Maria Dumekude started her exciting career journey with Golden Arrow 16 years ago. Back then, she cleaned the offices. Today, she is responsible for helping to repair and maintain the Golden Arrow fleet of busses as a qualified auto electrician.
After her first two years with the company, Maria was promoted to the workshop floor as a general hand, assisting the mechanics. She later applied for an apprenticeship and in 2009 became a qualified artisan.
Maria always believed the work she does today was something men did, while women belonged in offices. Today she thinks differently. She loves getting her hands dirty and, no doubt, showing just how skilled those hands are.
“I can do everything my colleagues can do, and sometimes even better. I love the challenge of working in a male-dominated industry. Women like me challenge those who think there are only certain jobs that females are capable of, when that’s not the case.”
During a visit to the Tollgate Depot by Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille in early October to mark Transport Month, Maria was proud to meet the mayor and tell her about her work at Golden Arrow, which is an operating company for the MyCiTi service. The service employ 52 female bus drivers, 12 female dispatch operators at its depots and two female technicians.
“These women are a true inspiration and testament to the fact that women can excel in jobs previously dominated by men,” De Lille said. She added that local government was “working hard” towards developing and supporting programmes that would provide longer-term employment in an effort to promote economic inclusion, in line with the City’s organisational development and transformation plan (ODTP).
“Learnership programmes, in particular, have empowered many women, some of whom have obtained permanent employment directly with the City through these opportunities. This is part of the City’s commitment in the ODTP to take Cape Town to the next level and build a globally competitive city where all our residents, both men and women, are empowered to grow the economy,” she said.
“I want to salute all the brave women who have taken steps to enter sectors said to be for men only and who are now breaking barriers for young girls who have similar ambitions to have the same opportunities in the future,” the mayor said.
Maria, full of confidence and high aspirations, joked that the only difference between her and her male counterparts is that she works neater. Also, her nails are clean and her hands are soft. “I moisturize.”
Source: news24.com 2018-10-07 https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/wheels-of-change-women-make-their-mark-in-cape-towns-transport-industry-20181005 Photo: Tammy Petersen