Musawenkosi Saurombe is a Zimbabwean scholar who made history in 2017 by becoming the youngest African woman to earn a Ph.D. degree at the age of 23. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology from North-West University (NWU) in South Africa, where she had also completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees.
Saurombe was born in Zimbabwe in 1994 and moved to Botswana with her family when she was five years old. She was homeschooled by her father, who was a teacher, until she was nine. She then enrolled in a primary school and skipped several grades due to her exceptional academic performance. She finished her high school education at 15 and obtained a scholarship to study at NWU.
At NWU, Saurombe pursued a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Industrial and Organisational Psychology, which she completed in three years instead of four. She then continued with her Honours and Master’s degrees, which she also finished ahead of schedule. She started her Ph.D. research in 2016 and completed it within a year, breaking an astounding academic record.
Saurombe’s Ph.D. thesis focused on the management perspectives on a talent value proposition for academic staff in a South African higher education institution. She explored how talent management practices can enhance the attraction and retention of academic staff, as well as their work-related outcomes.
Saurombe’s remarkable achievement has earned her several awards and recognitions, both locally and internationally. She has been named as one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by Africa Youth Awards, one of the SADC Top 100 of 2018 by The Young Independents, one of the 200 Young South Africans by Mail & Guardian, and one of the Emerging Psychologists of the Year by the Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa.
Saurombe has also been involved in various civic and social initiatives, especially concerning women and youth empowerment. She is the founder and director of Musa Dukhi Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to provide mentorship, guidance and support to young girls and women in Africa. She is also an ambassador for the Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke Institute, a platform that celebrates the legacy of the first black South African woman to obtain a university degree.
Saurombe is currently an associate professor of industrial psychology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where she joined in 2021. She was promoted to this position in 2022, making her one of the youngest professors in Africa at 33. She teaches courses in human resource management and industrial psychology and supervises postgraduate research. She is also an author of several publications and a speaker at various conferences and events.
Saurombe is an inspiration to many young Africans who aspire to pursue excellence in their academic and professional careers. She is a living proof that age is no barrier to achieving one’s dreams and goals. She is also a role model for women who want to break the glass ceiling and make a positive impact in their fields of expertise.
- Prof Musawenkosi Saurombe – University of Johannesburg
- Musawenkosi Donia Saurombe PhD – Google Scholar
- At 23, Musawenkosi Saurombe Is Youngest African Woman With Ph.D.
- A trailblazing academic who achieved a PhD at 23 – MSN