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Segametsi shines at the CSIR

Segametsi Songwane with mentor Katlego Setshedi (centre) and supervisor Dr Arjun Maity (right)

A rural girl from the Dikebu village in the North West province has overtaken research interns from across South Africa. The first Unisa student to be accepted as an in-service trainee at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Segametsi Songwane recently scooped an award for best in-service trainee at the CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing Excellence Awards for 2012.

It’s all about taking a chance and this is exactly what Songwane, a third-level Chemical Engineering student, did when Unisa’s Directorate for Counselling, Career and Academic Development hosted a career exhibition with various exhibitors on the lookout for outstanding students. Joseph Tshikomba, Senior Manager: Studentships and Internships, CSIR Strategic Human Capital Development, handed out information on a Department of Science and Technology project called Black Science, Technology and Engineering Professionals (BSTEP). Songwane applied and was offered funding to pursue her training at the CSIR.

This is the first time the CSIR has accepted a Unisa student to undertake in-service training, so the pressure was on for Songwane to make it count. Putting shoulder to the wheel she poured her energy into not one, but two projects, the second of which holds real-world benefits in terms of removing hazardous heavy metals from waste water.

Very passionate about her work and studies, Songwane is flying the Unisa flag high. Being recognised as best in-service trainee at the CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing Excellence Awards for 2012 has motivated her to increase both the volume and quality of her work. “I have managed to complete a lot of my lab work within four months, reflecting my hard work and dedication. I also offer skills transfer to high school learners who visit our centre – I’m always excited to tell them about our project.” Focus is a big part of Songwane’s drive: “I have learnt to focus on my purpose here and I try my best to work hard and be obedient. The way I see it, the award defines the success of an undergraduate from a distance learning institution who has dreams and is not afraid to ask questions.”

Giving her much deserved praise is Songwane’s supervisor, Dr Arjun Maity (Senior Researcher, Polymers and Composites, CSIR Material Science and Manufacturing). “She has grown tremendously as a research candidate and has showed her potential to make an impact in research,” he says. “During my association with Segametsi, I have been impressed by her sincere and hard-working nature, and her critical approach to academic and research activity. As a supervisor, I am extremely satisfied with her work.”

Written by Kirosha Naicker

22 comments to Segametsi shines at the CSIR

  • Anold

    sister u made me proud me as a unisa student,ISAIAH 43,18,READ IT U WILL BE BLESSED.

  • Tapiwa Godwin Chinyemba

    Well done and piz strive for more. I am on research related work , I am on 083 988 5424 . I want to visit your labs
    Fly Higher

  • Well done sister. Trully inspiring story. However it also raises questions in my mind that why it took so long for an organisation such as the CSIR only got its first Unisa candidate now when UNISA has been producing graduates for many decades? One wonders how many big companies in SA actually recruit UNISA undergraduates for internship and apprenticeship programs or just employment in general? Another article that comes into mind is the Law Students take corporate giants story (10/01/2013). It is really worrying seeing that UNISA is a life line for many South Africans(young and old) who wish to achieve their dreams and are unable to do it through the main stream Universities and colleges. Very often I have had arguments with collegues and friends who view UNISA education/ qualification as inferior and wonder if this is not the case with many recruiters out there who are not UNISA graduates.

  • Madi

    Well done sister, keep on shining and may the good Lord bless you..

  • Keamo

    Well done mmane!!

  • Sips Seipati

    You go girl, lift up your name, ur family nd the institution you are serving nd above all do it for the glory of God. Let the sky be your limit!!!

  • irene malatji

    hi gal am really proud of you,you are making unisa a huge university for the scientics because most of the students if the want to do engineering the nornally visits the university that teacher them everyday.and unisa is the best university because there is no spoon feeding,we dont have doubts even if we can go abroud to do training because we are aware that we are the guns.keep it up gal.unisa halala…..

  • Future CA

    Shine Segametsi shine. Just goes to show that UNISA is a great university. Come on team UNISA lets show the world what a great college we are!

  • well done lady, i’ve been following your success on ispired all along i’m really proud of you, you have shown leadership success at university level and i’m also studying chemical engineering, hope will see you there soon, excellence!!

  • sbongiseni

    halala keep up the good work you are the vanguard for other young women

  • Keep up the good work. We are all very proud of you.

  • Sego Moko

    Just studying through UNISA,is inspirational therefore stories like this just makes one smile and appreciate being part of a Giant institution. Halala Segametsi( suitable name for an Chemical Engineer)

  • Nelly Nzimande


  • Ray

    Its not how you start that matters but how you finish,keep it up sister, young black youth of SA are proud of you and are inspired.

  • Well done, even though am doing human science i feel so encouraged to work so very hard in order to be thee best. wish you the best infuture.

  • Incense

    Thank you very much for being an inspiration o us all sister!!!

  • Eric Mabotha

    Keep it up and all the best in your endeveours.South Africa and the rest of the world is looking for innovative ideas for socio-economic benefit for humanity.Having known you, is proper and beffiting therefore to say shine and fly the Unisa flag high.

  • Keitumetse

    Hey ausi, well done, it’s always uplifting to read about such greatness!! Keep your head-up, keep the focus and keep working at it,may the God Lord take you from strength to strength!!

  • Sharon

    This is absolutely wonderful. Congratulations and may you continue to shine in your field. May GOD Bless you abundantly. It good to know that the application you send through are looked at. All the best in the future. It is only through hard work that you excel!

  • afternoon Segametsi

    keep up the good work. we need the knowledge to remove hazardous waste from wastewater.


  • Baraedi

    Mo mosong..I am so proud of you woman.You are dedicated and take life serious.May you continue motivating young learners.May the good Lord Bless you richly sooo.

  • Sebueng

    i must say im excited to see someone that i attended high school with excelling through hard work…keep on doing it gal. im poud of you.

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