We all have women in our lives who have served as either role models or have been an inspiration. We all need people to look up to and take life tips from, and with that in mind, we as an organisation annually choose a ‘Woman of the Year’. We begin the process with a late-September meeting of the staff, the nominations are varied and the debates vigorous, never more so than in an era of amazing talents, achievements, excellence in diverse fields and women who have made a whole lot of positive change on the continent. Our ‘Woman of the Year’ represents not only her trailblazing efforts but more importantly, embodies the hopes and achievements of millions of extraordinary women who make a difference every day across our nations and continent. KOKO’S 2017 Woman Of The Year is South African actress, the Nubian Princess Nomzamo Nonzwakazi Mbatha. And she is the cover star of The KOKO Magazine (International) Special Edition.
At 27, the South African actress and model’s light shines so bright not just on the continent but globally. Beautiful and brainy, Nomzamo is re-defining the idea of celebrity. She is the first South African face of Neutrogena, L’Oréal Paris, Puma, Audi and recently she is now the United Nations ambassador. After rising to fame in 2012, Nomzamo’s onslaught started with hosting duties of MTV Music Awards Africa, All Access Mzansi, BET Africa’s A-List, BET’s 2017 International Awards and the International Glitz and Glam event for ‘Black Girls Rock’. She also landed the covers of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire SA. Yet, with all of her international appearances, Nomzamo remained true to her South African and African root, slaying in vibrant African designs and promoting African fashion industry.Her arguably biggest achievement however seems to be her amazing efforts championing refugee support in Africa with her UNHCR ambassadorial role. With her work helping at least 20.2 million displaced people in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and across the continent, Nomzamo has proven to not just be a celebrity but a humane humanitarian and one of the trailblazing African women supporting and helping Africans which is why we are hailing her as our 2017 ‘Woman of the Year’.
So, congratulations to those who are shortlisted and honoured this year. Please, let the success of these women inspire you. Make Africa and our local community a better place, not just for you, but for the future generations who aspire to your positions of success and influence. We’ll be keeping score.