Different women in leadership in their fields were speakers at the Women in leadership Conference hosted by Nelson Mandela University in collaboration with George Municipality at the George Museum last week Friday.
Jonel Kerspuy, Youth Co-ordinator at the George Municipality, said the theme of the day on 16 August was accelerating woman empowerment and inclusion. The event was held as part of South Africa’s Women’s Month celebrations.
Cllr Liz Stroebel , Councillor for George welcomed the women at the event with Mbalentle Kilani and Jonathan Fortuin that facilitated the conference.
One of the strong accomplished women who was a speaker at the event, was Adv Sharmaine TyaTya. TyaTya is the first black female with her own law firm in George. She is a product of George High School and Nelson Mandela University. TyaTya said she always wanted to become a lawyer and she considers herself “the people’s voice”. “ I have a full time job at Correctional Services and I run my law firm. I do a lot of pro bono work because I love what I do,” she said.
She told the women in the room she had to persevere to achieve what she wanted. TyaTya went into detail about all the setbacks in life she had to persevere including losing her father and mother, but she says you need to make a choice to take a chance and to see a change. And that is what she did. After working and studying and some people praying that she will not make it, she obtained her LLB degree in 2013. She went on to complete her articles and was admitted as an Attorney. “I have pulled through. I have the Lord and my family.” She told women to find their purpose in life, love yourself and go for it. She jokingly finished off by saying, “All women are created equally but only the finest become lawyers.”
Mrs Beverley McKelly, is the chairperson and founder of Sommer Net Ons ATKV in Pacaltsdorp. Sommer Net Ons ATKV seeks to transform the lives of children in low-income communities by focusing on developing literacy skills and promoting a habit of reading. McKelly told women to be the change you want to see in your community. She is an artist, a dreamer and a sought-after public speaker. She said she was once one of the children in her community who had the odds against her but a teacher who did Sunday School teaching and took time out to read to the children in the community, inspired her with reading and it gripped her heart as a child. She decided early on in life to be a part of her community and be a change agent in that same community and not just an onlooker. “We need to be active contributors in our communities. I will not be a silent fool in my community. Be a voice for those who cannot speak” she said.
McKelly urged the women to find out who they truly are or why they are on this earth, find a way to serve your community, your country and eventually the world and do not compromise, always dot the right thing, noticed of unnoticed.
Speakers Adv Sharmaine TyaTya and Mrs Beverley McKelly two of the speakers at the event.