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Role model, Cheryl, the survivor

Who is Cheryl Carolus?

         Carolus matriculated in Bridgetown High School. She was involved in sports.

         She studied at the University of Western Cape in 1976.

         She has two degrees - BA Law and Education.

         She was a teacher at schools in the Cape Flats from 1983.

         She played a prominent role in the Un ited Democratic Front. In 1994, she was appointed the
            ANC deputy secretary general.

         In 1998, she became the High Commissioner in London. 

         Between 2001 and 2004, she was the chief executive officer of SA Tourism where she
            introduced the Shot’ Left campaign.

         She is currently the executive chairperson of Peotona Holdings, an investment company that
            deals with business development. She is also the Board Chairperson for South African National
            Parks (SANPARKS).

  She is married and lives in Johannesburg. 

Growing up in the Cape Flats, Western Cape Cheryl Carolus realised: “There is nothing romantic about poverty”. Both her parents were sick. Her father had tuberculosis whilst her mother was epileptic. When they divorced, Carolus and her three sisters were put in a very difficult situation in the Silvertown township known for all sorts of crimes including drugs.  But one thing the girls did not lack was “love and security” from their parents. “It was the love they gave us which turned things around. They taught us responsibility and never took us to shebeens,” she said. Today, Carolus is a woman in her 40s who is proud, independent, a role model, political figure and a successful business woman. In fact she calls herself a “survivor and not a victim”. She started in politics at the age of 13 in the early 1970s and joined the National Youth Organisation. She then continued her activism within the United Democratic Front.

Why politics at an early age? 
“I would not allow a certain class of people to undermine me. The Black Consciousness Movement of my time taught us to stand up for our rights. I worked with the likes of the late Steve Biko, Mamphele Ramphele, Terror Lekota and Dorothy Nyembe, one of the women who suffered under apartheid without much support,” she said. Carolus’s motto in life is: “Don’t wait for handouts, get up and do it yourself and other people will recognise you and help you.” She is encouraged by strong women who do not want to be men. She relaxes by driving on roads in rural areas and spending time along the river banks