With a Master of Science in Engineering Geology firmly in hands, and over a decade of experience in Geology, Chief Geologist Israel Hasheela asserts his career as a true calling.
The 33 year old says determination, perseverance and hard work helped him climb up the scientific ladder much quicker than anticipated.
Hasheela’s road to success started after he completed his Bachelor of Science degree with Geology and Chemistry as majors at the University of Namibia (UNAM) in 2003.
After obtaining his degree, he landed his first job as a mining tool operator and later became a junior geologist at Samicor Mining Ltd.
“This offshore job which I did for two years has given me a firsthand feel of mining on various seabed conditions,” he says.
Hasheela then moved on to work for DeBeers Marine Namibia for another two years as a geological observer.
This new job entailed providing geological support to the mining vessel, geological logging, evaluation of mining production in relation to geology, and compiling production geology reports amongst other responsibilities.
Having gained an excellent understanding of the Namibian offshore geology and the mineral resources he realised he needed to further his studies.
“I decided to further my studies and stand better chances in new working environments since I felt I had stayed long enough at sea,” says Hasheela.
In 2008, Hasheela went to South Africa to do his honours in Geology at the University of Witwatersand.
The following year, he joined the Environment and Engineering division of the Geological Survey of Namibia as a Geologist.
As luck would have it, in 2010 he obtained a scholarship from the German Geological Survey through a project it had with the Namibian Geological Survey, in the Ministry of Mines and Energy. He then went to obtain his Master of Science (MSC) in Engineering Geology at Portsmouth University in England in 2011.
“Having in mind that the project will eventually end, and we [the Government] would have to run it ourselves without assistance from the project, I started gearing myself into doing work of senior positions,” he recalls.
Hasheela took this opportunity as a stepping stone to excel in Geology and science as a whole as he later became a senior and then chief in the division.
“I developed passion in Geology ever since I got to know what geology was all about, I did high levels of work from a low position and never said it’s not part of my job when given a task,” says the promising leader.
Hasheela now heads the Division of Engineering and Environment Geology in the Namibian Geological Survey.
According to him, this responsibility has developed his leadership capacity, which includes managing a team, planning and implementing technical and capital projects.
Hasheela seems to be here for a long haul as he sees himself in this position for much longer and is not prepared to leave until his job is done.
“I am enjoying the new challenges that come with the new position, I would really like to master what I do and make sure I am satisfied with the work and impact I have made,” he says.
In order sustain good leadership qualities, Hasheela says he involves his team at all levels so that they all work towards the same goal.
“If the division has a project to undertake, I make sure that we have discussed it and therefore we all understand what we are aiming to achieve,” he says.
Hasheela finds geology to be a rewarding career as it involves getting in touch with nature and understanding the processes that form the earth and the natural environment we live in.
His division is mandated to monitor the environment in mining vicinities, evaluating sites with geological hazard potential and this according to him plays a major role in the lives of average citizens.
He says Namibia is doing fairly well in terms of protecting the environment from the dangers posed by mining.
“I attended a workshop recently in Johannesburg which dealt with environmental issues that are created by mining activities and I realised that we have done more in terms of risk assessments of such sites in comparison with other African countries,” he stresses.
However, in terms of Black Economic Empowerment, he said that Namibia is moving at a slow pace when it comes to mining.
“People obtain licenses with lack of funds and knowledge on how to operate a mine.”
He suggests that the government assists people in possession of mining licenses with training to have a better understanding of the subject.
In terms of alleviating unemployment in the country, Hasheela said that the Government should continue to focus on key sectors and ensure more skills are developed to enhance the economic growth.
Hasheela also stressed that something needs to be done to eliminate monopolising of Government tenders so that it does not only benefit certain individuals.
On inspiration he says great African scientists who are making a big mark on the science field make his day. He singles out one of his lecturers at Unam who has done work which is being recognised by the global scientific community.
His words of encouragement to the young people is that they should seek advice from those who have experience, and should follow their dreams as there are still plenty of opportunities in Namibia.
“We had difficulties because we were not really exposed, since there were not a lot of geologists in Namibia then, but those that would like to follow this field today can come to us for better advice,” he says.
Hasheela urges those who wish to pursue a career in geology never to give up and always be determined while avoiding any form of distraction. PF