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    African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit

    The return of an in-person FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Conference at SunBet Arena, Time Square in Pretoria, South Africa, on International Women’s Day (8 March 2023) was celebrated in style. Ministers, ambassadors, Grammy award winners, human rights activists, international sports stars, and game changers from around the continent joined the stage to discuss this year’s subject, Women 3.0: The Icons and Ideas Transforming Africa.

    Presented by McDonald’s, in association with The Macallan and Coca-Cola, supported by Lucara Diamonds Botswana, Access Bank, Avon, and The ROOM, in partnership with CNBC Africa and Jacaranda FM, the summit welcomed delegates from all corners of Africa, and the globe, for a full day of great networking opportunities, thought-provoking content, and a free flow of ideas, with more than 50 women sharing ground-breaking insights, concluding with the prestigious 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Awards.

    Renuka Methil, Managing Editor of FORBES AFRICA and FORBES WOMEN AFRICA, opened the event with a striking statement: “They’re all here, the artists, the entrepreneurs, the raconteurs, each with a remarkable narrative of grit, chutzpah, and gravity… These are the figures here today who symbolise a new generation of female leaders who are progressing and altering our society now and in the future. As the continent’s next stage of growth, they are driving a paradigm change, ushering in a new era of transformation.

    “Together, as this conclave of leading women – with the pandemic still lingering as a very bad memory in our immediate history, the war still raging in another part of the world, and climate dystopia at our doorstep – let us ignite historic shifts for a common future. Ideas can’t win if they’re not heard, and in this room today, we will hear them, we will back them, and we will live them with courage, conviction and curiosity.”

    Dr. Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of Foreign Relations and Cooperation, presented an enthralling opening address, emphasising the need of addressing female repression:“The Leading Women Summit creates a platform for women’s social, political, economic and cultural rights. It is important to recognise where there has been progress, because if you live on the basis that nothing has been achieved, you actually reduce the energy to strive. So, it’s always important to give recognition to advancements. Despite the positive sentiments, there exists in our country and worldwide, terrible levels of gender inequality and brutal repression of women and girls.”

    The In-the-Spotlight seminars this year were inspiring, with women of various ages and walks of life discussing their life stories. Singhita, a singer, equestrian, and aspiring model, was this year’s youngest speaker (15).

    Lehlogonolo Mashaba, the South African LGBTQI activist and first trans woman to compete in the national pageantry in 2021 and 2022, joined her in the spotlight segment, as did the visionary twin sisters, Matlhogonolo and Masego Mphahlele, who invented Digital X-ray Glasses to help doctors diagnose injuries faster. Ayakha Melithafa (20), South African climate activist, founder of the Ayakha Melithafa Foundation, and the youngest commissioner on South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission, was another forceful voice for the youth – and the earth.

    This year’s summit also welcomed Grammy award-winning musicians, Wouter Kellerman and Nomcebo Zikode, fresh from receiving the award for their work on Bayethe. After a powerful talk about her journey from humble beginnings, and of never losing hope, Nomcebo moved the audience with a live performance of her global hit, Jerusalema.

    On the day, South Africa’s top entertainment industry heavyweights were highly represented, with comedian and media personality Tumi Morake offering an inspirational message about honouring the women in one’s life. Tumi, the first African female stand-up comedian to receive her own Netflix special, stated:

    “These strong women in our lives that support us are sent to you so you can be who you can be – how I got here is, I know the power of women.” Before ending with the powerful truth: “Africa is not the beginning, it’s where we are going.”

    Women from various industries also participated in panel discussions, beginning with The Landscape of Modern Wealth: Investing in The Missing Middle. Edna Montse, Group Chief: Transformation & Sustainability Officer, African Bank, stated during this interaction that managing financiers play a critical role in financial literacy and financial inclusion by asking how they can reach out to all corners.

    Vimbai Masiyiwa, Executive Director, Batoka Hotel, Tanzania, offered her own views under the title Money Knows No Gender: The Hustle and Heart of the Rising Entrepreneur, saying: “If we’re going to exist in this space, our role in this industry is to transform the communities we exist in. So, for me, purpose-driven entrepreneurship is why I do what I do.”

    This year’s panel themes included the metaverse and blockchain, young entrepreneurs, the West African Renaissance, and the mining, spirits and beauty sectors, all of which were addressed by industry luminaries. Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Aya Chebbi, a Pan-African feminist and Tunisian diplomat; Yvonne Themba, Chief People Officer at McDonald’s South Africa; and Patricia Obozuwa, Vice President: Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Africa were among those present.

    Naseem Banu Lahri, MD of Lucara, Botswana – the first woman to serve in this capacity for a diamond mining company in Botswana, and the youngest female MD in mining in the world – joined the panel titled Never Mined? Gender Imbalance in the Mining & Energy Sectors. Changing perspectives for women breaking into the industry, she advised audiences not to consider it a ‘male-dominated’ industry, but rather a ‘male-populated’ industry that needs to make room for powerful women.

    For more information, visit https://leadingwomensummit.co.za/. Alternatively, you can follow us on social media @LWSummit, #LWS2023.

    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
     In the spotlight: This year’s youngest speaker was singer, equestrian, and aspiring model Singhita (15).
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
     In the spotlight: Lehlogonolo Mashaba, the South African LGBTQI activist and first trans woman to participate in the national pageantry in 2021 and 2022.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
     In the spotlight: Ayakha Melithafa (20), South African climate activist, Founder of the Ayakha Melithafa Foundation, and the youngest commissioner on the Presidential Climate Commission in South Africa.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Elke Brink (Financial Advisor, PSG Wealth) – The Landscape of Modern Wealth: Investing in the Missing Middle panel.
     
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Grammy award-winning musician, Nomcebo Zikode.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Dr Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    How to Capitalize on Web 3.0: The Metaverse and the Blockchain panel.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Power After 50: Tapping into New Potential and Possibilities panel.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Grammy award-winning musician, Wouter Kellerman.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
     In the spotlight: Kaitlin Rawson (25) has built a sizeable platform on TikTok, educating her audience on politics and social issues. 
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    The Landscape of Modern Wealth: Investing in the Missing Middle panel discussion.
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Elsa Majimbo (21-year-old, multi-award-winning comedienne and author – as well as a 15-time chess champion – who took the world by storm in 2021) and Renuka Methil (Managing Editor, FORBES AFRICA and FORBES WOMAN AFRICA).
    <strong>African icons share stories of hope, inspiration, and innovation at 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit</strong>, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    One-on-One: Global to Local, Growing Africa’s Women Enterpreneurs.
    Patricia Obozuwa, Coca-Cola Africa Vice President for Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability.

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