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Naomi Campbell Announced As Headline Speaker For The 2019 Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit

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Supermodel, Philanthropist, Activist and Cultural Innovator Naomi Campbell, will headline this year’s FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit, hosted by KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, taking place at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on International Women’s Day – Friday, 8 March.


“We are truly honoured to be welcoming Naomi Campbell to the fourth annual FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit,” commented Methil Renuka, Managing Editor of FORBES AFRICA and FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, and host of this year’s event. “Having established herself as a global powerhouse in fashion, Naomi Campbell has used her fame to benefit vulnerable communities, with much of her charity work also focused on the African continent. We look forward to engaging with her at this year’s ‘New Wealth Creators’ summit.”

British-born Naomi Campbell was one of five original supermodels that revolutionised the fashion industry during the 1990s. Her work on the runway has seen her grace countless magazine covers, as well as featuring in numerous television shows, music videos and films. Naomi Campbell has used her unique position in the spotlight to draw attention to several international charities, among them the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Made in Africa Foundation, amfAR, and Breast Health International.

Her charity work started alongside Nelson Mandela in 1993, with Madiba bestowing her the title of ‘Honorary Granddaughter’ for her ongoing activism. In 2005, Naomi Campbell established her own charity, Fashion for Relief which has presented shows in New York, London, Cannes, Moscow, Mumbai and Dar es Salaam, raising millions of dollars for various worthwhile causes.

Sihle Zikalala, the KwaZulu-Natal Minister for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, said: “We extend a warm welcome to this year’s headline speaker, Naomi Campbell. We look forward to engaging with her on topics that will extend the positive impact women in this country, and on the continent, are having globally. Her involvement in this event indicates the calibre of this summit, and the strides being taken by African women. We are proud to have been selected as the host venue for the fourth FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit as this gives us an opportunity to showcase the incredible business opportunities and inviting natural beauty of the place we call home.”

Attendees to the summit, hosted in association with the IDC, will get the chance to engage with a selection of the continent’s most influential women through keynote addresses, panel discussions and personal interviews. In addition to the daytime networking, attendees to the summit are invited to the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Awards’ – a glamorous gala dinner celebrating those who have made a remarkable impact in the business, sports, science, entertainment and leadership categories. The gala dinner will take place at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

Ticket sales for this dynamic day are now open and includes full access to the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit from 7am to 4pm and the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Awards’ Gala Dinner. Tickets are limited so book now!

For more information, visit www.leadingwomensummit.co.za or follow @LWSummit on various social media platforms (#LWS2019KZN).

-The FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit and the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Awards’ Gala Dinner will be produced by ABN Event Productions.

-Picture: Laspata Decaro

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Arts

‘There Will Always Be A Need For Live Art’

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South African dancer Mamela Nyamza revived a 30-year-old dance festival to help local artists connect with the rest of the world.


An eight-year-old graces the pulpit of her hometown church capturing the attention of the congregants with her nimble dance moves. Little do they know she would go on to dazzle audiences on some of the world’s most prolific stages.

As the deputy artistic director of the South African State Theatre, it all still feels like a dream for the award-winning contemporary dancer who never imagined her passion for dance would lead her here.

Mamela Nyamza owes it all to her childhood.

Your upbringing will always find a way back to your artistic life.

From running in the rain to dance classes, with a leotard packed into a plastic bag, to curating one of the biggest dance festivals in South Africa, Nyamza is hoping to transform the art form in Africa.

Sitting in her office in South Africa’s capital Pretoria, she understands the responsibility of her position.  

“I know how important it is for people to come and showcase their work in this theater because I came from a space where doors were not opened for me. The space I come from has taught me a lot as an artist and it has actually made me the artist I am today because everything I do will always reflect  that life,” she says.

She hopes to merge the line between art and life by curating the Dance Umbrella Africa Festival.

The festival, formally known as Dance Umbrella Johannesburg, which downed its curtains in 2018 due to lack of funding, has been revived by Nyamza to incorporate a continental approach towards contemporary dancers.

She took it upon herself to revive the program that gave her an opportunity at the start of her career.

“I cannot sit back and watch a festival that groomed many artists in this country close in front of me while I am watching. If it was not for Dance Umbrella, I would have never performed internationally,” she says.

