The one thing that drives 3 South African icons



It’s a trait that has defined their celebrated careers and has propelled them to the top of their respective fields.  What unites them is their inherent fearlessness, and they want the women of South Africa to hear them out through their partnership with 1st for Women Insurance.

“Being fearless is a choice – a choice I make every day.  It’s something that no one can take away from me.  Being fearless is not about simply disregarding fear but rather, it involves acknowledging it, understanding its source, and ultimately transcending its limitations. It’s about living a life in which your fears don’t hold you back. All women have the ability to be fearless thanks to the strength and resilience that we all possess,” says Anele.

Lira is testament to women’s unwavering determination, resilience and boundless courage. In March 2022, Lira suffered a stroke.  While the stroke took Lira’s ability to speak, it did not take her fearlessness. “Being fearless is about letting go of what you thought your life was supposed to be and just embracing where you are now – and how special it is,” says Lira.  “I am alive and kicking and that is what matters. When learning how to speak again – I’ve enjoyed listening and the silence. I’ve learnt to be happier. I’ve learnt to enjoy the simple things. Life is a gift.”

Fearlessness begins with challenging stereotypes and expectations that have historically confined women to predefined roles. Someone who knows this all too well is the highest-capped soccer player in South Africa (male or female), Janine van Wyk.

“I believe in living a life that’s free of the fear of judgment, the fear of criticism, and the fear of not being enough.  And when fear does creep in, I confront it and fight back against it.  I believe that women have inner strength and can accomplish anything we put our minds to. Be yourself, be a leader, be courageous and strong, take risks, and trust that you can achieve anything,” says Janine.

Anele, Lira and Janine, together with 1st for Women, share their advice on fostering fearlessness to encourage more women to realise their indomitable strength and take action:

Anele suggests that women start by removing the barriers to fearlessness – the fear of failure, the need to be perfect, and the risk of judgment. “Being fearless is about action, despite the fear, and walking with freedom, strength, and hope in the face of things unknown,” says Anele.

She says that any woman can live with optimism and confidence, and power through with true intention and purpose because when you define yourself to and for yourself, the opinions of others will matter less.  She says that power is the change you want to see.  Don’t get side-tracked – know what you want and steer everything towards that, even when current conditions appear contrary to your vision.


Lira’s mom taught her that you shouldn’t back down from anything life throws at you. That’s where Lira’s fearless comes from. Lira says that being fearless doesn’t mean being devoid of vulnerability. Fearless women recognise the strength of being authentic and vulnerable. They share their stories, acknowledge their struggles, and connect on a deeper level with others who may be facing similar challenges.


Janine says that gender should never be a barrier to success. Fearless women are smashing glass ceilings and showing the world that there are no limits to what they can achieve. She says that when she was younger, there were many times she felt isolated and not part of the team because of being a woman. Despite these barriers, she continuously let her passion and love of the game shine through.  “Nothing worth having comes easy and I worked hard to make my dream a reality.”