Gugulethu born artist Thandi Swartbooi,49, is reaping the rewards of her sterling work in the field of cultural excellence.And in this month-dubbed the Women’s Month in South Africa-she aims to empower even more young women. Swaartbooi is the founding head of Women Unite SA, a women’s marimba group which she formed in 1997 to prove that women can achieve anything they want, and demystify the long held notion that only men can play those instruments. On Thursday evening last week, Swaartbooi scooped yet another accolade in a long list of awards, when the Artscape Theatre honoured her as its long-standing partner. She was the Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year in 2008. In 2006 she won the Arts and Culture Trust and Community Builder awards. “I have worked with them for more than a decade and I’m happy to be appreciated.” As part of her ongoing drive to uplift women, she announced plans that she and her crew will undertake as part of that drive. “We have a marimba school in Philippi.” Thandi told City Vision that her desire to play the marimba started when she was a little girl in eKasi. She is working with 38 artists who have auditioned for a Miriam Makeba musical in America next month. She is also working with women prisoners.