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Process engineer: Unami Habana

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 05 July 2016   |   By Staff Writer
Process engineer: Unami Habana

Most people cannot tell identical twins apart and expect them to be identical in everything they have and do. It is thus not surprising that when one twin is a gifted intellect, ordinarily people would expect a double dose of that; the same applies to when one twin is successful career wise. Unami Habana (32) has an identical twin sister who is a medical doctor. Although naturally one would be excused to think the bar was set a bit high by the other twin, she on the contrary got an equaliser from her twin sister. While her twin is busy saving patients by ‘extracting’ diseases from their bodies and refining their health, Habana spends her days at Jwaneng Debswana mine extracting and refining diamonds from rocks. Habana works as a Process engineer at the Debswana mine. Her work involves extracting and refining minerals from the rocks, thus she basically handles rough diamonds.

Her job, she says, includes ensuring that they preserve the value they have in a stone and assess if there is any chance of optimising it. She is also tasked with overseeing an assurance process where on a regular basis she samples from the process and then analyse the data and give advice based on the outcome. Judging by the sensitivity of her work, Habana says in order for one to make it in the trade one needs to be really conscious, a team worker and be adaptable to different environments. She says qualifications alone are sometimes not enough hence one needs to tap into the immense experience and knowledge of some of the older colleagues who have been doing the same process before her, even if they may be of a lower rank.Habana says before she became a mother to her two-year-old son, balancing work and family was easy but now things have changed. After recently getting herself a mentor, Habana says she feels she will learn everything there is to learn about her job and hopes it will assist even in managing her life as a whole.

Even though working in a male dominated environment comes with its challenges, in her case it’s not all doom and gloom. According to Habana, her immediate supervisor is male but the support she gets from him has not given her a chance to complain. She is also married to a fellow mining engineer, an occurrence which she says gives her a chance  to be an engineer and be a wife at the same time without the being conscious of the fact that she might be too hard on her partner. “My husband is really supportive and understands the conditions and what I go through at work. Sometimes when a day’s activities have exhausted me he can even offer to assist with household chores,” she says. According to Habana, her job is enjoyable and not that challenging especially that with the advance in technology everything nowadays can be done hassle free. She hence urges young ladies who want to choose a career path in engineering not to hesitate. Habana was sponsored to do her Master’s Degree in Engineering focused in mineral processing in the United Kingdom at Leeds University. Working for Debswana is therefore a way of giving back to the company, she says. She is a member of an all-ladies society (all employees of Debswana) that offers tutorial lessons in Mathematics and Science to Morama Junior Secondary School students in Jwaneng.