There was an overwhelming sense of unity and purpose as women congregated at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre for the Women's Empowerment Breakfast at our international edition of ESSENCE Festival in Durban, South Africa.
As part of the lineup of the Essence Festival Durban, a breakfast with a focused purpose of inspiring, motivating an empowering women was rolled out. Esteemed speakers and guests included Dumile Cele – CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce, Lindiwe Rakharebe, CEO of the Durban ICC, Stella Khumalo and CEO of uShaka Marine World.
The breakfast was also proud to host the Honourable Mayor of Ethekweni, Mam Zandile Gumede and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. These women offered up statistics that spoke to the current prowess of women within an economy and further supported this narrative with challenges that sought to mobilise women both in this local economy and the broader global arena.
Mam Zandile Gumede empathically stated that women need to support each other and in doing so rise up the proverbial value chain together. She echoed sentiments that warned women that they should be moving away from just making revolutionary declarations to rather executing revolutionary practices. She further peppered her address with chants of “Malibongwe - Igama lamakhosikazi malibongwe” (Meaning - The name of women is to be praised and celebrated.) This was a particular poignant moment in the address as the audience of women replied in unison with such purpose that one couldn’t help but be inspired.
Next up, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma offered up a host of stats that shed light on the vast inconsistencies in which women were treated from their male counterparts, while also reminding every woman seated at the breakfast that their time is now. Dlamini-Zuma emphasized that if hard work paid well, then the women of this continent would be billionaires. Despite stagnating pockets of patriarchy at play, Dlamini-Zuma also reminded the ladies of the role that progressive men still offer in the fight for female equality. She added that efforts to create and work towards a non-sexist environment should be the ultimate goal, but reparation in terms of the overall treatment of women within the economic sector should not be forgotten.
The sense of comradery amongst the women present will, combined with the empowering words delivered by the esteemed presenters, further amplified the overall message that if women continue to demonstrate a fearless tenacity within the business arena, the best is yet to come.