Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.




University of Johannesburg

Takalani Nemarumane-Tshabalala, 35, is a senior lecturer and programme manager at the University of Johannesburg. She has a bachelor’s degree in management services, a master’s degree in operations management and PhD in engineering management. Her research focus has been social and environmental impact and cleaner production. Part of her work at the university is to supervise research for postgraduate, master’s and doctoral students. She is passionate about helping young students to become credible and solid researchers. She has published many research papers and written book chapters throughout her 10-year career as an academic. Takalani  is the founder of the Operations Management for Small Businesses Short Learning Programme, which helps township and rural businesses owners. More than 120 students have graduated from the programme. She has also developed a programme aimed at aligning technology and innovation in the adult and further education sector. She trained the owners of 120 informal small businesses in Johannesburg on skills in business sustainability. Takalani  is passionate about upskilling the underprivileged and providing an alternative for skills development for the poor. “I have learned that failure is part of a success story and that if I apply myself I am bound to succeed. I have an eagerness to create change in my environment, and to stand out through hard work, which drives me to succeed in anything that I put my effort in,” she says.

  • PhD in engineering management
  • Master’s in operations management
  • Bachelor’s degree in management services

  • Appointed as a deputy chairperson of the Engineering Ethics and Plagiarism Committee
  • Recognised as a lecturer of the year for the Extended Programme in Management Services
  • A member of the University of Johannesburg senate Appointed by the department of higher education in the ministerial task team for community education and training

Professor Mary Metcalfe visited my primary school in the year 2000 and, as a head girl in grade 7, I had to give a speech of appreciation to her for visiting our school. She emphasised the importance of education to combat poverty; I was 12 years old and that speech she gave motivated me to want to strive for academic success.

That I should not care too much about what people think, and that I am perfectly complete and adequate.

An empowered youth, with an economy led by economists, and the upliftment of the poor.

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