Tebogo Mashifana broke educational boundaries by obtaining a PHD degree at the age of 30 in 2017. She secured her MBA degree a year after that and is currently in her final year studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education.
She recently featured in the Mail and Guardian top 200 young South Africans 2019 and is a senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Department of Chemical Engineering.
She is passionate about providing solutions to challenges related to environmental pollution. Her research lies in the beneficiation of solid wastes and the development of technologies to render waste for other applications such as in building and construction.
She is also passionate about community development projects and spends some of her time providing career guidance to the learners in High School.
She is also a motivational speaker and she mentors young people mostly women and young girls to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Growing up, all she knew was that she wanted to be in a white lab coat, wearing gloves and working with chemicals but was pleased to discover that chemical engineering is broad and it would not limit her to a life in a laboratory.
In the next five years, her vision is to see technological developments and product developments being commercialised and creating jobs for young people in the African continent.
Mashifana is of the view that young people in Africa are doing great things to solve some of the societal challenges. They are determined to be the change they want to see and she believes there is enough room to ensure that even young people in the most marginalised communities are carried along and not forgotten.
Young people of the continent are aiming extremely high and are determined to achieve greatness.
Looking ahead, she would like to see youth from the rural, villages and townships being included in the world that is rapidly advancing in technology as part of the fourth industrial revolution.
Africa was passive in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd industrial revolution, she says but she thinks we now have the opportunity to be active participants in the 4th industrial revolution but this will require Africans to reskill themselves, unlearn and learn some of the things they think they know and adapt quickly to the changes.
She says, Africans must use technology to solve challenges in Africa and embark on solutions that improve African societies.