Before you rush out to buy a gift for Women's Day, let's reflect on the real meaning and heritage of this day. On 9 August 1956, more than 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. For the first time in history women stood up for their rights in masses, they filled the amphitheatre and also delivered 100 000 signatures; in an era without social media and technology.
Their aim was to:
Bring women of South Africa together to secure full equality of opportunity for all women, regardless of race, colour or creed
Remove social, legal and economic disabilities
Work for the protection of women and children
We would like to show our appreciation to these women that pursued their entrepreneurial aspirations, it all forms part of what Women's Day represents and stands for. They embody UBUNTU (compassion and humanity), making a difference in society and allowing them to unlock their full potential.
WeThinkCode Co-founder, Arlene Mulder
Arlene Mulder spent 7 years in investment banking but wanted to do something bigger, with a big impact. She decided to quit her corporate job and co-founded tech firm WeThinkCode with Camille Agon.
WeThinkCode focuses on teaching young South Africans problem-solving skills through creative coding and software engineering. The best part is you do not need a matric certificate to apply. Anyone between 17 and 35 years old you may apply. Selected applicants get a tuition-free two-year programming course.
TshimongSA director, Busi Mkhumbuzi
On the 17th of July at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, South Africa was introduced to the programme director - 23-year-old Busi Mkhumbuzi director of TshimongSA - an activist, speaker, and a young entrepreneur that her generation can aspire to be.
Her company Tshimong is a social enterprise motivated to get the voices of young people heard and contribute to shaping the future policies that affect their daily lives and create a better future in their communities.
SwiitchBeauty Founder, Rabia Ghoor
At the age of 14 teenpreneur Rabia Ghoor launched her make-up and skincare online beauty store. After making her first sale one year later, she decided to leave school at 16 and pursue the business full time. Fast forward to 2018 and this 18-year-old businesswoman is well on her way to building a sound business.
SwiitchBeauty believes in being a cruelty-free, innovative, trendsetting makeup brand for women who don't need to be told they need cosmetics to feel good about themselves. They are invested in being more involved in what they want in a makeup brand.
BrightSparkz Tutors Co-Founder, Dominique Oebell
Dominique Oebell and Amy Stockwell started BrightSparkz Tutors in 2007 while still in University. As past tutors themselves they valued education. They aspire to see learners of all ages and academic abilities realise their full potential, and be able to live up to it.
As part of their 10 year anniversary in 2017 BrightSparkz Tutors launched "Project 10' 000" - dedicating 10 000 tutoring hours, over the next 5 years, to helping learners and students who would otherwise not have the means of benefiting from private tutoring.
soleRebels (Ethiopia) Founder and MD, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
In early 2005, after graduating from college Bethlehem founded the trailblazing footwear company soleRebels in Ethiopia. It provides ecologically and economically sustainable jobs for her community. soleRebels set out to reimagine the traditional Ethiopian "selate" shoes; the sole of the shoes are made from recycled car tyres. The fast-growing company has stores all over the world, including in Ethiopia, Taiwan, Singapore and Switzerland.
Bethlehem has received a number of honours for the work she has done to empower the Ethiopian youth with opportunities. In 2011, she made it into the World Economic Forum's list of Young Global Leaders. She's also been named by Forbes as one of 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, and one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.
Singer, Songwriter (Nigeria ) Yemi Alade
She travels the world performing and telling African stories through song. She challenged the status quo and broke convention in some way to get to where she is today.
Yemi's songs will make you want to dance till you drop. She sings in English, French, Swahili, Portuguese and Pidgin English connecting to most parts of the world. Her smash hit 'Johnny' has been viewed over 90 million times on YouTube, competing with international artists. She has won numerous awards, among them MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) for Best Female 2015 and 2016.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know these young women. These are the bright shining stars in Africa.
We featured these young female entrepreneurs as they are transforming industries, breaking barriers and inspiring change on our continent. These trailblazers are making a positive impact in the South African and African entrepreneurial space, and are working daily to inspire the current generation of young women.