Faith’s reach­ing out to women

The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - LE­SEGO MAKGATHO

WOMEN’S Month is com­ing to a close and what bet­ter way to wrap it up than to recog­nise trail-blaz­ers mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in our world.

Stan­dard Bank once again cel­e­brated women with its 14th Top Women Awards and Con­fer­ence which took place at Em­peror’s Palace this week. Cat­e­gories in­cluded top fe­male en­tre­pre­neur (Lynette Ma­gasa) and top woman in sci­ence (Pre­cious Hawadi).

Ma­gasa is CEO of Bon­iswa Cor­po­rate So­lu­tions which in just 13 years has be­come a gi­ant in an in­dus­try dom­i­nated by men. She has ven­tured into sev­eral other African coun­tries. Look­ing ahead, she has her sights set on a pub­lic list­ing and the cre­ation of thou­sands of jobs. Ma­gasa com­peted against 17 other fi­nal­ists.

The evening, hosted by Top Billing’s Ur­sula Chikane, was not all busi­ness. An emo­tional high­light was the award­ing of the hon­orary life­time achiever award to the “Princess of Africa”, Yvonne Chaka Chaka.The ti­tle was pre­vi­ously held by former pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela.

Chaka Chaka is a singer, song­writer, en­tre­pre­neur, hu­man­i­tar­ian, teacher and icon in the fight against TB, HIV and malaria. The 800-strong au­di­ence gave her a stand­ing ova­tion.

Speak­ing to The Sun­day In­de­pen­dent, head of Stan­dard Bank in­cu­ba­tor Jayshree Naidoo said the cri­te­ria used was that busi­nesses had to have a turnover of R35 mil­lion to be recog­nised.

“Th­ese women had to be mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their or­gan­i­sa­tions – ex­cept for the young achiever and the en­tre­pre­neur cat­e­gories – where they were shown to be ex­perts in their fields.

“If a big or­gan­i­sa­tion can help em­power women and help bridge the gen­der par­ity tar­get of 50/50 by 2030 then other big or­gan­i­sa­tions can do the same,” said Naidoo.

Ac­cord­ing to Naidoo, South Africa is do­ing quite well in hav­ing the high­est num­ber of CEOs in Africa. How­ever, we are still lag­ging be­hind on boards of direc­tors. “We need to get that right as well. We still have a long way to go,” she said.

“We need to get to that 50/50 par­ity as soon as pos­si­ble.”

@Le­segoMak­gatho

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