South African Women in Science Awards finalists announced

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In celebration of Women's Month, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) is pleased to announce the list of finalists for the 2023 South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA).  The SAWiSA is an annual countrywide celebration of women in science and technology, led by the DSI.  The DSI has been hosting SAWiSA since 2003 but the awards took a three-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  This year's awards ceremony will take place at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani hotel in Durban from 8 to 9 September.

SAWiSA profiles women scientists and researchers who serve as role models for younger women and encourages and rewards younger women who are starting their careers as researchers and scientists. The SAWiSA also awards registered master's and PhD students.

This year, a category has been renamed to, DSI-Ndoni Mcunu Fellowships to honour Ms Mcunu's memory as a phenomenal young woman and a brilliant scientist.

The late Ndoni Mcunu was one of South Africa's leading young scientists in climate change, a social entrepreneur, and the founder of Black Women in Science (BWIS).  BWIS has provided developmental training to over 400 postgraduate fellows in business, entrepreneurship and research skills, scientific writing, project leadership, science communication skills and research career preparation.

During her lifetime Mcunu achieved numerous accolades including being named a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, receiving an honorary award at the KZN Young Achievers Awards in the Science Research and Entrepreneurship category, and winning the Gagasi FM Shero award in the Science and Technology category. 

The Department would like to congratulate the following finalists (in no particular order) of the 2023 SAWiSA:

  • Catherine Ward, University of Cape Town
  • Floretta Boonzaier, University of Cape Town
  • Associate Prof. Nomusa Makhubu, University of Cape Town
  • Munira Hoosain, University of Cape Town
  • Lusani Mamushiane, University of Cape Town
  • Nicole Richardson, University of Cape Town
  • Betty Sebati, University of Johannesburg
  • Heidi Abrahamse, University of Johannesburg
  • Janine Adams, Nelson Mandela University
  • Carla Dodd, Nelson Mandela University
  • Shan Simmonds, North-West University
  • Gizelle Roque Van Niekerk, University of Pretoria
  • Usisipho Feleni, University of South Africa
  • Puleng Segalo, University of South Africa
  • Bambesiwe Mbesi May, University of South Africa
  • Nyeleti Precious Mabaso, Stellenbosch University
  • Aletta Nortje, Stellenbosch University
  • Modjadji Rebecca Letsoalo, University of Venda
  • Thendo Gertie Makhado, University of Venda
  • Dr Michelle Lochner, University of the Western Cape
  • Boitumelo Makgabutlane, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Dr Tiisetso Lephoto, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Thashree Marimuthu, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Anastacia Mamabolo, Gordon Institute of Business Science
  • Dr Patience Mthunzi-Kufa, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • Liesl Zühlke, South African Medical Research Council

The media are invited as follows:

SAWiSA Gala dinner

Date:               Friday, 8 September 2023

Time:              18:00 – 22:00

Venue:            Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, Durban

SAWiSA Media breakfast

Date                Saturday, 9 September 2023

Time:              08:00 – 11:00

Venue:            Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, Durban

For more information and to RSVP please contact Thabang Setlhare at 072 659 9690 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Zama Mthethwa at 082 808 3956 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Issued by the Department of Science and Innovation.


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