PhD graduate, Nomkhosi Luthuli, is a young leader contributing to the development of an aerotropolis in Durban. Luthuli graduated with a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) today.
Luthuli, an expert in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial development related research projects at UKZN, describes an aerotropolis as a city that is built around an airport to stimulate economic growth and generate revenue. It is her unique understanding of this area that saw her nominated for a benchmarking tour of aerotropolis and aviation related institutes in Dubai and the Netherlands in 2016.
In 2018, Luthuli was featured in Destiny Magazine’s coveted Power of 40 list which profiles 40 women under the age of 40 doing extraordinary things in their various industries. In the same year, she also made Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans list and was awarded the KZN Young Achievers Awards under the Academic Category.
“Aerotropolis is currently a key strategic investment and a major infrastructure project of the government of South Africa aimed at driving industrial and regional economic development. Conducting research around this area is useful for us to find better ways of setting up these kinds of industrial complexes within the African context,” said Luthuli.
Her study: ‘An exploration of the conceptualisation and enactment of Regional Economic Development through an analysis of the Durban Aerotropolis in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’ analysed how Regional Economic Development, is conceptualised and enacted.
“My study explores the enactment of Regional Economic Development by examining the governance mechanisms of the aerotropolis project and interrogates the dynamics of agglomeration and clustering of businesses through the aerotropolis,” said Luthuli.
Looking to the future, Luthuli wants to explore her specialist path and more importantly, change the mindset that aviation and airport cities planning is only a man’s field. “This is a call to action to inspire other women to break the glass ceiling and get involved in aviation and economics.”
Photographer: Rogan Ward
Caption: Nomkhosi Luthuli graduated with a PhD in Leadership Studies at a ceremony held on the UKZN Westville campus yesterday, 13 September 2018.
Source University of KwaZulu-Natal