Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Monday, 11 March 2024 11:37

Graça Machel, Nomzamo Mbatha and Connie Ferguson honoured by Forbes Africa.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

South Africa's former first lady Graça Machel took home the 2024 Forbes Woman Africa Lifetime Achievement Award. Machel dedicated the award to women both past and present.

"It has been a long moment and a long journey. It has been nearly eight decades of my journey. And as I stand here, what comes across my mind literally is the hundreds and thousands across the continent, across the globe – many women, most of them who are not here but many millions that are represented here by you today," the founder of The Graça Machel Trust told a packed ballroom, accepting her award.

The Forbes Woman Africa celebrates the continent's most inspiring women ex­celling in different sectors and industries across Africa.

The Forbes Leading Woman Summit website describes the winners of the various awards as "women who have dismantled stereotypes to create a new narrative in entertainment, sport, business, finance and science. They have challenged authority to bring about change and created a new discourse that will enable future generations to live in a better and more equal world."

The glamorous gala dinner took place at the Emperors Palace Convention Centre, Johannesburg on 8 March.

Machel's dedication to service is rooted in Mozambique's struggle for self-rule and international advocacy for women and children's rights. She has also dedicated her life to building equitable rights for women and children.

Machel produced a ground-breaking United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) report, The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, that changed the way the United Nations and member states respond in conflict zones. She has worked in advocating for global health, child welfare, and women’s rights and empowerment.

The Graça Machel Trust she founded in 2010 focuses on advocating for women's economic and social empowerment, food security and nutrition, education for all, as well as good governance.

Some of the night's biggest winners were actors Connie Ferguson and Nomzamo Mbatha, who won the Forbes Woman Africa Media Icon and Forbes Woman Africa Entertainer awards, respectively.

Nomzamo looked stunning in a bright yellow gown with ruffle detail and a long train designed by South African multi-award-winning fashion brand, Malondie.

Taking to Instagram on Saturday to share her achievement with friends and fans, the actress said that it all feels like a dream.

"It all feels like a dream. Thank you, FORBES! Thank you, FORBES WOMAN AFRICA. I'm going to hold on to this feeling for a mighty long time," she captioned her post accompanying several video clips and photos of the evening.