Priscillah Mabelane just made history: she has been named the CEO of BP South Africa, becoming the first black woman in South Africa’s oil industry to serve as CEO of a major company like BP.  

 “Given her proven track record in her previous executive roles, we are confident that Priscillah will be a strong leader for our business, especially as we continue to explore new areas of growth and development,” BPSA chairperson, Thandi Orleyn said in a statement.

“Priscillah’s appointment reinforces BPSA’s pioneering role and strength of commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce that will breed creativity and ensure we meet, even exceed customer expectations.”

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Mabelane has been the company’s Chief Financial Officer since 2014 after executive stints at companies like Airports Co South Africa.

She told South Africa’s News 24 that it “exceptionally disappointing that in 2017” that her new appointment was considered such a milestone in South Africa. 

“I do not want to be a special story … I just want to be an example to women that it is possible,” she says, adding that her parents were not surprised by the news.

She added: “I have dealt with perceptions and challenges, but what has made these worse is the fact that I am not only a woman, but also black. In our South African culture, we still have a long way to go in terms of dealing with racism.”

“I deal with all these issues and try to prove myself all the time.”