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Brilliant Mabhena , Mbalenhle Gcaba & Zippy M


IKONS: Brilliant, Mbalenhle & Zippy

Three women changing the way we view the world


Mar 29, 2021, 07:05 AM

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Brilliant Mabhena , Mbalenhle Gcaba & Zippy M
Throughout the month and in honour of International Women's Day we will be sharing 100 stories from 100 African women as part of IKON 100. Today, we speak to Mbalenhle Gcaba, Zippy Mucheke & Brilliant Mabhena

These women are from different countries, backgrounds and professions but what binds YAZA, them, and you together is the fact that we all fundamentally believe that when women support women great things happen. 

They say the future is female, we say the future is now.

Brilliant Mabhena

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a good childhood. I had everything I wanted, great family, went to the best schools and I almost got everything that I always wanted. But all that changed when I was in the fourth grade and I learnt that my parents had filed for divorce. Suddenly, the walls of security I had around me felt like they were gone. 

However, I’ve grown up since then and come to realise that I cannot keep burying myself in the problems I face each day and not do anything about it. Having seen my mum go through so many hardships as she tried to put everything together for her family as a single woman, that’s where I learnt the strength of a Black woman. You fall sometimes, but you have to GET UP. All it takes is hard work and that is what I appreciate the most about being a Black woman. My dad still did his part and I respect him for that too.
Brilliant Mabhena: Zimbabwe
As a young Black woman I’ve also not had it easy. Been dumped, been told I wasn’t good enough, been denied great opportunities that some of my peers got because they are men. However, I’ve put all that behind me and decided to forge my own way forward. No one will do it for me, I have to do it myself because it starts with me. I’m still learning as each day goes by, but I’m proud of who I have become and what I have achieved in life. Issues and challenges facing Black women like myself do not end, but we STILL RISE. 
"I’m still learning as each day goes by, but I’m proud of who I have become and what I have achieved in life."
The biggest challenge however, is that there’s an ever widening gap between the HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. My wish for the younger generation of Black women is that more education and employment opportunities be afforded to them; especially in marginalized areas. More resources should be availed to them, so that they may be able to advance themselves as well.

Let us be; allow us to grow and flourish without societal standards becoming pressures that we seek to run away from all the time. We are human too.

Brilliant Mabhena is a Lifestyle and Entertainment Associate at Africa New Media Group

Mbalenhle Gcaba 

When you hear the words "Black African woman" immediately you think of a woman who does not have it easy in life. Society has this fixed mindset of how African women are to act or live their lives. The continent is very rich and diverse and so are the women. Our lived experiences and pasts allow us to be our own people. As Africans we have stories to tell and the fact that the world is watching, gives us a bigger platform. 

Yes being a Black African woman means I have to work 2X harder than the next person but the fact that I am still standing means there is something right that I am doing. 

So being an African woman means I have the privilege of being whoever I want to be, in a world that seeks to dictate how one should conduct themselves or how they should wear their hair.
Mbalenhle Gcaba: South Africa
I hope to achieve a lot in 2021. Getting a driver's license would be a good first step! Furthering my studies is also one of my biggest desires. Most importantly creating multiple sources of income. 

I would want the next generation of women to know their worth. Having dreams and big goals should be enough to secure a better life for themselves. Having to work twice as hard as the other women and men should not deter them from achieving their goals. 

Also I would like the future generation of women to not compete with each other. It's already tough enough for us, imagine if we had to become each other's enemies. Uplift one another and fix each other's crowns instead of letting jealousy consume us. 

Completing my studies was one of my proudest moments. I also am grateful to be able to provide for my family. 
"Having dreams and big goals should be enough to secure a better life for themselves."
The biggest thing l would like to change is the stigmatisation of Black women who are strong, doing extremely well for themselves. I would change Black on Black hate. Black people should be able to do something without having to look over their shoulders for their enemies, disguised as friends. 

First and foremost l am thankful for my daughter! I am grateful for family and the friends that help me push so that I can achieve all my dreams. I am grateful for the opportunities that are there, most importantly I am grateful that I am able to access those opportunities.

Mbalenhle Gcaba is a writer

Zippy Mucheke

Being a Black African woman means much more than an afro- hair, melanin, and the Black girl magic. 

It’s having to fight for equal pay, economic power, and a seat at the table every day. Over the past years, women have been unfortunately and disproportionately burdened by work and poverty, bearing the main share of the burden with limited decision-making powers, excluded from the political, economic, and social power structures.
Zippie Mucheke: Kenya
From something as simple as having the right to inherit property and open bank accounts or the freedom to access credit or capital without consent from their husbands? These are the sad harsh reality that comes in our minds when we talk about African women and money matters. Well, let me take you down the memory lane of struggle lest we take the financial freedom we enjoy now for granted.

In the 1990s the banking and financial sector in Kenya operated under the archaic Napoleonic law where women, children, and lunatics were put in the same category. Women had no contractual rights, yet they played a big role in nation-building. 

In 1961, Barclays now ABSA abolished the marriage bar which meant that women could remain in the post, with additional benefits such as maternity leave, albeit unpaid. On marriage, women were expected to resign, a system is known as the ‘Marriage Bar.’ 

Not only in Africa but many Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, a woman requires a husband or male family member to co-sign a loan. Similarly, daughters do not have equal inheritance rights to the property from their parents.
"The Black African woman is demanding gender lens investing, policy reforms, customized financial products, and equal access to pay and opportunities because time has been way up."
So what happens when women cannot enjoy their financial rights? They are vulnerable to income shocks especially now in a pandemic. If women cannot borrow, they cannot invest in their future. A gender-based financial exclusion means that the developing world operates at massive under-capacity.

Today, the story of the African woman is changing. The Back African woman is demanding gender lens investing, policy reforms, customized financial products, and equal access to pay and opportunities because time has been way up.

The Black African Woman needs to know that she matters to overcome the countless barriers that may threaten to thwart their aspirations for success.
We join other girl-centered organizations in empowering the Black African woman in all aspects of her life. Hesabu Dada Initiatives seeks to reach women & girls in vulnerable communities through financial education.

Zippy Mucheke is the founder of Hesabu Dada Initiative