We have a voice, we have platforms to be who we want to be. 

I’m not just beauty, there is so much more to me.  

We cannot be boxed. Stand your ground without compromising who you are. 

You can be as feminine as you want to be but still walk into a boardroom and achieve what needs to be done…” 

Those are just some of the things mentioned by the beautiful 24 year old Boipelo Mabe, (1st Princess of Miss SA 2017) who was by the way only requested an hour before the time, to speak at the event. She spoke with such charisma, she caught the attention of the audience with her powerful message about women, to women and for women, from her personal experiences.  

She emphasized, “Life doesn’t give you what you want, but what you need” when she shared her personal story about how she made a decision to be an intern at Cell C. Something she surely didn’t plan – but if she wanted to lead, how could she not experience being led herself? If she wanted to be to do certain jobs, how could she, when she herself didn’t experience it first hand at various levels. 

It’s a pity I didn’t record her speech, as I don’t believe I”m doing as much justice trying to encapsulate what she said.  This Masters student looks even more gorgeous than the photos you will see on her Instagram profile, but more importantly, her message today didn’t leave any doubt that it’s surely beauty with a purpose. 

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The event began with Suzette van Der Merwe, Cell C Managing Executive: Corporate Social Investment, sharing the theme for this year: #morethanaday – which encourages us all to do more throughout the year to keep the girls more involved than just on one day.  Cell C is leading by example by extending this initiative to 4 times a year.  

It isn’t surprising that President Cyril Ramaphosa, earlier this year, made a call to all South Africans to play their part to make South Africa a great nation.  He made reference to and commended Cell C on this initiative which is running for the 16th year this year.  16 years late and it is still relevant.  It is something that affects all women and as South Africans, we all have a responsibility to promote and embrace equality and empower women and the future women leaders.

Emma Sadleir was one of the other speakers at the event.   Her talk was incredibly informative and pertinent to social media users, which is almost all of us. Like she said, if you have WhatsApp, posting a message in a group, where there is more than one person, is almost the same as publishing it in the newspaper. 

She made reference to various national and international cases to create context to the severity of your online presence and the picture which is being painted, not just by the posts you post but also to be weary of your “digital shadow” – what others post about you. 

Did you know that if you are part of a WhatsApp group, where one or more people said/posted something discriminating, that you too could be found guilty by association? Simply because you could have removed yourself from the group, but didn’t. To elaborate this point, she made reference to the Harvard case, where admission offers were revoked, due to offensive memes on a group chat. 

Another point that she made which stood out for me, was the fact that you can’t determine your worth by the number of LIKES. A study was done at UCLA which proved 2 identical photos could have a huge difference in LIKES. It is scary to think about the millions who are addicted to measuring their followers/LIKES in such an obsessive and unproductive manner.  

She emphasized, “If you won’t put it onto a billboard, don’t let it exist in digital format”. 

I watched the body language of the younger women in the room, as Emma spoke, and I could see eyebrows being raised. After all, which woman later on in her career wants to be dismissed from work or similar consequences, for something she posted on social media. 

Like Emma also mentioned, then next time you want to post something on social media, if you get that unsure feeling within, listen to that voice – don’t publish it. It only takes a few seconds to be out there for the world to see and screen grab and can have lasting consequences. 

If your company is looking for a Guest Speaker, I highly recommend that you consider Emma – there’s just not enough information on digital law especially in South Africa and instead of landing yourselves in hot water for something your staff was oblivious to, rather be proactive and know and understand the social media laws. Don’t forget to contact your CSI department to invite some girl children to the talk too, as it’s imperative that they care about and build their personal brand to one that is respectful and lawful.

I had a quick look at this book we received at the launch ; by Emma Sadleir and Lizzie Harrison: Selfies, Sexts and Smartphones -it is something that not just every teenager, but also their parents should read. 

If I worked in a CSI department, here’s a book that I would buy to give to children with access to social media.Hint…hint…If you’re a parent, do get this book. I think we need to do more about where social media leads younger children to, not to mention their predators and this book will empower both parents and children to be more aware and social savvy in the digital space. It covers topics on:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexting
  • Addiction
  • Internet safety
  • Porn
  • Anxiety
  • Privacy
  • Reputation

I personally have come across so many young girls that should not be posting the things they do on social media and in many instances, their parents are oblivious to it, no one’s keeping an eye on what goes on in the cyber world. There is. a perception, “if my child is at home and not going out,” she’s safe. 

With access to wifi, video calling, etc. there are several potential risks that compromise your child’s safety. If you’re a parent who is somewhat technologically challenged, make it a point to educate yourself about these things.

South Africa’s Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, leading South African businesswoman Phuti Mahanyele, Miss South Africa Adè van HeerdenMiss SA 2018 Top 12 Finalists and Head Girls from various schools, accompanied by their teachers/principals, were some of the women that was at the Launch even which took place in Parktown at the intimate Fine Living venue. 

Phuti’s speech was also extremely motivating, her journey has been remarkable and her well thought our career plan was by her dad, being the lovely daughter that she is, adhered to his plan, which has allowed her to reach many significant achievements and milestones in her life.  This is yet another woman whose voice and story needs to be heard by more women…young or old.  

Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe is looking forward to welcoming the Girl children to her offices and her message emphasized, that whilst we are so rightfully engaging with and empowering young women to become future leaders, we should not forget about the boys. 

Cell C offers intern programs for women as well. Annually, Take a Girl Child to Work Day® is hosted by more than 750 corporates.  Is your company one of those, will it be this year?


Register for the 2018 Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® via www.cellcgirlchild.co.za
Follow the conversation by using #GirlChild2018 and #morethanaday.
Social media links:

Twitter: @CellC
Instagram: @cellcsa

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