Limkokwing Creativity Series: Empowering Women Through The Arts @ Limkokwing University of Creative Technology

Limkokwing Creativity Series: Empowering Women Through The Arts

3 April 2023

  • Limkokwing Creativity Series: Empowering Women Through The Arts
  • Limkokwing Creativity Series: Empowering Women Through The Arts
  • Limkokwing Creativity Series: Empowering Women Through The Arts
  • Limkokwing Creativity Series: Empowering Women Through The Arts

Anticipation was high as staff and students gathered at the Hall of Fame on the 24th of March 2023. Limkokwing student and talented singer M Drake had just warmed up the crowd with two songs, and Carol Bouwer from South Africa will be stepping onto the stage at any moment.

Whispers turned to excited clapping as Limkokwing University’s Senior Vice President Dato’ Tiffanie Marie Lim ushered Ms Bouwer into the spotlight. She was to be the next speaker in the Limkokwing Creativity Series, gracing the campus with her elegance and quiet dignity.

Carol Bouwer’s career started when the odds were stacked against her in post-apartheid South Africa. She moved off-screen as an actress to take up duties as a producer – charting an illustrious trajectory as host, owner of a production company, owner of her own TV show Motswako, and a UNICEF SA Special Advocate for women and children’s rights.

Dato Tiffanie Marie Lim’s effusive introduction of Ms Bouwer uncovered a piece of history that connects her with Malaysia through Limkokwing University’s Founder, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Limkokwing. One well-known fact about this connection is that Tan Sri Limkokwing designed and created the “Better Life For All” campaign that made Nelson Mandela the first president of post-apartheid South Africa. However, what was not as known was that a few years later, Carol Bouwer would preside as the host for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

On stage at the Hall of Fame, Ms Bouwer shared her experience as a woman conditioned to suppress her voice. She talked of how a part of her upbringing affected how women from the same diaspora felt the need to ask permission to exert themselves. As soon as she found her platform as a producer for prime-time television, she embarked on a life-long mission to empower women and children. Addressing the students sitting in the audience, she emphasised that Limkokwing University was a safe and diverse platform allowing cultural exchange and enrichment, especially with events like the Limkokwing Cultural Night.

Women can be empowered to be change agents by using the arts as a platform. Ms Bouwer encouraged all women to recognise their power and that they have a right to exercise it. She walked the audience through even more of her experience in women’s empowerment through the arts industry – her line of handbags, her production company that serves as a pipeline for women to break into the media industry, and her connection to the global media industry through influential African entertainment figures.

One question during the Q&A session addressed the challenges women still face today. Ms Bouwer reiterated that women should not ask for permission to succeed. Women should exercise more confidence in stepping up. Another question centred around Ms Bouwer’s position in sharing her experience with Asian women. Her answer drew attention to the platforms available in the creative arts, a space where women can connect across cultures and boundaries. Cross-cultural collaborations are the perfect conduit to eradicate uneducated perceptions and, at the same time, make better memories together.

As a closing remark, Dato’ Tiffanie Marie Lim highlighted that African and Asian countries instinctively look to their Western counterparts for validation. She said that with Africa and Asia’s massive reservoir of untapped potential, we could become even more potent change agents and start to validate ourselves.

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