S2A3 Medal Winner Aims to Solve Africa’s Industrial Problems

S2A3 Medal Winner Aims to Solve Africa’s Industrial Problems
Professor Bice Martincigh presents Mr Chinedu Izuchukwu with the prestigious S2A3 Medal for the best Masters thesis across all the sciences and applied sciences at UKZN.

The South African Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3) Medal was awarded to Mr Chinedu Izuchukwu, a PhD candidate at UKZN, for submitting the best Masters Research dissertation at the University across all science and applied science fields. The S2A3 awards one medal to each university in South Africa annually. 

Izuchukwu is from Nigeria, where he studied at the Ebonyi State University. He was able to pursue postgraduate studies at UKZN thanks to a 2016 travel grant from the National Mathematical Centre (NMC) in Abuja, and chose to study at UKZN because of its status as one of the most productive research institutions in Africa, and the availability of the necessary research facilities at the Institution. 

His MSc research was titled: Iterative Algorithms for Approximating Solutions of Variational Inequality Problems and Monotone Inclusion Problems. ‘My research was aimed at developing different algorithms for providing solutions to optimisation problems emanating from industries and firms, since most industrial problems can be modelled as optimisation problems,’ he said. 

Izuchukwu pursued this study to make effective contributions towards the growth of industries in Africa.

Izuchukwu is continuing his PhD studies at UKZN in a similar vein, and said he felt excited, humbled and honoured at the news of receiving this prestigious Medal. 

‘The award is clear evidence that hard work and success is recognised and celebrated. This will encourage and challenge me as well as other students to invest more effort towards making useful contributions to the advancement of Science and Technology.’ 

He expressed his gratitude to God for crowning his efforts with success, as well as to his mother, Mrs Izuchukwu Anthonia Uchechukwu for the sacrifices she made for his success. He thanked his MSc supervisor Dr Oluwatosin Mewomo for his sincere and thorough supervision. He mentioned Dr Ferdinand Ogbuisi and Mr Christian Okeke for their support and contributions, as well as Mr Nnakwe Monday, Mr Igwe Obinna and Mr Udosen David. 

He expressed sincere gratitude to undergraduate instructors Professor Ugochukwu Osisoigu and Dr Jeremiah Ezeora, who provided a sound academic grounding in mathematics. 

Izuchukwu also advised students hoping to do well to keep their hopes alive and invest time, energy, and efforts towards their research and academics. 

‘Stay focused and aim towards making Africa a better place,’ he said.

Christine Cuénod


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Sportsman Doubles as a Scientist

Sportsman Doubles as a Scientist
Mr Brandon Govender spikes his way into the Biology lecture room.

As a sportsman who is into science, Mr Brandon Govender is a rare hybrid of nerd and athlete who has created a synergy that serves both passions. He has managed to use his talent for volleyball to open doors to a career in Biology; therefore bridging the gap between sports and science. 

Govender is the recipient of a UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship for his outstanding achievement in volleyball. He has played at provincial and national levels but considers his selection to the SA U23 volleyball team as a career highlight.  He has also helped the University to win two bronze, one silver and a gold medal at University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournaments.

He decided to use his scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Agriculture, Engineering, and Science. He is currently majoring in Genetics and Cellular Biology and attributes his passion for science to the TV show, “Crime Scene Investigation (CSI)”. He plans to get a PhD one day and wants to specialise in Down Syndrome research.

Govender is grateful for his scholarship and acknowledges it as a blessing. ‘This scholarship means the world to my family and I as it saved us a lot of financial stress. I cannot express how thankful I am for this opportunity,’ he said. 

Students like Govender don’t get to where they are without focus and drive. He acknowledges his parents’ tough love and no-nonsense attitude as the reason he never strayed from his path. He admits that University has pushed him to work harder, and therefore given the power to turn back the hands of time, he would tell his younger self to work harder at school. ‘Now that I am studying at University, high school seems like nothing,’ he quipped.

Like Mahatma Gandhi, Govender feels that being a change agent is the key to Inspiring Greatness. ‘You might just affect others to change as well,’ he said. He hopes that his story of using his talent to follow his passion will inspire others to do the same.
 

We asked Govender a few questions to learn more about him and his personality:
 

Q. What is your guilty pleasure?    

A. Playing other sports. Spending time with friends and fishing.
 

Q. What was the last thing you Googled? 

A. Ocean tides – for a fishing trip.

 

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?           

A. I play piano, sing and did I mention than I’m a skilled fisherman
 

Q. What is the most used App on your phone?    

A. WhatsApp.
 

Q. What song is your current “jam”?        

A. “Something just like this” by The Chainsmokers featuring Coldplay.
 

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?

A. Watching a lunar eclipse.

Sashlin Girraj


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TB Davis Scholarship Awardee Always Gives of Her Best

TB Davis Scholarship Awardee Always Gives of Her Best
TB Davis Scholarship winner Ms Roanne Sutcliffe is congratulated by her proud parents.

Masters in Bioresources Engineering candidate Ms Roanne Sutcliffe has been awarded the TB Davis Scholarship, an award given to top postgraduate students in Engineering. 

The scholarship is named after Thomas Benjamin “TB” Davis, the University’s first major private donor who funded the entire cost of the Howard College building in memory of his son, Howard Leopold, who died from injuries incurred during the Battle of the Somme in France in 1916. 

Sutcliffe’s interest in Engineering was sparked by her lifelong fascination with the environment and how things are made, thus UKZN’s offering of Bioresources Engineering was the perfect fit for her interest in the human-environmental relationship. With increasing pressure on the environment to meet a growing population’s needs, Sutcliffe sees a huge demand for agricultural and environmental engineering so that these needs can be met without incurring irreparable environmental damage. 

‘What I most enjoy is the variety of challenges presented by the field and the fact that they are dynamic,’ said Sutcliffe of the subject. 

She is grateful for the scholarship, saying that it is rewarding to have recognition for her hard work and dedication to her studies. 

Sutcliffe describes herself as very driven and highly competitive and says these traits motivate her to keep striving to do well. 

‘I was raised to have the belief that if you’re going to do something, you should do your best,’ she said. 

