Two AOS students part of OceanWOMXN

21 Sep 2020
From left to right: Thando Mazomba, Sizwekazi Yapi, Wanjiru Thoithi, UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Kolisa Sinyanya, Faith February, Liisa Shangheta
21 Sep 2020


OceanWOMXN is a 5-year programme supported by the Advancing Womxn Initiative from the UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. After winning the Advancing Womxn Award, Dr Katie Alterie proposed with her co-investigators (Dr Sarah Fawcett, Prof Isabelle Ansorge and Dr Juliet Hermes) to evolve the research culture of Oceanography in South Africa toward a more diverse and inclusive demography. Through their experience in navigating in ocean research as womxn, the four established oceanographers have carried the responsibility and commitment in helping fellow womxn in excelling in Oceanography.

In her recent talk for the APECSA Online Workshop 2020, Altieri highlighted that while the Department of Oceanography at UCT gathers a total of 73 postgraduate students, only 12 of them are South African women. With the OceanWOMXN initiative, Altieri and colleagues aims at building a research leadership for black womxn oceanographers by helping them at overcome the systemic barriers they would usually face.

Amongst the six talented women part of the 2020 OceanWOMXN cohort, two of them are Applied Ocean Science MSc students (a programme supported by the Marine Research Institute), Thando Mazomba and Sizwekazi Yapi. Thando is particularly interested by the interactions between biological and oceangraphic processes within the Southern Ocean, for instance using historical humpback whaling catch data to assess climate model results in the 20th century. Sizwekazi started the AOS programme in 2020 and is using her background in Biological Sciences to focus on marine biogeochemistry. Both of them set a prestigious example for the upcoming black womxn oceanographers.


For more information about OceanWOMXN, please visit their website. If you are interested in joining the 2021 AOS Programme (deadline: 15 October 2020), please visit our applications here