Historic moment as Maphootla Makhoalibe lands seat at the Robben Island Museum table

A tourist looks at photos at the Robben Island Museum. Picture: AP Photo/Obed Zilwa.

A tourist looks at photos at the Robben Island Museum. Picture: AP Photo/Obed Zilwa.

Published Aug 30, 2021


What better way to end Women’s Month than by having a female appointed at executive level at the Robben Island Museum (RIM) – a change that comes after 24 years.

Makhoalibe has been appointed as the museum’s executive manager, the first female to be placed in this position since the opening in 1997.

Makhoalibe has an impressive 19 years of experience in the industry with qualifications built environment and infrastructure; a degree in Architecture (SA) and a Master’s in Property Development and Planning (UK).

Maphootla Makhoalibe. Picture: Supplied.

Makhoalibe role in the male-dominated industry will allow her to utilise her expertise at the museum.

“I would like to thank the Council of Robben Island Museum, as well as CEO, Mr Mava Dada, for the opportunity to serve our country in preserving our heritage, as well as trusting me to be the first female in the executive management team, especially in what is still considered a male-dominated industry. My vision is to utilise my expertise to advance RIM’s innovation strategy through integrated built environment design; smart technologies and optimised operations and knowledge mobilisation,” said Makhoalibe.

She joins the museum at a challenging time brought about by Covid-19, however, her experience, passion and contribution in the built-environment sector allows her to contribute significantly to bottom-line efficiency and profitability as the museum tries to reinvest itself through digitalisation, memorialisation and business remodelling.

Morongoa Ramaboa, RIM spokesperson, said: “This is certainly validation that women are and have always been ready to lead in strategic positions. We are excited about Makhoalibe’s arrival and have full confidence that her broad and unique experience will be valuable for RIM. This is certainly a win for women during Women’s Month and we wish her all the best for the journey that lies ahead,” said Ramaboa.

Makhoalibe’s mammoth task includes leading a team of about 80 members and ensuring that the division is managed according to the built environment and heritage-approved standards.

She will also be responsible for Robben Island's restoration and conservation efforts as per RIM’s 3rd Integrated Conservation Management Plan and contribute to towards the preservation of Robben Island World Heritage Site’s outstanding universal value from an infrastructure point of view.

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