South African Women Honored

South African Women in Maritime Engineering
South African Women in Maritime Engineering

As we are wrapping-up women’s month, different institutions celebrated the month differently using their preferred style of celebration, but I loved one that said “Women united in moving South Africa forward.” This is simply because it seems a bit hard for women to collaborate, initiate or even work together to yield better results.

In July, plans were underway on how will the August month be celebrated from the National Department of women during the launch by Minister Susan Shabangu.

During the course of this month, almost every industry was celebrated, from fashion, film, engineering as well as syndicates that dominate in oppressing women such as trafficking of women and children and their exploitation. Though this week was to fight against and to celebrate, a concern in women’s economic empowerment was raised.

The month runs every August, with Women’s Day an annual national public holiday on 9 August. The day marks the Women’s March against apartheid laws, specifically against the law requiring all black women to carry pass books, which took place on 9 August 1956.

Minister Susan Shabangu
              Minister Susan Shabangu

Shabangu also acknowledged Sibongile Mkhabela who was the only arrested female during the 1976 Soweto uprising. Mkhabela was an executive member of the Soweto Students Representative Council and general secretary of the South African Students Movement.

Speaking to Play Your Part, Mkhabela described that day: “I remember when we were marching, we were coming from Naledi, that was my high school, and it’s further down in the west, and Hector Peterson died, I think, more to the south.”

“And as we were marching we got the message that Hector Peterson had died. For me that was a defining moment, if there were defining moments, and that sense of loss… just never left me,” she said.

Soweto uprising activist, Sibongile Mkhabela
Soweto uprising activist, Sibongile Mkhabela

About the event, Shabangu said she was honoring the two industries of film and fashion because she felt they had been neglected.

Meanwhile, at a separate event to mark Women’s Month, African Development Bank’s special envoy on gender, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, a South African and former politician, took part as a speaker in the WeLead Women’s Leadership Mini- Conference on 7 August in Johannesburg. The theme was: “We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For.”

According to the bank, the conference gathered high-profile speakers to address women’s leadership in technology in Africa.

Fraser-Moleketi shared findings from the African Development Bank report where the Women are: Inclusive boardrooms in Africa’s top-listed companies. She urged the tech industry to promote more female board directors in order to increase competitiveness and to contribute to inclusive growth in Africa.

“We need more women in boardrooms to enhance the competitiveness of the continent,” she said. “Africa will not achieve its economic transformation successfully without the full integration of women, from the smallest companies to the top-listed ones.