17 Jul 2012

African Union elects female leader

5:49 am on 17 July 2012

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa has been elected the first female head of the African Union.

Ms Dlamini-Zuma, who's a former wife of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, defeated the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon.

Mr Ping has headed the steering body of the 54-member organisation since 2008.

The vote was the culmination of a bruising leadership contest between the union's rival English and French-speaking blocs at the meeting in Addis Ababa.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is Home Affairs Minister in South Africa.