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Sthabile Kolwa

Dr Sthabile Kolwa is a South African and Zambian Astronomer who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. Since the tender age of six, she has had a keen interest in engineering and the sciences with a fascination of these subjects being honed through regular viewing of ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy‘, ‘Popular Mechanics for Kids‘ during childhood, visits to the library involving a referential reading of ‘Encyclopedia Britannica‘ and non-fiction books about the Universe. After reading Prof. Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” as a late teen, Sthabile eventually went on to pursue their university studies in Astrophysics.

Sthabile went to school at UCT for undergrad and the UWC for Master’s. After which she worked on PhD research at the European Southern Observatory (degree awarded by LMU Munich) studying gas kinematics within the extended haloes of distant radio galaxies using state-of-the-art telescopes such as ALMA and the VLT using the spectrograph, MUSE.

These days, Sthabile is an an early-career research Astronomer and uses MeerKAT data to investigate the physics underlying radio galaxy evolution in collaboration with SARAO and IDiA. With great luck, Sthabile has landed a lecturing position at the University of Johannesburg and is one of a few Black femme Astronomers in Faculty at a South African institution. 

Sthabile is also interested in finding workable solutions for improving STEM education at the school and university level which are crucial to the fast and forward progression of South Africa’s science and technology sector. 

During spare time, Sthabile plays acoustic guitar and MIDI keyboards. She is also an avid lover of literature and writes about the intersection of Astronomy and data science on Medium and Twitter.