A truckload of determination
Silindo Mathenjwa is a force to be reckoned with. Born in KwaZulu-Natal, with dreams of being an accountant, she fell in love with the transport industry and this is where she’s made her home. We chatted to her about her career path.
So how did you get started?
My father owns a transport business. This gave me the opportunity to acquire first-hand experience in the dynamics of owning and running a transport business. However, the beginning stages of my career weren’t easy. I approached many acquaintances in the logistics industry asking them to mentor me in the field. I was met with many negative responses as they felt that the industry wasn’t ‘for women’. However, I didn’t let this get me down: I had a dream and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that!
What are some of the career challenges you’ve faced?
As a young black woman, one of the many challenges we face is the huge gap between our salaries and that of our colleagues. This is despite the fact that we may have been given the responsibility that came with the higher salary or more prestigious title.
The transport and logistics arena is very male dominated and transformation is slow. There is a tendency for some men to doubt a woman’s authority – which I’ve seen to be very prevalent in this industry – so I’ve found it necessary to develop a unique way of handling this so as to keep the workplace productive.
What are your future career plans?
My role in the risk management aspect of the trucking and logistics industry has opened my eyes to the world of business. Thus, I’m planning to go back to university and get a business degree which will give me a competitive edge in the company.
What advice would you give to those who are starting out in their career?
Network, network, network! How far you’ll go in your career will depend on your knowledge about your chosen industry as well as the other people’s knowledge that you can draw on. Don’t limit yourself to a specific field. If an opportunity comes along that will broaden your knowledge and will interest you, take it! This increased exposure will give you a deeper understanding and empathy both in terms of your career and your personal life.
by Silindokuhle Mathenjwa