Meet our 2018 #InspiringFiftySA winners!

CAPE TOWN (1 August 2018). After months of collecting the stories of South African women at the forefront of some of the biggest impacts in the STEM sector, the Netherlands Consulate General is proud to announce this year’s #InspiringFiftySA! 

Netherlands Consul General Bonnie Horbach exclaimed, “The judges had a hard time selecting the final fifty based on the high caliber of the nominees. These groundbreaking women will not only be recognized in South Africa, but will form part of a global network of women. Imagine the possibilities when connecting women through this platform to: be recognized in their respective fields, share their stories and make a difference by inspiring tomorrow’s female leaders.” 

This year marks the second edition of the global initiative which welcomed 276 nominees at the closing of the nomination period on 9 July 2018.

“As we honour the winners of Inspiring Fifty for 2018- I think it would be opportune also to honour the woman who upon learning of this campaign, not only brought it to us but also championed it in South Africa! Bonnie Horbach leaves a country filled with gratitude, she leaves a sisterhood of women who are not only affirmed but are able to affirm one another, secure in their excellence and secure that recognizing others does not dim their own light! said Carol Bouwer, Inspiring Fifty 2018 Judge, Businesswoman and UNICEF SA Advocate for Women and Children. 

“I hope in 50 years to come we celebrate this campaign as a relic of the past because women will have attained the kind of equality and respect that makes recognition organic! We will miss you Bonnie but thank you for your light- here’s to our Fifty Inspiring women and the generations of women who draw inspiration from them,” said Bouwer.

“These fifty women will go on to inspire and encourage both young girls and boys in this country and showcase the opportunities that they may not have realized were available to them. It is an exciting time for women in STEM in South Africa,” concluded Horbach. 

Some of this year’s judges included Irene Ochem, Founder and CEO of the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF); Dr Adriana Marais, Theoretical physicist, Head of Innovation at SAP Africa and aspiring extraterrestrial; Abbas Jamie, Director for Innovation and Transformation at Aurecon Africa and also serves as the Community Liaison Africa for the World Design Organisation and Thabile Ngwato, Primetime and current affairs News Anchor at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). 

We would like to congratulate and welcome the following women as this year’s #InspiringFiftySA women:  



Alysia Silberg

Founder at Global FiresideChat and General Partner at Street Global Venture Capital

Anita Nel

Senior Director at Innovation of Stellenbosch University and CEO of Innovus

Annu Augustine

Founder at NedRock and Product Management Consultant

Anri van der Spuy

Manager at Africa Digital Policy Project

Anujah Bosman

CEO at Chillisoft Solution Services (Pty) Ltd

Benedicta Mahlangu-Durcan

Executive at Ease of Doing Business and Co-Founder and CEO of Afrobodies Pty Ltd

Dr Denisha Jairam-Owthar

ICT Manager at Projects, Governance & Assets

Dr Fanelwa Ngece Ajayi

Founder at AmaQawe Ngemfundo

Dr Imogen Wright

Chief Scientific Officer at Hyrax Biosciences

Dr Rethabile Mashale Sonibare

Director and Founder at Molo Mhlaba school for girls & Thope Foundation

Genevieve Mannel

Head of BI and EKM at TFG (The Foschini Group)

Heloise Greeff

Co-Inventor and Machine Learning Engineer at Oxford Smart Handpump

Kholeka Tsotsotso

CIO at Development Bank of South Africa

Kiara Nirghin

Student at Stanford University 

Laura Ilunga

Helicopter and Airplane Pilot at Starlite Aviation Operations and Crew Resources International

Leah Molatseli

Founder and MD at Lenoma Legal

Lebo Mokgabudi

Managing Director at EagleQuest Africa

Lehlogonolo Moseri

Founding Director at Mosa Environmental Consulting and Educate-A-Girl Foundation

Lerato Motsamai

Founder & CEO at Petrolink and Girlignite Africa Academy

Lesley Donna Williams

CEO at Tshimologong Precinct

Lianne du Toit

Business Director at YPO, CareDirect, Future Females

Lorraine steyn

Director at Khanyisa real systems

Lungile Maile

Founder and Managing Director at Nubian Smarts

Mamokgethi Phakeng

Vice Chancellor at University of Cape Town

Marilyn Radebe

CEO at Soma Solutions

Maureen Ann Grosvenor

Director and Head of Custom Applications at Appsolve

Mmabatho Mokiti

Founder and CEO at Mathemaniacs

Nadia Karrim

ENT/Head and Neck Surgical Registrar; South African National Point of Contact at Department of Health; Space Generation Advisory Council

Nandi Zama

Commander Pilot at South African Air Force

Noletu Moti

Chief Inspector: Nuclear Power Plant at National Nuclear Regulator

Nomsa Nteleko

Managing Director at OS Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Palesa Nombula

Commercialisation Young Professional and MSc Astrophysics Student at South African Radio Astronomy Observatory/ 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 Speaking

Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung

Assistant Dean: Research and Entrepreneur at Tshwane University of Technology / Global Health Biotech (PTY) LTD

Professor Glenda Gray

President and CEO at South African 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 at 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

Founder and Manager at Lady Liberty SA

Sandiso Sibisi

Open Innovation Africa Africa Manager at Accenture

Shana Derman

CEO and  Co-founder at IntelliCred

Sonya Kuhnel

Managing Director at Blockchain Academy

Sorene Assefa

Founder and Managing Director at Cyber Czar (Pty) Ltd

Veronica Motloutsi

Chief Executive and Founder at SmartDigital Solution

Yolisa Skwintshi

Head of Technology at Absa Bank

Zandile Keebine

Chairperson at GirlCode

Zarina Ebrahim

Managing Director and Founder at Nebula Designs

Zimkhita Buwa

Chief Operating Officer at Britehouse

Zinhle Mpungose

Managing Director at Digi Change Guru

In order to have met the criteria, the nominee had to be a founder of a technology company; or hold a position in a C-Level position in a technology company; or be an influencer, academic or politician in the technology or innovation space. 


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