On 9 August 1956, 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated in 1994, and a re-enactment of the march was staged for the 50th anniversary in 2006.
To celebrate Women’s Day 2016, we asked five of USB-ED’s own powerful and inspiring women to share what motivates them, the biggest life lessons learnt, advice to their younger selves, and their definitions of leadership.
Today we introduce our second inspirational woman, Dr Diane Bell, Director: Academic Affairs at USB-ED.
Who do you look up to that inspires you most?
This is a difficult question to answer, as I am inspired by so many people. Upon reflection, I think the common trait would be that they give of themselves in service of others. One such person is Mrs Reinette Popplestone who is Head of the Disability Unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She was born blind, got married, had a sighted child and adopted a child with cerebral palsy who is also blind. The child is 12 years of age, cannot talk or see, and wears nappies. Reinette also has cancer and has been going for chemo.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learnt to date?
To always see the positive side of life; to be aware that others may be worse off than yourself; to be grateful; and to be of service to others.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
Don’t take life so seriously or stress and worry so much. Life will happen!
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership to me means that you should set the example, be of service to others, show the way and encourage and develop others.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Choosing only one thing is so difficult… I would choose for each person to have at least one substantial meal a day. There is far too much hunger and suffering in this world.
What does true beauty mean to you?
I believe in the saying that there is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others. It’s also not about the colour of your hair or eyes, but about your principals and moral compass and who you are as a human being.