SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – In the African context, it is always a hard moment to witness the last days of a close friend or workmate retiring from active work. After a period of 15 years, Godfrey Msiska, the former Kansanshi Mine ‘image creator’ retired at the end of July 2022.
Msiska’s career began on 13th July, 2007 at Kansanshi Mine, where he served as the first Public Relations Manager after leaving the banking sector where he had worked for 32 years, culminating in his last position as Chief Executive Officer of New Capital Bank Plc, which was later to merge with Cavmont Bank.
The Kansanshi Mine Communications Officer shared notes with the outspoken ‘man of the people’ whose role as Public Relations Manager enhanced the visibility and reputation of FQM-Kansanshi.
“It’s hard to find the right words to describe my time with Kansanshi. Suffice it to say it has been an enthralling 15 years that felt like it was just 5 years! So much happened during that time, I could almost not keep track. It was a memorable 15 years,” Msiska eloquently described his time with the FQM subsidiary Company.
Msiska said he retires to spend more time with his family and to explore the other side of the world outside employment.
During the conversation, Msiska shared some reflections on Kansanshi’s growth over the years of his tenure of office, during which the mine’s Installed copper production capacity rose from 120,000 tonnes per year in 2005 to way above 250,000 tonnes and was bound to increase further, with the upcoming development of the Sulphide 3 project.
He also noted that the mine had increased employment numbers from 2,000 to just over 6,000 fulltime employees and has over the years spent a colossal amount of money on its corporate social investment programme in local communities in its effort to give community members sustainable livelihoods, a gesture for which he says ‘kudos’ to the mine.
Msiska was happy to list some of the signature projects he was involved in as manager for public relations, stating that there were a number of major projects in which he was involved. He said these projects were either planned with the communities in advance, or had to be done at short notice due to their nature.
He remembers the one that stood out the most as being the rebuilding of the Solwezi General Hospital Maternity Ward that had been completely destroyed by a heavy storm in March 2019.
“I was appointed as Project Coordinator by the General Manager and had to oversee and push for the project to be completed in double quick time. This involved a number of activities ranging from mobilization of funds from Kansanshi Mine and other corporate bodies within Solwezi whom we had asked to partner with the mine in fixing an essential community service hospital ward. The project cost was US$250,000 and we managed to complete the work of rebuilding and re-equipping the ward in good time,” he said.
Msiska is a lover of sport. He plays tennis, Golf and he enjoys walking. He is on record for sports contribution at the company as he was the patron of all the company’s sports clubs at some point and these sports clubs have been competing, with great success, at all levels from district to national.
He also facilitated community sporting ventures sponsored by Kansanshi Mining Plc under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme in its quest to add value to the health of community members.
Msiska used his earlier acquired banking skills to sharpen his public relations abilities. His banking experience provided a big boost to the public relations works at Kansanshi Mining Plc. It is an experience which provided a very rich background to his personality.
“My banking experience helped me a lot in my job, in the sense that I instilled a strict accounting discipline, not only in my team members, but also in qualified accountants whom I interacted with as we carried out company functions which were financially linked. My ethos is that honesty is the best policy. At times I was labelled as being ‘pedantic’ by some people I dealt with, but I have never compromised my principles when it comes to accounting,” he pointed out.
Msiska began his career as a banker with Standard Chartered Bank Zambia in 1971 and held various managerial roles within the banking system before spending the last 15 years as Public Relations Manager at Kansanshi Mining Plc.
His most memorable moment at Kansanshi is the FQM Kansanshi Mine sponsorship of the live broadcast of the 2012 Africa Cup Football finals on ZNBC TV, at the time he was the anchor panelist on TV as he and renowned Zambian football gurus analyzed the possible outcome of the tight fight for the Golden Africa Cup.
“Believe you me, I was the only panelist that kept saying Zambia would lift that cup, and it happened. Give me ice cubes and I will go and sell them to the Eskimos! Other memorable events were the hosting of King Mswati of Eswatini when he visited Kansanshi Mine in 2009 and the successful hosting of an international boxing tournament in 2018 featuring Catherine Phiri, the famous Zambian female boxer, who came to support us in our fight against Early Child Marriages and Gender Based Violence (GBV) by showing the Solwezi residents that blows should only be exchanged in the boxing ring as a sport,” he says.
Msiska advises others still in employment at Kansanshi Mine or elsewhere in the FQM group’s companies in Zambia to simply work hard and contribute to the company’s productivity, since that is the only route to the success of the mine and its employees.
Having been the pivot of the interaction between the mine and the mine’s stakeholders, Msiska confesses that he will miss everything and everybody that he came into contact with within the company circles and the local communities, adding that FQM is a good employer which allows its employees to grow, based on the company’s values of being Bolder, Smarter, Driven, and TOGETHER.
He looks forward to motivating other employees pending retirement and he personally anticipates to have a restful retirement, knowing full well that he gave his job and work the best effort. He strongly believes that it is honourable to retire from one’s employment in peace.
“We are grateful to Godfrey for his service and the times we shared together and we value his support and continued hard work. It is sad to see him go,” said Matt Pascall the FQM Group Director of Business Development during Msiska’s farewell party at the Kansanshi Golf Estate. Pascall attributed Msiska’s work to have been part of the strength for the FQM Company in Zambia, as he thanked him for the tremendous work he had done for the company. He applauded Msiska’s dedication and support rendered to the company and presented to him a copper plaque as a token of appreciation. The farewell party was held for him and his family at the Kansanshi Golf Club where he has served as Club President for twelve years.
Anthony Mukutuma, the Kansanshi Mine General Manager, described Msiska as a leader who made life for the company and its publics easier due to his rare capability of resolving any matters involving the mine and its stakeholders and always coming up with a win-win solution.
There is no doubt that Msiska will be sorely missed by many people whose lives he positively impacted at the mine and its surrounding communities.
Visits:600 Today: 600 Total: 4195643