Zimbabwean Industrial chemist, Dr. Robson Mafoti is a name you have probably not heard before, but it is likely you have used a product that has benefited from one of his patented discoveries.
Dr. Mafoti was born on 11th June 1949 in a small village on the foothill of the Wedza Mountain in Zimbabwe. Being from such a humble background meant he had to face a lot of hardships just for getting basic necessities as well as an education. In fact, one source records that he dropped out of school because of lack of funding.
Despite going through a rough patch during the early year of his life, Dr. Mafoti achieved high levels of academic excellence. He attended the National University of Lesotho where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry.
Bachelors was just the beginning of Dr. Mafoti’s education. Two years after graduating from the National University of Lesotho he joined the Texas Southern University for a master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry. This was followed by another master’s degree from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the same university.
Dr. Mafoti started working in 1986 at the Bayer Cooperation where he worked as a senior scientist. He served there for 9 years then joined the Wilsonart International as the Manager of Research & Development. After serving at Wilsonart for 4 years, Dr. Mafoti joined the Schnee-Morehead Inc. as the director of research & development.
The highlight of his career was in 2003 when he joined the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC). He has been serving at the capacity of Chief Executive Officer/Director General ever since.
Dr. Mafoti made a breakthrough in the field of industrial chemistry when he developed a fascia material that became a standard solution for a number of motor vehicle manufacturers in America including General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford. He has more than 13 patents registered in the United States most of which are related to paints, decorative surfaces, plastics, sealants, and adhesives.
As the CEO of SIRDC, Zimbabwe’s Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre, Dr. Mafoti has played a central role in inspiring positive transformation in the way scientific research is utilized in the country to develop sustainable solutions.