Celebrating the Resilience of a Woman: Dr Kgomotso Mtshatsheni
By: Puleng Maphisa – 02 August 2023
Department of Biotechnology and Chemistry Lecturer: Dr Kgomotso Mtshatsheni
Meet Dr Kgomotso Mtshatsheni, a remarkable individual who serves as a lecturer in the Department of Biotechnology and Chemistry at Vaal University of Technology (VUT). Her academic journey began at Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (now North-West University), where she earned her BSc degree, BSc Hons, and MSc in Chemistry. She furthered her education with an Advanced Higher Education Certificate (ADHE) from the University of the Free State and obtained her PhD in Chemistry from VUT.
Dr Mtshatsheni’s passion lies in educating undergraduate students in Chemical Quality Assurance, Industrial Chemical Analysis, and Chemical Processing. Her research focuses on Nanotechnology, Photocatalysis, Nanostructured Materials, Adsorption Technologies, and Synthesis and Advanced Characterization of Diverse Nanomaterials. Beyond her teaching responsibilities, she has contributed to over 2 peer-reviewed Scientific Journal Papers, including Book Chapters, and currently has two papers under review in Accredited Journals. Dr Mtshatsheni is also involved in examining and moderating Master’s Dissertations and serves as a reviewer for various Journals, such as the Food Research Journal and Material Letters.
In recognition of her excellence in teaching, she achieved second place in the Rector’s Award for Teaching Excellence (RATE) in 2017 and 2022. Moreover, she actively participates in community engagement by serving as a secretary on the board at the Seekers Tower Maths and Science school.
As a devoted mother of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at VUT, Dr Kgomotso Mtshatsheni possesses exceptional analytical skills and maintains strong relationships with her peers, students, and superiors. She is driven by a passion for research and aims to be a career academic, intellectual, and scholar. Her dedication to scholarship and research is unparalleled, reflecting her zeal and motivation.
Dr Mtshatsheni shares her expertise and enthusiasm for STEM by promoting VUT’s participation in the National Science Week. The primary objectives of this initiative are to inspire learners to pursue studies in STEM disciplines, advocate for relevant careers in the evolving South African landscape, guide learners in making appropriate subject choices for tertiary education and encourage them to explore their passions within STEM fields.
Recently, she was called to speak on the topic of work-life balance during women’s month, aligning with the 2023 theme. Dr Mtshatsheni firmly believes that everyone is entitled to the rights enshrined in the country’s constitution, particularly socio-economic rights like health, education, and social security, which are vital for human dignity. She highlights the historical disempowerment of women based on gender and sex discrimination, leading to limited access to education and dependence on men for property and finance, resulting in gender violence and mental health challenges.
In response to this issue, Dr Mtshatsheni said “As part of social justice and transformation, South Africa and African vision developed a strategic thrust that undergirds the continuous professional development especially black female academics who remain underrepresented worldwide. Education, she believes, brings about a positive change in mindset, self-confidence, and the right to live free from violence and discrimination, while also enhancing the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
In her closing statements, Dr Kgomotso Mtshatsheni emphasizes the empowerment that education brings to women, enabling them to own property, earn equal wages, and stand independently and resiliently in the face of any circumstance they encounter. Her unwavering dedication to her career, her advocacy for education and equality, and her commitment to nurturing the next generation of STEM enthusiasts make her an inspiring role model for women and aspiring academics alike.