There’s more to weld­ing than meets the eye. En­gi­neer Simba Govo is liv­ing proof

CityPress - - Careers - SIYABONGA SIT­HOLE pro­jects@city­press.co.za

BRIGHT SPARK Valdemiro Visenti Mahu­mana welds a cus­tomer’s car at Dunga’s Auto Clinic in down­town Joburg

Grow­ing up as the third of five chil­dren in Zim­babwe’s sec­ond most pop­u­lated prov­ince, Man­i­ca­land, Simba Govo (34) wanted to pur­sue a ca­reer as a phar­ma­cist. But his love for min­ing even­tu­ally forced him to pur­sue a ca­reer as a weld­ing en­gi­neer at Sa­sol. Having been with South Africa’s lead­ing en­ergy and chem­i­cal com­pany for just more than two years, Govo says his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude en­sur­ing that weld­ing ac­tiv­i­ties run at an op­ti­mal level.

Govo dis­plays a clar­ity of mind when he talks about his job and his life. He goes back to the point he made ear­lier and re­peats what has been said just to make sure I un­der­stand as we go through the de­tails of his early life and ed­u­ca­tion.

“For you to ex­cel in this en­vi­ron­ment, you have to be able to solve prob­lems out of the or­di­nary, ap­ply your tech­ni­cal skills and keep up with the new meth­ods,” Govo says.

As a weld­ing en­gi­neer, his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in­clude work­ing with a ded­i­cated team of ar­ti­sans and welders in co­or­di­nat­ing weld­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal sup­port to the team dur­ing the mod­i­fi­ca­tion, fab­ri­ca­tion, and re­pair­ing of plant equip­ment and sys­tems.

It is a highly tech­ni­cal job he says re­quires above-av­er­age tech­ni­cal knowl­edge as well as prob­lem-solv­ing skills.

“It goes with­out say­ing that a good at­ti­tude and pa­tience are the pre­req­ui­sites for this highly tech­ni­cal job if one is to suc­ceed in this kind of en­vi­ron­ment,” Govo says with an air of con­tent­ment in his voice.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing school, Govo de­cided to en­rol for a BSc in met­al­lurgy at the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe between 2000 and 2004. He then carved out a ca­reer by fill­ing a range of po­si­tions as a me­tal­lur­gi­cal en­gi­neer, trainer, con­sul­tant and en­gi­neer.

Govo worked for BCD Heavy En­gi­neer­ing as a min­ing en­gi­neer for al­most two years. Prior to that, he worked as a weld­ing lec­turer and con­sul­tant at the South­ern African In­sti­tute of Weld­ing. FO­CUSED Simba Govo says he in­her­ited his thirst for knowl­edge from his dad This paved the way for him to spe­cialise in weld­ing, as he de­cided to fur­ther his stud­ies so he could spe­cialise. He en­rolled at Wits Univer­sity for a Mas­ter of Sci­ence in En­gi­neer­ing (2007 to 2010), then a Mas­ter of Sci­ence in en­gi­neer­ing, fo­cus­ing on weld­ing (2011 to 2012).

“I have been for­tu­nate that I have worked with peo­ple who were will­ing to give me ad­vice ... This helped me choose to spe­cialise in weld­ing.”

He credits his fa­ther for having in­stilled in him a love for ed­u­ca­tion, some­thing he con­sid­ers an “in­her­i­tance”.

His mem­o­ries of school are cold show­ers on win­ter morn­ings, wak­ing up early and be­ing spanked for be­ing naughty. Not that Govo was ever naughty in school. He refers to him­self as having been a “re­served child who played rugby” dur­ing his days at Hartzell Mis­sion School. He says his hum­ble be­gin­nings have pre­pared him to cope with the chal­lenges in life.

Govo lost his fa­ther in 1998 af­ter a short ill­ness. His mother passed away in 2008 af­ter a long ill­ness.

“My fa­ther died just be­fore I was due to write my A-level ex­ams. Al­though I was young, his death came as a shock as he was only sick for a short time be­fore he died. His death be­came one of my dark­est mo­ments.”

The mar­ried fa­ther of two young girls – An­netta (3) and Kyla (5) – com­mutes weekly between Se­cunda (his work­place) and Vereenig­ing, where he lives with his wife and chil­dren.

Govo would like to see more aware­ness cre­ated around en­sur­ing that the youth un­der­stand the op­por­tu­ni­ties in his field. He says road shows would help in alert­ing the youth to the op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Peo­ple con­fuse weld­ing en­gi­neer­ing with weld­ing as com­monly seen on street cor­ners. This field is vast, and al­lows peo­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to spe­cialise and work with a range of other skilled peo­ple.”

He was quick to add that he too did not know much about weld­ing as a pro­fes­sion un­til later in his life.


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