09/08/2021 Carmen Amos

Shero’s Part 1: Celebrating Strong Female Energy

National Women’s Day in South Africa commemorates a handful of brave women with strong female energy who led one of the most prolific protests in our history. The 1956 march to the Union Building in Pretoria was a heroic rally that gave women a united voice against the injustices of the apartheid era, petitioning the need for gender equality and basic human rights. 

While we still face gender and racial adversity on a global scale, these acts of courage, passion and creativity are powerful reminders of what we can achieve, and the change we can motivate through the strength of united female energy.

Throughout Women’s month we are sharing stories of some of the women who inspire us. OUR amazing #Shero stories of strong female energy pays tribute to a few familiar faces within our industry as well as women who are close to our hearts. 

Join us for a celebration of the love, strength, courage, creativity and kindness that embodies the female soul.

Our first stop on this journey is a group of women from Masi. With the continued support from Ladles of Love, these incredible women are able to provide warm meals to the elderly and disabled whilst empowering the volunteers within their own community.

“There is an old African proverb: when you have a lot to do, start with a meal.” – Nosipho Manyase 

The kitchen is run and managed by Thabisa Manyase. One of the biggest supporters of the kitchen has been Ladles of Love, founded by Danny Diliberto in 2014. In 7 short years, the number of meals served up with love has grown from 70 to 250 000 meals served per week, providing upliftment and support to the people within so many impoverished communities in our nation. 

In collaboration with Mercy and Dreamcatcher Productions we shot this film to honour the women of the Masi Community who have been empowered through the project, not only helping others in the process, but also helping themselves.

Here are three more SHERO’s celebrated for their strong female energy: 

SHERO #1: Mila “I am CREATIVE”

Sheros

“Dance is the language of the soul. You cannot help but smile when you dance. It brings communities together. It is a celebration of freedom of expression, our bodies and its capability.”

Mila is a spirited being with a creative energy that is both infectious and beautiful. The former dancer makes it onto our SHERO list for her incredulous light and love, working together with women through movement therapy to better each other and ourselves.

What is your current theme song?
My current theme song would be “ Im too sexy for my shirt” (apparently I loved this as a child) “Ain’t no mountain high – Marvine Gaye, Tammi Terrell”

Who is your Shero?

My SHERO lives in all of us. SHERO’S are when we as women begin to listen and nurture our intuitive seed within us all. Taking off the “make-up”, the “mold”, the “society pressures and pressure from self. When we as women step into our power as a being of love and light.

Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, Maya Angelou, Shelley Ruth Wyndham and my mom. They have been a vital part of my journey of healing. Using awareness, life experiences as a way to grow deeper, regardless of the old.

The shift is when we become our truest nurturer and supporter. This is where you will find me and hopefully we will fly together.

Have you felt supported by other women along your journey?

Yes, many! My clients, my sister, mother, partner, friends and team I work with. As each one steps into the unknown, they without knowing help me too. We honour each others journeys, without trying to “fix” it or as individuals don’t follow the old “fit” in cycle.


My team has shown me how to become my own supporter. I am appreciative that I get to work with women on a daily basis, where they feel safe enough to step into their unknown with movement therapy and fitness. They become their hero’s and we celebrate the hero’s that we all are.

Why did you stop dancing?

Dance has always been and still is a place for me to move freely in my creativity and expression. Dance is the language of the soul. You cannot help but smile when you dance. It brings communities together. It is a celebration of freedom of expression, our bodies and its capability.

I stopped when I had suffered my second major injury, to my lower back. Doctors said I would never dance again. I used that time to heal what I no longer wanted to carry anymore. Emotionally and physically, I wanted to bring harmony and coherence.

I hadn’t had an authentic self-love relationship with myself. It was time to change and this was the best gift I ever gave myself. I needed to break the walls I felt I was boxed in. I had lived a certain way for so long, it was only bringing in deep pain, so I asked myself why not go for ANEW!

I knew that the only way forward was to create a completely new experience for myself. Regardless, of the noise outside of me and in me. I wanted to look into the mirror with my eyes and not another. I reached out and you could say accountability was my greatest gift.

Today, I work with and help others to love who they are through my movement therapy, choreography and fitness sessions. Finding the real reason of why we started fitness and group classes. This is for optimal health, wellness, create diversity and to have FUN together!!

Why did you stop performing professionally?

I still perform today. My journey after performing overseas was to come back and do what I am doing now. To share and to give back to others. To create spaces that are fun, safe, authentic and real. To open up those trap doors in the “desert of our minds” and bring about change in a way that was healing and to the best interest of each person I had and have the opportunity to work with.

Dance will always be in me, no person, no place or thing can take this away from me. I was born to dance, to create. Today, I work with performers and non performers, as a mentor on their self love journey. I birthed my company, Move With Mila for this exact reason. To celebrate and fall in love with your whole being. Taking away the pressures and needs to that one can put on themselves and experience this from outside sources too.

There is no time to focus on changing yourself when you already have this incredible gift inside you. MOVE WITH MILA MANTRA:

“I embrace the very soul that I was put on this earth to be. I step into my excellence and take the time each day to nurture me, regardless”. “Feel YOUR groove, FEEL your FLOW”

Words of wisdom you live by/ a quote , line from a song / in your own words:

Step into Self. Get to know who you are, and stop wanting another to change. Focus on your part always. We all have a process and a journey, we are not here to judge but rather to hold the loving space, regardless. I use this word “regardless” a lot because it is a key one I live by.

Know that your authentic being, is an essence shinning its light regardless of the fear, the exterior “noise” and chooses willingness in their journey regardless!! Restriction, anxiety, doubt, fear, or known ask you to step away from your authentic being. Pause, breathe and have a team that guides you until you can become your guide. DON’T forget to have fun, connect with like minded souls!!!

