Nothando Khumalo

Nothando Khumalo, 28

ENGINEERING

I am an action-oriented and self-reliant civil engineer with a lifelong interest in tourism and a nascent interest in infrastructure economics and its relevance to Africa’s economic development.

Born and raised in Swaziland, I moved to South Africa to do my BSc and MSc in Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town. In 2015, I was selected to be part of the first cohort of the prestigious Yenching Academy Program at Peking University in Beijing (China) where I lived for a year completing a Master of Economics in China Studies. During this time, I grew a profound appreciation for the role infrastructure plays in economic development, and its potential to uplift Africa’s economies when strategically implemented with a clear regard for contextual appropriateness. Additionally, my time in Asia fuelled my desire to travel and explore the world’s immense diversity – and travel I did!

Living in a country, and culture, so different from my own was one of my best life decisions yet. It was more than an eye-opener; it was a doorway to a well-rounded self. Since returning, I have made it my mission to be a well-rounded engineer who equally prioritises the technical and social aspects of engineering in her work. I have also been involved in several social initiatives, one of which was a housing strategy whose mandate was to aid lower-income employees in my workplace to enter the housing market sooner by seeking solutions that mitigate some of the affordability barriers – an ongoing project. I have made it my mission to expose myself to as many opportunities and experiences as possible, to enable myself to contribute to society and to engineer economic change in any way I can for our Africa.

Fun Fact:I’m of the opinion that in a different lifetime/alternative universe, I am a nomadic event planner with a die-hard passion for excel spreadsheets. True story.