Ms Sindisiwe Cindy Malanda, a Lecturer at the Department of Electrical Power Engineering, has been awarded a full Japanese government scholarship to study for the doctor of philosophy degree at Tokyokaiyo University, Japan. Tokyokaiyo University is also known as Tokyo University of Marine Science & Technology (TUMSAT). She is the first recipient of this award, which is a product of the DUT (South Africa) and TUMSAT (Japan) collaboration to build capacity at DUT by training and developing young South African academic staff to obtain Ph.D. qualifications in Japan. This technical cooperation and human capacity development program was initiated by Professor Innocent Davidson, the Head of Department of Electrical Power Engineering, and Professor Mitsuru Izumi, Emeritus Professor at TUMSAT, Office of Liaison and Cooperative Research (OLCR), National University Corporation, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), and now President, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Toba College of Maritime and Technology, Japan.
This technical cooperation was fully supported by the Offices of the Executive Dean of Engineering and the Built Environment, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement (DVC-RIE), Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning (DVC-TL), and Research and Post Graduate Support (RPS). Through the South African-Japanese technical operation, more young South African academics will have the opportunity to carry out Ph.D. degree studies in Japan under the MEXT scholarship sponsored by the Government of Japan. The MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) offers scholarships to international students who wish to study at Japanese universities under the Japanese Government Scholarship Program for 2022. Japanese government scholarship supports international students who study in higher education institutions, selected on the recommendation of the Japanese Embassy/Consulate General, University, or Authority. MEXT Scholarship is a fully-funded scholarship for international students. This scholarship is available for undergraduate, Master’s, Ph.D., and training studies. MEXT scholarship covers tuition fees, accommodation, monthly living allowance, and round airfare travel expenses to Japan.
Speaking about the award, Ms Malanda thanked all the DUT Executives and Prof Izumi for the unique opportunity to enable her to achieve world-class international training in a cutting-edge field and area in Electrical Engineering over the next three years. Furthermore, she thanked her colleagues and peers in the Department for their support. Ms Malanda expressed her gratitude to the Executive Dean of FEBE, Professor Twala, for supporting the Department, taking the application process seriously, and promptly attending to her documents. She expressed her gratitude to TUMSAT Professors Hiroyasu Kifune, Mitsuru Izumi, and Dr Shohei Komeda for their various assistances in making the Japanese Government Scholarship a reality. She was thrilled to learn of her selection for the MEXT scholarship award.
Most significantly, Ms Malanda expressed her gratitude to her DUT Supervisor, Prof Davidson, for his assistance throughout her journey. “I am pleased to have been chosen as the recipient of a Japanese government scholarship. Thank you for your generosity; this scholarship will open the door to a brighter future and play an essential role in shaping me into a successful person”, she said. The candidate also claimed that this scholarship would not have been possible without the support and help provided by her DUT supervisor. She appreciated his dedication to human development and the advancement of “Women in Engineering.” I am one of the fortunate students who got an opportunity to be supervised and mentored by you”, the candidate said. Prof Davidson supervised her BTech and MEng degree projects at DUT.
“Knowing Japan as the center of scientific and technical innovation, I am grateful to the Japan Ministry of Education for allowing me to participate in TUMSAT,” the candidate expressed. “I know earning a Ph.D. requires comprehensive study and intense mental effort; I am determined to do well in my studies. I look forward to joining TUMSAT and learning about Japanese culture and language”. The candidate promised to work very hard and focus on her research work. Furthermore, she pledged to bring her best self to Japan and to work hard every day so that DUT could be proud of her.
On her experience at DUT, Miss Malanda claimed that working under the tutelage of Prof Davidson as a student and Junior lecturer was the most valuable work experience anyone could have, and she appreciated the opportunity she was given to serve at the Department. She particularly expressed her gratitude for the supervisor’s patience, understanding, and support.” I was so nervous during the application process that I did not know what to do when my paperwork was delayed, but you were always patient until the very last day.”
In her word, the DVC RIE, Prof Moyo congratulated Miss Malanda and hoped she would work hard and make DUT proud!. She also commended Prof Davidson for advancing women in engineering and training the next generation of engineers through this partnership with Japan and through the DSI funded Space Science programme that saw 1 Doctoral and 3 Masters students graduate in 2021. The DVC RIE also indicated that the award of the scholarship shows that with the right resources and focus, we can find suitable female candidates interested in pursuing careers in engineering. She further acknowledged Prof Izumi for his commitment to the partnership. “Japan is one of the best places to do engineering, and I am sure Miss Malanda will flourish and contribute to the training of future engineers in South Africa apart from learning and enjoying Japanese culture”.
Similarly, the Director RPS, Dr Linganiso acknowledged Miss Malanda’s scholarship as excellent and exhilarating news coming from the smart work being carried out at the Smart Grids Research Centre, a DUT Research Focus Area.
Professor Davidson congratulated Ms Malanda for the successful award of the Japanese Government scholarship for her doctoral studies. “I trust you fully grasp the significance of this rare lifetime opportunity, which is uncommon in this era”. He expressed his deepest gratitude to Prof Izumi, who he met and got to know through the Late Prof FPL Kavishe, of the University of Namibia.
Miss Sindisiwe was born in Kamaputa, KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. She received the Diploma in Electrical Power Engineering, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BTech), and Masters of Engineering (MEng) degree, Durban University of Technology.
[Article was compiled by Dr Elutunji Buraimoh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Smart Grid Research Centre, DUT]