The Mandela School celebrates #InternationalWomensDay

8 Mar 2019 - 12:45

The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance celebrates #InternationalWomensDay under the theme “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” and profiles some of the women who serve at the Mandela School. 

Dr Carla Lever

“My new area at the Mandela School is research into SA political spectacle and protest. I’m really excited about having time to think and write about it! Basically I combine an academic background in performance theory with my interest in politics to look carefully at the embodied aspect of spectacle: how South Africans use and mobilize their bodies to both hold historic memories and enact very clear contemporary activism. 

In particular, I’m involved in a project with a Georgetown University Professor on statue-based protest in the US and South Africa, using the play “The Fall” as a point of engagement. I’m also really enjoying getting back into lecturing! I'm currently teaching a course I designed on contemporary and historical SA protest to a group of American exchange undergraduate students.  

This International Women's Day I'm thinking a lot about the responsibilities and privileges of being a woman in academia. In 2019, too many womxn are still unable to make their voices and opinions heard, whether in business meetings, judicial hearings or personal relationships. I commit to using readings and primary source materials from brilliant womxn in my research and teaching and, where that isn't possible, opening a discussion around why that might be the case. I commit to ensuring my research always considers gendered and intersectional concerns. Most importantly, I commit to questioning and broadening the term 'women'. 

There is much work to be done. Like many, I am persistently referred to as 'Miss', even when people know my title is 'Dr'. It will surprise few that I have been asked in job interviews whether I plan on having children. Like too many, I have experienced harassment, both personally and professionally. This is nothing compared to the daily lived realities for millions of SA womxn. Despite this, I am excited to be writing and teaching in a time when we are speaking up and showing our strength!”

Maria Beaunoir is the Mandela School's Admin Assistant, and she shares her inspirations this #InternationalWomensDay

“What inspires me? Playing with my 5yr old. 
It teaches me so many things…how to let go, how to laugh, and most importantly, how to be in the moment. As grownups, we are always so bogged down with planning every moment of the day, rushing to meetings, catching those deadlines. We forget to stop, look, feel and cherish where we are, what we are doing, who we are with. And the most important lesson he has taught me? Every day is an opportunity to learn something new…”

Mandela School's Mabel Sithole, currently works in the Building Bridges programme: 

Mabel Sithole is the Building Bridges Programme Officer at The Mandela School. She is pursuing a PhD in Political Studies at the University of Cape Town. She has over 10 years’ experience working in human rights, public policy and development in Africa. Mabel obtained her first degree in Politics and Administration from the University of Zimbabwe in 2007 where she also served as president of the Model United Nations Club. She obtained an Honours Degree in Public Policy (with distinction for her thesis which analysed public opinion about the role of the police in protecting refugee rights in South Africa) and a Masters in Development Studies, from the University of Cape Town.

She worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross as the Communications Officer for the Regional Delegation of Southern Africa, and Skillshare International as the Regional Programme Officer for Southern Africa. She has contributed to studies assessing the implementation of affirmative action and employment equity policies in South Africa’s tertiary education sector. Her current research interests focus on leadership and governance in Southern Africa. She is an established musician (also known as Mae Sithole) and recipient of the ConcertsSA 2018 Mobility Fund, and was also named one of Cape Town’s Top 5 Innovative Female Musicians Innovators by Of Africa Magazine.

Mandela School's Wendy Hendricks

“Is responsible for the Events and Logistics for the Mandela School. Prior to working at the Mandela School, she worked as the Personal Assistant for the Chief Executive Officer of the Western Cape Provincial Development Council, a public entity facilitating socio-economic development among stakeholders in the Western Cape. Prior to that she was the Personal Assistant to the Executive Director of the Urban Foundation. She also worked at SALDRU, UCT at various times, working on amongst others, the Carnegie conference: ‘Towards C3 – Strategies to Overcome Poverty and Inequality”.