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Inspiration

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The 21-year-old South Africa’s youngest female Medical Doctor obtained her degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery on the 17th of December, 2020 from Witwatersrand University.

Thibela is a native of Violet Bank, a village in small town of Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.

She attended Farel Primary School where she was smart enough and skipped grade 7 straight to Lehlasedi High School where she also did not do Grade 9.

“I’ve always wanted to do medicine since my days in pre-school. This dream almost got shattered when my Grade 11 results came back and they were nowhere satisfactory and this pushed me to do my best in matric in order to get accepted to study medicine. I attended all the extra classes and studied throughout the night with my friends. This paid of though as I ended up with 7 out of 8 distinctions in matric,” said Dr Thibela.

At the tender age of 16, she got admitted to Wits University and continued to work hard in a cutthroat field of study and her efforts earned her a Golden Key International membership.

Dr Thakgalo Thibela is currently doing her internship at Helen Joseph Hospital and sharing her experience so far, she said:

“I made the choice to come to the Helen Joseph and while it has been challenging, I have enjoyed my time. There’s a lot of support and you never feel alone. I’m looking forward to the two years that I’ll be spending here.

Dr. Thakgalo Thibela

“Even on the most hectic of days when I contemplated my life choices I never thought of switching careers, I wouldn’t even know what to do even if I had to do something else.”

She has plans on becoming a neurosurgeon in the near future.

Dr. Thakgalo Thibela is a hope and inspiration to young women. Age is nothing but a number and shouldn’t be used to measure how far you can go in life.

“As a black female from a rural area, this a huge thing for me and for my people back home. It’s a reminder to all the young girls that we are capable of being whatever we want.”

The 37-year-old Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves De Sousa, popularly known as Vera Daves,  is the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Finance in Angola assumed office on the 8th of October 2019.

Meet Minister Vera Daves, Angolan First Female Finance Minister.

Vera who first served as Secretary of State for Finance  is now now tasked with reviving an oil-based economy suffering its worst recession since the civil war ended in 2002.

Born in Luanda and has a degree in Economics from the Catholic University of Angola (UCAN), she also has several certificates in finance, management, and leadership and is the co-author of a book on Public Finance.

In 2011, she was the Head of Research for a Local Bank, and became a regular commentator on TV discussing finance and the economy.

Vera was appointed head of Luanda’s Capital Markets Commission in 2016 which she served excellently.

She is an Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors of African Development Bank (AfDB),  since 2019.

She is also serving as Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank respectively, since 2019.

And in 2020, Vera Daves was listed in the second publication of 100 Most Influential African Women by Avance Media.

At age 20, Maud Chifamba obtained a Masters degree in Accountancy & a Honours degree in Accounting (at age 18) from the University of Zimbabwe.

Maud Chifamba, MSc.

Maud lost her father when she was just 5 years old. Her mother was suffering from cancer and she could not take care of her and her younger brother. They fell under the care of their step-brother, in 2003.

In 2005, when she was in grade 3, during the mid-year exams, she was mistakenly given a grade 4 exam paper, on which she scored 100%. The same year, she requested a grade 5 test paper and passed with distinction. She went on to finish grade 7 at the age of 10.

In 2009, she did not have money for high school, she studied on her own (home schooled) and completed her Ordinary Level in just two years.

She was later identified by the Ministry of Education and awarded financial assistance for her A levels and she scored 12 points in 2011. She lost her mother the same year.

In 2012, at age 14, she was accepted to the University of Zimbabwe to study for an Accounting degree, after receiving a scholarship from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

Maud is currently an Audit Senior at Deloitte, at age 23.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

Maud has shown that where there is a will, there is a way.

At a very going age, Captain Abimbola Jayeola drew inspiration for the cockpit life from reading articles on aviation and aerodynamics.

Captain Abimbola Jayeola

She began fantasizing about flying aircrafts and imagined herself soaring at extreme heights while helping people and goods move from one point to another, at a tender age.

In 2008, she completed an ab-initio training at Bristow Academy Titusville, Florida, USA.

In 2009, she did her type conversion on the Sikorsky 76 at Flight Safety International, Florida, USA and graduated as the first Nigerian female Helicopter Pilot from Bristow Academy.

She officially joined Bristow Helicopters Nigeria as a First Officer in the same year.

