With a passion for women empowerment, self-development and transformation, Dr. Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw is striving for change in society.
As the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Independent Director and Transformation Chair, she is going to great lengths to try and alter the way females are treated, particularly in the current landscape.
August being National Women’s Month, the mother body for cricket is celebrating the progress of women empowerment and gender equality both on and off the field, under the theme: “Enabling equality for women in the world of Cricket South Africa.”
Kula-Ameyaw believes the whole role of women and their positions at executive level of corporate SA needs to be reassessed.
“This problem is not unique to South Africa because even globally there is a lack of women in positions of power. It starts from board level where I firmly believe women must be given an opportunity and it’s up to these boards to instruct their CEOs and executives to make sure they develop women.”
Born in Cradock, a small farm town in the Karoo, Kula-Ameyaw has in recent weeks come to the fore in the sporting circles as she drives CSA’s newly approved Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) concept.
Amongst the key targets of this initiative are the establishment of the Office of a Transformation Ombudsman, whose core function will include managing independent complaints system, convene a National SJN Imbizo and provide assurance regarding the extent to which transformation programmes are impactful on society.
Although she only joined CSA in May, Kula-Ameyaw says she is not unfamiliar with sports and it progress in democratic South Africa.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m new in sport,” she stated. “My dad played rugby, my children love cricket and my mum started her own football club.
“And because of this I knew how it united us, especially growing up, how it created cohesion in a brutally oppressive town. We use to go watch my dad play and when your team scores, you don’t even know if the person next to you is white or black, you high-five the person, you hug the person and you celebrate together.
“So I understand sport as a huge unifier. I understand the principles of sport, which we can use to unite the nation, to transform. It’s obviously sad for me hearing all the stories and I believe in justice, hence the name of this initiative.”
Kula-Amyaw was born and raised in a family of seven siblings in the Eastern Cape. Her father worked in a butchery, while her mother was a political activist. She has two children of her own, who she almost single-handedly raised after her husband passed away 22 years ago.
A former educator specialising in maths and science, she attended University of Fort Hare, before initially working in the field she studied.
An author herself, she developed a programme for women on board directorship. It was a first of its kind framework for female board directors in South Africa and she believes it is this that “inspired me to create SJN”
“I’m a pioneer and I believe strongly in empowering women,” Kula-Ameyaw, who has lived in Johannesburg for the past 12 years, adds. “I love politics, I was involved in student leadership, and that probably comes from growing up in Cradock, which was a very small politicised town.
“It is embedded in me. So politics comes naturally and it taught me to fight for myself. I also love corporate governance. I like reading and studying and I love gardening. I believe in self-development and hate ignorance.”