Transnet Marine Navigators Graduate
Colleagues at Transnet Dredging Services, Ms Nokuthula Dlamini (28) and Mr Thegen Govender (42) were among the 10 students who graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Studies at UKZN in May.
Dlamini and Govender are building careers in the maritime sector, having started by obtaining undergraduate qualifications in Maritime Studies and then serving cadetships with an international container company.
Born and bred in Osizweni township in Newcastle, Dlamini chose Maritime Studies because she wanted to explore the world and hopefully become a captain one day. However, she was astonished when she joined her first vessel and discovered that she was the only female and only South African on board. This did not deter her and she worked even harder to prove that she was cut out for a job at sea. Hard work paid off when she was awarded the Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency - a licence to steer a ship - and was employed as a marine navigator at Transnet.
‘I am proud of myself and plan to do my master's next year for better and greater opportunities. My dream is to make a significant difference in South Africa’s ports,’ she said.
The maritime sector was not Govender’s first career choice. ‘After matriculating in Pietermaritzburg I chose to study Mechanical Engineering in a technical college. I later changed to Maritime Studies after hearing about this profession,’ he said.
Armed with more than 20 years’ experience in the sector, Govender decided to keep abreast of latest developments by pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Studies.
On the value of his new qualification, he said: ‘It gave me a better understanding of how the economics of shipping affect the port. It broadened my thinking to understand how shore side operations should be run to ensure optimal performance. The understanding of customs and excise included in the qualification makes me very marketable in the maritime industry due to the fact that I have first-hand experience of operations on board vessels.’
He is extremely proud of his achievement especially the merit award he received.
Dlamini and Govender are responsible for dredging at Transnet which involves maintaining or increasing the depth of harbour channels and berths to ensure the safe passage of vessels into the port.
While working at sea has its challenges, they have also enjoyed experiences that are filled with adventures as they travel around the world working with different people.
Words: Hazel Langa
Photograph: Abhi Indarajan