Congratulations President Joyce Hilda Banda

Joyce Hilda Banda becomes my latest women leader inspiration. She is just such an icon of strength and determination. The death of Bingu wa Mutharika ushered in a defining moment for her as the country's President (oh, you should say this, a female president in Southern Africa - how wonderful!). It seems she also ushers in an era of hope and possibilities for women all over the region and the world at large. Slowly it seems women are taking up leadership in areas which were traditionally male dominated. Despite her being a beam of hope and strength, the question is, how will the "boys club" in the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) welcome this dynamic president - is her CV substantial enough to draw respect and awe at various levels?

History and tradition shows that men are challenged by women who seem to be able to do their work well, especially when they are able to effectively juggle the private and public aspects of their lives. In this regard, President Banda has huge challenges ahead of her that include focusing and excelling in this newly found role as President in the same way as she has done in a number of areas of her life. The other greatest hurdle she has to overcome is that of male egocentricism and female "haters". However, by the way she has started off, there is no doubt that Joyce Hilda Banda is set to soar to even greater heights. Her Excellency has such a wonderful heart and CV seen by the profound work she has done for children and women in Malawi, including the Domestic Violence Legislation and various Foundations, only to mention a few. Her strength and resilience in the face of persecution by the late Bingu wa Mutharika shows that she is a woman of substance who will soar to great heights including at the SADC level.

As a fellow woman, it is inspiring to know that nothing is impossible and that with hard work, perseverance and focus, woman can make a difference at home, work and the community at large. President Banda is a true example in this regard and surely deserves our support. There is need to look forward and hope that her example will be the beginning of men's acknowledgment that women are more than just sex mates and objects but that they too have brains that can spearhead change and make a difference at all levels in society and in the economic and political arena. CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT JOYCE HILDA BANDA"¦.YOU STAND OUT AS A TRUE HOPE FOR WOMEN IN AFRICA AND BEYOND - DO US PROUD!

By Grace Chirenje

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