South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
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Press Release

7 August 2017

A lifetime of real stories liberated in new book on female academics

Johannesburg | Leading Female Specialist Scientist, Professor Caradee Wright recently joined co-convenors Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe (Phd) and Dorothy Ngila to launch a documented account of inspirational and real stories about female academics who challenged the odds to realise their dreams.  Titled, Because Science is Fun – Stories of Emerging Female Scientists in South Africa the awe inspiring compilation of stories were released by National Minister of Science & Technology, Honourable Naledi Pandor as part of the National Science Week Launch at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Saturday 5 August 2017. 

Wright leads the Climate and Health Research Programme at the South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC) Environment and Health Research Unit and focuses on environmental health in Africa.  Known for her honest and credible opinions on climate change, she initiated the project to share the stories of 25 emerging South African female scientists with the aim to inspire the next generation of young female investigators, medical researchers and scientists to pursue their professional dreams.     

“Knowing that what we face has been overcome by others ignites a will to achieve immeasurable success as women”, says Wright. 

Because Science is Fun was published independently, supported by the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the preceding said organization and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF).  The book profiles pioneering young academics such as Dr Christina Thobakgale whose work focuses on understanding why HIV progresses faster or slower in different people; Thifhelimbilu Daphney Bucher who is an aspiring nuclear physicist who reveals how she had to endure a six kilometer walk in rain or under sunshine to graduate in Grade 12 at her secondary school and; Anel du Plessis an NRF-rated scientist who is involved in environmental law training for the private and public sectors. 

The book reveals how the women overcame financial and personal challenges and unearths the misconceptions in a patriarchal society that certain careers are designed only for men.  The book is described as a powerful account of stories that will inspire many young women to follow their career dreams in science.  “Vivid recollections liberate the emotions of the featured women and their long walk to academic freedom”, Wright concludes.   

Copies of the book can be acquired either online or in hardcopy:

Left to right: Dorothy Ngila, Caradee Wright and Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe
Left to right: Dorothy Ngila, Honourable Naledi Pandor, Caradee Wright and Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe
Issued by:
Aziel Gangerdine
Head: Corporate & Marketing Communications
Email: aziel.gangerdine@mrc.ac.za
Tel: +27 71 866 9887
 
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Last updated:
7 August, 2017
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