Becoming Woman of Stature 2023

As academics we take on multiple roles, but the most important one for me has always been my role as a lecturer, because of the great responsibility I feel for their education in all aspects of life, not just curricula. The students’ vote for Department of Strategic Communication being the most caring in the Faculty is testimony to the pedagogy of care we practice. My gender-based violence (GBV) activism was bourne from my third-year students sharing their experiences of GBV in their assignment to develop a strategic conceptualisation for Matla a Bana, a NGO that campaigns against child rape and secondary abuse on 2013. That was the turning point in my career, listening to several students sharing their experiences of child rape and abuse for the first time. I became a Trustee of Matla a Bana in 2014, and also an advisory to TEARS Foundation. We published the report ‘The costly impact of GBV. Private sector perceptions and realities’ at the JSE in August 2022, and I appeared on several television and radio channels, including Carte Blanche, Gareth Cliff, SABC News, Newsroom Africa. I have also been a speaker at several organisations’ 16 days of activism events, including Legalwise, Grant Thornton, KPMG and Business Engage. I was also a speaker at the JSE for the GBVF Fund 1 and TEARS Foundation events in 2022. I also won the Dean’s award for outstanding academic citizenship in 2022. I was thus hopeful that I could win the award for the Woman of Stature in Education and Training, when I was nominated. After seeing the introductions of all the finalists in all ten categories, I felt honoured to be among such phenomenal women. It was a truly magical evening. There were live performances of finalists in the arts and culture category and the speakers were captivating and on point. The food was absolutely delicious and it was a star-studded event. Everybody was beautifully dressed and the atmosphere was electric. When it came to the announcement of the overall winner and all the category winners proceeded to the stage, it never even occurred to me that it could be me. I joined the stage ready to congratulate the winner. When the envelope was opened and the announcement came, I could have fallen over when I heard my name being read out! It was one of those moments I will never forget. I was even more surprised when I learned that I would receive a ticket to Dubai to attend the global Woman of Stature awards in September 2023. I am truly honoured, particularly because it means that my GBV work is being recognised and that there will be more platforms and channels for me to share the research findings and to raise awareness and gather more support for this important work. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and I am proudly representing UJ as I carry the title of Woman of Stature in South Africa 2023.


Prof Corné Davis

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