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Celebrating women:

for generations to come

author image

Marteen Michau

Head of Fiduciary and Tax

At Sanlam Private Wealth, we help our clients ensure the orderly transfer and preservation of their wealth for future generations. In this process, we recognise and embrace the crucial role of women in securing the family legacy. In the spirit of Women’s Month, we pay homage to generations of women who, against overwhelming odds and in the face of prejudice, have fought to look after their families – but also to make a difference in the workplace and in society, and to benefit our country and indeed our planet.

On 1 December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, a quietly strong woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white woman, as the law in the US required at the time. Her arrest after her lonely act of courage led to a powerful address by Martin Luther King Jr to large crowds in the US, and a bus boycott that lasted 381 days and changed American history.


Almost a year later, on 9 August 1956, more than 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in protest against proposed amendments to the ‘pass laws’. Their song of protest – ‘Now you’ve touched the women, you’ve struck a rock’ – has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa. That day became the public holiday we now know as Women’s Day, and the month of August is now dedicated to the women of our country.

A more recent example of female strength in the face of adversity is that of our former Public Protector, the indomitable Thuli Madonsela, who stood strong and unwavering against public denouncements, attempts to discredit her and even death threats in her fight against corruption at the highest levels in our country.


Closer to home and hearth, we pay tribute to the single mothers in our society – the women who are raising and instilling their values into the next generation of South Africans. Or who are supporting the education of young students. Or – if they’re not entrepreneurs themselves – are the supportive partners of entrepreneurs and business leaders. In short – all the women who are the backbone of their families.

We think of women like Kuki Gallmann, a lone female voice in Kenya, who decided to make a difference by founding the Gallmann Memorial Foundation with the aim of preserving that country’s natural resources, and ensuring the sustainable and creative use of the environment. Gallmann has endured more than her share of suffering in her lifetime, but she still stands tall in her quest for the protection of our planet for generations to come.

Coincidentally, we celebrated World Elephant Day on 12 August, a day created in 2012 to increase awareness and protection of these magnificent animals. The matriarchs lead the herds, and in the process teach the elephant calves how to survive and behave in the wild. The young elephants look to the matriarchs for advice and their knowledge is passed down from generation to generation.


In our own species, it’s also often the matriarch who keeps the family together. She’s the one who ensures the family values and traditions are entrenched and then passed on to the next generation, and that the family objectives are met from a social and philanthropic point of view. She’s often the emotional leader of the family, in the best position to help resolve disputes which may arise. She also has the power to help strengthen the bonds between family members.

At Sanlam Private Wealth we work with our clients to protect their family legacy. This includes not only the family wealth or business, but also human capital. We help families to successfully transfer their legacy to the next generations, and in doing so, we recognise and embrace the role of the women in our client families. We invite you to join us on this journey as we walk alongside you and your family.

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