‘Seek out support and be available to support others; there is power in vulnerability’ – UP grad offers her thoughts this Women’s Month

Posted on August 30, 2020

Eradication of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa should stem from grassroots level, where men need to call out seemingly harmless behaviour among themselves. This is what Mudinda Tshimbidi, a University of Pretoria (UP) graduate who is now a strategy and consulting manager for a Fortune Global 500 company, has to say about stamping out abuse against women.

“It is about men calling out other men for sexual innuendos, inappropriate conduct, toxic masculinity and jokes at the ‘boys’ clubs,” says Tshimbidi, who graduated from UP with a BEng Mining Engineering degree and an honours in Technology Management. She also holds a Management Practice qualification from Henley Business School and a certification in Social Innovation from the University of Cape Town.

Tshimbidi also feels that the media needs to change its narrative of presenting women as victims and rather put emphasis on the men who were the perpetrators. She adds that we need harsher consequences to deter perpetrators and to go beyond “slap on the wrist” bail or jail time. “We need to create conducive environments in law enforcement where women can report these matters without being harassed to relive the GBV ordeal and be ridiculed in the process.”

As for her role as a strategy and consulting manager, Tshimbidi explains that part of her job involves navigating uncertainty to deliver value to clients and to solve significant business problems by translating challenges into opportunities through innovative thinking and frontier technologies.

She says a highlight in her career was receiving an embrace from a stakeholder for having simplified their day-to-day work through digital transformation on mining operations. “I enjoy going beyond the business case and solving problems to make people’s lives easier in a tangible way while delivering quantitative value for our clients’ businesses,” says Tshimbidi.

Having a purpose keeps her motivated, and she says that while juggling a family and a career can be challenging, it is doable. “Life will always pose challenges – that is a guarantee. However, I believe that every challenge is an opportunity to grow and have my character shaped. Managing a family and a career is possible because of God’s grace, a strong support system and a passion to self-actualise.”

Her message to women is to always be authentic; to have an unbridled passion for purposeful impact; to learn to celebrate themselves and weed out imposter syndrome from their lives. “Seek out support and be available to support others – there is power in vulnerability.” 

- Author Xolani Mathibela

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