Indian-origin woman wins top science award in S Africa

An academician of Indian origin has been selected for a prestigious science award in South Africa for her contribution to the advancement of science and building the knowledge base. Sarojini Nadar has been named the winner of the Distinguished Young Women in Science Award, which was announced by Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Science and Technology.

“These awards go to young women scientists and researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to advancing science and building the knowledge base in their respective disciplines,” Pandor said.

While clarifying the criteria of the selection of a winner Pandor said, “the only difference between this award and awards in the distinguished Women Scientists category was that nominees had to be less than 40 years old.”

Nadar said her childhood experiences had sparked her research interest in gender-based violence, particularly the role of systems such as religion in either maintaining and promoting such violence, or preventing it and it was a special moment for her when the Minister announced the award.

Nadar, who is at present an editor of the Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa, had completed her Ph.D from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in 2003 at the age of 27.

She has researched and published widely in the field of feminist biblical hermeneutics, with a special focus on HIV and Aids, gender-based violence, masculinity and sexuality.

She also has a special interest in studying and developing theories of feminism in Africa.

Nadar has won numerous other awards, including the University Research Award for Top Published Woman Researcher in 2009.

She recently returned to her Alma Mater to take up a position as Humanities’ Dean of Research, and is Associate Professor in the Gender and Religion Programme at the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics.

Nadar hails from a working-class background where she was the youngest of seven siblings and the only one among them to finish high school.


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