This month our sisters south of the Limpopo are celebrating women's month. They honor the outstanding women in their country and their communities who enrich the lives of others, and whose efforts inspire and advance the nation, whether in business, politics, arts, society or science. As a community of women in the Southern African region we celebrate with them, recognizing that in our communities too, women are often the glue that holds society together.
Think about the women in your life today; And about the women who have played a role in your life in the past. What would your life have been without them all? Where might your path have led?
In my own life i could start with my mother, a woman of incredible energy and accomplishments; my sister, the family's poster girl for academic excellence, my grandmother who was so creative and thrifty that I think given the chance she really would have turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse! There were many other women who inspired me: my glamorous aunt whose stylish presentation was a joy to behold, another aunt who lived with us for many years and cared for us like her own. And who could forget the grade seven teacher who had the courage to declare to a class of giggling teenagers "sex is a pleasure!" and the sixth form English teacher who gave me my first and last A plus and helped me fall in love with language. My first boss in the advertising business got promoted and said to me, “On Monday I am moving upstairs and I want you to move into my office and do my job. Don’t ask anybody for permission and don’t wait for authorization. Just do it.” I did. Thanks to her encouragement that’s how I landed my first managerial job. Since then I’ve had some powerful women to look up to in my church, at work and socially. I am particularly impressed by the courage of women who dismiss convention, who blaze a trail in unchartered spaces, and remain authentic. I aspire to that level of self assurance.
So what about the amazing women in your life? I know there are some because most women are amazing! Do you have a mother whose resilience and determination take your breath away? Or a sister so wise that you don’t make a move without her endorsement and advise? Do you have a daughter whose beauty makes an orchid seem inconsequential? Or one of those incredible wives who is a lifelong testament to the saying ‘Love conquers all’? Perhaps somewhere in your past there is a lady teacher who made physics make sense, or a nurse whose kindness opened a rusty door in your heart. Perhaps a conversation with a woman in a supermarket aisle has inspired the profession you are in today? Or maybe watching a neighbourhood matron reach out to others changed your ideas about contribution and legacy?
Southern sister Sunday 8/18/2013
I write to lend you my courage, to help you find the words for the things you feel, but are not yet ready to say. I write to tell the stories of our time, and to edify those whose stories I tell and their audiences.