This year, the College of Health Sciences (CHS) extended a warm invitation to its female employees, hosting an exclusive “High Tea with a Resilient Woman” to commemorate Women’s Month.
Taking place in the CHS’ Social Space on the Howard College campus, the event was a vibrant celebration, with attendees adorned in radiant smiles, elegant dresses, and stylish fascinators; creating an atmosphere brimming with high spirits and camaraderie.
Ms MaryAnn Francis, CHS Public Relations Manager, delivered a heartfelt welcome address, emphasising the importance of such events as a reminder of the collegial benefits of in-person interactions which have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also recited an excerpt from Maya Angelou’s renowned poem, Phenomenal Woman, encouraging colleagues to always present their best selves, not only in their professional roles but in all aspects of life.
The guest speaker for the occasion was the esteemed paediatric pulmonologist and Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at CHS, Professor Refiloe Masekela.
Masekela shared her inspirational journey to becoming a world-class scientist with the attendees. She emphasised the importance of seeking mentorship in one’s career growth, highlighting that mentors need not be from the same field, but can significantly impact one’s progress. She also stressed the need for resilience in academic medicine, acknowledging its challenges and the importance of perseverance.
Masekela also encouraged attendees to prioritise their families in their career pursuits, underscoring the significance of maintaining a balance between work and personal life.
Drawing from her own experiences, which included daring activities like climbing Mount Everest, skydiving, and shark diving, Masekela urged women to embrace calculated risks, saying rewards often follow bold endeavours. She encouraged attendees to defy societal norms and be self-assured in their abilities.
Drawing from her background as a former Drama student, she offered practical tips to enhance communication skills, including projecting one’s voice, exuding confidence, and effectively engaging with audiences. She also recommended reading Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise as a source of inspiration.
The event was a lively affair featuring music, dancing, and laughter. Attendees were also treated to a series of exciting lucky draws, resulting in numerous colleagues winning special prizes and gifts generously provided by various sponsors.
Closing the event with heartfelt gratitude, Ms Nombuso Dlamini, CHS Public Relations Officer, extended her thanks to all event sponsors and championed the spirit of #womandla, celebrating the power and strength of women.
Words and photographs: Lunga Memela