Women excel in automotive industry
Johannesburg – South Africa has in the past few years witnessed an increase in the number of women venturing into the automotive industry.
“Men don’t prevent you from being at the table; we limit ourselves by not wanting to take up that seat because we don’t think we are enough. So overcoming that self-limiting belief is absolutely critical,” says Luaneta Logie, an automotive engineer. “What I have found the challenge to be is our own self-limiting beliefs that we are not good enough, that we don’t have a powerful voice. And so for me, the challenge is always to help women grow their voice, to actually earn their seat at the table and to take their seat at the table.”
The production manager at an auto company in Eastern Cape Province, Ncedisa Mzuzu, encouraged women to be bold and realise their full potential.
“To young girls, if I can offer any advice is that they must have a curious mind, a mind that is inquisitive. They need to be willing to learn new things and most importantly a mind that is willing to take risks because this is the life you can’t stay in a comfort zone forever. So, I think they just need to take that leap of faith and go for what is out there.”
Thokoza Thulisani, MD at another car firm in Johannesburg, says her job at the helm of the company was easy as some male subordinates still found it difficult to accept her leadership.
“What I want the world to know today is that women have realised their worth and their capabilities so if any men feels challenged by the success of women, let them display higher competence and higher qualifications. You don’t earn a position because you are a men, you earn it because you are qualified and you work hard. The automotive industry is challenging yes, but nothing stops women from doing what their male counterparts do. Women lets overtake fear and show the world that we are able,” says Thulisani.
According to the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Municipality Business Chamber, Denise van Huyssteen, herself a trailblazer in the auto sector, women are excelling in the industry.
“I think it’s not about being singled out because you are a woman, it’s about being respected because you’re an equal. And for me, it’s about delivery and what I also set out to do was to learn what I didn’t know because I was dealing with very technical people, lots of engineers, and people who know cars inside out. So I had to make it my business to learn.”
Tshwane-based automotive engineer Leuis Mosier adds that having women in the industry has made it more competitive.
“They pay attention to their work and do it perfectly. The world needs more women to come out and challenge the male dominated sectors. We need more of them in this and other challenging sectors. Remember a mother’s touch is the most perfect.”
Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean motivational speaker based in South Africa, Chandapiwa Tshuma, in collaboration with a child rights organisation Khula – Lets Grow Together, is providing shoes to underprivileged children.
The Southern Times spoke to Tshuma on Women’s Day at the launch of the initiative in Johannesburg’s Cosmo City Township.
She said, “Boys and girls need to nurtured and guided to bring out their talents and follow their passion. Education helps children reinforce their talents and society needs to do more to educate children against becoming victims of negative peer influence.
“The world is waiting for boys and girls to go and occupy boardrooms and parliaments, they need our care and nurturing as society to ensure they are comfortable going to school.”
She went on, “I am a Zimbabwean but as you know our history and the history of South Africa are the same. We also celebrate the success of women in Zimbabwe and I have come to realise that the struggles of children in Zimbabwe are the same as the struggles of children in South Africa. Giving shoes to the children is a worthy cause and I can refer to shoes as a basic human need.
Chairperson of Khula, Hlengiwe Ntamane, weighed in: “Giving children shoes is a way of us giving back to the community as women. We emulate the sacrifices that were done by our mothers who marched against oppressive apartheid laws. Our movement aims to ensure that all school kids go to school in shoes. When they are comfortable, they do best in school.”
South Africa has set aside August 9 of every year to honor the more than 20,000 women who marched to South Africa’s seat of government, Union Buildings, in 1956 to protest against Pass Laws.
In his address to mark Women’s Day 2021, President Ramaphosa encouraged the nation to emulate activist Charlotte Mannya Maxele.
“We have declared 2021 as the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke, a courageous women’s rights activist and also a leader who was born 150 years ago. We celebrate this year of her birth because we want to encourage the women of this country to follow her example and to follow in her footsteps.
“We celebrate the resolve of these women to determine their own destiny. At the same time we pay tribute to today’s generation of women. Just as the women of 1956 fought against the injustices of their time, the women of today are engaged in a new frontier of struggle.
“It is a struggle for equal rights, dignity, economic liberation and freedom from violence. Women have always been instrumental in the advancement of the human cause,” said President Ramaphosa.