Esri South  Africa Women in GIS 2019

Empower. Enlighten. Excite

The Influential Speakers

Nomsa Simelane
Internal Sales Manager, Esri South Africa
Uveka Rangappa
Prime Time Anchor, eNCA
Marcelle Hattingh
Director Corporate Geo-Informatics, City of Johannesburg

14 August 2019

GIS ladies celebrate Women’s Day

Esri South Africa’s Women in GIS function lived up to its theme of “Empower, Enlighten, Excite”.

Feisty Nomsa Simelane set the tone for the function by sharing her journey of empowerment to her current position as sales portfolio manager at Esri South Africa. She spoke about growing up in a child-led household and the support she received from generous-hearted members of her community. Nomsa shared some of the lessons she had learnt along the way, including the importance of never compromising on your work ethic and understanding that life is not for the faint-hearted. Reciting Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise, the audience was left in no doubt about Nomsa being a proud African woman with her eye on the future.

eNCA news anchor Uveka Rangappa spoke about her time as a journalist covering the post-war situation in Iraq as well as her personal experiences with crime in South Africa. With self-deprecating humour, she detailed how she was inspired by some of the negative aspects of these experiences to generate something positive – her volunteer work with the international hunger relief organisation, Rise Against Hunger. Uveka concluded by urging the attendees to identify the silver linings in their experiences and to always continue moving forward with their lives.

Marcelle Hattingh, head of Corporate Geo-Informatics at City of Joburg, focused on character, resilience and interdependency in her address. She spoke about the core values of a person’s character and tied this to the need for GIS data to be trustworthy, well maintained and up-to-date. Marcelle reminded the audience that change is inevitable in the GIS environment and stressed the importance of being flexible, knowing how to cope with limited resources, and having the ability to overcome obstacles. She described how GIS involves combining different location datasets into layers and how people work together in GIS by bringing a variety of skills and experiences to the table.

The event ended with an energetic self-defence demonstration given by Risha Patak-Harie from i-Lead Self Defense. She provided practical tips on how to use your hands, elbows and knees to protect yourself from attackers. The audience took to it with gusto and there was no doubt that the attendees left the event feeling empowered, enlightened and excited about their continuing  professional journey in the GIS field.