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Elizabeth becomes a Namdeb first

Namdeb has made a pioneering appointment, naming its first female engineering foreman to manage an all-male workshop.

Elizabeth Kambonde, a qualified auto-electrician, has taken charge of the heavy commercial vehicle workshop for Namdeb’s Southern Coastal Mines and is responsible for 18 skilled workers and assistants, all male.

She has reached this position after 12 years with Namdeb, De Beers’ joint venture with the Government of the Republic of Namibia, arriving from Rundu Vocational College.

Elizabeth, from Northern Namibia, said she did not want to be appointed based on her gender but on her experience and her skills and leadership abilities. “With all these aptitudes,” she said, “you will command respect and trust from your peers and team.”

Her daily activities include planning and delegating work to her team and checking work standards. “I am a hands-on person and therefore I take time to be part of the weekly planning, organising and assurance of quality service delivery to our customers,” she said.

She has led the team in putting in place a planning system in the workshop and an interactive action centre showing all the team’s targets and key performance indicators.

Namdeb Brand Manager Pauline Thomas, one of a series of women in the company identified as leadership role models for Elizabeth, said: “They say that dynamite comes in small packages, and certainly Elizabeth oozes energy and power of influence, and she commands respect among her team members and her peers, who speak highly of her leadership.”

Elizabeth has advice for other women keen to take up more technical or leadership positions: “We should not have any fear, as many women role models have shown us that, irrespective of your gender, as long as you are given equal opportunity, you will succeed in delivering to expectations.”

But she is clear on the importance of work-life balance. “I just don’t take work home and vice-versa,” she added. “Work is work and home is home.”

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