City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Corporate and Shared Services, Cllr Ntombi Khumalo, hosted more than 80 girl learners who had gathered at the Joburg Theatre for the 15th edition of the “Take A Girl Child to Work” campaign.
A brainchild of cellular network operator Cell C, the initiative seeks to expose girl-children to careers that they might not have been aware existed. All the 80 girls were from Letsibogo Senior Secondary School in Meadowlands, Soweto.
“Women form the largest part of the population in the whole world. We need to use that to our advantage to shape the current and the future of the world,” MMC Khumalo said.
“There is no reason we cannot be holding positions of power in the world of politics, business, science and technology.”
She told the girls to “dream big and think broadly”, saying “the sky should be the only limit”.
“Set yourselves goals. Associate yourselves with the right and like-minded people. Seek knowledge. Always aspire to succeed. Be goal-driven. Never give up. Be determined. Develop a strong character. Be disciplined,” she said.
However, MMC Khumalo warned them that nothing came easily. “The road to success is paved with obstacles such as thorns, rocks and humps. Don’t allow those to distract you. You will come across friends, family and relatives who will try to discourage you.
“You will be challenged by the trappings of peer pressure. But don’t give in. Ignore them. Push them aside. Just march on to your goal,” she said.
She related her own story of success, saying when she was growing up she wanted to study politics. “My family discouraged me, saying I will end up in jail or exile or worse, dead, like other past politicians. I ended up enrolling for a BSc degree, and later studied sumatology. But I still pursued politics on the side. Look at me today, I am here, where I always wanted to be,” MMC Khumalo said.
She warned the girls against the “blesser” syndrome. “Be your own blessers. Have self-pride. Stand on your own two feet. Never allow anyone to own you or dictate how you should live your life. Be the masters of your own fates,” Khumalo said.
She told the group to emulate the likes of Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and owner of a successful South African media company; Oprah Winfrey, an internationally celebrated TV personality; and Pam Golding, a South African property mogul.
“Choose your role models carefully. We’re looking for future leaders out of you. We are looking for mayors, for presidents, for government ministers, for medical and academic doctors out of you. You can do it. It’s all up to you,” Khumalo said.
After the motivational talk, the girls were divided into nine different groups and sent to the City’s various entities, regions and departments to experience first-hand the world of work.
Their hosts included City Power, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg Theatre, Transport Department, Communication, Social Development, Citizen Relationship and Urban Management, Development Planning, and Environment and Infrastructure Services Development.
Region A hosted four Grade 9 girls. Several departments showcased the various career options available in the City in particular and in the local government sector in general.
Oupa Mabuya, of the City’s Library and Information Services, said his department provided a great working environment for those who enjoyed reading as they “will always surrounded by books”.
“Having a qualification will open doors for you and present you with a lot of opportunities,” said Mabuya.
Regional Director Abigail Ndlovu said she was delighted to have given the girls a glimpse of the world of work.
She said the project opened up “a world of hope and dreams” for the young girls.
Region F hosted three Grade 9 girl learners – Katlego Mphahlele,13, Tebogo Mphahlele, 15, and Ontabetse Kwayine, 14 – at the CJ Cronje Building in the CBD. They were over the moon as officials opened the exciting world of work.
Acting Operations Manager: Citizen Relationships Manager Nozipho Ndaba took them to meet some of the people who keep the city ticking.
At the end of their four-hour tour, the inspired trio said they were determined as ever to pursue their chosen fields – tourism, law enforcement and fashion design.