Be Inspired: Women's Day 2017

  • 08 August 2017 | By Anje Rautenbach

Today we are celebrating national Women’s Day in South Africa; a day commemorating the 20 000 women who have marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1956 in protest against the apartheid laws.

We've asked some influential and inspiring women from all over South Africa to tell us about their female role models, to share why they're proud to be a woman in South Africa and to inspire their fellow South African women with a few words.

Here's what they had to say:

Be Inspired: Women's Day 2017 

Katchie Nzama
 

 

Katchie Nzama(@thesolowandera)님의 공유 게시물님,


South African blogger at Travel with Katchie is travelling to promote intra-African travel to Africans, she was first African woman to backpack Cape to Cairo solo by only using public transport and was listed by the Mail & Guardian as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans in 2016 in the film and media category. 

What makes you proud to be a South African woman?

I was born in a beautiful country with diverse culture and languages. A country where everyday could be an adventure of a different kind. We have an amazing coastline, from beautiful forests, national parks, waterfalls and great lakes. I come from a country where my passport gets other people excited about Madiba and Lucky Dube. Have aI mentioned we are the royalty of braais? Who else can braai better than South Africans?

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

My mother and grandmother have to be the women who have influenced who I am today. My mother being my greatest cheerleader. Allowing me to chase my dreams even without fully seeing or understanding the vision. She is by far the greatest best friend I have and everyday I realise more I am growing to be like her. My grandmother has had difficulty with understanding what I do. Explaining the internet to one's grandparents is not the easiest thing in the world. Through it all she celebrates my success and cheers me on without fully understanding what she is cheering for. I have come to terms with the fact that she will never fully understand but she is at peace because I get to travel the continent and I can pay my bills. Although, the fact that I do not have an office desk is one that she still struggles with.

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say?  

“Follow your heart and be unapologetic in the pursuit of your dreams”.

 

Miriam Chipo Maulana
 


Miriam is a beauty, health and lifestyle blogger at New Kid on the Block and is based in Port Elizabeth, she has a love for all things beautiful and a growing appreciation of the world and everything in it. She believes a world without colour, art and big smiles would be dull. 

What makes you proud to be a woman in South Africa?

I am proud to be a black African woman because I come from a line of strong, determined woman who have been striving for generations to make the world better for their keen.

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

I have been influenced by a whole lot of black women; Shonda Rhimes, Michelle Obama, Maya Angelo and most of all, my mother. She is a strong, supportive, independent, hard working, loving, caring, intelligent woman. She has through prayer, words, love and encouragement given me all the tools I need to conquer the world. She is my hero.

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say?  

You are enough, you are everything, you are beautiful.

 

Gillian Pillay

 


Gillian is the Marketing Manager for Mastertons Coffee and the owner of The Beauty Store. Full time she manages the marketing activities for the Bay’s original coffee roastery and part time she runs a makeup stockist store that brings quality brands to Port Elizabeth.

What makes you proud to be a South African woman?

I am proud to be a South Africa woman because of our great diversity as a nation, we comprise of various shapes, colours, sizes but can display great unity when we need to. South African women have a resilience to them.

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

There has not been one in particular, I tend to draw inspiration from many women I encounter. My mother instilled in me a sense of ambition. My older sister Janine, taught me strength and that endurance in life will reap rewards, she showed me if you work hard you can achieve anything. I try and practice that every day. One of my past managers inspired me to one day be an entrepreneur. I truly believe we can learn from all the women in our lives. Locally I admire BASETSANA KHUMALO and internationally Oprah.

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say? 

"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work." - Oprah


Refilwe Thobega
 

 

Refilwe Thobega(@refilwethobega)님의 공유 게시물님,


A 30-something-year-old digital enthusiast who loves the media, arts and travelling. 

What makes you proud to be a South African woman?

I am proud to be a South African woman today because I can be anything I want to be. Posibillities and opportunities are limitless. 

