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Goal Diggers 30 under 30: Faces changing.

Summary: We live in the times of the so-called 'Millennial (or Generation Y) Takeover'. Lately there has been much ado about this demographic -- aged between 15 and 30. Here at NAW we are coining the term 'Goal Diggers' to describe our 30 under 30 New African Woman Millennials. Meet the generation of ambitious young African women setting and achieving their goal s -- both at home and in the African diaspora.

Compiled and written by Wanjiru Kariuki

Amilna EstevEuo, 17, Angola

Model

Discovered at the age of 14 in her home country of Angola, Amilna EstevEuo has since made her debut appearance at New York Fashion Week, gracing the catwalk for Vera Wang, Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone. You can also find the Angolan beauty on the cover of the New York Times' style magazine T Magazine, in Topshop's global Spring/Summer 2016 campaign and on the pages of W Magazine. Bashful and bubbly, the young model, who is still in school, admits that she enjoys geography, languages and science. Watch out for her this year.

Warsan Shire, 27, Somalia/UK

Poet

Long before the spotlight illuminated Warsan Shire for her part in writing Beyonce's 'Lemonade' monologue, the young Somali-Brit was making a name for herself creating poetry that deeply resonated with women. Shire, who is an expert at articulating her struggles with identity, love and self-acceptance, is the type of writer who can be found on tumblr pages and in cultural essays alike. Shire has truly struck a chord across generations and we look forward to reading more mesmerising work from her soon (she is set to release her first collection of poetry later this year).

Michaela Coel, 28 Ghana/UK

Actress/Playwright

This year started on a high for the talented Michaela Coel, with two coveted British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) gongs to her name -- Best Female Comedy Performance and Breakthrough Talent for Writing (for the hit show 'Chewing Gum' in which she also stars). Writing on the Guardian online under the headline 'Why I love Michaela Coel', popular blogger Bim Adewunmi enthuses: "Michaela Coel is a one-woman powerhouse... her very presence on British telly, in a landscape that doesn't normally allow dark- skinned black girls to shine so brightly, is thrilling." Born on 1 October 1988 as Michaela Boakye-Collinson to Ghanaian parents, this multi-talented millennial's journey has truly just started. From poetry, theatre and television to the big screen -- a star is born.

Catherine Mahugu, 27, Kenya

Tech Entrepreneur

Catherine Mahugu combined technology, social enterprise and fashion when she founded the online platform Soko in 2012. Soko (which translates as 'market' in Swahili) connects a global audience to beautifully and ethically made jewellery. The website was born after the former IT graduate realised that talented artisans in Nairobi couldn't always rely on the local market to get sales. Today the e-commerce operation has reportedly provided revenues of US$600,000 to artisans and continues to give back to Kenyan communities through special initiatives and unique jewellery collections.

Zuriel Oduwole, 14, US/Nigeria

Activist/Filmmaker

At just 14 years old, Zuriel Oduwole is already a prolific, hard-hitting interviewer. But Oduwole is best known for her activism and advocacy for girls' education. In 2014, aged 12, Oduwole was the world's youngest filmmaker to have a self-produced work screened commercially, after her film showed in two movie chains. She has interviewed no fewer than 10 heads of state and presidents (and counting) pressing them for answers on issues that matter. Her zeal and tenacity, which goes beyond her young age, led her to become New African Woman's first Rising Star awardee at the 2016 NAWForum and Awards. Watch her rise!

Tinashe, 23, Zimbabwe/US

Pop Singer

Petite yet enigmatic, Tinashe is one of the most relevant musicians in pop music. Her cool laid-back style, catchy hooks and killer choreography have catapulted her into music charts the world over. She is the voice behind 2015 hits 'All Hands On Deck' featuring Iggy Azeala and 'All My Friends' featuring Snakehips and Chance the Rapper, and there are more hits to come; the R&B princess recently cancelled her latest tour to spend time finishing her sophomore album, 'Joyride', which is set to come out later this year.

