Mary Tolle Wright Award for Excellence in Leadership
Thembeka Gwagwa, BSN, RN
Democratic Nursing Organization of South Africa
Tau Lambda-at-Large Chapter #281
Ms. Gwagwa is a professional nurse who holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a diploma in nursing administration and education, and several certificates in transformation and leadership. She has been the general secretary of the Democratic Nursing Organization of South Africa (DENOSA) — a trade union and professional body for nurses — for 15 years. DENOSA was a result of major political changes in the country moving from the apartheid system to the democratic system. Ms. Gwagwa played a major role in unifying the nurses’ organizations that existed during apartheid and worked hard to make sure that DENOSA forges a balance between nurses as professionals and as workers. She also played a role in forming the regional structure in the South African Development Community called the South African Network of Nurses and Midwives. DENOSA is well-known and respected nationally, regionally, and internationally. It bargains for nurses’ salaries and has an Institute for Professional Development.