Determined graduate overcomes adversity to improve food security with sauerkraut

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Mbali Ngcamu, a recent graduate of Stellenbosch University, has faced numerous challenges throughout her academic and professional journey. However, her tenacity and determination have led her to achieve her goals and positively impact her community.

Overcoming setbacks

Ngcamu’s visual impairment ended her career as a radiographer, but she refused to give up. She opened a bakery franchise to support her family, only to face discrimination and oppression as an African woman in business. Despite this setback, Ngcamu continued her education and completed a BA in Social Sciences and a BCom in Small Business Development to help other female entrepreneurs.

Exploring disability entrepreneurship

Ngcamu’s commitment to empowering women led her to enroll in a postgraduate diploma in disability studies at the University of Cape Town. Her research focused on the challenges faced by disabled female entrepreneurs and ways to overcome them.

Pursuing optimal health

When Ngcamu was diagnosed with a life-threatening thyroid condition, she recognized the importance of nutrition and enrolled in a nutrition diploma program. Her experimentation with fermented foods led her to find a company that promoted gut health and advised against harmful foods.

Improving food security

Ngcamu’s passion for nutrition and community led her to pursue an MSc in Food Nutrition and Security at Stellenbosch University. Her thesis, “The effects of sauerkraut on human health, nutrition, and food security: a literature review,” explores ways to process cabbage locally to improve food security and nutrition.

A resilient spirit

Despite her impaired vision and the loss of her home in flooding, Ngcamu remains determined to make a positive impact. She established a gut health practice and collaborates with the Technology Innovation Agency on a food bank project. In addition, Ngcamu plans to start a Ph.D. in 2024.

Ngcamu’s unwavering resilience and perseverance serve as an inspiration to all of us. Her dedication to creating a better, more inclusive world is something we can all learn from and strive towards.

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