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Women lead NAC into the future

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton once said that “women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world”. This, of course, is no understatement considering how women in all fields and spheres of politics and economics, have shaped the world and contributed to our betterment, growth and overall wellbeing.

This past Women’s Month gave us an opportunity to reflect and take stock of our progress in terms of gender empowerment.

As a national government agency that promotes and contributes to socioeconomic development and empowerment, the NAC is at the forefront of tapping into the reservoir of excellence offered by South African women, in particular, those serving the organisation in leading roles. Three individuals who are worth mentioning as shining examples of leading women in the public service are NAC Deputy Chairperson Jabu Dlamini, Council member Erica Elk, and Arts Development Manager Julie Diphofa.

With qualifications in the humanities, education and project management, and having worked for the Department of Education for a number of years, Dlamini brings a passion for education, social development and creativity to the NAC Board, which she was appointed to in 2016. Given her vast experience and knowledge, there is no doubt that Dlamini’s influence on the NAC will be felt for years to come.

“Elk’s journey to becoming an NAC Council member is interesting by all accounts. A former studio assistant to world-renowned artist William Kentridge, Elk is a combination of practitioner, implementer and strategist and has won numerous awards in her own right for her contributions to the arts and creative business development. With qualifications in Fine Art from Wits University and the University of Cape Town her experience includes working as a media officer for the National Land Committee and project managing the masterplanning team for the Cradle of Humankind. In addition to her role as an NAC Council member, she also sits on the board of One City Many Cultures Festival; and is the founding executive director of the Craft and Design Institute.”

An avid reader and sports enthusiast, Diphofa currently performs one of the toughest roles at the NAC, that of Arts Development Manager, or, to put it simply, the person responsible for coordinating the NAC’s grant making function and implementing strategies related to that function. With 14 years’ experience at the senior management level, it’s no surprise that Diphofa has previously served as acting chief executive of the NAC. She lists her major accomplishments at the NAC as negotiating for the continuation of the South African-Norwegian Music programme, and leading the successful bid of the 2009 IFACCA World Summit on Arts and Culture.

“It is of critical importance to recognise the vast pool of talent we are currently blessed with at the NAC, especially those women in decision making roles who are leading the organisation to greater heights. It gives me great confidence and instills immense pride in me to be working with such quality individuals,” says NAC CEO Rosemary Mangope.

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