Dr Jantjies: top achiever

Dr Mmaki Jantjies was one of the first black women in South Africa to obtain a PhD in computer science.

The University of the Western Cape’s Dr Mmaki Jantjies has been named as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Young 200 Top Achievers Under 35.

Dr Jantjies holds degrees from four universities, and is one of the first black South African women to obtain a PhD in computer science. As head of Information Systems at UWC, she continues to research how education technology can be developed and used to enhance learning in developing countries.

“My parents are both community builders, and this influenced me in my approach to a career when I was growing up,” she said.

“I was passionate about engineering; I wanted to be the best engineer who would assist South Africa policy development in the engineering field. I was also fascinated by the growing field of computer science and realised the lack of females skilled in this area, and how working in it would allow me to engineer systems.”

Dr Jantjies is also the coordinator of the Mozilla and UN Women technology clubs, which teaches young women to empower themselves through technology.