Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tanzanian Woman of Note: Julie Makani Simba

Dr. Julie Makani recently won a 60,000 Pound Sterling prize from the Royal Society. Just to give you a woefully inadequate summary: she is a superbrain researching how to help increase the survival rate of children born with Sickle Cell Disease. You may call her Dr. Awesome. And then if the spirit moves you, which it will, you can show her love by supporting the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

Ooooh. I. Love. It. When a Tanzanian woman gets recognized for her brilliance. Instant feminist energy recharge. Context: a number of weeks ago, The East African had as its insert a special on the women leaders of East Africa. Which immediately raised the question of proportional representation. Truth is that many of us living outside Nairobi damned a very good piece of work with faint praise because, well... there weren't as many Tanzanian women as we had hoped to see. It may be that our regional rag doesn't know better. And its not like Tanzanians make it any easier for them.

This can mainly be explained by the Tanzanian modesty thing... actually, I just realized that discussing the Tanzanian modesty thing takes a lot of work so I'll save that for another blogpost.

Dr. Makani has been doing her righteous work for a long time now and has finally been outed. I am a big believer in respecting people's privacy, but there's a feminist agenda that's lagging in this country. A bit of promo work so that people get to understand just how bad-ass daughters of the Tanzanian soils can be is overdue. Our boxy little socialist suits and affable smiles are hiding a plethora of skills and achievements from the world.

So one of these days, while Julie is trying to get some work done, I'm going to take my chances and breathe down the back of her labcoat while asking intrusive questions for the blog. And she's going to have to suffer through it :)


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes to Dr. Julie!!! And to this article. I had the same reaction to the EA special section (even though I saved it!). Can't wait to see profiles of the many amazing TZ women. And after Julie, how about the incredible (and too modest)diplomat and SG of the Great Lakes Initiative, Liberata Mulamula.

  2. Kudos to Dr Julie Makani. I found out about her award via Twitter (a congratulatory tweet from President Kikwete actually). Would love to read more about her work so will be watching this blog for that story!


No biting, spitting, trolling or ugly insults- only pretty ones allowed.

A little birdie told me...

Follow MikocheniReport on Twitter