Lydia Makhubu

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Lydia Makhubu
Lydia Phindile Makhubu

1 July 1937 (1937-07) (age 82)
Alma materUniversity of Toronto

Lydia Phindile Makhubu (born 1 July 1937) is a retired Swazi chemist and former professor of chemistry, dean and vice-chancellor of the University of Swaziland.[1]

She was born at the Usuthu Mission in Swaziland. Her parents were teachers, but her father also worked as an orderly in health clinics. Her early exposure to medicine had a great influence on her choice of career; she initially wanted to become a doctor, but then switched to chemistry.[2]

Makhubu graduated from Pius XII College (now the National University of Lesotho) in Lesotho with a B.Sc. in 1963. With a Canadian Commonwealth scholarship, she obtained an M.Sc. in organic chemistry from the University of Alberta in 1967, followed by a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1973,[3] becoming the first Swazi woman to earn a doctorate.[1]

She returned to her homeland and joined the faculty of the University of Swaziland, becoming a lecturer in the chemistry department in 1973, the dean of science from 1976 to 1980, a senior lecturer in 1979, a full professor the following year, and vice-chancellor from 1988 to 2003.[1] Her research focused on the medical effects of plants used by traditional Swazi healers.[1][2]

From its inception in 1993 until 2005, Makhubu was the President of the Third World Organization for Women in Science, which provides fellowships for postgraduate study.[4][5] She was the first woman chairperson of the executive committee of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.[3] She also served in numerous other organizations, such as the United Nations Advisory Committee on Science and Technology for Development.[3]

She has received numerous grants and honours, including a MacArthur Foundation grant (1993–1995),[6] and honorary doctorates from various universities,[7] including a doctor of laws from Saint Mary's University in 1991.[8]

She married the surgeon Daniel Mbatha; they have a son and a daughter.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Yount, Lisa (2007). A to Z of Women in Science and Math. Infobase Publishing. pp. 187–188. ISBN 9781438107950. Retrieved 24 October 2016.[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ a b Campbell, Neil A.; Reece, Jane B. Biology (7th ed.).
  3. ^ a b c "Lydia P. Makhubu". Saint Mary's University.
  4. ^ "Nature World Conference on Science". Nature. 29 June 1999. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  5. ^ "'Women must be encouraged to take up science'". The Hindu. 19 October 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  6. ^ Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2007). Encyclopedia of World Scientists. Infobase Publishing. pp. 477–478. ISBN 9781438118826.
  7. ^ "Curriculum Vitae". United Nations University. 2000.
  8. ^ "Honourary Degrees 1990 - Present". St. Mary's University.