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2023 New Year: Women in Leadership: Reach for the Stars

The start of a new year symbolises new beginnings. Motivation can be a powerful catalyst to pursue your goals and seek changes that perhaps challenge society’s expectations. Today’s collection of vignettes are about pursuing passions and being instigators of change. We hear from Professor Caroline Ncube who heads up the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Cape Town, Dr Heide Hackman Director of Future Africa and Strategic Advisor on Transdisciplinarity and Global Knowledge Networks at the University of Pretoria and Judge Carol Sibiya from the KwaZulu Natal division of the High Court.

Professor Caroline Ncube demonstrates how education has impacted on her own family,  where each generation did better than the previous one and the reason for that frequently hinged on the education  that they had acquired. She discusses building support systems and recognizing that as we go through life we pass certain stages and that you need to accept the stage at where you are and then just operate within the realm of what is possible within that stage and as you progress to other stages. Lastly, she reminds young women to seize the moment, the continent is wide open, reach out, take it.

Our next guest is Dr Heide Hackman, who is the Director and Advisor on Transdisciplinarity and Global Knowledge Networks at the Future Africa Institute at the University of Pretoria. Dr Hackman shares some insight into her leadership style, which includes being inspirational (thinking BIG), being an effective enabler and decision maker, being authentic, connecting to people on a human level, and leading by example – don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty, it’s teamwork.

Our final guest is High Court Judge Carol Sibiya, who hails from the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court. We start the discussion with an emphasis on law as an instrument to bring change, particularly in terms of gender equality gains. We remark on the progress of women’s rights in South Africa and the positive effects that representation of women in different spaces has on people’s psyche, to understand the breadth of possibilities available to them. In closing, she states the one thing she would like to instill in every person is never accept a different voice telling you what you cannot do.  Believe in yourself and do your best whatever the circumstances and when you fail (which will invariably happen) pick yourself up. Sometimes it might mean going back to the drawing board, sometimes it might just mean going at it again.  But never accept failure as the final answer. 

We hope that this selection of journeys inspires you to pursue and own your unique space. Best wishes for 2023.

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