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Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

JWANENG: Onalenna Candie Godie leads a team of close to 400 engineers at Jwaneng Mine, the world’s largest diamond mine by value, which is also undergoing a multi-billion Pula expansion.

The senior mining engineer is at the top of her game and enjoying the challenge in a field heavily dominated by and associated with men and masculinity.

As a senior mining engineer, Godie’s job puts her at the heart of the massive Cut 8 expansion project which Debswana is banking on to produce about 100 million carats and push the Jwaneng Mine’s lifespan to at least 2024. Mining engineers’ responsibilities include ensuring that underground resources are extracted safely and efficiently.

She smiles as she recalls how her journey to the top started.

“I was 15-years-old and while at a wedding, I saw the bride come out of the house.

“There was a new BMW wrapped in ribbons which was a gift from the groom.

“I remember looking at my mother and asking where the groom worked.

“She told me he was an engineer at Jwaneng and from that point, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Young as she was, she was not sure what type of an engineer she wanted to be, but she knew she would need strong results in certain subjects. Godie emerged as a straight A student in Add Maths, English and Science, the subjects essential for a career in engineering.

After Cambridge, she secured a Debswana scholarship and enrolled for a BSc in Mining Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand. In 2008, out of a class of 86, she was one of only 26 who managed to graduate.

Godie thereafter joined Jwaneng Mine as a trainee learner official, rising through the ranks rapidly to her current position.

Engineering being a male dominated field meant

that besides her stellar qualifications, Godie would have to have moxy to stand up to pressures of her work environment and the inherent prejudice.

A supportive male superior held her hand and helped her gain the confidence required to lead a huge team of talented expertise.

 “You should resist being intimidated and rather learn the basics of leadership,” she says.

“Be confident in your decision-making. Take responsibility and never let your background determine your destiny. I have survived the conditions.”

Through the years, Godie has learnt to be tolerant and learn new environments in different units. She hails fellow women drivers, drillers, blasters and others who fought for space in the male dominated fields. These women, she says, have been an inspiration throughout her career.

Godie lives by the quote, “if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together”.

“This simply stresses the spirit of team work that has led me here. In order to make it in life, one has to know the basics, control his or her emotions and never allow any intimidation.

“Women should not restrict themselves to the tradition of easy and light jobs. They should rather rise to the occasion, take a firm stand of responsibility and change their mindsets,” she says.

Outside work, the mining engineer is a philanthropist who believes in giving. She is the co-founder of Diva’s Emporium, a movement that empowers the girl child to realise her dreams and create self-awareness.

Godie is married to Batsho of Goshwe and the couple has two children, a boy and a girl.




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