I Can Have It All!

My name is Keletso Maroba and I am an Architect by trade. Deciding that this was my career path was easy, I love math and science; I find my calm and fulfilment in doing Art. Architecture is a perfect balance of all three so; it’s where I feel most at home. It’s where I can enjoy doing all three at once.

I recently graduated and have been working for a couple of months now. I have to say it’s completely different from my university experience. The challenge is maintaining the spirit you had in Architecture school and having it now in the real world. The real world is a little more brutal than expected; it is male dominated, different professions clash and some work relationships are easier than others but, so far I love the challenge.

When I find myself being the only woman in a team of men, sometimes I have to call out the alpha female in me. In my opinion, this helps in order for my voice to be heard. Surprisingly, the men in my field are receptive of ladies in their territory, maybe since I don’t seem intimidated by them it makes it more level grounded for them? Hhmmm…

I started out in general Bachelor of Science thinking that it was “middle ground” between Architecture and Engineering. At the time I was still indecisive. Only to realize that down the line, I actually wanted to be in Architecture. So by the end of the 1st year I changed courses and went directly into Bachelor of Architecture. In order to Be accepted into that course, I needed to have done either Design and Technology or Art and have gotten credit in Physics, Math and English.

Although it stands as a little bit of a problem, I love the challenge of the gender balance issue. It’s a male dominated industry; I am learning a whole new strength to myself that I didn’t know I had. The other obvious thing I love about being an architect, I am so at home in my soul and for that reason I can never say I don’t enjoy being an architect. Clients who are satisfied with our artistry makes it even more fulfilling.

My advice to someone who wants to pursue Architecture? Well, young dear girl…realize the beast in you and go for the stars. There is a lot of growth in the field. But, you need to be very sure that your heart is in it because it has the potential to break your spirit, keep your head up.

Being the only women in the industry invokes a lot of thoughts. Reflecting all my above statements, challenges include not being heard because you are a woman. However, if you are not intimidated and you voice your opinions confidently then they really have no reason to shut you down. I would say, your confidence starts growing from school, build it from there and the men in the industry will never doubt you. It’s one thing to be equal to them, but be informed and aim to rise above them. Find the balance though; there is a thin line between being arrogant and confident. As much as you should be on top of things, you should also listen. You learn even more that way. But please don’t get me wrong, it’s not a competition between men and women…per say. LOL

Future aspirations: I am yet to acquire my masters in Real Estate Management, have a design firm and create a whole new portal to designing spaces. Watch this space…

Girl child, do what you love and be your best at it. Women in Engineering are unicorns, embrace!!

Kelly Maroba.

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