In 2014, she was promoted to the rank of Captain, becoming the first female Helicopter Captain in Nigeria.

In February 2016, her heroic act saved the lives of 11 passengers aboard a helicopter she piloted, after the chopper developed a fault.

The helicopter was headed to Lagos from Port-Harcourt when she landed into the Atlantic Ocean to prevent a fatal crash.

Captain Abimbola surely deserves all the accolades for her heroic act. She is also proof that strength and courage are powerful qualities a woman should possess.

Audrey is currently a First Officer with Passion Air, a Ghanaian airline company, flying the Dash8 Q-400 aircraft.

Audrey Maame Esi Sawtson

She had her primary education at the University of Ghana Basic School before proceeding to Ghana Christian International High School for her secondary education.

She attended the Mach1 Aviation Academy in South Africa for her flight training at age 18 because the Ghanaian educational system isn’t built to support those who want to pursue a career in aviation.

In her words, “Towards aviation, the system here in Ghana is not friendly. It limits your option as to who you want to be. The system doesn’t support your dream if you want to be a pilot because it is extremely expensive. It’s easy to train the doctors and other professions but to be a pilot, it is tough.”

She had her first solo flight with Mach1 Aviation Academy at age 19 and at age 21, she obtained her Commercial Pilot Licence.

When asked how she was able to achieve this feat, she said in her own words, “Apart from God and my parents, I owe everything I am and everything I hope to be to school. Without the education I have received during my lifetime, the friends I have met and have networked with, the great teachers that have been there for me since day one, I would not be able to move on to a more positive place in my life. I would not be able to have a chance to even become a pilot, to be given a chance to inspire other children that whatever they dream of, they can actually be. Education has fulfilled me and I am a more positive person because of it.”

Audrey Maame Esi Swatson is proof that there is no limit to what a young girl can achieve when you give them the right form of education.

Nthabeleng Likotsi is South Africa’s first woman to own a Mutual Bank, after being approved by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Nthabeleng Likotsi

Nthabeleng Likotsi holds a Masters in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation from Wits Business School.

She is the founder of the co-operative – Young Women in Business Network (YWBN).

Likotsi started YWBN in 2009 and in 2015 she decided to register the company as a financial institution.

On the 9th of March 2021, YWBN was given a license to become a Mutual Bank and now have 12 months to officially open their doors to the general public.

“I believed I could, I STARTED. I believed ordinary Africans will support my vision, THEY DID. It took us 4+ years but who was counting anyway. Together we got approved for the First Women Owned Bank in the history of South Africa. WE DID IT!” said the jubilant – Likotsi.

From 1 June 2021, YWBN Mutual Bank will have different types of shares to offer to the public depending on affordability.

The mutual bank is mainly digital, it will be available as an app on cell phones and it won’t have branches as it is not a commercial bank, but will have offices across South Africa.

Amina Priscille Longoh, is a social entrepreneur, a journalist with keen interest in humanitarianism, a philanthropist and founder of Fondation Tchad Helping Hands. An NPC that aims at ensuring that all children have equal opportunities, promoting girl child education, empowering and equipping widowed women who experience daily barriers to their development.

Her academic qualifications includes a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Business Administration and Management from Wintech Professional Institute, Ghana and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Business/Corporate Communications from Sup’Management, School of Business.

In July 2020, at age 29, Amina was appointed as Chad’s Minister of Women and Child Protection by the Chadian President, Idriss Deby.

Amina Priscille Longoh

The success of her organization, Tchad Helping Hands,  pushed her to the public limelight as the impact has been visible. This afforded her the chance to be called and heard by the country’s respectable officials.

She has been able to share her vision with Chad, French and Egyptian First Ladies.

She is our Monday Inspiration that you should keep doing what you are doing. Keep being consistent and keep making impact in every way you can.

 

Lillian Barnard  is the  first woman to be appointed Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa since the company reinvested in the country in the 1990s.

In her words, She said, “My experience, combined with my passion and commitment to continuous learning and understanding the technology trends positions me well to be successful in this industry.”

Lilian Barnard

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree in Business/Managerial Economics and BCom Honours in Business Economics which she obtained from the University of the Western Cape.

Lilian is one of South Africa’s leading technology executives, and has held numerous executive positions both locally and abroad, and as such has gained extensive knowledge in sales, operations, business controls, strategy, business transformation and leadership.

