A helmet for a crown

While other females find it hard and disheartening to work in a male-dominated industry such as mining, Achante Esterhuizen thrives in it.

15 March 2019 | People

Elizabeth Joseph

Achante Esterhuizen is among the female employees at Namdeb.

She transitioned in October 2018 from being an office-based worker to the role of a multi-skilled operator in the mine.

She started working as a multi-skilled operator at the Southern Coastal Mine operations of Namdeb in October 2018.

“We are only two women in our team but I must say that my male colleagues made the transition very easy because they don’t treat me with any gender bias,” she said.

Esterhuizen says most people assume that those working in mines are part of the older generation, but in her team the average age is 27. She is the youngest in her team and believes their younger teams result in a more dynamic group.

“The biggest change for me was having to work for 21 consecutive days and then getting seven days off. I have however adapted to the different working hours.”

She always liked the concept of wearing a uniform to work and embraced wearing personal protection equipment (PPE). This career change was highly encouraged by her belief that she can always take on a new challenge.

Employee wellness is an important aspect for Namdeb and Esterhuizen tries to manage a balance between her work requirements and personal life.

“My work shifts make it quite easy as we work a week on day shift, a week on afternoon shift and a week on night shift. So it just comes down to time management and planning around your shift. The week off is also very helpful.”

Girl power

She advises women in Namibia who are considering joining the mining industry as multi-skilled operators that they should go for it.

“Contrary to popular belief, men are actually very encouraging in the workplace. As soon as they don’t see you as a female, but a fellow teammate, then everything runs smoothly.”

She says their department starts the mining of diamonds as they strip the area all the way to the bedrock, while simultaneously building the seawall. This is important as the seawall protects the bedrock team from water flooding the area.

“You need to have a grade 10 certificate and a code 08 driver’s licence with a year’s driving experience if you want to become a multi-skilled operator. At Namdeb further psychometric assessments are conducted to assess and prepare the operator,” she said.

Esterhuizen is very passionate about an independent Namibia and the opportunities this provides to its citizens.

“Namibia’s independence brought freedom and peace. As citizens we need to exercise our rights to ensure that we are contributing positively to our country.”

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