On Tuesday 11 May, Gapuma attended a gala evening at the UK High Commissioner’s Residence.
Attendees at the event – a joint collaboration between Invest Africa and the UK’s Department for International Trade – heard Mike Freer MP, Minister for International Export stress the importance of commercial engagement with Africa, South Africa and the mining industry in particular. He said his government was open-minded and listening, and would do all it could to help facilitate closer ties. He also said that Africans business saw the UK as a trustworthy partner, because “we under promise and overdeliver.”
Karen Taylor CEO, Invest Africa, whose brainchild the event was, spoke about her organisation’s “passion and commitment [to] Africa’s cause”.
Guests were then treated to an impassioned, highly affective but detailed address by Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, CEO Kalagadi Manganese. Ms Mashile-Nkosi, is a business powerhouse – she is called and accepts the nomenclature Manganese Queen with pride; a social worker, a political activist and a women’s rights campaigner, she is one of Africa’s foremost female CEO’s; and has featured on the front cover of Forbes Africa.
But listening to her speech you can detect her roots in the impoverished rural environment and staunchly patriarchal society of her birth.
She speaks from experience with power and conviction about sustainable development. Not in the academic way, so many others do, but in the practical, can-do way that high-achievers do; Kalagadi Manganese is in its fifth year of operations, having taken a further ten years to set up. So she is evidently someone, who is clear-eyed and dogged.
And unlike many others in this society she eschews the sectarian, racial, political divides. A fluent Afrikaans speaker, and a great admirer of that tradition’s cohesive culture, she advocates the mutual self-interest that comes from everyone working together.