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Dr Banothile Makhubela

Dr Banothile Makhubela
Department of Chemistry
Senior Lecturer

Contact Details
C2-Lab 328
+27 (0) 11 559 3782


Banothile Makhubela was born in Mzinti (Mpumalanga Province, South Africa). She was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Mathematics by the University of Zululand in 2005 and obtained a BSc. Honours in Chemistry in 2006 from the University of Cape Town (UCT). In 2008, she completed an M.Sc. degree under supervised the late Prof John R. Moss and Prof Gregory S. Smith. Her MSc. research focused on the synthesis and reactivity of platinum- and osmium-containing metallacycloalkanes - a class of organometallic complexes that are key intermediates in t catalytic transformations such as oligomerization/polymerization and metathesis. This research project led to the development of a new synthetic route to osmium arene precursor complexes directly from potassium osmate – a result that has seen easier access to osmium dimers through a less toxic starting material such as osmium tetroxide.

In 2012, she was awarded a PhD by UCT (supervised by Prof. Gregory S. Smith and Dr. Anwar M. Jardine). Her research looked into the design, synthesis and characterization of novel platinum group metal (PGM) based organometallic complexes tethered onto macromolecules and biopolymers for applications in catalysis and green chemistry, with an emphasis on clean catalytic transformations in aqueous media, metal catalyst recycling/recovery and sustainability.

Banothile was awarded the UCT Science Faculty, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and National Research Foundation (NRF) Innovation Postdoc Fellowships in 2012. Her postdoc study involved the evaluation of new PGM metal-containing polymers and metallodendrimers as anti-cancer agents. This work has revealed promising insights into the cytotoxic mechanism of ruthenium- and osmium–containing complexes/ macromolecules against cancer cells that will aid rational design of metallo-drugs in the future.

Banothile is a recipient of the NRF Research Career Advancement Fellowship and is currently doing independent research with a keen interest in developing organometallic complexes and nano-catalysts to effect the catalytic transformation of renewable bio-derived feedstock to valuable chemicals, fuels/fuel additives and smart materials in a manner consistent with green chemistry principles.

She is a Scifinder Future Leader in Chemistry and German Academic Exchange (DAAD) alumnus and is a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Hope Fellow.


(April) 2015-present: Senior Lecturer, University of Johannesburg, Dept. of Chemistry.
2014-2015 (March): Lecturer and Researcher Fellow, University of Cape Town, Dept. of Chemistry.
2011-present: (Online) E- Teaching Assistant, University of South Africa, Dept.of Chemistry.


Banothile C.E Makhubela, Anwar. Jardine, Gregory S. Smith
Pd nano-sized particles supported on chitosan and 6-deoxy-6-amino chitosan as recyclable catalysts for Suzuki–Miyaura and Heck cross-coupling reactions. Applied Catalysis: A  General  393, 2011, 231-241.

Banothile C.E Makhubela, Anwar M. Jardine, Gunnar Westman and Gregory S. Smith.
Hydroformylation of 1-octene using low-generation Rh(I) metallodendritic catalysts based on a tris-2-(2-pyridyliminoethy)amine scaffold.
Dalton Transactions, 2012, 41, 10715-10723.

Banothile C.E Makhubela, Anwar. Jardine, Gregory S. Smith
Rh(I) complexes supported on a biopolymer as recyclable and selective hydroformylation catalysts.
Green Chemistry, 2012, 14, 338-347.

Emma B. Hager, Banothile C.E Makhubela and Gregory S. Smith
Sulfonate functionalised salicylaldimine dendritic cores: precursors to water soluble Rh(I) metallodendrimers for aqueous biphasic hydroformylation of 1-octene.
Dalton Transactions, 2012, 41, 13927-13935.

Banothile C. E. Makhubela, Mervin Meyer, Gregory S. Smith Evaluation of Trimetallic Ru(II)- and Os(II)-Arene Complexes as potential Anti-Cancer Agents. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry , 2014, 772-773. 229-241.

Shepherd Siangwata, Nadia Baartzes, Banothile C. E. Makhubela and Gregory S. Smith.
Synthesis, characterisation and reactivity of water-soluble ferrocenylimine-Rh(I) complexes as aqueous-biphasic hydroformylation catalyst precursors. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry , 2015, in press.

Andrew R. Burgoyne, Banothile C. E. Makhubela, Mervin Meyer, Gregory S. Smith
Trinuclear Half-Sandwich RuII, RhIII and IrIII Polyester Organometallic Complexes: Synthesis and in vitro Evaluation as Antitumor Agents
Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2015, 1433–1444.


  • Member- South African Chemical Institute (2007-present)
  • Member- Catalysis Society of South Africa (2007-present)
  • Member- American Chemical Society (2013-present)
  • Member- Nanosciences African Network (2013-present)