Carol’s heart em­bed­ded in the arts

Mbokodo Awards set to go ahead

Sowetan - - Personality - By Les­ley Mo­fo­keng

Carol Bouwer may have scaled the heights of busi­ness and en­trepreneur­ship, but her heart re­mains in the arts.

She found na­tional fame as a TV ac­tress and pre­sen­ter on shows like Gen­er­a­tions and Buzz, and the space never left her. In 2012 she launched the Mbokodo Awards to hon­our women in the arts, and this year will mark the sixth in­stal­ment of the event.

“The Mbokodo Awards are a con­duit through which we shine the light on the ex­cep­tion­ally tal­ented South African women whose work has had great in­flu­ence on the evo­lu­tion of our so­ci­ety,” Bouwer says.

“These awards are a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the strug­gles and con­flicts that con­front women of to­day, but more im­por­tantly, they are also an ex­pres­sion of tri­umphs reg­is­tered by women in ev­ery sphere of so­ci­ety.”

They have in the past hon­oured titans of the arts such as Thandi Klaasen, Si­bongile Khumalo, Na­dine Gordimer, Es­ther Mahlangu, Terry Pheto and Zolani Ma­hola.

It hasn’t been smooth-sail­ing, what with bud­get cuts and spon­sor­ship so hard to come by. She learnt last week that the De­part­ment of Arts and Cul­ture would not be pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial back­ing this year.

She hosted a suc­cess­ful break­fast in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, New York, hon­our­ing women in the arts to­gether with UN ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor and former deputy pres­i­dent Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Among the guests were Min­is­ter of Women Su­san Sha­bangu, Hol­ly­wood co­me­dian Chris Rock’s ex-wife Malaak Compton Rock, and South Su­danese su­per­model Ajak Deng.

“We are gear­ing up for this year’s event de­spite the chal­lenges of fund­ing we have en­coun­tered. We are cur­rently fi­nal­is­ing spon­sor­ships in or­der to en­sure that the event goes ahead in 2017.

“One of the high­lights is that we are work­ing on the Women in Africa in the Arts recog­ni­tion,” Bouwer says.

She says one of the big­gest take­outs from the New York break­fast was when Mlam­boNgcuka said that to make a bet­ter world for women, men have to be a part of the jour­ney.

“She has now launched Gen­der UNstereo­type, a cam­paign to en­sure that men and women are as­signed the same roles as they grow and you en­gen­der a cul­ture of un­der­stand­ing that the roles can be done equally by both sexes.”

Look­ing into the fu­ture, Bouwer shares: “Be­yond the award cer­e­mony, the Mboko­dos host events to en­sure win­ners have a plat­form to en­gage on is­sues of so­cial co­he­sion, na­tion build­ing as well as the ad­vance­ment of the var­i­ous art dis­ci­plines they recog­nise an­nu­ally.”

A date for the awards is yet to be an­nounced.

Carol Bouwer will host the sixth Mbokodo Awards this year.

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