OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN: Alice Mandiwana, Engine Operator
A trained fire fighter, Alice Mandiwana couldn’t find any employment in her field, so in 2011, she seized the opportunity to be the first women to train as an engine operator at The De Beers Group of Companies’ Venetia Mine in Limpopo, South Africa.
“I was shocked by the size of the trucks”, recalls Alice, “and I wondered how I would manage to operate such a big vehicle.”
It took Alice just six months to gain the confidence and skills needed to operate the huge mine trucks, at which point she started driving them solo. Now one of the most skilled drivers, she trains new drivers, including women.
“Driving this big engine requires all your focus and attention,” she says. “The key to being a successful operator is to get proper rest during your time off.”
Alice provides a living for her husband Tama and their children, Junior and Abigail. Both children were amazed when Alice showed them a photograph of her standing in front of the machine that she operates.
“I'm very proud to work for De Beers,” says Alice, “because I am making a living for my family and because my company is producing high quality diamonds.”
Alice proved to be a trailblazer for women truck drivers at Venetia Mine, where almost 45 of the nearly 100 engine operators are now women. See Alice co-featured in this film.