My name is Nolwazi Ntshingila (31). I’m a 2013 Activator from KZN – Durban, Umlazi.
What is your field of passion/interest?
I’m passionate about community development, women empowerment & literacy.
What are you doing to drive change?
I’m involved in various projects in my community and surrounding rural areas.
This year I joined Activator Voro Ngobozana as the Donate a School Bag Campaign KZN Coordinator, where we host concerts and other events to collect school bags and distribute them amongst the disadvantaged communities in our respective provinces.
I have been part of the MISA union National Women’s Forum Committee since 2013. We host annual events in our respective provinces – Girl/Boy Child at Work, Beauty and the Beast (all expenses paid matric dance for a boy/girl from a disadvantaged home who is a high achiever at school) and MISA Woman of the Year.
Every year on Women’s Day, I host the Loxion High Tea in my township (Umlazi) with the aim to pamper all the hard working women in the community that don’t have the luxury of attending Women’s Day events in town due to financial constraints.
I also organise blood drives at my workplace (since 2012) as a Blood Controller for the SANBS. On 3 August 2016, as part of the ACTIVATE! Making Local Government Work campaign, I was one of the Observers at the Local Government elections and my role was to ensure free and fair elections in my ward. And of course, I’m an Activator.
How has ACTIVATE! Supported you in driving that change?
From where I was in 2013 when I first joined ACTIVATE! to where I am right now has been through ACTIVATE! teachings and connections. I have become more confident in myself and the work that I do. ACTIVATE! gave me the tools to unleash my potential and spread my wings.
Acknowledging August as women’s month, what does it mean to be a woman in leadership in South Africa today?
Gender diversity is still big a challenge in South Africa. As a young woman, working in a male dominated industry is a daily struggle on its own where decision and opinions made by female leaders are disregarded. Women empowerment has been and still is mere lip service, but we as women need to stick together and fight all the processes that oppress us. Businesses need to empower more women to step up and be counted and included for their talent and skills and what they can bring to the business when they are placed in high-level positions.One of the key problems for women taking up leadership positions is that we are expected to earn respect when we are appointed, whereas men get respected because they have been appointed and that is frustrating. Work policies should be favourable to both male and female employees in terms of work and family commitments. Until men realise that being a woman doesn’t make you any less capable, we still have a long way to go as a country.
What should be the priority in setting the agenda for South Africa in the next 5 years?
Politics and economic growth should be the priority in setting the agenda for this country in the next 5 years. Whether we like it or not, politics affects us one way or another. Politics affect the country’s economy, and the state of our country’s economy determines our future as citizens because political instability affects economic growth through physical and human capital accumulation.
How do you motivate yourself?
I motivate myself by reading. Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you that nothing is impossible in this world.
Don’t let the fear stop you and don’t let obstacles deter you. Nothing is impossible, as long as you put your mind and heart to it.