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#LWS2020KZN: Power, Profit And Purpose With Africa’s Ceiling Crashers

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All roads led to Durban in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province for the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA 2020 Leading Women Summit that brought together a star-studded gathering of female leaders and A-listers from across Africa and beyond.

On March 6, at the fifth annual FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit, held for the second time in Durban, a galaxy of Africa’s stars drawn from business, arts, sports, politics and public life, descended at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex for a power-packed day of talks and discussions that centered on one topic: the advancement of women.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, about 800 attendees hobnobbed with some of Africa’s most powerful women in the same room, at the one-day event themed ‘The Ceiling Crashers 2.0: Power With Purpose’, hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and presented by Mastercard.

The air was redolent with excitement as the event opened to a full house with seasoned dancers moving to the melody of Grammy-award winning artist Beyoncé’s song, Spirit.

Nomusa Dube-Ncube

In her opening speech, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, said the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit is about reawakening the spirit of sisterhood and strengthening the solidarity among African women. “We are here to remind each other that our fate is bound together. The summit gives us that opportunity to recharge, redefine our steps in the fight of the dignity of the African woman irrespective of which part of the globe we may be coming from.”

One of the opening keynote speakers was Suzanne Morel, Country Manager, Mastercard South Africa, who provided insight on unlocking new innovations and opportunities for women in the global financial economy. “Inequality and exclusion still holds girls and women back in many aspects of their everyday lives. While positive steps have been taken to level the playing field, too much of the world is still designed without women in mind and without women involved,” she noted.

Renuka Methil

In her welcome address, Renuka Methil, Managing Editor of FORBES WOMAN AFRICA and FORBES AFRICA, described the summit as “a live 4D interpretation of the magazines”, adding that “it has become pertinent to convene and re-convene such gatherings to increase the decibel on the progress women have made and that it just cannot be business as usual as we need to double our efforts in catalyzing gender parity”.

During her talk on ‘Restructuring the C-Suite model in the 4IR era’, Dr Judy Dlamini, Founder, Mbekani Group, said “over time, people have realized we’ve got to have an inclusive culture; that inclusive culture is driven by the CEO”.

One of the most popular panels on the day was when mother and daughter duo, Dr Naledi Pandor and Dr Aisha Pandor, stepped on stage for an inspiring discussion on ‘How to raise a CEO’.

Among other highlights, a one-to-one with Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes, also an entrepreneur, ensued, while award-winning South African songstress Lira delivered a soulful talk on finding her tune in business. 

The summit’s most powerful segment, called ‘In the Spotlight’, unraveled, featuring inspirational women such as DJ Zinhle, Bogolo Kenewendo, Malaika Uwamahoro, Ranya Kargbo, Caitlin Rooskrantz, Nozuko Teto, Londy Ngcobo, Jaishree Naidoo, and Lebohang Lebogo, all of who received a standing ovation in the end.

The audience, eager to be inspired and informed, were treated to riveting conversations that included a panel discussion based on the March issues of FORBES AFRICA and FORBES WOMAN AFRICA featuring an unprecedented, unranked list of ‘Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women’, and on the panel were Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Olajumoke Adenowo, Glenda Gray and Bonang Matheba. 

The evening of the summit unfolded with the glittering FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Gala Dinner at the same venue punctuated with awards. The red carpet witnessed A-list African glamor at its best. 

Rakesh Wahi

In his opening address, Rakesh Wahi, Vice Chairman of the ABN Group and founder and publisher of FORBES WOMAN AFRICA and FORBES AFRICA, emphasized the education of women. “I implore everyone in this room to pay more attention to this aspect of imbalance, particularly in the rural areas of our society. If you educate one girl in your lifetime, you will be part of the change needed and not part of a compromise that is expected,” he said.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The awards recognized some of Africa’s most impactful women. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, was honored with the Legacy Award and received a standing ovation as she made her way to the podium. “I was very inspired today when I saw young women doing what was thought to be impossible. We want more women to succeed,” she said, concluding the dazzling awards night, even as DJ Zinhle, also a winner, took to the stage with her electrifying house music.

WINNERS OF THE 2020 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA AWARDS:

Forbes Woman Africa

Gen Y Award

Nthabiseng Mosia, Founder,

Easy Solar, Sierra Leone

Forbes Woman Africa Technology and

Innovation Award

Dr Aisha Pandor, Co-founder,

SweepSouth, South Africa

Forbes Woman Africa

Entertainer Award

DJ Zinhle, South Africa

Forbes Woman Africa

Entrepreneur Award

Olajumoke Adenowo, Founder,

Ad Consulting, Nigeria

Forbes Woman Africa Male Gender Advocate Award

Bafana Khumalo, Co-founder,

Sonke Gender Justice, South Africa

Forbes Woman Africa

Social Impact Award

Charmaine Mabuza, Co-founder, Zamani Holdings, South Africa

Forbes Woman Africa

Pioneer Award

Irene Charnley, Founder and Deputy Chairman, Smile Telecoms,

South Africa

Forbes Woman Africa

Chairperson Award

Ibukun Awosika, Chairman,

First Bank of Nigeria

Forbes Woman Africa

Legacy Award

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, South Africa

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