Drivers of Change: Nondumiso Maseko – Mankayane COE

Drivers of Change: Nondumiso Maseko – Mankayane COE

Date: September 28, 2020
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Quotable quote: “Business knows no gender 

This is a quote I normally use since I noticed that gender equality is worked upon in the work environment. Previously male dominated industries, like the construction industry, are now accommodating women. However, very little change is noticed when it comes to starting businesses; there are still businesses that society believes can only be successfully run by men, and not women. A good example, again, is the construction industry; although women can now work in this industry, it is still very rare to find a construction company owned by a woman because society still believe women don’t have what it takes to successfully run one. But it’s not true, because what sees a business to success is determination and hard work, not gender. 

After graduating in 2016, like every other graduate, I joined in job hunting and was excited to start working. The job industry proved to be harsher than I thought though because a year later, I was still at home. While still at university, I had started doing business plans for my friends who needed them (skill learnt from one of my courses). When I couldn’t find a job, I started telling people about what I do and asked for referrals. While still doing that, I stumbled upon a job opportunity at a transport company, which I took with both hands because I was still hoping for employment although my freelance business was doing well. 


I got this job through my consulting business; I was helping the said company recover from some marketing problems. I was the only women at work, working with men in the public transport industry and also men working at a block-yard, which were all businesses under the company I was working for. 


The treatment was not bad at work, but it was all based from the fact that I am a woman, and the only woman around. I remember even my employer had mentioned, before hiring me, that they were looking to hire a man but he believed I was the right person to help them out of their challenges. I had to prove myself, that I can do the work just like a man can, every day. I had to speak twice as loud for my voice to be heard, or even be acted upon. I left that job because of the unfavourable working conditions and went back to working on my business full-time. I now encourage other young women to consider self-employment for that sense of self-worth.

I am a start-up business consultant. What I do is motivate young people to consider entrepreneurship, either as a main source of income or a side source of income. I then help them get their businesses started, primarily in doing the required researches on how they can best penetrate their industry of choice and also to securing funding for them by providing proper business plans and proposals, and also help them get registered. 


I work with a number of other consultants who provide the services that I cannot do, so that I can refer my clients to someone i know will do a good job, including graphic designers, and other virtual services needed in a business. 


Once the businesses are up and running, i still hang around to offer some advice here and there, but other specialists then take over.

This job has helped my confidence level a lot. Before I could promise people to help them, I had to help myself first. I had to be confident in myself first, before I could be confident in my work leaving an impression where it went to pave way for my clients. I had to be in a good place as an entrepreneur before I could tell others about it. I believe that that is what is affording me the honour of being featured in places my resume really couldn’t take me. 

I grew up in a rural background where only a few jobs were understood, especially for women. Every other job, always received a blank stare as if they are wondering who will want to marry you with an office job. It is understandable because an office job was somehow seen as superior than other jobs, and no man would want marry a woman with such a job because of various reasons. Defying the odds even more by choosing a business of my kind and not limiting myself because I hope to get married have been a learning curve for them. 

Being community-based, I have helped a number of young people to consider entrepreneurship as an alternative to being employed, in light of the lack of employment. I believe that them seeing someone like them, young, with a university degree, and self-employed have also been a motivation to also start something for themselves. Luckily, I am able to help them get their businesses off the ground when they need to, because that is what I do. 


I believe that the relevant stakeholders have also maintained the importance of the youth partaking in local economic development meetings, events, tasks, etc. because they have seen me, and other young people, make meaningful contributions in how we can achieve sustainable development, and also actively working towards developing ourselves first and not relying on anyone.