There are a myriad of South African women who innovators, inspirations, and heroines in their fields of work; be it sports, business, media, or academia. Here are a few that we stan for with their amazing work and their determination to push boundaries.
Thabiso is the founder of Blackbird Books, a publishing house for black writers that caters for their respective narratives. She was named one of Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans for 2017 and has created a platform for numerous South African novels and books to be published, read, and enjoyed. Blackbird Books gets its name from Nina Simone's song "Blackbird", which refers to the hardships that come with being black; and its a fitting name for a place that strives to see black voices acknowledged and heard. Her pioneering work and vision contribute significantly to the diversity of our country, and to the brilliance of the future of literature.
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Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
An academic inspiration to all women, Professor Mamokgethi is the first black South African to obtain a PhD in mathematics education. She is the new vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town and was named the most influential woman in academics by CEO magazine in 2014. Professor Mamokgethi is the founder of the non-profit organisation, Adopt-a-learner, that aims to support learners who need financial assistance. As a woman "who has stolen the hearts of many young South Africans with her vibrant personality and wit", Queenin Masuabi writes, she is the paragon of academic excellence and a harbinger of the ever-growing scope of education and development.
Here is a person who continues to show us all that it is indeed possible to achieve and model excellence even under difficult and trying circumstances. Thank you so much Mama @FabAcademic for being such an inspiration to millions! ♥? pic.twitter.com/h4H5MPDWyX— Teacher-At-Heart (@SinoGcili) May 15, 2018
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng
Dr Tlaleng is a medical doctor, speaker, and an activist for sexual and reproductive rights. According to an interview in She Leads Africa, Dr Tlaleng set up the first youth friendly clinic in the Eastern Cape, and she speaks about sexual health and reproductive rights, while advocating for safe and legal abortions and the decriminalisation of sex work. She was recently a speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and is one of the fellows at the Aspen Institute. Dr Tlaleng's compassion for and efforts towards sexual and reproductive rights are incredibly significant to the education of sexual health and the advocacy of sexual and reproductive rights.
Caster, our star athlete, has been making headlines with her unprecedented skill on the track, winning numerous medals over the years, including a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. She won the MTV Africa Music Award for best personality for 2016 and she reigns as one of the most successful and inspirational women in sport. Following the allegations that have created some hype around Caster's gender, she is now standing against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and its rule to regulate testosterone levels in athletes with hyperandrogenism. Her stance against this rule is an encouraging statement to women who are not accepted for who they are, as they are.
Nonkululeko is another name on the "first black woman" list, being the first black woman in South Africa to become a chartered accountant back in 1987. She is the CEO of Nkululeko Leadership Consulting, a black-owned leadership firm created to develop the leadership potential of organisations. Nonkululeko is one of the founders of what is one of the top accounting firms in South Africa, SizweNtsalubaGobodo; which is a result of two merged companies, including Nonkululeko's Gobodo Incorporated. She has been appointed as the chair of audit committee at PPC, a South African cement company. Her prestigious positions as CEO and chair of two major companies are the kind of achievements that we never get tired of witnessing.
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