Anele, Lira and Janine van Wyk shine as fearless
By First For Women
In a world often defined by challenges and uncertainties, the concept of fearlessness takes on a profound significance. Being a fearless woman goes beyond simply disregarding fear; it involves acknowledging it, understanding its source, and ultimately transcending its limitations. This journey toward fearlessness is a choice and is testament to the strength and resilience that all women possess.
To help more women realise their indomitable strength, and demonstrate what it means to be fearless, 1st for Women partnered with three icons. Here are their stories:
The Boys Club Can’t Take My Fearless
Fearlessness begins with challenging stereotypes and expectations that have historically confined women to predefined roles. At the age of six, Janine van Wyk fell in love with football, a male-dominated sport. By 2005, she made her debut for South Africa in the African Women’s Championship and in 2013, she was appointed Captain of Banyana Banyana. She also became the first Captain in history to lead South Africa at a Women’s World Cup. She is now the highest-capped soccer player in South Africa (male or female) with 183 appearances and the highest-capped female in the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF).
“I believe in living a life that’s free of the fear of judgment, the fear of criticism, and the fear of not being enough. And when fear does creep in, I confront it and fight back against it. I believe that women have inner strength and can accomplish anything we put our minds to. Be yourself, be a leader, be courageous and strong, take risks, and trust that you can achieve anything you want,” says Van Wyk.
This is the inspiration Van Wyk used when she co-founded the football club JVW FC in 2013. The core principle of the club was to create opportunities for girls of all ages to play football in a comfortable environment, where each player is encouraged and motivated to participate and give their best according to their ability.
A Stroke Can’t Take My Fearless
Being fearless doesn’t mean being devoid of vulnerability. Fearless women recognise the strength of being authentic and vulnerable. They share their stories, acknowledge their struggles, and connect on a deeper level with others who may be facing similar challenges.
In March 2022, Lira (foremost female artist and icon Lerato Molapo) was in Frankfurt, Germany. While walking around the city, the songstress suffered a stroke. While the stroke took Lira’s ability to speak, it did not take her fearlessness.
Lira explains that being fearless is a choice: “It’s about letting go of what you thought your life was supposed to be and just embracing where you are now - and how special it is. I am alive and kicking and that is what matters. To truly live, celebrate each day of your life. Let each day be a festival of joy.”
Challenges Can’t Take My Fearless
Fearless women are smashing glass ceilings and showing the world that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
In March 2023, 1st for Women announced that Anele Mdoda (radio presenter and popular social personality) would be its ambassador of Fearless – a move that made complete sense as Mdoda makes her voice heard with authenticity, passion, and perseverance.
“It’s not that I have nothing to fear but rather, knowing that I have the power to change my narrative from one of fear to one of fearlessness and living a life in which my fears don’t hold me back. It’s about action, despite the fear, and walking with freedom, strength, and hope in the face of things unknown,” says Anele.
Mdoda goes on to say that by removing the barriers to fearlessness – the fear of failure, the need to be perfect, and the risk of judgment – any woman can live with optimism and confidence, and power through with true intention and purpose.
Mdoda believes that when you define yourself to and for yourself, the opinions of others will matter less. “Power is the change you want to see. Don’t get side-tracked – know what you want and steer everything towards that, even when current conditions appear contrary to your vision. Despite the chaos that surrounds us, women have an indomitable strength to take action.”
Fearless women are rewriting history, dismantling stereotypes, and inspiring future generations to reach for their dreams without hesitation. Through their unwavering determination, resilience, and boundless courage, they are shaping a world where gender is not a barrier to success.
As we celebrate our achievements, let’s be reminded that fearlessness knows no bounds when women stand united in their pursuit of a brighter future.