Zama Katamzi is a space physicist working in newly established South African National Space Agency in Hermanus.
Katamzi was 15 when she watched an episode of Star Trek and fell in love with outer space. Astronomy is a male-dominated field, but Katamzi seized the challenge. Today she’s a role model for a new generation of female scientists.
Her area of research is ionospheric physics, which, in general terms, can be used for radio wave propagation for different applications such as navigation with GPS.
1. What is your definition of success?
Achieving your goals in spite of all the adversities you have to overcome.
2. As a young girl, who were your role models and why?
My mother and women who are successful in male dominated fields.
3. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Obtaining my PhD under 30 years because getting a PhD was dream of mine since I was in high school.
Getting my first academic paper published because I was contributing to the advancement of the world’s knowledge of space.
4. What advice would you give your 18-year old self if you met her today?
Persevere; the goal is well worth it!
5. What do you think the world needs more of?
Generous people who are willing to share what they have (e.g. time, knowledge, experience or wealth) with those in need. Courageous people who are willing to work hard to achieve a decent or better life, and uplift their community.