LÜDERITZ – Twenty-four-year-old Sister Kashala is registered as a Candidate Quantity Surveyor with the Namibian Council for Architects and Quantity Surveyors and is on track with getting her PQS (Professional Registered Quantity Surveyor) expecting to complete her in training by the end of next February.
Sister was born at the Etomba village in the Ohangwena Region and started her primary education at Tobias Hainyeko Primary School in Okuryangava, Windhoek where she grew up and later completed her secondary education at Jan Möhr Secondary School. After completing her Grade 12 in 2012, Kashala was awarded a bursary by Nexus Building Contractors to further her studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. There she graduated with a BSc in Construction Studies in 2015, Honours in Quantity Surveying in 2016 and is currently in her second year pursuing a Masters in Property Studies at the same university while working full time as a Quantity Surveyor (QS) for Nexus Building Contractors.
Kashala is also a social entrepreneur with a heart for youth development and runs a charity called Tekula alongside equally vibrant young friends. She currently has the challenging responsibility of being in charge of all the quantity surveying and project administration work of all the Nexus projects in Luderitz. Among these four projects is the renovation of the largest building in the //Kharas Region, the Lüderitz Waterfront Old Power Station, which she describes as a pinnacle in her career for someone who just graduated some two years back. The frequently asked question is: “How are you doing this as a woman?” and to that she simply questions who set the limits as to what certain human beings can do or can’t do? “Yes, it is tough being a woman in construction because you constantly have to break through a glass ceiling set above women in the industry, even though you are told that the sky is the limit. As with every glass that one breaks through, it comes with cuts and bruises, which require you to reinforce your skin to take the unnecessary pressure that comes from being expected not to be good enough.”
For Kashala it helps working for an employer who supports inclusivity and diversity. It is not common to find a woman of her age and experience running the projects of the calibre and monetary value that she is running, but that’s the benefit that comes with working for a company that’s big on empowerment and having a team of contract managers, senior QS and the rest of the management constantly cheering one on. “The encouraging and affirming words is what keeps me going when other factors make me feel like I am not good enough,” says Kashala.
She credits God, her desire and drive to succeed as well as the support of family for her success and believes that the only way to predict one’s future is by creating it daily through hard work. “It is really simple, the harder you work, the luckier you become.”
“My advice to the youth is that your background and past does not matter, what matters is the simple steps you take every day. What you want, so don’t ever settle until you find it and never forget how wildly capable you are. Please do not ever succumb to societal pressure because life is not a one-way road and there’s no manual on how to go through it so dream high, set your own goals, limits and standards and live by them.”
To fellow women in construction and other male dominated industries she says, “you are good enough and you deserve the seat you have at the table. If you are not offered a chair, then build one using reinforced concrete which is durable and high in strength, you have the skills to”.
Kashala is also an inspirational blogger. For more inspirational content, please follow her blog at https://lidiinikeni.wordpress.com/