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CAREER

Meet The Women Defying Expectations

And be inspired to do the same

BY YAZA South Africa Team

Jan 26, 2021, 10:46 AM

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Would you change your career? Would you move to another country? Meet the women living life on their terms and defying all expectations

Major Mandisa Mfeka made history when she became the first black female combat pilot in South Africa. Her story inspired many women not only in South Africa, but around the world where gender equality is still a struggle.

Kitty Phetla transcended cultural barriers in becoming the first black ballerina to dance “The Dying Swan” in Russia, at a time when ballet was conservative and transforming the industry along the way.

“In my personal experience, life has always been self-explanatory. You are your own in this competitive, challenging world. It is how you make sense of it all and connect the puzzle. You have to constantly be in competition with yourself, you have to be a step ahead of yourself to visualise your goals, take them in, accelerate, execute, and own it. ‘Who do you think you are’, you ask... the master of my craft is who I am,” says Kitty Phetla.

And now Phetla and Major Mfeka have teamed up with Volkswagen, creating short videos they hope will inspire other women to live life on their own terms. #TheDrivetoDefy campaign was created by Volkswagen to celebrate the launch of its T-Roc.
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Speaking about #TheDrivetoDefy campaign Major Mandisa Mfeka, who also made history by being the first woman to form part of the Hawks formation display during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration in 2019, said: "We used to claim that the sky’s the limit, but by being in the sky we are already defining what the limit is and limiting how far we can go. I live by the quote that ‘The sky is the baseline’. This campaign resonates with me so much because I got to witness how I chose to ignore the naysayers and chose to go after my goals. Every person that was part of making these films has defied someone and anyone that has ever said no to them."
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“The film is inspired by the many heroes and heroines who didn’t have a roadmap cleared out for them. The people who were told to ‘know their place’ and yet continue to defy and smash glass ceilings and challenge stereotypes against tremendous odds,” says Meredith Kelly, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen.

“The new T-Roc is not what people expect from Volkswagen, which is why it made sense to partner with heroines like Major Mandisa Mfeka and Kitty Phetla because their stories are all about achieving the unexpected. The films delve deep into their journeys, covering their defining moments. Becoming the first black female combat fighter pilot was not easy.  Becoming the first black ballerina to dance “The Dying” Swan in a time when ballet was conservative was unheard of,” continues Kelly. 

More information about the campaign is available here