Women's Month: How this electrician is disrupting gender norms

Published Aug 15, 2023


From a young age, Lungile Mkhize knew hers was a path of excitement, adventure and challenging the norms of gender set by society.

A remarkable woman, Lungile has dedicated her life to creating positive change and empowering those around her. Her journey is one of resilience, determination, and a commitment to breaking barriers.

Lungile joined Sandock Austral Shipyards as an apprentice electrician in 2016. She went on to qualify in 2019 and has been working as an electrician at SAS since.

She says that Sandock Austral Shipyards has provided her with the perfect platform to develop her talent as a “sparky” and slowly but surely, she continues to make a name for herself in a male-dominated environment, while carving out a path for the young women who will one day follow in her footsteps.

As part of her daily duties, Lungile repairs and troubleshoots the machinery that keep the cogs of SAS turning.

"I also support the team with shore supply, repair and maintain portable tools as well as maintain the office building with any electrical faults," Lungile said.

She believes that having an "always willing to learn" attitude has helped her grow in leaps and bounds.

Lungile's journey has not been without challenges.

She has faced resistance and skepticism, but her unwavering determination has propelled her forward. Her ability to transform obstacles into opportunities is a testament to her resilience.

"I stay motivated by constantly learning and growing my knowledge in my field," Lungile added.

Lungile said despite many women opting to study in the electrical field, not many make it very far.

"I have found that women often choose to study towards becoming an electrician but very few make it further in the industry because most companies do not have faith in our ability to perform. Companies very often don't give us a chance to learn and grow," she said.

Growing up, she witnessed the challenges that women in her community faced and was inspired to make a difference.

She firmly believes that uplifting one another is the key to creating a more equitable and just society. Lungile's upbringing instilled in her a deep sense of community and a passion for equality.

Lungile lives by the motto, "Empowered women empower women."

IOL News

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