SABBEX speaks to Thina about her appointment

SABBEX: Great news about your appointment Thina. Congratulations. And so begins another chapter. How does it feel?

THINA:  I am so happy to be in this position at this point in my life. I don’t think that it has fully sunk in my brain yet. I’m still living and basking in the moment, but I have definitely had to hit the ground running as there is work to be done.

SABBEX:  I know your family has been a pillar of strength along your journey. How did they react to the news?

THINA: They were extremely excited. My family has always been so supportive of my journey since I started studying so to now see me blossom in my career space is something that makes them so proud.

SABBEX: You take over from Vanessa who has been a mentor along the way. Big shoes to fill? What would you say is something you’ve learnt from her?

THINA: I wouldn’t say that I am trying to fill Vanessa’s shoes, as no one can do that. She was and still is a phenomenal woman in the industry. She has given me a wealth of knowledge that I would have not found in books. She has taught me to never stop learning and to never stop striving for more. I don’t want to fill her shoes, but rather I am bringing my own pair of shoes and using all that she has taught me to walk this new journey in my own way.

SABBEX:  What will be your top priorities going into 2022? Do you have a ‘to-do’ list?

THINA: With more and more people getting vaccinated and the world opening up more and more, having adjusted to the new normal, it is important to put South African Boatbuilding back on the map internationally. I don’t have a list of things, but I know that what I will do will make an impact in the industry as a whole.

SABBEX: You kick off at a pivotal time, with a possible lockdown looming, blackouts, fuel hikes. But at the same time the global boat market is buoyant. How do you see things panning out?

THINA: With the unpredictability of the world right now it is important to take things a day at a time and remain positive. Planning is very important and I will put plans in place and have goals for what I would like SABBEX to achieve while leaving room for any changes that may occur.

SABBEX: Lindani Mchunu has stressed the need for good stakeholder relations, particularly with government. Is this an area you intend tackling?

THINA: Yes it is. I have started having good relations with government stakeholders within these past two years. It is important to understand that we are both working together towards a common goal of ensuring that South African Boat Building continues to thrive both Nationally and Internationally.

SABBEX:  Transformation remains a key challenge, particularly at the level of business ownership. While there is no quick-fix, what for you needs to happen in order to make inroads here?

THINA: Transformation is something that cannot just be changed overnight and it is not something that I can change on my own. It needs the big players in our industry (as they have a big influence) to take a stand and start making changes, internally to ensure that they transform, not just by hiring black staff at the junior staffing levels, but rather at senior levels as well. Mentorship programmes for those senior positions need to be introduced. It requires all of us in the industry to be intentional about wanting to include black people into our spaces and not be uncomfortable with the idea.

SABBEX: On a personal note, how is life treating you in Cape Town? Do you still find time to relax and what does that entail for you?

THINA: Life is going great. Cape Town is an incredible city with so much I have yet to explore. I always make the time to relax and explore the city whether it be by myself or with friends.

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