Dr. Nonhlanhla Yende-Zuma


Dr. Nonhlanhla Yende-Zuma

Growing up in a rural community with high rates of HIV and TB, Dr Nonhlanhla Yende could have been just another statistic. Instead, she became a world-class statistician, one who’s using her expertise to save lives around the globe.

The name Nonhlanhla means “one with good luck” in Zulu, the most common first language in her native South Africa. But her rise from deep poverty to the head of biostatistics at one of Africa’s most prestigious research institutions had very little to do with luck. 

Dr. Nonhlanhla Yende-Zuma, as she is now known, was born in 1978, more than a decade before the fall of apartheid. Because her father left shortly after she was born, her family depended entirely on the small salary that her grandfather earned by raising cattle and working in the kitchen of a bed and breakfast. “My grandfather was working in a lovely kitchen for a white family,” she says, “but his own family often went hungry.”

Read more on her remarkable journey here

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