Sophie Kanza

Congolese politician and sociologist

Sophie Madeline Kanza  (February 8, 1940) in Léopoldville, Belgian Congo

Remembered for

She was the first Congolese woman to graduate from a university when she received her diploma from the University of Geneva with a degree in sociology

Her story

On 31 October 1966 Kanza was appointed Minister of Social Affairs, becoming the first woman in the country to hold government office.

She was made a member of the political bureau of the Mouvement Populaire de la Révolution on 13 October 1967.

She also served as Minister for Community Development and Minister for Work, Social Welfare and Habitat.She later served as a representative to the United Nations.

Kanza studied at Harvard University from 1973–1976, earning a master’s degree and a PhD in sociology.