Today we celebrate radio and television personality and activist, Criselda Kananda. Her work in championing the fight against Gender-Based Violence and domestic violence and
advocating for the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS earned her many accolades. She represented South Africa in the United Nations General Assembly Special Meeting on communicable diseases, commissioned by then Secretary General, Koffi Annan. Her activism work includes travelling to 18 countries around the continent, introducing the concept of using Radio as an effective medium in curbing HIV/AIDS through education.
Today we celebrate Dr Zohra Sooliman, co-founder of Gift of the Givers Foundation (GOTG) and Director of GOTG Careline counselling service. She leads and managed trauma volunteer teams as well as conducted interventions personally. Dr Zohra Sooliman says she is passionate and compassionate and aims to make a difference wherever she works and with whoever she engages. The causes she cares deeply about include children, civil rights and social action, and disaster and humanitarian relief.
Professor Gita Ramjee was an eminent scientist who dedicated her life to HIV prevention for women and girls in Africa. Professor Ramjee was globally recognized for her ground-breaking research in the field of HIV prevention technologies for women. In 1996, she led a trial on vaginal microbicides for the prevention of HIV among a group of sex workers in Durban, South Africa. The trial was her introduction to the HIV community and was the beginning of her commitment to women-initiated HIV prevention technologies that she pursued with unwavering dedication and commitment for more than two decades. Professor Ramjee was a South African scientist renowned for her work to expand women’s access to HIV treatment and prevention. She died of COVID-19 related complications on 31 March 2020.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town (UCT). In her short time at UCT, Prof Phakeng initiated projects to advocate for the empowerment of women. Prof Phakeng said: “When I started as UCT Vice-Chancellor two years ago, I was determined to create more opportunities for women and thus, I launched the For Women By Women research grants. These grants focus on training postgraduates and postdoctoral fellows, with an emphasis on building capacity among black South African women and transgender researchers.” She has shown exceptional leadership through many initiatives and has been recognised both in South Africa and abroad for her sterling leadership.
Today we celebrate entrepreneur and business leader, Siza Mzimela. She was the first female member of the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association. Mzimela was on Forbes magazine’s list of the 2011 most powerful women. Her previous experience includes being the CEO of the South African Airways (SAA) and South African Express Airway. She is the CEO of Fly Blue Crane, an airliner she launched with two former South African Airways colleagues.