While Engineering studies do not leave much free time, Sutcliffe dedicates time to tutoring Mathematics and Science to high school learners in the evenings, having always loved to help people learn. She is passionate about learning herself and hopes to dedicate more time to travelling once she is done with her studies. She is also the secretary of the KwaZulu-Natal branch of the South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers

Sutcliffe is considering various options for her future and these include consulting engineering, as well as in the link between engineering and policy-making. Going into research in the latter is also a possibility on the horizon, perhaps for later PhD studies. 

She thanked her parents for their influence in her life and for instilling a good work ethic and inspiring her to do her best. She also credited Professor Jeff Smithers for encouraging her to find solutions to problems, work hard and never settle for mediocrity. 

Sutcliffe encouraged other students to give their best in all they do. 

Christine Cuénod


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Scholarship Recipient Pictures a Successful Future

Scholarship Recipient Pictures a Successful Future
Ms Aleesha Naidoo receives a Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship from Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in the College of Humanities, Professor Stephen Mutula.

Ms Aleesha Naidoo, a second year BSc student in Industrial and Applied Biotechnology at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, is one of the recipients of the Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship, awarded annually to the top five undergraduates proceeding from first to second year of study in each of the University’s four Colleges. 

Naidoo has nurtured a lifelong fascination with science and the intricacies of biological processes. She was drawn to UKZN thanks to its reputation as a well-accredited institution. Having also been inspired by the many luminaries that have graced the University’s halls, she aims to follow in their footsteps and if possible, do even better. 

She was ecstatic after being awarded the scholarship, never having imagined it. Naidoo says that the innovative subjects she is studying provide a wide range of fields of study and she enjoys the challenges they present, allowing her to get involved in a hands-on manner and keeping her mind engaged. 

What keeps Naidoo motivated is the knowledge that she is blazing a trail for her own future. Excelling in her studies also provides a great sense of satisfaction and Naidoo says as a competitive person she is always striving to break her own records. 

It’s not all work and no play for the studious Naidoo; she is an avid gaming fanatic, finding the world of gaming a great stress-reliever.  She is also a keen swimmer. 

Naidoo hopes to pursue a career in biotechnological and genetic research.  ‘I want to be part of activities aimed at research toward the curing of illnesses and production of medication that will help with this,’ said Naidoo. 

She credited her family, particularly her mother, for encouraging her to strive for success and to remain focused on her goals. It is this unswerving focus that she says is key for success in one’s studies. 

‘Always set goals for yourself and try your best never to give in to things that will pose a distraction to your studies, no matter how tempting,’ advised Naidoo.

Christine Cuénod


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UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship Awardee Pursues Malaria Solutions

UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship Awardee Pursues Malaria Solutions
Mr Nasir Tajuddeen received the prestigious UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship.

Mr Nasir Tajuddeen has been awarded the UKZN Doctoral Research Scholarship, one of the University’s most prestigious awards to students at senior postgraduate level. The scholarship is awarded annually to a maximum of four top PhD candidates at the University. 

Tajuddeen is a chemist, pursuing his innovative PhD studies on the topic of antimalarial agents derived from South African medicinal plants. Continuing the tradition that saw two of the most effective treatments for the disease, quinine and artemisinin, derived from South American and Chinese plants respectively, Tajuddeen is  working to isolate antimalarial agents from South African medicinal plants traditionally used for treating malaria. 

Once these agents are isolated, Tajuddeen will modify the compounds by chemical reaction for improved efficacy. This is becoming increasingly important as cases of drug-resistant malaria parasites arise. Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden yet is the only affected region that has not contributed to the drug pool. 

Tajuddeen, who studied his BSc and MSc at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Nigeria before coming to UKZN, was drawn to this institution by the work being done in this field by UKZN researchers like his supervisor Professor Fanie van Heerden, and was impressed by the calibre of the alumni he met. He always had a natural proclivity for chemistry and found himself fitting into the field naturally when enrolled in the programme as his second choice. 

An aspiring academic, Tajuddeen hopes to be able to contribute to the identification and isolation of compounds with the potential to be used in the treatment of the life-threatening disease. He also hopes that his work will lead to advancement in the academic sphere through high-level publications and aims to teach in a university environment one day thanks to the example set by his role models. 

Tajuddeen said he felt humbled and elated to be selected as a recipient of this scholarship having made it through a rigorous selection process. 

Tajuddeen expressed his gratitude to his instructors at ABU for preparing him for the challenges of rigorous academic work, especially Aliyu M Musa, and colleagues and friends MB Isah and Dr MA Ibrahim, who facilitated his coming to UKZN. He also thanked van Herdeen for all the knowledge and experience he is gaining from her daily.

Christine Cuénod


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Canoeist Makes the Most of Sport and Studies

Canoeist Makes the Most of Sport and Studies
Ms Donna Hutton in competition.

Ms Donna Hutton, a South African under 23 canoeist and first year BSc student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is one of the recipients of the UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship. The Sports Scholarship is awarded for outstanding achievement in sports at international, national or provincial level. 

The Epworth alumnus has just returned from Romania where she competed in the 2017 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Sprint Junior and U23 World Championships. She is doing a BSc with the hope of progressing to do a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which will enable her to become a high school mathematics teacher while also leaving the door open to other scientific careers. 

Hutton enjoys the problem solving and mathematical thinking required by her studies and chose to study at UKZN because of its proximity to her coach and canoeing team. Pietermaritzburg’s drift boasts some of the best sprinters in the country, which she was loath to leave to study elsewhere. 

In order to balance her busy schedule of training and studies, Hutton ensures that she remains alert and focused in all of her lectures, tutorials and practical sessions in order to minimise the amount of extra academic work she has to do outside of those times. This enables her to spend that time training, although when competitions roll around she has to dedicate all of her attention to her preparations, using the time off after racing to catch up on her studies. 

Hutton has represented South Africa in the World Championships four times, and in 2014 competed in the Youth Olympics. She has the Olympics set in her sights for the future. 

Hutton expressed her excitement at receiving a UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship and her gratitude at being selected. Given that paddling is an expensive and poorly-funded sport, the scholarship removes considerable financial pressure and enables Hutton to study as well as take part in tours and make the most of her training. 

