The amazing women behind Africa's longest serving rulers

The role of the African first lady is under the spotlight after Grace Mugabe was blamed for the overthrow of her husband

From charity lovers, fashion icons to home makers, the current list of Africa's longest serving leaders are partnered by some truly amazing women.

Business Insider SSA looks at these First Ladies.

The mother of the playboy vice president of the oil rich country,Teodoro Mangue, Constancia has been at the side of Africa's longest reigning head of state since he became president. She is reported to own an upscale school as well as shops. She does not shun the limelight and is a regular sight by  her husband.

The wife of Paul Biya became first lady in 1994 after the death of his first wife Jeanne-Irene in 1992. Cameroon's first lady has gained fame for her flamboyant sense of style and hair styles that have been named after her.

The Washington Post onceheadlined a "The first lady of Cameroon and her hair have touched down in D.C" .

The man nicknamed "Fighter of Fighters" has been in charge of the East African country for 31 years and his wife Janet has been along for the ride. An accomplished politician in her own right, she has served as a minister and a member of parliamentarian. She however focuses on being first lady full times these days.

Omar Al-Bashir's first wife Fatima Khalid likes to keep a low profile, leaving the cameras to her junior mate, Widad Babiker. She is not to be underestimated though. She is regarded as Bashir's most influential sounding board.

Idris Deby is known as for his many wives but there is no doubt who the "First Lady" is .The beautiful Hinda Deby is his favourite wife and also considered the most sophisticated with her advanced educational background.

Perhaps the most low key first lady in Africa, the wife of Isaias Afewerki was also a freedom fighter during the war for independence. She is known as a modest woman who sometimes even takes a bus. She keeps her family very private.

The wife of Dennis Sassou Nguesso loves charity work but is not a very popular figure in the country her husband ran for decades first as a military ruler and now as a democratically elected president.

The wife of Omar Guelleh is a formidable political player. Local reports indicate that her children, brothers and sisters occupy several strategic positions within the tiny but strategic East African country. Kadra is said to be grooming one of her relatives to replace her husband .

A formidable player on the non profit and charity scene, Mrs.Kagame has played a significant role in the battle against HIV aids and poverty alleviation through various conferences and projects.Her Imbuto Foundation, which focuses on the environment and keeping the earth green has chalked significant success on the continent.

A true love story, the couple married in 2006 after dating for five years in a lavish ceremony that was telecast live on televison. Mrs.Kabila has been accused of using her position to enrich herself with several companies linked to her.


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