Karabo Mathang, 28, South Africa

FIFA Football Agent

Soweto-born Karabo Mathang is proving to young women everywhere that pushing down gender barriers can be done. As the only female FIFA- accredited soccer agent in South Africa, Mathang has made history in a country that loves and lives for sport. Beyond her accreditation, Mathang is also an entrepreneur and holds a postgraduate LLB degree. She has combined her knowledge of sports with her law expertise to grow her company into a reputable management firm. Currently she represents players from Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows.

Bonang Matheba, 28, South Africa

Media Personality

With over 1.5 million Twitter followers, radio presenter and television host, Bonang Matheba is the darling of the South African entertainment and social media industries. Charismatic and confident in front of the camera, she made history in 2013 when she became the first non-American Revlon Cosmetics brand ambassador in the world. Matheba is also a boss -- she owns her own media company, aptly named Bonang Matheba Entertainment. Earlier this year the South African presenter was announced as the host of 'E! Live from the Red Carpet' for events in Southern Africa. A beauty and a boss.

Phiona Mutesi, 23, Uganda

Chess Prodigy

Known as the 'Queen of Katwe', and the subject of a Hollywood movie, Mutesi had her first chess lesson, aged nine, in the Katwe slum of Kampala. A few years on, she was Uganda's national women's junior champion. She has competed in several international chess Olympiads and has clinched a Woman Candidate Master ranking.

Frances Bodomo, 28, Ghana

Filmmaker

Frances Bodomo is redefining narratives about Africa with her unconventional film plots. Born in Ghana and raised in Ghana, Hong Kong, Norway and the US, Bodomo's desire to fight against pervasive African stereotypes led her to make the 2014 short film 'Afronauts', which is a historical re-imagination of a group of Zambians who wanted to go to the moon in the 1960s. 'Afronauts' is set to be released as a full length film in the near feature. Bodomo's most recent directorial project is the short film 'Everybody Dies!', an interpretation of a fellow filmmaker's dream.

Herieth Paul, 20 Tanzania/Canada

Model

She is one of the newest faces of Maybelline, alongside Jourdan Dunn, and she has walked for the likes of Tom Ford, but Herieth Paul is also making a name for herself speaking out against the lack of diversity in the modelling industry. Remarking on the significance of her latest appointment as a black global brand ambassador for the cosmetics brand Maybelline, Paul said: "There is a lot of work that needs to be done, because out of 100% of models, there are only 2% black and 3% Asian; so we need to change the numbers." Paul hopes to change those numbers and inspire young women who look like her.

Efya, 29 Ghana

Singer

After waiting with baited breath, Ghanaian musical star Efya finally gave her fans what they had been anticipating for over two years: the release of her debut album entitled 'Janesis'. This soulful songstress has collaborated with the likes of WizKid and Ice Prince in her most recent music, which is a sure sign she is about to explode on the continent. The former MTV Africa Music Awards nominee also has more than 400,000 followers on Twitter, making her one of the most popular Twitter personalities in Ghana.

Vivian Onano, 25, Kenya

Youth Leadership Advocate

At the age of 24, this incredible Kenyan gave a keynote speech to the UN in New York, but looking back at her achievements prior to this, it is no surprise that the young activist found herself at the steps of the UN headquarters. An advocate of women's empowerment through education, Onano has done HIV/Aids outreach work in Migori, met presidents and dignitaries, and held several posts at large NGOs and international organisations. Currently Onano serves as a youth adviser for the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group. A strong African voice for women and youth empowerment.

Michaela DePrince, 20, Sierra Leone/US

Ballet Dancer

Born during the Civil War in Sierra Leone, Michaela DePrince has had to overcome several hurdles stacked against her, namely racism, neglect and hardship, to become the phenomenal woman she is today. Through grit and determination DePrince has proved all the naysayers wrong, rising to become the only ballet dancer of African descent to dance in the Dutch National Ballet company and feature as the beautiful ballet dancer in Beyonce's 2016 visual album 'Lemonade', as well as being a best-selling author (her book Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina is to be made into a film).

