Business Women of Excellence Honoured at Awards Ceremony

The Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) honoured businesswomen of excellence at an awards gala dinner celebrating courageous women under the theme: Courage Revealed.  The event was held at Zulu Nyala Country Estate in Fourways, north of Johannesburg.

BWASA is the largest and most prominent association of business and professional women in the country. In her opening address, BWASA Chairperson, Nobuntu Webster explained why they chose ‘Courage Revealed’ as this year’s theme. “The theme speaks to the types of battles and challenges that women face in their day to day lives and still are able to have courage to go on to be pioneers and trailblazers in their areas of work; and this is something that needs to be applauded”.

BWASA Board Member Kgomotso Tshaka shared about how these awards allow the organisation to celebrate amazing women. “In our quest to promote women empowerment we need to support initiatives that celebrate and implore women. We want to ensure that we support women to excel and be game changers in their industries”.

Keynote speaker, top businesswoman, Dr Judy Dlamini – who is the Founder and Executive chairman of the Mbekani Group, shared her experiences as an entrepreneur and a professional Medical Doctor on how her courage was revealed in making Mbekani Group successful in operations and investments in different sectors, including pharmaceuticals, facilities and property management, tourism, surgical instruments and fashion retail.

“When I looked at the theme for tonight, I reflected on my life journey because courage is not something that you wake up and discover in business; you start off as a child – so many things happen and so many lessons are learnt. The first leadership encounter is learnt from our parents. This is the value system that sustains us throughout life”.

“When I was young I actually thought that courage meant the absence of fear but as much as I know now and I have no doubt in my mind that you also know that fear is always present – so courage is not the absence of fear”, she added.

(Dr Judy Dlamini)

Sharing from her life experience, Dr Judy Dlamini recalled how her courage was revealed at a tender age of 16 years, when her father passed away. “I was a daddy’s girl, and I believed my dad could do anything. I wanted to be a medical doctor and realised that it would require a lot of funds and time; looking at my mother at the time, who was a primary school teacher, I thought there was no way she would be able to put me through medical school”.

As a result Dr Judy took a gap year to work. “What brought me back to my dream of pursuing the medical profession was faith and determination. Courage is assisted by faith and determination”.

Throughout the rich and colourful achievements of Dr Judy Dlamini’s business journey, she realised she had courage in the times when she also experienced failure. “When I failed at medical school the easiest thing I could have done was to give up, I had no intention of doing that – I believe that the will to stay on and pursue whatever it is that you want to achieve reveals one’s courage”.

(BWASA Chairperson, Nobuntu Webster with some of the winners - Phindile Msomi, Nomusa Ndwandwe, Kefilwe Marobane & Sibongile)

Her courage was also revealed when she left the medical profession to pursue other business interests at age 40. She went on to study MBA and ventured into business. She has since been enjoying the fruits of her resilience and hard work. Giving words of encouragement, Dr Judy Dlamini urged the businesswomen nominated and those in attendance to “keep the faith, don’t give up and invest in relationships because wherever you are, you are representing yourself and you are creating this brand that will talk for you”.

Winners were selected in four categories; Emerging Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneur and Professional categories. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!


Article by Amanda Matshaka

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