Introducing SA’s very first Inspiring Fifty!

Cape Town – On 12 April this year the Dutch Consulate General in Cape Town together with Inspiring Fifty Netherlands launched Inspiring Fifty South Africa. This activation to showcase brilliant Women in Technology, called for South African nominees to sign up and become role models to attract more female champions in the technology-related fields. When the application period closed end of June, an overwhelming number of 252 women in tech were nominated. The list included remarkable women which made the task for the judges to select the final fifty an arduous one. The selected nominees have more than proved themselves worthy of their new titles as one of South Africa’s first Inspiring Fifty women. “The caliber of women is amazing and the project has reached so many different fields,” according to project manager, Chantal Louw. The finalists are showcasing a broad spectrum of skills;

– 6 are academics

– 10 are in corporate

– 25 are entrepreneurs

– 2 are journalists

– 6 are from NGOs and

– 1 is a VC

Inspiring Fifty was initiated by Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters from the Netherlands and has since been realized in the Netherlands, Europe, France and the Nordics. The initiative aims to prove the philosophy that “if she can see it, she can be it” therefore, “We are excited about all these women who have been given the opportunity to create awareness of their roles in the technology and innovation sectors and encourage more women to join the force”, says Janneke.

Hosting the first platform for inspiring women in technology outside of Europe, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bonnie Horbach was elated at how far-spread the campaign reached, with finalists from Cape Town (28), Gauteng (19) and Kwa-Zulu Natal (3). “I was overwhelmed by the response to the call for South Africa’s Inspiring Fifty; not only by the numbers but by the unbelievable talent that we were presented with,” says Horbach.
Bonnie is honoured to announce the following fifty, extraordinary role models:

Aisha Pandor  Co-founder SweepSouth
Anita Loots Head of African Planning SKA
Anitha Ramsuran Manager of Innovation Skills Development Technology Innovation Agency
Anne Githuku-Shongwe Founder and CEO AFROES Transformational Games
Anusuya Chinsamy Professor and Head Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town
Audrey Verhaeghe Chairperson Innovation Summit
Barbara Mallinson Founder and CEO Obami
Boitumelo Menyatswe Founder Minderz
Darlene Menzies Founder and CEO SMEasy and Finfind
Dr Mmaki Jantjies Head of the Information Systems Department University of the Western Cape
Dr. Adriana Marais Head of Innovation SAP Africa
Ellen Fischat Managing Director Silicon Cape
Ellie Hagopian CEO Nomosphere
Emma Dicks Founder and Director Code for Cape Town
Esther Titilayo Akinlabi Associate Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at University of Johannesburg
Fikiswa Majola Deputy Director: Space Science and Technology Department of Science and Technology
Hema Vallabh Founder WomHub
Julie Cleverdon Director Cape Town Science Centre
Kim Normand Dobrin Founder/ Executive Director of Tomorrow Trust The Tomorrow Trust
Lethabo Motswaledi CEO and Co-founder 3D Power
Lindiwe Matlali Founder & CEO Africa Teen Geeks
Lynn Wilson Systems Manager: HR Information Management TFG
Magda Wierzycka CEO Sygnia
Maximillian Kaizen Co-founder Treeshake
Mickey Mashale Managing Executive and Head of Region Vodacom
Mokhudu Macabda Teacher
 Ngwanamago Primary
Nafisa Akabor Freelance Technology Journalist Forbes Woman Africa, Destiny, Wired to the Web
Ndoni Mcunu Co-Founder Black Women in Science
Ngwako Lethabo Ramohlale CEO Nunnovation
Nneile Nkholise Founder Likoebe Innovation Consultants
Nokuthula Ndlovu Founder and Strategic Engagement Partner Limit Breakers Global Foundation & Barclays Africa Group – Africa Technology
Nomso Faith Kana Managing Director Sun ’n Shield 84 Technologies; Blaze Away SA, Taungana Africa
Nothando Moleketi COO ReWare
Nunu Ntshingila Head Facebook Africa
Phadiela Cooper, Principal, COSAT High School
Pontsho Maruping Councilor South African Council for Space Affairs
Portia Maurice Director Nehanda Group
Pria Chetty Regional Director EndCode
Rapelang Rabana Founder and CEO Rekindle Learning
Regina Luki Kgatle Founder and Co-founder 67 Games, WeSmooth
Saidah Nash Carter Head of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation Thomson Reuters
Samantha Wright Blogger, Youtuber, Content Creator TechGirl
Sibongile Sambo Founder and CEO SRS Aviation Ltd.
Sibongiseni Tunzelana Thotsejane CIO Flavalite
Stephanie Cowper CEO & Co-Founder BeSpecular Pty Ltd.
Suzana Moreira Founder Mowoza
Vere Shaba Owner and Director Shaba & Ramplin Green Building Solutions
Videsha Proothveerajh Country Manager Southern Africa Intel
Xoliswa Kakana CEO ICT-Works Pty Ltd
Yolisa Kani, Public Policy Head Uber SA

According to Horbach the Inspiring Fifty platform will achieve more than only educate girls. “Inspiring Fifty South Africa will be part of European platform of talented women in technology and innovation. It will show the caliber of female talent available in South Africa and change the persisting perception about Africa in Europe. There is so much talent here in Africa and now with this amazing list of women, the Inspiring Fifty South Africa, we have the results to prove it,” Horbach says.

These fifty women will go on to inspire and encourage the girls of our country and point out opportunities that they may not have realized were available to them. It is an exciting time for women in technology in South Africa and the best is yet to come.

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