The 7th Mbokodo Women in the Arts Awards were hosted in Durban, KwaZulu Natal last week – a star-studded affair, honouring the excellence of women in the arts, media, entertainment and culture space, encompassing various disciplines including literature, film, music, poetry and dance.

These awards are the brainchild of UNICEF SA Advocate, philanthropist and business woman Carol Bouwer, who was inspired by many women in the arts who had excelled but were often overlooked for recognition.

Inside the 7th Mbokodo Awards

Carol Bouwer and Mbokodo Award recipients

Inside 7th Mbokodo Awards

The journey of the Mbokodo Awards has been an exhilarating and thrilling one for us as an entity and for me as a woman. It is especially important that on the year that women’s voices are being silenced through violent attacks, we host these awards during this month and we celebrate women who continue to thrive and soar despite what is stacked against them,’ Bouwer told Marie Claire.

Our selection panel, chaired by celebrated broadcaster Shado Twala is one filled with enthusiasm for the catalytic role the arts sector is playing in national dialogue on intimate femicide and all other abuses against women, and we say to these women – you are more than enough and your work is important, keep creating! I am also proud that this year we will take the awards to Durban, and host them on the side lines of the Kwa Zulu Natal Women Empowerment Summit. This speaks to our growth and our continued effort to impact the lives of women inside and outside the arts,’ she added.

Highlights from the 2018 Mbokodo Awards

7th Mbokodo Awards host Bridget Masinga

The winners of this year’s Mbokodo’s include M-Net’s Yolisa Phahle who was recognised for her pioneering in the media, singer and songwriter Zoe Modiga and Nomzamo Mbatha.

Inside the 7th Mbokodo Awards

Singer & Songwriter Zoë Modiga

Nomzamo Mbatha sent a video message acknowledging her win:

MBOKODO AWARD WINNER NOMZAMO MBATHA decided to define the words: ‘No mountain too high…’ Discovering that she had won, she bridged the distance between New York City and Durban using technology. My angel you are the epitome of a life lived with purpose. The audience appreciated how you respected them by not only asking your beautiful and kind Mom to spend time with us but you also sent a message that reminded us that you are always present and you carry your people in your heart, no matter where you are. I also want to commend your dynamic agent who is proving to be one of the best the country has seen! @pumzano 🙏🏽💖🌺 Mbokodo Magic is your lot and you both display that with purpose and warmth. The country loves you Sisi and we pride ourselves with young women like you! All my love angel @nomzamo_m ❤👑

A post shared by Carol Bouwer (@bouwercarol) on

Veteran actress Mary Twala was bestowed with the lifetime achievement award and longtime adjudicator of the awards Shado Twala was given a special award. The minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, delivered a moving speech at the awards in which she highlighted the plight of women and the need for a safer world for women. The evening included performances by Brenda Mtambo and Zoe Modiga, who thrilled the Durban crowd, made up of women from business, government and the arts industries.

Inside 7th Mbokodo Awards

Veteran actress Mary Twala

Highlights from 2018 Mbokodo Awards

The Awards, which celebrate women in the arts were supported by the National Lotteries Commission, the Province of KwaZulu Natal Provincial Government and KwaZulu Natal Tourism. UNICEF, make up brand Lancôme, Ellipsis Network LLC, Graham Beck and Steenberg Vineyards were also sponsors of the event. The event was organised by Carol Bouwer Productions.