She is an only child who was born in South Africa at an Eastern Cape public hospital called Cecilia Makhiwane based in Mdantsane, on the 10th of January 1989. She matriculated in 2007 at a King Williams Town school she attended from grade 1, known as Kingsridge High School for Girls (KHS), which gave her the foundation to her leadership skills as she was nominated by her peers to be the Durban House Deputy Captain in her matric year. She then went to further her education in Bloemfontein and is now a qualified journalist with a BA degree in Media Studies and Journalism, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Gender Studies, both from the University of the Free State.
She is a Gender Activist passionate about Women Empowerment and an Entrepreneur who owns a newly registered company now in 2017 called Eyo’Mthi Enterprise (Pty) Ltd. A company specializing in Events Management, she started due to being unemployed and a platform she wants to use to do all that she is passionate about and skilled at. On the 22nd of April 2017, she hosted a Job Hunting Workshop at the Steve Biko Centre, she initiated and organized for the King Williams Town members of a movement she is part of named #HIREAGRADUATE MOVEMENT. A movement for all unemployed Eastern Cape graduates.
-Current Job: (3 months training raining with Sasol Abbotsford Service Station in East London and entrepreneur)
-Education: (BA Degree in Media Studies and Journalism, Postgraduate Diploma in Gender Studies and Certificate in Civic Leadership from the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Centre (YALI RLC))
-First Job: (Radio Presenter at Kingfisher Fm)
-Necessary Luxury (Car)
-Your Passion: (Broadcasting and Women Empowerment)
WHAT FUELS ME?
Humility: I get frustrated by individuals who feel that by associating with people who are not of the same social status or level intellectually that this will rub off on them. I have realized that people want credit for impacting their communities and the underprivileged but they don’t want to get their hands dirty. Civic leadership is not luxurious and I know of people who’ve approached me and said they want to be part of women empowerment work but when it comes to doing the work they struggle with the package that comes with the work. They also find it difficult to offering mentorship, advice and a helping hand to these girls when they need it.
Perseverance: I know this very well as I have struggled in my career to get to work with the best broadcasting networks or news agencies. I am a self-taught news reader and writer, who has never taken the experience of working for community radio as well as print media lightly as I have given my best in preparation for bigger platforms and opportunities. I also believe that perseverance does pay off in the end because all the hard workers I know who worked hard to get to where they are have not given up until they’ve seen results. So I may not be where I want to be but I will persevere up until I achieve my goals.
Love: Firstly I feel the love of God as I have someone who loves me unconditionally that he gave up his only son Jesus so that my sins can be forgiven. As imperfect as I am, God continues to love me regardless.
I have experienced being loved by my parents. My boyfriend who I met in varsity is also one of the people who has loved me with my flaws and continues to do so. The greatest thing about love is that you know you have people who will support you, who you don’t have to buy their love and that you have people close to your heart to share all the wonderful things and experiences in your life with.
MY GREATEST INFLUENCE:
Mother: She has been very supportive towards everything I do from secondary school level to now. She always motivated me to adopt the I can do it mindset from a very young age and would encourage me to do better than the last time from a very young age. As a result, I, always aim for progress in my life. I don’t like a stagnant life. I always have to have a plan that will contribute towards progress. My mother plans and does things at her own pace. I’ve watched her progress over the years and listened to how people would be amazed as to how she managed to do it all these years. She recently retired as a nurse and is now enjoying her retirement.
MY TOP THREE ROLE MODELS:
Mother: My mother has perfected work ethic as she has always been the breadwinner. I have watched her conquer her challenges, live with her decisions and is one of the happiest people I know. She has successfully led and run her household by herself. Her leadership position as a professional nurse to the operational manager of the out patients department of a public hospital called Bhisho Hospital never came as a shock to me because her work ethic and diligence speak for itself.
Grandfather: My grandfather managed to in their era become a qualified teacher who was well known in his neighbourhood as this was something rare for black people in their time. He surely wanted to become something great in his life. He was a very popular maths teacher as well. He was the best! He had a white single cab Nissan bakkie, a driver and he never wanted to inconvenience anyone with anything. His lifestyle matched what he had worked hard for as an achiever. I will never forget the 500 piece puzzle he bought for me for my birthday. I always wonder what he thinks of me if I could I afford to pay Tyler Henry from E! Entertainment to connect me to him I would. That’s how much I valued him, I love the fact that he was an achiever and lived the life of one.
Nelson Mandela: I love the fact that he is a global icon. He represents me as a South African and has proven that with perseverance we can all become world icons, no matter your background, colour or clan name. I love success stories, most especially of people who have made it from nothing. He comes from a rural area of the Eastern Cape and I doubt he knew he would impact a black person’s life and the world in the manner he did. He remains the best black president this country has ever had thus far.
IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS…..
I see myself being of influence in the media space. I envision being an advocate for women’s rights in the form of a motivational speaker, through broadcasting and print media. I want to take part in more women empowerment and gender related panel discussions.
My dream is to put the African woman’s perspective on the map as it is usually overpowered by the Western perspective. My aim is to represent African women across the border through telling more of our African stories in the form of media, through documentaries, collaborating with more African women on events, seminars, dialogue sessions and any non-governmental organizations targeting women empowerment. I hope to collaborate with globally influential public figures who are for women empowerment so as to showcase how women from all over the world share a lot in common. Finally, I would like to be an ambassador for African women through my company Eyo’Mthi Enterprise Pty Ltd. Eyo’Mthi, is a word taken from one of South Africa’s 11 official languages isiXhosa and means of the tree because my goal is to establish a sustainable company and am comparing it to the lifespan of a tree. I am hoping to start a magazine in the Eastern Cape that will embrace women of the Eastern Cape who are doing well for themselves, to inspire those who see themselves following the same career paths and gain access to information and mentorship. My aspiration is to register for Masters in Gender Studies so I can be an intern of the UN WOMEN Centre.
THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S CHALLENGE:
Financial Stability: African women are being paid less for their labour or experience unpaid labour as if society does not recognize their contribution to the economy. We need to be equipped more with the skills of entrepreneurship so that we are no longer trapped in the system of patriarchy, which is oppressive of a woman’s economic stability. If more women would enter into business this would result in financial independence and less dependence on men for financial stability. We also need more women in the labour market so that they are skilled for the professional space. My solution to this is through my own company, of which I will use as a platform to encourage other women through events or workshops to start their own businesses. I also initiated a Job Hunting Workshop through the #HIREAGRADUATE MOVEMENT to expose women and the youth to the relevant and necessary skills they need to earn themselves a position in the job market.
Violence Against Women: In South Africa, rape and domestic violence against women is a huge concern that needs intervention. Not forgetting the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram. I remember writing about rape on News24 Voices so as to express how I feel about it and often I feel there are alot of women who experience being raped by their partners and husbands all because I feel men take advantage of a woman’s consent. I was trying to create awareness of the fact that rape is not about being grabbed violently in the street, it’s all about consent. If there is no consent from a woman then that is a simple no.
Safer Sex Negotiation: I feel the reason young women are HIV positive and pregnant at a very young age is that they are not firm enough and strong enough to negotiate safer sex. Women need to be taught to be selfish about their bodies and learn how to control their sexual life. I was part of Soul City Institute’s (SCI) Rise Young Women’s Club, an initiative that started due to the findings of the “National Strategic Plan on HIV /AIDS and TB, identifying young women between ages of 15-24 to be a key population who are more likely to be exposed to, or to transmit these infections. With young South African women being one of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, Soul City Institute is launching a large-scale population based intervention for young women aimed at reducing new HIV infections.” The initiative is to empower young women to take responsible action towards their lives and communities, as a result I initiated an event called Achievers Take Action (ATA) to impact and inspire young girls from West Bank Senior Secondary School from King Williams Town to take action towards being achievers in lives. Where the guest speaker was radio personality Daluxolo Jalmeni from Link Fm, who started working at the age of 13 years. I am also planning another event that will address women’s sexual health issues.
WHAT I DO TO RELAX:
I get a good sleep when I can. Love eating out with my boyfriend and friends. I enjoy weekends away with couple friends. Cherish every moment spent watching series, movies and catching up on life with my mom. I feel if I had no place to fellowship at and no Christ in my life I wouldn’t survive this life.
MY – I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION
I feel they should be inspired, celebrated and empowered so that the next generation of women will not have to face the same challenges or go through the same experiences we went through. The next generation should reap the fruits of the changes made by our generation, so they can be proud of being Africans and so as to continue with the spirit of sisterhood. Also, this will contribute towards embracing our African women so that those who are making a difference in society can continue to do so.
MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS:
I would occupy conceptualizing and organizing conferences, seminars and stakeholder summits. I would also be interested in hosting seminars, panel discussions and being an MC for women advocacy and empowerment events. I enjoy coming up with ideas for women events and organizing successful events. I also feel that with my broadcasting background I can do a good job hosting events in a professional manner.
FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE:
If as African women we could embrace, support and respect one another regardless of the ethnic group, culture or background, we could do wonders together and this would expand the African woman’s perspective across the border. The next generation would be more proud of being black and all that comes with being an African woman.