Meet the 2018 #InspiringFiftySA winners

After months of collecting the stories of South African women at the forefront of some of the biggest impacts in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) sector, the Netherlands Consulate General has announced this year’s #InspiringFiftySA winners.

This year marks the second edition of the global initiative which welcomed 276 nominees at the closing of the nomination period on 9 July.

In a statement today (1 August) Netherlands Consul General Bonnie Horbach said the judges had a hard time selecting the final 50 based on the high calibre of the nominees.

“These groundbreaking women will not only be recognised in South Africa, but will form part of a global network of women. Imagine the possibilities when connecting women through this platform to: be recognised in their respective fields, share their stories and make a difference by inspiring tomorrow’s female leaders,” said Horbach.

276 women were nominated for this year’s #InspiringFiftySA initiative

She also said the winners will go on to inspire, encourage and showcase opportunities to young girls and boys in the country. “It is an exciting time for women in Stem in South Africa,” she added.

The judges included Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum founder and CEO Irene Ochem, businesswoman and Unicef SA advocate for women and children Carol Bouwer, SAP Africa head of innovation Adriana Marais, and Aurecon Africa director for innovation and transformation as well as World Design Organisation community liason for Africa Abbas Jamie.

In order to meet the #InspiringFiftySA criteria, nominees have to be a founder of a technology company or hold a position in a C-Level position in a technology company. Influencers, academics, and politicians involved in the technology or innovation space were also up for consideration.

The following are this year’s #InspiringFiftySA women:

  • Alysia Silberg: Global FiresideChat founder and general partner at Street Global Venture Capital
  • Anita Nel: Senior director of innovation of Stellenbosch University and Innovus CEO
  • Annu Augustine: NedRock founder and product management consultant
  • Anri van der Spuy: Africa Digital Policy Project manager
  • Anujah Bosman: Chillisoft Solution Services CEO
  • Benedicta Mahlangu-Durcan: Afrobodies co-founder and CEO, as well as Ease of Doing Business executive
  • Denisha Jairam-Owthar: Projects, Governance and Assets ICT manager
  • Fanelwa Ngece Ajayi: AmaQawe Ngemfundo founder
  • Imogen Wright: Hyrax Biosciences chief scientific officer
  • Rethabile Mashale Sonibare Director and Founder at Molo Mhlaba School for Girls and the Thope Foundation
  • Genevieve Mannel: Head of business intelligence and enterprise knowledge management at The Foschini Group
  • Heloise Greeff: Co-inventor and machine learning engineer at Oxford Smart Handpump
  • Kholeka Tsotsotso: CIO at Development Bank of SA
  • Kiara Nirghin: Stanford University student
  • Laura Ilunga: Helicopter and airplane pilot at Starlite Aviation Operations and Crew Resources International
  • Leah Molatseli: Lenoma Legal founder and managing director
  • Lebo Mokgabudi: EagleQuest Africa managing director
  • Lehlogonolo Moseri: Mosa Environmental Consulting and Educate-A-Girl Foundation founding director
  • Lerato Motsamai: CEO and founder of Petrolink and Girlignite Africa Academy
  • Lesley Donna Williams: Tshimologong Precinct CEO
  • Lianne du Toit: Business director at YPO, CareDirect, and Future Females
  • Lorraine Steyn: Khanyisa Real Systems director
  • Lungile Maile: Nubian Smarts founder and managing director
  • Mamokgethi Phakeng: University of Cape Town vice chancellor
  • Marilyn Radebe: Soma Solutions CEO
  • Maureen Ann Grosvenor: Director and head of custom applications at Appsolve
  • Mmabatho Mokiti: Mathemaniacs founder and CEO
  • Nadia Karrim: Ear Nose and Throat and head and neck surgical registrar; SA National Point of Contact at Department of Health; Space Generation Advisory Council
  • Nandi Zama: SA Air Force commander pilot
  • Noletu Moti: Nuclear Power Plant at National Nuclear Regulator chief inspector
  • Nomsa Nteleko: OS Holdings managing director
  • Palesa Sibeko: Commercialisation young professional and MSc Astrophysics student at SA Radio Astronomy Observatory, and the University of the Western Cape
  • Pam Mkhize: Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Satellite at Enel
  • Phuti Ragophala: Microsoft Innovative educator trainer at Phuti Training and motivational speaker
  • Keolebogile Shirley Motaung: Assistant Dean, researcher and entrepreneur at Tshwane University of Technology, Global Health Biotech
  • Glenda Gray: President and CEO at SA Medical Research Council
  • Refilwe Ledwaba: Founder and executive director at Women and Aviation, Girls fly programme in Africa
  • Ridhwana Khan: Co-founder of Zero One Bespoke Software Development
  • Kasi Maths: Women in Tech JHB, Ladies that UX JHB
  • Rivonia Pillay: Water engineer at Department of Water and Sanitation
  • Samantha N Ngcolomba: Lady Liberty SA founder and manager
  • Sandiso Sibisi: Open Innovation Africa lead at Accenture, Co-founder Khwela edtech, Born to Succeed founder
  • Shana Derman: IntelliCred CEO and co-founder
  • Sonya Kuhnel: Blockchain Academy managing director
  • Sorene Assefa: Cyber Czar founder and managing director
  • Veronica Motloutsi: SmartDigital Solution chief executive and founder
  • Yolisa Skwintshi: Absa Bank head of technology
  • Zandile Keebine: GirlCode chairperson
  • Zarina Ebrahim: Nebula Designs managing director and founder
  • Zimkhita Buwa: Britehouse chief operating officer
  • Zinhle Mpungose: Digi Change Guru managing director


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