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20 Years of Freedom and Democracy
Leadership Tools for Women Focus of Seminar
The second day of the Women in Leadership Seminar, held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, focused on developing leadership tools for women to continue to excel in all areas.

The seminar, hosted by the Municipal Institute of Learning and the Employment Equity Office, is being held over three days from 10 to 12 April under the theme “Women in Leadership: Inspiring Positive Change”.

An impressive line-up of dynamic women speakers imparted knowledge on an array of important empowering topics. Among the line-up was Africa’s first female dredge master, Londi Ngcobo who spoke on acting with self-confidence.

She spoke candidly about the challenges she encountered to follow her dreams. “People told me I’m black, I’m a woman and that I’m short, they assumed that I couldn’t swim, questioned when I would get married and said I wouldn’t be able to achieve my dream.  All this social pressure because I dared to dream and be different. After qualifying I left for training for six months and despite having the same qualification as my male counterparts it was hard. I returned home broken and had to dig deep if I wanted to be the captain of the ship,” she said. “I had to lead from within.”

She said you have to know who you are in order to lead. “You can’t lead if you don’t know who you are and what you stand for. Also, play to your strengths and don’t box people in. When you rise from the deep, you need to get the relevant skill set,” she advised. Ngcobo said “your network determines your net worth” and advised attendees to let go of toxic friends.

“I dared to dream and I dare you to dream, dream bigger than your position now. I want to inspire young black girls that there is a woman leading a huge container ship and if I can do it, they can to,” she said to thunderous applause.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Lindiwe Rakharebe elaborated on developing win-win negotiating skills. She said women need to negotiate hard, with confidence but said to always do it with a smile. “We are all born with a light inside of us, with gifts… so we need to take those gifts to the negotiating table. Women are role models and nation builders in society and we need to start lifting each other up and supporting other women. Don’t grow alone, grow together,” she encouraged.

She said it was important to be prepared when negotiating as well as being assertive and confident. Dr Cebi Sibisi spoke on the gender pay gap in South Africa. “Education is truly the ignition to positive change and growth,” she said. She elaborated on the pay gap and how it was caused and what is being done to address it.

However, she urged women to stop perpetuating the system by not believing in themselves. “We downplay our achievements and don’t negotiate with the employer. We as women can choose to be victors or victims in this situation. Before we start to fix the system we must begin by fixing ourselves,” she said.

This was followed by a panel discussion on opportunities and solutions towards advancing women leadership led by CEO of Innovate Durban Aurelia Albert. On the panel was Mbalenhle Gwacela, Bathandwa Vazi and Noluthando Radebe who led robust discussion on women becoming leaders.
Attendees also participated in a group exercise on defining their own success.

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