“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi. 


Mining & Manufacturing


Sibanye Stillwater

Sephela Makete Thema, 32, is the operations manager at Sibanye Stillwater and responsible for a mine with more than 1 000 employees and contractors.

He was 2022’s Transunion Rising Stars Awards winner in the mining and minerals category and has been selected to represent Sibanye Stillwater as part of the UN SDG innovation acceleration programme for 2023.

Sephela has a BSc in mining engineering from Wits University, a postgraduate diploma (business administration) from the University of Pretoria, and postgraduate certificates in mining law and entrepreneurship from Wits University and Harvard Business School, respectively.

He is a member of the Southern Africa Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) and the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA), serves on the committee of SAIMM young professionals and is the chairperson of the Wits University Mining Engineers Association branch in the North West province.

Sephela contributes as a mentor and coach to a culturally diverse group of young professionals in the mining industry. He also helps at a grassroots level, for example, raising funds to renovate an old church building to preserve the heritage and dignity of the community and regularly gives talks at schools and churches to young people to motivate them.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a Postgraduate diploma in Business Administration from the University of Pretoria. I completed postgraduate certificates in Mining Law and 21st Century Mining from the University of the Witwatersrand. I have also completed a couple of entrepreneurship courses through Harvard Business School. I am in the final year of my Master of Science in Engineering degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.

  1. Transunion Rising Star Winner for 2022 in the Mining and Metal category. 
  2. I have been selected by Sibanye Stillwater to participate in the United Nations SDG young innovators’ program for 2023. 
  3. Committee member of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) young professionals council (YPC) for 2023/4.

Having grown up in the rural village of Mosehleng (Krantzplaas), I was exposed to poverty, lack of recreational, scarce social development and economic opportunities for the community, and my goal is to give back to uplift communities that raised us and positively impact society at large.

Appreciate what you have, the grass is not always greener on the other side. We sometimes forget to live while we are chasing our dreams. All we have is now, and that is what matters. Yesterday is gone and Tomorrow is still a dream, do your best Today!

As a country of empowered citizens and political leaders that serve the interests of the ordinary people? A country with a big focus on the provision of quality education promotes the success of SMMEs, provides quality basic services, and invests in the value chains of local industries to trade in value-added products. A country that achieves a reduction in poverty, unemployment, and inequality by at least 30% from the current levels, and where proceeds from our vast mineral resources benefit all citizens of our beautiful country.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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