On this day gone by: Africa’s first female Cabinet Minister was born
A future female chief is born into one of the most powerful families in the town of Moyamba, southern Sierra Leone.
That came to pass 98 years ago today January 21, 1921.
A paramount chief and politician, Ella Koblo Gulama became the first elected female Member of Parliament in Sierra Leone and all of sub-Saharan Africa in 1957.
She was re-elected in 1962. During the government of Milton Margai, Ella became Sierra Leone’s and sub-Saharan Africa’s first female Cabinet Minister. She represented her country abroad and her travels took her all over Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East.
In 1957 as a guest of the State Department, she toured the United States for four months during which met with Vice President Richard Nixon.
Ella’s mother was Lucy Gulama and her father, Paramount Chief Julius Gulama; both were ethnic Mendes. Like his father, Paramount Chief Momoh Gulama, Julius was Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba Chiefdom.
Ella’s sister Komeh, would marry Brigadier David Lansana, Commander of Sierra Leone’s Armed Forces. She had two half-sisters, Messie and Yebu by one of her father’s junior wives Lunia.
Ella was educated at the Harford School for Girls in Moyamba, the Women Teacher’s College and the Fourah Bay College in Freetown.
In 1944, she married the powerful Paramount Chief Bai Koblo Pathbana II of Marampa, Masimera Chiefdom, an ethnic Temne.
She was the recipient of several awards including the MBE in 1959 and the OBE in 1966 from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
Also, President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah conferred the Order of the Rokel on Ella Kobla Gulama who was born on this day gone by.
By Claudia Anthony.
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