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Sharing her journey this Women’s Month, Zutari civil engineer Tshegofatso Sibambato says the main challenge she’s faced as a Black, female engineer is the constant need to prove yourself.

Tshegofatso Sibambato, civil engineer, Zutari

“You need to fight for what you know and believe you deserve, and ensure you have a solid support structure. The lens through which you are observed is usually more magnified than that used for males, and because of that you fear failing,” says Zutari civil engineer Tshegofatso Sibambato.

Sibambato completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. “I developed a love for science and mathematics and believed that engineering was a good fit.” She was inspired to study engineering due to a love for seeing the fruit of her labour coming alive through the building of civil infrastructure.

“Engineering elements are all around us, and I want to be part of building our country through the implementation of infrastructure services. Service delivery remains a huge concern for most communities within South Africa, and this speaks to the vast opportunities for us as engineers to implement projects to provide these services,” says Sibambato.

Her current role is geared towards being a project leader and managing the planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling processes involved in the project life cycle. She is also a design engineer focusing mainly on stormwater drainage design.

Find mentors and create supportive networks

Her message to women contemplating a similar career path is to always remember why you wanted to become an engineer and keep reminding yourself of that. Create networks of individuals who have your best interest at heart and who will help you to succeed. Determine what your career aspirations are and find mentors who can help you to obtain the skills that you need along that journey.

“Efforts are constantly being made for the engineering industry to transform. Many women continue to excel in the industry and have paved the way for others to have better experiences than they did. Diversity brings strength, and because of that more women are needed in the industry to make the right moves. There are many roles one can fulfil as an engineer; you just need to find the one that suits you best,” highlights Sibambato.