UKZN graduates realise dreams

2015-04-30 16:48
Once a security guard, Dr Sipho Buthelezi got a PhD in public policy from UKZN.

Once a security guard, Dr Sipho Buthelezi got a PhD in public policy from UKZN.

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SOME of the country’s finest academics have graduated from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, some against all odds to further their education.

Bongisiwe Shelembe obtained her Master of Science degree in chemistry, cum laude.

Shelembe grew up in rural Msinga in KZN and was one of 11 children in her financially challenged family.

Shelembe experienced hardships and challenges at university as she came from a school where English wasn’t the ­language of instruction.

“I would walk around with a ­dictionary just so I could communicate as I was not proficient in English,” she said.

Another graduate started his working career as a security guard in northern KZN.

Dr Sipho Buthelezi used the three years he spent in the job to plan the way forward to a better life.

He started saving and eventually had enough money to resign from his security-guard position to register at the university.

He now has a PhD in public policy.

UKZN scientist Dr Adriana Marais, who is among the final 100 shortlisted candidates to possibly go to Mars on a one-way mission, also obtained her PhD last week.

Marais may one day have the chance of investigating the planet, with the hopes of being in the final team of four who aim to be the first humans to ­colonise Mars in 2024.

Six mechanical engineering students - Damien Raghubeer, Matthew Woods, Nicholas Witteveen, Peter Sinclair, Saien Rugdeo and Shuvay Singh - part of the team who created an award-winning solar-powered car, graduated with BSc engineering degrees last week.

The graduates worked on the 2014 solar car, iKlwa, which came first in the South African category and third overall in the 2014 Pretoria to Cape Town eight-day Solar Car Challenge, covering a distance of 2 418,3kms and racing against teams from all around the world.

The UKZN team have since signed up to participate in the 2015 World Solar­ Car Challenge, scheduled to take place in Australia this year.

Hulamin, the major sponsors of iKlwa, has pledged a further R1 million to send the team to Australia as it was so impressed with their performance last year.

It will be the first time an African team has entered this international event

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