Nozipho Gumbi

Nanoscience and nanotechnology researcher

Nozipho Gumbi hails from Empangeni, a small township in KZN. She’s an upcoming researcher in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology based at Unisa Science Campus. She is both a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student and a Grow Your Own Timber candidate and, most recently, the winner of FameLab South Africa.

“I want to make good use of this [win] to encourage and motivate others, especially the young female science students to never doubt or think less of themselves, because they are equally capable in coming up with even better solutions for tackling issues that the world at large is faced with; only if they work hard, and remain persistent in doing what they do.”

If anyone has bright prospects, it’s Gumbi. She managed to graduate cum laude (with distinction) and in record time for her master’s degree.

“I am very passionate about the research work that I do and its promise towards for the betterment of the lives of people in South Africa and beyond,” says Gumbi.

She believes it is crucial that women take part in fields of Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) because, from what she has observed both locally and internationally, woman are equally capable of taking on the challenges that occur frequently in these fields, and of providing amicable solutions to existing problems.

“There needs to be a shift in belief that women are [only] good enough for domesticated types of jobs and we [should] start looking at the bigger picture, where everyone is allowed to be part of any field that they desire, on merit. A number of women in Stem have already disproved this misconception by making significant and reputable contributions in Stem. Therefore, more women are needed in Stem to even out the numbers while continuing to make remarkable contributions in addressing issues Stem disciplines.”

Personally, Gumbi would love to raise awareness about the status of science in South Africa.

“It is definitely heading for greater heights and slowly but steadily matching up with the research scene globally. It is indeed exciting to be involved in the field of science in South Africa at a time where we are thinking globally about our research ideas and solutions, but we must start by acting and applying our findings locally.

“What really stands out for me is the now focus in doing the not so far-fetched research but research that aims to solve real life problems that our country faces on a day-to-day basis, not just for the sake of publishing the research findings in high impact factor journals, but to really provide practical and applicable solutions that can help towards the betterment of the lives of all in South Africa.” — Tiana Cline