COOL KID: Tiisetso “gym girl” Lephoto

Tiisetso Lephoto came second at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin as the best researcher in South Africa/Africa. Photo: Bongiwe Tutu

Tiisetso Lephoto came second at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin as the best researcher in South Africa/Africa.                                                                                                                                Photo: Bongiwe Tutu

While most people know her as the “gym girl”, Wits PhD student Tiisetso Lephoto (25) is also a One Young World ambassador and a Wits Golden Key member. Recognised as one of the new young and upcoming researchers in science by the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development in 2013, she secured second place at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin for the best researcher in South Africa/Africa. Lephoto is a Wits aerobics fitness and training instructor and founder of TiiMoves.

What research are you working on for your PhD?
My project is based on trying to come up with ways to reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Since 2011, when I started with masters, I’ve been trying to discover nematodes; microscopic worms which can kill insects. So, instead of spraying harsh chemicals which can make us sick because our food has been highly contaminated, my project wants to come up with ways of reducing or eliminating the use of these harmful chemicals, and find biological control agents. That’s the healthier way of killing insects without harming people or animals in any way.

What influenced the role you play in aerobics today?
I joined an aerobics community programme. They taught us almost everything, and it became fun, like a dancing routine, so I incorporate everything into my aerobics routines. And it’s more like a God-given talent, that’s how it feels, I just think of steps in my head and I execute it.

What is the most fulfilling part about being an aerobics fitness and training instructor?
I started an NGO called YesWeAreMoving in 2011. My aim was to spread the culture of healthy living, so I started to organise aerobics marathons alongside academic tutoring under a programme called Katleho Pele Education. We help grade eight to 12 learners in Soweto maintain their studies and health. We have a marathon this Saturday at the Squash Complex on West Campus from 9-11am. I organise the marathons to donate and fundraise for orphanages. This year is aimed at collecting food, toiletries, and clothes. And with my own personal training company, TiiMoves, I encourage others, and help people to put nutrition together with exercise, and feel good in their own skin.

What is most central to your life’s philosophy?
I give back to the community, this is my philosophy; I believe the higher you go, you have to find a way to lift other people with you. I like seeing someone happy, it’s very fulfilling to share knowledge, to help someone, and then see them succeed. I always think, with so many things that I do, ‘God where will you place me?’ I’m passionate about science and I’d like to be one of the leading young researchers and discover something to save the future of agriculture. So, the future holds me continuing to research, help other young people, encourage them to pursue what they love, and maybe to do science. Everything needs to just be well. Wellness is everything.

WITS NEWS: Ridwan Mia main speaker at Golden Key symposium

This information is taken from Wits News: please contact


Dr Ridwan Mia, Wits alumnus who spearheaded the skin graft operation for burn victim Pippie Kruger will be the guest speaker at the annual Golden Key Thinkers Symposium that will be held at Wits.

Other speakers include: Penny Heyns, Ahmed Kathrada, Prof  Bonita Meyersfeld, Judge Kathree–Sitloane, and award winning photographers Graeme Williams, Jodi Bieber and Peter Morey.

Through their professions, guests will explore the theme Thought Revolution: our legacy. The symposium is organised by the Wits branch of the Golden Key Society, an international honour society which attracts high-achieving individuals.

 Date: 18 September 2013

Time: 14:30 – 20:00

Venue: Wits Great Hall, Braamfontein East Campus

Enquiries and RSVP:

Ladies night: Unleashing the Superwomen within

By Nomatter Ndebele and Emelia Motsai

Golden Key had a women’s day celebration at the Wits Art Museum on Wednesday. It was a black tie event and the speakers included Nondumiso Mzizana and Tryphosa Ramano. Sara Chitambo from Zazi, a national women’s campaign also spoke to the students.

[GALLERY] Golden Key Society members shine


Award winning photo-journalist Greg Marinovich was inducted into the Golden Key Society as an honorary member on Monday at Wits University.

National Planning Commission, communication specialist Zamandlovu Ndlovu, strategist and thought leader Abdullah Verachia were also inducted.

The society welcomes members every year into its induction event.

Golden Key is the an internationally recognised honour society that is affiliated with universities in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Bahamas and the United States.


Meeting of great minds: Golden Key corporate breakfast

Top performing Wits students were encouraged to complete their degree cum laude regardless of what discipline they were in because it would assure potential employers that they could apply themselves.

Joel Chimhanda from JC Capital told the students at the  annual Wits Golden Key corporate breakfast yesterday that it did not matter what they were studying, “we want your brains”.

“We want the best brains applied to solve the biggest problems,” he said.

“The breakfast is a networking event aimed at helping students interact with top corporates,  to sit down and talk to people from companies that they might want to work for,” said Sharon Chimhanda president of the Wits Golden Key society.  About 70 Golden Key members including committee members attended the event.

“Students get to meet the people who will be reading their CVs so they get an advantage over those who have never met these people,” Sharon said. [pullquote align=”right”]“We look for people who are good in sports, people who are active in their communities, people who are confident.”[/pullquote]

Cikida Gcali (3rd yearBScEng), said that being a Golden Key member had afforded her many opportunities: “I will be going to New York in June for the international scholar laureate which Golden Key is a part of.”

Phetogo Legoabe, (LLM University of Pretoria), also said being a member of the society had benefited her greatly: “I learned how to be responsible and how to work people. I got my first intern job through Golden Key.”

Stephen Gericke, chapter relations officer said that even if students did not get jobs with the corporate partners they could “still apply for scholarships, enhance their CVs through community service and get chances to further your studies abroad”. Through Golden Key, Gericke was awarded a scholarship to further his studies in Music at Cambridge University in the UK.

“We provide opportunities for students but it is up to them to make the best of those opportunities,” Gericke said.

“Through academic excellence, leadership development and community service Golden Key aims to help students to become the full package,” he said.

Beverley Ownhouse, specialist recruiter from Afrizan said they were not just looking for smart students but they were looking for a total package: “We look for people who are good in sports, people who are active in their communities, people who are confident.”

“Our job is to source the best, as a student you have no working experience so we look for whether you were the best student you could have been,” said Ownhouse.

Golden Key is the an internationally recognised honour society that is  affiliated with universities in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Bahamas and the United States. Each year 15% of the top university students from all disciplines are invited to join the society.

To become a Golden Key member students generally have to be invited “but if they think they are eligible but they have not been invited students can fill in an eligibility form,”  said Gericke