Former Witsie makes history as Barloworld’s first black female executive.

A former Wits University law student has made history as the first black female franchise executive in the motor industry in South Africa.

Marcia Mayaba, 45, took up her position at Barloworld on July 1 and will look after the Ford and Mazda brands within the group.

Mayaba said it was not a walk in the park entering the motor industry, which is still male-dominated and clouded by masculinity and a patriarchal system.

“As a woman in the motor industry, you have to literally fight for your seat at the main table,” she said.

Mayaba was appointed as the first black female dealer principal in the country for Volkswagen/Audi SA, Imperial Auto and Lindsay Saker .

“Marcia has achieved so much in the many years that she has been in the motor industry. She continues to break down bearers, that’s why I call her the torch-bearer of many firsts,” said Kamogelo Mmutlana, Divisional CEO, Barloworld Automotive and Logistics.

One of the biggest challenges Mayaba said she continues to face is the people who are concerned whether or not a women can do the job.

“I’ve always said I never stand on rooftops and scream and shout what my abilities and capabilities are. I work very hard, and in working very hard I present and create opportunities for people to train and develop skills for this industry,” said Mayaba.

In a press release, Jeanne Esterhuizen, president of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, said: “The industry has been male-dominated for more than 100 years, so the change is slow. But that’s no excuse. We will continue to put pressure on the industry to bring about real change not just for those women in the industry now but for all the women that will enter the industry in the future.”

Mayaba said she has always stuck to her own lane and does not listen to the noise of what is being said next door.

“Even now there are naysayers who are against my new position. But it’s OK, I’m going to work hard and my recipe has not failed me over 22 years.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Marcia Mayaba becomes the first black female franchise Executive. Photo: Provided