NAS Women: Focus on a goal and you will be successful
Women’s Month: Focus on Prof Mmantsae Diale
Q: Job title and in which department/research entity do you work?
A: Professor in the Department of Physics.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career?
A: The highlight of my career was the recognition by the National Science and Technology Forum that awarded me the Engineering research capacity development award by an individual in 5 to 10 years. I have founded the Women in Physics in South Africa with some colleagues and represented the country at the international conferences on women in physics (ICWIP) for five excessive conferences. I have also chaired the Black Science-technology-engineering (BSTEP) association, where we addressed the injustices of the past by helping to place in training students from technikons in companies like Toyota, BMW, Mintek, CSIR and the South African Navy. The students graduated after the experiential training that they lacked to finalise their degrees. I have thus far graduated 14 MSc and 10 PhD students in since 2018. The many international collaborations have added significant value to my career and helped to focus on science.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I am inspired by the success I add to others. I am passionate about teaching with excellent results. In my years of teaching, I have always attained an almost 100% pass rate on all levels that I taught, from high school to university. My students have become valuable citizens in their respective careers. I am good to identify talent and mentor the person on their career path.
Q: What challenges have you experienced in your career?
A: My main challenge has been dealing with men in my male-dominated field. Men dominate physics; that is why women in physics is a unique project addressing women issues in physics. In some cases, I had to report to higher authorities to address the issues I find professionally draining due to males who are all out to pull one down. The next challenge is attracting funding for research.
Q: What message do you have for the youth of South Africa?
A: In all your endeavours, focus on a goal and you will be successful. Do not lie about your credentials and achievement. Work hard, and you will make it.