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

My mother and grandmother. My mother raised my sister and I alone after my father passed away. I saw her pick things up and started life from scratch. And here I am!  My grandmother was the wife of a chief and she held it all together like a real boss. 

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say?

Don't walk. Run in those heels. Get up and make things happen. Shake things up. Don't settle, and never allow yourself to be put in a box or be told where your place is and where it is not. Create your world. 


Laurina Machite
 


Laurina Machite is a Port Elizabeth South Africa-based fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger and is the creative director and editor-in-chief of LaurinaMachite.com. Laurina loves anything fashion, beauty and lifestyle related and loves to write about it, tape it, edit it, stress over it for a couple of hours, edit it some more and finally share it on this and various other platforms.

What makes you proud to be a woman in South Africa?

I am proud to be an African woman because we are unapologetic about wanting things to be better or speaking an octave higher. We are resilient, talented, innovative and inherently strong.

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

My mother has influenced me to the person I am today. She is the feistiest, strongest and most loving person I have ever known. She is the first to lend a hand to anyone who needs it and always manages to find joy in every single moment of her day. Her positive spirit and her "this too shall pass" attitude always manages to get everyone around her back on track when they lose perspective and need to get back on a positive track.

I have been influenced and continue to be inspired on a daily basis by her love, her never ending drive and her quest for a better tomorrow.

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say?

Start today.


Tayla Foong 
 

 

Tayla(@taylafoong)님의 공유 게시물님,


Tayla is a graphic designer, blogger and event organiser from Nelson Mandela Bay, she is the co-founder of a food blog dedicated to showcasing our city's up and coming foodie scene called: Food In PE. The Supper Club originated from the blog which is a fine dining pop-up restaurant series hosted at iconic locations around Nelson Mandela Bay and featuring our city’s most promising chefs, and she's also part of the founding team of Baakens Food Truck Friday -  a monthly food truck market held in the Baakens Valley precinct. 

What makes you proud to be a South African woman?

I am proud to be an South African woman because I really love the rich cultures surrounding our country.  I love the diversity of the country as well as the diversity of people and talents especially in Port Elizabeth. Being a woman in the creative industry is super awesome - but at times challenging! As young women, we have a lot to prove in society and it is always inspiring to see women who thrive in their respective disciplines in our country and actually make a visible difference.

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

There are 3 women who have shaped me and moulded me into the person I am today - my mom, Nina and grandmothers, Sylvia and Joan. These strong women have influenced my life in so many ways, have always encouraged me, given me advice and taught me never to be afraid of criticism and hard work. They have also always reminded me to never forget where I come from and to always remember the values I was taught. Most importantly they have always encouraged me to love what I do, and do things with good intentions. 

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say? 

One word: Do.
Many people are afraid to do what their hearts tell them to. If you are passionate about something, then do it! Never let anyone tell you that you are incapable of achieving the unachievable, because if you put your mind to it, it can be done!


Sarah Dirsuwei
 

 

Chasing The Rainbow(@therainbowsa)님의 공유 게시물님,


Sarah is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, boss and influencer. She runs two popular PE wedding and event venues – The Plantation and The Boma and also blog and write about family adventure travel with her husband and three sons on Chasing the Rainbow .  

What makes you proud to be a South African woman?

South African women are magnificently and gracefully strong. They are a colourful tapestry of cultures and lifestyles, woven together with a common thread of loving, caring, supporting, encouraging and enabling those around them. Collectively, the women of South Africa are the fabric that holds our nation together through both good times and adversity. I am so proud to be a strong, magnificent and graceful South African woman.

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

So many wonderful women have had a profound influence on who I am. My mom, Judy, taught me to think independently and to know that I am capable of whatever I set my mind to. My Great Aunt, Paddy, taught me to be kind and genuinely caring. My mom in law, Vivian, taught me how loved and appreciated I am and how to be supportive of others. My sister Lu-Ann inspires me to be better, to believe in myself and to put others first and my friends, Heather and Claire teach me how good life is, how privileged we are to live in such a stunning place and that there is so much goodness out there.

