Nomhle Ngwenya, a PhD candidate at the University of Witwatersrand, already knows how she wants to change the world. Since the start of Covid-19, she’s become interested in the negative economic effect of the pandemic on African countries.
Since the start of Covid-19, she’s become interested in how the pandemic has been affecting countries in Africa given their weak healthcare systems and constrained budgets, as well as the vulnerabilities of people caused by socioeconomic problems such as inequality and unemployment — funding that finances projects that benefit the environment — as a tool to stimulate the economy, create jobs and counter environmental damage that affects everyone. This has already taken off in Europe where green bonds are stimulating the economies through investments made in renewable energy and other climate-related projects.
Ngwenya’s work has been published in two journals this year. “There’s so much more to do, be and discover. Inventions and breakthroughs are at the tip of our fingers. Everyone is one idea away from making a difference,” she says. Ambition and curiosity keep her motivated, and aligning her passions with her values makes her “unstoppable”.
About the legacy she’d like to leave, Nomhle says: “I want to have a generational impact where through my hard work and determination I leave a legacy of difference. This could be having created a platform where more black females are inspired to be in STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] research and careers but also being part of innovative solutions to leveraging Africa to be the superpower it so rightly deserves to be.”