College of Human Sciences

Unisan ranked among SA’s Top 5 Women in Science

Prof Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi, Chair of the Unisa Department of Health Studies

Prof Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi, Chair of the Unisa Department of Health Studies, was named a finalist on 15 August 2019 at the 16th annual Standard Bank Top Women Awards in Johannesburg. She was ranked among South Africa’s top five women in science for changing the role of women in both the public and private sectors.

The main objective of the Standard Bank Top Women Awards is to sustainably celebrate and uplift women and organisations that are progressively contributing to gender empowerment.

Mavhandu-Mudzusi’s nomination in the Top Woman in Science category is a testament to her outstanding work in promoting and supporting the LGBTIQ community and devising a management model for people living with HIV.

The criteria for this nomination were exclusively for top female executives demonstrating admirable leadership, business acumen and strategic foresight that drives exceptional performance in health and science for women in the medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, engineering, chemistry and other scientific fields. "We nominated Professor Mavhandu-Mudzusi because of her unique work in supporting inclusivity and encouraging others to push for workplace equality," said Aisha Crombie from Topco Media.

The news team spoke to Prof Azwihangwisi Mavhandu-Mudzusi about her award.

What does it feel like to be a finalist in the Standard Bank Top Women Awards?

It’s one of those moments where one feels that there are people out there who see and value your effort. It also makes me feel that my academic work is making an impact on the lives of other women.

What is the nature of the work you were nominated for?

The work I was nominated for was based on my research status and leadership role as a female black academic. The main interest was on mentorship of women in academia, especially those from rural areas, and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex women.

What did you find challenging in the awards process?

Competing with the best women in science was certainly challenging. But there could be only one winner, though the judges mentioned that it was difficult to come up with one name as a winner. We  all felt like winners.

What was exciting?

To be recognised through the Standard Bank Top Women Awards, being considered as one of the top five women in science and seeing other top women in the country was very exciting.

What made you proud?

The fact that the work I am doing to uplift other women in science is recognised makes me proud, especially considering that I only got fully involved in academia and research in 2013.

* By Lesego Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement


Publish date: 2019/08/26