SA's Thando Hopa named one of the world's 100 most influential women

27 November 2018 - 11:16 By Zola Zingithwa
Thando Hopa.
Thando Hopa.
Image: Shaw Media

The BBC has released its 2018 list of the 100 most influential and inspiring women from around the world. They have been chosen for their achievements in social activism, politics, the arts and academia.

The women the BBC describes as “leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes”, were chosen from 60 countries and range in age from as young as 15 to a 94-year-old.

Sixteen African women made it onto the list, including Noma Dumezweni, who plays the adult version of Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the world’s most revered stages. Now living in England, she is originally from eSwatini.

There is also deputy UN secretary-general Nigerian Amina J Mohammed, as well as Senegalese Fatma Samoura, the first woman and the first African to hold the position of secretary general of Fifa.

The honour of South Africa’s single inclusion on the list went to Thando Hopa. At only 29 years of age, she is a model, a lawyer and a diversity activist. Hopa, who lives with albinism, advocates for diversity and inclusion in the beauty industry and has become a trailblazer.

She was the first black South African to feature on one of Pirelli's iconic calendars, appearing in the Alice in Wonderland-themed 2018 edition. She has also graced the covers of the South African Marie Claire and Glamour magazines.

Hopa told Wanted she did not become a model for the glamour of it but because she wanted to represent young women who, like her, do not see themselves represented in the media.

“A lot of people don’t understand that if you are a young girl and you don’t see your image anywhere … it’s difficult to understand how invisible you become in that society, that community. Your sense of belonging is not recognised,” she said.