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5 Innovative and Inspiring South African Women to Follow this Women’s Month

Date : 02 August 2018

Every August, South Africa commemorates National Women’s Month as a way to recognise the remarkable women of our nation. While we reflect on the bravery of the 20 000+ women who marched against the pass laws in 1956, we’d also like to acknowledge the awe-inspiring women around us today. Below are five such ladies who have changed the game and left their mark on our nation. Fill your feeds with thought-provoking updates by following them on social media this Women’s Month and beyond!

  1. Dr Adriana Marais

Meet Adriana Marais – a PhD holder, theoretical physicist, director of the Foundation for Space Development South Africa and, perhaps most remarkably, an aspiring extraterrestrial. Adriana has always dreamt of living on another planet and is currently one of the 100 ‘Mars One’ astronaut candidates in the running to move to Mars in 2027.

Around 200 000 hopefuls initially signed up for the project, which will see 24 people embarking on a one-way trip to the red planet to establish a permanent human settlement. “I am prepared to sacrifice my life on Earth for this possibility, this adventure, this achievement that would not be my own, but that of all humanity,” she said.

Follow Adriana’s extraordinary journey:

  • Twitter: @adrianamarais
  • Instagram: @ adriana__marais
  1. Vere Shaba

Image source: lionessesofafrica.com

Vere Shaba is a multiple award-winning engineering entrepreneur and founder of Shaba and Ramplin, a consulting firm which specializes in engineering solutions that minimize the effect of construction on South Africa’s natural environment. Using an ‘Integrated Green Design’ approach, Vere and her team create energy-efficient, water-efficient and low waste building engineering systems that not only help clients save money, but that also save the environment.

She also travels across the African continent to educate people on the importance of green buildings. “Africa can be self-sustainable from a resource perspective,” she said, “We don’t need to be wasting so much money on additional energy, water and waste costs – we just need to design buildings right from the beginning.”

Keep up with Vere’s latest projects:

  • Twitter: @vereshaba
  • Instagram: @thegreenbuildingqueen
  1. Julie Cleverdon

Photo by R’iaad Dollie

As the director of the Cape Town Science Centre, Julie Cleverdon is passionate about promoting science and technology in Africa. The centre boasts more than 250 interactive science exhibits and also offers a number of science shows, programmes, camps and more – all designed to stimulate learning in the fields of science and technology.

Julie and her team are also focused on advancing the digital literacy of disadvantaged primary school pupils through hands-on computer programming workshops. “Coding contributes to developing key skills in mathematics and problem-solving in the classroom environment. It also encourages teamwork and analytical thinking, all essential 21st-century skills for our youth,” she said.

Follow CTSC for more on their initiatives:

  • Facebook: @capetownsciencecentre
  • Twitter: @ScienceCentreCT
  1. Sibongile Sambo

Image source: cnn.com

Sibongile Sambo is the founder of the first 100% black, female-owned aviation company in South Africa. Her company, SRS Aviation Ltd, offers local and international clients a variety of flight options to destinations around the world. SRS also provides a range of support services to private jet owners.

Aside from being a pioneering entrepreneur, Sibongile is also a motivational speaker who aims to promote the interests of youngsters and businessmen and women in Africa. She is especially passionate about empowering women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. “I have a philosophy that I’m where I am today because somebody invested in me. It’s my opportunity now to invest other people,” she said.

Find Sibongile online:

  • Twitter: @SRSAVIATION
  • Instagram: @sibongileflylady
  1. Nunu Ntshingila

Image source: mybroadband.co.za

From ad agency trainee to the head of Facebook Africa, Nunu Ntshingila’s rise to the top is nothing short of inspiring. When she first started her career as a youth from Soweto, Nunu knew nearly nothing about the advertising industry. Today, she is known as one of the industry’s most high-ranking and successful women. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the coveted Loeries Hall of Fame.

Despite her success, she remains humble and cognisant of her role in society. “It is so important to understand people, and to understand the dynamics, and to always treat people with a great deal of humanity and humility,” she said.

Stay up to date with Nunu:

  • Twitter: @NunuNtshingila
  • Instagram: @ nununtshingila