She credited her coach, Mr Craig Mustard, for the hard work he puts into training her and fellow teammates at High-Performance Training. She also thanked her parents for their support and for allowing and making it possible for her to follow her dreams. 

Hutton advised other athletes who are studying to ensure that they are doing what they love in both their sport and their studies. 

‘The only way to successfully balance a sporting career and academic studies is if you love it and want to do it because that will motivate you to go out and make the most of each and every day,’ said Hutton. 

Christine Cuénod


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Hard Work Earns Masters Student TB Davis Scholarship

Hard Work Earns Masters Student TB Davis Scholarship
Mr Atish Deoraj was awarded the TB Davis Scholarship.

Mr Atish Deoraj was awarded the TB Davis Scholarship for being one of the top achieving Master’s students in the School of Engineering

Deoraj, who is pursuing an MSc in Engineering (Civil Engineering), said he felt overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude that his hard work was being recognised by the University.  ‘I am pleased that it has all paid off.’ 

He lists his parents as role models.  ‘I come from humble beginnings, being born into a small farming household. My parents’ success in life, despite numerous hardships, is because they persevered to get to where they are today.’ 

Like many other children, Deoraj was fascinated by how things work and this interest has carried on into adulthood.   He enjoyed physical sciences and technical drawing at school, which paved the way for him to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering. 

Deoraj describes himself as an easy-going person who is motivated, hardworking and also works well under pressure.  ‘I always push myself when it comes to crunch time,’ he said. 

Deoraj is looking forward to starting work next year in the highly interesting and exciting field of coastal engineering. 

‘Experience in the field is my main goal for the near future, but I aim to begin working on my PhD at some point following the completion of my MSc,’ he explained. 

During his spare time, Deoraj likes to keep active by going to the gym, playing indoor football and pursuing outdoor activities like hiking. On the other end of the scale, however, he is also an avid “Call of Duty” fan and player.

Manqoba Hadebe


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Prowess on the Rugby Field Earns Student a Scholarship

Prowess on the Rugby Field Earns Student a Scholarship
Prowess on the rugby field earned Mr Lindelwe Cele a UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship.

Sharks Under 18 player and BSc student Mr Lindelwe Cele has been honoured with a UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship for his sterling achievement on the rugby field.

The UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship is awarded to students who have shown outstanding achievement in sport at a provincial, national or international level. Cele is currently doing his first year of a BSc Property Development degree at Howard College and feels grateful to be awarded this scholarship. 

‘I come from a disadvantaged background and have always had to work hard for a lot of things. This scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to play the game I love and study at the same time. For this I am extremely grateful,’ he said. 

While his late mother had hoped that he would one day become a doctor so that he could help people, Cele believes his chosen career will still allow him to do just that.  ‘My plans for the future are to complete my degree and pursue a job in the construction industry as a Quantity Surveyor. Also, I am a lover of sports so I would like to coach part time just to remain involved,’ said Cele. 

He likes to play FIFA video games as well as work out on the rugby field and go to the gym. ‘I’m a laid back person. Anything “chilled” is a hobby of mine.’ 

He says his late mother was his role model.  ‘She had a heart of gold and she taught me everything, especially how to be a humble person,’ he said.  

Manqoba Hadebe


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Vincent Maphai Scholarship Recipient off to MIT

Vincent Maphai Scholarship Recipient off to MIT
Ms Zahra Essack outside the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA.

The accolades keep rolling in for top-performing Master’s student, Ms Zahra Essack, who was recently awarded the Vincent Maphai Scholarship. 

The Scholarship, named after the first University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Chair of Council, was awarded to Essack for being the top-ranked Masters student at the University.  

Essack’s Master’s degree thesis is titled: Searching for Exoplanets Using the Transit Method. 

She has also been awarded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Presidential Fellowship and will be pursuing her PhD in Planetary Sciences at MIT in the US, starting this September. 

Essack expressed gratitude for the scholarship, saying:   ‘It is a particular honour to be associated with such a prestigious scholarship and to have my postgraduate work recognised.’ 

She acknowledged the dedicated academic staff in the School of Chemistry and Physics and the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. ‘I have been fortunate to learn from and work with world-class researchers, who have inspired me and helped me to grow as a scientist and a researcher.’ 

Essack’s fascination with planets started from an early age after watching “The Universe”, a TV documentary series which explored planets in the solar system. 

Her interest in exoplanets, chemistry and physics led her to register for a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science at UKZN after she matriculated from Westville Girls’ High School in 2012. 

Essack breezed through her undergraduate degree and attained certificates of merit in all her modules. In addition, she received the Dean’s Commendation for all six semesters. It was inevitable that Essack successfully completed her undergraduate degree summa cum laude

In 2016, Essack pursued her Bachelor of Science Honours degree in the School of Chemistry and Physics. The title of her Honours project was: Hunting for Exoplanets with Kepler. Essack obtained eight certificates of merit, the Dean’s Commendation and graduated summa cum laude

‘Studying toward my Honours degree was a challenging and rewarding experience, combining taking courses in all areas of physics as well as undertaking research that follows strict academic protocol,’ said Essack. ‘I came away from my degree more knowledgeable in all areas of physics.  Moreover, my chosen research area (exoplanets) had prepared me for my future research career.’ 

Professor Mark Tame (Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Physics) said: ‘I am very pleased to hear that Zahra has been given the Vincent Maphai Scholarship award. Indeed, she will soon be starting her PhD studies at MIT in US, a fitting place for her to develop further intellectually and learn from some of the best scientific researchers in the world.’ 

Professor Kavilan Moodley (Course Co-ordinator, Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit) said: ‘Zahra performed exceptionally well in her Honours degree and is currently completing her Masters degree. She has an extremely bright research career ahead of her.’ 

Dr Cynthia Chiang (Senior Lecturer, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science) said: ‘We in the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit are extremely proud of Zahra for all that she has accomplished.  Her relentless curiosity about the natural world will be an inspiration to others as she continues to advance her studies.’

Leena Rajpal


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Mechanical Engineering Student Inspired by her Father

Mechanical Engineering Student Inspired by her Father
Ms Kwanele Khumalo received a Frene Ginwala Scholarship.

Ms Kwanele Khumalo’s hard work paid off when she was honoured with a Frene Ginwala Scholarship, a prestige entrance award that recognises exceptional young Black women. 

Khumalo, a former pupil of Isolomuzi Secondary School near Vryheid is now pursuing a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering at Howard College. She said her love for engineering started from a young age. 

‘My father is a mechanic and fixing cars and engines simply fascinated me as a young girl.  So my background has been a major influence in me pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering,’ she said. 

Khumalo expressed her appreciation for the scholarship saying she was grateful that her hard work to date had been recognised. ‘This award will surely boost my confidence and financial well-being,’ she said. 

Khumalo’s father serves as her role model because he has not only loved and supported her, but more importantly, he has always motivated her to do her best, especially in her studies. 

‘My goal is to finish my degree cum laude,’ said Khumalo.  ‘Then I would love to continue my studies as a postgraduate to a point where I have gained enough experience to work in a top company like Sasol.’ 

Khumalo described herself as a hardworking, goal driven and highly motivated person who always focused on producing a good result. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, fixing cars and going out with friends and family.

Manqoba Hadebe


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Passion for Sports and Statistics Motivates High Achiever

Passion for Sports and Statistics Motivates High Achiever
Ms Nina Grundlingh (right) with fellow UKZN runner, Alex Nxumalo at the 2017 Two Oceans half marathon finish line.

BSc student and formidable triathlete, Ms Nina Grundlingh was awarded the UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship for her outstanding achievement in participating in the KwaZulu-Natal Women’s Triathlon team. 

Hailing from St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Kloof, Ms Nina Grundlingh represented her school in Water Polo, swimming, cross-country and athletics. She was even the cross-country Captain in Matric. 

Grundlingh never competed on a serious level in triathlons at school, however, as she focused mainly on her academic studies. 

After matriculating with exceptional results, she registered at the UKZN to pursue a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Statistics and Applied Mathematics in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. Her hard work saw her receiving an undergraduate scholarship. 

After battling with a running injury, Grundlingh looked into a non-weight bearing workout to help aid the healing process. This resulted in her spending a significant amount of time in swimming, spinning classes and gym. It was during this period that she developed a keen interest in triathlons.

Within the first year of competing in triathlons, she qualified to represent KwaZulu-Natal at the South African National Championships.

A grateful Grundlingh said: ‘The financial assistance of this scholarship has helped me invest in my sport as I continue to strive towards being the best athlete I can be. This scholarship has helped me realise the potential I hold as a triathlete and has given me extra motivation to work towards my triathlon goals.’

Dr Jane Morgan, Lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science said: ‘The UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship is a much welcomed and appreciated award and I believe that her present triathlon competitions will give positive outcomes for the University and its reputation.’

Dr Karen Bargate, Senior Lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance said: ‘Nina is a hardworking, dedicated, humble person and this is evident in both her academic and athletic achievements. Nina has managed to balance the training with her studies and excel in both academics and triathlon.’

Grundlingh’s parents are very proud of their daughter.  ‘She has big dreams for herself in triathlons and is looking into combining her academics in Statistics with her sporting career. This has all been made possible by the scholarship award and we as parents will always be very grateful and appreciative of the trust the University has put into our daughter.’

Grundlingh’s future academic plans include undertaking her Honours degree in Statistics and merging her passion for triathlons with analysing data. Her goal is also to qualify for a Triathlon World Champs.

Leena Rajpal


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Frene Ginwala Recipient Seizes Her Opportunities

Frene Ginwala Recipient Seizes Her Opportunities
Ms Perm Mthethwa was a Frene Ginwala Scholarship winner.

Ms Perm Mthethwa, a first year student in Bioresources Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on the Pietermaritzburg campus, says receiving the Frene Ginwala Scholarship has motivated her to work even harder in her studies. 

Named after the first Chancellor of UKZN, the scholarship is awarded to top Black African female entrants coming into the University as new undergraduate students in all disciplines. 

Mthethwa was drawn to the field of Bioresources Engineering owing to it being a scarce skill as that raises prospects of employment security. In choosing the field of study she was also influenced by her father who encouraged her to pursue a qualification in a field that contributes to society and aids in ensuring food security for a growing population. Mthethwa also enjoys the complexity of the Discipline of Engineering. 

‘It gives me a sort of adrenaline rush to solve problems and do both mathematical and mechanical calculations,’ she said. 

Mthethwa says she chose to study at UKZN because of the University’s reputation for being a leading research institution, and also because it has the resources to equip students with quality skills, education and training. 

The top achiever, who matriculated from Thukela Secondary in Mandeni, is motivated by her insatiable hunger for success and excellence. 

Mthethwa hopes to pursue her studies to postgraduate level and one day to make a difference in her field by collaborating with other professions to innovate and enhance agricultural engineering practices. 

She thanked her family, teachers and bursary funders the Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE), for providing mental, academic and financial support respectively. 

Mthethwa encouraged other students to take the initiative to seize the opportunities that come their way.

‘Everything has its timing and everyone can decide their own fate,’ said Mthethwa. ‘Either you snooze and lose, or you pull up your socks and get what belongs to you; it’s all in the palm of your hands, don’t let it slip away.’

Christine Cuénod


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Scholarship Opens Doors for Budding Geologist

Scholarship Opens Doors for Budding Geologist
Mandisa Mvunyana stands on top of striations left by glaciers, evidencing continental drift.

Ms Mandisa Mvuyana, a Frene Ginwala Scholarship recipient, describes herself as an outdoor person, who enjoyed learning about the Earth and its resources at school. This shaped her love for Geology, and is the reason that she’s not scared to get her hands dirty while pursuing her passion. 

She considers getting an A symbol for Agricultural Science in matric as her greatest achievement thus far, as it ushered her towards a vocation as a Geologist. This achievement earned her the scholarship thus opening doors to University for her. 

This scholarship is awarded to African female entrants coming into the University as new undergraduate students. She is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Sciences, in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science

Mvuyana is grateful to the University for investing in her future and sees it as prestigious opportunity. ‘It is a blessing that helps me with fees and I’m very honoured to receive this scholarship,’ she said. 

