Joan MadibengSouth Africa celebrates twenty years of democracy this year. As we move forward and strive to shine light on our dark past, former Miss South Africa Joan Madibeng honours the fundamental role that women have played in the struggle for a free and democratic land.

“For me this is all about how to love, inspire and make a difference” she exclaims. “We are celebrating 20 years of empowerment and remembering milestones of a progressive journey.”
An acclaimed business woman in her own right, Joan has built a high profile career in marketing and corporate communications, based on a simple philosophy that reaching any dream and achieving any goal is possible.

In light of her annual Women’s Day conference: ‘Women, the Real Architects of Society’ Joan shared with us her 20 most inspirational female icons.

She begins by looking no further than the beautiful, strong yet softly spoken woman she is blessed to call her mom – Olga Ramagoshi. “She is a phenomenal woman” Joan explains, “She has made lots of sacrifices for us all. She is courageous, kind, giving and beautiful, both inside and out, and she reminds me all the time to remain grounded and to always have respect for others.”

Drawing further inspiration from her family, Joan praises her mother in law Sophie Madibeng. “She is always encouraging, positive and strong, and like my mother, she is woman of God. We have a special relationship, and I have learnt so much from her. Both my moms are my pillars of strength.”

During her successful career, Joan has encountered many accomplished women who have inspired her to work harder and grow as an individual. During her tenure as marketing manager at Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club, Joan worked closely with Precious Moloi Motsepe, whom she admires for her work ethics, diligence and professionalism. “She makes time for people and carries herself with grace and elegance while remaining so humble.” Joan says, adding that it is Precious’s belief in empowering and nurturing others that Joan truly admires.

Joan views world-renowned jewellery designer Jenna Clifford as a strong, amazing, influential woman. She is outspoken on the issue of women’s rights and equality and is active in promoting women in business and has established several philanthropic projects. “Her life is a good example of how far we have come as women, the struggles we went through and are still experiencing.”

Personal friend and inspiration, Thami Ngubeni is next on Joan’s list. “She is a great listener, has big dreams and ensures that she works hard so that she can achieve those dreams. She is genuine and compassionate, radiating both an inner and outer beauty.”

Fellow successful businesswoman Khanyi Dlomo is cited by Joan as strong and level headed, a doer. “She is an eloquent dreamer who makes a difference in the lives of women and youth.”

Connie Ferguson is another female icon Joan sees as exerting a positive influence on our youth. Sophisticated yet genuine and humble, Joan admires Connie for continuously making a difference in the lives of many young women today.

Whilst Joan has clearly been motivated by many of her fellow South Africans, she also takes the opportunity to recognise some international iconic women who have inspired her, starting with Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou.

Speaking about Oprah Winfrey Joan says, “I love her generosity. She is a great example of hard work paying off and is always so grounded. She inspires me to work hard, give back and keep my feet on the ground.”

Like Oprah, Joan recognizes Maya Angelou as a great influence in her life. “She used her wisdom to change lives through her powerful and inspirational words, and I loved that about her.”

Michelle Obama and Jada Pinkett Smith were also on Joan’s list of iconic women. Joan respects the First Lady’s strength, boldness and grace, and values how she uses her power to stand up for women and children’s rights. “She continues to inspire me to have balance between my career and my family,” says Joan, “You can tell her daughters come first and I really admire that.”

Similarly, Joan is inspired by Jada Pinkett Smith, whom she says is famous, yet manages to keep a low profile. “She is such a beautiful mother,” says Joan, “And she reminds me that when you are a mom, it’s important to take care of yourself and still look healthy and good.”

Felicia Mabuza Shuttle, the first black woman to have her own successful television show is another of Joan Madibeng’s icons. Joan says that as a groundbreaker, Felicia is a reminder to all South African women that anything is possible in life as long as you believe in your dreams.

Joan recognises Epainette Mbeki as a strong and brave woman with a heart of gold, whose courage had a great impact on our country; as well as Dr Joyce Banda, another brave, assertive woman who is a great leader. “She commands respect as soon as she enters the room.”

Phuti Mahanyele, Wendy Luhabe, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Dr Bregalia Bam, Vuyo Mahlati and Zanele Mbeki complete Joan’s list of her 20 female icons, as they all inspire her on different levels. “They all have a positive influence on my life, whether they are aware of it or not.” They are strong, educated, sophisticated and graceful visionaries whom Joan personally celebrates as architects of society.

These 20 women are Joan Madibeng’s personal icons, and they inspired ‘Women, the Real Architects of Society.’ They continue to influence Joan’s life, and she concludes her list by saying, “Today, for the rest of August and for every day of my life, I salute them all.”

Women, the Real Architects of Society, is the 4th event of its kind, providing a platform for creative discussion and networking amongst South African women, whilst celebrating female empowerment. It is set to take place on 30 August 2014 at the International Convention Centre (CSIR) in the city of Tshwane, Pretoria.

“For me this is all about how to to love, inspire and make a difference. We are celebrating 20 years of empowerment and remembering milestones of a progressive journey whilst empowering women by giving them a platform, information and tools to help them achieve success in their lives,” said Joan Madibeng.

Tickets for the 4th Annual Women, The Real Architects of Society Event cost R600.00 which includes lunch and a great goodie bag. To join Joan Madibeng and her hand picked expert guest speakers at the event, purchase tickets by e-mailing or calling 0105912867.

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