Gloria Gaynor’s hit song “I Will Survive” keeps coursing through my head during the interview with new COHSASA employee, Zanele Maweyi (right).

Zanele, mother of three, was unemployed for eight months before she landed the position of Secretary to the CEO of COHSASA recently.

“There were many days when I was not sure how I was going to feed my children,” she says matter-of-factly.

With all her credentials, including her current studies for a Diploma in Office Management and Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), it is admirable that Zanele, a gentle but feisty personality, survived the despair of unemployment when her brother was stabbed eight times in October last year.

She lives in Gugulethu beyond the busy Cape Town Metropole and, like thousands of other South Africans, undertakes the mammoth task of getting to work every day. Taxis are expensive; the trains are being burnt and buses are too often unreliable.

From the time she completed her Matric at the Simon Estes Music High School (named after the famous African-American opera singer), Zanele has been conscientious in building up her career. She started working at Pick ‘n Pay soon after she adopted her cousin’s two children; a daughter, Simankele and a son Masixole who are now 13 and 11 years old respectively. Four years ago, she had her own daughter, Khanyisa.

After obtaining a Business Management Certificate at Mother City College, Zanele spent two years (from 2008 to 2010) at Varsity College obtaining qualifications in Bookkeeping and Financial Accounting. In 2015 she obtained a certificate from Varsity College in Business Communication.

She has held positions as receptionist, PA, finance assistant and office administrator in various Cape Town firms. In 2018 she held the position of PA to the MD and Chief Operating Officer at Nali’bali, a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading.

Zanele hopes to continue developing her career at COHSASA.

“I hope that I will use what I learn to one day be a Managing Director of an IT company. It is IT that truly interests me”. Given her resilience and courage, nothing is impossible for this 32-year-old.