- Memo Makanika has a rapidly growing social media fan base, and many have praised her as one young lady who is not afraid of getting dirty.
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MEMORY Bere is a slender, beautiful young motor mechanic whose hands are so soft you’d be forgiven to think she cannot tell a wheel spanner from a chocolate bar. Yet those hands tighten metal bolts and get soaked in engine oil everyday as she fixes cars, a job that her seen her trend on social media networks.
In fact, Memo knows the inside of a car engine like the back of her smooth-skinned hand. In fact, Memo’s outside-the-box approach to one’s job is a classic example of how one can market their hustle with limited resources, giving tremendous results.
Popularly known as Memo Makania, the 20-something old lady is very comfortable in her greasy worksuit and safety shoes and shows the world how much she loves and enjoys her job by the many photos she has shared of herself doing what she loves.
“I’ve been in the industry for seven years, and I’m enjoying my job,” Memo told Zimbabwe Voice on Wednesday. “I fix diesel and petrol engines, and deal mainly with mechanical issues. My expertise is on engine and suspension issues.
“I am currently focusing more on German brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW and Audi. I’m a huge fan of German automakers.”
Her love for German cars is not surprising considering that soon after attaining her qualifications in Zimbabwe, Memo trekked down South and worked in Durban fixing Volkswagens. She also handled heavy machinery services.
However, she’s now back in Zimbabwe, and not a day passes without her name mentioned on social media platforms, particularly Twitter where she’s active.
She operates from home in Chitungwiza’s Seke Unit J suburb. Memo Makanika has a rapidly growing social media fan base, and many have praised her as one young lady who is not afraid of getting dirty.
“Why people follow me on social media is that before I started posting my work, people were used to seeing only male mechanics. So my followers are thrilled that I’m proud of my job in an industry that has been dominated by males,” Memo said.
With over 15000 followers on Twitter alone, Memo has a ready pool from where she taps her clientele. The number keeps growing, as more prominent people such as Presidential spokesperson George Charamba have shared her inspirational story.
Corporates tag her also in their promotions to push awareness on the inspirational journey she’s embarked on.
The last born in a family of four, Memo grew up in Chipinge. She says she was very close friends with her dad, who used to go with her to his mechanic to fix his car, a rattling old Datsun. Her love for cars grew intense during those years as a kid, and has took her where she is today.
“It’s not everytime that we took dad’s car to the mechanic; my dad at times did it himself at home me watching by his side. So I can confidently say I grew up helping my dad fix his car.
“I grew up loving mechanical things in life. It was quite odd though considering that in our community, no women were into jobs like mechanics.”
Memo praises her father and says he urged her to follow her dream of becoming a mechanic despite reservations from conservative members of sociey.
In her father’s day message last month, Memo paid tribute to the man who she says positively influenced her life in many ways than she can count.
“My Father is the best Dad in the world because of him l am who l am today (Memo Makanika). He motivated me to be a mechanic.
“He told me that no job is meant for men only and that l should have faith and belief in myself. l will conquer in the male dominated field,” she said.
In honour of all fathers, she also offered to service for free one Father’s car on the day.
Despite all the attention and praise she gets, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Memory. One challenge she faces is inherent prejudice against the female gender in an industry widely considered as male territory.
While on paper Zimbabwe has progressive gender equality laws and is also a signatory to various international treaties supporting gender equality, the results of all these laws and treaties haven’t filtered down to everyday life.
Memory suffers gender prejudice nearly everytime she takes a call from a new client.
Said Memo: “They (clients) will be expecting a male mechanic at the other end of the line, and many express surprise when I tell them I’m the mechanic. We are in a society that has been conditioned to think that certain jobs are not for particular genders.”
Memo also faces challenges to do with the economy, just like any business. She appeals for well wishers to help her achieve her dream of working from inside a secure premise.
“I am self-employed and fix cars from home. I need a more secure, bigger space to work from.”
But inasmuch as Memo is thinking about expanding her business, she also has a big, kind heart and wants to raise other young ladies out there so they achieve their full potential.
“I haven’t yet met a female mechanic all my years in this trade, and that’s troubling. If I had resources, I would like travel around schools encouraging young female students to take up career choices currently dominated by men.
“If I can do it, you can all do it. That’s my message to young lads and ladies out there,” says Memo, who attended Chipinge Primary School and Berere High School in Chimanimani.
“My advice to young people out there, particularly ladies, is to follow their heart’s desires when it comes to career choicss.
“I urge all young women to venture into male dominated industries such as building, welding, carpentry and plumbing.”
Away from the world of oils, spanners and engines, Memo spends her free time watching documentaries, going out with friends and watching soccer.
Locally, Memo supports Dynamos and says her blood is blue. She also supports Chelsea.
Memo’s resilience and versatility in a male dominated industry hasn’t gone unnoticed. Over a week ago, the Southern Africa Youth Forum indicated it was going to invite her to speak at its upcoming events and share her story with the youths in the SADC region and beyond.
She has also earned the attention of corporates in various sectors who may eventually engage her to endorse their products.
The largest organised workers union in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), has also indicated that it seeks to formally engage Memory Bere in its gender equality projects so that she shares her experiences in her line of work.
“No matter how many times I am knocked down, I refuse to stay down,” Memo Makanika says.
In one of her photos which previously trended, Memo is seen working on a car engine while on crutches after an injury.
She urges all motorists with troubling engine problems to reach out to her for a fix. Memo says she has all the time to ensure a client gets satisfaction from her workladyship. After all, Memory is still single 😉. – Zimbabwe Voice ■