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Durban University of Technology (DUT) student Manqoba Shezi will be graduating Cum Laude and with the prestigious Dean’s Merit Award, for his Master of Engineering (MENG) Degree in Chemical Engineering. For the 26-year-old Shezi, Chemical Engineering was his first choice because he had always been curious as to how things were made. Growing up in Ladysmith, he would come across a product and wonder which process was used to create it. 

On hearing of his amazing achievements, Shezi said obtaining a Dean’s Merit Award had always been a dream for him. “I am grateful and humbled by such an achievement. This award has revealed that hard work will forever pay. The sacrifices I had to make, including being away from my family, has paid off academically. I am forever grateful,” said an elated Shezi. 

He pursued Chemical Engineering because he wanted to improve the quality of people’s lives, by helping to fight poverty, starvation and diseases through alternative technologies. Furthermore, his love for Earth and Chemical Engineering has provided him with clear, innovative technology ideas to combat land and water pollution. As a knowledge practitioner, Shezi now understands the term ‘sustainability’ and its significance in the environment through Chemical Engineering. 

“I am highly passionate about my academic work because I love what I do. I have a consistent source of motivation that drives me to do my very best. During the course of my Master’s degree, this passion led me to challenge myself daily and learn new skills that helped me to do extraordinary work. I am not comfortable with settling, and I’m always seeking for an opportunity to do better and achieve greatness,” he stressed.   

Sharing his excitement on his accomplishment, Shezi said his parents were so happy for him and indicated that he was setting a good example for the next generation. 

However, Shezi is sad that that there will not be a physical graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and public health guidelines. “I feel misfortunate to go through a virtual graduation due to COVID-19, since I regard the Master’s degree as my best achievement so far. It would have been amazing to experience the applause from the audience in recognition of my hard work,” he said sadly. 

Also, he indicated that the toughest part of being a student was having the self-discipline to study every day and prepare ahead of time. “The main challenge that I faced while doing my Master’s was getting a clear understanding of what I am researching on, furthermore there were numerous software’s, I had to teach myself how to use them during the course of the study,” he relayed. 

Shezi shared more of his dissertation topic titled: A Statistical Evaluation of the Performance of Dynamic Models for Adsorption Columns. 

Numerous models have been developed to describe and predict concentration-time profiles for dynamic adsorption systems, in order to scale up laboratory and pilot plant systems. However, there are limitations in the applicability of the existing models. The study aimed at providing unambiguous approaches in selecting the best performing model between Thomas, Yoon-Nelson and Bohart-Adams (B-A) models, for three dynamic adsorption systems,” he said.  

He stressed that he chose such a topic because of the fact that the nature of the research methodology has never been done before. “It’s amazing to be the first upcoming researcher to accept and embark upon such a challenge,” he said happily. 

Going forward, Shezi wants to continue with his studies and pursue a PhD before the age of 30, in the production of biofuels from biomass (bamboo).   

“I want to be in academia and be amongst the best professors that are recognised worldwide. I have set a bar for myself, age-wise. I knew that at a certain time in my life, I must have obtained a Masters qualification and that was a motivation for me because I am not scared of failure. I accept and face my challenges head on. Most importantly, I love what I do, that’s the greatest motivation to keep striving for success,” he said. 

The DUT Spring Virtual Graduation ceremony will be online on the DUT website:, and DUT YouTube channel: DutCampusTv, on Monday, 30 November 2020 at 12pm. 

Pictured: Manqoba Shezi

Waheeda Peters 

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