I recently had the great fortune of meeting and interviewing Grammy Award-winning world music songstress Angelique Kidjo. The fiery diva, who hails from Benin in West Africa, was in Byron Bay to perform at the Bluesfest. During the interview I asked her questions about her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and the founding of The Batonga Foundation through which she supports the education of young women in Africa.
According to Ms Kidjo the greatest threat facing women today in Africa is the lack of education. "When you are a girl born in Africa you have no identity, you belong to your family – your mother and your dad have the right to decide on your life. That's why there are so many early marriages," Kidjo explains.
"We have to change Africa," she argues. "We need women leadership. We need women to be empowered in order to save the life of their children. So we need to educate the women...Because you have to have that protection of education in order to be a leader wise enough, and strong enough, and powerful enough to make the men of your country realise that we are not enemies, we are partners."
To find out more about The Batonga Foundation and how you can help out visit: www.batongafoundation.org.