7 Inspiring Women to Look Up to This Women’s Day

Women’s Day is our national opportunity to formally acknowledge and celebrate the powerhouses that we women are. It’s an important reminder of how instrumental we are to the fabric of society and how our bravery, courage and tenacity in the face of endless obstacles has helped shape our country throughout history. Today we are taking the time to appreciate these 7 South African women in particular who are making waves in their respective fields:

1. THABO MAKHETHA, fashion designer

Recently named one of the top young South African designers at 100% Design, Thabo Makhetha has become known for her eponymous and proudly traditional pret-a-porter women’s lines and in particular for her bold capes made using Basotho blankets. Specialising in bespoke women’s wear, Thabo has established herself as a prominent, award-winning force in the local fashion scene. In addition to showcasing her work on international runways, she has also featured extensively in leading fashion magazines such as ELLE, Marie Claire, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post.

Most recently she was commissioned to create a custom piece specifically for the 50th anniversary of the Kruger Rand. Entitled ‘The Legacy Cape’, the piece will be on display at the upcoming 100% Design South Africa exhibition.

For more information visit thabomakhetha.com

2. NICKI ELLIS, homeware designer

Taking a major leap of faith, mom of three Nicki Ellis quit her job while pregnant with her son Milo to pursue her passion of creating beautiful inspired homeware. After pouring herself into designing an eco-conscious and nature-inspired range of goods, now-beloved local brand Love Milo was born. Featuring a diverse product range that includes tableware, ceramics, textiles, lighting, bags and even planters, her most famous designs have to be her armies of ants, soaring birds and leafy botanicals.

Her business has not only allowed her to follow her creative dreams, she has also brought together a community of local craftsmen using sustainable manufacturing processes and locally sourced materials, all focusing on a singular ethos of ecologically conscious living.

For more information visit lovemilo.com.

3. GAYE CORBETT & LISA GOOSEN, luxury hospitality

It’s not often you find a strong women partnership behind a leading hotel brand. Founder and CFO of Tintswalo LodgesGaye Corbett and her daughter, CEO of Tintswalo Lodges Lisa Goosen have together built a national brand in the hospitality industry that is synonymous with luxury, excellence and exclusivity.

Having started from the ground up, with Lisa coming into the family business at the reception desk in 1995 and learning firsthand from Gaye while climbing the ranks, this mother-daughter team are still very involved in the running of the award winning Tinstwalo portfolio today. These include Tintswalo Atlantic, Tintswalo Safari Lodge, Tinstwalo Manor House and Tintswalo at Waterfall. Gaye and Lisa hold onto an unwavering commitment to the local hospitality industry, with a particular focus on women in business, as well as many outreach and community programmes in South Africa. Supporting women and giving back is what makes pioneering women in business so unique.

For more information visit tintswalo.com.

4. ANDREA MULLINEUX, winemaker

Women are certainly shaking up the local winemaking scene! Not even 10 years ago it would have been virtually impossible to find women pioneering in this field, but thankfully no more. Named Winemaker of the Year for 2016 by the American publication Wine Enthusiast – the first time a South African has been named – Andrea Mullineux is co-owner and winemaker at Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, based in the Swartland region. Since launching her brand in 2007, her wine has accumulated over 18 five-star wine ratings from Platter’s South African Wine Guide, while the farm has been named Winery of the Year in both 2014 and 2016.

Her Mullineux Syrah 2015 is featured as the first wine in the One Case Wonder series by Wine Cellar that features six of the best wines made by women in South Africa.

For more information visit mlfwines.com.

5. SUZIE DE CARVALHO, baby apparel designer

Self-proclaimed mompreneur and former graphic designer Suzie de Carvalho knows all too well the struggles of being a working, stay-at-home-mom and finding the balance between managing your own business from the ground up with focusing on your family. With the birth of her daughter Eva Valentina, Suzie was inspired to begin her own baby apparel label named after her little one, ForEVaV, that features high-quality baby items like clothing, shoes, blankets and bags, all made with organic fabrics and premium leathers for the discerning parent.

While it’s a tough endeavour to start your own business from home so you can juggle being a mom too, Suzie maintains that while it’s amazing to be your own boss, it’s always family first.

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For more information visit forevav.co.za.

6. KATE SHEPHERD, interior designer/event decor


Kate Shepherd started her business, Something Different in a home office and garage (at the age of 18) and has since built it into a large multi-million rand business while simultaneously becoming a leader in her field. A true success story, Kate was awarded Finalist for the Business Women’s Association of South Africa – Regional Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 – all at the age of 30.

Something Different has been involved in everything from the most prestigious weddings and parties in the country for Top Celebs, Sports Players as well as South Africa’s Elite, with corporates being drawn to Something Different for its constant innovation and unique custom designs, being known for their originality, local custom-made products and importantly, their service and team for events. Recently, they have also launched their online custom-designed furniture store called Something Desired.

For more information visit something-different.co.za.

7. SHAHEEN RAJABALLY, food entrepreneur


As the founding owner of Natura Sugars, the only range of truly unrefined sugars in South Africa, Shaheen has grown her business to a nationwide success. Unlike normal table sugar, unrefined sugar has not been bleached, irradiated, nor decolourised by ion exchange. This preserves the natural molasses film that surrounds the sugar molecule, creating intense flavour and added health benefits.

Born in Mauritius and her family being sugar cane farmers, Shaheen launched Natura Sugars to educate South Africans on the importance of unrefined sugar and fair-trade farming in Mauritius. “I decided to start Natura Sugars when I realised that, while popular on European supermarket shelves, natural unrefined sugars with an inherent molasses flavour were not available in South Africa. Having grown up with the taste of sugarcane, it was apparent to me that sugar, as we know it, had lost the taste of sugarcane.”

For more information visit Naturasugars.co.za.

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