Spotlight on Our Team – Senzeni Mandava Matondi

Meet Senzeni Mandava Matondi, an accomplished Principal Resource Geologist based in Johannesburg. With over 22 years of hands-on experience in Resource Evaluation, Exploration, Mining, Planning Geology, and Consulting, Senzeni brings a wealth of expertise to our team at Snowden Optiro. Her proficiency spans Mineral Resource ore body modeling and estimation, Technical Report writing, as well as conducting feasibility and due diligence mining studies, including Independent Technical Reviews and QA/QC audits. In a recent conversation, we had the privilege of diving deep into Senzeni’s journey and exploring the driving forces behind his passion for her work in this interview.

Q: Could you share a bit about your background and your upbringing?

I am the eldest of four siblings – two boys and two girls – and I was born on a chilly Saturday morning, June 14th, 1980, in Harare, the vibrant Capital City of Zimbabwe. At the age of 10, my family relocated to Bulawayo when my father was promoted to head the Accounts department of his company. I completed my high school education in Bulawayo before returning to Harare for my tertiary studies in 1999.

Q: What is your educational background, and could you mention any degrees or certifications you’ve acquired?

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Zimbabwe (2002), a Graduate Diploma in Mining Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand (2010), and an MSc in Engineering, with a specialization in Geostatistical Methods in Mineral Evaluation and Mineral Resources Management, also from the University of Witwatersrand (2015).

Q: How did you come to choose your career path, and what inspired you to pursue it?

Funny story – I originally aimed to become a pharmacist, but fate redirected me. A bursary led me to study Geology and Chemistry, despite my initial lack of understanding about the field. I hesitated due to not having studied Geography. As I contemplated switching to Laboratory Science, I noticed fellow students facing obstacles while switching to Geology. This sparked my curiosity – why the demand? This intrigue ignited my journey into Geology. In hindsight, it was my best decision, and I’m genuinely passionate about my work.

Q: Could you share some noteworthy milestones or accomplishments from your professional journey?

Certainly, a few highlights include being selected as an external examiner for the Mining Engineering students with a focus on Mineral Resource Estimation and Mineral Resource Management at the University of Witwatersrand (since 2016), and being recognized as the top-performing consultant at my previous employer for three consecutive years, with accolades to show for it.

Q: Beyond work, what are your interests, hobbies, or creative outlets?

Outside of my professional endeavors, I find joy in singing as a member of my local church choir. Additionally, I’m a dedicated fitness enthusiast – a true gym bunny. Engaging in workouts serves as my outlet for releasing the stresses and pressures of daily life, leaving me feeling reenergized and invigorated.

Q: Is there a particular cause or mission that holds deep significance for you?

Absolutely, I am deeply committed to supporting orphaned children. Currently, I sponsor several children back in Zimbabwe, covering their school fees, uniforms, and educational supplies. This initiative has spanned six years, and I’m thrilled that some of them will soon be embarking on their high school journey. I eagerly anticipate their progression to university, as I’ve taken it upon myself to ensure their educational journey is financially supported until they graduate.

Q: Who are the individuals that have profoundly influenced or inspired you?

One individual who stands out is Victor Simposya. He served as my manager at a previous workplace and imparted an invaluable wealth of knowledge and technical expertise. I hold deep gratitude for the skills and insights he equipped me with.

Q: Have you had the privilege of mentors or role models guiding you on your path?

Absolutely, Victor Simposya played a pivotal role as my mentor. His patience and firm guidance helped me overcome the “Imposter syndrome” that once gripped me. Under his tutelage, I learned to be resilient and recognize my potential to excel in my skill set, ultimately positioning myself as a go-to professional.

Q: Could you shed light on significant challenges you’ve confronted throughout your career?

Undoubtedly, I’ve encountered the challenge of having to consistently prove my capabilities in comparison to my male counterparts. In an industry historically dominated by males, this has been a recurring theme in my professional journey. Thankfully, I’m heartened to witness the substantial changes that have taken place over the years.

Q: How did you rise above these challenges?

To navigate these challenges, I embraced a more assertive approach and dedicated myself to working diligently, often exceeding expectations to showcase my capabilities. Over time, this steadfast effort garnered the recognition I deserved.

Q: What are your current aspirations and goals within your professional sphere?

My current ambition is to establish myself as a global expert and a definitive go-to resource for the skill set I possess.

Q: Envisioning the future, where do you see yourself?

I envision myself as a preeminent Specialist Resource Geologist on the global stage. Additionally, I aspire to contribute as a compiler of public reports, solidifying my position as a recognized authority in my field.

We’re truly grateful to Senzeni for sharing her experiences. Wishing her ongoing success as the Resource Geologist at Snowden Optiro – here’s to her fantastic journey ahead!

If you’d like to connect with Senzeni, you can reach her here.

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