Ann Kansiime, 29, Uganda

Comedienne

Anne Kansiime has been entertaining Ugandan audiences since 2007 when she was a student at Makerere University. In 2014, she became a well-known figure on the continent with her hit comedy television show in Kenya, 'Don't Mess with Kansiime'. Since then, Kansiime has performed to delighted crowds all over Africa, taking on characters that are both relatable and hilarious to her audiences. Check out her YouTube videos, which have a garnered 15 million views, for a guaranteed rib- cracking laugh.

Jaha Dukureh, 26, Gambia

Human Rights Activist

Founder of the Safe Hands for Girls organisation, which seeks to ban female genital mutilation (FGM) globally, Jaha Durukeh is an inspiring and committed young activist. A survivor of the horrific practice, Durukeh is involved in the writing of a Gambian law to ban FGM after it was outlawed by Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh last year. She also hopes to do more work in other African nations, such as Sierra Leone and Somalia. Her tireless efforts were recognised in 2015 by L'Oreal Paris which granted her US$10,000 as a Woman of Worth Honouree. Durukeh plans to use the funds to build a health clinic in Gambia for young women.

Priscilla Semphere, 23, Malawi

Author

Author Priscilla Semphere is using literature to change the way young Africans view the continent, and hence view themselves. Her book series Ekari is a tale about an eight-year-old protagonist who traverses the continent with her mother, exposing readers to the diversity and the richness of African culture; from Malawi to Nigeria. At only 23 years old, Semphere is giving young Africans the chance to see themselves in a medium that is positive and empowering, despite what the mainstream western media portrays as their reality.

Yemi Alade, 27, Nigeria

Musician

Talented and beautiful, this 'Johnny' crooner is the queen of the Nigerian pop music industry. The song, which was released in 2014, garnered over 800,000 views in just two months sending Alade into global super- stardom. Her second album 'Mama Africa', released earlier this year, includes collaborations with P-Square and Sauti Sol; the singer has pledged that proceeds from the album will go towards the FeedAChild initiative. She was also recently announced as brand ambassador for African Fashion Week/ Nigeria and London.

Chibundu Onuzo, 25, Nigeria

Author

Chibundu Onuzo began writing her first book at the age of 17, and by 19 had already become the youngest female author to be signed to the British publishing house Faber & Faber. Two years later, her debut novel The Spider King's Daughter was published. The novel went on to win the Betty Trask Award, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. Today, Onuzo continues to write and is a contributor to The Guardian newspaper.

Afua Osei, 29, and Yasmin Belo-Osagie, 27, Nigeria

Tech Entrepreneurs

Fostering women's empowerment and entrepreneurship on the African continent through the sheleadsafrica. org platform, Osei and Belo-Osage have created a community of African women who can empower and encourage each other with a few clicks of a button. SheLeadsAfrica has grown to become one of the leading websites for women's entrepreneurship on the continent, providing young women with valuable content and resources to progress in their respective fields. The platform also gives budding businesswomen the chance to see their visions come to life; the SheLeadsAfrica annual pitching competition grants winners funding to see their start-up dreams become a reality.

Akaliza Keza Gara, 29, Rwanda

Tech Entrepreneur

Akaliza Keza Gara is one of the most well-known names in Rwanda's tech circles. Founder of Shaking Sun, a multimedia company, and Yambi animation studios, Gara is also a member of Girls in ICT in Rwanda and a mentor at the kLab innovation hub in Kigali. Gara's accomplishments also include serving as the East African youth adviser for the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council and pursuing a master's degree in digital media in Japan. Tech, entrepreneurship and female empowerment, we love it!

Aamito Lagum, 23, Uganda

Model

Her lips became the topic of controversy earlier this year when make-up brand MAC posted a photo of her wearing one of its lipsticks on its Instagram. As bigots and trolls went in on the Ugandan beauty, Lagum refused to be shaken by the furore and racism and confidently retaliated, posting a photo with the caption, "my lips giving you sleepless nights". Prior to the lip frenzy, Lagum took the top spot in the first season of 'Africa's Next Top Model', graced the pages of Vogue and became the first model of colour to open for Balcienga under Alexander Wang. Keep slaying, Aamito.

