As we are celebrating Women’s month, the University of Venda celebrates and recognises women in science. Thendo Gertie Makhado has been nominated as one of the finalists for the esteemed 2023 South African Women in Science Awards (SAWiSA) under the DSI Fellowships category. This recognition serves as a testament to her dedication to advancing knowledge in the field of nursing and her commitment to empowering women and girls in science.
The SAWiSA is an annual event that celebrates and rewards the excellence of women scientists and researchers in South Africa. It aims to profile these exceptional women as role models for the next generation, inspiring them to pursue careers in science. The theme for the 2023 SAWiSA, “Harnessing technological change and innovation to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls,” aligns with Thendo’s passion for utilizing research and education to promote inclusivity and reduce stigma.
Thendo Gertie Makhado is a junior lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Advanced Nursing Science at the University of Venda, who joined the University of Venda in August 2022 on a 2-year fixed-term contract. She is also an enthusiastic PhD candidate in Nursing at the University of Venda. Her research focus centers on epilepsy and its impact on education and social integration. She
is dedicated to developing Epilepsy Life Skills Education Guidelines for Primary Schools in Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces, South Africa, with the goal of fostering an inclusive learning environment for all children.
Throughout her academic journey, Thendo has consistently demonstrated her commitment to advancing nursing knowledge. She has published five peer-reviewed articles directly related to her PhD research, highlighting her dedication and rigorous approach to research. In total, she has contributed to 12 publications, addressing various healthcare challenges and emphasising her interdisciplinary approach to tackling critical issues.
Beyond her academic pursuits, Thendo actively engages in community empowerment initiatives. Notably, she has facilitated a partnership between the University and a local special school, working to empower and educate parents of children with special needs. Through this initiative, she aims to promote inclusivity and empower children with learning disabilities to become independent, reflecting her dedication to making a tangible impact beyond academia.
Thendo is grateful for the invaluable support and mentorship provided by her PhD supervisor, Prof Racheal Lebese (University of Venda), and her Mentor, Dr Nombulelo Veronica Sepeng from the University of Pretoria. Their guidance has played a pivotal role in shaping her research and career path, inspiring her to continue making a difference in the field of nursing.
The SAWiSA Gala dinner, where the awards will be presented, is scheduled for Friday, 08 September 2023. The Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation will host this prestigious event at the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani in Durban.
Ms Makhado said that she is deeply honoured to be considered for this prestigious award,
When congratulating Thendo Gertie Makhado the Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Tshilidzi Mulaudzi said “Thendo is committed to continuing her journey as a dedicated woman scientist, striving to make a positive impact on healthcare, education, and gender equality.”
Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710
Date: 07 August 2023

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