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More women venture into the maritime sector

  • marimac 

Vessel construction company sees its first female rigger.

Ntombovuyo Madyaliti. Image supplied

Ntombovuyo Madyaliti. Image supplied

Ntombovuyo Madyaliti, a fulltime rigger at Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), is one of just four women in South Africa with an Occupational Certificate in Rigging. Rigging in the maritime sector is no longer just a man’s world, according to DSCT.

Madyaliti, after being a former security guard at the vessel construction company, received her Occupational Certificate in Rigging in 2022. Madyaliti is also currently the only female rigger at DSCT, which builds steel hull vessels for harbours around the world.

According to the company, she was part of the first cohort of 27 apprentices (23 men and four women) that received their rigging qualifications as part of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Centre of Specialisation programme at False Bay TVET College’s Swartklip Campus.

“I am very proud to be the first female rigger at Damen,” notes Madyaliti. “When I started my apprenticeship, everyone was so surprised to see me working. They were asking if I am going to be a lady rigger because they had never seen one before.”

DSCT says Madyaliti applied for the programme in 2019 and then started her training at the vessel construction company in the same year. “Everyone said it was a man’s job but now they are used to seeing me. My job is so exciting because I am constantly learning new things and experiencing new opportunities,” she adds.

Technical training officer at DSCT, Abdula Galant, says: “This was a male dominated industry, but things are changing, and we know that we need to transform and give women opportunities. Of the 29 apprentices we have this year, 10 are women. This is something we are immensely proud of.”

Sefale Montsi, DSCT’s director says Madyaliti’s growth is an example of what can be done when companies in the maritime sector commit to change. “In South Africa, the maritime industry has the potential to uplift many people who were previously disadvantaged,” Monsti adds. “Our ocean economy has the potential to unlock great social economic growth and to create thousands of jobs. We are proud of Ntombovuyo and what she has achieved. She has gone from working as a security guard to being an integral part of how we, as a business, build world class vessels, and she has broken boundaries while doing so.”

Madyaliti says when she started, she did not listen to the people who told her the job was solely for men. “I told myself that I can’t limit myself because I am a woman, and that if a man can do it, I can also.”