Dr Shirley Kholofelo Selahle is a lecturer in the Chemistry department of the Faculty of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture. She is currently responsible for lecturing analytical chemistry modules at the undergraduate level and supervising research students at the postgraduate level.

In the 2024 edition of the Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans, Dr. Selahle was recognised and honoured as one of the recipients in the education category. This recognition serves to acknowledge the outstanding contribution that she has already made in the education sector in South Africa. This year’s awards edition took place in the evening of Thursday, 27 June 2024
at The Forum, The Campus Wanderers Sandton.

The awards are made in various fields such as agriculture, arts and entertainment, business, civil society, climate change and environment, education, energy, entrepreneurship, film and media, fi-nancial services, governance, health and wellness, legal services, mining and manufacturing, sport, technology, and innovation as well as tourism and hospitality. The year 2024 saw the Mail and Guardian receiving 4000 nominations, each possessing the highest level of quality with respect to their field of expertise. Mail and Guadian editor-in-chief Luke Feltham said, “Whittling the names down to 200 is not easy, but it is fulfilling work, and our inspiration is drawn far beyond just those who made the final cut”.

Dr Selahle’s unwavering dedication to her research is evident in her focus on the treatment of water. Her work includes the design of nanostructured material for microextraction by packed sorbent combined with chromatographic techniques for analysis of emerging pollutants in wa-ter, among many other projects. She is currently involved in a water project in the Eastern Cape, where she is assessing and monitoring the type of pollutants found in rivers, dams, boreholes, and springs. Additionally, she is working on a water project at the University of Venda, detecting and monitoring pollutants in Thohoyandou water bodies and developing effective analytical methods for their extraction. She is currently supervising two honours students and three masters students in research projects related to water treatment.

Her work is not only limited to teaching and research because she is also involved in departmental administration through her service in various departmental committees such as the Departmental Teaching and Learning Committee (DTLC), Departmental Higher Degrees Committee (DHDC), and Departmental Instrumentation Committee (DIC). Through DTLC, she is able to ensure that first-year students do well in their chemistry modules while she is exposed to research matters through DHDC and DIC.
Dr Selahle is also actively involved in community engagement work where some of her outstanding contributions have been observed during projects such as Eskom expos where she acts as a facil-itator for high school science students.

One of the achievements of which Shirley is most proud is getting her doctorate in chemistry at the University of Johannesburg, despite having had difficulties with paying the fees. “During my PhD journey, I learned that dedication and determination really pay. What is needed is to focus on the targeted goal without allowing any external factors to disrupt you,” she says.
She has also acknowledged and thanked her mentor, Prof Philiswa Nomngongo from the Universi-ty of Johannesburg, who has been instrumental in her academic career.
In congratulating Dr Selahle, the University Vice Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambele-ni said “I am beyond proud to congratulate you on being recognised as one of the Mail and Guard-ian’s 200 Young South Africans in 2024. Your dedication and passion have not gone unnoticed, and this prestigious honour is a testament to your hard work and commitment. Your innovative think-ing exemplifies the values we cherish at our University. Thank you for representing us so admira-bly. Your achievements inspire us all to aim higher and reach for excellence. Keep shining bright!”

Issued by:
Department Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: 082 868 2218 / 082 868 1811

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