Meet the first black woman to obtain PhD in Pure Mathematics


Meet – Prof Oghenetega Ighedo, Nigerian born Mathematician and the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Pure Mathematics at the University of South Africa (UNISA), in its 148-year-long existence.

“I was inspired by my mother – a retired maths teacher. I saw the way she was going about teaching it and when I grew older, I thought the way she did maths was interesting and I wanted to see if I could do it like her,” said Prof Ighedo.


“My decision to study pure mathematics was also motivated by the fact that not only are there few black pure mathematicians but there are fewer black women who are pure mathematicians,” she added.

Prof Ighedo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

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She also holds a MSc in Pure Mathematics from the University of Ibadan and a BSc in Industrial Mathematics from Delta State University.

“I encourage young women not to let adversity and challenges deter them. When I started my PhD I was already married, I had two children and was expecting my 3rd child. In spite of being a mother and a wife, I was able to complete my PhD within three years,” concluded Prof Ighedo.

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