Young Lady goes from Farmer to PhD holder in Chemical Engineering

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Cursory: A driven south African young lady is celebrating her latest achievements as she goes from growing up in a farm to becoming a PhD holder.

Thandi Princess Ngxongo, the young woman, was born and raised on a farm in Mooi River, South Africa. Despite her background, she developed an interest in cars and the industry, because she often played in old cars that were filled in petrol and oil when she was a kid. In her words: “I grew up as a kid playing in worn and ragged cars which were filled up with petrol and oil smell. I quickly developed an instinct for cars and the oil industry. I yearned for success in the male-dominated business.” She enrolled at the Durban University of Technology and earned a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Chemical Engineering. She thereafter joined the petroleum industry working with refineries and other oil companies.

Dissatisfied by the gender-based inequalities and injustices in the petroleum sector, Thandi Princess Ngxongo enrolled for a Master’s in Business Administration and thereafter, she obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2022 with a research focus on women empowerment. Dr Thandi Princess Ngxongo has won several awards and recognition for her contributions to the oil and gas sector. In 2022, she was nominated among Global Award Winners as a Powerful Woman in the oil and gas sector. On her achievements, she said: “I have this overwhelming deep gratitude and a sense of accomplishment. I embarked on this journey for self-fulfillment and to contribute to a body of knowledge.” According to her, she really believes in self and community development and is currently the Head and CEO of uThandekile Foundation – an organization she uses for community development projects aimed at uplifting and empowering women and the youth in South Africa. Her life motto to never stop learning has seen her enrolling in an international business leadership programme. “I believe in empowering myself and contributing to the body of knowledge. If I am to remain relevant as a businesswoman I need to keep learning every day” she added.

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