Lecturer's childhood dream raises flag high for women engineers

18 October 2021 by Yoliswa Sobuwa

While growing up in KwaMakhutha, south of Durban, Sindisiwe Malanda was fascinated by how electricity was transmitted through cables from power stations to homes.

This curiosity spurred Malanda to study electrical engineering. 

“I had a strong interest in sciences very early in my childhood. However, I often wondered how the electrons move within cables. I always wanted to know how electrical devices were powered, it was a marvel to me. That’s when I decided to study electrical engineering. I received a national diploma in electrical engineering from the Mangosuthu University of Technology before pursuing a bachelor of technology degree and masters of engineering degree with Durban University of Technology (DUT),” she said.

Malanda, now a lecturer at DUT, has been awarded a full Japanese government scholarship that will enable her to explore new technologies in electrical engineering. 

She is the first recipient of a ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology scholarship from SA. The scholarship was founded in 2001 with the aim of promoting friendly relations between Japan and foreign countries.

“I had to apply for the scholarship, and with the help and support of my department I managed to provide all the necessary documents. I am privileged to be the first recipient of this award since DUT is working in collaboration with the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT). This collaboration aims to build capacity at DUT by training and developing young South African academics to obtain PhD qualifications in Japan. This scholarship will enable me to make a contribution to the betterment of society and my country,” she said.

Malanda says SA is facing a lot of challenges, particularly in the area of power supply .

“Japan is renowned for its technological advancement and engineering prowess. The quality and reliability of Japanese engineering is beyond doubt. It is also known for its groundbreaking research and innovation. Studying for a PhD in Japan will help me to develop good research and problem-solving skills. In my research, the university will collaborate with the energy industry and we will be exploring new technologies in the field of electrical engineering,” she said. 

Malanda says she will do her best to advance her knowledge in electrical engineering as she intends to use it to help improve energy generation in SA.

“During the three years that I will spend in  Japan I aim to achieve world-class international training in a cutting-edge field by specialising in electrical engineering. My research will include both theoretical research, simulation and experimental setup in the laboratory,” she said.

She thanked professor Innocent Davidson, who supervised her bachelor of technology degree and her Masters of Engineering degree, for his assistance throughout her journey.

“I would like to thank him for his generosity. This scholarship will open the door to a brighter future and play an essential role in shaping me into a successful person. Without his help this scholarship would not have been possible. I appreciate 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 him,” she said.

Davidson congratulated Malanda on her new journey.

“I trust you fully grasp the significance of this rare lifetime opportunity, which is uncommon in this era,” he said.

Source: MSN News at https://www.msn.com/en-za/news/other/lecturer-s-childhood-dream-raises-flag-high-for-women-engineers/ar-AAPElXv?ocid=00000000