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Monday, June 17, 2024

Young woman sets record at University of Johannesburg, becomes first-ever doctor of Applied Mathematics

A young woman named Siphokazi Gatyeni-Dube has made history as the first ever person to earn a Doctorate degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Johannesburg.

Siphokazi Gatyeni-Dube is a South African lady who bagged her doctorate degree in Applied Mathematics at the University of Johannesburg. She is the first and only person to ever earn the degree from the institution.

Siphokazi obtained her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa and also bagged her Masters degree in Mathematics from the same university.

She said she achieved all this success amidst different challenges. She mentioned that one of the challenges was  loosing her father at a very young age of 8 and was raised singlehandedly by her mother who was employed as a domestic worker.

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Being the first born and only daughter out of three children, she sacrificed a lot. She mentioned that having to survive on little or almost nothing daily was a huge predicament for them.

She struggled financially and managed to finish high school. Upon finishing high school, she furthered to study National Diploma (ND) in Mathematical Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. 

Then she proceeded to African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) at Stellenbosch University for her bachelor’s degree where she had to rely on National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for her undergraduate studies. After school Siphokazi worked for 5years in the IT industry and was the breadwinner of her family.


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Siphokazi also said she had to resign from her full-time job in order to be a full-time student studying her PhD in Applied Mathematics relying on bursaries . During her PHD program, she faced another ordeal, the whole country was put under lockdown, courtesy of the  COVID-19 Virus Pandemic and there were no activities in schools.

She said it was not easy but with the help of her then Fiancé, who is  now her husband, she was able to pull through. Siphokazi added that there were times when she wanted to give up.

But the thought and dread of being unable to have basic things was one of the things that fueled her the most to keep on and also being the firstborn who wanted to make her mother proud motivated her.

Siphokazi expressed her gratitude to her husband and professors who encouraged her to pull through no matter the odds. She further said that there’s no limit to what one can achieve so far they believe and work towards it.

“All thanks to my husband, Ephraim Dube, and my supervisors, Prof Farai Nyabadza and Prof Faraimunashe Chirove, for encouraging me not to give up. I can now firmly say nothing is impossible; if you believe it, you can make it! See it, believe it, and seize it,” she said.

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