Meet Oghenetebo Ighedo, Nigerian born Mathematician and first black woman to obtain PhD in Pure Maths


By Nathaniel Iyanda

Meet – Prof Oghenetega Ighedo, Nigerian born Mathematician and the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Pure Mathematics at the University of South Africa (UNISA), in its 148-year-long existence.

She also holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Pure Mathematics from the University of Ibadan and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Industrial Mathematics from Delta State University, Nigeria.

Prof Ighedo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

“I was inspired by my mother – a retired maths teacher. I saw the way she was going about teaching it and when I grew older, I thought the way she did maths was interesting and I wanted to see if I could do it like her.

“My decision to study pure mathematics was also motivated by the fact that not only are there few black pure mathematicians but there are fewer black women who are pure mathematicians.

“I encourage young women not to let adversity and challenges deter them. When I started my PhD I was already married, I had two children and was expecting my 3rd child. In spite of being a mother and a wife, I was able to complete my PhD within three years,” said Prof Ighedo.


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