Businesswoman awards celebrate honour, fun and feminism

2017-09-10 05:59
Power performer: Singer Tamara Dey entertained the crowd. Picture: Phelokazi Mbude

Power performer: Singer Tamara Dey entertained the crowd. Picture: Phelokazi Mbude

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Women coming together to celebrate leaders who honour themselves and others – that was the theme for the 37th edition of the Businesswoman of the Year Awards, held on Thursday night at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The annual ceremony is the flagship event of the Businesswomen’s Association of SA, and more than 500 leaders in business and government came together to celebrate the 13 finalists.

Faith Khanyile, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Women’s Development Bank (corporate category); Johanna Mukoki, group CEO of Travel with Flair (entrepreneur); Dr Shaheda Omar, director of clinical services at The Teddy Bear Clinic (social entrepreneur); and Professor Cheryl de la Rey, vice-chancellor of the University of Pretoria (education) were named the winners in each category.

Guests included Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, Netherlands ambassador to South Africa Marisa Gerards, and former Miss South Africa and past president of the association Basetsana Kumalo.

Zulu had just returned from China after attending the Brics summit of member states – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Lamenting the lack of female representation there, she said: “Let us not send men in black suits. Let’s send women to decision-making events.

“Older women have the 1956 march that defined their generation ... To the young women in the room: What are you going to tell your grandchildren one day?”

The guest speaker was Meaza Ashenafi, a former judge who helped draft Ethiopia’s 1995 Constitution, ensuring that the rights of women and children were protected. She called on women to rise above tough personal circumstances and make a difference in their homes, workplaces and communities.

But it wasn’t all serious. Comedian Kagiso Mogadi was on hand for a few laughs, MC Aphelele Somi of Power FM also kept it light, and pop diva Tamara Dey performed throughout the evening.

After guests enjoyed a sundried tomato ravioli starter, and a main course of chicken and veggies, the association’s former board member, Mthunzi Mdwaba, auctioned a painting donated by Italian artist Fabiana Cizzani Reis. It was bought for R36 000 by entrepreneur of the year Mukoki. The proceeds will go to the association’s education initiatives – the new student chapter and the Businesswomen of Tomorrow programme.

For more information on these initiatives, the finalists and the association, see the Winning Women magazine inserted in today’s newspaper

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  business

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