A Nigerian woman, Abimbola Windapo has emerged as the first woman professor in Construction Management in South Africa and Nigeria. Windapo was announced as professor in the recently concluded Ad Hominem Promotions in the University of Cape Town, South Africa. According to a release signed by Ridovhona Mbulaheni from the Communication and Marketing Department of the university, the Ad Hominem promotion to professorship, which becomes effective from January, 2021, is in recognition of Windapo’s “research, teaching, social responsiveness and administrative abilities”.
In giving further details of the reasons behind her recent elevation, the release stated that “Windapo has made numerous important contributions, including research into sustainable contractor development and serving as the chairperson of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment’s (EBE) Transformation Committee from 2015 to 2017, a period of student protests across UCT’s campuses.” The release noted that “further contributions and recognition included her graduating five PhD researchers, and receiving the 2020 National Science and Technology Forum-South32 Award in the Engineering Research Capacity Development category.”
Being the first in the room is not strange to Prof. Windapo as she was the first woman to get a degree in Building from University of Ife ( now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife) in 1987. She then proceeded to the University of Lagos, Nigeria for her Master’s Degree where She graduated with a Distinction in Construction Management in 1990. For her PhD degree, Windapo also attended University of Lagos for a doctorate degree in Building which she obtained in 2005.
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Windapo has extensive professional and teaching experience in Nigeria and South Africa. She first joined the teaching faculty of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo in 1994. She was in the Building Department of the polytechnic for four years leaving the institution in 1998. She then moved to the Department of Building of the University of Lagos where she was for nine years (1998-2009) before she joined the teaching faculty at the Department of Construction Economics and Management, University of Cape Town, South Africa. She rose from her Senior Lecturer position to Associate Professorship cadre in 2016 before she was elevated to full professorship in the 2020 Ad Hominem Promotions.
In the course of her career, Windapo has served as visiting lecturer to a number of universities both in Nigeria and South Africa which include Caleb University, Nigeria; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa as well as Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She has also served as consultant to many organizations in Nigeria and South Africa. She is also a member of many professional bodies in her native country and her country of residence. She is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Building; Registered Builder, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria; a certified Construction Mentor and Professional Construction Project Manager of the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Profession (SAPCMP).
To Windapo, the recent elevation confirms her as “a role model for women, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to give them hope that nothing is impossible”.