JOHANNESBURG, August 17 – Former African Union Commission chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Thursday launched her book highlighting goals, achievements, and milestones during her tenure at the helm of the continental body.
Titled the “African Union Commission Under the Leadership of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma”, the book gives a glimpse of the work she was involved with between 15 October 2012 and 14 March 2017, when she handed over the reins to Chadian diplomat, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Written in English and French, the book, with lots of pictures, reflects on several issues and milestones, such as the promotion of Pan Africanism through Agenda 2063, which brought together Africans from all walks of life to share aspirations of the continent they envisage.
Speaking at the book launch, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu lauded Dlamini-Zuma for her achievements as an anti-apartheid activist, a cabinet minister, academic, mother and chairperson of the AU Commission, where her legacy of fighting for the rights and empowerment of women remains a shining example.
Zulu said those who have worked with Dlamini Zuma will attest to her demand for high work standards and her life as a servant of the people.
From fighting for a smoking ban in public areas to shifting Africa’s focus onto young people and the free movement of people and goods in Africa, Zulu said Dlamini Zuma had more than demonstrated her competencies as a leader.
Dr Iqbal Surve, the proprietor of Independent Media which hosted the launch, said it was an insult to refer to Dlamini Zuma as the former wife of President Jacob Zuma, when, in fact, she had proven qualities of her own.
He said his media group was ready to give a platform to all those who wanted to articulate their view to millions of readers of the company’s various newspapers.
Launching the book, Dlamini Zuma said more than half the population in Africa were women and the continent could not afford to exclude them from skills development programmes and opportunities to be of service to the people.
The former AU Commission chair said she was “never afraid to tackle difficult” issues, such as confronting tobacco companies about limiting the effects of smoking, or pharmaceutical firms to make much-needed drugs affordable.
She called on Africans to be proud and to emulate the Ethiopians who self-funded the Gibe III dam which has the capacity to double the country’s electricity output at the flick of a switch. “Ethiopians are proud people,” Dlamini-Zuma said, adding that Africans successfully trained 800 medical volunteers to tackle the Ebola epidemic and all of them returned to their countries in good health.
The book looks at all the successes and plans for the future and makes a strong case for investment in young people, empowerment of women, the free movement of goods and people, reduction in trade tariffs and the ultimate eradication of poverty.
All in all, the book provides Africans with hope for a better future in which all of them will have an opportunity to thrive.