What is your best time of the day?

My best time of the day is when I wake up. Playing my morning Bae playlist. I meditate, journal and get ready to go teach one of my fitness classes!! My family, friends, my partner and my work are very important to me. I am a quality time kinda GURL. With lots of energy that loves to move and find ways we can all move that is a fun!

What do you hope never changes?

Human beings, earth and the humaneness in us. I hope this world, we as humans can always choose compassion, forgiveness, appreciation, gratitude and community over anything else. To nourish our planet and the lives we have been given and to take away the grip of “pretend” living.

What would you like to see change if you could change 1 thing in the world?

I wish and hope for people to find forgiveness in themselves. For less “blame, shame” stories and more compassion. To do more self work and stop asking others to be anything other for them to feel “safe”. To stop with “labels and pressures”. Or to see these as ways to love yourself and others more. There will always be struggles and suffering in the world.

The awareness is key, this is how you make changes. We cannot have this or experience a new world, if we continue to fight. Treating the earth with love always too!!

What would you give to a young woman wanting to get into the professional dancing / performing industry?

I would advise them to get to know how YOU move. Discover what your body needs to be at its optimal and THRIVE!!! Keep doing the work, and keep on being true to yourself in the process. Ask questions, bring diversity into your training and have fun exploring your Talent!!

We are all so different, and this is incredible. Use your time to nurture, to love, to play, to make the mistakes to discover how you were born to dance and to give back. There is enough space for all performers on this earth. Another key element, is to be with a team that supports you physically, mentally and spiritually. Enjoy what you have, love what you do and explore all the avenues you wish to.

What can you not live without?

My morning jams, coffee and Gratitude!!!

If I had a headline what would it be?

Regardless, I love you (this is to myself, others and the earth)

 

SHERO #2: Robyn Cohen “I am PEACEFUL”

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” – Maya Angelou

Robyn Cohen’ soul is as calm and peaceful as the ocean on a mild summer’s day. The National Director of Waves for Change leads a diverse team to deliver high quality mental health services to South Africa’s disadvantaged youth through innovative surf therapy. Find out the womanly inspiration behind our SHERO #2 

What is your current theme song (or if you have a life song what would that be?)
My current theme song is ‘Guava Jelly’ by Johnny Nash… My life songs are ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra, and of course my anthem… ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by Jerry and the Pacemakers.

Who is your SHERO (or hero?)
I have quite a few shero’s – I find the next generation of Sheros inspiring and unstoppable. I’ll just mention 2 of them… 

Aviwe Funani, my friend, sista and colleague. Aviwe is a powerful advocate for mental health, youth, Africa and women. She is an inspiration to me and gives me hope.

Gili Cohen, my niece who truly inspires me to be the best I can be. Gili is a shining light among so much darkness, a pillar of decency and honour and strength of spirit, a true champion of the world, heart, mind, body and soul, and still destined for more greatness to come no doubt.

A challenge or obstacle you have faced?
I think we all face challenges and obstacles every day – they are part of the journey.

Dog or cat person?
Both! Right now my dog Frankie is my compass and where I place my unconditional love.

Favourite sport… favourite team?  
Can we ask why? Obviaaas! Liverpool Football Club. This means more! 

Words of wisdom you live by?
You’ll Never Walk Alone 

Best holiday destination or type of holiday?
I love a road trip… with my dog and my tribe. It has to be summer and hot. Ideally no time limit, no agenda and lots of wide open spaces.

What is your best time of the day?
Late at night,when the stars shine bright 

What do you hope never changes?
I hope that Sadio Mane stays a RED 

What would you like to see change?
I would like to see a better standard of living for ALL South Africans

What advice would you give to a 16 year old you?
In a world where you can be anything, be kind. Understand and live by the principles of Ubuntu… always.

What can’t you live without?
Right now – my dog Frankie

If you had to describe your life in a headline what would it be?
“She never walked alone…”

If you had to give us an idea of something or someone that inspires you – what would that be?
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman. He could run this country! He is driven by the basic principles of respect, care, professionalism and dedication. His passion for humanitarianism (the solid belief in the common humanity that unites us) and his belief in mankind motivates and inspires me.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I’ve always dreamt of being a breaking  news photographer – being able to tell people’s stories with powerful images. 


SHERO #3: Thabisa Matiya “I am WORTHY”

“Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.”

Our delightful resident chef Thabisa Matiya is our Shero #4. She keeps the Juice family together with her strong female energy, making sure that we are looked after with her unconditional love. Thabisa is inspired by her mother who has been her guardian angel throughout her life.

Current theme song or life song, what would it be?
Bee Gees – Staying Alive

Who is your Shero?
My mother

What gives your life meaning?
Positivity

Your favourite meal?
Braai lamb chops and salad

Words of wisdom you live by?
It is up to you and only you to create the life you want and to live each day surrounded by that which brings you happiness and bright future.

What is your best time of the day?
Night time

What do you hope never changes?
Being as strong as I am.

What changes would you like to see?
Corruption in our Government

What advice would you give to the 16 year old you?
Focus on the studies in order to have a balance and backup in life.

What can’t you live without?
My family

If you had to give us an idea of someone or something that inspires you, what would that be?

The person who inspires me would be my mother. She is a strong person who protected me and my sister through it all. She raised us from nothing as a single parent!! Told us we will grow just like everyone else and she would not let us see how hard it is. No matter what she would put a smile on her face and she still does that and I salute her for that!

Keep an eye out on our Juice news page for the next two installments and super SHERO’s. Share your journey of strong female energy on Facebook and Instagram.

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