Safeera Kaka, Journalist, Radio Presenter, Foody
14 July 2016
Supporting Women’s Empowerment
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg, hundreds of women gathered at the opulent Image Lifestyle venue. The high tea was in support of the Light upon Light foundation , an organisation that focuses on the empowerment, development and improvement of the lives women. I was asked to be the programme director for the event, which I agreed to after a lengthy hiatus from public speaking. I was intrigued by the tagline for the event, which was women supporting women . The event took place on 24 September 2016, Heritage Day, which gave me time to personally reflect on a legacy I had inherited.
Undoubtedly, a big part of my legacy was that I was a descendant of strong, powerful, confident women. My grandmothers who were both young widows, still managed to look after their families. My mom, was an entrepreneur and worked extremely hard. I felt in order to honour that legacy I wanted to be part of an initiative where women support one another, and so I was extremely honoured to be a part of this event.
The keynote speaker for the event was Roshaan Misbach, head of the Light upon Light foundation. Roshan hosts workshops and symposiums all over the country focused on the social and spiritual nourishment of women. I have never met anyone who was not profoundly moved by her workshops and it was a real treat for the audience to hear her speak. Her presence was so serene and she truly is a beacon of light within our community.
Another notable speaker was the dynamic Mooniba Bayat who spoke about empowerment and development of women through direct selling mediums. She also shared her involvement with the NGO, Dignity Dreams, which aims to promote Washable Sanitary pads and Keeping Girls in School.
The event showcased the talents of Muslim women entrepreneurs. They were given the ability to set up pop-up stalls to showcase their wares. There was a big focus on fashion, where designers unveiled their latest collections on the runway. I jokingly dubbed this, ‘lifestyle fashion afternoon’.
Sharing the stage with me was comedy wunderkind Naadirah Chenia, who is currently making waves on social media. She introduced the audience to a host of characters and provide humorous social commentary and comedy relief. We both felt extremely glamourous dressed by Fatima Wadee Waja from modest wear house, Zamaan. She dressed us in her latest collection which was inspired by pop art, the designs were vivacious, colourful and sophisticated. Renowned makeup artist and hijab stylist, Tasneem Vally made me look chic and polished despite five frantic wardrobe changes throughout the event. Tasneem Vally also hosted a live makeup tutorial which the audience thoroughly enjoyed.
Some of the notable fashion features on the day were from Ajmaan, who showcased the world’s first pin free hijab conceptualised by designer and entrepreneur Salma Navlaki. The collection was introduced to the catwalk by the beautiful Tasnim Dangor, the brand ambassador of Ajman. Humsheera Kolia debuted her collection called Epiphany. Humsheera’s pieces emphasised individuality and originality. The collection was a fresh take on modest fashion and it was extremely well received by the audience. Bahiyya Couture showed off their avant garde line. Founder, Faheema Khan, introduced the bespoke abayas, woven with luxurious textures, elegant draping and subtle hints of shimmer. The exuberant Farzana from Ziva, closed the fashion show with her couture collection of vibrant and colourful spring/summer abaya and kaftan range. The intricate beading and patterned fabric pieces had the audience mesmerised.
As a programme director the task of overseeing an event like this was enormous. It also gave me insight into what goes on behind the scenes. You really get to see what happens when people are overwhelmed and stress and emotions run high. But overall I can honestly say, that at this event, I saw women supporting each other with encouragement and a helpful camaraderie that really spoke to what the day was all about. The two threads, that held everything together and led to a successful event were Dr Faheema Ismail and Dr Fatima Bhabha. They worked tirelessly to pull off a great event that was meticulously planned to the last detail. Dr Bhabha’s vision has empowered an empire of women to do more, see more and be more.
Journalist, Radio Presenter, Foody
Safeera Kaka is a journalist and radio presenter at cii Radio. She hosts a magazine show that covers a wide range of health, beauty, parenting, social issues and spiritual topics. She also has a keen interest in the culinary field and regularly shares her cooking adventures on her social media pages.
Chat with her on snapchat! Username: safeerak
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