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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Young African Lady who worked as a farmer enrols in university, graduates as a Chemical Engineer, bags PhD

A brilliant young Lady from South Africa named Thandi Princess Ngxongo has grown from being a farmer to becoming an award-winning Chemical Engineer.

Thandi Princess Ngxongo was born and raised on a farm along Mooi River, South Africa. She worked as an assistant to her parent on the farm and gained an interest in chemical Engineering while around cars and other machinery. Despite her local background, Thandi Princess Ngxongo gained an interest in cars and the industry and therefore decided to follow the path of her passion.

“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,” said Dr Thandi Princess Ngxongo.

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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.

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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.

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On her academic achievement, Ngxongo said: “I have this overwhelming deep gratitude and a sense of accomplishment. I embarked on this journey for self-fulfilment and to contribute to a body of knowledge.”

She said she really believes in self and community development and is currently the Head and CEO of uThandekile Foundation – an organisation she uses for community development projects aimed at uplifting and empowering women and the youth in South Africa.

Her life moto to never stop learning has seen her enrolling for 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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