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Zainab's Story

"She walked in like a commander of the armed forces - despite the fact they had guns - she told them it was time for peace". Meet Sierra Leone’s remarkable foreign minister Zainab Bangura.

"When Mrs Bangura is in action, sometimes she doesn’t even dress like a woman. She walked in like a commander of the armed forces - despite the fact they had guns - she told them it was time for peace."

Zainab Bangura is Sierra Leone's foreign minister. In this documentary she tells her own remarkable story, revealing her personal motivations and how she represents one of the world's poorest countries.

In the 50 years since independence, Zainab is only the second woman to hold the post.

Her father was a strict Muslim cleric who did not believe in educating women.

Her mother - though illiterate - fought for Zainab to go to school and sacrificed her marriage to allow her daughter to progress on to further education.

As civil war swept the country in the 1990s, she founded the Campaign for Good Governance which campaigned for the elections that finally drove the junta from power in 1996 and restored democratic government.

Her life and desire for change was shaped by the civil war which left large parts of the country devastated and in dire poverty.

Zainab entered into political life under much criticism from her family and from her former colleagues.

Many felt that she was being too over ambitious and naive to say that she could make a difference to lives of people in Sierra Leone.

Listen to this fascinating insight of a woman - desperate and determined to make a change for her nation.

Available now

25 minutes

Last on

Mon 20 Sep 2010 02:05GMT

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