In 1956 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against pass laws that not only oppressed black people, but demoralised black woman who were seen only as children bearers and wives.
The likes of Helen Joseph, Lillian Ngoyi and Rahima Moosa marched that day, defying all odds and not caring that they could be prosecuted for their actions.
These women along with thousands of others marched to the Union Building in Pretoria on 9 August 1956 to say that enough was enough – black women were not to be dismissed any longer as they had an important role to play in society and politics.
Their demonstration not only illustrated the power women have when they stand together, it has also paved the way for future generations of women to make their mark.
To celebrate this significant month in our country’s history we chat to Kone Gugushu, divisional executive for Corporate Social Responsibility at Nedbank.
The married mother of three, who has mentored several young girls, advising them about career and life choices. She believes that it is important for women who have managed to succeed in their own careers to help shape the future of those who come after them.
A chartered accountant by profession, Gugushe’s philosophy of helping others was inspired by her own childhood spent watching her mother Nobuhle Mohapi work tirelessly for a non-profit organisation after she was banned from teaching.
Gugushe never got a chance to get to know her father, Mapetla Mohapi, a political activist who was killed in police detention when she was just seven-months-old.
Growing up on the dusty streets of Zwelitsha in the Eastern Cape, Gugushe wanted to make a success of her life.
So after finishing high school she went to Fort Hare University and studied towards a B Com degree, eventually completing it at Rhodes University.
Gugushe admits that she got distracted while at university, and her studies suffered.
“I call those years my ‘growing up years’, when I didn’t realise the importance of being in university. It only sunk in later that I was wasting my time by not focusing on my studies,” the 38-year-old says.
To get back on track Gugushe joined a mentorship programme known as the Girl Guides and there she began to truly understand the value of education and what she needed to do in order to be successful.
After finishing university she signed up to be a mentor to other young girls, so that she could teach them about her own experiences.
“It is very important to have a mentor, especially in the corporate sector, as the environment is sometimes unwelcoming and cold,” she says.
Gugushe sat on the board of the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA) about six years ago, where she played a vital role in helping to set up the AWCA bursary. Each year it provides bursaries to 18 young people who want to enter the accounting field.
She also helped to start an initiative that helps HIV-affected families with food parcels.
Gugushe’s advice to young women is to invest time in improving themselves and to take the opportunities that are presented to them. She concludes that it is essential to learn from the wisdom of those who have already walked the road to success.
Article By: Bulelwa Dayimani.
Article Source: Destiny Connect.