Three KZN finalists in the running for SA’s Most Inspirational Women awards

2010-07-28 00:00

THREE KwaZulu-Natal women have been nominated to receive top honours at tomorrow’s Most Inspirational Women Awards in Johannesburg.

Robynne Erwin, nominated in the information and communication technologies category, Sister Priscilla Dlamini (medical, dentistry, health and veterinary services) and Farhana Bhayat (tourism and leisure) are being lauded for contributions in their fields.

Erwin, the CEO of SmartXchange — a Durban-based, non-profit ICT hub — said she is really surprised at her nomination.

“I love my job and I’m passionate about Smart­Xchange, so rewards are the last thing on your mind when you are lucky enough to love your work,” she said.

SmartXchange works with Durban businesses by strengthening their ICT capabilities and empowering small business with ICT skills and training.

With Erwin at the helm, SmartXchange was recognised by the World Bank in its report, “Sustainable and Replicable Models for ICT Incubation in Sub-Saharan Africa”.

The company seeks to make Durban a “smart city” by fine-tuning its communications infrastructure and promoting affordable, fast Internet connectivity.

Sister Priscilla Dlamini, a Roman Catholic nun of Emoyeni, converted old stables into the Holy Cross Aids Hospice — a haven for down-and-out Aids patients.

Without funding for conventional medicine, Dlamini grew a herb garden to make traditional health remedies. The garden is now so well known that her remedies are sold as far as the Eastern Cape and Swaziland.

The hospice is supported by a London-based organisation and gives support to 453 child-headed households and 1 121 orphans and gives home care to 2 011 people.

“I am so honoured to be nominated,” said Dlamini. “I really feel great. But the real attention must go to the people we help. There are many of them in need of care and even psycho-socio help, and these needs must be addressed.”

KZN’s beacon in the tourism and leisure category is Quarters Hotel general manager Farhana Bhayat.

Bhayat manages both the Florida Road and Avondale Road properties in Durban. She was instrumental in the hotel being named Hotel of the Year in 2009 by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal; she was also a semi-finalist for the Welcome Awards at the 2010 Tourism Indaba.

Bhayat said she was excited at being nominated.

“This is a wonderful time to be in the tourism industry,” she said. “The World Cup has left us with good things. Florida Road’s upliftment has been wonderful for the hotel, and the beachfront is absolutely stunning — great for tourism.” she added.

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