Mother and daughter from Reservoir Hills in Durban are changing our perspectives when it comes to supporting one another, whilst emphasising the importance of culture. Naliyani Uma Govender who is a model and an entrepreneur and her mother, Kalaivani, recently featured in a Woolworths campaign titled “The Power Of Us”.
Uma Govender said she felt emotional as she worked alongside her mom, who recently won her battle against breast cancer.“Being captured with my mother in her thaali (marital chain) and red dot in a sugar cane field commemorating 160 years since the indentured labourers arrived on our shores, was an iconic and liberating moment for me,” said Govender. She said this was a perfect opportunity to showcase her Indian culture that had been long overlooked in the advertising and modelling industries.
Woolworths approached Govender’s agent to connect with her and celebrate her for being her “authentic self”. “I went in for a fitting, and the next day they called saying they also wanted my mother to be part of the campaign. I was grateful for the opportunity, and I now have a duty to help others in my community to get into these spaces.”
The aim of this campaign is to express positivity and unity.“It’s about harnessing our collective passion, ability, voice and spirit as South Africans to overcome, to create, to redefine our futures,” said a Woolworths Facebook post. Apart from modelling, Govender has her own South Indian chai brand, Thalki Chai, of which her mom is the face.“I naturally made her the face of my brand for several reasons. My definition of Thalki is a woman who does not conform to society’s standards.”