International accolades for two Indian-origin South African women

Fakir Hassen
·2-min read

Johannesburg, Mar 13 (PTI) Two young Indian-origin women from South Africa's Pretoria city, a 21-year-old beauty products entrepreneur and a 30-year-old architect, have won international accolades for their exemplary leadership this week.

Beauty products entrepreneur, Rabia Ghoor, received the Forbes Woman Africa ‘Young Achievers’ Award for 2021, while architect Sumayya Vally, was included in the 2021 Times100 list that acknowledges leaders who are shaping the future.

Ghoor's award was announced during a virtual Forbes summit to celebrate African women leaders who are committed to economic and social transformation on the continent. Ghoor started ‘Swiitch Beauty’, her make-up and skincare online beauty store at just 14, dropping out of school two years later to concentrate full-time on the business, which was inspired after she spotted a gap for the African market.

“American, European or Asian brands that are unavailable here in South Africa were constantly innovating and evolving, especially in the digital space, while South African brands lagged behind or just straight up didn't exist.

“I began researching product sourcing, formulation, e-commerce, packaging, manufacturing, design with the end goal in mind being to create a beauty brand that firstly, didn’t break the bank and secondly - made things that people would actually use in real life - things that did what they said they were going to do,” Ghoor said.

“After being announced as the winner, I received tonnes of emails for collaborations. That is exposure for my brand and myself. I think winning opened networking opportunities,” she added.

Vally became the youngest ever architect to make in the Times100 list for her role in the design of the pavilion for London’s Serpentine Galleries. She joins such internationally celebrated architects as Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Vally established the company Counterspace five years ago in partnership with a group of friends while still lecturing at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. She said the company was formed with the aim of developing a design language that acknowledges and celebrates the African continent.

“It is an absolute privilege to be on a list with so many artists, innovators and leaders who I look up to. It has deepened the sense of responsibility to our histories, our hybrid identities and our futures that I strive to embody in my work, and the sense of responsibility that I have to my communities,” Vally told the website Laudium Today in her hometown. PTI FH PMS PMS