In the spirit of The Embassy Cultural House’s transnational commitment to celebrating artists and cultural workers around the globe, we are pleased to recognize South Africa’s National Women’s Day on August 9, 2021, with an online panel and documentary release. The panel will highlight the experiences and perspectives of South African women, alongside women with dedicated ties to South Africa. The documentary will be available on ECH on August 8th and 9th, 2021.
Across a broad spectrum of careers and industries, the National Women's Day panel will spotlight Hélène Blanchette, Lorraine Klaasen, Nandipha Ndhlovu and Sheila Woodward in conversation on Zoom on August 9, 2021 at 1PM EST (Toronto) / 7PM SAST (South Africa) / 8 PM EAT (Kenya). The panel will focus on these exceptional women, their accomplishments and their relationship to the Legends of Madiba.
The presentation of the documentary will commemorate the incredible achievements of South African Women during Apartheid, as well as the achievements of South African women and their supporters - here and now. Lorraine Klaasen, in tandem with Henshaw Productions catalogues The Legends of Madiba “in their own words”. The documentary features South African singers, and Nelson Mandela’s favorite performers Tandie Klaasen, Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuku, Abigail Kubeka, Sophie MgCina, and Lorraine Klaasen, as they sing and dance in the face of oppression.
Helene Blanchette is President of MyJane, a company specialized in the development of a women’s wellness-focused channel. Prior to this role, Ms. Blanchette was global vice-president of marketing - production business of Xerox Corporation.
During a nine-year journey in Asia, as a member of the senior leadership team of Fuji Xerox, Blanchette led the strategic digital marketing transformation, structure, and implementation of a regional digital marketing center, including technology acquisition, process change and team formation.
Ms. Blanchette’s competence in business communication and in data-driven persona marketing (1-to-1) was recognized globally. Credited for implementing the first 1:1 Experience in Asia, she is the original founder of the Xerox 1:1 lab that has gained worldwide recognition and won numerous innovation awards.
Helene has also been actively involved with International Sanctuary, helping empower survivors of human trafficking post-rescue, as well as the Child Creativity Lab, which nurtures young minds.
Lorraine Klaasen is a South African born singer/performer and a 2013 Canadian JUNO Award winner. She is has also a member of the ECH Advisory Circle.
In 2020, The Forest City London Music Award (FCLMA) was presented to Lorraine in the category of World Music. She has been performing and recording music in Canada for over 30 years and she’s also conducted music workshops in schools all over Canada, the Caribbean and the United States. Her outreach program focuses on South African music, arts and culture with an emphasis on how immigrant cultures have enriched Canada.
In 2021, Songs of My Mother, compilation with Lorraine Klaasen and other African musicians will be released by Batuki Music Society. Her new single 'LESEDI' is featured in a new project called Seven Chapters of Mystery by NGOMA ZETHU. This is a Pan African Cultural Revolution featuring 7 artists from across the continent of Africa.
Nandipha Thandi Ndhlovu
Dr. Nandipha Thandi Ndhlovu is 33-year old Medical Doctor specializing in Aesthetic Medicine, single mother of two kings, avid board member, philanthropist and CEO and Founder of The Health and Skin Oasis Aesthetic Medical Practice.
Dr. Ndhlovu’s academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Science degree from UP (University of Pretoria), Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery Degree from WITS (University of the Witwatersrand) and is currently completing courses with the AAAM (American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine). After her medicine qualifications Dr. Ndhlovu completed her Internship at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital where she made history by becoming the 1st first year intern to earn 1st place in the National Service Excellence Awards. Thereafter, her community service year was served with the Ekhurhuleni Department of Health.
Sheila C. Woodward, Ph.D.
Dr. Sheila C. Woodward is Professor of Music and Director of Music Education at Eastern Washington University, USA. She is a native South African and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town and a Performer’s Licentiate in Organ from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (London). She previously taught at the University of Southern California, the University of South Florida, and the University of the Western Cape. Dr. Woodward is Executive Vice President of the International Music Council and was previously President of the International Society for Music Education (ISME). She has served on the ISME Board of Directors (2004 – 2008 and 2012 – 2016) and on numerous boards and councils in the USA and South Africa. Dr. Woodward has also been awarded generous grants to promote international exchange programs, bringing South African artists to perform in the USA alongside students and professors and to host guest presentations from across the globe.