By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Year after year, people gather in numbers to witness the recognition of excellence where individuals from various spheres of life are honored for their contribution to the society and their achievements, this year was no exception!

Amidst pomp and circumstance, the Finite Women Appreciation Awards (FWAA) took place at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Center this past Saturday. Months of nominations and voting for contestants led up to the eagerly awaited day of celebrating women.

FWAA pays tribute to the dedication, hard work, and commitment to raising the bar of excellence annually to women who distinguished themselves in their domains. 

This past weekend witnessed yet another installment of the FWAA that unfolded with a mix of culinary delights, rhythmic melodies, and cutting-edge fashion.

Accomplished individuals were drawn from the 10 categories including: Agriculture, Arts, Culture and Entertainment, Fashion and Beauty, Health Services, Hospitality, Leadership and Development, Manufacturing, Media, Safety and Security, and lastly Teaching, Training and Advocacy.

The rhythm of the evening was set to light by the lively and energetic performances by the acclaimed musicians and artists. 

Dedicated attendee and supporter of the FWAA, Mofumahali Seitebatso Seeiso said that they are grateful to women who distinguish themselves saying they are flying the flag very high.

Mofumahali emphasized the significance of women, highlighting their role in having given birth to soldiers, doctors, engineers, and numerous other professions.

She told the contestants that she is very proud of them.

The South Africa’s businesswoman, author, music executive personnel and reality TV personality, Ayanda Ncwane, a special guest commended the founders of the FWAA saying that they are “re-adjusting the crowns of the women, you are re-affirming what they already know, the sleepless hours, the sacrifices that they do, others they lose family time, others they lose friends, others they lose themselves while building those platforms, careers and those businesses”.

“That, my friends [Tšepang and Ntšepeng] is an honor and you deserve a Nobel prize yourselves,” she affirmed.

Ncwane told the participants that “receiving an honor, an award is only the beginning, not the end. It says to you, you are being challenged to do better, that is what the award stands for or a certificate. It says, “you have been thanked for what you did yesterday, but now, you have a bigger challenge to do even better”.

She challenged saying, next year they will be on the awards sponsoring, cheering and congratulating fellow women imploring them to inspire other women.

She continued: “So receiving an honorary or award you put yourself in a position of leadership. What is leadership, leadership says, I am going to do it even if my body doesn’t allow me, even if I am tired, I am going to do it even if somebody is opposing me, I am going to do it even if they don’t believe in me, I am going to do it”.

The prominent SA businesswoman and reality TV personality told the contestants that they should tell themselves that they are leaders. She said each time they are given an opportunity they should excel.

“You go all in. It doesn’t matter how small the platform is. When someone says come and do something for me, even if you are not paid, you do it with excellence because when you are sleeping and have an idea and you write it down, at least 10 people around the world are having the same idea,” she emphasized.

She said they should endeavor to finish off what they start, and focus on that and refine it. She said chasing too many things “will thin your potential and prevent you from having an opportunity to leave a legacy and make an impact”.

“Each and everyone came to this world and there is one goal, to make an impact. You are on [departure] tomorrow but your name and smell and your footsteps are still alive,” she underscored.

The initiators of the FWAA, a subsidiary of Finite Magazine under which the awards were initiated, ‘Mamashiya Ntšepeng Tšita-Tikiso and Hon ‘Matlhohonolofatso Tšepang Tšita-Mosena (who are also co-founders of BAM Group of Companies), thanked Mofumahali Seeiso for having traversed the awards journey from when it began saying, “she is our mother, who we love dearly”.

Chronicling the journey of how the FWAA came into being, businesswoman and executive, Tikiso said these awards were borne out of the realization that there are women out there who are making outstanding strides in their work.

“We then thought, women really don’t need much, they need to be shown appreciation and we said so that they can feel that they are doing something, it is important that they are recognized,” she said.

She thanked the industry that has always landed a supporting hand to the awards and the SMEs (small, medium, and micro enterprises). “Our SMMEs in the country have been very supportive,” she stressed, appealing to the corporations to support and recognize the SMMEs adding that they support the corporations. She said the prizes are courtesy of the SMMEs that had sponsored the event.

The installment for this year was preceded by the business seminar for the women in business, which also gave women a platform to share nuggets of wisdom and network.

For her part, businesswoman who doubles as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Mosena appreciated the sponsors, organizers and participants.

“Your effort really humbles us; it says we are doing something great and we hope to grow greater with you tomorrow,” she said.

The inaugural edition of the yearly FWAA took place in 2012, and since then, they have been experiencing significant growth.

Emerging victorious under the Agriculture category is Glaurina Kluegl.

Taking the top spot in Arts, Culture and Entertainment was ‘Matiisetso Tsikinyane.

Walking away with the first prize in the Fashion and Beauty category was ‘Mampiti Seisa.

Ntobaki Ntjatje secured the win in Health Services category.

Claiming the title under Hospitality was ‘Marapelang Sello.

‘Mamakamane Makamane clinched the victory under Leadership and Development category.

The recipient of the best in Manufacturing was ‘Mankopane Letlala Khoanyane.

‘Mapaseka Sekantši emerged victorious under the media category.

The top achiever under the Safety and Security category was ‘Mampili Lehloenya.

The best of the bunch in Teaching, Training, and Advocacy category was Advocate Molelekeng Foulo.

The winners exited the stage with a collection of awards and likewise, the runners walked with a considerable number of awards.

Damario and MCT Acts had revelers swaying to their rhythm, while Thope tse Khang set the stage ablaze and Manyarela, Lefate and Chifasa performance left an impression too left an impression to the crowd. MCT Acts equally left no room for disappointment.

Vuyani Tshabalala Monyake and Tlhokaboeo ‘Tlhox’ Mohasi were outstanding as MCs for the programme.

Notable figures were also present at the awards and they include the President of Senate, Hon ‘Mamonaheng Mokitimi, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Rt Hon Tlohang Sekhamane, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Lesotho, HE Constance Seoposengwe, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Dr Mahlape Morai, captains of the industries, companies and sponsors representatives amongst others.