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Tuesday, 24 August 2021

#CPUTWomen2021- Bertha Dlamini

AFRICAN QUEEN IN ENERGY: African Women in Energy and Power President, Bertha Dlamini is passionate about electricity and its potential to create prosperity for communities. AFRICAN QUEEN IN ENERGY: African Women in Energy and Power President, Bertha Dlamini is passionate about electricity and its potential to create prosperity for communities.

Perseverance, dedication and focus - these values and traits give African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP) President, Bertha Dlamini, the inspiration and courage to build professional and social networks across the sector to advance her ambitions.

The AWEaP, which was started by Dlamini, is an initiative to accelerate the participation of African women entrepreneurs in the full value chain of power and energy in Africa and contribute towards addressing the continent’s energy poverty. The organisation has 10 chapters in Africa.

Dlamini, who was raised by her grandmother, Tsakani Dlamini, learned very early on in life to be resourceful, self-reliant and to focus on personal development.

“I firmly believed that education was my ticket to prosperity and independence.”

Dlamini associated herself with people and elders who were leaders in the community. She did this to learn from them and to contribute to their social activities which “I enjoyed”. As a result, Dlamini got involved in social and community-building activities early in life. “This interest informs much of my work as an advocate for women’s participation in Africa’s energy and power sector today… I am committed to helping women heal, prosper, and to find independence early in life.”

Dlamini, who graduated with a National Diploma in Marketing from CPUT in 1997, continues: “I work with integrity and follow through on my promises. This has kept my professional network growing. I embrace failure. I understand that there is no learning without trying, and no trying without failure, so I fail fast and learn fast.”

She is enthusiastic about electricity and its potential to create prosperity for communities. “I am passionate about creating platforms for equitable participation for women, youth and people living with disabilities. This fuels my inspiration and drives my work.”

In her illustrious career, Dlamini’s work has not gone unnoticed as she has been awarded with several accolades. In March 2021, AWEaP won the Women’s Voice and Leadership Southern African Development Community Protocol@Work Climate Change 2021 Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution in the promotion of gender equity in the Energy and Power Sector. Dlamini received the Inaugural South African Institute of Electrical Engineers 2019 Women in Engineering Award.  In November last year, Dlamini received the African Queens in Energy – The Judges Award, supporting women entrepreneurs in energy and power.

Dlamini completed her Executive MBA at UCT and she is an executive member of the BRICS Business Women Alliance South Africa Chapter, where she is responsible for the Energy Security Portfolio. She has been appointed to the Advisory Board of Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership. Dlamini believes that there is a lot that still needs to be done to ensure equitable representation across all sectors and structures of the economy, in South Africa, Africa and the globe.

“This is not a women’s responsibility. We must collectively, as a society, work together to reimagine our co-existence anew. We must work together, men and women, to create inclusive spaces in the economy and society.

“We must work together as the private sector, government, and civil society to create safe environments for women, youth, and people living with disabilities to work and thrive.

This will enable our country, our continent, to leverage untapped potential and improve our communities and the performance of our companies, so that our economy can recover.”

Dlamini adds that institutions have advanced since her time as a student and “there is a great investment towards creating inclusive environments, and towards socio-economic development that is context relevant”.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce