Itani was born at Maraxwe village in Limpopo province, outside Thohoyandou. After completing matric in 1999, her father wanted her to study nursing at the University of Venda as he felt the city life would dilute here. She proceeded with Nursing for a year at the University of Venda, but was not happy. She then spoke to her dad about it and the following year moved to the North West University in the year 2000 where she registered for a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree.
Following the completion of her undergraduate degree, she was awarded the NRF Scares skills
bursary for Hons and Masters, which Prof Kalule Sabiti had encouraged her class to apply for. The bursary covered tuition, accommodation and provided a living allowance.
Her journey as a qualified Demographer began in 2006 when she was an intern at the Institute of Security studies
(ISS) on Migration Project. During her time at ISS, she applied for a Demographer position at Stats SA
, but was unfortunately unsuccessful. She was later appointed a Data Quality officer at Stats SA in November of 2006. Four years later, she felt that the positon was no longer fulfilling her career desires and that was when she embarked on a journey as Manager for Demography in Department of Social Development (Limpopo Provincial Department).
In the Limpopo provincial department for Social Development, she worked alongside Dr Edward Kironji for five years. She was responsible for conducting demographic analysis and social research for the province. During her time in Limpopo provincial department for Social Development, she had the great pleasure and privilege of working with prominent demographers as most of the projects were commissioned or though collaboration with various organisations. This was a great platform for Itani to enhance her skills in demographic analysis and in networking.
At the end of 2015, she returned to the “place she calls home”, Stats SA. Itani was appointed as a Chief Demographer (Mortality) in the Demographic Analysis division at Statistics South Africa. Although she notes it has been a challenging a journey, she also recognizes that it has been a rewarding one too.
“For one to be a chief demographer, you need to be able to work with people, have attention to details, and be able to work under pressure. The days prior a release are a bit stressful and working as a team is helpful because we are able to encourage each other.”- Ms Itani Ntsieni