Tapiwa Mabua Matlhare, is a Control and Instrumentation Engineer who proudly describes herself as a product of Botswana, a product of Debswana.
Currently she works at Debswana Corporate Centre as a Project Manager. Her illustrious career in the mining company spans for 15 years where she held various positions after completing her Engineer in training programme.
Her first substantial appointment came at a tender age of 26 when she was employed as a Maintenance Engineer for the Red Area plant at Jwaneng mine – the first female in that role. Whilst at the Red Area, she oversaw upgrades of equipment as well as ensuring that the plant is operated safely.
Matlhare says this gave her a firsthand experience of leading a multidisciplinary engineering team. “My greatest learnings there included having an open mind and learning to listen to employees’ views without trying to outwit them. I had to master managing a team of predominately males who were older than me. I quickly learnt that respecting each other in the work place and pulling together goes a long way in making a team successful,” she said.
According to Matlhare, this provided her with an opportunity to understand the engineering and leadership issues that were in the plant. After holding the position of Maintenance Engineer Red area, she moved on to another plant within Jwaneng mine. Matlhare shares that the move took her out of her comfort zone, as the plant was largely mechanical. Working in such a manner, made attainment of targets a success. Tapiwa was the first female engineer at both plants and this was fulfilling as it gave her an opportunity to mentor and coach artisans and planners.
After serving the company as a Maintenance Engineer, Tapiwa was appointed as Loss Prevention Manager at Jwaneng mine, a role, which was key to transforming the Security Department. The next stop for Tapiwa was with Strategy and Business Improvement Department, where she gained skills with respect to productivity and efficiency improvements.
“I learnt the importance of ensuring that in the workspace, one should understand who their customers are and what their needs are for alignment and ease of doing work”.
From Strategy and Business Improvement, Tapiwa then moved on to work as an Asset Management Engineer, responsible for energy – a role in which she challenged herself to utilize the skills and competencies that she has gained. She has now transitioned to a position of Project Manager, a role which she is certain, will feed her thirst for learning and creating a lasting impact on the work she does and the people she interacts with.
“I am a mother to two lovely children, and a wife to a great supportive husband.
My dream is to contribute to the development of Botswana and Batswana using my God given talents.”
Interesting fact: Born in a mining town, Selibe Phikwe went to Primary school and grew up in another mining town, Orapa, and started her first job in a mining town of Jwaneng.