Boitumelo Mashangoane is studying towards her PhD in chemical technology at the University of Pretoria. She also has a BSc in genetics and microbiology, a BSc honours and an MSc in microbiology. It’s an impressive list, made even more so by her decision to use her background in molecular biology to create a green technology for metal extraction from platinum mine wastewater in collaboration with Royal Bafokeng Platinum.
“When I was four years old I went missing for an entire day,” says Mashangoane. “So, while looking for a nanny to replace the one who had lost me, my mother decided to take me to school with her. She taught grades two and three, and one of her colleagues, a grade one teacher, took me under her wing to help me pass the time. She was amazed at how much I enjoyed the work, and how well I was doing.”
Mashangoane then matriculated at 15. Unfortunately, thanks to limited uptake, she couldn’t enter into medical school. This is when she did a BSc and discovered a love of science.
The idea behind her PhD research is to use green technology to extract economically viable metals from mine tailing dams. This specific technology has minimal to non-existent environmental risks compared with other methods. “
As my degree is registered under the department of chemical engineering I have also had to learn new skills, one of them being mathematical modelling,” says Mashangoane. “This has allowed me to learn how to conceptualise experiments prior to conducting them, to explain data which I’ve obtained from experiments in a mathematical equation, and to use predictive modelling to predict the future behaviour of processes of interest.”
Mashangoane has already registered her company, Mashnco, which focuses on the use of innovative and green technologies in water treatment and management sectors, as well as offering consultancy services to the water sector. From a four-year old with an enquiring mind to a successful businesswoman today, Mashangoane looks set to leap from one success story to another.
— Tamsin Oxford
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ tumi-mashangoane-74b49728/?ppe=1