Dr Makgafele Lucia Ntsoane, graduate on a mission.
Coming from Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo, Dr Ntsoane who obtained a Doctorate Degree in Agriculture (Postharvest) in May this year never imagined her life to turn out the way it has. “I am living my dream,” she says.
She is currently pursuing her postdoc research at Leibniz institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bio-economy (ATB) based in Potsdam, Germany were she conducted part of her PhD research project. She is mostly involved in projects that focus on providing solutions for food and nutritional security, particularly in Sub-Saharan African countries such as application of photo selective shade nets, deficit irrigation, and adsorption based cooling systems and modified atmosphere storage.
In 2016, she graduated cum laude for her M-Tech degree. During her studies, she was appointed as a lecture assistant. In the same year, she got a scholarship to participate at the International Research and Development course on Postharvest physiology, Pathology and handling of fresh commodities from an Israel’s Agency for International Cooperation (MASHAV) Government.
Dr Ntsoane lives by simple ethos, one that is perpetuated across all aspects of her life and is the driving force behind her success is confidence. “I believe nothing is possible without confidence. This is particularly important for women. Confidence is the key to everything. It is not just about saying you are confident, it is about inherently believing in yourself and about portraying this confidence through your beautifully unique offering to the world.
She was awarded the Woman in Science Doctoral Fellowship award in 2016, by the Department of Science and Technology for outstanding research, which investigated the influence of deficit irrigation and coloured shade nets on nutritional properties and quality of lettuce. As a result of her research novelty, she successfully authored five scientific publications and three presentations at local and international conferences. She continues to mentor students, as she believes that agriculture is the future.
Giving up on her education was never an option for Dr Ntsoane. “In my family we have a culture of finishing what you start, no matter how difficult it is. Otherwise, it is seen as a sign of failure and that is how I approach life. Hence, I am on a mission to empower young people, especially upcoming scientists, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds to believe in themselves, to work hard and being dedicated at all times. Success consists of going from failure to failure without giving up”, she said.