Amazing women celebrated

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It is a colourful event as guests stream in wearing a wide range of traditional attire in celebration of their heritage and individuality for the Owami Women’s Deep and Meaningful Conversation at Fabz Hotel in Lonehill on 24 September 2016. (Image: Mathiba Molefe)

“If you are a South African and you feel that you want our country to be positive, it is your responsibility,” said Bridget Nkuna, founder of Owami Women’s Deep and Meaningful Conversation.

The courtyard at Lonehill’s Fabz Hotel was awash with colour as a crowd of women, wearing the brilliant dresses and headwear that expressed their individual cultures gathered on Heritage Day to honour women who went above and beyond in playing their part to build a better South Africa.

It was an opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from various cultures in the hopes of forging long-lasting and enriching relationships.

Owami Women, in partnership with Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part initiative, used the day to recognise some of the amazing women in South Africa. The partners gave these women a platform to share their stories in a safe and nurturing environment.

Members of the Owami Women collective put forward the names of the women they felt deserved this recognition the most. They received prizes as tokens of appreciation and acknowledgement of their willingness to go the extra mile for the sake of those who needed help.

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Owami Women, in partnership with Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part initiative, used the day to recognise some of the amazing women in South Africa. The partners gave these women a platform to share their stories in a safe and nurturing environment.

THE AWARD WINNERS

“Nothing is extraordinary about you except the things that come out of your mouth, except the things that you do with your hands, and your actions. That’s what makes you extraordinary,” said Alice Puoane, the chief financial officer of Brand South Africa.

True to her words, this year’s crop of nominees was made up of extraordinary women who were, in their own way, making a positive contribution to society across the country under the pillars of education, skills development, entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment.

Bongekile Radebe, a nominee, Mandela Washington Fellow and Play Your Part ambassador, was selected for her work in women’s empowerment.

“What fuels me to do what I do is (that) often times we hear that we need more women leaders, and women need to take ownership of the economic space,” explained Radebe. “But (the) truth of the matter is, we’ve always had women leaders.”

Cindy Ross, an attorney by trade, was nominated for her involvement in the Jala Peo Foundation through which she had affected the lives of many children by using cycling as a means to build character.

“We try to teach the children that, if you can survive mountain biking you can survive in life,” Ross explained. “The discipline they put into training on the bike, they should put into life.”

Busi Maluleke was nominated for her work with Progress SA. It drives rural development while emphasising education. It also gives people a chance to take part in sports as well as arts and culture.

“We’re focusing on the holistic development of the environment, but our core is education,” Maluleke explained.

Other nominees included Maselotsha Mphahlele of Dignity Dreams, Khulile Mtetwa of She Cares Women’s Foundation, Vanessa Kruger of the Pieter Kruger Foundation and author Victorine Mbong Shu.

“Thank you very much to those (who) decided to give out my name,” said Mtetwa. “Allow me to say thank you to Brand South Africa for thinking about us and remembering that, when women are united together this world will be a better place.”

GET INVOLVED

“Let it not end with this event,” Puoane said, encouraging the audience to play an active role in developing South African people. “Go ahead and subscribe to Play Your Part, join Owami and influence positive change in your community.

“No one will do better things for your community than yourself.”

Owami Women encourages people to join its conversation. If you have a story or personal account that you would like to share, visit its contact page and get in touch.

You can also have visit the Owami Women Facebook and Twitter pages to find out more about Owami and get in touch with Nkuna and partners.

PLAY YOUR PART

Are you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you through business? Do you know of any business person who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?

If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.