Zaza Letsholo shines in male-dominant motor industry
Zaza Letsholo harbours farming aspirations but is already one of South Africa's best-performing car sales executives.
Letsholo, a car executive at VW Hatfield in Pretoria, has more than a dozen awards, including being in the German car maker's top 10 best-performing car salespeople in the country.
She matriculated at KwaMhlanga High School in Mpumalanga in 2000, and pursued a tourism diploma which she completed three years later.
"I was a very hyperactive child. I was one of those girls you couldn't touch because of my brother; he was overprotective," she said.
Letsholo fell in love with cars from an early age. Her father taught her how to drive at 15. As a teen she was driving tractors while helping out on her father's farm.
Despite having had a stint as a waitress, she said she only really pursued one career which was to be an air hostess for the national airliner.
She missed out on the opportunity after missing an invitation for a selection test at South African Airways, one of the last processes before one gets appointed. "I always wanted to be a flight attendant. I always dreamed of their uniform on me, serving different kinds of personalities."
She described her strengths as "a high work ethic and customer service skills". "I pride myself in making sure that a customer knows about the product they are purchasing, and that they have the ability to use it to the fullest," she said.
Letsholo is proud to be one of VW's best sales executives and has been awarded with two trips to Zambia for her good performances.
"When I started in the motor industry 10 years ago, I knew nothing about selling cars.
"I made it my baby to make sure I understand the product, now I can proudly say I am one of the best sales executive and in the top 10 in the country," Letsholo said.
Her inspiration remains her late father Amos Mahlangu, a farmer.
"My dad always believed in hard work with honesty, and always said to me: 'If you do business with honesty you will be one of the successful women in your field'."
Letsholo would like to emulate her father and pursue farming in future.
"I want to be one of the best farmers in South Africa, I am taking over where my dad left off.
"I also want a factory of sanitary towels, not for sale but to give the poor and rural girls dignity."
Despite pulling long hours at work, she still considers herself family-oriented.
"My family makes me happy, my husband Otto Letsholo and my kids, they are my everything. These are the people that I fall back on when I am disappointed by the world."