On the 9 August 1956 over 20,000 women, of all races, marched through the streets of Pretoria to the Union Buildings to hand over a petition to JG Strijdom, South Africa’s prime minister, over the introduction of the new pass laws. This action became known as the Women’s Anti-Pass Demonstration. Women’s Day now commemorates this action, but it also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in general.
It seems only fitting that we acknowledge and celebrate the top 29 woman whom have changed the face of history.
Inspirational Woman of our Time continuing from last weeks’ list:
5) Salukazi Dakile-Hlongwane
Salukazi Dakile-Hlongwane (62) has a passion for social upliftment and has spent her career developing Africa and its women. The company she helped to create, Nozala Investments, is a broad-based women’s investment firm that aims to ensure economic advancement for women. Dakile-Hlongwane grew up in Soweto. Her father was a civil servant and her mother made and sold dresses to neighbours. She has said this inspired her own entrepreneurial spirit. Dakile-Hlongwane went to school in Lesotho, where her parents sent her to escape the Bantu education system. After school, she did an economics degree and went to work for the Lesotho National Development Corporation. She then went to the United States to complete her MA in development economics. Since then, Dakile-Hlongwane has worked for the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; for the Southern African Development Corporation in South Africa; and for FirstCorp Merchant Bank in the structured finance unit. She has been CEO of Eqstra Holdings Limited and is a director of MultiChoice Africa. She was also assistant general manager of specialized finance at BoE NatWest. Dakile-Hlongwane and two other women, Jean Ngubane and Dawn Mokhobo, were the founding members of Nozala when it was established in 1996. It is currently controlled by its founding members through Nozala Holdings and 10 women’s empowerment groups. A key focus, of one of the business trusts is to support start-ups in poor areas.
6) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (63) is a formidable and widely respected politician. So much so, that when the ANC wanted to take over the presidency of the African Union, they chose Dlamini-Zuma as their candidate. As a Minister of Home Affairs, Dlamini-Zuma has been widely credited with bringing order to a mismanaged and incompetent department. Home Affairs received a clean audit for the first time in 16 years in 2011. She was a leading activist as a student in the 1970s. She left South Africa in 1976 for exile to Britain, where she completed her medical studies and worked as a pediatrician. She met Jacob Zuma in Swaziland and married him in 1982 (they divorced in 1998). She returned to South Africa in 1990, when the ANC was unbanned, and was part of the Gender Advisory Committee during Codesa. Dlamini-Zuma became the first democratic Minister of Health of South Africa under Nelson Mandela and had the daunting task of overhauling the country’s public health system. While her tenure was not without controversy, she managed to do so. She also challenged pharmaceutical patents, paving the way for the widespread distribution of antiretroviral drugs. In Thabo Mbeki’s administration, she was kept on as Foreign Affairs minister. When Mbeki resigned, and her ex-husband became president, he retained her as Home Affairs minister.
7) Pam Golding
Pam Golding is founder and life president of the globally recognized Pam Golding Property group. She is an icon in the property industry and is widely acknowledged in South Africa as a role model for women and young entrepreneurs, and internationally as a leading businesswoman. Pam Golding Properties was launched in 1976 with virtually no capital, no leads, no infrastructure and just one sales assistant. Golding’s success is credited to a talent for matching buyers and sellers, networking skills and passion for property. The company specializes in top-class real estate in many countries. It employs about 2 500 real estate professionals. In recent years, Golding’s role has grown beyond the business of property into one of an ambassadorial nature as a global networker and facilitator, encompassing both the promotion of South Africa and its diversity of investment opportunities. Over the years, she has been honored for her leadership skills and personal achievements with an array of national and international awards, including being named Lifetime Achiever at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneurship Awards in 2009.
As a member of local and international initiatives – including the International Women’s Forum and Proudly South African, of which she is a founding member – she is linked to high-profile government and business leaders, making her influence great and far-reaching.
8) Ferial Haffajee
Tough and tenacious, Ferial Haffajee is one of the most respected and influential women in the South African media. The daughter of garment workers, Haffajee grew up in Johannesburg and studied English and African literature. She trained at the Weekly Mail’s cadet school and began her career as a cub reporter when the paper became the Mail & Guardian. At 22, Haffajee was on a panel of journalists chosen to interview Nelson Mandela on his release in 1990. Haffajee also has experience as a radio producer and TV reporter at the SABC and was political editor at the Financial Mail. Haffajee worked for the M&G in various capacities throughout her career and in 2004, at 36, was appointed editor. She was the first woman to edit a national mainstream newspaper in South Africa. She steered the M&G to record circulation, while maintaining its reputation for courageous, quality journalism. In 2009, she took on the mammoth task of repositioning City Press. It now boasts 1.75 million readers, sets the weekly local news agenda and has a first-rate editorial team. She subsequently left City Press and is now the Editor-at-large of The Huffington Post, in South Africa.
Haffajee was voted one of New African’s 100 Most Influential Africans, she has won a Sanlam financial journalism award, was a Shoprite/Checkers Woman of the Year in 2004 and won the Women in The Media award in 2006. Haffajee is a member of many boards, including that of the International Press Institute and World Editors’ Forum.