College of Economic & Management Sciences

Unisan among Africa's top career women

Career development platform 9to5Chick has included Prof Daphney Mathebula, an associate professor in the Department of Decision Sciences within the College of Economic and Management Sciences, in its list of Top 100 Career Women in Africa for 2024. This acknowledgement underscores her exceptional contributions to academia and serves as inspiration for aspiring professionals, particularly women, across the continent.


Prof Daphney Mathebula

9to5Chick strives to empower Africa’s most ambitious women. The Top 100 Career Women in Africa list honours the remarkable accomplishments and significant contributions of mid to senior-level women professionals throughout Africa. The compilation seeks to promote diversity, fairness and inclusivity within corporate settings.

Women from diverse industries and regions across Africa were selected, with 60 from West Africa, 18 from East Africa, 15 from Southern Africa, six from North Africa, and one from Central Africa being included in the list.

9to5Chick states that the mission of this recognition programme is to acknowledge and honour the remarkable accomplishments of women in the corporate realm throughout the continent. By means of its annual list, this programme strives to highlight significant contributions, raise awareness and motivate future generations of women leaders in Africa.

Mathebula, hailing from humble beginnings, encountered hurdles early in her academic journey. Despite facing setbacks relating to mathematics during her schooling, she refused to be deterred. Today, her unwavering determination has led to her nomination as one of the 9to5Chick Top 100 Career Women in Africa for 2024.

Regarding her inclusion in the list, Mathebula says: "For me, this incredible accomplishment is more than just a personal accolade, it is a chance to make a positive impact and serve as a role model for future professionals, especially women who face setbacks along their career paths due to stereotypes such as mathematics is not for women."

Born and raised in Muyexe Village in Limpopo Province, Mathebula obtained a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Venda in 2008, followed by a BSc Honours in Mathematics from the same institution in 2009. Additionally, in 2009, she completed another BSc Honours in Mathematics at Stellenbosch University. Her academic achievements culminated in an MSc in Mathematics from Stellenbosch University in 2012, and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Venda in 2018.

Reflecting on her childhood, Mathebula credits her sister, who served as her mathematics tutor, for influencing her decision to pursue a career in mathematics. She also acknowledges the guidance of her mathematics teacher, whose passion for the subject ignited her own aspirations.

Mathebula, who is the first female South African to obtain PhD in Mathematics at the University of Venda, advises aspiring women professionals to "be honest with yourself and the people around you; this will open doors for you to receive help where necessary and enable you to accomplish your goals. Remember, your background does not dictate your potential in your career aspirations."

She hopes to attain the rank of full professor, and to make significant contributions to the mathematics community through research publications and mentoring a new generation of scholars.

"Giving up is not a concept that exists in my life’s equation," she adds.


* By Tebogo Mahlaela, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Economic and Management Sciences

Publish date: 2024/04/12

Unisa Shop