by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – WHILE women have made inroads into male-dominated industries such as metallurgy, welding remains characterised by a gender disparity in favour of men.
Limpopo-born Francina Tselane (39) is one woman who has managed to buck the trend.
Against the odds stacked heavily against her, the mother of three is making a mark in the industry and giving credence to the theory that women make better welders than their male counterparts.
What makes Tselane’s rise the more inspiring is that she was employed as a cleaner, seen as a menial job, before self-inspiration to partake a career in welding.
Today, based in Soweto, she is proprietor of Kgalaletso Kgahlisho Pty Ltd, which she registered in 2019.
Registered last year, it has gained prominence in the township as well as around the country, mostly in Mokopane, her home area.
She studied a three-year welding course at the Molapo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) from 2016.
She explained why she opted for welding.
“I chose practicals so that I could be able to start my own business. I thought age was going to limit me to get a job (if I didn’t do practical courses),” Tselane said.
“I always wanted to do boiler maker. So, when I established that Molapo Campus was offering welding, I convinced myself to go for it. I was a cleaner and I resigned to study that course,” she said of the move.
Tselane added about her unique choice, “I wanted to study something different, where women’s skills are scarce, so as to show all women out there that nothing impossible. You just need perseverance.”
Armed with a qualification that took three years to complete, her career choice has worked out as a masterstroke.
Her company, with her at the forefront, does welding jobs around Soweto, especially around rapidly growing suburbs such as Protea Glen, where she is now blessed.
At the time of this interview, she was installing at the nearby Dobsonville.
Structures that Kgalaletso Kgahlisho design include gates, burglar bars, braai stands and carports.
While Tselane hopes to hire personnel, if she secures funding, she currently does most of the job.
When the demand increases, she enlists the assistance of her husband, Mpho.
“I married my high school mate,” she chuckled.
Tselane said because she is a woman in a male-dominated job, some clients were sceptical.
“After the job is done, they are left speechless,” she said.
She offered encouragement to women still battling to empower themselves through fear of entering male-dominated sectors.
“It’s not too late to decide what you want in life,” Tselane advised.
– CAJ News