For Nyamza, the festival brought programs to South Africa which opened a gateway for artists to connect with the rest of the world, allowing them to showcase their body of work on international stages.

Institutions that support the dance community are needed to assist both aspiring and established dancers, she says.

Do I Look Pretty by Chandré Bo, a dance theatre production that explore the notion of ‘pretty’. Picture: Gypseenia Lion

“You cannot do it alone; you need these structures to help you help others. Our role here is to serve the patron, the audience, the artists and everybody.”

The position seemed daunting to her, at first, but she soon realized it was time for change in the industry.

An office job has not tethered the artist’s free spirit.

 “I was not going to leave the industry; it is all about leading the industry. I still go out there and work, I still practice my art and I feel, as an artist, I have done Mamela a lot. So why am I still holding on to me? It is time to give back. Right now, being here, I feel like there is a reason for being here. I feel like this is a calling.”

Heeding the call to make a difference, Nyamza, who is dressed in African print, recollects the challenges she faced when she turned her hobby into a profession.

As a black woman, taking it on as a career was the hardest part, thus turning a love into a strange relationship.

Being the only black woman in her dance classes made her feel like “the other” at all times.

“It [ballet] was not accepting me as a black woman. It made me  interrogate [ballet] as an artist. Hence, most of my work will always go back to ballet,” she says.

“I was deconstructing something that I know. I was not just talking about ballet, I was deconstructing something that did not accept me as a black woman or did not accept my body.”

This interrogation is reflected in most of her work.

READ MORE | Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Created His $1 Billion Fortune

Surprised by the high number of artists in their early 20s who showcase their work at the State Theatre, Nyamza applauds the transformation that has made these spaces accessible since her early 20s.

A kind of access she had to fight for. 

“Right now, my son does not know that we used to walk while it was raining to go to ballet classes. We were not dropped off in cars. It was not easy, it was something you did for love and that is when passion is created. Because of the different times that we come from, it took me years to even put my work at the Artscape [Theatre Centre in Cape Town]. You always look at these differences and not that you are against them, you always just say ‘wow, this is great’.” 

As much as there has been the incorporation of digital innovation to ease access to dance and performance, the need for live theater will always be imperative for her.

“There will always be a need for live art because it touches different parts [of us]. When something is live, you remember the liveness of it, the body of it. With technology, you can see it [a performance] there and also have it here, it is easy access but a live body is not easy access and that is what people forget. You have to go out there, pay money, support and watch it live because that live memory stays with you,” she says.

“As artists, it is hard for us to say, ‘here’s my DVD’ and as artists who perform outside of the country, people ask ‘can you show me something online?’. I tell them that they can see me online but it is not the same. It is never the same. It is all about liveness and experiencing it live.”

The upside is that it opens the window of opportunity for African artists on international stages, which, at times, may pose cultural barriers.

“By being a solo artist, it has been easy for international people to get the whole history of South Africa from one artist and you don’t have to bring the whole [cast of] 80 people to talk about the story. It is easy because you are in South Africa, you are South African. Your work is South African. How you do it is up to you because you are an artist and as an artist, you can interpret your work in any way.

“When showing your work, there is already the assumption that you are from Africa and you need to do celebratory work or ceremonial work and if you don’t do that, there is a question of, ‘I did not accept that from an African woman’. There are so many ways people engage with us as artists coming from Africa,” Nyamza says.

At times, it was easier for men to succeed in the industry, she says.

“When we came as women, we didn’t entertain too much. There was an element of [not all men, some], ‘we are men showing six packs and the body’ and actually giving exactly what the other wants to see. With women, we came with issues that needed to be interrogated and debated. We provoked things and sparked some conversations that will stay with people. We were talking about things that are happening in our country and became the window to our country.”

Do I Look Pretty by Chandré Bo at the State Theatre. Picture: Gypseenia Lion

But back home, the locals are still grappling to understand the art industry, leaving artists like Nyamza with a greater popularity beyond African shores. Locally, she feels the audiences are not as supportive and open to attending live shows.

“At home we don’t have that culture of knowing what is good and understanding our own artists. It is not something our people have grown up with. Much like me studying dance was questioned as ‘what else do you do?’ Nobody will know that I am an international artist. They know us internationally but at home they will ask ‘who is Mamela?’ Not that I want them to know. I am an artist, I just do my work and it speaks for itself.” 

