degree in International Studies with a focus on Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, earned from the University of North Texas. Although born in Nairobi, Kenya, she proudly identifies her ethnic roots in the Republic of South Sudan.

On the African woman that most inspires her

“There are so many African women that inspire me, so this question is a bit difficult to answer. I would say, however, that recently I have been most inspired by Nyma Tang. Nyma is a South Sudanese beauty influencer who uses her (huge) platform to push for black and dark-skin representation within the beauty industry. 

She started with her “The Darkest Shade’ series where she challenged the darkest hues of foundations, to make sure that these beauty companies are upholding their claimed standards of inclusion. I’m (super) proud of her, and the way she has used her platform and success to help other black women is amazing.”


Vanessa Okeyo

Vanessa Okeyo is a Kenyan actress and accomplished commercial model, with a remarkable portfolio encompassing numerous productions and independent films. Her talent also extends to voice-acting, where she skillfully brings characters to life.

Vanessa Okeyo

Her acting credits include leading roles in acclaimed shows like “Single Kiasi” on Showmax, “PAA born to fly,” “Mino,” and “Fever” on Netflix. Currently, Vanessa is captivating audiences with her exceptional performance in the Showmax telenovela titled “Second Family,” where she plays the lead role.

On the representation of African women in the media and entertainment industry, and the changes she would like to see: 

“The representation in the film industry is far off from where it should be. And I think because I work in the industry, I’ll be speaking from the behind-the-scenes production aspect. Those parts of the industry are very male-dominated with a tall barrier for women to enter. Even during auditions and screen tests, the male gaze is prioritized and that is where beauty standards in respect to body types and complexion come into play.

I would like to see women occupying more decision making seats in the industry. The production I currently work with makes me oh-so happy in that regard. Women occupy everywhere. There are women in the executive positions, in the sound department, female directors and videographers and it shows that women can do it”


Vanessa Zino Isawhe

She is a Nigerian beauty content creator and gifted makeup artist. Her love for makeup blossomed at the tender age of 13, and with unwavering dedication, she transformed her passion into a captivating journey. 

Vanessa Zino Isawhe

With an impressive following of over 200,000+ on various social platforms, Vanessa has earned collaborations with prestigious international brands like MAC Cosmetics and Estée Lauder, as well as renowned Nigerian brands such as Nuban Beauty and Zikel Cosmetics in the beauty industry. Her impeccable makeup techniques and genuine engagement with her community have made her a sought-after creator and influencer.

On a personal experience or story that highlights the resilience and strength of African women in overcoming adversity?

“A personal story that always stands out to me is my mother’s story. She went to school at a time when education was not the most valued, especially as a woman. She was expected to stop at her secondary education which to the society she was in, was seen as a privilege. They wanted her to get married immediately, which she did. 

However, during her marriage, she realized she wanted much more for herself. She went back to school and got a degree while taking care of five children, holding down a job and having a side business. Her story is a major inspiration to me”

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