Presidential Girl- Bonolo Cebe

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This week’s contributor to the online sorority is Bonolo Cebe. She is no stranger to South African youth developers and social entrepreneurs. Bonolo,22, was the youngest Fellow in South Africa to be selected for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Fellowship Summit 2014. She’s an extraordinary African woman who sees beauty in everything. Her work, passion and cause is to empower the African girl child to dream beyond what her circumstances allow. She is an innovator, speak-lifer and creative soul that is operating under the assumption that everything is possible. I asked her a couple of  questions about her experiences in America, being in the White House and Women in Leadership.

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SS: What was your motivation behind entering the YALI Fellowship Summit?

BC: The Young African Leaders Initiative for me, presented a unique opportunity to develop and hone my leaderships skills as a young woman on the continent and also meet some of the most incredible young leaders who are working to write a new history for Africa through the tangible contributions they are making. Going into it my aim was to learn as much as possible from these powerful young people and collaborate in addressing some of the challenges that exist.

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SS: What  thoughts were going through your mind when you realized that you were selected for the programme?

BC: I was excited, but I knew that it was not by my might and that the glory belongs to God alone. More than anything, I was overcome by a deep gratitude because for the journey.

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SS: What was the first picture you took in America? Show us!

BC:The first (good) picture I took was at the Fayetteville Market

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SS: Besides gifts, what have you brought home with you?
Three key things: A renewed sense of purpose; Strategies for greater impact; A wider network and new friendships

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SS: Any challenges faced on your stay?
BC: The ignorance of some Americans pertaining to issues outside of America. The ignorance is real and it became rather challenging to engage with some people.

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SS. How did you overcome those challenges?

BC: Sometimes, to overcome ignorance one needs to get informed. I found myself having to invite people to have conversations that stretched and challenged their perceptions towards Africa.

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SS: Did you feel there was a strong presence of Women in Leadership in the White House, or just generally?

BC: There is a presence of women in the White House however the nature of politics is still patriarchal. Also there is still a low percentage of women running for office in America. Although there has been some progress, the top jobs in the white house are still occupied by men. One of the sessions we had during the course was on women in public office and one of the key challenges that came up is the fact that the remuneration gap is still quite big between male and females working in the same jobs.

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SS: What is the most important thing you’ll teach women of Africa, after your trip?
BC: Dear African woman: Tell your story, tell it well so that it may empower others. Leave a trail, we all got to where we are because someone showed us how they paved their own journey. Share, so that other generations may walk in greatness.

Believe.

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Thank you Bonzolezza Rice! Greater things are yet to come! Keep the light shining and the fire burning!

Proud to be doing things #LikeAGirl

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“Using #LikeAGirl as an insult is a hard knock against any adolescent girl. And since the rest of puberty’s really no picnic either, it’s easy to see what a huge impact it can have on a girl’s self-confidence.
Always kicked off an epic battle to make sure that girls everywhere keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond, and making a start by showing them that doing it #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing.”

I was really moved by this video, which is similar to the Dove one that I have published before. Campaign managers and advertising teams are bringing back the real,emotive, ambient marketing to generate sales. This isn’t a bad thing. What is always important in PR campaigns is making a mental imprint and driving the message home.

There is an obvious bias to my liking of this video because I am a woman, and after seeing it, I’m even more proud. I am in full support of changing perceptions and instilling a sense of worth into young women and men,actually. This is one thing we as young ladies can all relate to, watch and feel empowered afterwards.
What do YOU do #LikeAGirl?

Molo Molo Simply Sybz

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“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein
Dr Sibongiseni Tunzelana alluded to this on her recent visit to Port Elizabeth, but not in so many words.

The School of ICT hosted the affluent Information Systems guru at it’s first Women in IT celebratory breakfast this past week. The vibrant speaker holds many titles such as dj, business analyst, business owner,sound engineer, mentor just to name a few. She suggested to be called “Simply Sybz” as if all those roles are effortlessly juggled. The irony!

As she was sharing her life story, it made me even more open to the world and goaded new thoughts of infinite possibility. What amazed me is how she juggles so many things, yet still remains humble and centered.

Her attention to detail and quality of excellence is what sets her apart from most speakers who happen to say cliche airy fairy things. The overly used “dream big” expression came to life and became so real and tangible as I heard her speak. She demonstrated  how a young girl like her, from the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, could be well traveled and basically have conquered the world.

I won’t lie, her techno-geek jargon, coding and programming gripes are the few things that flew over my head. Everyone in the room seemed to understand though what the usual IT struggles are. The lesson in it all though was to keep developing oneself and continue having a hunger to learn. Knowing that your best, might not be the best and in order to have a competitive advantage, one must be willing to work for it. Once you hit the number one small spot, opportunities find you rather than the other way around.

