Nomso Kana is a force of power noting that her proudest moments are achieving her degrees, defeating cancer at the age of 23, and being appointed as a governor at the Nuclear Energy Foundation and Agency.
Nuclear scientist Nomso Kana is also the founder of two startups. Graduating from the University of Fort Hare with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in the fields of chemistry and computer science, Kana has never been constrained by the limits of what she has studied.
The field of science can be a daunting one, but Kana has sought to overcome all possible challenges. After qualifying as a nuclear scientist, she undertook specialised training to be a medical biology scientist at the National Health Laboratory Services, ascribed by the Health Profession Council of South Africa. She has also practised as a medical biology scientist at the same institute.
She has also worked as a nuclear scientist in the radioisotopes department in a leading role for the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation.
She is currently the managing director and founder of two startup companies. Her two companies are Sun n Shield 84 Technologies, which manufactures fibre optic cable, and Blaze Away SA, a business strategy consulting firm.
Kana sums up her proudest moments in a sentence:
“My proudest moments are achieving my degrees, defeating cancer at the age of 23, and being appointed as a governor at the Nuclear Energy Foundation and Agency.”
Kana was also appointed the governor of the Nuclear Energy Foundation and Agency. “My biggest surprise was being appointed to be a commissioner in the presidential 4IR commission,” she says. Kana will be heading the commission looking into the fourth industrial revolution.
“What drives me to excel is curiosity and an inner desire to do my best in my field.”
Kana has not only been rewarded and recognised for her professional work but was also chosen as one of 80 emerging leaders in science and technology on the African continent and the Middle East in 2013, and she participated in a STEM exchange programme — representing South African proudly on a global stage.
“Be part of something bigger than you,” is the advice she would give to young people. And it is this advice that Kana embodies.
She has achieved much in her personal and professional life. And yet she still believes it is very important to give back to the community, especially younger women. Kana works with several non-profit organisations in sub-Saharan Africa, helping to provide high school learners with exposure to education options in the field of STEM.
As the regional director of the Taungana Africa STEM movement, she works with approximately 50 girls, to whom she teaches programming and mobile application development skills. Kana says she would count this as amongst her greatest achievements, which shows how much she values giving back and empowering others.