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Dr Ramphele speaks at UJ Women’s Day, calls for end to gender-based violence

​​The University of Johannesburg (UJ) yesterday, Wednesday 7 August 2013, was joined by a panel of esteemed medical experts and female icons at the Country Club Johannesburg for the annual Women’s Day celebratory event.​

This year the event was hosted by the UJ Library under the guidance of Executive Director: Library and Information Services Dr Rookaya Bawa, and featured a keynote address by esteemed medical doctor, academic, former political activist and co-founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, and now the leader of the newly-formed Agang, Dr Mamphela Ramphele. The conversation, titled “Beauty is Skin Deep”, included panelists Dr Reza Mia, Aesthetic Doctor and an expert on Botox, Dermal Fillers and Chemical Peels; Dr Ridwan Mia, well-known Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon responsible for the skin transplant performed on three-year-old Isabella “Pippie” Kruger; Dr Carol Benn, a special surgeon and head of the Helen Joseph Breast Unit and the Netcare Breast Care Centre of Excellence in Johannesburg; Professor Harry Seftel, well-known healthcare practitioner, author and radio personality, as well as former Miss South Africa and UJ alumnus, Bokang Montjane. The panel discussion was facilitated by South African radio and television personality and businesswoman, Michelle Constant.​


Dialogue focused on women, outer beauty and the beauty within, with Dr Ridwan Mia emphasising that reconstructive surgery “is as much about inner beauty as it is about outer beauty”. The panel also addressed the issue of women, femininity and power, and if the three can co-exist – whether women become harder on themselves as they become more powerful, or if the world becomes harder on them. “You can be a beautiful, feminine woman and still be powerful,” was Dr Ridwan’s response. Following the panel discussion, Dr Ramphele shared her experiences of being a woman both during the struggle and now, when women still fight for equality, human rights, freedom and dignity in many aspects of their life. “South Africa has more women in parliament that any other country in Africa, with the exception of Rwanda, and more women in cabinet than any other country in the world, again except Rwanda and Scandinavia. Yet we have a pandemic of gender-based violence in this country. Why? Because we didn’t do the work that enabled me to live with strong women, and for strong women to bring up strong men; for women to stand up,” Dr Ramphele told the guests.


Speaking on the difficulties South Africans, and mostly women face in today’s democracy, Dr Ramphele encouraged women to stand up for what they believe; to stop complaining about their struggles and take action. “We are at risk of losing our moral high ground and our moral integrity because we have not lived the values that are embedded in our democracy. Beautiful people are people who act out the values that they hold. It is in the energy of mobilisation that we will become the real mbokotos; the real boulders our grandmothers and mothers were in 1956,” she added.​ Also in attendance at the event was former first lady of South Africa, Zanele Mbeki and Vice-Chancellor Prof Ihron Rensburg.




Dr Mamphela Ramphele –


Dr Reza Mia –

Dr Ridwan Mia –


Prof Ihron Rensburg And Dr Mamphela Ramphele
​​​University of Johannesburg (UJ)
​Vice-Chancellor Prof Ihron Rensburg,
​and politician, former anti-apartheid
​activist, medical doctor, academic and
​businesswoman Dr Mamphela Ramphele.​
Women's Day Panelists
​to right: Dr Carol Benn, Dr Ridwan Mia,
​Dr Reza Mia, Prof Harry Seftel, Bokang​
​Montjane and Michelle Constant.
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