“I am struck by Florrie Daniels’ life-work. Her fearless determination made me think of the women of my generation.”
This was the opening sentence of the last surviving leader from the 1956 Women’s March, Mrs Sophia Williams De Bruyn, at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Women in Community Engagement Empowerment Projects (WiCEEP) women’s event, held on Tuesday 25 August 2015, which honoured and recognised Mrs Florrie Daniels, a community builder of over 60 years.
“We wanted to reflect and celebrate women within the history of South Africa who have done great things,” said Ms Ernestine Meyer-Adams, Community Engagement Manager at UJ. The event directed by UJ Somatology lecturer and Mrs SA Finalist 2015, Dr Karien Henrico, paid tribute to women leadership in communities. The room was filled to capacity from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as other Community Engagement (CE) stakeholders.
“The University is encouraged by initiatives that consider people and communities more than just sites and subjects of academic research. What you do in your space is what counts,” said Meyer-Adams.
As an annual tradition of the event, ten women were presented with pendants designed by the University’s 3rd year Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) Jewellery Design students, for making an impactful contribution in their surroundings. The students’ designs were inspired by leadership. The recipients were: Mrs Sophia Williams de Bruyn; Mrs Florrie Daniels; Prof Kim Berman, (FADA); Prof Natasha Erlank (Humanities); Ms Stephanie Venter (Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences); Dr Hope Sibaya, Twi-light Homes; Mrs Susan Elder, Can Survive; Mrs Venessa Damons; Ms Nobantu Nxumalo (SARL); and Mrs Adri De Beer.
UJ researchers from the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation (CERT) will also be documenting Mrs Daniels’ community work for the Community Library archives under the initiative The Legacy Project.
Florrie Daniels started out recycling clothes and blankets for the needy in Westbury. She was highly involved in the community struggles of the 1980s and offered constant awareness, playing a role in uniting people around the working class community. Now 89, she continues to be a beacon of positive influence in the community. She gave some simple advice: “I hope more people will also stand up and do something for one or two people. The Heavenly Father will reward you with a long life.”