University of Pretoria and Vanderbilt University, US
Lonwabo Makapela is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is studying hair bias against black women and how that impacts their identity and personal and professional outcomes at work. Makapela, 31, is studying at Vanderbilt University in the US through the Fulbright Visiting Scholars programme and is spending the 2022-2023 academic year in Nashville. Her first international submission, a theory paper she co-authored about hair bias towards black women, was accepted for the Academy of Management 2023 international conference, was included in the proceedings and voted one of the best papers at the event. In addition to this, Lonwabo and her co-authors have collected three empirical data sets to test their theories in work settings. One study is experimental, while the second examines black women on the S&P 500 board of directors and the third surveys black and white women employees. Her supervisor describes her as “blazing a trail toward more equality for black women worldwide”. As a PhD fellow, Lonwabo supervises honours research on diversity, discrimination, stigma and gender in organisations. She graduated top of her class for her BCom and BCom honours degrees at North-West University, in Potchefstroom and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Lonwabo would like to see “an inclusive South African society where we are all treated with dignity and as valued members of our community and where the powers that be ensure that all young people are shown support by providing them with safety and opportunities that genuinely, sustainably benefit them”.
North-West University, Potchefstroom
- MCom, Human Resource Management (74%)
- BCom Honours, Human Resource Management (83.5%)
- BCom, Human Resource Management (87.4%).
- My first international submission, a theory paper I wrote with co-authors about hair bias towards black women, was accepted for the Academy of Management 2023 conference, included in the proceedings, and voted as one of the best papers.
- Attaining the prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research at a US-based university for 10 months.
- I graduated top of my class with my BCom and BCom honours degrees.
- I am a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.
The constant affirmations throughout my childhood from my dad and mom towards my siblings and me — “You are beautiful, you are smart” — making a huge deal out of every achievement and making education a core part of our foundation. I carry those memories with me.
Slow progress is still progress; keep on keeping on and trust the process.
An inclusive South African society where we are all treated with dignity and as valued members of our community and where the powers that be ensure that all young people are shown support by providing them with safety and opportunities that genuinely sustainably benefit them.