Windhoek-Much like most segments of any economy, the logistics sector is very much a male-dominated affair but a young South African woman, Nozuko Mayesa, is making impressive inroads and is encouraging Namibian women to do the same.
Mayesa is the managing director of her own logistics company, Tulsawiz Logistics, based in Johannesburg, which she founded in 2011 and has grown the business from one truck to an impressive fleet of 30 trucks.
“I would like to challenge Namibian women to consider playing a meaningful role in bigger and challenging industries. That is the only way we, as African women, will tap into the wealth of our continent to eradicate poverty,” said Mayesa.
Tulsawiz Logistics currently employs eight permanent staff and services Southrand Mining and also takes advantage of many cross-border trucking opportunities. However, while encouraging women to enter the logistics sector, Mayesa cautions that the main challenges at the beginning were access to start-up capital and access to the market.
“Through networking I have overcome the barrier to access the market. I know how to pick up a phone call and call anyone at any big logistics company and ask for available opportunities. Financing a trucking business is always challenging in many ways. Banks are not interested in new businesses and back then there was no enterprise supplier development to help start-ups.
“In fact, I used savings from my previous employer to get started,” Mayesa explained. She added that to secure new business she lists 10 clients she would like to do business with and from there she enquires about their logistics opportunities and relevant people to speak to and she keeps on calling until she succeeds.
Also weighing in on women in the logistics sector, Dr Kenneth Odero, academic director at the Namibian German Centre for Logistics, advised women in the sector and those hoping to enter the sector to collaborate or form a partnership so as to have a greater voice through which they can address their concerns.
Such a collaboration, said Dr Odero, would assist women in gaining the necessary skills to enter the sector. “There are never enough women in any sector and there is no doubt that the logistics sector is male-dominated,” he said.
However, while encouraging women to establish themselves in the sector, Dr Odero noted that logistics is extremely competitive, is highly capital-intensive and procurement arrangements in transport are very technical-specific.