Mvuyana acknowledged that the University positively affects communities by investing in African women, through initiatives like the Frene Ginwala Scholarship. ‘They should continue to fund other African females because this inspires high school learners to excel in their studies,’ she said.

Her mentor and fellow student, Ms Ncedile Mbokazi, has a lot of faith in Mvuyana’s abilities. ‘Mandisa has the greatest skill of listening and applying what she has been taught,’ she said. Mvuyana said that the support she gets from her friends and family is the main reason she excels. 

Mvuyana will relentlessly pursue her dreams, no matter how big. ‘I aspire to be one of the most successful female Geologists in my time,’ she said. With such ambition, her future looks bright. 

We asked Mandisa a few questions to learn more about her:
 

Q. What is your guilty pleasure?    

A. Typing lol with a straight face, when texting friends.
 

Q. What was the last thing you Googled? 

A. How to cook chakalaka.
 

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?           

A. I think I’m pretty good at teaching.
 

Q. What is the most used App on your phone?    
A. Facebook.
 

Q. What song is your current “jam”?        

A. “Uyalalelwa” by Joyous Celebration.

 

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?

A. Playing indigenous games. 

Sashlin Girraj


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The Next Albert Einstein?

The Next Albert Einstein?
Mr Nashlen Govindasamy playing Chess.

Already boasting a total of 17 certificates of merit and three Dean’s Commendations, it is no surprise that third-year BSc student Mr Nashlen Govindasamy has been awarded the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship. 

After matriculating from Star College with eight distinctions, Govindasamy felt it was only natural to register for a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree at UKZN in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. 

Attaining the Dean’s Commendation in his first year with five certificates of merit, Govindasamy was one of very few students who decided to undertake three majors. ‘I appreciated problems which could be solved creatively and this led me to major in Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Computer Science,’ said Govindasamy. 

His exceptional academic performance continued in his second year of study with him attaining seven certificates of merit and another Dean’s Commendation. Already in the first semester of his third year, Govindasamy has achieved five certificate of merit and the Dean’s Commendation. 

The College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship recognises top performing undergraduates over two or more years. With such exceptional results, it is very apt that Govindasamy is a recipient of this scholarship for the College. 

‘I am humbled to have received this award and grateful for the academic excellence that UKZN nurtures. Receiving this award has certainly been an inspiring moment in my UKZN experience,’ said Govindasamy. 

Coupled with his interest in Mathematics, Govindasamy also plays chess for the South African Chess team. He started to play chess at the tender age of nine and went on to win the KwaZulu-Natal Chess Championship. 

His main goal is to carry out research and ultimately to have a positive influence on humanity. 

Dr Paran Pillay, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science described Govindasamy as one of the most exceptional students she has ever taught.  ‘He is one of those very rare students who is able to create his own Mathematics, usually working it all out in his head rather than on paper,’ she said.   ‘On many occasions, I saw this in action where I would ask him to do a tutorial problem on the board, which he apparently had not seen before, and he would do it there for the first time.’ 

Another Lecturer, Mr Anban Pillay echoed similar sentiments adding that Govindasamy has the potential to be an exceptional scholar. ‘His academic performance is phenomenal but his depth of understanding, especially of Mathematics, makes this student truly phenomenal. We have great expectations of any future career he embarks on and hope that he decides to pursue a path in academia.’ 

Proud father, Mr Colin Govindasamy praised his son whom he said has always shown dedication. ‘I am extremely pleased with his results and appreciate that the University has acknowledged his efforts,’ he said. 

Leena Rajpal


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Protecting the Environment High on Top Achiever’s Agenda

Protecting the Environment High on Top Achiever’s Agenda
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Scholarship recipient Mr Mduduzi Zulu.

Mr Mduduzi Zulu is one of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s top-ranking undergraduates; and for this achievement he received the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship. 

Zulu is in his fourth and final year of study for a BSc degree in Civil Engineering.  After graduating, he plans to use his qualification to play a meaningful role in solving problems facing society, such as water scarcity. 

‘Global issues need more research in order to come up with new strategies to reduce things such as greenhouse gases. I would like to implement ways to protect our environment.’ 

Whilst delighted to receive his award, Zulu regards it as motivation to study even harder. He plans to work for a private company in the immediate future in order to gain sufficient work experience.  Earning postgraduate qualifications including a Masters degree and possibly even a PhD, also form part of his future aspirations. 

Zulu said that Professor Thokozani Majozi, the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation SARChI Chair in Sustainable Process Engineering based at Witwatersrand is his role model.  

‘Majozi’s major contribution to research to date has been the development of a continuous time framework for the synthesis of batch plants and a novel technique for near zero-effluent batch chemical facilities. Both these contributions have been adopted by industry,’ explained Zulu. ‘I am motivated by him to contribute to the field of engineering for the benefit of future generations.’ 

Whilst Zulu regards himself as a religious, hardworking and determined individual, he reckons he also knows how to have fun despite his busy schedule.

Manqoba Hadebe


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The Only Way is Up for Budding Scientist

The Only Way is Up for Budding Scientist
Deputy Vice-Chancellor scholarship winner Mr Christian Acheampong.

Mr Christian Acheampong is a budding scientist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, whose great drive and potential have earned him the Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship. 

We placed him “under the microscope” to learn about his story as he rises to greatness. 

It was at his high school, Sastri College, where Acheampong discovered his love for Science. ‘I had always enjoyed Science in high school and developed an interest in Genetics in Matric,’ he recalled. 

This led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Genetics, in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. The scholarship he received is awarded to the College’s top five undergraduates, proceeding from first to second year. 

‘This scholarship means a great deal for me and my family, as I have no funding and my parents are finding it hard to pay my fees,’ he said. 

His future plans include: finishing his degree, furthering his studies and working in a laboratory as an intern as he wants to gain enough experience to run his own laboratory one day.  

Acheampong looks to his family for support and motivation. ‘My mom and dad inspire me to be the best I can be, every day,’ he said.  His family has a great deal of faith in him; his sister Ms Annita Acheampong said. ‘I have known my brother to be a hard worker and have seen him progress through tough times.’ 

