Often described as mothers to the nations their husbands lead, Africa’s first ladies are often expected to be unifying figures, serving the president of the nation and the voters who entrusted him the mandate to lead.
A first lady by definition is the wife of the head of state, and it therefore follows that most African nations led by a male president, has a first lady.
As of March 2019, all African countries have male heads of state. The last female head of state who led an African nation was Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose tenure expired in January 2018.
Across the continent, several first ladies have been recognised, applauded and sometimes vilified for the roles they play to support the politics of their husbands.
As we celebrate women in the month of March and beyond, Africanews shall publish the profiles and work of different African first ladies, highlighting their politics and activism among other issues.
First lady of the week: Egypt’s Entissar Amer
• Full name / age: Entissar Mohameed Amer/ 62 years old
• Mandate: First Lady since 8 June, 2014
• Profession: Ain-Shams University graduate (Bachelor of Commerce-Accounting)
• Politics: plays a symbolic supporting role to her husband’s political career
• Advocacy: is dedicated to raising her family, and has reportedly turned down opportunities to work and build a career or personal legacy.
• Family: Wife to president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi since 1977, the couple have four children together.
Al Arabiya reported that Amer is Sisi’s maternal cousin, who the president fell in love with while the two were still in high school. They got married after Sisi graduated from the military academy in 1977.