Linet Dube, Office Manager
Here’s the transcript of a conversation that took place between Linet and Neil Goodwin at ASAP’s Muizenberg Office on Tuesday 30 August

NG: If you could just introduce yourself? Tell us who you are?

LD: My name is Linet Dube. I’m a thirty six year-old mother of one girl who’s thirteen this year. I’ve been with ASAP three years now, three years in March. I’m working on my fourth year now.

NG: And what is your role here?

LD: I’m the office administrator. But they like calling me the office manager.

NG: So there’s more responsibility than just admin?

LD: Yes, I get to do more. I interact with the women. I’m more than just an office administrator because I communicate mostly with the women in the CBO’s, the Community Based Organisations that we work with. I speak their language, so if Priscilla needs to communicate with them she will tell me what she needs to say to them, and I will relate the message to them and visa versa. Tell Priscilla what they need me to tell her.

NG: So that’s in what language?

LD: Xhosa.

NG: What’s your background to this work? Did you study?

LD: No I don’t have any training in office admin. I am a teacher by profession

NG: What’s the most enjoyable part of the work here?

LD: What I enjoy the most in my job is talking to the women and getting to know them, you know, getting to know how they work and what’s their passion, what is that that really drives them? So in the work that they do it’s not easy, it’s not any work that anyone can do. But it needs passion and commitment and for me to discover that all the time, you know, I grow. I’ve grown ever since I started working with ASAP, because I had no background whatsoever. But it’s like in-service training, by working with them I get a training as well. I like meeting other women and seeing what they do. Meeting the children, and working with the women in their offices. I like that as well.

NG: So there are lots of strong characters that you have to deal with?

LD: Yes, very strong characters, because you know they are older women, and most of the time they are older than I am, and I have to find my place, because for me to be able to work with them, for me to gain their respect, I have to find my place in their set-up. Because in my culture if you are younger it is very difficult to tell the other people what to do. But then I have made a way to work around that, so that at the end of the day we get the job done regardless of who’s old and who’s younger. And most of them, these women are prominent women within their community. They have those positions, they have started organisations, and a young girl going in there..

NG: Telling them what to do.

LD: Yeah [laughs]. I’d say that what we are trying to do now is give the organisations back to the women, to say, “You own this.” We’re trying to train them to own their organisations, because most of the time when they do the reports or when they collect statistics, it’s as if they are doing that for ASAP. It’s their organisation, their community, because one day ASAP won’t be there, but the women will be there, the organisation, because it’s in their community. Because we are really trying to instil ownership in them, so they own these organisations.

NG: And that’s one of the biggest challenges is it?

LD: Yes it’s a challenge. We always told them that they are not working for ASAP, they are working for themselves. We really impressed it on them that it is their organisation. For example, if they are reporting they are writing a report for the community and this report is going to be kept in the community and those are their records.

NG: How would you like to see ASAP in the future?

LD: As a Zimbabwean I would like to see ASAP go into Zimbabwe, because there are more needy people. With the current political situation in Zim they could really use an organisation like ASAP.

NG: Well maybe in the future you could set one up there.

LD: That would be nice.

NG: And any last words?

LD: Basically like what I’ve said before is that I’ve grown since I’ve been working with ASAP. It’s opened my world. You know I was living in this small world where what you have is what you have, or you didn’t care about anyone else. But since I’ve started working here.. There’s a lady who said to me when I started working at ASAP, “When you come to this job you stop being an employee and be a mother.” Now I realise what she meant because it’s more than just a job now. It’s like I live, this is my life, this is what I love to do and I find whatever I look at, the news or I hear people talking, it just comes back to my job.

NG: And how would you like to see yourself with ASAP in five years?

LD: What I would like to see in ASAP in five years time is that I’d work more closely with the women and travel and I’m more hands on. I’m mostly in the office but I’d like to go there and work with them and interact more with them, help them in whichever way I can assist them. Because I’ve learnt a lot from Priscilla, she’s very, very patient with me and I’m very grateful for that.