1) Who is Marie ABANGA?
Ms Marie Abanga, is a lawyer by profession and recently founded her own law firm AbangaandPartners. She is equally a consultant, a dynamic and passionate advocate of Women's rights, a mental health advocate and wellbeing coach, a motivational speaker, an author, a blogger and was a pioneer community champion of the UN Women Knowledge Gateway for Women's Empowerment among others. As a consultant, she has managed the African Region of the Women In Parliament Global Forum (now Women Political Leaders Global Forum), where she rallied the African Female Members of Parliaments to attend the WPL summits and other activities of this very important global network. Ms Abanga also collaborates with the Black European Women's Council, is Board Secretary of her mum's Diversity Management and Consulting Limited Firm, and the Country Director of the GBM Foundation for epilepsy and mental well-being. Last but definitely not the least, Marie is a single parent of three active teens and has found out that team work with her boys is the easiest way to make home affairs work.
2) What drives Marie Abanga?
I am driven by desire to live a purpose filled life. I spent several years searching for my purpose and came to realize I was actually learning the skills through my different experiences in life to fulfil this purpose. Now that I have come to this awareness and clarification, I am driven by the wish to help as many as I can in their own journeys to such an awesome enlightment.
3) Who is Your role model?
My maternal Grandmother. Here is a recap of this great woman as recorded in the anthology of memories written on her demise titled “Helen Atabong Asaba Fontem: The Life and Times of a Humble Servant”, « She fought for her economic empowerment, left an abusive marriage, sent her girls to school, fought for inheritance rights and became the first woman in her village to be allowed to inherit property. She dared to rally the women into the first co-operative ever, and was the pioneer president of the local chapter of the ruling party when the country finally attained its independence ». Is this resilience or what? This is just a recap but her powerful legacy lives on in me of course – she is forever my first and best role model and she was oh so gentle and tender and full of love for all with no discrimination.
4) Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years I will be an expert on mental health and personal/emotional well-being in Cameroon Lord Help. This is sure different from legal background but this is my ultimate goal – I have so more passion and personal experience in those fields and I am continuing education in those areas as I write. With regards to my legal practice and other ventures, I am forging on and doing my best but I don’t have any 5 year plan with those.
5) What are the challenges of the African Woman?
The African woman has sadly been conditioned to believe or resign to the idea that her ‘identity’ is only defined either in her ‘Father’ or ‘Husband’. This is simplified and used with quotes and I think many can understand what I write. This lack of believe in an inherent identity, has greatly impacted the African woman’s believe in her ownself , to assert herself and go for what she wants without the nagging feeling of having to explain why you can’t just be ‘conventional’ and satisfied with your role of ‘wife’, ‘daughter’ or even ‘second class employee’.
6) How do you unwind tension from work? How do you relax?
I love reading and writing in abundance. Those help me relax just so much and the best is when am doing those in my ‘serene space’. Next I also like doing to relax is hang out with my sons (I don’t call them 3 musketeers for nothing) and we are so buddies I can tell them any and everything and this is mutual. I am not so social (not anymore to be honest) so my social life is more online than otherwise – but that is also relaxing.
7) What is Your Ice Vision?
My ICE vision which I am working on regardless of any setbacks, is to mentor as many as possible from near or far. I have done this by sharing my story in 4 good memoirs, started an organization called Inspiring Positive Actions Now and share in abundance through my numerous social media platforms. I also don’t hesitate to accept invitations to guest blog, go on radio/tv to talk and share different messages through different magazine both on and offline.
8) Any plans for the AU?
Not really, I feel if I go to the AU I will not have the independence and platform to do what I want to do in individual lives.
9) Should you be named the Minister of Women's Empowerment and the Family , what wrong Will you right with your vision?
I will make informal education as important as formal education for girls right from childhood, because they are the women of tomorrow and mothers of humanity. I will mandate billboards all over that boys learn to see their sisters and mothers in every woman they come across.
10) What is Your greatest influence?
My greatest influence is the urge to see women empowered and living in peace and security from any form of abuse. If you had asked ‘Who’ that would have been different. I am influenced by my own personal transformational journey to believe it is possible for just every other woman.
11) What is Your ICE (inspire, celebrate and empower women) inspiration?
I am inspired by just how selfless and full of generosity many people are in the world. With just a little love, you can help turn someone’s word around – hence inspiring, celebrating and empowering one another is so imperative for us women.
12) One thing you hate in girls and women today you will like to see adjusted.
I don’t appreciate when girls compare themselves to each other based on physical/material attributes, and think the measure of their worth is in who or what they got – ignoring themselves in the whole process – focus more on who you are and what you are doing from your soul, because such assertiveness boosts your self esteem and shields you from imposed or received abuse of any kind.
13) Any advice for the African Woman?
Heal and dare to be you wherever you are. If you sincerely love the ‘comfort zone’ you currently are in, then fine – if not, you must not resign to your plight or fate, You can if you dare even if you begin only with baby steps right where you are. There are many role models in Africa today and even in your own environment. Come on you can even decide to be your own role model why not?