Celebrating our heritage of strong South African Women

By Kirstie McFarlane

As I reflect on the significance of celebrating women in August, I think about the many amazing women I have had the opportunity to partner with as we journey through their Factor10 coaching sessions together.

This time in our beloved country feels frenzied and uncertain and – as is always the case – women and children are the ones who are wounded. I was richly blessed with a strong, independent mother whom – even though she is no longer with me – I still call on in times of doubt and fear, remembering her practical wisdom and deep love for me. We have a rich history of “Mothers of our Nation” – strong, independent, defiant women whom we can evoke in these times to give us the strength and courage to end the scourge of violence against us and our children. Women who marched for equality, who were the first to obtain university degrees, political representation, who stood up against apartheid, fought for our emancipation, became fierce defenders of social justice and human rights. Tortured, detained, placed in solitary confinement, ridiculed, and separated from their children – these women paid an unimaginable price for their dream of freedom for our country and for us as women.  

The list of South African women who we honour and thank for their courage and tenacity is in itself extraordinary – seemingly ordinary women who have risen and stood up for their beliefs and the love they have for their children and country:  Halala! Charlotte Maxeke , Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Cheryl Carolus, Rahima Moosa, Sophia Williams-DeBruyn, Motlalepula Chabaku, Bertha Gxowa, and Albertina Sisulu – Halala!

At Factor10 we know that nothing changes if nothing changes. My invitation to the fabulous young women in our country is to continue to evoke the energy and passion of these South African women and keep their legacy alive.

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