Looking at the growing interest for ballet-dancing among black people in South Africa, Nyamza argues that ballet is moving away from the traditional format of only wearing pink tutus and has become more accessible, thus allowing locals to make their own interpretations of the artform. However, the lack of continuity concerns her.

“I always see young black kids doing ballet and then later on there are none. Where are they? What happened to them? But then again, I think this situation is because we don’t have many black female dance teachers who these kids can relate to and aspire to be.” It is a fact most artists and art managers agree on.

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative managing and artistic director PJ Sabbagha says the arts are socially marginalized but it is the artist’s responsibility to change the way it is viewed. Through exposure in his community-based work in Mpumalanga, Sabbagha has realized that an appreciation for the arts is increasing.

6×7 Feet Dimension, named after Nelson Mandela’s prison and the size of the bedroom in Winnie Mandela’s house, is a play about the love letter they wrote to each other. Picture: Gypseenia Lion

“The art is very alive in communities and so is dance, in various forms. We still live in a world where people don’t view the arts as being real. They view it as a hobby or part-time activity. It partly has to do with the way art has positioned itself and also the way society views the arts, it has, basically, never really been seen as a real economic driver with potential for social change.

“The older generation doesn’t see how people’s lives are impacted through the arts. They can earn an income and that it can be a meaningful career or that it can benefit society. Although, things have changed, the economy in the country does not help; there is less investment in the arts because we need to save failing infrastructure,” Sabbagha says.

These are nagging concerns to answer. Because the work of many unknown artists is based on personal impact and interpretation, it becomes challenging to assess what art in small pockets of the world mean to those viewing it. Perhaps, the greater question is, what can be done to get people interested enough to attend an art show? Should it all lay at the feet of artists or should people be more proactive about who and what they view?

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Health

Young women in Soweto, South Africa, say healthy living is hard. Here’s why

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Data from South Africa has shown that over two thirds of young women are overweight and obese. This predisposes them to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Most women are not exercising enough, and consumption of processed and calorie-dense foods and high amounts of sugar is common.

It was this knowledge that sparked the establishment of the Health Life Trajectories Initiative. It’s being run in South Africa, India, China and Canada and aims to provide interventions that can help young women stay healthy before, during and after pregnancy.

In South Africa, this randomised controlled trial will provide one-on-one support as well as peer group sessions to over 6000 young women. The idea is provide them with information, and to help them set and maintain goals for healthier lifestyles.

Researchers from the Medical Research Council and Wits University’s Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit are running the South African arm of the study. We wanted to start by better understanding our target population – that is, young women aged between 18 and 24 living in Soweto.

READ MORE | Local Solutions Can Boost Healthier Food Choices In South Africa

Soweto is a large, densely populated urban township which comprises one third of Johannesburg’s population. Soweto is becoming rapidly urbanised, but the majority of people are still very poor and struggle to provide food for their families.

We conducted a series of focus group discussions and in depth interviews to unravel health behaviours, barriers and facilitators to wellbeing and health with young women from Soweto who had not yet had a child. We also asked them about what sorts of interventions they’d prefer to support and guide them.

The women offered important insights that showed it’s not enough to simply promote healthy eating and exercise without considering the very real environmental and structural constraints present in South Africa.

Barriers to healthy choices

The 29 participants spoke about many different facets of health. These included happiness and mental wellbeing, faith, social support, body image, and lifestyle behaviours.

They identified many barriers to healthy eating, among them the cost of and access to healthy food options. Some women also said they had little access to exercise facilities such as gyms and were afraid to exercise on the streets because they feared being assaulted or harassed. One woman said:

No, I don’t feel safe because we have drug addicts, traffic, women trafficking: it’s not safe for us to walk in the streets.

The women we interviewed painted a picture of an environment in which healthy behaviours are difficult to implement or sustain. One said:

Small businesses that are opening up in my community and they all sell fries, literally they just all sell fries…

Women told us that cheap and unhealthy fast foods are on every street corner: “bunny chow” – hollowed out bread stuffed with curry – vetkoek (a fried dough bread stuffed with different fillings) and fried chips are affordable and available within a few steps of most houses. As a result, women did not want to go out of their way to purchase healthier, more expensive foods.

