“The one thing that drives me to excel every morning is my family. I am the eldest of two sisters and ever since my parents passed on, I had to step up — not just for myself, but for them too. To serve as an inspiration for them to pursue their goals. My success is their success.”
Moagabo Ragoasha’s big heart accompanies some big dreams. She is the first black South African woman to get a PhD in physical oceanography and, through her work as a postdoctoral lecturer, has become passionate about the blue economy — an emerging concept for sustainable economic growth that preserves the health of our oceans, while encouraging public participation in marine and coastal decision-making.
“My research aims to build a good ecosystem-based ocean model that will help to predict fish stocks and how many may be fished without disrupting the ecosystem. A better understanding of the environmental factors that control the pelagic fish resource will assist managers in making sensible fishery policies,” she says.
“Also, having a better understanding of our ocean is necessary to anticipate climate changes and, therefore, to provide a sound knowledge-base from which to develop social and environmental management, mitigation and adaptation strategies.”
Moagabo hopes to become a role model for young women who might doubt that they are deserving of their goals.
“Don’t worry too much about the future. Focus on what needs to be done now, but remember that the choice you make has to be aligned with your future goals. Measure your success with how far you got and what you have already achieved, not your failures — so focus on what you can do and not what you are unable to do.”