Sam Onigbanjo, Stella Damasus, Gita Patel, Jennifer Ogole, Tola Onigbanjo

Women4Africa press conference was held at the Stargate offices in London on Friday afternoon in preparation for tonight’s award ceremony at Kensington Town Hall.

Chaired by one of the ambassadors and co-founder and director of Stargate Capital, Gita Patel, the guest present comprised the organisers Tola and Sam Onigbanjo, the ambassadors Stella Damasus, Jennifer Ogole, compere for tonight designer Adebayo Jones and guest of honour Isha Johanssen of Sierra Leone’s Johanssen FC, director of Alpha Hospitals Dr. Albert Okoye and DJ Gabe, the DJ for tonight.

not only an opportunity for the members of media to pose their questions, the two-hour conference also provided a platform to discuss African women’s issues between like-minded individuals lending their support to Women4Africa.

“Paradigm shift in Africa will arrive when we start engaging with women,” said Gita Patel who began the discussion. Speaking of the importance of Women4Africa, she added, “When we profile women, we show them a form of respect.

Patel also highlighted the importance of men celebrating woemn, saying, “An enlightened men is one who aspires for his daughters or one who has been around powerful women.”

Stella Damasus

Drawing on her own experience of starting a company after being widowed with two children at the age of 26, Nollywood actress and women’s rights campaigner Stella Damasus also highlighted the need for “enlightened men” to champion women. In a country like Nigeria where a female child is seen as of no importance, it takes a lot for a woman to stand up and say, ‘I can do this.'”

Dr. Albert Okoye, Sam Onigbanjo, Stella Damasus, Gita Patel, Jennifer Ogole, Isha Johannsen, Tola Onigbanjo, Adebayo Jones

Dr. Albert Okoye added, “It takes a few men to be ambassadors to change those long established attitudes towards women.”

While acknowledging that celebrating powerful women is important, Gita Patel also drew attention to the need to turn “inspiration into aspiration.” “There are powerful women who stand up and make things happen, then there are powerful women who inspire others and make them aspire to stand up and make things happen,” Patel explained, “We all need drivers – catalysts of change.”

Jennifer Ogole, London-based social entrepreneur of Ugandan descent stressed that the “power of each individual to make a change is infinite.” The founder of Bang Edutainment, a social enterprise which aims to empower and engage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds added, “You may look different, you may be from far away, you may speak with an accent but you are equally powerful to do what you want to do and make change happen.”

The meeting of like minds ended with a photo call and distinguished guests parted with the wish for a fab event tonight.

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