Share Their Story

Lebogang Nkoana, 32

Operations manager
Enaex Africa

“Our key business value is humanising mining,” says Lebogang Nkoana, revealing a longstanding personal vision for the cornerstone of South Africa’s economy. Nkoana was recently appointed to the role of operations manager at Enaex Africa, one of the largest explosives firms in the industry.
“I’m responsible for safe management of explosives and its value chain until delivery to clients. I lead business sustainability and new business acquisition within our region and beyond,” he explains. The executive from Emalahleni was the first in his family to graduate and is currently completing his master’s in engineering management at Tshwane University of Technology. Alongside his personal achievements, he counts the successes of his mentees as his proudest moments.
For Nkoana, transformation has two sides: a return to the peak in successful growth and power of the Gauteng minefields and a collective movement towards progress and redistributed hope. As he puts it, “We are because of mining.”

Every sunrise is my ‘soldier-on’ moment.

Author - Cameron Peters
Tlhalefang Moeletsi, 29

Tlhalefang Moeletsi, 29

Creative director

Tlhalefang Moeletsi is the founder of Mebala, a premium luggage brand that combines finely crafted bags with the freedom of individual customisation.
“Start small, experiment a lot and be adaptive. In everything that you do, it is important to always surround yourself with a good support system,” he says.
Moeletsi’s greatest desire for his brand is to contribute to the reindustrialisation of South Africa and offer an abundance of work opportunities in a sustainable way.
He also works as a senior associate at Genesis Analytics, where he contributes to research that aims to unlock economic opportunity, particularly for women and young people.
With bachelor, honours and master’s degrees in economic sciences from Wits University, Moeletsi is a businessman and innovator by heart. He later returned to the university in 2017 as a sessional lecturer to share his extensive expertise.

Instead of waiting for everything to be perfect or near perfect for you to start, just start.

Louise Bell |
Pity Pheko, 35

Pity Pheko, 35

Production section manager
Thungela Resources

Pity Pheko works as production section manager at Thungela Resources, South Africa’s leading thermal coal exporter.
“I want my work to contribute to environmental, societal and governance drives, reduce carbon emissions, rehabilitate mined land and create a future for our children through green energy generation,” explains Pheko. She sits on the council for the South African Colliery Managers’ Association, is a member of Women in Mining South Africa’s committee and was in the finals for the Accenture Rising Stars’ Awards. She also sits on Anglo American’s Global Workforce Advisory Panel to represent Anglo American Thermal Coal employees on the company board.
Pheko is driven to make a difference in the lives of others. “My passion specifically lies with young and upcoming engineers,” she describes. “I’d like to not only contribute to their lives through mentorship, but be someone they can look up to.”

Grab a seat around the table, no matter how junior your position is.

Sarah Irwin |
Sanera Maharaj, 32

Sanera Maharaj, 32

Industrial engineering manager

Sanera Maharaj is an industrial engineering manager working for MAHLE, one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world. She oversees several improvement areas and keeps a careful eye on productivity, cost and waste reduction, and process mapping.

In the past, she was chosen by the Super Scientists initiative to be a spokesperson for STEM careers. More recently, Maharaj and her team were one of two winners of the MAHLE Global Incubator 2021.

With funding from the company, and since winning the competition, she’s been able to pursue her own idea. She’s been busy creating her own corporate start-up — and has learned much along the way.

“My work has changed from a traditional industrial engineering manager to an entrepreneur,” she says. “I look at the product, market and customers all at the same time.”

“Through my incubation project and other potential business ideas that I have, I am hoping to make a difference in the lives of young people in our country.”

James Nash |
Nozipho Dlamini, 35

Nozipho Dlamini, 35

Technical services manager
Thungela Resources Limited

Nozipho Dlamini is the first woman president of the South African Colliery Managers’ Association, which is central in the coal mining industry, playing a strategic and influential role in its direction and decisions.

Dlamini is a mining engineer with more than 15 years of experience in the mining sector. She is also the technical services manager at one of South Africa’s most productive underground mines, leading a team of professionals that includes mining engineers, geologists, rock engineers, surveyors and business improvement change agents.

“Mining is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s GDP. I want to be part of the solution when it comes to its sustainability, and the positive environmental and social impact of our mines,” says Dlamini about the legacy she wants to impart.

“I want to be a great example for my kids. I want to represent what they thought was not possible for black women.”

Patrick Visser |
Lindy Scott, 34

Lindy Scott, 34

Founder and creative director
Amber, The Health and Safety Communication Platform

The need for safety in industries such as mining promises a bright future for Lindy Scott, whose company, Amber, offers health and safety communications as a service.

Their offering includes ready-to-run safety campaigns, workshops, how-to guides, printable posters and ways to document insights and lessons learned to build evidence for reports and audits.

Her vision is to save lives through creativity in the workplace. “I want to see South African companies, leaders and workers understand that a safe work environment is a productive one. A safe work environment where communication is at the heart of all operations will have a ripple effect on communities, people and our economy,” she says.

In 2021, the year of founding, Scott won the AfriSAFE Shining Star award, and today hundreds of safety professionals use Amber’s software. She also champions female entrepreneurship and design thinking to inspire the next generation.

“If you share your intention and want to add value, you will always find your place.”

Lesley Stones |
Koketso Mbewe, 28

Koketso Mbewe, 28

Postgraduate student
University of Pretoria

Through her research on the improvement management principle of lean manufacturing, Koketso Mbewe aims to elevate the efficiency of the South African manufacturing industry and boost economic growth.

Mbewe believes in being future fit and feels a responsibility to contribute solutions to society’s challenges. She strives to do this by bridging the gap between academic research and industry practice.

She’s received numerous accolades for her work in the engineering sector, and hopes this will encourage more women to enter this male-dominated field and do impactful work in their communities.

As an alumnus of Harvard Business School, as well as the University of Pretoria, she’s learned the power of resilience, which she hopes to instil in the youth. Mbewe says: “Your dreams are valid and possible, and as you work hard towards your goals, pray for the wisdom and grace to navigate the journey.”

“Surround yourself with mentors and friends who give you counsel and believe in you; this will go a long way.”

Neil Büchner |