Keynote address by Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for Economic Development
The 20th anniversary of the Standard Bank Top Women Awards, held on Tuesday, 7 November 2023, at the prestigious Sandton Convention Centre, was a celebration of 'My Africa' – a tribute to the strength, diversity, and achievements of women across the continent. The event, hosted by Master of Ceremonies Carol Tshabalala, brought together distinguished guests, thought leaders and changemakers to recognise and honour outstanding contributions to the empowerment of women.
Two decades of gender empowerment
Standard Bank and Topco Media have worked together since 2011 to bring to life this powerful platform for diverse women leaders in South Africa offering masterclasses, networking, and a space to address important issues. The EmpowerHER series has grown into a movement for positive change, embraced by women in South Africa and across Africa. Over the last 20 years, South Africans have witnessed incredible progress in terms of gender equality in the country, across all sectors. However, it's clear that more work needs to be done and the Top Women Awards will continue to recognise and celebrate the leaders who are rising above the noise.
"I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our dedicated judges for their tireless commitment and the extra effort they put in to ensure the best results tonight,” says Ralf Fletcher, CEO, Topco Media & Communications.
Tshabalala added: "Under Mr Fletcher's leadership, Topco Media and Communications has truly become a leading voice in transformation. It has shaped opinions and created multiple platforms for dialogue and positive collaboration."
Spotlight on Dr Anna Mokgokong - Lifetime Achiever Award recipient
Top Women Lifetime Achiever 2023 sponsored by Standard Bank, Dr Anna Mokgokong
Dr Anna Mokgokong, a trailblazer in the business world, was honoured with the Lifetime Achiever Award, a recognition of her outstanding contributions to society. Her inspiring journey from overcoming overwhelming odds to establishing her presence in a male-dominated industry serves as a beacon of hope and resilience.
In her acceptance speech, Dr Mokgokong emphasised the need to continue dismantling barriers and working towards a society where everyone, regardless of gender or background, can thrive. She dedicated the award to freedom fighters, her family, and every woman who has dared to dream.
The event was further enriched by powerful speeches from dynamic speakers, each a leader in their organisations and industries:
- Sharon Taylor, chief people and culture officer at Standard Bank urged young women to carefully consider their life partners, emphasising their impact on one's journey. "Your choice of a life partner matters more than you know. I speak to all the young women who join the Standard Bank Graduate Programme every year about this."
- Alicia Eggington, vice president and general manager at Procter & Gamble South Africa celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of African women, highlighting their ability to overcome challenges. "The entrepreneurial spirit of African women is a force to be reckoned with. They've shown that no challenge is too great and no dream too ambitious despite the challenges we all face."
- Tasneem Motara, Gauteng MEC for Economic Development emphasised the power of women in driving societal transformation and called for continued efforts in addressing critical issues. "Women have the power to break free from the chains of oppression, to uplift their communities, and to drive societal transformation."
Guests were welcomed by the sounds of The Muses, a dynamic string quartet with a repertoire spanning from top 40 hits to African favourites, leaving the diverse audience mesmerised by their ability to infuse classical pop with excitement and originality.
BluBamBoo, a band unparalleled in the South African music industry, graced the evening with their professionalism, versatility, and exceptional musicianship. From current pop/dance hits to the smooth melodies of jazz and latin, electrifying disco beats, timeless rock & roll classics, and soulful R&B tunes, they left the audience captivated. Additionally, they paid homage to South African jazz and kwaito, demonstrating their ability to cater to diverse musical tastes.
As the evening concluded, the resounding message echoed – a united effort is needed to create a future where every woman can proudly say: 'This is my Africa. I belong. I can make a difference.'
An evening of this calibre is only possible with a host of partners, making it possible for over 700 guests to gather and celebrate excellence. The support of these partners does not go unnoticed: “We thank them for their unwavering commitment to our cause,” concludes Fletcher.
