‘Celebrating women’s month with the woman in Physics 

Dr Sophie Tshimangadzo Mulaudzi

As a rural girl child, born in a family of uneducated people, it never crossed her mind that one day she would be a science lecturer. Her upbringing and background never determined her future. Striving to reach her goals was her motto. 

Dr Sophie Tshimangadzo Mulaudzi was born at Manavhela village, Tshimbupfe, Limpopo Province. She started her primary education at Nzwelule and proceeded to Tshiawelo senior primary school, where she had completed her standard five (grade 7) by then. She then did her secondary education at Ratshikwekwete secondary school and matriculated at Gwamasenga secondary school in 1985. Although, during those years, teachers could less encourage learners to take science subjects, her brother became her role model. 

Her passion was to archive a degree in science disciplines but due to lack of funds, she ended up being a secondary science teacher. Teaching both Mathematics and Physical science until she joined the University of Venda, Department of Physics, in 2010. She was the only female lecturer for 11 years. She offers physics modules to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Apart from research, teaching and learning, she is doing community engagement through Vuwani Science Resource Centre (VSRC), Citizen-driven Rural Community Development, and leading the community engagement for the Masia Innovation Community Centre project in collaboration with Stellenbosch University. The project is about the use of renewable energy in agriculture. Transferring skills to the community is a project’s primary goal. As a leader of the Citizen-driven Rural Community Development at Masia Traditional Council, the career expo was successfully conducted on 12 August 2022. Dr Mulaudzi is enthusiastic about community development. Through VSRC, she has engaged in women and girls’ science motivational talks, science shows, national science week programmes, career guidance and is involved in Science Expo. Since her research interest is in renewable energy, she also facilitates public awareness through the renewable energy facilities that are available at VSRC. NRF-SAASTA awarded her a National Science Week 2022 (NSW2022) grant and successfully ran the 2022 National Science week webinar activities that involved schools such as Mamvuka, PP Hlungwani High School, John Mbhedlhe, Lumuka, etc. 

She is an active member of the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP) and a facilitator in the teachers’ workshops that SAIP has initiated throughout the country. She is currently working as an ambassador of the women in physics of South Africa (WiPiSA) through the South Africa Institute of Physics. Dr Mulaudzi is currently leading the LEAPRE project about the ‘Development and Demonstration of a Sustainable Open Access AU-EU Ecosystem for Energy System Modelling’. 

Dr Sophie Mulaudzi holds a Secondary Teacher’s diploma, Further Diploma in Mathematics from Rand Afrikaanse Universiteit (RAU), BSc. Ed, BSc. Hons, MSc, and she obtained her Ph.D. in Physics in 2019. It was through storms and winds for her to successfully finish her PhD. Especially, when one is a mother, who is taking care of the family and the children. Success is perseverance. ‘As we serve the community, let us strive not to be a success, but rather be of value’, said Dr Mulaudzi. 

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 30 August 2022 

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