Most Educated Woman in Africa

In Africa, women may not be expected to reach a certain level academically but the most educated woman in Africa is no doubt that popular lady from South Africa. She then joins a list of elite record breaking young scholars that have wowed the world ever since the history of academic scholarship began.

Her rising may not necessarily be by magic, it is definitely met with challenges such as financial constraint, societal pressure, and many more. However what defines her success in the long run is her determination to outshine all difficulties thrown up on her face.

Most Educated Woman in Africa

At just 23 years, the North-West University student is about to become the first youngest most educated woman in Africa. One of the people who has most motivated and helped Mashifana on her journey is her husband, Kgaogelo Mashifana. In an interview with her, she describes him as her greatest motivator and supporter. This is a rare feat in an education-discouraging setting such as Africa.

Saurombe’s Background and Academic Journey

Dr Musawenkosi Donia Saurombe has already achieved the status of senior academic at the University of the Free State. This is because her schooling was fast-tracked and she completed high school at the age of 15.

She enrolled at the University of the North West at the age of 16, and by the time she was 21, she had attained her master’s in industrial psychology. She wasted no time and delved right into her PhD the following year, completing this qualification also, in a record time of two years, breaking an astounding academic record by becoming the youngest female PhD in Africa, at the age of 23.

Prof. Musawenkosi Donia Saurombe became a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Psychology in 2017.

Although it may seem like she breezed her way through her academic qualifications, Saurombe experienced financial constraints throughout her studies, especially at undergraduate level.

Academic Researches

Dr. Musa’s research interests are mainly, talent and performance management, talent management of academic staff, women talent, the psychological contract, and employee value proposition.

Saurombe’s research work focuses on talent management and talent value proposition which entails the investigation of the relationship between employee and employer. Saurombe’s work explores the psychological contract that often exists between the two parties: what the employer offers to the employee for their expertise and contribution to the organisation and what the employee expects to receive for their expertise, commitment and contribution to the organisation.


Prof. Saurombe previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the North-West University and later as a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Free State Bloemfontein. She joined the University of Johannesburg in 2021 and was promoted to Associate Professor at the UJ in 2022.

Prof. Saurombe lectures courses in Human Resource Management and Industrial Psychology and supervises postgraduate research. She is also known for the work she does as a civic innovator, particularly concerning women and youth.

Read Also: Country That Has the Most Beautiful Women

Awards and Scholarships

  • Emerging Psychologist of the Year, SIOPSA (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology of South Africa), July 2017
  • Award of Honor, BRICS International Forum, New Delhi, India, March 2018
  • Track Chair Award, Academy of World Business, Marketing and Management Development Conference, Athens, Greece, July 2018
  • “Women of First” Bring Her Up Award, Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Institute in collaboration with The National Heritage Council (SA), Freedom Park Pretoria, August 2018
  • 2018 Class of 100 Most Influential Young Africans, Africa Youth Awards, September 2018
  • CEO’s Award, IPM Youth Leader of Year 2018, Institute of People Management (IPM), October 2018
  • SADC Top 100 of 2018,TYI (The Young Independents) 100 Awards, December 2018
  • 200 Young South Africans 2019, Mail & Guardian, June 2019
  • Golden Key International Society Honourary Member Recognition NWU, August 2019
  • Golden Key International Society Honourary Member Recognition UFS, October 2020
  • Featured in documentary/film: The life and legacy of liberation icon; Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke, October 2021
  • Featured in the 3RD Women’s Legacy Series by the Department of Basic Education; digital version of publication available on the South African History Online (SAHO), October 2021
  • Nominated for the Positive Role Model Award at the Accenture 10th Gender Mainstreaming Awards, July 2022

Some of Her Academic Publications

  • Ngobeni, D.A., Saurombe, M.D., & Joseph, R.M. (2022). The influence of the psychological contract on employee engagement in a South African bank. Frontiers in Psychology-Organisational Psychology.
  • Zinatsa, F., & Saurombe, M.D. (2022). A framework for the labour market integration of female accompanying spouses in South Africa. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology.
  • Zinatsa, F., & Saurombe, M.D. (2022). Self-governing strategies of tied migrants in the South African labour market. Journal of Global Business and Technology, 18(1), 40-55.
  • Zinatsa, F., & Saurombe, M.D. (2022). Tied Migrant Labour Market Integration: deconstructing labour market subjectivities in South Africa. Frontiers in Psychology-Gender, Sex and Sexualities.
  • Saurombe, M.D., & Barkhuizen, E.N. (2022).  Talent Management Practices and Work-related Outcomes for South African Academic Staff. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 32(1).
  • Shingenge, S.N., & Saurombe, M.D. (2022). Leadership Mindset Regarding Talent Management Practices: A Case Study of Windhoek City Council. South African Journal of Human Resource Management, 20.
  • Swanepoel, K., & Saurombe, M.D. (2022). The significance of an employee value proposition in the retention of teachers at selected South African private schools. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 25(1).
  • Magagula, K., Maziriri, E., & Saurombe, M. (2020). Am I ready for the job market? Navigating on the precursors of work readiness among students in Johannesburg. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 46(11).
  • Saurombe, MD., & Barkhuizen, E.N. (2020).  A Talent Value Proposition Framework for Academic Staff in a South African HEI. Journal of Global Business and Technology, 16(2), 85-102.

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