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Sharing their academic journeys are technically-minded Ismail Ebrahim Lockhat, and the goal driven Akshay Kunsraj, who will both be obtaining their esteemed qualifications at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) 2021 Virtual Graduation ceremony on Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 12pm. 

Kunsraj will be getting Cum Laude and the prestigious Dean’s Merit Award in the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (B.Eng) in Civil Engineering, whilst Lockhat will be graduating with his BTech Cum Laude in Architectural Technology.

I am thrilled, ecstatic and honoured to be receiving Cum Laude and the prestigious Deans Merit award which is a great accomplishment for me as an individual. My hard work has finally paid off,” Kunsraj said ecstatically. 

For Lockhat, as an individual who is married with a 19-month-old son, balancing between studies and family time was tough and the sleepless nights began to take a toll on him. 

“The most stressful yet memorable time for me was in my third-year of studies during the last semester when my wife was due to give birth. I sat next to her in the hospital completing my final project to meet my submission deadline whilst my wife was in labour.  In the end I was blessed with a healthy baby boy and an A aggregate for my project,” he said beamingly. 

Ultimately, Lockhat wants to be able to give back to the community by helping solve the housing crisis that South Africans face.  

For Kunsraj, he is just thrilled that his hard work has finally paid off! 

“My parents were overwhelmed, excited and lost for words. They were extremely proud of me. I want to thank my parents for not putting pressure on me,” he said. 

Kunsraj emphasised that there are two key factors that kept him motivated, the first being, after achieving good results in his first year of study, he realised that it is possible to get Cum Laude since he had two years left to complete, so he was driven to work harder to succeed that goal. 

The second factor is that he looks up to his DUT lecturers from being directors to designing their own software and he said to himself that he can be like them. 

“Civil engineering was my first choice, from a young age, I said I want to be one and I have stuck to that profession. I was always fascinated to think that the roads that we drive on, hotels that we stay in, is all designed by civil engineers, thus it made me eager and suspicious to find out how is it all done,” he said. 

He relayed that not having a physical graduation won’t impact him tremendously and that it’s in the best interest to protect everyone by having a virtual ceremony. 

Kunsraj stressed that Civil engineering has many opportunities, and it’s not limited whether one likes to work outdoors or indoors and if one is interested in the built environment and likes a challenge then it’s possible one may be a future engineer! 

Pictured: Ismail Ebrahim Lockhat 

Pictured: Akshay Kunsraj 

Waheeda Peters 

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