The African American writer and grandmotherly figure, Maya Angelou, said and sang a great many things. In one of her brief but enduring poems, she noted the “obvious differences in the human family…the variety of our skin tone can confuse, bemuse, delight: brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white”. Naturally, the range and motley composition of pigmentation make for an interesting world, but once in a while, a colour jumps out from the eclectic oeuvre and remains stuck on the mind for a long, long time.
Such is the experience of many a woman at the 3rd Annual African Women Conference 2019 in Marrakesh, Morocco. The coterie of women of timber and calibre undoubtedly finally understood why the song ‘African Queen’ originated from no other place but Nigeria. Having set eyes on Hajia Mairo Tambuwal and experienced first-hand the dazzling gorgeousness of her raven skin, the coming months will open to overseas cosmetic establishments losing customers in droves.
Hajia Mairo Maryam Tambuwal is the wife of Sokoto State governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and also doubles as the founder of the Maryam Mario Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Legacy Initiative (MMAWT). As a keynote speaker at the Conference, and also a chair on one of the panels on the financial inclusion of women, Hajia Tambuwal brought more than words with her.
Like the Nigerian hip-hop artiste, Jesse Jagz claimed, “black is much more than the pigmentation of the skin; (it is) the cultures and values that we pass to our next of kin”. Along with her brilliant ebony skin, Hajia Tambuwal also brought along several tell-tale articles from Sokoto and Kano which served to her sisters in the diaspora that her people have not left the march of progress.
A queen indeed. Hajia Tambuwal did not allow her high status and admired looks to impede her renowned consideration and courteousness. Rather, she was with each and every woman who after the conference desired to have a quick shot with her, setting the pace in every instance.
Little wonder she was installed as a superwoman in the hall of fame, and further formally recognized as a social worker and activist in gender matters. Imminent conferences may yet see a plaque in honour of the woman who dazzled a power club with her skin and her speeches.