Former Ugu District Municipality general manager and Research Forum co-founder Vuyiwe Tsako (42) has completed a community project where she volunteered to provide art and craft lessons to 20 women in the district. Tsako resigned from her position at the municipality earlier this year after six years of service. She said she got involved in this project to help uplift young women by teaching them skills.“Seeing how women are falling victim to rape and murder, I thought it was necessary to help them with skills to develop themselves,” said Tsako.She said that, with the continuing rise of environmental dynamism and complexity, she believes that the environment in which women operate will become increasingly uncertain due to political, economic, social, and other dimensions.“I will not comment more on those dimensions however, as South Africans and this district specifically, our nation-building efforts should aim at undoing the effects of the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment, and inequality that we are still faced with.”Tsako said working in local government and being involved with community work has helped her to head one of the best performing departments at Ugu and to be recognised in different platforms as a leader.During her 22 years of experience in local government, she has been recognised by, among others, BWSA 2015 (provincial award in Best Public Sector Woman Leader), KZN Office of the Premier 2016 (bronze for Best Public Sector Leader of the Year), and she was the finalist in the 2017 National Standard Bank Awards.Her career in local government started in 1995 when she joined the Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality as a clerk at the age of 19.“I only had matric and a secretariat certificate and that was enough for me to get employment at that time. I worked for six municipalities, one metro, two districts and three local municipalities of which 10 years has been at the director level,” she said.Today she holds a Bcom in industrial psychology and business management, a Masters in Commerce, and she has just completed her PhD at Wits University.“Life has a way of swallowing us up and, before we know it, we are far down a path that feels nothing like who we are or what we want for our lives. By the time we realise it, we have obligations and responsibilities that add yet another reason to stick with the status quo.“From a young age, I have been passionate about education and capacity building, and that has influenced me to be the person I am now. However, my family means a lot to me as they complete me,” she ended.