Although Women’s Month is an expected annual event, it would appear that commemorative activities become mildly repetitive, almost robotic in their execution. We make the appropriate gestures, murmur the generics…but, do we actually stop to take a moment to see the beauty before, and around us? This year, we took a stylish step toward a meaningful partnership to celebrate the women in our world. Hello, ladies. Hello.

“No one heals alone. By caring for each other, communities shape a journey to sustainable recovery.”

These were the poignant words that author, Nande Boss, used to open the More Than Hello: #ISeeYou brunch. As she eloquently set the scene for the preface of her maiden novel, More Than Hello, Nande’s eyes skipped around the Dragonfly Conference Centre lounge, where a kaleidoscopic plethora of women gathered.

A lawyer. A counsellor. A pastor. A wellness coach. A businesswoman. A full-time mother. An accountant. A yoga teacher. Demographically diverse, a company of women who took a deliberate, expectant pause. “I wrote this book during a period in our world where we were isolated, and where many of us said goodbye,” Nande shared of her writing process during the COVID-19 pandemic. “And, I think it’s powerful that a hello was born out of it.” She emphasised the value in looking beyond the superficial, surface level when relating to others. “Feeling seen is a basic human need. To be seen, valued and loved. When we allow a hello to be more than just a word, deeper than something quick, then we truly see each other,” she shared. “You don’t need to tick the boxes of my idea of what it means to be human, and be valuable, and be made in the image of God for me to see you. Your qualifications, your degrees, your social status, your style, your personality…have nothing to do with the call to see others.”

Accompanying Nande was wellness coach and fellow author Shantal Pillay, whose book A Season for Healing provides insight into her journey through trauma, and her firm emergence on the other side of wholeness and healing. “There is beauty in being seen, in whichever season you find yourself in. Until you allow people on the journey with you, and until you open yourself up to others, you don’t really know what someone else is going through. If you have walked, or are walking through, trauma encourage you to reach out and start talking to a friend you can trust. Let them see you and allow them to walk with you.”

Nande and Shantal then led those gathered in a powerful session of introspection, asking them to consider this piercing question, which she introduces in the first chapter of More Than Hello: when you walk in the room, who do people say just walked in with you? A moving pocket of vulnerability opened within the room, as truth, joy, fierceness, bravery, motherhood, nurturing, love and empathy walked in.

Marketing and Communications Co-Ordinator Jodi Chetty shared more on Simbithi’s decision to say “hello”. “It was time for something different, in terms of acknowledging the strength of sisterhood, and the softness of womanhood. In inviting Nande and Shantal to pour into the women of Simbithi, we saw something truly beautiful unfold in the Dragonfly,” she reflects. “It went beyond the exterior and into the hearts, minds and souls of every woman who joined us, and stepped into the promise of the hello. What an honour to be the first stop on Nande’s journey with More Than Hello!”

To purchase a copy of More Than Hello, click here: