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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

MCD staff member a story of success

Despite losing her sight at the age of 11 due to meningitis, Hendrika Olivier believes that “despite your circumstances or the background you come from, you can still rise above all those and be successful in life”.

Reflecting on her background, the Northern Cape-born call centre operator says: “I come from a very disadvantaged family background. We did not have much from a material point of view but I have experienced an abundance of love, happiness and closeness,” Olivier continues.

“My poor family background was also the main reason for me to get educated to improve my chances of having a better life and to create opportunities to prosper.”

After losing her sight, Olivier’s parents had to move to Cape Town to be closer to medical facilities and a special school.  She went on to complete her schooling at the Athlone School for the Blind in Bellville South. The determined Olivier completed a few short courses and enrolled for a National Diploma in Human Resource Management at CPUT in 2006 which she intends to complete. 

The hardworking, dedicated and committed Olivier joined CPUT in 2009 as a Switchboard Operator before moving to the University’s Call Centre as one of the operators.  She attributes her achievements to “a lot of perseverance” to get where she is today and “a lot of hard work”. “Especially due to the fact that I am disabled and need to work extra hard to succeed in life no matter the circumstances. 

“I firmly believe that one can become anything you want to be if you put your heart in it.”

To be successful, Olivier says: “you should believe in yourself.  I believe that with God on my side, I can achieve anything. What inspires me in life, are people who achieve great milestones despite the odds.”   Her most memorable moments are her wedding day and the birth of her firstborn child. In her career, Olivier was also rewarded for having 10 years of service at CPUT.

However, in the business world, Olivier says it is still very patriarchal and the disparities between women and men in terms of equal salary and assuming positions are quite evident.  “It is, therefore, why I encourage women to empower themselves to study and obtain the necessary qualifications. Furthermore, take the opportunities that come your way.

“We should always support each other, and for us to rise on the ladder of success, we need to take our sisters with us to the top.” 

Over the years that she has worked at CPUT, Olivier has witnessed the “increase in women in higher positions”.  “It is wonderful to see that CPUT values women empowerment and creates opportunities for women to flourish and succeed.”  

The biggest part of her job is liaising with all CPUT stakeholders and “It brings me so much satisfaction and joy to be able to help people, no matter how small the inquiry, it feels good to know that I can make a difference by helping others to the best of my ability”. 

And when she is not at work, Olivier enjoys spending time with her family, she also loves reading, listening to good music and enjoy a good Netflix series. 

Her message to all women out there: “Is that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, no matter your circumstance, current situation, or conditions, you are strong and beautiful and can take on any challenge that life throws at you. Keep your head up at all times and never stop believing in yourself”. 

Written by Aphiwe Boyce