We thank all the strong women in our lives: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.
In honour of all the amazing women in our lives, we held a competition asking you to nominate a strong woman to win a pair of our gorgeous shoes. We heard so many wonderful, touching, and inspiring stories that we found it difficult to choose just one! There were many tributes to mothers, daughters, friends, and sisters. It reminded us that each woman is so unique and can touch the lives of those around her in very profound ways. Some are strong simply by holding everything together in the face of life’s uncertainties, others have faced and are facing incredibly tough circumstances, but all are powering through and doing the best they can for themselves, their families, and their friends. That is truly inspiring!
As there were so many strong women to choose from, we narrowed it down to ten tributes (featured below) that really stood out to us. The winner will be picked from among these ten by a random draw.
*Some of the posts have been edited for brevity and clarity.
A woman who mothers many
My strong inspiring sister Tina Sathekge: a single mom of 3 boys and a guardian of 2 girls (their mom is mentally ill) and she loves all 5 of them equally and unconditionally. She is one of the best heroes I have ever known. Being a domestic worker and staying in a shack with 5 kids is not a walk in the park. You are bold and incomparable my sister. When we say that nature is wise, one of the things that we refer to is the bond between mothers and their children.
– Ramatsobane Sathekge (Facebook)
A woman who has overcome the odds
Rosha Manny Naidoo She is an amazingly strong and wonderful person despite watching her dad pass away in her presence. She has faced many other traumatic situations as a victim of armed robbery, car accident and much more… She has risen above tragic circumstances to become an educator for learners with disabilities and her dedication to them is amazing. She is involved in fundraising activities for charities, studying so she can have a successful career, mentoring, always trying to make a difference in the lives of people in our community. Despite circumstances, she remains positive, loving, caring, hard-working and trying to be the best she can be. She is a person of strength and character. She is my inspiration. She motivates me to reach for my dreams. Never give up; despite life’s challenges be positive and keep the faith.
If there is anyone that endured pain and suffering it was her and she stands strong, tall and confident … an example to all women that we can endure and overcome anything. An amazingly beautiful person, she is an example of Beauty from Ashes!
– Anu Naidoo (Facebook)
A woman who serves beyond expectations
Petro De Beer. My Mom deserves a pair of your beautiful shoes. She is compassionate, kind, caring and hardworking. She sets an amazing example of how to live life as a beautiful strong and courageous woman. She is a strong beautiful woman and has raised two. At 72 she lives life every day for herself and serving others. She is still working full time as Matron of a retirement village and frail care unit. She speaks Afrikaans, English and Zulu. Thanks Mom for that gift!
– Suzette Smit ( Instagram)
A woman who gives hope and comfort
I am truly inspired by one of my best friends and long-time school friend Liesl Dixon Swanepoel. She is a beautiful, strong woman who has two kids with Autism who she loves and adores. She is a woman of patience, strength and enduring love. Despite the fact that both her kids have autism she sees their potential and the unique qualities, love, and happiness that they bring to their lives and to the lives of those around them. She always has a dazzling smile on her face and words of comfort to others. When things get tough in life and I have spoken to her, she manages to lift my troubles despite her situation being just as dire at times. I salute the beautiful woman, mother, daughter, sister, and friend you are. You are an inspiration and giver.
– Zelna Harman (Facebook)
A woman who perseveres
I’d like to nominate JeAn. Not only is she an amazing mother and grandmother, but also an unselfish wife. 2 years ago she lost her husband to cancer, and even through that pain of taking care of him, she never lost sight of her motherly duties. I salute you.
– Kim Crowie (Facebook)
A woman who is there when it matters most
Gloria Strydom because from the moment I laid eyes on her I knew this would be a lifetime of love and commitment; someone who would love me unconditionally, who would guide me through all the ups and downs, never judging me, always supporting me. A mother is the truest friend we have. My mother was there for me throughout my pregnancy, guiding me as I learnt to deal with constant nausea, holding my hand as I threatened to miscarry, never giving up on this miracle inside of me, easing me into motherhood and teaching me that unconditional love is the root of motherhood, crying with me as I lost one baby after another, looking after me as I went through hours of labour, losing yet another baby. I have my miracle child, despite being told I never would and my Mother has been that special bond, that glue that holds me together and I can only hope and pray that I will one day be just half the woman she is, someone who is loving, kind, giving and never has a bad word to say about anyone, always seeing the good in every situation and never losing faith!
– Dawn Wallenkamp (Facebook)
(We were so inspired by this story we have included Dawn in the list of nominees.)
A woman who is brave and selfless
Nesagee Naidoo. Dedicated. Selfless. Ambitious. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing my beautiful mother. Being a survivor of 18 years of domestic abuse, my mother personifies a strong, empowered woman. She continues to put my needs before hers, often sacrificing her needs to fulfil my wants. My mother has taught me what being a strong, independent woman is by being one. She puts the needs of everyone before her own and does it with the utmost sincerity. My mother is my hero and my rock not only because of who she is but because of who she raised me to be. My mother is the personification of a 21st century empowered woman and I hope to one day be half the woman she is. I love you, mummy.
– Theshaya Naidoo (Facebook)
A woman who makes dreams happen
Mariette Robinson. She has a heart so big, you could park a bakkie in it! She’s an amazing friend, a wonderful sister-in-law to me, and a hard-working, loving wife and mother. Her son has recently been offered a sporting opportunity in the Free State (he is a very talented young cricketer) and she has packed up her home, moved to Bloem, moved his school – all to support him going forward in achieving his dreams, and all in a couple of weeks! I love her to the moon and back and am going to miss her so much
– Louise Freeman (Facebook)
A woman with a generous heart
My friend Yashmitha. She is the most giving, brave and caring person I know. Just the other day she packed a bag full of essentials and goodies for a family that lives in the street to give them. 5 years ago she was really brave and donated a kidney to her husband. She is a very creative and loving mom to her 2 kids. She is a strong, beautiful woman and the most inspiring woman I know.
– @mbhelebongiwe (Instagram)
A woman with inspiring creativity
This is for Jackie Niemand. She will probably give me a mouthful for this because she is the humblest person I know. She is so creative that the only way I know how to “explain” her is by using my own creativity… This is for and about Jax:
A mystic leader in a subtle way
Faithfully showing the way,
She quietly spins and weaves.
An ability to appreciate time
In all its dimensions
A spirit of mercy,
She unconditionally paints.
A dignified visionary
Ever seeing the natural beauty
Tenderly and with dedication,
She toils the warm soil of Mother Earth.
The aristocracy of the spirit
The highest note on the scale
An infinite ability,
She sings praises to all around her.
A sacrifice in itself
Nurturing with respect
And true greatness,
She feeds all souls who seek to be nourished.
Inspiring with originality
Offering gifts of understanding
Time and patience,
She teaches her pupils, with silent splendour.
To speak of love
There is no self-importance
Only generous music,
The notes of which, she embellishes into our hearts.
– Tracy Danton (Facebook)