1999 • Engineering Sciences Award
The Eastern Cape provided the home and security of Sibongile’s early years, however, her family was forced to relocate to Lesotho in 1982 due to political pressure.
Her earliest influence when growing up was
her mother who single handedly raised three girls and, while in exile,
made great sacrifices to ensure her children felt at home in their new
country. Her lasting legacy to her children was that they should
be self-reliant and humble – traits that have stood Sibongile in
good stead throughout her life.
realized that her lack of French would impede her work there so she
embarked on a period of study that included French, Computer Programming
and Graphic Design – the latter two courses being chosen with
a view to studying engineering at a later date. She
had already decided that her chosen profession in biochemistry had
a limited future and registered for and completed a civil engineering
(with computer programming)
degree at Ryerson Polytechnic University.
Sibongile finds time in her busy working life to help those less fortunate than herself. She volunteers for community organizations such as the Southern African Community Association which aims to share and rekindle interest in the culture of South Africans living in Canada.
When based in Texas, she had the opportunity to sit on the Board of Kuumba House – an organization involved in enlightening Americans about African culture, through theatre.
She has also been involved with the Junior Achievement project that puts consultants into classrooms around North America with the aim of conveying the importance of education to the youngsters.
Her own hard work and diligence, combined with her mother’s emphasis on self reliance and humility, have helped her to attain her goals.
On her chosen career, Sibongile hopes to be a role model for women in Africa who still see engineering as a predominantly male field and often don’t consider applying to study in this field.