Nomzamo Zitha considers herself privileged, fortunate and special.
The 23-year-old woman from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga is proud of being among the first group of 17 Gautrain drivers.
What makes it even more special is that Zitha and two other women made the grade. Her job has given her an opportunity to make history.
She is to lead the way in a totally new profession - driving the first high-speed train in the country. Also special is that her new career started on a high note just days before the first Fifa World Cup on African soil kicked off on June 11.
After undergoing four-weeks of training in -driving a train at the Midrand depot in January, Zitha says she could not wait for the official launch of Gautrain earlier this month.
"Driving the Gautrain is very nice," she says. "It is a real privilege. On June 8, when the Gautrain was officially launched, I drove for dignitaries such as Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Paul Mashatile, Deputy Minister of Sports and Culture and Bheki Nkosi, the Gauteng transport MEC, among others.
"I shook hands and got hugs from people I had never thought I would meet. That was a very special day for me and a memorable highlight of my career so far."
Zitha, who had wanted to be a nurse as a child, said before landing the job with the prestigious train she had done safety management courses as her career interest shifted to the construction industry. An advert in a local newspaper inviting applicants to train as drivers for the Gautrain changed her life.
"I was fascinated when I learnt at training that Gautrain would be travelling at a speed of 160kmh. My interest grew when we started doing practicals," she says.
What made things easier was that the job had no sophisticated technical requirement, In fact the basic requirements were a matric certificate and driver's licence.
"I think I started this career at the right time with the World Cup taking place in this country. It's been fantastic. I meet people from various countries. While some people here whinge about the unacceptably high levels of crime, some passengers tell me there is no crime here compared to where they come from," she says.