LESSONS AT EVERY TURN
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.