Young women on the road to success

Joy Caswell. Picture: Dale Sylvester

Joy Caswell, 29, from Beacon Valley, is a proud alumnius of Oval North Technical High School in Beacon Valley.

She is the first qualified female diagnostic technician at Barons N1 City and is currently busy with her master technician training.

She has been working there for six years.

“I used to be my dad’s spanner girl and then eventually got to help him fix his cars when it needed repairs. So I would say that my love for cars is something I got from my daddy.”

She said her passion for cars had kept her in the industry.

“All the thought and planning that goes into manufacturing a car takes a lot of brains. As soon as you see how everything works and how it all comes together it will amaze you,” she said.

“The motor industry is said to be a male-dominated industry but more and more females are actually stepping up and making a success out of it. Being judged because of my ability in the industry, being female and being short in height, didn’t stop me from qualifying but only motivated me. It made me even more eager to prove them wrong and change their mindset,” she said.

Coming from Mitchell’s Plain has never held her back.

“Where you come from should not define who or what you should be.”

She is inspired by fellow female technician, Freda Sepkitt, who she says gives back to the community and motivates the youth.

Baker Tasneem Ceres, 31, from Rocklands, has been a pastry chef at high-end restaurants and hotels in Cape Town for 10 years.

“I started baking at home and sharing it on Facebook. People noticed and wanted to know if I sold cakes and that’s where it all started,” she said.

After matriculating from Spine Road High, Tasneem did not know what she wanted to do and did some research.

“My parents couldn’t afford the colleges and universities I was looking at, but this didn’t keep me from pursuing something.”

She went with her parents to an orientation day Northlink College and signed up for a course in professional cooking. She followed this with a diploma at College of Cape Town. She then heard of a restaurant opening up and got a job there.

But the conditions were tough as she worked into the early hours of the morning and had to deal with the discrimination that came with being a woman.

“Trying to work my way to the top in each establishment I worked at, wasn’t easy as this is a male-dominant industry. As a coloured female from Mitchell’s Plain, I always had to work 10 times harder, to not only prove myself to my superiors but to get the tiniest bit of respect from the male chefs that worked under me. This definitely made me stronger and more ‘hard core’ naturally,” she said.

Growing up, she said, they didn’t have much.

“When it came to school holidays, we weren’t fortunate enough to travel or go for holidays, we stayed in the kitchen and baked. I think this is why I feel most comfortable in a kitchen with cake flour, sugar, eggs and an oven. Mom taught us well and to, ‘always wear a doekie and a apron when you’re in the kitchen,” she said.

Being from Mitchell’s Plain has never affected the way she thought about what job she wanted to do.

“Even through all the judgments and hardships I’ve been confronted with, I’ve always thought of myself as an equal in society,” said Tasneem.

She said since she started Baked Sugar in 2016, she has worked with empowering and inspiring women such as Candice Manuel, Candashian, Danya Goosen, Sipping tea with D, and Tracy Lee Rosslind.