While researching the first lady featured this week, I was personally overjoyed to find that she not only is a first lady who embodies the ideal of today’s African woman, but she is also the youngest first lady on the African continent – in her mid-thirties. She is us! (The main AFRIKAN GODDESS MAGAZINE demographic includes women between the ages of 25 and 40).
Mialy Rajoelina is a first lady quite like no other. She’s young, enthusiastic, independent, ambitious, highly intelligent, glamorous and caring. But, despite her sense of self and fierce independence, it is ironically quite difficult to talk about Mialy Rajoelina, the First Lady of Madagascar, without mentioning her husband, President Andry Rajoelina, who is also the youngest person to become president of an African nation at the age of 34. The couple, affectionately called Andrialy by the Malagasy people, signifying the couple’s united front, symbolizes Madagascar’s new democratic hope.
Born Mialy Razakandisa, Mialy Rajoelina is the oldest of three girls and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in finance and accounting management at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris before moving back home to Madagascar, where she and her husband built a life as young budding entrepreneurs. Mialy met her husband, Andry Rajoelina, when she was only 17 years-old, but held off on any marriage decisions until after she completed her education. That decision paid off because not only was she armed with an education and ambition, but it allowed her to maintain her independence while she assisted him in managing his businesses. One of those businesses, Injet, was an advertising and digital printing company that quickly became popular with its expansion of billboard advertising throughout the capital city. With Mialy’s help, Injet became the first company in Madagascar to make digital printing technology available on the island. With time, the company grew even bigger and Mialy and Andry were able to acquire other businesses before Andry launched his political career.
Aside from her role as Madagascar’s first lady, Mialy Rajoelina is also the spokesperson and president of the Madagascan based charity, Fitia. Fitia, an organization which employs just a dozen people to organize its entire program, aims to assist the less fortunate who can’t afford quality healthcare to be able to do so. Mialy also supports several other social causes that support the Island nation’s families in need, such as reaching out to women farmers. Mialy believes that since women are very active especially in the countryside, they must be given the means through which they can succeed and support themselves because these benefits eventually trickle down to their children and families.
Hopefully, the trend this young ruling couple has set is one that Africans will look up to and uplift as a shining example of change. The continent has definitely seen its share of old rulers, autocratic and oppressive in their thinking. Youth is the change the continent needs and deserves and we hope it bears fruits.