Melissa The Creative

Embrace creativity. Live purposefully.

A ladies-only launch at the Taj Cape Town

Last night I attended the launch of the Voices Club at the Taj in Cape Town, a club that will provide opportunities to bring women together to think, work, debate, discuss, and socialise. It’s an empowering movement for professional women to engage at a multitude of monthly events, sharing inspiring stories and enjoying incredible benefits – just for being female.

Some of the ladies networking at the Voices Club launch last night.

Some of the ladies networking at the Voices Club launch last night.

Voices will host speaker lunches, suppers, cocktail events, and business events that will showcase international speakers, all in the Western Cape (and rumoured to be launching in Johannesburg as well).

Voices Club brochure

Voices Club brochure

The women-only launch event was well attended with inspiring women sharing amazing journeys to success, successes that looked completely different for each #powerfemale (the evening’s official hashtag).

Some white, some red, or some rosé?

Some white, some red, or some rosé?


The popcorn table

The popcorn table

The event, catered with complimentary wine, canapés, and some (famous) bubbly was MC’d by Mel Jones, comedian and radio personality, and the line up of speakers was opened with 5fm radio presenter, Cath Grenfell, who shared an amazing story of entering a male-dominated industry with authenticity. “I decided to be myself. Women connected with me because I wasn’t fake,” she recalls.

The next speaker was South Africa’s first national slam poetry champion, award-winning performance poet and director, Koleka Putuma, who owned her newly acquired titles (Koleka graduated last year) while admitting that it still felt strange. The 22-year-old shared how she discovered her poetry gift by accident in high school, “I didn’t know I could write rhymes or poems until I was asked to,” she said.

Award-winning performance poet and director, Koleka Putuma

Award-winning performance poet and director, Koleka Putuma

Her discovery is a testament to how a lot of women come to realise their potential which is often not something we acknowledge or even recognise until it is recognised by others. “It’s taken me a long time to embrace my potential and where I’m at and where I’m headed,” said Koleka.

Following Koleka was a truly incredible individual, who will put every excuse you’ve ever made in life to shame. She is Georgina Harwood, 100 years old, who celebrated her recent birthday by skydiving. And if that’s not enough of a jaw-drop, she also went shark cage diving. Just in case you missed it – she’s 100 years old.

100-Year-old Georgina Harwood sharing some sage wisdom accompanied by 68-year-old daughter Sue Homer

100-Year-old Georgina Harwood sharing some sage wisdom accompanied by 68-year-old daughter Sue Homer

She opened her talk by informing us that she’s still in complete control of her kidney movements, and then went on to explain how limited career choices were for women back in her day (before women could even vote). “I could either be a nurse, a teacher, or a secretary,” said Georgina who added that women also had to choose between marriage and a career.

Georgina Harwood and daughter Sue Homer

Georgina Harwood and daughter Sue Homer

Georgina chose to be a housewife and carer all her life and this is the thought she left with us ladies: “I do hope that younger women will appreciate the need to look after their small children until they get to a certain age because women are carers. That’s why we are better managers.” Don’t you just love her?

Her daughter, 68-year-old Sue Homer, shared some of Georgina’s secrets: She’s 100% present all of the time, she exercises daily, swims every day in summer, sleeps regularly, and still does her own chores. She also teaches bridge every week which Georgina thinks is why she’s still got her wits about her.

There was an exception to the all-female line-up, bestselling author of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, who promptly apologised for being a man and shared a vision of a 50/50 gender split in every level of the working landscape.

Jonas Jonasson signing his books

Jonas Jonasson signing his books


The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Pip Goring, originally from South Africa, gave an inspiring, faith-filled recount of her determination to grow a vineyard in England after moving there with her husband many years ago. After 34 years of her dream being rejected or ignored because it ‘wasn’t done’ in England, the French came knocking to buy land to grow a vineyard and her prayers were answered when the Wiston Estate Winery was born.

She marvelled at the timing of the Voices Club launch, “I think we’re so ripe and ready for this,” and encouraged us girls to pursue whatever we want to accomplish. We then had a toast with Pip’s multi-award-winning 2011 Vintage Wiston Rosé which was used to name the world’s largest and most prestigious ship, the Brittania, by Her Royal Highness the Queen of England. Oh, and Keira Knightley was personally gifted a bottle to be opened after she gave birth.

Lynette Hundermark, co-founder and CPO of mobile and tech company Useful and Beautiful and self-described tech girl, spoke about how hard it was going back to work after having her first child – and the futility of working for a vision you’re not aligned with.

I also spotted News24’s Jennifer Sanasie, who is excited about the prospect of the Voices Club and who, incidentally, is Canadian, for all those out there who struggled to place her accent.

Presenter and producer at News24, Jennifer Sanasie

Presenter and producer at News24, Jennifer Sanasie

I was quite disappointed that the woman behind it all, Shelley Webb, did not speak as I’m sure the story behind the conception of the Voices Club is amazing in its own right, but I’m looking forward to hearing her story and hopefully sharing it with all of you soon.

It was a wonderful event, I signed up immediately (membership officially opens in May) and I suggest you check out the website to get in on this momentous venture. Hope to see you at a Voices event soon. Until next time.

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One comment on “A ladies-only launch at the Taj Cape Town

  1. Bronwyn
    May 12, 2015

    The Voices Club sounds amazing. What woman wouldn’t want to debate, discuss and socialise.

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