The year 2014 will be remembered for several milestones, including South Africa celebrating 20 years of democracy, holding its first free, fair and transparent election, and the first year that, as a nation, we celebrated former President Mandela’s birthday in his absence.
Furthermore, 2014 reaffirmed the SACBW as an organisation that has remained true to its commitment to women’s empowerment. Hester du Bruyn appreciated the platform the SACBW provided in relation to personal and business growth since joining the Council in 1997. Her appreciation was cemented in numerous forms, but importantly, when traveling the country to branches and networking with women, she came to appreciate that as a collective women shared many similarities. She also found a strong passion for both the organisation and the country in relation to the plight of women and their advancement thereof.
The footprint of the SACBW for business women in South Africa is growing as a result of the dedication and commitment of the branch leaders and our Honorary Life Members. Their support – to share knowledge, to mentor and coach other women and the youth – is appreciated and will make a significant difference in the lives of others.
We were blessed to have Mrs. Pinky Phosa as our Patron, and she said: “Every woman must not only add numbers wherever she is, but she must also add value and make a difference, where she is, with what she has.”
The guest speaker at the 2014 Gala was Deputy Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. She encouraged women to fully participate in the country’s decision-making processes. “It can never be correct that we, politicians, sit somewhere and draft policies… But when we hold public hearings or meetings, people do not come to engage and propose ideas that will benefit them,” said the Deputy Minister. She also said it was important for women to make use of platforms such as the SACBW to increase the participation of women in the mainstream economy.
The highlight for the year was finding the ‘diamonds’ for our Business Women of the Year Competition. Hester remembers how she was always amazed to listen to the success stories of the participants. They were also proud to enter the competition. The transformation process is important to grow the organisation and it was noted that in 2014 the national finalists represented the different nationalities and the youth.
Ivy Meyer of Lakeside in Cape Town was the Women Entrepreneur of the Year and received recognition for running two projects that empowered her community, especially youth and people with disabilities. Meyer, who is the Director of Rapitrade 458 Pty Ltd and a founder of Out of Africa Dance Academy, said she was thrilled to be recognised as one of the outstanding women among many.
“I will continue to help youth empower themselves, and people with disabilities to reach their full potential,” said Meyer. She received an award earlier in 2014 in New York for International Professional Business Woman. Rapitrade is a medical business and Out of Africa Dance Academy is a dancing school. Ivy is also a motivational speaker. Abigail Mahlangu from Tushiyah SME Advisory Services won the award for the Professional Category and Anita Botes in the Corporate Category.
Hester du Bruyn, Abigail Mahlangu, Anita Botes, Ivy Meyer & Cerita Nagy
The iDUC project, the SACBW’s social responsibility initiative aimed to promote “No violence against women and children,’ has touched the lives of many. The pilot project in Potchefstroom set the benchmark for the support of crisis centers and the training of layman councilors.
The members of the SACBW with their expert knowledge are the Council’s greatest asset. We are using these assets to grow the organisation and to be seen and experienced as an organisation where women desire to become a member.