Women’s Month was celebrated through networking at a breakfast at the Origins Centre.

The School of Economics and Business Sciences (SEBS) Student Council, in partnership with Absa, hosted a women’s breakfast in celebration of women’s month at the Origins Centre in Braamfontein on August 17.

The breakfast had a turnout of about 60 women, with five men in the crowd.

The keynote address was presented by special guest Ms Shirley Machaba, who is the first black female CEO of Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) Southern Africa.

After the breakfast, a panel discussion was also held on the topic of “empowering women by embracing difference in all contexts”.

Professor Jannie Rossouw, head of the School of Economics & Business Sciences, expressed his satisfaction with the Student Council for hosting the event, saying he learned a lot from the women in the discussion who shared their journeys of success.

“Time is valuable, we need to make the most of it every day,” he said.

Phumzile Gubanca facilitated the panel discussion, which consisted of successful entrepreneurs with four women and one male as panelists.

The panelists included Life Computech owner Barbara Visser; CherRose relations director Mbali Ubisi; African Star Communications founder and director Farah Fortune; marketing manager of Kliptown Youth Program Nelisiwe Walaza; and owner of several Wimpy outlets, mining and skincare products Charles Ngobeni.

Each panelist shared business stories and how they made it, as well as how they made their different circumstances work in their favour.

Ngobeni explained how he placed the principle of diversity at the centre of his teachings by allowing his children to venture into different career choices, according to their strengths.

“Do what you are good at and leave the rest to the best,” he said.

28-year-old Walaza spoke on how it was initially challenging to embrace her physicality and body size, being in the industry, yet once she accepted who she was, she was happy.

“I am proud of who I am and I thank my father for being there for me and supporting me,” Walaza said.

SEBS chairperson Lelethu Mbakoma told Wits Vuvuzela the aim of the event was, “To become empowered particularly by including men in the conversation. We wanted to change the narrative of aiding women and closing the gap between men and women because men are more privileged and they can help in pushing forward the women agenda.”

Ngobeni, the lone male panelist, said, “If you want to bring change you need to embrace diversity. The mistake that most of the women’s groups is making is meeting as women only and hoping to implement change.

“You cannot, because if you want men to change you need to bring men into the conversation, as they have done here,” he said.

FEATURED IMAGE: CEO of PWC Ms Shirley Machaba with Professor Jannie Rossouw (centre) and The School of Economics and Business Sciences Student Council at the women’s breakfast at the Origins Centre. Photo: Jabulile Mbatha