The long held cultural belief that women belong in the kitchen has outlived its usefulness with the emergence of women taking up the so-called men’s jobs.
Deliwe Kwalate, a middle-aged woman who hails from Metsimotlhabe Village in the Kweneng District, is one of an increasing number of women who has stood out and trained in formerly male-dominated professions.
Kwalate is a motor mechanic.
Kwalate, a Technical Service Advisor at Lesedi Motors in Gaborone, says her interest started when she was still a small girl. Growing up amongst boys, Kwalate slowly assumed the masculine lifestyle and started designing toy cars.
“Upon realizing that I could do what men can do, I slowly dismissed the long held belief about women certain jobs being men’s jobs,” she said, adding that there are no longer any jobs that exist at the exclusion of women.
After completing her secondary level, she went to an advanced schooling at Palapye Technical College where she pursued a course in auto mechanics and acquired National Craft Certificate. She applied for a job at Lesedi Motors where she started working as a mechanic in 2007 and was later promoted to Technical Service Advisor in 2011.
“Some of the guys gave me a negative attitude when I started working with them. They grudgingly gave me jobs just to test me and to see what I would do about it,” she said.
Kwalate added that although she was fresh from school, she carried out her duties to the best because she believed it was a God-given talent and did not see why it could even be categorized as a men’s job.
Kwalate said over the years she has acquired immeasurable experience and confidence.
“I hold my job in high esteem; it is uniquely interesting,” she says, with evident pride. “It is challenging and it needs someone who is passionate and patient and good results will come out.”
Kwalate urges fellow sisters to enroll in the same course, saying that the world we are living in today is too practical and technical.
“Challenges will be there forever,” she says. “Use your abilities; as a woman, you are capable of anything. Just be patient and continue pressing forward.”