Our interviewees also didn’t feel able to demand that healthier food be bought for their homes, because many were not contributing financially and were therefore not in a position to control food purchases. Women reported being financially dependant on relatives and male partners.

READ MORE | New Ways Of Thinking On Health, Arts And Humanities Are Emerging In Africa

Exercise

They also said that opportunities for physical activity were neither provided nor prioritised for women in Soweto. Some women said that a lack of facilities made it difficult for them to participate in any exercise, as they did not have access to gyms or fields to exercise.

Other women told us that there were gyms, sports grounds, parks, and even free aerobics classes at community halls in their area. However these facilities often get vandalised quickly, and can no longer be used. More importantly, they didn’t feel safe enough to exercise on the streets, perhaps by jogging or running. They also felt unsafe walking around in leggings or tights. Women were fearful of human trafficking, sexual assault, and violence – very real issues in this community.

Crucially, our research found that young women did not see obesity as a sufficient reason to change their behaviour. But they said they would be motivated to exercise and eat better if they were diagnosed with a non-communicable disease like diabetes.

This suggests that obesity has become normalised in South Africa – and this needs to be addressed.

Policy interventions

These findings are now being worked into our interventions, and we are cognisant of the contextual realities that may affect young women’s ability to change their lifestyles. We hope that this research, along with whatever findings emerge from our interventions, will inform policy makers and motivate them to implement necessary changes in this community.

Women in Soweto and in South Africa in general need support to live healthier lifestyles. This support needs to come from policy makers. If South Africa does not step up and support young women by providing them with access to safe spaces and affordable healthier foods, and by controlling the oversupply of unhealthy options, the country may not be able to curb its ever increasing rise in obesity and related non-communicable diseases.

-Alessandra Prioreschi: Associate Director and Researcher at the Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit (DPHRU), University of the Witwatersrand

The Conversation

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Wealth

Rihanna, Celine Dion, Safra Catz: Here Are The Most Successful Immigrant Women In The US

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Each year, tens of thousands of people immigrate to the U.S., hoping for a better future. Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s story started the same way. Over a decade ago, Rihanna left her home country, Barbados, and her abusive addict father behind to launch her music career.

Her journey kicked off with the help of fellow musician (and now billionaire) Jay-Z, who heard a demo of one of her songs. Since then, Rihanna has not only rocked the music industry, she’s also become a force in the beauty and fashion industries.

Building on her fame and her experiences as a woman of color, Rihanna launched makeup brand Fenty in partnership with luxury goods group LVMH in late 2017.  

READ MORE | How Rihanna Created A $600 Million Fortune—And Became The World’s Richest Female Musician

The Fenty line, which includes shades of makeup for a wide range of skin colors and tones, pulled in an estimated $570 million in sales last year. In 2018, she started the Savage X Fenty lingerie line with Los Angeles-based online fashion firm TechStyle Fashion Group.

That was just the first of her forays into clothing design. Last month Rihanna and LVMH announced a new luxury fashion house, Fenty, which will be based in Paris. She becomes the first black woman to lead a major fashion maison.

Primarily thanks to her ventures outside of music, Rihanna is worth an estimated $600 million, according to Forbes. She debuts as one of 19 immigrants on Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, which altogether features 80 women.

Two other newcomers to the list were born outside the U.S. as well: Ashley Chen of Taiwan and Neha Narkhede of India. The women immigrants hail from around the globe, from Canada to South Korea, from 14 different countries on four continents; nine moved here from an Asian country. Together this cohort of immigrants, which make up nearly one- fourth of the women in the self-made ranks, is worth an estimated $18.4 billion—23% of the total.

READ MORE | From Beyoncé Knowles-Carter to Kim Kardashian West, America’s Richest Self-Made Women Under 40

This is the fifth year that Forbes has celebrated the nation’s most successful women. The U.S. continues to serve as a beacon for ambitious women who want to transform industries, be it in retail, defense or other industries. In spite of the federal government’s crackdown on immigration, the nation’s most successful immigrant women continue to embody the power of the American Dream.

Thai Lee, who is the most successful woman immigrant in the country, has lived that dream, working very hard along the way. Lee, who was born in Bangkok, grew up in South Korea but moved to the U.S., where she and her older sister lived with a family friend and attended high school in Amherst, Massachusetts. Lee later attended Amherst College to study economics and biology, and received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1985.

