Lusikisiki born Walter Sisulu University Senior Director for Marketing, Communication and Advancement, Yonela Tukwayo is making waves as the youngest female executive at the institution.


Having worked in corporate which was largely dominated by Afrikaans speaking men, she has had to take bold steps to prove that she is unwilling to be belittled, side-lined or excluded and these steps included walking out of meetings when colleagues switched from a language that she could communicate with to one that she could not understand.


She believes that the feminist approach has been taken too far, that instead it should have been looked at from an equality perspective.


“I think it came out too strong and came out as challenging males, it didn’t go down well and as a result we have seen very little change that has taken place particularly in the business sphere”, said Tukwayo.


As a professional women, she strives to be judged based on what she brings to the table not on her gender and race and she believes that identity is everything.


Amongst her qualifications is a National Diploma in Marketing, a Btech degree in Marketing, a National Diploma in Advertising, and an Honours degree in B.Com Business Management.


Although she is doing what she is passionate about, she hopes to use her B.Com Business Management qualification to break out of the marketing mould and get more involved in the general operations of the institution.


Working with older people in her day to day operations has forced her to remember the values that she was taught at home by showing the necessary respect that was taught to her from a young age.


“Identity is everything, personal branding and the image you put out about yourself is very important, it can either make you or break you,” said Tukwayo.


Since her appointment in 2016 as Senior Director she has been faced with multiple challenges that she has triumphed.


She says one of the biggest challenges that she has had to face is lack of “seamlessness from one campus to the next, from all levels, be it infrastructure, staffing perspective and culture amongst staff and students”.


By: Vuyolwethu Nzolongwane

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