The Businesswomen's Association of South Africa (BWASA) hosted its annual Businesswoman of the Year Awards (BWOYA) last night, recognising the leadership and contribution of South African businesswomen to the economy, country and greater business community.
Nosipho Siwisa Damasane, CEO of Richards Bay Coal Terminal; Lee Den Hond, owner of Blue Platinum Events, and Tembela Kulu, Gauteng Provincial Manager of Passengers Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), won in the corporate, entrepreneur and government categories respectively.
Keynote speaker at the event, former Malawian president Dr Joyce Banda shared a personal message of support and inspiration with the three winners. Having overcome many of the challenges facing women in a male-dominated political arena, she noted how women from all spheres of life were being called to step up with courage, compassion and integrity - and drive much needed change across the country and continent.
"The advancement and recognition of women continues to be an integral part of my work, and, as such, the role and efforts of advocacy institutions like BWASA resonate with me immensely. I salute and thank each of you for your passion, purpose and contribution," she said.
BWASA President Farzanah Mall congratulated the winners on their achievements. She said the awards provide a platform to raise funds for the BWASA bursary fund that assists deserving women in various communities across South Africa to further their business studies.
"In this way, we ensure that the tonight's event becomes a catalyst for future women leaders, and creates a sustainable legacy we can all be proud of."
International integrated energy and chemicals company Sasol sponsored this year's awards.
"Sasol views women empowerment as a key component of its diversity and inclusion strategy," said Nolitha Fakude, Executive Director and Executive Vice President, Strategy and Sustainability at Sasol.
"As a business, we recognise that it is through harnessing diversity that we can deliver on our strategic objectives and create sustainable value."
Commenting on the evening's winners, Fakude said they are proof that women are paragons of excellence and determination. She also called on women to actively seek to play a role in developing of a new generation of women leaders.