Onalenna Candy Godie
Onalenna Candy Godie has learnt to stand alone. As a senior engineer, she has risen to the top in a predominantly male world — and not without sincere effort. When Godie was appointed senior mining engineer at Jwaneng Mine, a mine that contributes more than 80% to Botswana’s GDP, she became the first woman to fill the job.
At age 17 Godie topped her class in pure mathematics and science and then went on to pursue a BSc Engineering (Mining) degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she graduated with distinction.
Godie was used to being the only woman during those early years of training in the mines. At Jwaneng Mine, she went through development as a trainee mining engineer by working across different sections of the mine — loading and hauling, drilling and blasting, pit maintenance — before being appointed a mining engineer.
Currently, she coordinates all loading and hauling activities at the Jwaneng Mine, ensuring safety, efficiency and productivity throughout the process.
“It is also my responsibility to ensure that all production crews are led and directed to deliver a good operational mine performance,” Godie says.
Under her leadership of 400 employees in the mining department, targets have been consistently met. Considering the intensity of operations, Godie’s role requires a lot of self-application and commitment to meet these targets. The position demands flexibility, often exceeding traditional work hours, and willingness to go the extra mile.
As a mother of two, Godie avidly advocates education as the best way to ensure her son and daughter receive equal career opportunities in the future. A strong, grounded schooling ideally levels the playing field, allowing talent to speak louder than gender. As such, Godie and other colleagues mentor and coach the girls of Morama CJSS in Jwaneng.
“Even though it has kept me as an individual very busy because between the demanding job and family commitments, I have had to make time to really inspire the girls and talk to them more about shaping their future,” Godie says. Since they started the initiative, there has been an immense improvement in the drop-out rate from teenage pregnancy. The academic results at Morama CJSS have also improved. — CHARMAINE REVAKA