How she manages to control larger than life vehicles ferrying dump from deep down in the belly of earth is amazing and unexplainable even to her. Patience Gwaba is a dump truck operator at Jwaneng mine. She is not just an ordinary dump truck operator - she operates the Komatsu 930E, an off-highway, ultra class, rigid frame, haul truck designed and manufactured by Komatsu America Corp. The truck is one of the largest, high payload capacity haul truck, currently used in other African mines and considered to be the flagship of Komatsu’s haul truck product line. This monster of a truck can offer a payload capacity of up to 320 short tons (290 t). Yet Gwaba says when she is busy at work deep in the Jwaneng diamond mine, nothing beats the serenity and peace of mind she gets from operating the big machine. As the first and only woman currently operating the truck at Jwaneng mine, Gwaba is as daring as they come and sees her job as easy as any other job done by other women. “It’s a cosy car that I enjoy driving. It has many features including air conditioner and I think driving it is not different to someone driving a Mercedes Benz,” said Gwaba.
She joined Debswana in 2013. Her career kicked off at Moolman in Francistown where she worked as a truck operator. In 2011 she joined Majwe Mining in Jwaneng for the same job. With only a Class B, Drivers licence, Gwaba says there is a good chance that more women could join her in driving the big trucks. In her personal experience being the only woman in a male dominated environment is not all bad especially when the very same men have nothing but support and encouragement for you. This is even made simpler by the fact that her husband also works in the mining industry and hence understands the environment and the odd shift hours that she at times has to work. The 34-year-old Gwaba loves her job dearly and will still continue to do it even when she and her husband finally decide to have kids.