THE African Union Commission in conjunction with Diaspora African Forum on Saturday 29 September 2018 at Michelangelo Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg, bestowed the African Women of Excellence Award on the Anambra State Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artworks, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Sally Mbanefo.
The award was in recognition of her passionate love for cultural-tourism and her agrarian drive at promoting domestic tourism which accentuates indigenous African value, custom and culture.
Standing in awe of honour at the beautiful Michaelangelo Hotel Hall with the eyes of eminent African leaders and African global Women of Excellence glued to her, Mrs Mbanefo looked as humble as her citation was being read.
“We hereby present to you, one of the finest minds in Africa, the only woman found worthy of this award from Nigeria. A woman who has through sheer dint of hard work contributed immensely to the promotion and development of tourism in Nigeria, a project which she pursues with agrarian efforts and dedication of an African. A woman who has proved to all that game-changing strides is not the exclusion of any gender, a lady who has committed her life in engaging and disengaging challenges for others. A lady who is consistent in bringing smiles to the faces of the poor, raising and sustaining hope for the hopeless and restoring value of sustainable dignity to the lowly. It is our honour to showcase this fine mind not only for this generation, but also for the generation next to learn and emulate the good deeds, acts, actions and value of Dr Sally Uwechue Mbanefo, Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artwork , Culture and Tourism, Anambra State, Nigeria, West- Africa, Africa.
We hereby honour this paragon of African virtues, a believer of helping others, a thoroughbred humanist and a compassionate lover of the poor, Dr Sally Uwechue Mbanefo with the Award of African Women of Excellence at this great country, the Horn of Africa, South Africa”.
The solemn delivery of her impressive citation coupled with her personality and mien commanded a beautiful warm of applause from the dignitaries who were excited by her spectacular dress sense which glorified the Nigerian colour and pride.
In her response, Mrs Mbanefo expressed her gratitude to the African Union , Diaspora African Forum, AU/DAF, for singling her out of the good women in Nigeria pointing out ‘I must express my profound gratitude to the organisers of this award, the African Union and Diaspora African Forum for finding me worthy of this glorious award which the late Winnie Mandela, Jeannette Kagame, the first lady of Rwanda and Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul music are recipients. My gratitude stems from the fact that this award represents the top card of benchmark for selflessly delivered genuinely and without being loud or attention seeking. It is an assurance that whatever our spirit finds or pushes us to do without any expectation of gratitude or reward is destined not only to be noted by mere men or women but will naturally attract global appreciation
“I must confess also that today signifies one of my greatest moments in life. A moment when those things which I am doing privately as directed by God and my soul qualified me not only to receive awards with global women of immense proportion but also to be count worthy of being one of the African Women of Excellence.
“I must not end this response without mentioning the Governor of the beautiful State of Anambra, Nigeria Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, who is doing everything positively legal to turn Anambra State into a worthy tourism-cultural, an agricultural and industrial destination in Nigeria and Africa. He has created a warmly conducive atmosphere in Anambra State where investors and visitors for any legal endeavours could flourish. Chief Obiano sends his greeting and he is eager to welcome you to Anambra anytime you are in Nigeria.
Once again, I thank the organisers for this morale-boosting award which will and is igniting in me the spark to do more. And I will. I promise”.
The awards are an initiative hosted by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Diaspora African Forum, which recognise the contributions of women of African descent across the world. Since 2015, the AWEA has honoured game changers, rule breakers, and trailblazers, and Saturday night’s event proved to be one of the biggest ever so far.