College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Driven and creative

Dr Ndivhuwo Ndou

Unisan Dr Ndivhuwo Ndou is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. The news team reached out to him to discover more about his journey and PhD experience.

I grew up like any other child in the village of Tsianda, Venda, in Limpopo, looking after cattle. Like many children at the time, we would sometimes come back home from school and not have anything to eat. This drove me to want to achieve more in life. My goal was to be successful in spite of my circumstances. I decided that my circumstances were not going to define me, nor determine my future.

In the world of engineering, you discover new things; it allows you to be creative and inspires you to want to learn new things. When I was young, I would take things apart just so that I could put them back together again.

Completing my PhD was important to me, because in the current environment it is an entry level to research. A PhD in Engineering gives one an edge as it is not easy to achieve but it opens doors to the world of research and allows one the opportunity to specialise in a chosen area of research.

To juggle my part-time studies, a full-time job and my family was not easy. I needed to sacrifice a lot of family time, work at night and sometimes go away to attend conferences while leaving my family behind. It required discipline and I had to remain focused on my work and the goal I had set out to achieve.

My thesis was on Surface engineering: Laser metal deposition of titanium alloy Grade 5 and tungsten. Because of my area of research, my focus changed from an undergraduate qualification in Industrial Engineering to Mechanical Engineering.

I am currently involved in Unisa’s Applications for Sustainable Technology in Rural Africa (ASTRA) community engagement project, through which we help high school learners from Grades 8 to 11:

  • How to identify research problems
  • How to find information related to research problems
  • How to summarise and write PowerPoint presentations

I am also involved in Rural Engineers, a programme that inspires young learners in rural secondary schools who are doing science and maths. We give career guidance to all grades and inspire learners to be motivated in their studies to ensure successful futures.

I have learnt that you need to set goals for yourself, and that you must always keep your goals in mind and work hard towards achieving them because if you don’t, your chances of achieving them are extremely slim.

I have also found that it is very important to network with peers in one’s field as it facilitates the acquisition of knowledge and information with regard to one’s research topic.

* Interview by Nelsiwe Nkambule, Assistant Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Publish date: 2019/06/10

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