LESSONS AT EV­ERY TURN

Sunday Observer - - NEWS -

Each and ev­ery role Dr Gce­bek­ile Dlamini has played taught her lessons she em­braces and uses go­ing for­ward. Im­me­di­ately af­ter high school, she had a stint teach­ing English to Tai­wanese na­tion­als. This taught her pa­tience; “It was dif­fi­cult. They didn’t un­der­stand English. Imag­ine hav­ing to ex­plain the mean­ing of ‘The’ to an adult.” Dur­ing uni­ver­sity hol­i­days while en­rolled at the then UNISWA, she worked at Ack­er­mans. There, she learnt that cus­tomer ser­vice will make or break an or­gan­i­sa­tion; “We spent most of the time pick­ing af­ter cus­tomers. We couldn’t scold them be­cause we needed their money to achieve sales tar­gets.” She went on to work with the USA Peace Corp, where pa­tience was a virtue as she taught Amer­i­can Vol­un­teers. While en­gaged with Angli­can HIV/AIDS, she was equipped with pro­gramme man­age­ment skills and learnt that she could achieve a lot by ex­er­cis­ing hu­mil­ity and be­ing flex­i­ble, “I also

learnt of the value of work-life bal­ance.”

At the SOS Chil­dren’s Vil­lages, ex­po­sure to heart-break­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and too many in­jus­tices to chil­dren made her more sym­pa­thetic to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances. Her first touch within a male dom­i­nated en­vi­ron­ment was at Sappi Usutu, where her Pro­gramme Man­age­ment skills were honed, and she learnt to hold her own among her peers. Be­ing a con­sul­tant was very de­mand­ing but re­ward­ing and she loved the cre­ative space.

Ven­tur­ing into con­struc­tion made her re­alise that she could not be any­thing other than a pro­fes­sional and skilled woman in the male dom­i­nated space.

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