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What makes a Woman? Zunia Boucher-Myers

August 6, 2013 By:

What's it like being a female chef?  "The same as being a male chef except with boobies." 
What's it like being a female chef? "The same as being a male chef except with boobies."

If you're already one of our readers, or follow us on any of our social networks, Zunia Boucher-Myers will be familiar to you. She is, of course, a LandnSand writer. She lists her hobbies as co-owner and chef of the Avontuur Estate Restaurant, photographer and a long list of other things you will find out as you read. I decided to ask her a few rather irreverent questions (and some serious ones), so I did a Q&A session with her. With her tongue firmly in cheek and her eye on the proverbial ball, I give you ... Zunia. Please send her back in good condition when you're done. 

Are you really a woman?

Define woman? If you mean am I of the feminine persuasion, who multitasks and is capable of extraordinary accomplishments in a day. Then yes, I am she.

Prove it.

How much time do you have? So I shall keep it simple. I am a mother, sister, daughter, entrepreneur, business woman, artist, photographer, chef, motivational speaker, poet, writer, gym bunny, Tai chi practitioner, wine buff, mentor and muse. Enough said.

What are your thoughts on Women's Day in South Africa?

I think it is a paltry drop in an ocean that needs drastic change. Giving the SA public a day off to ‘celebrate’ women is, in fact, farcical.  Women are in many impoverished communities the main bread winner and they do not in fact take the day off,  if given a choice. Looking at the rape statistics in our country, which are by the way the highest in the world, indicates that there is absolutely NO honouring of women in our land. We live in a state of perpetual crisis and disharmony.

Where were you during the struggle?

I was a young girl, studying fine art and photography. Going to dodgy night clubs, and hanging out with Wits lefties. It was a very interesting time.

What changes have you seen, for South African women, between 1994 and now?

As a feminist I think that a lot of doors have opened for women, but not enough. Politically there are many dynamic women that are taking centre stage, Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille to name but two of many. Constitutionally women can now marry if they are gay, which is great. Practically this means little if you are a lesbian in a black community. ‘Corrective rape’ is a uniquely South African term for ‘changing ‘ lesbians back into heterosexuals by raping them. On a more positive note, I think that there are many more female entrepreneurs who have seen a gap and taken the bold move of going for it. You will find women in every sector of the job market now. Just looking at Margaret Hirsch, who won the title of Business woman of the year, one can see that anything is possible. She was fired after her boss at the time found out she was pregnant, so she and her husband started a business repairing washing machines and fridges. Today they have businesses around the world and have a billion rand business in SA. Not bad for a toaster sales lady ( her words!)

What are the most important issues facing us in 2013?

As a business woman, for me the most pressing issues are financial. How to succeed in a business where you are only as good as your last plate of food and people remember what went wrong, not went right!  Also growth, personally, business wise and most importantly impacting the growth of my employees and my son. How can I make a difference?

What's it like being a female chef?

The same as being a male chef except with boobies. Seriously, sexism exists everywhere. Perhaps it is just a little more obvious in a kitchen where you are dealing with adrenalin, deadlines and dangerous equipment. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Do you face the same advantages/disadvantages as a female business owner and a photographer?

If you work hard, show up, and do your best, you will be a winner. In every situation, this is my motto. From cooking to photography. No one ever made a million by hoping the job would get done. I have cried many tears, and wanted to quit many times, but I never have. The person who wins, is the person who perseveres. Yes, contacts and networking are a great advantage and you have to work at gaining people's trust, but that takes time and you have to be consistent to make a difference. I have never let the fact that I am a woman stop me, in fact, it has made me fearless.

The million dollar question - what makes a woman?

The ability to be many things at any given time. To be ever-changing, from a gossamer wing, to an iron-clad fist. To be a nurturer, educator, lover, disciplinarian, playmate. To be everything and nothing. What makes a woman? To have the ability to put others first, no matter how exhausted you are, and to love people in spite of our pain.


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  • Comment Link Margaret Mann Friday, 09 August 2013 21:16 posted by Margaret Mann

    An amazing example for us all, worldwide! I love that she is so articulate, putting into words what we would all love to say.

  • Comment Link Tersia Theron Thursday, 08 August 2013 13:31 posted by Tersia Theron

    Zunia, indeed.


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