by GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG – “I was born to stand out,” Rose Moyo, the Zimbabwean-born technology executive, aptly said of herself.
This self-appraisal rings true of the 49-year-old who is among the most prominent and few executives and experts in a lucrative industry that is male-dominated.
Ever one to stand out, it is no wonder after high school, she joined the military Air Force of Zimbabwe, yet another field that is largely seen as a preserve for males.
“Growing up, I was more aligned to my brothers,” she said in an interview in Johannesburg.
Being a middle child in a family of eight children, she attributes her upbringing for grounding her into a formidable woman she is today.
“Growing up as the middle child, there was no pressure for me to prove anything from a social context as everything had been laid down for me,” Moyo said.
Moyo has always dreamt big such that despite her home country being landlocked, she aspired to be a deep sea diver.
“I was not afraid to dream. Yet, even today I still cannot swim. I don’t know where that dream went,” she chuckled.
With that dream down the drain, followed by stint at the air force, it is in the technology field where she has made the biggest impression.
This can be traced to some “opportunities, fate and circumstances” influencing her to leave the air force and pursue a BSc Honours in Electronics at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in the second city of Bulawayo and later joining the University of Zimbabwe in the capital Harare as a technical assistant in the laboratory.
Later, she enrolled at the prestigious University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in neighbouring South Africa, where she studied a Masters in Engineering, with a focus on telecommunications.
After completion, she returned to Zimbabwe where she joined the country’s Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRZA).
There, she pioneered the regulatory framework in terms of ICT, with her in charge of networks and coordination of regional and international platforms.
It was at the time of upheaval in the country mobile sector with the government maintaining a monopoly on the industry through NetOne.
This would later change with the licensing of Econet and Telecel.
Moyo said amid the developments, the regulator was “coming from a firefighter position.”
“It was an interesting journey as it gave me exposure in both regional and international organisations like the International Telecommunications Union (ITU),” Moyo reflected.
In 2006 she joined ZTE (formerly Zhongxing New Telecommunications Equipment) Corporation South Africa as technical manager in charge of wireless technology.
“I am one of the few people that have been fortunate to work in all the wireless technologies that have been in existence, especially 3G,” she beamed.
From the first generation networks (1G) to the upcoming 5G, she has been involved.
In 2011, Moyo joined the fast-growing Chinese giant Huawei as Solutions Manager.
“I was going through chartered waters. Nothing was defined,” she said.
She prides herself as being arguably the first female executive to work in enterprise in South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy.
Later, she was promoted to the Director Enterprise Wireless Solutions for the East and Southern African regions.
Moyo has thrived in her current position, which she assumed in 2015. Her strengths in communication and patience make her a formidable leader and mentor within the company.
At Huawei, she has received multiple honors, including the Individual Gold Medal Award, Team Gold Medal Award, Expert Contribution Award and Future Star.
Teased of her height be fellow students, standing a towering more than 1,85m, she is a giant in the industry, in every sense of the word. She lights up every conference room she enters with her passion for wireless.
She is committed to the building of a safer Africa, hopeful this can be achieved by adopting the right technologies.
“Despite Africa having fewer natural disasters, the consequences and fatalities are higher,” she lamented.
With the new dispensation in place in Zimbabwe, Moyo was coy when asked her about the call by the government on its citizens in the diaspora to return and develop the country.
“I think on that perspective, if the leadership can harness from the diverse experience in the diaspora, then the country can move forward,” she said.
The one-time aspiring diver preferred to delve deeper into the subject she has the biggest passion for- technology.
Whereas in the past, narrowband technologies, both analogue and digital, have been the communications technologies of choice, a desire for the capacity to accommodate high bandwidth data is pushing a transition to broadband communications, she said expertly.
“With suppliers now offering more Long Term Evolution (LTE) solutions, countries building national networks and law enforcements’ changing expectations surrounding their technology usage, it is evident broadband is the future of critical communications,” Moyo concluded.
– CAJ News