Once in a long while something unexpectedly amazing happens.
There’s absolutely nothing you’ve done to earn it. And you didn’t happen to be at the right place at the right time either . When it happens it feels like it’s just what your soul desperately needed but, you were not conscious of the need. This is how I felt when social entrepreneur extraodinnaire and mentor Wendy Luhabe asked me to attend the 12th annual Standard Bank Top Women Awards on her behalf where she was being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. I accepted her request without hesitation. It was Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg who said “if you are offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” and this is exactly what I did and I inquired about the details later.
On the evening of August 6 at Emperors Palace the stage was set for one of the biggest and glitziest event dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements in South Africa. It felt like a dejavu moment for me because when I was in my teens I used to watch live broadcast of the National Shoprite Women of the Year Awards and I imagined myself collecting an award just like the featured women. Fast forward to my twenties- I started feeling that the goal was unattainable because of the challenges I had faced along the thorny and rocky path to success. I was doubting whether I was still in the running to be a successful business woman.
The entire experience of the evening: from getting dressed at home to that moment when I walked to the stage to accept the award gave me taste of how it feels like to be recognised for one’s accomplishments. IT FEELS AMAZING! The experience will go down as a defining moment of my life.
I realise that we need mentors and role models to inspire us so that our circumstances don’t eclipse our purpose, but we also need to lead at some point. In five or ten years from now I’ll pay it forward by sharing the stage with another young person when I’m accepting my award.A mentor is someone who sees the best in you even when you’ve given up on yourself. A mentor reminds you of the dreams that you once had and challenges you to pursue them relentlessly. I don’t have the words to articulate everything that this experience has done for me but all I can say is Thank You to Wendy Luhabe from the deepest and truest part of my being.
Congratulations on the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award appropriately reflects your life’s work as a champion for the economic freedom of women. May you grow from strength to significance!
Pictures by Strike Pose Photography