It seems I still have a loads of work to do. Truthfully, the work never stops.

“You cannot measure 1,3m and want to be a supermodel.”  was one of her favorite pull quotes.(To draw the parallel between what she kept saying and Albert Einstein.) You would be defeating yourself. The talk ended with a wonderful single of hers due out for release featuring PE’s Ifani and her cousin, Nathi. The  bouncy African infused track is called Molo Molo (Hello, hello in isiXhosa).

I’m glad she was so willing and enthused to visit the Bay. Simply Sybz is that exception of you can do it all, and live life on your own terms and doing everything you love. All is possible only if you continue to go back to the middle, and get centered. She spoke to every demographic and left us all motivated and energized.

The onus is now on me to dig up my vision board out and stick to what she said, “Your biggest success is in your heart”. Good gracious, I might have to dig up my heart too.. JOKES.

There is nothing orthodox about the way she does things, this might just be the recipe to her success. Chesa!smiling sibongiseni - professional pic

Conversations at the Carwash

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Conversations at the Carwash

I never think of a petrol station and carwash combination as a place to have metamorphic and paradigm shifting conversations, as I have just recently encountered.

I either read a magazine if the sun’s glare allows, whip my phone out to start chatting and catching up or I haul out my tablet and read crass articles of celebrity gossip. I’m sure you were expecting me to say that I salvage my time to do something smart or mentally beneficial, but alas, the carwash is neither comfortable nor conducive for such things.

Anyway, an elderly man calls for my attention. I automatically have my guard up and nose in the air, just in case the married timer is trying to get my number. We can no longer assume that the way we were brought up, of greeting our elders and acknowledging their presence is viable, as these father figures prefer to be “daddy” figures nowadays(if you know what I mean).

He tells me I resemble his daughter. My style of dress, my hair, the way I walk.. everything. He then said he wanted to take a picture, but that would be illegal. You can imagine what’s going through my mind at this point… Yes the word CREEP.

I respond and say she sounds like she’s out of town.”Do you miss her?” I ask. It must be my emotional intelligence or strong sixth sense LOL but that guess was spot on.

He continued to tell me her story and how she left to go study an expensive course at some “international” college only to get a qualification in something she didn’t really like. She had to find her feet by struggling her way through short learning programmes and get a job in a totally different field. He then spoke about the importance of innovation and lateral thinking in young minds, jumped to comparing the public sector versus private sector environments and touched on leadership. This brought about a debate on race and classicism and the wisdom of knowing the interrelationship of the two. He touched on lobola negotiations and the wisdom of always choosing the right people to represent you, within your family. “Elders might not respect your choices, but always stick to what you believe in. As hard as it may be, sometimes it’s best to forget the blood relation element and treat family as they treat you.” He spoke about the uselessness of luxury cars instead of necessity buying, mentioned investments and the perks of financial education.

This guy became cooler by the second. Only mid-conversation did we introduce ourselves, he called me Samido I stuck with Uncle M. (Respect factor you know) He reenacted so many characters, accents, stereotypes, I couldn’t stop laughing. He mentioned his wife alot. He loves her. *wipes sweat*

“Mam, your car is ready,” says the Carwasher.

I was kind of bummed. I might not ever see Uncle M again, but I am so grateful for his insight and sense of humour.

I usually dread the carwash, but after this encounter it might just be my new hang out spot. Gosh, I might even find my other whole..

Just on a tangent, I’m so glad my car is clean, they didn’t polish my tyres though.

Love & Vulnerability

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“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one…lock it safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in the casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

Kluk and CGDT’s SHAMELESS collection debuted in Port Elizabeth

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Port Elizabeth-Club 100 for ladies recently hosted internationally acclaimed design duo Malcolm Klûk and Christiaan Gabriёl du Toit for the first time at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

The fresh-off –the-designers’-table collection, “Shameless,” debuted in PE briefly before being launched nationally. Their fashion is all about experience, exclusivity, luxury, and detail, pret-a-porter, bridal, couture and homeware.

Klûk and Du Toit said the friendliness and hospitality of PE’s people was unrivaled. They mentioned the beauty of the city and the richness of the old buildings and architecture seen in and around the city.

Du Toit said that they would definitely like to see more of PE in the near future and take on trunk shows and pop-up events.
The event was well attended, with optimum security, great networking and not to mention the amazing sushi.
See some of the attendees and garments below!

 

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CGDT, Michelle Brown (of Club 100), Kluk and I, ofcourse.

We hope the duo will keep their promise and possibly change the face of fashion in the city!