South Africa, 2020
Hlumelo Marepula is a BSc Civil Engineering honours candidate from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and wants to do research in Water Quality Engineering. Passionate about social justice and change, Hlumelo made her mark in the university space through her involvement with the UCT Global Citizenship Programme. This led to her taking on a lecturing role on a humanities elective for engineers, making her the first undergraduate student to fulfill such a role in the engineering department. The course explores the impact of the engineering profession on communities and how engineers can contribute to a socially just society. In her spare time, Hlumelo enjoys singing. She has been a member of the renowned Cape Town Youth Choir since the age of 15; touring the world. In 2017, she had the privilege of singing a solo in the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York. This year, Hlumelo won the Cape Town ‘Falling Walls Lab’ competition where she presented on her thesis topic. It explores using human urine to produce urea, and in turn, make jet fuel. In November, she will be representing the University of Cape Town and South Africa, at the global finals in Berlin, Germany amongst 99 other contestants. Hlumelo believes in contributing to a sustainable future for Africa by embarking on research which not only tackles climate change, but has the potential to make Africa a global competitor in innovation. She hopes to one day be instrumental in changing the aviation industry in the continent.