Famous singer Beyonce once said, “This goes out to all the women getting it, you’re on your grind. To all the men that respect what I do, please accept my shine.” It is these words that have seen our alumna Dorothy Mofomme thrive in what was once seen as a male-dominated space – and that’s just the start.
Dorothy has come full circle in her career as an engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and mentor to many. Arriving at MUT in 2000 from the village of Marapong on the border of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, Dorothy knew that she needed to keep her chin up and make her presence felt as she embarked on her diploma in electrical engineering. Right from the onset she never profiled herself as a follower but a leader, taking on the huge responsibility of being a class representative during her first and third semesters. From then on, nothing could stand in the way of her becoming a respected engineering technician and fulfilling her dream of starting her own engineering company and uplifting women and young girls in the sector.
Dorothy boasts a very rich career that includes many successful projects in state-owned and private enterprises in South Africa and Africa. Her extensive experience, drive and passion propelled her to found her first company, Valotec228, in 2011. It was a very ambitious move for a woman to venture into the railway sector but Dorothy was set on her goal of making a mark and creating opportunities for young people. The business provides a variety of solutions to the railway industry, including railway signalling, mechanical design, assembly, construction, railway maintenance, optic fibre solutions as well as quality management solutions.
Valotech228 has given Dorothy an opportunity to give back to her alma mater by training six MUT electrical engineering students. Her support for university students extends to include other universities and TVET colleges. For instance she has transferred her skills as a guest lecturer for BTech students at Tshwane University of Technology and worked with deaf learners from various communities in Gauteng to give them hands-on information technology experience.
What makes Dorothy proud is that she has been able to break down many walls to get to where she is. For her it has never been about going down the easy route. “We pride ourselves in being a 100% black woman-owned business, managed by highly qualified professionals who are offering diverse services of Railway Signalling, Railway Track, Quality Management in Projects (ISO 10006), Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Solutions, all with a specific emphasis on meaningful business transformation,” said Dorothy. She further stated that it is the impact on others that gives her hope and opens her eyes to opportunities to impact South Africa positively, especially in terms of job creation for young people.
Dorothy doesn’t call herself a serial entrepreneur for nothing. A few years ago she diversified her business interests into a line that one would never associate with a girl whose career has always been about hard hats, boots, board meetings, designs and drawings. In 2018 she co-founded Nalydia Foods, another 100% black women-owned enterprise which produces, packages and distributes baby foods that are free of preservatives, artificial colourants and artificial flavours. “As a mother who has always worked and raised children, I understand the plight of working women who need to juggle work and raise their babies. These women do not have the luxury of time to prepare fresh, healthy food for their babies. We want Nalydia to be a healthy solution in a bottle for these women. The aim is to firstly grow the product and client base in South Africa and then globally,” Dorothy said.
This bottled food range is completely natural as it is produced using fresh ingredients only. The first all-natural Vegetable & Chicken Nalydia Food Solution is available in 125ml, 200ml, 250ml and 340ml. The product has been specifically formulated for babies aged from 7 months and older, as well as elderly people and those who need easily digestible foods while going through medical treatment or recovery. In the two years since it was launched, Nalydia has been profiled on many radio stations and on national television.