We celebrate National Women’s Day on Wednesday with flowers named after women who have led and inspired our nation.
August is National Women’s Month. On Wednesday South Africans from all walks of life celebrate National Women’s Day. The day is a commemoration of the 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings to protest the pass laws of the time.
Rose growers have honoured many South African women who have made their mark in politics, the media, as philanthropists and entrepreneurs, in entertainment and sport and in the world of gardening.
The rose that honours “Mama Africa”, Miriam Makeba, singer, actor, United Nations goodwill ambassador and civil rights activist is a striking brown-burgundy blend.
Helen Suzman received the UN Award for Human Rights, two Nobel Peace Prize nominations and became an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1989. Her rose, “Foxy Lady”, is soft pink.
A lemon-yellow Panarosa rose, “Albertina Sisulu”, is named for this great woman’s qualities of leadership, her fight for social justice and the emancipation of women.
White rose “Miss Earth SA” is named for the environmental organisation empowering young women and educating the children of South Africa.
“Candice”, a deeply perfumed, creamy-pink rose, is named for Candice Morgan, deaf TV presenter and celebrity.
Adele Searll was actively involved in raising funds to fight drug abuse and was the recipient of numerous humanitarian awards in recognition of her efforts to combat the drug problem in South Africa. Her rose is apricot-pink.
Women of Peace honoured their patron Bridget Oppenheimer with the coral-pink rose “Bridget”.
Liz McGrath was the recipient of the Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Novus Holdings. Her family has dedicated a beautiful bronze-gold rose to her.
A pink rose is named for Wendy Ackerman, a director of Pick n Pay, who is recognised by the SA Nature Foundation for outstanding achievements and contributions to environmental conservation and also acknowledgement by the World Wildlife Fund as a Diamond Custodian of Table Mountain.
Pam Golding, founder and life president of the globally recognised Pam Golding Property group, is considered a role model for women and young entrepreneurs and is a member of the International Women’s Forum and founding member of Proudly South African. “Pam Golding” is an apricot-yellow floribunda rose.
Mardia van der Walt’s magenta-pink rose is named to show appreciation of her achievement as chief executive of T-Systems SA.
Entertainment and sport
The coral-pink rose “Shaleen Surtie-Richards” is named for the South African television, stage and film actress. She is best known for her starring roles in the 1988 film Fiela se Kind and the long-running series Egoli.
Zanta Hofmeyr has received numerous South African awards and bursaries and is an associate professor for violin. A porcelain-pink hybrid tea rose is named for her.
The coral-orange “Hanneli Rupert” rose is named for La Motte’s owner, Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, who is a mezzo soprano.
The tall-growing pink “Hestrie” rose is named for Hestrie Cloete, a former South African high jumper.
There are women who encourage gardening through writing and TV programmes, and who create beautiful gardens in all corners of our land. There are women who work in community gardens and produce vegetables to feed their families and support local charities by selling surplus vegetables.
Gwen Fagan collected plants and cuttings of old and heritage roses from farm gardens and abandoned graveyards and established rose gardens at Boschendal, Stellenbosch and the Drostdy Museum in Swellendam. She wrote Roses at the Cape of Good Hope and it is fitting that the deep rose-pink scented rose named for her has the double and quartered appearance of an old rose.
Pink rose “Una van der Spuy” is in appreciation of her dedication to horticulture. In 1986, she received a gold medal, the South African Nursery Association’s highest honour, and in 2012 was a recipient of the South African Garden Industries Council Honours Roll.
A pink rose with an old fragrance, “Margaret Roberts” (also known as Redoute) is named for the late author, gardener and famous “herb lady” of South Africa.
Heather Leppan was the “rose lady” of the Karoo. The salmon-pink “Heatherby” rose was named after her in 2004 in recognition of her work preserving old roses. They have been re-established by her daughter at Heatherby’s Heritage Rose Sanctuary in Somerset East.