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say? 

You are beautiful, capable and very loved. In the words of Winnie the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”.


Nikki Bolton
 

 

Wayne Bolton(@onelandloveit)님의 공유 게시물님,


Nikki describes herself as an ordinary South African woman, blessed to be a wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. She shares that she is constantly learning more about herself and exploring her boundaries. Alongside her husband, Wayne, they run Alpha Labour Solutions, a labour law consulting and recruitment agency and the the OLLI (One Land Love It) #JointCustody School Rhino Challenge. You can find out more about their initiatives and ways to leave a legacy on www.oneland.co.za.

What makes you proud to be a South African woman?

Africa is in my blood – clichéd though it may be that is the truth.  Our family loves and has benefitted from the natural heritage of this land which has inspired us to commit to do what we can to protect and conserve it using our talents and resources.

Through our travels we have met some incredible women who are passionate and committed to being the change so many long to see.  Petronel Nieuwoudt, the driving force behind our beneficiary Care for Wild Africa, is a woman who through personal sacrifice and a completely hands on approach to conservation is personally investing in our natural heritage. Rhino calves, predominantly orphaned through the brutal poaching of their mothers, are literally placed in her hands and she is determined that not one life should be lost.  

We have met conservation warriors like Megan Taplin (Mountain Zebra National Park), Françoise Malby-Anthony (Thula Thula Game Reserve), Jo Haesslich (Kariega Game Reserve), Cathy Hanekom (Tembe Elephant Park), Vicky and Vanessa Wiesenmaier  (Buy No Rhino) among others. Women passionate and invested in work that is often unacknowledged or unnoticed by the public at large.

There are many unsung conservation heroes and some cannot be named or their roles described because of the sensitive nature of what they do but we acknowledge them.

Which female individual has influenced you to be the person you are today?

I could never attribute that influence to one person… so many have left a residue in my heart and those layers have compounded to make me who I am and who I aspire to be.  

I have been incredibly blessed to have strong, wonderful, beautiful , women in my extended family who are examples of loving and generous spirited wives, mothers - solid and dependable women.  I have never wanted for an aunt to hug, a cousin or sister to share with.  My mother and mother-in-law are women that I appreciate and treasure from the depths of my heart … women I still lean into and draw strength and encouragement from. I never take these relationships for granted and have always made sure that they know how important they are to me.

Sometimes we don’t recognise those who have moulded us but if I were to identify a few from my youth who influenced me during an impressionable season in my life, I would point to the following  people:  my history teacher, Mrs Ashdown, in Grade 9 who encouraged me to dig deep and explore talents I never knew I had; my youth leader, Leanne Nixon-James, who was an example of wonderful moral fibre and love; my friend, Julie Holmes, who was a friend who loved fiercely and with whom I forged wonderful childhood memories; my cousin, Ann Lussi, who edified and encouraged me building my self-confidence; and my precious sister, Jacki Ulett, who consistently demonstrated amazing loyalty and love even when she was testing the bounds of sisterly love as younger siblings tend to do.

I could name so many more but what struck me is that most of these women are ordinary and placed in ordinary roles in my life and yet the “extra” that they deposited truly makes them “extra” ordinary.  We should all take time to consider the blessing of this kind of investment in who we are and realise that where we are placed we also have the opportunity to give to others who may be impressionable or needing encouragement and guidance from us. Never underestimate the difference that you can make in someone else’s life.

We are always developing and growing and the woman I continue to aspire to be is the one that my daughter, Laura, whom I love with all my heart, will look to and look back on as a person of integrity, faith and courage who lived fully and loved generously.

If you can encourage your fellow South African women – with one word, phrase or quote – what would you say?

You are uniquely placed to influence or encourage someone through love and kindness, or through action that challenges and inspires. Each of us have that capacity, it is never too late to be a role model to someone.

The time has come to move from “Caring to Doing”…

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