She went on to work at U.S. companies like Procter & Gamble and American Express for four years, but in 1989 she and her then husband bought a software reseller for less than $1 million. They renamed it SHI International, which now works with customers like Boeing and Johnson & Johnson and reported $10 billion in sales in 2018.

China native Weili Dai, Panda Express cofounder Peggy Cherng and Turkish-American billionaire Eren Ozmen, who grew up in Diyarbakir—a city in Turkey close to the Syrian border—all similarly moved to the U.S. in pursuit of a better education. Ozmen sold baklava and worked as a janitor at aerospace and defense company Sierra Nevada to support herself while attending business school at the University of Nevada, Reno.

READ MORE | The Richest Woman In The World

Today she is the president and majority owner of Sierra Nevada, which racked up $1.9 billion in sales in 2018 and counts NASA as one of its clients. “Look at the United States and what women can do here, compared to the rest of the world. That is why we feel we have a legacy to leave behind,” Ozmen told Forbes in 2018.   

Other women moved here in search of a better life and more opportunities. Makeup mogul Anastasia Soare immigrated from Romania to Los Angeles in 1989 and took a job in a beauty salon. Three years later she quit to start her own business and in 2000 launched her eyebrow products line, Anastasia Beverly Hills, now valued at over $3 billion.

Forever 21 cofounder Jin Sook Chang pursued a similar path: She and her husband came to the U.S. from South Korea in 1981. Chang worked as a hairdresser for three years, while her husband worked three jobs. The couple used $11,000 they had saved to open a 900-square-foot clothing store in Los Angeles. Now Forever 21 has over 815 stores and an estimated $3.4 billion in annual revenue.

Another industry where women immigrants make their mark is technology. Twenty women entrepreneurs on Forbes’ list built a fortune in tech, including seven immigrants. One of those is Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz. Originally from Israel, Catz joined the software giant Oracle in 1999. Although Catz is not a founder, she has overseen more than 130 acquisitions worth a total of $60 billion and has become one of the top-paid CEOs in the country. Just in 2017, Oracle paid her $135 million in cash and stock, which helped her join the billionaire ranks in 2019.

Here’s the complete list of immigrants on this year’s list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women:

Thai Lee

Net worth: $3 billion

Country of origin: South Korea

Source of wealth: IT provider

Peggy Cherng

Net worth: $1.7 billion

Country of origin: Burma (Myanmar)

Source of wealth: fast food

Jin Sook Chang

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Country of origin: South Korea

Source of wealth: fashion

Eren Ozmen

Net worth: $1.4 billion

Country of origin: Turkey

Source of wealth: aerospace

Jayshree Ullal

Net worth: $1.4 billion

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Source of wealth: computer networking

Anastasia Soare

Net worth: $1.2 billion

Country of origin: Romania

Source of wealth: cosmetics

Safra Catz

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Country of origin: Israel

Source of wealth: software

Neerja Sethi

Net worth: $1 billion

Country of origin: India

Source of wealth: IT consulting

Weili Dai

Net worth: $960 million

Country of origin: China

Source of wealth: semiconductors

Christel DeHaan

Net worth: $950 million

Country of origin: Germany

Source of wealth: timeshares

Kit Crawford

Net worth: $890 million

Country of origin: Canada

Source of wealth: Clif Bar

Rihanna

Net worth: $600 million

Country of origin: Barbados

Source of wealth: cosmetics, music

Theresia Gouw

Net worth: $580 million

Country of origin: Indonesia

Source of wealth: venture capital

Celine Dion

Net worth: $450 million

Country of origin: Canada

Source of wealth: music

Adi Tatarko

Net worth: $430 million

Country of origin: Israel

Source of wealth: home design

Neha Narkhede

Net worth: $360 million

Country of origin: India

Source of wealth: software

Sonia Gardner

Net worth: $310 million

Country of origin: Morocco

Source of wealth: finance

Ashley Chen

Net worth: $300 million

Country of origin: Taiwan

Source of wealth: IT provider

Toni Ko

Net worth: $270 million

Country of origin: South Korea

Source of wealth: cosmetics

-Deniz Cam; Forbes Staff

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