Intended to be a day of inspiring and empowering talks, it featured women speakers from across the board and was hosted by radio personality and author Redi Tlhabi.
Magazine magnate Jane Raphaely delivered the keynote address, asking the audience: “Yesterday was a man’s world. Today is a women’s world. What are you going to do with it?”
Actress Nomzamo Mbatha then came out to speak about getting her degree in accounting, despite already having a thriving career.
“I want to sit on the board of a company, or companies, not because I’m Nomzamo Mbatha, the girl with the pretty face, but because I earned my stripes and I’m qualified,” she said.
But the highlight of the day was former DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko’s talk, which centred around Africa’s generation gap.
“The demographic of the average African is a young person, and female. Despite this, most of our heads of state are geriatric male politicians who have ruled their countries for decades. Some, like Rwanda’ Paul Kagame, have even amended their country’s Constitution so they can stay for longer,” she said.
Mazibuko then listed women political leaders who have served as mentors for her over the years.
“Many women reached out to me and said they were there for me if I need to talk or advice. Mamphela Ramphele was one of them. Patricia de Lille taught me to write legislation. Thuli Madonsela taught me when to be quiet,” she said.
She then put up a picture of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.
“The only woman who should have supported me but didn’t, was Helen Zille,” she said.
Later she put up another picture of Zille and DA party leader Mmusi Maimane, saying “she did it to me [tried to pull me down], and she’ll do it again”.
The Zille jab was only a small part of the talk, which was overall well conceptualised and powerful.
Just before lunch came a panel discussion called Safeguarding ourselves from hate and bullying, involving Mbatha as facilitator, actress Terry Pheto, poet Koleka Putuma and radio personality Tumi Voster. The women spoke about how they use social media and what they do when they’re attacked on Twitter or Instagram.
Other discussions included a business panel with Loerie Awards chairperson Suhana Gordhan and Sigma Capital chief executive Phuti Mahanyele, and a refreshing youth panel featuring debating organisation Tshimong founder Busi Mkhumbuzi – who was programme director at the Barack Obama lecture – and two of her foundation’s pupils, Thea Ernest and Madzanga Ramabulana. French businesswoman Uche Pézard conducted a talk on bringing African luxury to the world. The day closed off with a science and tech panel featuring SweepSouth founder Aisha Pandor, Africa Teen Geeks Founder Lindiwe Matlali and Nkazimulo Applied Sciences founder Bathabile Mpofu.