INSPIRE ME – National Woman’s Day in South Africa

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National Women’s Day in South Africa is celebrated on August 9th each year. On this day we celebrate the contributions women make every day of the year within their families, their communities and the South African society.

This year we were invited to a celebration of women with the theme of “Inspire Me”. The get-together in London was an opportunity to bring together women in the South African community who are contributing to a better South Africa and are helping to build a positive non-racial and non-political community of firstly “being South Africans”.

North London played a very important role in the Struggle as so many made it their home whilst in exile, so to bring these amazing women together in such an iconic location, gave the intimate event so much more meaning.

As is custom at a South African get-together, the braai was the centre-piece – the smell of braai’ing meat and the busy atmosphere in the kitchen, felt like a Saturday afternoon in the African sunshine – it felt like ‘home’.  But what was even more inspiring was the group of women who came together to be with each other and draw from their communal passion for our country.

The day brought together representatives from the charity sector – ZAbra, the SA-UK Trust and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund; as well as ladies who fundraise, and support charities close to their heart; the medical sector; the UK business community included the South African Chamber of Commerce in the UK and Celebrate Southern Africa;  from the political arena – Francine Higham from DA Abroad; a South African civil servant; plus students, moms, a religious leader, those involved in social movements and those in the arts.It’s incredible to think how many skills came together in a group of twenty ladies. This broad set of interests, more than one for many, reflects our “can do” South African mentality.  These talented women were not only there in their roles in these organisations, but as women wanting to make a difference, women who have a network to gain inspiration from, and most meaningfully – who they can inspire.

This event was motivated by Lucy Mashigo and her team from the SA Diaspora who work tirelessly to make a difference. The work they do to support South Africans here in the UK is admired and so appreciated.

The message we took away from the afternoon, was that there are so many brilliant women, doing creative and amazing things to help others – here and in South Africa.  We all recognise that even helping just one more person have a quality life makes a tangible difference to the family a community and makes a life changing difference to that one individual.  We are not standing back expecting a government, with more problems than it knows how to handle, try and deliver blanket wide miracles.

No matter where we lay our hat, our journeys started in South Africa, and because of South Africa, we are who we are.  We are proud and passionate about positive transformation, and in our own ways, we are encouraging change, but collectively, we can deliver so much more.

SACC Chairman – Sharon Constancon and Dawn Denton, member of SACC Exco