Mutayoba Arbogast

Ambassador Gertrude Mongella Inspires Generations on International Women's Day

Zaminna is kicking off Women's month celebrations by shining light on Ambassador Gertrude Mongella of Tanzania and how her fierce leadership is shaping lives of thousands of girls in Tanzania.

In a resounding tribute to the indomitable spirit of Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, Zaminna stands poised to celebrate her this International Women’s Day by recognizing her as a trailblazer and an enduring symbol of women's empowerment.

At the age of 78, Mongella' s life story weaves a vibrant tapestry of leadership, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to breaking gender norms.

Fondly referred to as 'Mama Beijing,' Ambassador Mongella' s journey in leadership has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her appointment as the Secretary-General of the United Nations(UN) stands as a testament to her qualities of confidence, dedication, patriotism, and an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

As she reported to the UN office, appointed by the then UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, emotions overwhelmed her, underlining the significance of confidence and a proactive mindset in leadership.

Acknowledging the dual facets of leadership—innate talent and learned skills—Mongella proudly claims possession of both. In an inspiring call to action, she encourages individuals to embrace learning without shame, emphasizing the necessity of humility in elected or appointed leadership roles. Reflecting on her era, she sheds light on the pervasive lack of self-confidence among women, passionately urging them to be assertive and unafraid to showcase their abilities.

With a mantle adorned with over 13national and international awards, Mongella becomes an advocate for nurturing leadership skills in children within communities. The moniker 'Mama Beijing' encapsulates her pivotal role in leading the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995.

Beyond her remarkable career, Mongella' s praise extends to President Samia Suluhu, whom she lauds as a hardworking leader. Specifically highlighting President Samia's visionary initiative to reintegrate pregnant schoolgirls into the education system, Mongella urges society to rally behind the President, recognizing her as a fighter, hero, and confident leader.

As she reflects on her own experiences, Mongella shares the initial apprehension and tears upon entering the UN office for the first time. Her wisdom surfaces as she underscores the importance of overcoming fear and challenges in leadership, emphasizing that with divine assistance, one can navigate even the most overwhelming responsibilities.

Mongella' s leadership legacy spans various roles nationally and internationally, from her early political journey in the East African Legislative Assembly to serving as the Ambassador to India(1991-1993) and presiding over the Pan-African Parliament (2004-2009). Notably, she became the first President of the African Union's Pan-African Parliament, solidifying her impact beyond borders.

In a candid interview, Mongella discloses the secret to her radiant, unwrinkled face—a constant state of happiness inherited from her mother, who discouraged the use of cosmetics. She imparts wisdom to young women, advising them to avoid anger and stress, and recognizing the impact of negative emotions on one's appearance with age.

Fervently opposing patriarchal norms, Mongella emerges as a vocal advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment. Encouraging citizens to critique President Samia Suluhu wisely and respectfully, she cements her role as a beacon of progress in breaking down societal barriers.

As the world marks International Women’s Day, Ambassador Gertrude Mongella' s legacy takes center stage. Born in Ukerewe, Mwanza, in 1945, she became an influential figure in Tanzanian and African history. Her life story epitomizes the spirit of this annual celebration, which began in 1911, evolving into a global movement celebrating women's achievements and advocating for a more inclusive and equal world.

In a resounding chorus of praise, the global community is called upon to actively support President Samia Suluhu and contribute to Tanzania's progress, underscoring the ongoing fight for gender parity. Ambassador Gertrude Mongella stands not just as an icon but as a living testament to the power of women's leadership, resilience, and unwavering dedication. Her story is not just a celebration of achievements but a call to action, inspiring generations to come.

Subscribe to the weekly newsletter
No spam. Just the latest releases, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.

More stories Read more