The African Women Chartered Accountants Organisation (AWCA) is delighted to announce the 2019 Woman of Substance, Dr. Vuyokazi Mahlati. Dr. Mahlati is a social entrepreneur, gender activist and Global Director of the International Women’s Forum. She is also the President of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), as well as the Chairperson of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, a position for which she was handpicked by the President. Dr. Mahlati is also serving her second term as a member of South Africa’s National Planning Commission.
The AWCA’s Annual Woman of Substance Fundraising Banquet was held at the Galleria Conference Centre in Sandton, Johannesburg on 01 August 2019, which marks the beginning of Women’s Month in South Africa.
The primary objective of the banquet is to honour and recognize South Africa’s foremost women achievers, whilst simultaneously raising funds to facilitate access to the profession for young aspirant Chartered Accountants within South Africa. Former recipients of this prestigious accolade include the likes of Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, Dr. Judy Dlamini, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela.
Dr. Mahlati now runs Africa’s first indigenous wool processing plant in Butterworth, Eastern Cape. Her passion for agriculture stems from her formative years, during which her school subject choice was between Home Economics or Agriculture – she opted for the latter. “For the very first time in this country, we have commercialized cashmere. It gives me such joy empowering people who are in their forties and have never worked a single day in their lives [because of unemployment]. To see them undergo training and learning how to make cashmere garments that are renowned worldwide, makes me grateful to effect change within our country,” she explains.
This year, the AWCA celebrates its 17th year, a significant milestone preceded by a history of powerful and impactful initiatives that have contributed to the growth of the number of black women Chartered Accountants (CAs) in South Africa by 1500% from 407 in 2002 to 6 321 as at February 2019.
It is through such initiatives that the AWCA is able to provide more women with educational opportunities and continue building our legacy for future woman leaders. This Women’s Month, we stand together, united in excellence beyond reproach.