Inspirational South African Women

Women have always shaped the world around them by putting their beliefs and convictions into action. South African mothers, daughters and sisters have inspired us all throughout the years, here’s a list of South African women currently making a difference in the world around them.
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Written By: Nic Bowen


Pam Golding.

Arguably the face of the South African property industry, she is one of the country’s leading business people and a source of inspiration for young women and entrepreneurs.

She launched Pam Golding Properties in 1976 with virtually no capital, no industry experience or connections and only a single employee. Nowadays, Pam Golding Properties is associated and deals with clients from all around the globe, and currently employs more than 2500 property professionals.

Over the years she has built her business into a recognisable, global brand and has been credited with a variety of achievements including being named the Lifetime Achiever at the Ernst and Young World Entrepreneurship Awards.


Thuli Madonsela.

Standing as the Public Prosecutor since 2009, she holds firm to upholding the principles of constitutional democracy and good governance.

She has always had a strong sense of community since starting her career as a union organiser and teacher in the 1980s. In 1996 she gave up a scholarship at the prestigious Harvard University to become involved in South African politics, and was part of the team that drafted the current South African constitution.

She is also considered to be the brainchild behind the current Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities and is also involved with different international organisations which promote human rights.


Natalie Du Toit.

After competing at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in the swimming division, Natalie Du Toit lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in 2001. She didn’t let this hold her back, and even while recovering in hospital Natalie was planning her return to swimming.

Nearly two years after her accident she qualified for the 800m freestyle event at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the first time an amputee had ever competed in the finals of an international swimming event.

After the Commonwealth Games, Natalie would go on to become the first amputee to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games, where she was placed in the top 20 for the 10 000m marathon swim.

Since making her debut in the Paralympic Games in 2004, Natalie Du Toit has won a grand total of 16 gold medals and 3 silvers.


Basetsana Kumalo.

She had her beginnings competing in beauty contests and won the 1990 Miss Soweto and Miss Black South Africa when she was only 16.

In 1994 she won the Miss South Africa pageant, and was crowned First Princess at the Miss World Competition that same year.

Since moving away from pageantry she has been involved as a UNICEF spokeswoman and has also been recognised for her work with local and global philanthropic organisations.

She also has a variety of local business ventures under her belt, including her own clothing and sunglass range currently being sold through Foschini. She is also involved with a local television production company producing well-known shows like Top Billing and Pasella.


Ina Paarman.

The most recognised name in the South African cooking industry, Ina Paarman’s passion for cooking was influenced by her own mother and grandmother. She started out with a small cooking school in her garage, and today she is the owner of the multimillion rand Ina Paarman food brand.

She is the author of multiple cookbooks, has her own range of food products and continues to oversee a series of cooking classes ranging from beginner to professional.