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