Acheampong has not let his humble background stand in the way of him achieving his dreams. He is on his way up and just needs to hold on for the ride.

We asked Christian a few questions to learn more about him:

Q. What is your guilty pleasure?    

A. Playing video games and mobile games.
 

Q. What was the last thing you Googled? 

A. Ubiquity of microbes.
 

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?           

A. Yes, I’m quite skilled with a basketball.
 

Q. What is the most used App on your phone?    

A. WhatsApp – instant messenger.
 

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?

A. Spending Christmas with my extended family.

Sashlin Girraj


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Mathematician Equates Hard Work with Success

Mathematician Equates Hard Work with Success
Mr Kishan Dayram caught in the act of solving yet another mathematical problem.

Mathematics is synonymous with precision, abstraction and logical thinking and this is what drew the Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship recipient, Mr Kishan Dayaram, to the field. ‘I’ve always loved maths because I enjoy problem-solving and every maths problem has one correct answer,’ he says. 

Despite possessing a natural aptitude for Mathematics from a young age, he wasn’t sure if it was the right path for him. He knew, however, that if he persisted and worked hard he would get to where he wanted to be. ‘I would tell my younger self that everything is going to be fine. Even if you don’t know what you are doing, just keep at it. It will all work out,’ he mused. 

This tenacity led Dayaram to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Maths and Statistics, from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. He seems to have developed a winning formula for mathematical excellence and for this he has been rewarded with the Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to the College’s top five undergraduates proceeding from first to second year of study. 

‘It is a great opportunity that allows me to focus on my studies and it motivates me to work hard and continue learning. Thank you for this opportunity and for recognising my achievements,’ he said. 

Dayaram acknowledged the supportive role his parents have played in his story. 

His mother, Indrani Dayaram, is very proud of her son and his achievements. She described him as a strong, mature, helpful and dependable individual. 

Dayaram is not afraid to try new things because he lives by the words of bicycle racer, Jens Voigt, who once said: ‘If you try to win you might lose, but if you don’t try to win you will lose for sure!’ For this reason, he wants to delve deeper into his studies and conduct research in pure Mathematics. 

When asked what inspiring greatness means to him, his answer is clear and simple. ‘It means to push someone to be the best they can be and not to settle for anything less.’ The Maths programme at UKZN also pushes students to their limits and requires their best, therefore very few excel.  With his high standards and formidable work ethic, it is clear that the odds for success will always favour Dayaram. 

We asked Dayaram a few questions:
 

Q. What is your guilty pleasure?    

A. Watching videos on YouTube.


Q. What was the last thing you Googled? 

A. Chess24 – live chess playing website.
 

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?           

A. They are so well hidden that I don’t even know what they are.


Q. What is the most used App on your phone?    
A. Chess app
 

Q. What song is your current “jam”?        

A. “What would I change it to” by Avicii
 

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?

            A. Going on holiday with family.

Sashlin Girraj


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Curiosity the Winning Formula

Curiosity the Winning Formula
Ms Stephanie Fraser analysing a sample of “lycopene” that she extracted from tomato products.

Ever since she was a child, Ms Stephanie Fraser has had an inquisitive mind. ‘I have always been curious about how things work in our world,’ she recalls. It is this curiosity that guided the Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship recipient towards a career in Science and she has never looked back. 

During high school, Fraser’s subject choices were diverse because she wanted to keep her career options open. Despite having some trepidation at first, she stands by this decision as it gave her a broad perspective. ‘I would tell my younger self to enjoy all subjects because even though I didn’t understand why I was taking them, I later realised nothing learned is futile,’ she said. 

Years later and Fraser still has a curious mind, something that her father, Mr David Fraser, attests to. ‘She keeps asking why with the vigour of a three-year old, who has just learnt the power of questions to unravel the truth,’ he joked. 

Her curiosity led Fraser to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Chemistry, from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, a programme in which she has proven to be a diligent student.  For this she received the Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship which is awarded to the College’s top five undergraduates proceeding from first to second year of study. 

Fraser recognises the financial relief the scholarship provides and commends the University for investing in its students. ‘I’m extremely grateful for their generosity and the financial support that this scholarship provides. It’s a wonderful thing to support the growth and education of the next generation.’ 

‘I think that an institution with enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, challenging course material and an uplifting, forward-thinking community, inspires students to strive for greatness. For me, UKZN has certainly fulfilled all of these.’ 

Life balance and integrity hold more significance to Fraser than career success. ‘I pride myself on leading a balanced life, staying true to myself and holding fast to my values. That, to me, is an achievement,’ she explained. She attributes her humility and maturity to the support received from her friends and family. 

Like everyone, Fraser is looking to stamp her mark on the world. ‘I hope that one day I will make discoveries that will change people’s lives or at the very least, my own,’ she said. With her drive, tenacity and ability to question, there’s no doubt that she’ll find the right answers.

We asked Fraser a few questions to learn more about her:
 

Q. What is your guilty pleasure?    

A. I enjoy a glass of Prosecco more than I’d like to admit.
 

Q. What was the last thing you Googled? 

A. Why does my cat sleep on my face?
 

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?           

A. I have been playing the violin and piano since I was five years old and am currently a member of the Durban City Orchestra.
 

Q. What is the most used App on your phone?    
A. iTunes - I can’t live without my music.
 

Q. What song is your current “jam”?        

A. “You get what you give” by the New Radicals
 

Q. What is your fondest childhood memory?

            A. Riding horses in the Drakensberg mountains with my sisters (and almost dying in the process).

Sashlin Girraj


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Mandela Rhodes Scholar Pursues a Passion for Education

Mandela Rhodes Scholar Pursues a Passion for Education
Ms Simangele Msweli is the recipient of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship.

Ms Simangele Msweli is the recipient of a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for academic excellence and leadership. 

The Masters candidate in the School of Life Sciences is conducting research on the topic of ecological facilitation in two similar-looking indigenous plants (Sabea grandis and Thunbergia atriplicifolia) that often coexist in South African grasslands. Her supervisor is Professor Steven Johnson. Once she has completed her Masters, Msweli plans to pursue PhD studies. 

