18 August 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
Liezel Rudolph believes opportunities do not fall into your lap, but you cross them when you do what you love, and you do it well.

On more than one occasion, Liezel Rudolph set foot on the SA Agulhas II, travelling the oceans to Marion Island in her quest to research climate change. She focuses her research on reconstructing the past climate of Marion Island. 

As Lecturer in Process Geomorphology in the Department of Geography Rudolph is involved in research on glacial and peri-glacial landforms, trying to understand the links between climate and the processes that shape these landforms.

An interview with her reveals more about this scientist, adventurer, and teacher who sees pursuing one’s research interests and teaching others about it as a dream come true.


“Part of being a woman is to know when to be strong and to speak up, and when to be humble and listen.” – Liezel Rudolph

Is there a woman who inspires you, who you would like to celebrate this Women’s Month?

“I would like to celebrate my mother who does everything to the full. She celebrates the little things; she dreams big and she does not fear the future. She values discipline, but nurtures growth and has always encouraged (me) to be the best version of me and not to compare myself to others.”

What are some of the challenges you have faced in your life that have made you a better woman?

“I don’t like being criticised and I don’t like failing. It has taken me several years to learn that not all criticism is negative and that not all failures are final. And that is OK. I have learned to be easier on myself, and on others when I (or they) don’t meet certain expectations.”

What advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?

“When I was 15 years old, I had no idea what life would be after school – and it scared me. I now know that by following my passion and doing what I am good at, I am doing myself and the world a favour. There is no point in making loads of money if you hate going to work every day. Opportunities do not fall into your lap, but you cross them when you do what you love, and you do it well.”

What would you say makes you a champion woman [of the UFS]?

“I would not say that I am a champion woman, yet. But I would like to think that I am a woman who does her job well, and who does ‘woman’ well, too. This means bringing what I have to the table, and not comparing, criticising, or competing with anyone about what else is on the table. I still have to grow a lot in this regard.”



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