South Africa — Thirty-two women are set to make their mark on the male-dominated world of fire-fighting after being certified as advance firefighters.
The firefighters graduated at a ceremony in Nelspruit on Monday after completing a six-week advance training course at the Working on Fire (Wof) training academy. WoF is the brainchild of the Water and Environmental Affairs Ministry aimed at grooming firefighters and preventing veld fire outbreaks.
Among the thrilled graduates who fulfilled the requirements of the all-female crew leader course in veld and forest fire fighting were Sebenzile Thabethe, 29, from Nkomazi and Busisiwe Mohlala, 27, from Graskop.
They said it had not been an easy task for them as women to accomplish the training but they had managed to be successful because of the bravery and passion they had in the field.
Today we can say hard work and perseverance pays, Mohlala said.
As women we have learnt that there is no career specially designated for men. We are proud of this achievement.
Thabethe said: We will continue to improve our skills in the field as women. We encourage our peers to wake up and do it for themselves because this is an interesting and rewarding career.
The graduation ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi.
Mabudafhasi said the course also taught the women fire line supervision skills and critical health and safety procedures that were required in order to lead a fire fighting team.
This initiative is part of our governments ambitious plan to create more leadership opportunities for women in the veld and forest fire-fighting industry in South Africa, Mabudafhasi said.