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Lebogang Magwai says being a woman does not mean she is not capable. She says women have the power to do anything they set their minds to.

Welding apprentice finds her spark


Women’s Day is celebrated on 9 August and is about celebrating the achievements of women in society.
When the women of 1956 marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the pass law, they were able to show the power and capabilities of women.
Polokwane Observer spoke to a young woman welder, who works in a male-dominated field about the significance of being a woman and how she copes with the pressure of men around her.
Lebogang Magwai, is from Ha-Matlala and she matriculated at Leshikishiki Senior Secondary School. She says when she was considering what to study after Gr 12 her initial plan was to study Human Resources but her mother urged her to take a path that is not usually taken by women. “My mother always taught me that there is nothing I am not capable of doing. She did not believe in gender roles and believed that women were just as capable as men. She urged me to study mechanical engineering because she believed I would prosper in the field.”
Lebogang enrolled at Polokwane Technical Institute for her N2 in mechanical engineering but had to move to Capricorn College for TVET due to financial difficulties. “I received a bursary at Capricorn TVET and was able to complete my studies. It was during my time there that I took an interest in welding.”
Lebogang is currently at Tradesman Skills and Training in Seshego, where she is finalising her apprenticeship before she can be awarded her national diploma. “My apprenticeship is 10% theory and the rest is practical. I am learning to practically apply the knowledge I have learnt, into life. This is an exciting experience because everyone just assumes that I do not love it because I am female.”
Lebogang tells Polokwane Observer that she is passionate about what she does as she wants to challenge the narrative that women only belong in the kitchen or behind a reception desk. “There are times when I come across challenges simply because I am a woman, but I am determined to show my true worth. As women we need to come together and build each other up. We need to stop believing that some jobs are just for men.”

Story: Umpha Manenzhe