They spend most of their days digging up and polishing the shiny stones that are crucial to Botswana’s economy.
Last Friday (22 October), however, they were the shiny stars.
In a glitzy ceremony held at Orapa’s Adrian Gale Diamond Museum, Orapa, Damtshaa and Letlhakane Mines (ODLM) paid homage to its long serving employees.
In total 169 workers were honoured, seven of whom were celebrating 40 years with Debswana.
Praising the award winners for their ‘commitment, endurance and loyalty’, ODLM General Manager, Bakani Motlhabani noted their contribution has helped transform the company into what it is today.
“I must say we are honored and thankful as Debswana management to have employees of your caliber – employees with passion, dedication and perseverance. To see so many of you marking milestones like this makes us proud,” gushed the GM.
Motlhabani further voiced his hope that the employees will continue working for ODLM and Debswana to lead the mining giant’s quest to ‘make life brilliant’.
The event’s Guest of Honour, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mmetla Masire described the occasion as a momentous milestone.
He labelled the long servers as people with ‘the skills, experience and knowledge that oil the institution’s seamless operation’.
Turning his attention to the impact Debswana has had on the country since setting up shop in June 1969, Masire said, “Debswana’s diamond mining activity has brought about remarkable growth, transforming Botswana from being one of the poorest countries in Africa to being one of its modern economic success stories.
“This transformation is due to the remarkable efforts of men and women who have worked for this company and those that we are celebrating tonight. Thus, it is befitting that you celebrate with pride, knowing the positive contribution you have made to the socio-economic development of this country.”
He closed by thanking Debswana management for investing in and recognising its human capital through initiatives such as the long service awards.
“The role of long service awards cannot be overemphasized. They play an important part in motivating and engaging staff, retention of staff as well as strengthening a strong culture within an organisation that ultimately drives business excellence,” stressed Masire.
Reflecting on his 40 years with Debswana, Planning Coordinator, Jonathan Sesinye revealed he joined the organisation ‘when the road was bumpy’.
“It was very different from today. We were fetching water from a dam at Mopipi and it was very salty. And there was no power. I see many changes – even the pit was very small! Experiencing the transformation is extremely important,” stated Sesinye.
For her part, ODLM Psychologist, Martha Ntapu Mathumo, who has clocked three decades with the company, said she was able to raise her kids and grandchildren thanks to her employment with Debswana.
“I acquired many certificates under this company, it took me outside the country to learn a lot. I really thank Debswana,” said Mathumo.
LANDMARKS CELEBRATED ON THE NIGHT
20 YEARS SERVICE – 90 EMPLOYEES
25 YEARS SERVICE – 11 EMPLOYEES
30 YEARS SERVICE – 46 EMPLOYEES
35 YEARS SERVICE – 15 EMPLOYEES
40 YEARS SERVICE – 7 EMPLOYEES