Top honours for women scientists

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will on 23 August pay homage to women in the industry in honour of late struggle stalwart Mama Albertina Sisulu. 

The department is hosting the South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA) at the Ranch Hotel, Polokwane, from 6pm. 

Joining the Minister at the event will be Department Director-General Phil Mjwara, former First Lady, Dr Bongi Ngema-Zuma, Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Buti Manamela, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other invited guests. 

The 2018 edition of SAWiSA is being held under the theme ‘100 years of Mama Albertina Sisulu: Women united in moving South Africa forward’. 

“The theme epitomises Mama Sisulu's great courage as a unifying leader during the apartheid era. In 1956, Mama Sisulu was instrumental in leading about 20 000 women from across South Africa to march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria against the carrying of passes,” the department said in a statement.   

Now in its 15th year, the annual ceremony recognises the achievements of women scientists and provides motivation for the increased participation of women in research. Women scientists and researchers are profiled during the ceremony, while the next generation of young women kick-starting their careers are encouraged and rewarded. 

The department alternates the Distinguished Woman Scientists and Distinguished Young Woman Scientists award categories between Life Sciences in one year, and Physical and Engineering Sciences in the next year. The Social Sciences remains a standing category. 

This year, the DST has introduced an Astronomy category, and kick-starting this category will be the presentation of a Minister's Special Award -- the Commemorative MeerKAT Award. 

“This special award celebrates the launch of the completed 64-dish MeerKAT telescope array in the Northern Cape on 13 July, and the significant achievements of women in the field of astronomy,” said the department. 

The department has also renamed its category for Master's and Doctoral students to the DST-Albertina Sisulu Fellowship, in honour of the struggle veteran. 

Seipati Makunyane, chief specialist and head of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department, will be the guest speaker at the event. -