MZANSI can only develop as a leader in research if it builds a reputation for excellence in the scientific and medical fields first.

This is what motivated Zukiswa Jiki from Klerksdorp to enter the field of genetic research.

“I have a desire to contribute to research in Africa, by Africans for Africans. Too often, overseas researchers come here and research valuable material but publish it elsewhere.

“It’s not that Africa is unwilling to share its information, but researchers need to share their work too.

“The problem is that too many organisations and journals get the credit for work done in Africa. The people who do the work often get little recognition for discoveries they make.”

Zukiswa’s first degree was a BSc in health sciences from the North-West University of Potchefstroom. She did an honours in physiology and medical biochemistry at the University of Cape Town.

She is now completing a two-year masters research programme, also at UCT.

She says the support she got from the PPS Foundation helped a lot. The foundation provided full financial support which meant she could concentrate on her work without worrying about debt.

She was able to choose her subjects for research, unlike some students who are forced to study subjeccts they are not passionate about in order to win bursaries.

Zukiswa is researching the genetic causes of early-onset Alzheimer’s when inherited over many generations of a single family.