Making HERStory: Shared Interest at 26

On September 9, Shared Interest held its 26th Anniversary Awards Gala—virtually—to celebrate the power of women in Southern Africa. The event honored two South Africans— Sophia Williams de Bruyn and Felicia Mabuza-Suttle—who have connected generations of women across continents and around the world. It was graciously sponsored by the Capital Group, Calvert - EatonVance, Synergos, Trillium Asset

Management, and Mary Zients, and co-chaired by Stanley, Marion, Paul, Sara, Edward and Sharon Bergman, Susan and Regan Pritzker, and Tim Smith. It featured a moving tribute to anti-apartheid heroine Jennifer Davis, performances by Africa-USA Unity Ensemble, and a Freedom After-Party with tunes spun by DJ AQ. More than 4800 viewers watched.

Harry Belafonte welcomed guests, “celebrating the heroism and the courage of the women of South and Southern Africa. They have always been constant in their commitment to the liberation of people in the struggle.”

Activist to this day, and the last living leader of the 1956 anti-apartheid women’s march on Pretoria, Ms. Williams de Bruyn received the “Imbokodo” award from Black Lives Matter Co-Creator Alicia Garza. She affirmed, “Thisi s my message of solidarity–to urge the current generation of women to be resolute about our new struggles and to guard the gains made by the generations that preceded [them] …The younger generation needs…to pick up the baton and lead.”

Talk show host, activist and entrepreneur Felicia Mabuza Suttle received the Ubuntu Award from MC and media personality Makho Ndlovu “in the spirit of humility and humanity…that exudes Nelson Mandela.” She concluded: “Ubuntu is what we need today…as we confront our two biggest pandemics – COVID and racism. To borrow from Congressman John Lewis, let us make good trouble… necessary trouble, right the wrongs that plague our world.”

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UNWomen, noted that women in Southern Africa “have been shouldering the fight against the virus, addressing food insecurity, addressing gender-based violence, and…fighting to save their businesses.”

Former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa, Graça Machel, spoke to women’s

role in building a transformative economy. She stated, “It is time to turn the page.”

Actor, activist and Shared Interest Advisor Danny Glover concluded the event by urging us “to continue the march with Southern Africa’s women and Shared Interest on what Nelson Mandela called the Long Walk to Freedom.”

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