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Marcia Mayaba: A Necessary Disrupter

A transformation and empowerment pioneer. A torchbearer of many automotive industry firsts. A true game-changer. Join us in celebrating this remarkable leader.

By Juliet McGuire

It all started in Orlando East in Soweto when Marcia Mayaba was born, and the world was never to be the same again. From humble beginnings, Mayaba would grow to take on the automotive world in a big way. Starting as a trainee at Barloworld Truck Hire, she went on to become the first black female Operations Manager at the same company. But this isn’t the only time this trailblazer has made history.

In 2011, she became the first female Dealer Principal in South Africa for Volkswagen/Audi SA, Imperial Auto and Lindsay Saker. She made history again in 2019 when she became the first black female Franchise Executive in the motor industry in SA. She went on to become Vice President of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Marcia was then appointed Chief Executive Officer for Barloworld Motor Retail a Division of Barloworld Limited listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be granted an opportunity of this nature. It all attests to integrity, a solid work ethic, appreciating the value of building and maintaining relationships as well as the importance of respect for people”. Marcia says. After the sale of the Barloworld Motor Retail, Marcia joined Isuzu Motors South Africa as the Department Executive for Dealer and Business Development – a position she still holds today.

It is no wonder that in 2021 Mayaba was voted as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Africa. And this is not something Mayaba takes lightly. Her entire driving force is to help other women find their place within the automotive industry, which has largely been dominated by white men. And to some extent, still is. Being vice-chair at NADA and chair of the transformation committee is helping Mayaba on her mission. She told SABC News, “…my primary function and focus is on transformation, diversity, and inclusion…we need to reposition the perception of the motor industry, in such a way that women can regard it as an industry of choice…The motor industry is not about just buying a car or selling a car. There are so many elements in the entire value chain. From Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), the Component Manufacturing as well as the Retail Dealership Network.” To this day, Marcia continues to educate young people about the industry. “The Automotive Industry in South Africa is one of the top 5 contributors to the country’s GDP, it is a travesty that young people do not regard it as an Industry of choice when making career decisions. Continuous education and awareness of this highly rewarding industry is critical”, she laments.

Breaking through the glass ceiling for others to follow, Mayaba considers herself a necessary disruptor of the automobile industry in South Africa. To paraphrase a profound quote, “Great leaders create more leaders…” and Mayaba is trying to do exactly this. One thing is for certain, South Africa, the youth of this country, and the automotive industry need more leaders like Mayaba. I want to leave you with her daily mantra, “Your Legacy should be that you made it better than when you found it. The journey is no longer about self, but purpose.”

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