Praise for Zulu physicist


She thought the call was a prank. She didn’t know what Forbes magazine was so she put the phone down and thought nothing more of the conversation – until messages of congratulations started coming in and she realised there might be something to it after all.

“I googled it and realised how big it was,” Patience Mthunzi says. “I mean, Forbes is the business magazine and features people such as Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama!”

Now it features her too. The call she’d received was to inform her she’d made it onto one of the magazine’s highly respected lists as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa.

Patience (36) is one of three South Africans on the list – the other two are radio talk-show host Redi Tlhabi and Yolanda Sangweni, American-based senior editor of iconic black women’s magazine Essence.

Patience was named because she’s smart – seriously, intimidatingly smart. As Forbes magazine tells us, she holds a PhD in biophotonics, the study of cells, biological molecules and tissue using laser technology.

She was the first South African to earn a PhD from the University of St Andrews’ School of Physics and Astronomy in Scotland.

And she’s the only senior scientist for the biophotonics research group at the National Laser Centre at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Read more about remarkable Patience in Asa Sokopo’s article in YOU 7 February 2013.

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