‘This job keeps me on my toes every day’

‘This job keeps me on my toes every day’

MASERU –SINCE graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Degree in Chemical Engineering, Seipati Mabote had been itching for some practical experience.

During her attachments she had spent some time at mines in South Africa and she was eager to get some work in a plant. That chance came at Storm Mountain Diamonds (SMD) when she was working as a lecturer at a college in Cape Town.

She has been a metallurgist at Kao Mine since last year and says she is enjoying the experience. As a metallurgist, Mabote’s job is to test ore to determine if diamonds can be recovered from it.
Her main responsibilities are however centred on quality assurance. The quality and quantity of diamonds recovered at the plant depend, in part, on the work of metallurgists.

“What I like about my job is that I get exposed to new experiences every day. It’s not a monotonous job because you face new problems to solve. It keeps you on your toes,” she says.

Mabote’s day starts when her alarm rings at 4.30am. To make it to the office at 6am she has to be having breakfast by 5.30am.

The rest of the day is consumed by meetings, compiling reports, visits to the plant and sample analyses until it ends at 6pm. The long hours that she spends at the mine are compensated for with long off periods.
Mabote says although she knew that she would spend most of her time in a remote area, she has had to learn to accept that the job comes with such conditions.

“I am still getting used to it but I have learned to live with the fact that this is where my job is and I have to be here,” she says.

She says she spends most of her time at the gym when she is not too tired.
Her advice to young girls is that “nothing is impossible”.

The secret, she says, is to follow your passion and work hard.
“It looks intimidating but it can be done. If I can do it then it means others who have the same capabilities and passion can do it.”

Her biggest challenge at the mine was to adjust to working in a male-dominated industry full of stereotypes about what jobs women can and can’t do.
Mabote says she quickly learned that the only way to deal with such perceptions is not to retreat into a shell but to face them head on.

“Go out there and talk to other people, ask for help and help them as well. With time, they will understand that you are just as good as them and you are there to be part of a team.”

Own Correspondent

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