Rwanda’s Amavubi will not take part in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations final in Cameroon, but the country will still make headlines at the tournament thanks to our own Salma Mukansanga.
For the first time, the 30-year-old is the only woman on a 24-person list of center referees to direct games at the continent’s largest football competition.
The Rwanda Premier League referee is one of the best referees in the country and her inclusion in the elite match officials group for the 33rd edition of AfCon is a testament to her hard work, professionalism and dedication.
By joining a club that was historically exclusive to men, Mukansanga has not only inspired generations of young referees and other athletes, but has also helped build the spirit of gender equality and empowerment among women across Africa .
Her steady rise to the continent’s biggest football stage is the beautiful story of a girl who refused to define herself and hold back from stereotypes and other gender barriers, but instead kept her eye on the ball.
Mukansanga embodies in many ways the history of Rwandan girls and women in various areas in recent years, in which many have broken through the glass ceiling – including in MINT subjects and other disciplines that were previously considered a reserve for men.
In fact, pioneers like Mukansanga provide a good example for millions of girls and women in Rwanda and beyond that could then be encouraged to pursue their own dreams regardless of prevailing gender stereotypes.
It also serves as a reminder to parents, schools, and communities in general to serve as a social support system and create a favorable environment for children regardless of their gender as they plan their career path and chase after their dreams.
Instead of discouraging them because of their birth and preventing them from following their passion, we should help them and help them make their journey less daunting.
We warmly congratulate Salma Mukansanga and wish her all the best for the tournament and her career aspirations.