Saluting Solomon’s 48 years of dedicated service

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The story of Solomon Mnguni’s career is truly an inspiration to all of his colleagues. When he was a teenager, his family was struggling to cope with financial issues, and at only 15 he decided to leave home so he could help to support them.

Teens left to their own devices can often end up on the streets, but the young Solomon was determined not to be a statistic, and make something of his life. He bought a train ticket to Durban from his rural hometown, and soon a new world opened up to him. It was as if fate was guiding him: when the train reached Jacobs station, in Durban, he noticed many men and women were departing for work. He decided to follow a group of men (after being tempted to follow the women) to see where they were heading. This led to him arriving at the security gates of Ferro Dispersions (a manufacturer of speciality water-based polymeric dispersion products, and part of the Ferro and Bud Chemicals and Minerals Group), after being refused employment at a neighbouring company. It was here at Ferro on 7 August 1972, that he finally found his ‘home away from home’ when he was offered a job as a Labourer.

So began an almost 50-year career at the company. Through hard work and sheer determination, Solomon (who only had a Grade-5 education) worked his way up to Mixer Operator, then Process Controller. His impressive work ethic and eagerness to improve his skillset ensured that he was eventually promoted to Final Processing Operator, a post he proudly held until his retirement this year.

It wasn’t an easy journey, though. Solomon’s house was burnt down during faction fighting (along with his ID documents), and one of his biggest initial challenges was communication. In order to succeed at Ferro Dispersions, he realised it was crucial to master his second language (as all the job cards and operating procedures were written in English), so he set about this in true Solomon style, with drive and enthusiasm, to  make sure he could progress at the company.

Having mastered English through studying, Solomon moved up the career ladder at Ferro Dispersions and proved to himself, his family and his fellow workers that it is possible to build a solid career against the odds, if you’re prepared to work hard to achieve your goals.

Now 65, the time has come for Solomon to retire. Looking back, he is pleased he didn’t follow the women that day in 1972, because he later met his wonderful wife and they have since enjoyed many happy years together.

His contribution to the company over such a long period (47 years, 11 months), especially in this day and age, is truly remarkable. Ferro Dispersions wishes him a relaxing and enjoyable retirement.

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