South Africa & University of Cape Town, 2020
Hlumelo is an MSc Civil Engineering Masters candidate from the University of Cape Town, specialising in Water Quality Engineering. Passionate about social justice, she is involved 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 this 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.
Last year, Hlumelo participated in the Cape Town, Falling Walls Lab competition where she presented on her thesis. It explores using human urine to produce a commonly used fertilizer in agriculture called urea. After winning the regional lab, she represented UCT 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 that not only tackles climate change but has the potential to make Africa a global competitor in innovation. Her research is a steppingstone towards investigating the viability of making jet fuel from human urine. She hopes to one day be instrumental in changing the aviation industry on the continent. If you can't find her in the lab, she's probably 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.