As we say goodbye to the year 2017 and open doors to 2018, there are Tanzanian women whose activities in their respective fields have had a positive impact on society.
As a year-ender, Woman magazine takes this opportunity to acknowledge and applaud these women by highlighting their contributions and accomplishments this year. From fashion, business to politics, this list features a diverse group of women.
Flaviana Matata (Modeling and social work)
Flaviana Matata is a beauty queen and one of the most successful international models from Tanzania. Throughout her career in the fashion world, she has garnered multiple endorsements from big brands and made a fortune from her work. This year, Flaviana was mentioned among the top 100 women in Africa by okay.com
Flaviana is currently living and working in New York and has been listed among the top 10 Black Models by Essence Magazine and the online magazine; Models and Moguls.
Apart from modeling, Flaviana Matata Foundation did a remarkable job in empowering young girls, assuring them access to education through “Back to School” project, whereby the top model supports girls by distributing stationery kits to schools in need.Additionally, the foundation in partnership with Monica Joseph constructed pit latrine building at Msinune Primary School to improve sanitation. Apart from that, Flaviana has her own successful nail polish brand ‘Lavy’.
Jennifer Bash (entrepreneur)
Jennifer is an entrepreneur who owns AKTZ Industries Ltd, which produces food products branded Alaska Tanzania. What she does is add value to food products, especially locally produced agricultural products and linking its supplier-members to the supply-value chain. Main products currently at the market are rice and eggs, which are packed and distributed under the Alaska Tanzania brand.
This year Jennifer won All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA’s Awars) and became the Young Business Leader of The Year - East Africa.
Through her Alaska Tanzania brand, she links local farmers to the market by sourcing products from them, adds value to their products through processing, branding and packaging and selling them to supermarkets and hotels in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha and Moshi regions.
Faraja Kotta Nyalandu (Technology)
Faraja is the Founder and Executive Director of Shule Direct, an online platform that joins other Tanzania women who use their passion to impact social change through technology to bring students’ success by creating and providing anywhere, anytime learning opportunities for young learners.
Shule Direct is an online platform that provides educational learning content for students and teachers in secondary schools.
Her organisation designs new and innovative resources and solutions to ensure students and teachers are prepared for the future, through Shule direct, Faraja continues to offer a range of secondary school subjects including Physics, Mathematics, English, Biology, Chemistry and more on the web and on mobile.
This year, Faraja has continued to impact the education sector through different initiatives under Shule Direct.
Vanessa Mdee (Entertainment – Music)
Vanessa continues to set the standards for local female artistes in Tanzania. She has been at the top of her game ever since she embarked on her musical journey. With successful songs such as Cash Madame, Bounce Along and multiple features with other African artistes this year, Vanessa is set to record another milestone by officially releasing an album titled ‘Money Mondays’ early next year. The music sensation also started her own record label, Mdee Music, and went on to sign artistes such as Brian Simba.
She is recognised among the most successful African artistes (male or female) and was nominated in multiple awards as the top female artiste in East Africa this year.
Elizabeth Michael ‘Lulu’ (Film, fashion)
Elizabeth, famously known as ‘Lulu’, is one of the ‘hottest’ actresses in Tanzania. Even though she hasn’t ended her year well, Lulu still managed to have a positive impact on society in 2017. This year, Africa Youth Awards named Lulu among 100 Most Influential Young Africans. She also managed to dazzle in the fashion world by embracing a style admired by many. She instantly became the queen of red carpets. Her sophisticated fashion sense, which oozes perfection, made her to be noticed among the top fashion icons in Tanzania this year. She was even selected among the judges at Ally Rehmtulla’s fashion show model selection this year.
Unfortunately the young actress is spending her New Year behind bars following her two-year jail sentence passed this year following her involvement in the death of a film actor, Steven Kanumba back in 2012.
Dr Tulia Akson (Politics)
The Deputy speaker of Parliament is recognised as one of the most influential women in Tanzania. Her different activities in and outside the political realm have garnered her such recognition. Tulia has a foundation ‘The Tulia Trust’ which organised the first traditional dance festival. Under the Tulia Traditional Dances Festival program, annual traditional dance festivals are held in different parts of the country.
In line with the vision and mission of Tulia Trust, the Tulia Traditional Dance Festival aims at promoting the rich traditions and culture of more than 120 ethnic communities in Tanzania through dance. The festival fights poverty in the community through creation of employment to the traditional dance groups.
Apart from that, the deputy Speaker founded the Tulia Marathon, this is a spectacular annual race held in different cities in Tanzania. Not only that, but the active political leader has Tulia Trust Community Economic Empowerment programme guided by the principle of empowering communities and Tulia Trust Community Assistance which all aim at bringing national progress.
Alice Magaka – (Social work)
Alice is the youngest woman featured on this list. The 21-year-old is the founder of the Pink Box, an initiative that helps school girls manage their menstrual better. “I believe that menstruation matters to every girl and it should not be a factor to hinder girls out there from achieving what they want,” Alice says.
This year, Alice, along with another Tanzanian, Isaya Yunge, received global recognition after they were listed among the recipients of a prestigious award under the Queen’s Young Leadership Programme.