Style Guide: African First Ladies

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. What I find beautiful might not necessarily be beautiful to you. This applies to everything including clothes, shoes, hair and the whole she-bang when it comes to fashion.

53 African countries, each with a leader – a President , a King. These presidents have wives – First Ladies except for Malawi who have Africa’s second female president, South Africa has four First Ladies or is it six?, and Swaziland has many queens. These First Ladies come in all shapes, colour and sizes. They are beautiful, educated and hold other prominent positions other than just being First Ladies, wives to the presidents.

One other thing they certainly do, is love their fashion. Year in, year out, from one occasion to another these ladies simply rock it! Whether its buying the clothes, shoes and hair from the very high end boutiques of Gucci, Armani, Lanvin, Bulgari or by having a personal tailor and stylist, buying from the local stores selling African Kitenge and saris, these ladies can’t seem to put a foot wrong when it comes to what to wear. Coco Chanel said “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous” and these ladies certainly are! She also said “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress” … So I went about searching for those women in the dress and after going through hundreds of photos, I finally came up with the top ten First Ladies who wear the dress.

10. Ana Paula Cristovao Lemos dos Santos of Angola is a former model and air hostess who met her husband, the current president of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos while working for the Angolan presidential aeroplane. She is a patron of the Committee to support rural women (COMUR), supporting with micro-credit funds.

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9.  She is no Bobi Ladawa, wife of the late former president Mobutu Sese Seko but she has that je ne sais quoi  on the choices she makes with her fashion. Meet Marie Olive Lembe di Sita Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo. A devout catholic she hopes to unite her fellow country men and women through prayer.

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8. Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza has been First Lady of Mozambique since her husband President Armando Emilio Guebuza took office in 2005. Among her many achievement, in 2010 was awarded a Honoris Causa Doctorate in Humanities, by the American United Graduate College and Seminary.

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7. Marieme Faye Sall is the first woman of Senegalese birth and ancestry to become First Lady of Senegal. The previous first ladies were of French origin or other. She is also the first muslim First lady. All the three previous First Ladies of Senegal were christians in a nation that is 90% muslim.

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6.  Patience Faka Jonathan of Nigeria. The former teacher has two children with her husband the current president of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan and is also the permanent secretary in her native Bayelsa state.

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5. Antoinette Sassou Nguesso, the wife of Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo is our fifth style guide of the African First Ladies. She is also the High Patronage of the Africa Department of UNESCO.

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4. Toure Lobbo Traore is the First Lady of Mali and a member of the Association of Midwives of Mali. The former midwife is the delegate President of the Foundation for Children’s Fund (EPF) and the honorary President of the Association for Social Development of Women and Children (ADSFM). Her hobbies include reading and the culinary arts.

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3. She could have easily taken the number one spot but I just couldn’t go passed that hair. They say a woman’s hair is her crown and Mrs Biya wears hers with pride.  Her hairstyles are as famous as the lady herself! Among Cameroonian women, her signature hair style was given a name, the banane which is used for formal occasions. Chantal Pulcherie Vigouroux Biya is the First Lady of Cameroon. Chantal Biya has established several charitable organisations. Among them are African Synergy, which pursues various HIV/AIDS initiatives

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2. Inkhosikati (Queen) LaMbikiza of Swaziland is the first of many wives/queens of King Muswasti III. Dubbed  “Queen of Firsts” Her dream is a healthy, poverty-free nation of Swaziland living in harmony through increased social responsibility and total dependence on God.

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1. Number one is no other than Hinda Mahamat Abderrahim Acyl Deby Itno, the First Lady of Chad. Her beauty, grace, henna clad fingers and a remarkable sense of fashion while still staying in the boundaries of religion and traditional customs of her native country makes her the ultimate style guide of all the First Ladies.

For more pictures of the First Ladies, view slideshow below. (Web Images – All subject to Copyright)

About Salha Kaitesi 13 Articles
Mother, Daughter of Rwanda| Founder of Beauty of Rwanda, Executive Editor of Teakisi, Owner of sTesi| I am a Gender Equality and Empowerment Champion| None Of Us Can Move Forward If Half Of Us Are Left Behind

2 Comments

  1. Olive Lembe USED to have that je ne sait quoi…not anymore, have you seen her lately? she looks like that situation in her country… a total mess!

    • She looks twice the size she was a couple of years ago but still has it I think … As for her country… very sad

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