Sophia Mbimbi a heavy machine operator at GGML underground dispatch


Sophia Mbimbi a heavy machine operator at GGML underground dispatch

Over the past years, most of the underground mining Machines have been operated by Men. The paradigm has completely shifted with upcoming Super women like Sophia Mbimbi claiming their spaces.

Sosphia Mbimbi is a lion-hearted woman who has specialized in the mining activities who is writing her own history. She is a courageous woman who never gave up easily despite several challenges she has faced her life. Sophia, who was recently appointed as the GGML underground dispatch, feels blessed to get the opportunity to work in the underground operations.

Her current job is to manage the logistics of the load and haul fleet and the secondary material movements throughout the underground. She also assists the shift supervisor to execute daily plans effectively, whilst ensuring that performance of mobile fleet is optimized.

Speaking with the Citizen’s bureau in Moshi, Sophia says she is proud having taken on the mining sector  for it was her daily dream; and therefore blows her own trumpet by being bold and hustler.

She said, through her job, she has managed to sustain and lend a helping hand to the communities from what she earns.

 “I had a dream of working at one of the largest mining companies in the country from the start, that was my biggest dream and by then, I couldn’t think of other mine, “she says.

She adds: I started my career at one of the largest mining companies in the country where I was recruited as human resource officer in 2003.

By that time, I felt that there was much that I can do especially shifting my focus from human resource to underground mining operations,” explains Sophia.

She says that she worked for six months at one of the largest mining companies in the country before the shutdown – where she worked with men, something that she admits made her quite uncomfortable, but she carried on as the only woman in the mine.

Based on this work, Sophia became the first woman to work at that largest mining company.

“I highly treasure this record, of being a first woman to work in the one of the largest mining companies, a woman who operates a heavy machinery at that mining company and now at Geita Gold Mine Limited (GGML). Men give me a respect for what I do regardless of its hardship.”

According to her, it has never been a rehearsal but a performance.

“I was brave-hearted and didn’t care of the fact that I am the only woman at my work place.”

Sophia has on many occasions been discouraged by many people especially men who believed she has lost direction by moving from human resource to underground operations because it is a risky job.

 “I just remain focused and insist that I wanted to do something different, something full of challenges. At the beginning it was very difficult but later, my manager saw something unique in me,” Sophia explains.

She spent some years working as a winch room operator at that company where she performed bank and onset operations duties.

After her contract expired, she went to the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) Shinyanga to do a short course on vocational training in heavy equipment.

In 2019, she wanted to do practical training at Geita Gold Mining Limited, but it was not easy because at VETA Shinyanga there was no formal letter given for short courses trainees.

She, however, managed to convince the college principal to write a letter to allow her go to GGML to get practical training opportunity.

“Both the training and mining departments did not want me to do practical training in the pits. Since GGML considers safety as its number one value, they were worried of accidents because I had to start operating heavy equipment, “she explains.

She was finally allowed to do her practical training at GGML Nyankanga pit for four months where she worked together with different men.

It was not easy because it was the same story as she was constantly discouraged by her peers but at the end of the day everyone was impressed and surprised by her speedy and learning spirit.

After her practical training, she started living in Geita looking for permanent employment at GGML.

After four months she saw an advert about dispatch underground and she applied.

 She was finally shortlisted for the interview and being successful among the two appointed candidates.

“I advise my fellow women to give their 100 per cent (and not 50/50) for the society to see the magnitude of its impacts. Do not just do because you are duty-bound or hesitate doing because of hearsays and there are no specific works for men or women,” she insisted.

“Today, I work in the pits and I am in-charge of gold minerals extraction at GGML, I operate motor grader, excavator and at the same time, I am a human resource officer and I also drill rocks,”

She urges parents to send their children to colleges such as VETA to be acquainted with rocks knowledge and fight shy of what so-called “hard labours” carried out in Geita Gold Mines Limited since, there are remarkable female engineers and are doing just great.

She says, “Now the surrounding community sees what I do and so do my government, and therefore, we should take pride on great job done by our daughters.”

“Today, women are doing great things than men who earned majority’s trust in the past, and our government give priority to women, I call for all women to continue putting in work and make sure we don’t let our president down.”

“I was the subject of majority’s dislike and discouragement, and others told me of my least capability to take on mining works, coupled by low level of my education however all that couldn’t matters when it comes to fulfilling my dreams.”

“No success comes cheap without struggle even securing job at the GGML mines is due to my own efforts and I congratulate the management to have set their eyes on me as typical woman in the sector,” she emphasized.

“I also heap praises on GGML by showing major concern and care for their staff and ensure safe working environment. I feel safer here than anywhere else I have ever been,” Sophia hinted.

She also confesses, “I continue learn a lot of things from this mine and safety here is first priority as they don’t to want to see anyone harmed.”

Sophia urges His Excellency, President Magufuli to continue giving women priorities because of their diligence, they are proud of that and ask him to not ceasefire for an endless war.

Sophia extremely lusts after Agnes Madili, an underground mining engineer who is her role model.

“Agnes does a great and brilliant job, I have met her at Star and Comet and she has been encouraging me to never give up. I want to be an Engineer like her one day,” explained Sophia.

Over the past years, most of the underground mining Machines have been operated by Men. The paradigm has completely shifted with upcoming Super women like Sophia Mbimbi claiming their spaces.