In celebration of Women’s Month, the African arm of social media giant Facebook has released an ebook featuring inspiring South African women, including University of Cape Town (UCT) Chancellor Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe and alumnus Nomzamo Mbatha.
Inspiring #Changemakers: Lessons from life and business is freely available online, with each of the 13 chapters dedicated to inspirational South African businesswomen and changemakers.
Through the stories of the 13 women, Facebook Africa hopes to reach young women between the ages of 16 and 22 and to inspire these women to make their mark on the continent and the world.
The women featured in the book, including Moloi-Motsepe and Mbatha, are:
Each chapter provides insight into the lives, struggles and journeys of each of the featured women.
Moloi-Motsepe’s chapter showcases her long and impressive list of achievements and contributions: a trained doctor who became a hospital physician and general practitioner, setting up a women’s clinic in Johannesburg, co-founding the Motsepe Foundation and founding African Fashion International. But importantly, it reveals the many struggles she had to endure during her school and student days.
“Be willing to learn, be humble and be an eternal student.”
Having to wake up at 02:00 so that she could study in her boarding school bathroom, being one of only 12 black students among 250 students in her year, and having to train in hospitals where, as a black student, she was not allowed to work with white patients, were some of the experiences the chancellor shared.
Despite a shortage of money, Moloi-Motsepe began giving back what she could to her university’s bursary fund to help others in similar situations. Ubuntu has been a part of her journey – this has included her and her husband, Patrice Motsepe, establishing bursaries at all 26 public universities in South Africa.
Of her journey and the move from medicine to fashion and philanthropy, Moloi-Motsepe wrote: “I’m always keen to learn more. I’d say to anyone moving into a new field: be willing to learn, be humble and be an eternal student.”
Actress and philanthropist Mbatha, who graduated from UCT in 2018, writes about growing up in KwaMashu township and witnessing the poverty and inequality around her. It was this reality, as well as her grandmother’s influence, that motivated her to grab opportunities.
Mbatha writes about the impact of losing her grandmother in the first year of her studies and the worries she had about paying university fees. This eventually led to the establishment of her non-profit organisation, the Lighthouse Foundation.
Nine years after starting her studies, Mbatha graduated with a degree from UCT’s Faculty of Commerce.
Of the graduation experience, the actress wrote: “I cried when I walked up onto stage because I was so proud of finally finishing my studies.
“It was a powerful reminder that you’re in control of the narrative of your own life, that you can change it if you don’t like what it says, and hopefully you can help others as you do.”
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