In the midst of one of South Africa’s biggest motoring events (The Festival of Motoring) Gumtree shone a light on some inspiring women in the motoring industry. The Gumtree Women in Autos Awards is now in it’s second year and has grown astronomically from a small coffee shop in 2018 to a large conference venue with over 200 delegates in attendance.

In addition to awarding ground-breaking individuals the event also invited speakers from the industry to share their views and advice for the future of the autos industry and how women are playing a huge part in it’s growth.

Speakers included:

  • Shivani Singh – Commercial Director of NAACOM
  • Maja Smith – CX Manager of Ford South Africa
  • Martina Biene – Head of Brand at Volkswagen
  • Morongoa Mahope – First Black Female Super Bike Racer in South Africa
  • Nthabiseng Motsepe – Head of Communications & Corporate Relations for Nissan Africa
  • Pertunia Sibanyoni – CEO of Instectacar

Each of these speakers discussed different topics related to women in the autos industry, their own personal journey’s and experiences on the way to the top. Commercial Director of NAACOM Shivani Singh began these conversations by giving attendants a global overview of women in the workplace which revealed that while women make up 50% of the workforce they only generate 37% of the GDP. Showing that there are less women in management roles, 1 in 4 to be more specific.

She further discussed this in relations to the automotive sector, where she explored the reasons why women tend to avoid the autos industry. This was largely due to the way in which the industry is perceived by women, with 74% stating that they felt there were different performance standards for women as there for men, as well as other contributing factors. She discussed this in relation to her own personal experiences, while advising the audience on how she overcame her own personal struggles, and eventually reached incredible heights in her career. As the conference progressed we heard from many more inspirational speakers who all shared their own views and experiences related to the topic of women in the autos industry.

Nthabiseng Motsepe was another speaker who can only be described as a heroic role model for 21st century women. Her story began in a township where she fell pregnant at the age of 16, a common occurrence for many young women across the world. Her inner strength and drive pushed her to not allow an unexpected obstacle to stand in the way of her dreams and ambitions, she proceeded to write her final matric exams only days after the birth of her daughter. Following matric, she went on to complete her tertiary education, and start her career in the auto’s industry and becoming the Head of Communication and Corporate Relations for Nissan Africa. While the lesson of perseverance is key in all successes in life, her story is unique in that she persevered and climbed to the top of an industry that was traditionally male dominated and harder for women to excel in.

The key take out of the Gumtree Women in Auto’s Awards was one of hope and inspiration, as leading females in the industry shared their personal triumphs, advise, and their vision for the future of women in the automotive industry.

The winners of the 2019 Gumtree Women in Auto Awards all share similar traits to these inspirational speakers. They have excelled in their respective fields and have not only helped redefine the stereo-types of women in the industry, but have also played a big role in helping to empower women looking to join the autos sector.

Nunben Dixon, Linda Du Preez, Emma Demmer, Nolwazi Ntshingila, Lisa Mallett, Jeff Odborne


Marcia Mayaba – Dealer Principle: Barloworld Motor Retail

Emma Demmer – Dealer Principle: McCathy Volkswagen Umhlanga

Nolwazi Ntshingila – Human Resources Clerk: Bidvest McCathy Umhlanga

Janine Van Der Post – Deputy Editor: Wheels24

Tashta Bhana – Public Relations Manager: Audi South Africa

Lisa Mallett – Marketing and Communications Director: Jaguar Landrover

Clare Vale – Race Driver: The First Lady of Racing (Achievement Award)

Linda Du Preez – Sales Manager: Gumtree South Africa (Appreciation Award)

Winner Biography

  • Marcia Mayaba – Excellence in Leadership Award

Marcia is well-known and well-loved in the industry for her unquenchable drive. She started in the industry in 1997 as a receptionist/trainee/driver but climbed the ladder to becoming a Dealer Principal. She became the first black female franchise executive in South Africa. Marcia loves to give back to others in the motoring community and is an inspiration to all who encounter her.

  • Emma Demmer – Purchasing & Retail Award

Emma kicked off her career in 1981 as a receptionist. In 2009, she become the DP of VW Umhlanga, one of only a handful of female dealer principals in the country. She firmly believes in paying it forward in terms of inclusivity – becoming one of the first DPs to employ a qualified female mechanic and female apprentice.

  • Nolwazi Ntshingila – Finance, Human Resources & Administration Award

Nolwazi was nominated as Women of the Year by MIS for her dedication to CSI projects. While still in a relatively junior role, Nolwazi spearheaded a number of exceptional charity projects at McCarthy. She is known to be dedicated to her work and to giving back, a fast learner and a passionate professional.

  • Janine Van Der Post – Journalism Award

Janine has over 17 years’ experience in the industry. She loves motoring and has been a regular car club member, judge and advocate for charities. In addition to her excellent writing and journalistic ability, she is an inspiration to others – including passing the love of cars to her daughter.

  • Tashta Bhana – Marketing & Communications Award

Starting out as an internal communications coordinator, Tashta grew from strength to strength as Events and Promotions Coordinator for VW Commercial Vehicles. She then moved on to consulting in Audi Special Markets  and is the current Public Relations Manager for Audi South Africa.

  • Lisa Mallett – Executive Award

Lisa become the youngest director in Jaguar Landrover history. She was the winner of Africa Woman of the Year in 2016 and a proud supporter of SHEO Sleepout and other charities. She started her career at SASOL in 2006 and distinguished herself in various marketing roles at Toyota and Lexus before joining the Jaguar Landrover brand.

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