Who is Carol Bouwer?

If your answer was simply “actress best known for her role as Kgomotsoin the first season of Generations,” chances are… you are living in under a rock! Given, Carol was  a huge actress and a star in South Africa’s entertainment industry in the 90s to the early 2000’s, however she  since evolved to become a driving force as she  not only is a television presenter and producer, she also owns her own production company, Carol Bouwer Productions, responsible for hits like  SABC talk show, Motswako, and more.

One of South Africa’s most innovative and influential women, there was no way we would complete our #12daysofglam giveaway campaign without celebrating her. She is a true inspiration for women all over the world.

As our celebrity feature for DAY 11 courtesy of ORS Hair Care South Africa, we sat down with her in an interview her to talk about the numerous projects she is involved in, her passion for giving back, and of course, her plans for 2018.

 Tell us about yourself and what you do.

First and foremost, I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. My role as a complete human being who connects with others is supremely important to me. With regards to my work, I am Executive Producer of various programmed that align strongly with my values as a woman who believes in supporting other women in the pursuit of their dreams and their chosen vocation/s. Chief amongst these is my talk show ‘Motswako’, which is anchored by the belief that until Black women are treated as equals in a world that continues to disrespect their contribution, we must continue to strive to do better and be better. It is broadcast on Wednesday evenings on SABC 2 at 20:30. I also created an award recognition platform called ‘Mbokodo Awards for women in the Arts’ because I felt their vast contribution towards the creation of a socially cohesive South Africa were largely brushed aside or belittled. It is now in its sixth year and making international strides for which we are humbled 

You have come quite a long way from being an actress to becoming one of most influential women in South Africa. What has the journey been like?

The desire to produce was born of the aspiration to add to the myriad voices that were shaping our new democracy and how the races were interacting! I felt I was socially at a place where I could open up the dialogue amongst people who otherwise would not interact and did not want to just be a pretty face on screen narrating the stories… but I wanted to shape the dialogue and be active in unearthing our new collective consciousness. Producing has given me that and more.

You have multiple careers, how do you manage them all?

With excellent help! It is all well and good to seek to live out all your fantasies but it is best to acknowledge our own shortcomings and ensure we are surrounded by smart people who don’t find out mad ideas too crazy but rather seek ways to tamper them with a touch of reality so they can be executed. Dream big, hire well and oversee with care and respect

 What would you say has been the greatest challenge you have faced since the start of your career and how have you dealt with it?

Thinking I could control what others said and thought about my business. Very soon you realize that with authenticity, eventually people are able to make an honest assessment and the truth bears you out. So, the lesson was: don’t seek to control the narrative, just be and that is transparent enough eventually; and ultimately sufficient.

 

You seem quite passionate about giving back. Tell us about your involvements so far and What inspired them?

I have always been socially conscious and it is not necessarily from the goodness of my heart but rather from a strong belief in justice. I can’t watch anyone suffer unfairly and because a lot of despair is so linked to unfair elements such as where you were born, skin colour or gender, it is hard for me to ignore such. I always try to stand up for those you would call the underdog… for instance I was quite upset with how the South Sudanese children were ignored in early 2017 whereas had it

Been elsewhere, somewhere lucrative- through mineral deposits, oil and the like, things would have been different. I was pleased to work with UNICEF SA to some extent to help. I am honored that they have now appointed me as an advocate as it means I can do more in a structured manner.

What would you say has been your greatest achievements this year?

My greatest achievement this year has been the ability to shed my reserved personality in order to connect with others. I was the girl that said no to every invitation and I changed that this year. I also think my team, my sponsors and I achieved a great feat through the African Odyssey and I think being able to host the Mbokodo Awards for women in the arts after our sponsor dropped us at the last minute was a huge achievement. It was important to me to illustrate to the government that as a Company we are prepared to invest in our own dreams and we are prepared to invest in the dreams of South African women. We approach them only because we see them as an important partner in building the country we all dream of but where necessary we will do what we must to ensure women and their aspirations are not relegated to second-tier priorities

What plans do you have lined up for next year?

Taking the African Odyssey to either Nigeria or Senegal and for the Mbokodo Awards launching an African chapter in Ghana. With regards to my talk show, being more hands-on and getting more women to take ownership of it as it is paid for by the taxpayer so I need them to know we must build together for our collective good.

CAROL BOUWER HANDBAGS

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