Born in the east of Johannesburg in Ekurhuleni, Smangele Nicolette Ngwenya is a self-motivated, systematic and confident woman.
Having grown up in her grandmother’s green shack, she sums up her background as colorful and supportive.
This background inspired her to start the WomenYouAreEnough organization. Through her organization, Smangele hopes to empower and inspire women.
What was the motivation behind your organization?
I’ve always wanted to be involved in meaningful & fruitful things. My prayer has always been, God helps me to give more than I can receive. Being raised by a giving grandmother made it natural to me.
When the organization started, I only wanted to help take a disadvantaged girl child to school. Then suddenly, I also wanted to collect sanitary towels so that no girl child could miss class because of something that occurs involuntarily.
The organization has since become a movement with a hashtag #WomanYouAreEnough which reminds all women that it’s okay to be imperfect, that it’s okay to help other women without taking the glory once they reach to the top. WomanYouAreEnough means that when Queens(Women) gather, wonderful things happen.
What does confidence mean to you?
Personally, confidence means complimenting another woman’s beauty & understating that their beauty is not in the absence of mine. It means recognizing the strength of another woman & knowing but also knowing that I too am enough.
So confidence is about being happy in my own skin and also appreciating the strength of those around me.
Has your confidence ever been compromised?
Women have often compromised my confidence every now and then. I have had a very strong personality which has often mistaken for being a miss know it all.
I was teased for my body weight and facial features. However, despite all these negative comments, I have never felt any less confident. In fact, I have been fortunate enough to attract confident women who see each other as Queens and not threats.
What is your mantra?
My daily mantra is reminding myself that I am enough. Even on my worst day, I wake up and dress up knowing that without any reasonable doubt, I am enough. I don’t have to force what’s meant for me as it will find me.
Are women empowered today?
I have to say that women empowerment is definitely on the rise. Especially with the use of social media, we are seeing more women in the corporate world holding higher positions. Different organizations and movements are making sure that women empowerment is on the rise.
WomanYouAreEnough is one of those. We have different empowerment programs such as the matric dance campaign where we dress up disadvantaged girls for their big day. We also host seminars and share personal struggles to continue encouraging women. Therefore, females are inspired by everything we’ve done.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
My late grandmother Salamina Mafoka Molakeng Mimi truly inspires me. Though life has dealt with her, she has remained hopeful. My mother NoNhlanhla Ngwenya who from the age 18 has worked double shifts at various restaurants so that we can have a normal childhood also inspires me.
Finally, every other female who decided to go for it even though their background didn’t allow them also greatly inspires me.
Does overconfidence cause more problems than under-confidence?
There’s nothing like being overconfident according to me. So, I’d say there are more problems caused by being under confident. Society still tries to tame females.
They tell us we are too old, too confident or too much. At the end of the day, these things make us doubt ourselves & we end up in a certain box hating each other as females.
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