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Finalist: Senamile Masango

Nuclear Physicist


Ms. Senamile Masango, a Nuclear Physicist, Board Member at NECSA, Chairperson of the Research and Development Subcommittee at NECSA. She is the youngest Board Member to be appointed at a state-owned enterprise (SOE).

Nuclear Physicist

She hails from KwaNongoma a deep rural area in KwaZulu-Natal, she has become one of South Africa’s very few black female nuclear physicists. She is a PhD candidate in Nuclear Physics, she Matriculated at Mlokothwa High School. Her formal qualifications include BSc (Physics and Electronics), and BSc Honours (Nuclear Physics) from the University of Zululand; a Diploma in Project Management from Varsity College; and MSc in Nuclear Physics (Cum Laude) from the University of Western Cape.


Driven by her passion in nuclear energy research, she has conducted several experiments locally and abroad; she is the first African woman to be part of an African led experiment at CERN. She is also South Africa's Research Leader at BRICS youth energy outlook. Senamile is a Board member at South African Nuclear Energy Corporation SoC, Ltd (NECSA), where she is also the Chairperson of the Research and Development Subcommittee.


A firm believer in sharing knowledge and experiences, and in women empowerment; She is a Founder and Chairperson of Women in Science and Engineering in Africa (Wise Africa), a foundation that allows women to engage one another about social issues that affect them.


Ms. Masango is a Princess by birth, from the Zulu Royal household, who could have easily been satisfied with just her Royal status, but her ambition, hard work and remarkable contribution to the body of knowledge in nuclear physics has seen her being named a Global Goodwill Ambassador, Award winner and nominee

She is privileged to have been called:


• one of South Africa's successful Black woman scientist under 35 years of age;


• 2019 Mail and Guardian's list 200 of young South African in Science and Technology;


• Ranked 29 in 2019's 100 most influential young South Africans;


• A Golden Key Member and she also received a New member recognition award from Golden key society, a monetary acknowledgement for new members who excel academically, hold leadership positions, committed to community involvement and participate in extra - curricular activities alongside their scholarly commitments


• News24's 100 Young Mandelas of the future 2010,


As an International speaker, she has had the honour of addressing the South African President, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa more than three times, ISilo Samabandla, His Majesty King Goodwill Zulu, and the former President Jacob Zuma. She has shared a platform with internationally renowned figures such Naomi Campbell; Dr Nkosazane Dhlamini Zuma: former AU Chairperson, currently Minister of COGTA; Former President of Ghana, John Maharnan and more. She has been invited in parliament (South Africa) to be part of the International woman conference 2017, she made a speech addressing issues that are faced by women in science especially women from the disadvantaged background, where her passion is at she wants to take science to the people. She was invited to be part of the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum 2018 in Russia. The Eurasian Women’s Forum is the world’s biggest influential platform for discussing the role of women in-contemporary society. She was invited to FEMROOT hosted by United Nations 75 th General Assembly, the aim of the event was to highlight the importance of having females in STEM from an African perspective. Her video and presentation were featured in the event, showcasing amazing women in STEM from Africa


Senamile has been invited to talk shows on numerous Radio Stations and television such as SABC1 news, ANN7, Daily Thetha, uKhozi Fm, Gagasi FM, SAFM, Khaya-FM, First Lady Documentary, Afternoon Expresso, Vuma fm, Cape Talk radio, Nongoma FM, ENCA etc. and she has been also featured on numerous magazines such as Move Magazine, Destiny Magazine, women in energy magazine from the Department of Energy (August 2018), women in science magazine from the Department of Science and technology (August 2019), Reinvented Magazine from the USA, BRICS youth energy outlook Magazine and more.


Her past portfolios include among others: Executive Member of Project Management South Africa (KZN Region), Executive Member in Faculty of Science and Agriculture in UNIZULU, Deputy secretary of Peace Aid International, Chairperson of Young African Women in Leadership, NEC Member at Progressive Professional Forum (PPF), Chairperson of United African Youth


She is all about Women empowerment, she would like to see more South Africans including herself graduating in PhD, she is passionate about education, she wants to contribute in making RSA system a better one, contributing in RSA's technology and economic growth, changing lives of the youth especially from the disadvantaged background and Bringing science to people and encouraging more black researchers in scare skills throughout Africa, Improving high school pass rate in Maths and Science, Being a good role model and a mentor; Making education fashionable in her lifetime

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