While TIME did pick some pretty awesome ladies for their Person of the Year shortlist, it’s astounding that the magazine hasn’t chosen an individual woman for the grand title since the selection of President Corazon Aquino of the Phillipines in 1986. So Africa is a Country, “the media blog that is not about famine, Bono, or Barack Obama,” has gone ahead and named Alice Nkom the 2012 Woman of the Year. What an inspiring pick. AIAC writes:
Alice Nkom was the first woman to become a lawyer in Cameroon. That was in 1969, and she was 24 years old, and she’s been kicking through ever since. Over the last four decades, Nkom has been a leading civil rights and women’s rights activist and advocate in Cameroon, and for the last decade or so has become famous, or infamous, for her defense of LGBTIQ persons, communities and rights.
In February 2003, Nkom established ADEFHO, L’association pour la défense des droits des homosexuel(le)s. The Association for the Defence of Homosexuals (its English name) has suffered threats, attacks, intimidation. Nkom has received death threats. She has been imprisoned. She has been threatened with being disbarred. And she persists and returns to court again and again.
The full article is worth a read for both a background on the devastating treatment of those suspected of being queer—“men have been arrested and imprisoned for hairstyle and for drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream”—and a simultaneous boost of faith in humankind thanks to Nkom’s tremendous bravery.