On my graduation day, my workmate posted my photo on her social media together with these words which powerfully resonated with my storyline “from CPP (in charge of professional practice) to doctorate level! it is a big journey”. I actually entered the academic world when I was holding an advanced diploma in Nursing and my main job description was merely helping students to learn nursing procedures (demonstration) either in the skills lab or in the hospital. I had dreams to become a PhD holder to get right to teach but also to be involved in research. However, I could not tell how those dreams would come true. The journey seemed impossible as the highest level in Nursing at our school was a bachelor. So this accomplishment tells me how far I have come from. I never got discouraged, I did not sleep and I kept trying different opportunities. When I reflect on this last four years’ journey at University of Witwatersrand, with the support from CARTA, I can use this quote of Coco Channel to explain what accomplishment means to me: “If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” Coming back to the story, I responded to my workmate that indeed a big journey starts with a small step and this is what I believe.
In science, like in many fields, gender disparity persists but my journey as an African female scientist stands as a powerful testament to the transformative potential of resilience, determination, and robust support systems. Overcoming societal expectations and breaking through gender, racial, and systemic barriers, my