Polline Akello, 26, Uganda

Human Rights Activist

Snatched by the Lord Resistance Army in Uganda at the age of 12, pregnant at 16 and addressing the UN and World Conference at 26, Polline Akello has lived a life of trauma, hardship, and ultimately success. Using her difficult experience as a child solider in Uganda, the activist has become a global advocate for children, fighting to protect them from what she had to endure. To re-use her own words, Akello's work is testament to the fact that "something positive can come from something terrible".

Nour Drissi, 27, Morocco

Entrepreneur

At the age of only 23, Nour Drissi founded the first Moroccan-based car rental website book1car.com that enabled consumers and tourists to compare prices and bag the best deal for their journeys in the North African country. Today the site also allows visitors to rent a car from international car rental companies in 171 different countries. Winner of the second- place prize in the SheLeadsAfrica entrepreneur showcase competition 2014, Drissi has proved to all aspiring entrepreneurs that a local start-up can indeed become a global platform thanks to the internet.

Clarisse Iribagiza, 28, Rwanda

Tech Entrepreneur

Founder and CEO of HeHe Labs, a mobile technology firm based in Kigali, which connects customers to businesses and boasts an impressive roster of clients such as MTN and the Rwandese government, Clarisse Iribagiza has carved out a name for herself as a leader and innovator in the African tech field. A passionate believer in empowering youth, Iribagiza is also one of the founder members of iHills, a tech community that provides training, funding and mentorship to emerging entrepreneurs.

Malaika wa Azania, 24, South Africa

Author/Activist

A proponent of pan-African socialism and black consciousness, Malaika wa Azania is a loud young voice who boldly speaks out about the frustrations of living in South Africa today. Tackling issues of politics, race and gender, Azania's most profound pieces of work can be found scattered across the internet. From established media houses to small niche bogs, it is evident that her words, passion and skill translate to a large African audience.

Aya Jones, 20, Cote d'Ivoire /France

Model

Fresh-faced model Aya Jones has been everywhere, walking for Prada, Moschino and Dior in the last year alone. But it was her stunning editorial in the March 2016 Vogue Spain that garnered plenty of attention. Jones' radiant beauty came out in her proud and confident stance on the magazine's cover. Jones has also made appearances in recent British and American Vogue issues. We have no doubt that if she continues on this trajectory she will become a household name.

Amaka Osakwe, 29, Nigeria

Fashion Designer

Last year the Maki Oh (one of US First Lady Michelle Obama's favourite designer labels) launched its Spring/Summer 2016 collection to dizzying aclaim. Today the woman behind the brand, Amaka Osakwe, is working with fellow Nigerian Dimeji Alara on the Hollywood film The Blue Mauritius. There is no stopping the formidable fashion house Maki Oh, which is putting Nigeria fashion on the global stage. With supporters such as Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles and Lupita Nyong'o, Osakwa has created a product that resonates with Africa and the black diaspora, which speaks volumes about the potential of African fashion. Watch out for the unstoppable rise of Maki Oh -- aka Amaka Osakwe!

Yolanda Nkala, 18 South Africa

Innovator

Together with her partner Kholiswa Ntshinga, Yolanda Nkala made news when she found a low-cost way to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in maize. Using their research, the Cape Town teens managed to reduce the amount of mycotoxin in the crop by an impressive 98%. High levels of the toxic chemical can cause liver and oesophageal cancer amongst other disorders. Their hard work was recognised at the 2016 Beijing International Science Fair, where the duo won silver medals in the medicines category as well as a special award for Innovation in Agriculture.

Mariem Bchir, 21, Tunisia

Educationalist

An alumni of the African Leadership Academy, Mariem Bchir's passion for education first became evident to the world when the then teenager founded a youth group during the Tunisian Revolution, allowing young Tunisians to freely express thoughts in a safe space. Bchir went on to develop Show Me How to Teach, a school programme which seeks to install emotional intelligence and passion amongst the next generation of leaders and educators, a much-needed trait in today's world.

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Publication:New African Woman
Geographic Code:6UGAN
Date:Jun 30, 2016
Words:2999
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