Carol Bouwer of Carol Bouwer Productions, Board Member of Norval Foundation



She describe herself as a lover of life and consume life in big chunks, whether it’s travel, nature, music, food, conversation, friendships, art, literature and everything that is infused with enthusiasm and curiosity. She admits to embrace all these and partake enthusiastically. She is a businesswoman,  television producer her  joy is derived from creating beauty which her bags fully represents.

Carol Bouwer shares advise with other women on how to take your power back and believe you can!  Be inspired and be encouraged!

Tell us about your business journey?

I run a production company and it was born out of a need to hear a different voice in SA television in the 90s when I started. We created women oriented content that is about affirmation and empowerment. Success is relative. While SA is so unequal, none of us can fully claim success. We must transform as many lives as possible to feel fully successful.

What Challenges are you faced with as women and how you have managed to overcome these to strike balance?

The biggest challenge is the assumption that you have less capacity than others in the room but I don’t see it as the responsibility of women to change that. Ours is to work hard at being excellent at what we do and the nay sayers will catch up when they wisen up. They aren’t always men by the way, women also hold other women back due to patriarchal beliefs they themselves are struggling with. Slowly this is changing but we must be more deliberate.

Your impact to community and how are you making a difference?

I firmly believe each of us can make a difference in at least one person’s life. My time serving on the board of the then Amy Biehl Foundation opened my eyes to the power each of us possess to make a difference in communities in distress through concerted and consistent effort. I continue to do my bit and the last few years allowed me to assist UNICEF in South Africa in ways I never imagined and will always be proud to have achieved.

What do you have planned for the next 3-5 years

With Covid in mind the short answer is to live and save lives. The real answer is to create as many local jobs as I possibly can, my idea of local however is continental. If Carol Bouwer Bags could become a job creator in the continent through design, manufacturing and even finding unique skins across the continent that are not endangered and can be sourced in a manner that meets CITES rules I would be fulfilled .

Advice for others and  mentorship opportunities that people can look forward to?

I have chosen to use my social media page and conferences where I speak as mentorship platforms. One does not need to meet ones mentor anymore unless there is a particular issue that requires working through but honestly if you are being mentored by someone who is deliberate about sharing a truthful account of their journey- the highs and the lows, in those moments they are helping you with the roadmap required for your own reflection.

What events we can look out for?

Upcoming exhibitions at Norval Foundation
I am excited about Athi Pata Ruga, I find his work cerebral and I think the last few months have forced all of us into a space of deep thinking and reflection that his exhibition is well timed for what we wish to consume.

Karel Nel is a huge asset to South Africa’s art landscape and his thoughtful curatorial hand combined with director Elana’s visionary leadership has been exciting to witness. I love art but I am also learning so this proximity to the process has been a true privilege.

I also can’t wait for the Zanele Muholi exhibition as Zanele’s transformative voice in giving expression to issues most difficult to address in society has been important for the arts.