- Platinum partner, Standard Bank
- Gold partner, Procter & Gamble
- Category partners: Kia South Africa, Harmony Gold Mining Company, Sanofi, Sanbi, Wipro, Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sport & Recreation
- Host city partner: Gauteng Tourism Authority
- Strategic partners: Primedia Outdoor and the British Chamber of Business Southern Africa.
Leaders from across the continent and fellow South Africans are invited to share in the excitement and extend congratulations on social media to all the winners using #RiseAboveTheNoise #SBTopWomen and #SBTopWomenAwards.
Congratulations to the individuals and organisations, at the 20th Annual Standard Bank Top Women Awards, who were acknowledged for their commitment to strengthening the voice of women in the workplace and in our communities.
Top Women Business in Resources, Construction & Infrastructure Development 2023Winner: Sibanye-Stillwater
Highly commended: Tshepa Basadi
Top Women Business in ICT 2023Winner: Mint Group
Highly commended: Etion Connect
Top Women Business in Retail and E-Commerce 2023Winner: Takealot
Highly commended: The Foschini Group
Top Women Business in Health & Pharmaceuticals 2023 sponsored by SanofiWinner: ICAS
Highly commended: Biovac
Top Women Business in Biodiversity, Conservation & Environmental Management 2023 sponsored by SanbiWinner: Nestlé
Top Women Lifetime Achiever 2023 sponsored by Standard BankDr Anna Mokgokong
Top Women in Sport 2023 sponsored by Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sport & RecreationWinner: Kirsten Neuschäfer
Top Women Business in Public Service 2023Winner: NYDA (National Youth Development Agency)
Highly commended: FASSET SETA
Top Women Business in Corporate Citizenship 2023 sponsored by Harmony Gold Mining CompanyWinner: PepsiCo
Top Women Owned Business SMME 2023 sponsored by Gauteng Tourism AuthorityWinner: Green Door Environmental
Highly commended: Revio Pay
Top Women Business in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 2023 sponsored by Kia South AfricaWinner: In2Food
Top Women Business in Youth Development 2023Winner: Liquid Intelligent Technologies
Top Women Business in Skills Development 2023 sponsored by Harmony Gold Mining CompanyWinner: Dimension Data
Top Women Gender Icon Awards 2023FedEx
JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange)
British American Tobacco
Gauteng Convention & Events Bureau
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa
Top Women Business of the Year 2023 sponsored by Procter & GambleWinner: JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange)
Highly commended: Institute of Directors SA
Top Women in Professional & Support Services 2023Winner: Mandate Molefi, Nene Molefi
Highly commended: Nutun Group, Dineo Sekwele
Top Women in Property 2023Winner: Liberty Two Degrees, Amelia Beattie
Top Women Leader in STEM 2023 sponsored by WIPROWinner: Maponya 911, Simphiwe Mamvura
Highly commended: University of South Africa (UNISA), Prof. Usisipho Feleni
Top Women Leader in Public Sector 2023Winner: INSETA, Gugu Mkhize
Top Male Leader Driving Gender Empowerment 2023Winner: Smollan, Michael Power
Highly commended: MetroWired, Tinashe Nyahanana
Top Women Media Personality of the Year 2023Winner: Amanda du-Pont
Top Women Media Icon of the Year 2023Basetsana Kumalo
Top Women Young Achiever 2023 sponsored by Standard BankWinner: Sue Phalane Trading and Projects, Portia Phalane
Highly commended: Takealot, Dikeledi Sathekge
EmpowHER Entrepreneur sponsored by Standard BankWinner: Durban: Ntokozo 'Melo' Ntleko, Takkie Wash
Top Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 sponsored by Standard BankWinner: OMI Solutions, Robyn Mellett
Highly commended: Family Matters Fertility Centre, Dr Qinisile Cele
Top Women Business Leader of the Year 2023 sponsored by Standard BankWinner: BP Southern Africa, Taelo Mojapelo
Highly commended: Institute of Directors SA, Parmi Natesan