On March 10, 2023, a conference of international scope was organized for leaders and emerging women in Lubumbashi at Pullman Hotel Grand Karavia by the Consulate General of South Africa and SA – DRC Business Forum. It was their celebration of the ‘’Women Day’’ by celebrating the ”Women in Mining” with the financial support of the members of the Forum and some key sponsors including VinMart Group through its Congolese company MES (Mining Engineering Services and other companies of the Group), headed by Hitesh Chug who participated with his wife at the event, as well as Barrick Gold Corporation through Kibali Gold Mine based in Doko (Durba) in Watsa territory, Haut-Uélé province.
This conference was attended by women from Lubumbashi as well as those from different parts of the country and elsewhere like the city-province of Kinshasa, Lualaba, Haut-Uélé, Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami provinces, decision-makers and active women in the mining sector inclunding some from the Republic of South Africa.
All the enriching exchanges revolved around the main theme entitled “WOMEN IN MINES’’.
In her opening remarks, the Consul General of South Africa in Lubumbashi, Mrs. Nociselo Mbele, underlined and called on women to explore a future mining industry with their expertise and to set up a forum for the exchange of experiences between Congolese and South African women working in mining and related sectors.
The conference had two highlights sequenced by the speeches of Congolese officials, in particular that of the vice-governor of Haut Katanga, Jean-Claude Kanfwa Kimimbi, who welcomed the participants, that of the vice-governor of Lualaba Mrs Fifi Masuka and those of the two governors of Tanganyika and Haut-Lomami who presented the potentialities that their provinces abound beyond the mines.
The second key moment was marked by presentations by the speakers that made women more aware of talking about the promotion of women and their development in the mines. This is the case of Mrs Bibiche Efomi and Mrs Diamante Kafuti, both of whom are senior executives of Kibali Gold Mine, and many others, like the word of awareness and emulation presented by the women of VinMart Group under the leadership of Ms. Sneha Chug on gender equality, the potential and strength of women uniquely and united together, the natural capacities of women as carriers and guardians of lives.
But well before that, the various guests were informed of the course and the achievements and objectives of SA-DRC Business Forum by Mrs. Elise Kalasa, its co-founder and Director of Social Ruashi Mining.
Created since 2008, this forum has grown gradually with the aim of promoting and protecting the interests of its members as well as mobilizing them to invest in philanthropy for vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
At the end of the conference, the audience remembered that nowadays there are women capable of doing better by even embarking on basic sciences such as chemistry, geology, polytechnics, electricity, astronomy, mining, metallurgy and all those other sectors that were once reserved or bound to men without reason by the collective imagination. And so, a revolution of women in the mines is essential. This is what the South African Consul General in Lubumbashi asked women and men in the name of positive masculinity defended by the President of the DRC Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi to achieve.
During his closing remarks, a word of thanks and appreciation to the various participants and sponsors was made by Mr. Zwane Thinta Touch, Vice-Consul of the RSA in Lubumbashi in charge of political issues.
On the 11th of March, some guests went to visit STL, a Gécamines subsidiairy, in Lubumbashi.
By Joseph Kazadi and Divine Mwenda.