Raised in the small town of Ladysmith located in northern Kwazulu-Natal, Mr Taswald Moodley has overcome many hurdles to be enrolled as a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) Howard College campus. This is a short biographical piece which should inspire youngster’s who want to pursue their dreams.
A small town boy with big dreams as it were, Taswald has always had a keen interest in the pursuit for academic excellence. A memory fondly shared is the prestigious UKZN Schools essay writing competition in which he placed first in, in 2004 at the tender age of 15. “I based the essay on my uncle who overcame the struggles of Apartheid to graduate as a medical doctor at the highly-rated Mandela School of Medicine in the 1970s” he adds. After winning such a competition, it would be easy to rest on one’s laurels but Taswald continued to persevere and was rewarded with another first place, this time in the Coca Cola ABI essay writing competition in 2005. He goes on to point out “My dad still enjoys the use of the cooler bag and other spoils from that victory – 15 years later- now that’s a quality prize!”.
Having been ranked as the top matriculant in his district in 2006 with straight A symbols across the board, one would be justified assuming that Taswald would have pursued a career that involved creative writing after his essay writing exploits. Much to the surprise of many- including his own parents- he decided to study Chemical Engineering. “After completing my matric, my parents expected me to accept the offer I received to study at the Mandela School of Medicine like my uncle, however I decided to follow my passion which is Maths and Physics and accepted the offer from UKZN to study Engineering instead. I always encourage youngsters to go with what your gut tells you, as difficult as it may seem at the time.”
Studying engineering came with its challenges, least of which were the financial burdens. “I was not fortunate enough to receive a bursary so I relied on my mum Sherine, who is a school teacher and my dad Truter, a local factory worker. “They sacrificed so much and I owe everything to them.” The financial strain resulted in the need for Taswald to take out massive student loans in order to graduate with his Honours degree in 2010. “I was happy i graduated but i still did not have a job and knew that it was my duty to help out at home where i could”. Due to his excellent undergraduate results, Taswald subsequently accepted an opportunity to pursue a Masters degree(MSc) in Chemical Engineering with the financial support of a Johannesburg-based government research company called Mintek.
Having completed an MSc project based on Flotation in December 2012, Taswald subsequently accepted a position as a graduate engineer based in the Minerals Processing Dept at Mintek in Johannesburg. Steady progression through the ranks has resulted in promotion to the position of Chief Investigator specialising in Flotation, a position which he currently holds. Having worked on a variety of projects involving commodities such as platinum, gold, copper and rare earth minerals, he has vast experience in developing flowsheets to optimise ore grades and product recoveries. Apart from day-to-day work activities,Taswald has presented Flotation research at the 2014 MinProc conference in Cape Town. In 2017, he was granted sabbatical leave to undertake a full-time PhD study at UKZN in Durban, where he is currently based. He is currently a member of the Particle Technology Group headed by Prof Indresan Govender. One can view their research at https://ptg.ukzn.ac.za/.
A devoted Christian, Taswald says that if one doesn’t find him at his laptop burning the midnight oil , he is probably at his local church enjoying the sermon. He goes on to say, ” I owe so much to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, without whom, I won’t be where I am today”.
(Was privileged to have had him at the local church that I was a pastor between 2004-2007-Taswald matriculated with all A’s)….Dr Anthony Small
Poverty is a major problem in many households in Wentworth. The gap is widening between the haves and the have nots. The socio-economic status of children and their families has a profound effect on children’s education, even in a country that prides itself on equal opportunity and fair treatment for all.
Before her sudden death, in May last year, Blanche Hutchinson of Barney And Friends Educare School expressed her sentiment that ‘no child should be left out’ of the education system, because of lack.
“The majority of poor children come from families headed by a single female parent, or grandparents. Unemployment is a factor in poverty for some, but many are employed and still live below the poverty line.
Parents of children living in poverty often struggle to provide them with enough quality food and early childhood education. Children living in poverty often come to school without having had enough sleep and without having had breakfast. They often experience family violence, abuse, secondhand smoke, neglect, and inadequate clothing. They may not be able to pay for field trips or other extracurricular activities that might expand their experience base”; she said.
This is the frightening reality for millions of children. Homelessness is another step down the ladder of poverty. It is a very real problem faced by a number of children. Many homeless families live in shelters. With one income and high rent and living expenses, many families are just one emergency away from disaster.
She urged the local business community to please come on board and help solve these problems. Last year Defy donated much needed appliances, for which she was extremely grateful.
Ensuring every child’s well-being today, is the best way of securing robust economies tomorrow. If we want our economies to thrive, we need a pipeline of human capital that can think critically and problem-solve. The foundations of these abilities are built in early childhood.
Barney And Friends can be reached at: 0727134118
By: Lorraine Richards