- Shecanic, born Nana Afua Serwaa Adusei, is the founder of the Ghanaian auto mechanic brand Shecanic
- She established the venture to train, empower, and help elevate women in STEM and other male-dominated fields
- The trailblazer made history when she became the only and first woman to join Wanderlust Ghana on a road expedition from Accra to the UK
When Nana Afua Serwaa Adusei founded Shecanic, she had little idea that her auto mechanic brand would gain national prominence six years later.
The idea to start her own business came to her in 2017 as an office assistant at Auto Jewelling Ghana Limited in Dzorwulu, Accra.
It was a clarion call to help women take a keen interest in what they drive and empower them in the knowledge of auto mechanics.
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''Shecanic seeks to change the narrative about the automobile sector. In Ghana, when someone underperforms in school, they're asked to learn a skill or become a mechanic; I wanted to change that narrative so that graduates can join the sector,'' says Adusei, better known as Shecanic.
A photo of Shecanic as an adult:
The journey to Shecanic
Born in Labone in Ghana's Greater Accra Region, Shecanic, a native of Juaben in Ghana's Ashanti Region, is a scion of the Oyoko clan. She received her early education at Soul Clinic International School - SCIS.
''I grew up with my uncles and aunties, and I moved frequently because my mother was in Holland and my father was in and out of Ghana,'' she recalls.
Shecanic was raised by an entire family tree, which taught her a lot about resilience, teamwork, and making the best of any situation. When her uncle lost his job at Ghana Cocoa Board, they had to relocate from their bungalow in Labone and move to a house in Tantra Hills. She later moved in with her birth father because the living conditions and lack of necessities in her uncle's home did not promote her development.
Shecanic recalls moving between her father's and aunties' homes. Her unsettled living situation, however, had no negative impact on her studies when she graduated from junior high school in 2001.
''I earned 7'1s in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). My father wanted me to be a doctor. So, he chose Science for me before I took the final junior high school examination.
''I subsequently pursued Science at Aburi Girls' Senior High School, but I was forced to move to the Arts class in my second year,'' says Shecanic.
Overcoming setbacks in senior high school
Her move to the General Arts class was prompted by an instructor who responded that she had no place in the Science class after Adusei (Shecanic) drew his attention to the fact that she did not understand a Chemistry topic.
''That was quite discouraging. So, I switched to the arts class in the same second year. I prepared for my Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) in one year, passed, and went on to the university.''
Beyond books, she had other talents that made her the favourite of many. She tells YEN.com.gh that she discovered her passion for dance and teamwork in junior high school.
''I am a terrific dancer and public speaker because I was exposed to many grown-ups, which made me articulate. My dad would ensure that I read a book weekly. In JHS, I was part of Anase Guide, a group known for conserving nature.''
Aside from dancing and active group participation, Shecanic loved sports, notably basketball, becoming a co-founder of the Arts Renaissance Club at Aburi Girls' Senior High School.
Brave strides toward triumphing another academic drawback
However, life took a different form after senior high school. Though she achieved commendable grades, life threw a challenge that delayed her quest to earn a university degree.
''I applied to KNUST but was denied admission. I later discovered it was due to a mistake on the application form,'' she recalls.
Shecanic turned the lemons into her favour when she heeded advice to take a three-year diploma programme at Accra Polytechnic, now Accra Technical University (ATU). One year into the programme, she quit to pursue a Rural Development degree at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), thanks to a successful second attempt in 2008.
''I joined the basketball team and represented Ghana in Nigeria in my first year. I also actively participated in the Students' Representative Council (SRC).''
Ruling in male and female-dominated fields with excellent leadership skills
Besides breaking barriers in a male-dominated field such as basketball, she ruled in areas deemed to be reserved for women. She won Miss KNUST and was named Miss Photogenic in her first year, benefitting from the ultimate prize to work at the university's radio station, where she co-hosted a show with former Citi FM personality Kojo Akoto Boateng on Focus FM.
''I became the Women's Commissioner for Tertiary Students Confederacy (TESCON), working closely with Dr Gideon Boako, now a special aide to Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. He was the president.''
Shecanic's milestones at KNUST included serving as the Entertainment Chairperson for African Hall in her third year before graduating in 2011.
She would later work as a national service personnel at the statistical service department at the Ministry of Finance alongside her food venture. But even at this stage, she had yet to learn that life would shift her path into the automobile industry.
''I had my business running but had to secure a job. I volunteered at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) after my employment search yielded no positive results. After my tenure ended, I formally became their project manager. I worked there for a year and a half before quitting for another role at Auto Jewelling.''
''I joined Auto Jewelling at Dzorwulu as an office assistant to fund my law education. They were willing to pay GH¢100.00 more,'' she tells YEN.com.gh.
The birth of Shecanic
Her years at the auto mechanic shop would inspire the idea to launch her own brand. Shecanic. Five years into following her heartbeat, her hard work paid off owing to a road expedition from Accra to London, UK, with the Wanderlust Ghana team.
See a video of Wanderlust Ghana as the team arrives in the UK:
The 10,000 km trip, which lasted 16 days, started on Sunday, July 23, 2023, and concluded on Sunday, August 6, when they arrived in London amid fanfare. Shecanic ended her journey with the team in Morocco, making history as the only woman to embark on the expedition.
Though the road trip ended, her desire to educate, train, and elevate women in the automobile industry is still vibrant. Her impact is evident in her dedication and commitment to seeing women rise and penetrate the male-dominated field.
The trailblazer believes women can be anything they desire if they put their minds to it.
Four cars used for the Accra to London road trip arrive in Ghana
Relatedly, YEN.com.gh reported that the four vehicles used for the 10,000km road trip from Accra to London landed in Ghana.
The images were captioned in a Facebook post on Wanderlust Ghana: "Welcome home guys. Next journey beckons."
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