Msweli has harboured an interest in the natural world since childhood, having grown up close to the isiMangaliso Wetland Park (IWP). Msweli received a bursary from the IWP for her undergraduate studies at UKZN. Since joining the University she has participated in the Golden Key International Honour Society International Summit 2015 in Australia, the 2016 Tropical Biology Association fieldwork course in Uganda, the 2017 Student Conference on Conservation Science in the United Kingdom, and the 2017 International Botanical Congress in China. 

Apart from dedicating her life to the natural world through research, she is also committed to contributing in the policy-making process, and to paving the way for other young people to do so. 

‘Given the history of conservation in South Africa, conservation should not be prioritised at the expense of human rights,’ said Msweli. 

She has participated in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD) as a youth delegate in India (2012) and Mexico (2016). She recently assisted the Global Youth Biodiversity Network team in preparing and facilitating the African youth capacity-building workshop, hosted in South Africa, to enhance young people’s understanding of the CBD process and the use of documents as tools to influence change. 

During her studies, Msweli was part of the Golden Key Honour Society for over three years, serving as President for the UKZN Pietermaritzburg committee in 2015 and Service Director in 2014. She was also involved in the Black Management Forum in 2015. Currently, she is part of the executive board of the South African Youth Climate Change Coalition (SAYCCC). 

Msweli received an Abe Bailey travel bursary during her studies, which involved a tour of universities and institutions in the United Kingdom. This included a leadership and professional development element, leading Msweli to become more involved with community work. 

Using the leadership skills and connections she has developed, Msweli has pioneered projects in the field of education in Africa. She has been involved in projects like the Uplift Youth in Africa group, founded by UKZN in June 2014, which mentors and gives academic guidance to schoolchildren across Africa. 

Part of her passion for education has been encouraged by activities Msweli was able to get involved in at UKZN, including presentations at international summits, professional society conferences and courses. 

‘Being part of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation has showed me the connectedness and disconnectedness of the African continent, therefore equipping me to be more effective in projects I am involved in that seek to bring a positive change in South Africa and Africa at large,’ she said. 

Christine Cuénod


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Mandela Rhodes Scholar Strives for a Sustainable Future through Engineering

Mandela Rhodes Scholar Strives for a Sustainable Future through Engineering
Mr Emmanuel Balogun was a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship recipient.

Mandela Rhodes Scholar Mr Emmanuel Balogun, a Masters candidate in Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), envisions a future where sustainable energy saves lives, inspiring his research that he hopes will add value to the industry he will join. 

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation (MRF) provides these postgraduate scholarships to high academic achievers who demonstrate leadership, commitment to community engagement and reconciliation, and a spirit of entrepreneurship. 

Balogun is from Nigeria, but chose UKZN for his Masters owing to its reputation as a research-led institution. He wanted to enroll in an African institution where creativity was encouraged and excellent mentorship was available. He was also excited to explore the beautiful city of Durban. 

Balogun initially considered studying medicine and was deterred only by blood phobia (hemophobia). His love of mathematics and physics provided an alternative in engineering, where he could channel his curiosity and analytical skills into understanding technology and provide quality, affordable technologies to improve lives. 

His research involves condition monitoring and optimisation of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.

‘Fuel cells are the future of energy generation,’ said Balogun. ‘Imagine driving a car not powered by fossil fuels or even batteries, but rather by a device that has an energy efficiency rate of 83%, with pure water the only waste product.’ 

Balogun advocates for clean and sustainable energy in an energy-hungry society suffering the consequences of accelerated development and energy needs. 

‘I believe I can add to cutting-edge breakthroughs in the operation and implementation of fuel cell energy,’ he said. 

Balogun said that receiving this scholarship has rewarded his drive for excellence. He has benefitted from sharing platforms with brilliant young African leaders and said opportunities provided by the MRF have increased his capacity as a young African leader and relieved the burden of sponsorship of his studies. 

Balogun is a passionate volunteer teacher of grade nine mathematics at a public school. He is motivated to do well by his mother, who raised her six children on her own despite numerous challenges. She encouraged Balogun to believe he could be the best. He credits her for taking him from average to excellent, stopping at nothing to help him attain an education to free him from poverty. 

Upon completion of his Masters, Balogun plans to join the energy industry, but also sees potential for continuing with a PhD. 

He acknowledged God for his success, as well as his mother, and the MRF for having faith in his potential and providing an excellent platform for building strong leadership, academic and entrepreneurial skills. 

Balogun emphasised the importance of being diligent in one’s work, saying curiosity and humility are important, as is self-belief and being surrounded by people who encourage improvement. 

‘Never accept failure or impossibilities - spell impossible as ‘I’m possible’ and see failure as an opportunity to learn,’ said Balogun. 

In September, Balogun will travel to the African Youth Leadership Summit in Morocco to discuss solutions to African challenges with other young African leaders.

Christine Cuénod


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The Sky is the Limit for Determined Scholarship Winner

The Sky is the Limit for Determined Scholarship Winner
Ms Sinethemba Dlamini receives her Frene Ginwala Scholarship.

Ms Sinethemba Dlamini, a recipient of the Frene Ginwala scholarship, says financing her studies is now the least of her worries having been awarded the prestigious scholarship. 

Named after the first Chancellor of UKZN and the former Speaker of Parliament, the Frene Ginwala scholarships are special prestige entrant equity awards made to top Black African female entrants coming into the University as new undergraduate students in all disciplines. Scoring excellent grades in matric is what earned Dlamini the scholarship. 

Dlamini attended Nondenisa Secondary in rural KwaZulu-Natal before coming to UKZN where she is pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering on the Howard College campus. She said being awarded this scholarship was a dream come true.

‘The reason I say this is because after being awarded this scholarship, financing my studies has become the least of my worries.  It has enabled and motivated me to carry on working hard on my studies.’ 

When she was in Grade 10, Dlamini attended a women’s engineering workshop on campus which she credits for influencing her choice of academic programme. 

‘It made it clear to me that engineering is not for men only.  Being part of Protec exposed me to different engineering fields because I was shadowing in factories like Huletts and FFS Refinery. This made me decide that I wanted to do chemical engineering,’ said Dlamini. 

