At its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting over the weekend, which took place from the 12th to the 14th of July, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) congratulated its General Secretary, cde Thembeka Gwagwa, for being selected as the recipient of the 2013 Mary Tolle Wright Award for Excellence in Leadership.
The honour will be presented to cde Gwagwa at the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing’s International 42nd Biennial Convention, which takes place from 16-20 November in Indianapolis in the US.
On behalf of the organisation and National Office Bearers (NOBs), DENOSA President DENOSA, cde Dorothy Matebeni wished cde Gwagwa well. “It is exciting that one of our own has been selected for this award. This award is for people who have played a big leadership role in health. She fully deserves it. It’s time for nurses to unite, as we have a long walk ahead of us,” she said.
In acknowledging the accolade, cde Gwagwa said: “It is Nelson Mandela who has opened the doors for us as nurses. If nurses can work together in South Africa, after coming from such a divided past, there is nowhere else where they cannot work together. It’s a matter of whether as nurses, are we ready to take the baton and move forward and learn from Madiba’s leadership excellence for the improvement of nursing practice, education and training in the region.”
DENOSA is proud of its general secretary, who has played a key role in fighting for the development of nurses in the country and in the region. She has also contributed immensely to the development of nursing profession in the world.
A delegation of National Office Bearers (NOBs) will accompany cde Gwagwa in November to accept the award.
What cde Gwagwa has achieved is something special not only for DENOSA, but for nursing in South Africa as a whole. For the world to recognise the role that she has played in uniting the profession globally is a significant gesture of appreciation.
Southern African Network of Nurses and Midwives (SANNAM) also congratulated cde Gwagwa for the nomination. Executive Director at SANNAM, cde Phillip Ngomu said: “On behalf of the region, we would like to recognise this great achievement. This is an endorsement that it is indeed time for Africa.”
Cde Gwagwa is the co-founding member of DENOSA, after she led the facilitation process that worked towards unification of nurses in 1992. She led the dissolution of nurses associations in the former homelands, which made way for the formation of DENOSA in 1996. When DENOSA was formed in post- democracy, she played a critical role in ensuring that the organisation serves members as professionals and workers at the same time, which led to ultimate affiliation of DENOSA to International Council of Nurses (ICN) and to COSATU.
DENOSA would like to thank Forum of University Nursing Deans of South Africa (FUNDISA) for nominating cde Gwagwa for this accolade.