Esteemed Board Members, 2013 recipient Dr John Kani, the Alumni, long standing friends of SAWIP, Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening.  I lost my voice a few days ago, please bear with me.

I am standing before you this evening to receive and accept this unexpected recognition with great humility, and appreciation.  What a great honor to follow in the footsteps of South Africa’s esteemed icon’s, Advocate George Bizos, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Dr John Kani and Dr Imtiaz Sooliman whose respective, exemplary and selfless contribution to our Nation and elsewhere is legendary and make us proud.

What a privilege to be the second woman to receive the Award.  I don’t think anyone would disagree that there is a deficit of both Leadership and Service worldwide, yet these principles are desperately needed given the enormous challenges that face humanity with respect to systemic conflict, unprecedented inequality and social injustices in many societies.  They are the cornerstone of nation building, human civilization and progress.

The program therefore is fulfilling an important role in developing future ethical leaders who can own their authority to transform society.  If I were to turn back the clock, this is one of the programs I would have loved to be part of.  The world needs people who are prepared to believe in something, who are prepared to fight for what is right, people who are acutely aware and realize that making a contribution to leave the world better than we found it starts with each and every one of us, it is our common and shared responsibility to become vessels of honour, to be courageous and to inspire others to their greatness and integrity.  To create personal journeys without boundaries for future generations, and to be beacons of light for others.

Ultimately what enriches the world and humanity is the content of our character and our service to others.  It is to use our unique gifts to serve the world and leave it much better for future generations. I have been blessed to use my life to touch lives, to be a light of hope and inspiration of what women are capable of, to lead women to the highest vision possible for themselves.

Thank you for this Award, it encourages me to continue to be a beacon of light and hope and live true to my African name ‘NOMATHEMBA’ which means ‘HOPE’

Wendy Luhabe

Social Entrepreneur / Economic Activist.

October 2016