Dlamini credits her mother as being her role model because despite being uneducated and not having a stable job, she always made sure they never went to bed on an empty stomach. ‘My mother made sure I had all that I needed for school throughout my primary and secondary school years,’ she said. 

‘I want to work for a big company like Sasol and after four years of working, I wish to further my studies, hopefully to a PhD level, whilst working,’ said Dlamini.

Manqoba Hadebe


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Top Genetics Student Scoops Two Scholarships

Top Genetics Student Scoops Two Scholarships
Double Honours Scholarship winner Ms Amica Muller-Nedebock with UKZN Vice-Chancellor Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

Earlier this year, Honours student Ms Amica Corda Muller-Nedebock scooped two Merck Awards for Best Third Year Genetics and Microbiology student. Before that she had received the Dean’s Commendation award for three years in a row and graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude. In the first semester of her Honours degree, Muller-Nedebock has already attained three certificates of merit. 

It was therefore not surprising that Muller-Nedebock was awarded the Zac Yacoob Scholarship, named after Judge Zakeria Yacoob, a former Constitutional Court judge of distinction and the last Chancellor of the erstwhile University of Durban-Westville.  This prestige award goes to the student deemed to be the single best Honours student in the entire University. 

Muller-Nedebock also received the Maryam Babangida Scholarship, awarded to the best female student, in the entire University, proceeding from undergraduate to honours study.  

‘The scholarships are my motivation to complete my Honours degree to the best of my ability and prove myself worthy of being presented with such prestigious awards. For me, it is an acknowledgement of all my hard work and time which I have invested in my studies, and I am grateful for this recognition,’ she said. 

She is currently in her second semester undertaking two modules and the research project. Her research project focuses on the phylogenetic relationships of Bulinus globosus snails - the intermediate hosts of the parasite Schistosoma haematobium, which causes bilharzia. 

Her UKZN journey started in 2014 when she enrolled for a Bachelor of Science degree after matriculating top of her class from Saint Benedict School in Pinetown in 2013. 

‘I have always been self-motivated, hardworking and determined to do my best. In addition, having the support of my family, I chose to study a BSc degree in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science,’ said Muller-Nedebock. 

Although faced with the countless assignments, tests, tutorials and practicals, Muller-Nedebock was able to refine her time-management, research and scientific writing skills.  

Dr Oliver Zishiri, of the School of Life Sciences (Discipline of Genetics) said: ‘I feel very privileged to be the Honours project supervisor as well as a lecturer for such a brilliant student. She has always excelled in her undergraduate studies and I felt quite excited when she approached me to be her supervisor.’ 

Parents, Mat and Walli Muller-Nedebock, commented on their daughter’s achievements, saying: ‘Amica has always been self-motivated and driven and it is truly wonderful that her hard work and achievements are being recognised, as she is more than deserving of such acknowledgement.’

Leena Rajpal


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Computer Engineering Student Out in Front Once Again

Computer Engineering Student Out in Front Once Again
Mr Ben Sapo who won a Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship is congratulated by Professor Naven Chetty, Acting Dean of Teaching and Learning.

Fourth-year Computer Engineering student Mr Ben Sapo has emerged victorious once again, as he has been honoured for his top academic achievements with a College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship. 

This is not the first time he has received this accolade having received the same award last year. 

The scholarship is awarded to each of the three top-ranked undergraduate students proceeding from second year to subsequent years of study within a College.  Sapo has indeed proven his dedication and academic focus. 

Sapo said the scholarship had taken away the burden of paying for his fees.  ‘I feel honoured to receive this award,’ he said. 

Computers have always been a passion for Sapo, but it was his brother who inspired him to pursue Computer Engineering.  ‘My brother did the (Computer Engineering) degree and I saw the really cool projects that he did, where he incorporated electronics with programming,’ he explained. 

Sapo considers himself an ambitious person who always sets new goals to achieve in his work. As hardworking as Sapo is, in his spare time he likes listening to music and reading newspapers. His spriritual leader, Rabbi Schreiber is his role model because he was the person who showed him what it means to be a good person and to live a moral life. 

Manqoba Hadebe


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Strong Leadership and Service Ethic Earns Student a Prestigious Accolade

Strong Leadership and Service Ethic Earns Student a Prestigious Accolade
Mr Sizwe Sidaza and Mr Sivashen Reddy were the recipients of the prestigious UKZN Distinguished Students Award.

Mr Sivashen Reddy, a Computer Science Honours student, is one of two recipients of the UKZN Distinguished Student Award for 2018.  The other is Mr Sizwe Sidaza of the School of Social Sciences. 

‘I am exultant,’ said Reddy. 

The award recognises and rewards students with outstanding academic achievement who have also shown excellence in community engagement or exceptional University service. 

Two awards are made each year to the most talented, caring and exceptional graduates and young leaders from final year undergraduate or honours level who have distinguished themselves and been judged as being most exemplary in embodying the ideals and attributes that the University seeks to create in every graduate. 

Reddy was recognised for his leadership qualities, and his strong service ethic. He has been Vice-President of the Golden Key Society at the Westville campus, and received the society’s New Chapter award in 2015. He has also gained recognition at UKZN, receiving several Dean’s Commendations and being named as one of the university’s top 40 most inspiring students. He has received both entrance and merit scholarships from UKZN, and outside of the university, has also tutored Grade 10 students in mathematics. 

According to Reddy, receiving this award is an acknowledgement of the 100% effort he puts into his studies. 

Reddy attended Kharwastan Secondary School in Durban, where he regularly came top in various subjects. It was at the school that he discovered computer science while investigating information technology. 

‘I was always attracted to how things work, and the amazing graphics and development of games fascinated me,’ said Reddy. 

He dedicated his achievement to his family and thanked them for their support.  He quoted Sri Sathya Sai Baba as an inspiration for his views on education: 

‘Education confers humility, endows one with the authority to command, that will entitle one to affluence. With the help of charity and compassion this affluence can be made fruitful, and by this means, happiness in this world and peace in the next can be won.’ 

Sally Frost


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