She has invested over 20 years of her career working her way up the ladder of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry both in her home country and beyond the shores of her country. And clearly, her hard work and consistency has paid off immensely.

She is passionate about women empowerment, leadership, mentorship, technology and developing the next generation of female leaders.

She is also a Corporate Speaker, Mother and the Author of “I Hope You Feel Inspired”.

When she was asked how she has managed to scale through hurdles she encountered over the course of her more than 20 years in the ICT industry, she said:

“It is quite fortunate that early in my career, I was identified as Top Talent, and as result was often placed in roles which I felt required more experience than I could offer at point. There were three key learnings that I had, which enabled to overcome an hurdle I faced.

Firstly, I realised that my diversity of thinking, my tenacity and my passion for what I do are they three things that often enable my success in any task.

Secondly, I realised that confidence in my abilities – and finding this quickly – was going to be important as I progressed in my career, because I always had ambitious goals.

Finally, and this is still true to this, life is going to be a continuous learning journey of self- discovery that you are going to have to embrace.”

Lilian Barnard advocates for the inclusion of women in technology and encourages young girls and women to be involved in STEM as early as possible.

About her philosophy and how she is able to make the best out of every situation, Lilian said “I live with the philosophy that the only risks that we regret are the ones that we have not taken. As such, I focus on ensuring I deliver to best on all the decisions that I have taken, while learning and moving on from the ones that didn’t work out as planned.”

 

Meet Captain Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo, inspirational and trailblazing – Nigeria’s first female to Pilot the gigantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Qatar Airways and to fly the Boeing 767 Aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean.

Capt. Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo

Born on the 16th of October 1990 in Kaduna state, Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo is the last born child out of 3 children of her parent. She hails from Ogbomoso in Oyo state.

Adeola began her nursery education at Brighton International School Kaduna, and had a part of her primary education at King International School Rigasa, Kaduna before proceeding to First Baptist Church Primary School Kaduna and finally concluding her primary education at Temitope Nursery and Primary school in Ibadan in the year 2000 due to the religious crisis in Kaduna then.

She started her secondary school at Ibadan Orita Mefa Baptist Model School, then finished her secondary education with First Baptist Model High School Angwan Boro, Kaduna state in 2007.

Her tertiary education began with a pre-degree course at LA done Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) which she didn’t conclude because she had to proceed to the Nigerian college of Aviation Technology Zaria, Kaduna to begin her standard pilot course in the year 2009/2010.

She concluded her standard pilot course in 2011 at Sunrise Aviation Inc. Florida, USA.

She began a part-time course in Transport Management (Bsc) with LAUTECH in the year 2011.

She joined Medview Airlines in 2013 till October 2018, first as a First officer on Boeing 737 classic, and was later upgraded to Boeing 767-300ER. She joined Qatar Airways in October 2018 on the Dreamliner Boeing 787.

Adeola is the first Nigerian female pilot at Qatar Airways and the first Nigerian female pilot to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner across the Atlantic.

Her hobbies are reading (mostly aviation), watching movies and she readily lets the world know “I love God”.

Captain Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo is proof that nothing is impossible, if you put in the work. She says “I believe that we can achieve anything we want with prayers provided we put our mind and heart to it and stay focused.

Women have consistently proven that they can be and do and achieve what they want to achieve regardless of gender-based limitations.

Dr Assumpta Nnaggenda Musana, Uganda’s first woman to obtain a PhD in Urban Planning is one of such women that has risen over that limitation and is now a beacon of hope to young women all over Africa and the world.

Dr. Assumpta Nagenda-Musana PhD.

Dr Musana holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Urban Planning and the Environment from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, a Master of Science (MSc) in Architecture and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Architecture from Kharkov State University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Ukraine.

She is a Architect, Urban Planner and Academic, currently serving as a Lecturer at Makerere University, Department of Architecture and Physical Planning.

She is also a Principal Architect at Technology Consults (TECO) which allows academic staff to work alongside while allowing students to assist in their projects, a practice initiated by former lecturers at Makerere University.

Dr Musana’s design

In addition to her work with TECO, her research is focused on low-income housing and settlements in Kampala, Uganda.

Knowing the challenges that she was confronted with throughout her career, she mentors her students to be resilient and assertive against the gender landscape in the industry.

Let Dr. Musana serve as an inspiration to you this month that no dream is too big to achieve.