All Rounder Excels in Class and at Cricket

Mr Gareth Wissing has graduated cum laude with a Master of Science degree in Engineering, specialising in Civil Engineering.

Wissing proved his worth not only in the classroom, but also on the sports field where he captained the UKZN cricket team in 2019. Wissing was awarded a UKZN prestige sports scholarship for cricket during his undergraduate degree and has been actively involved in the club throughout his university career.

‘It was difficult to manage my studies and compete on the cricket field at the same time, but balancing the two taught me a number of great life lessons,’ said Wissing.

After matriculating from Glenwood High School, Wissing registered at UKZN for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Civil Engineering) which he completed in record time. For his MSc in Civil Engineering, he joined UKZN’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Research and Development Centre (UKZN WASH R&D Centre) to focus on water and sanitation research. His dissertation was supervised by Dr Elena Friedrich and Professor Chris Buckley.

‘My master’s degree involved an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) investigation into the application of decentralised sanitation technologies at Newlands Mashu in the eThekwini Municipality,’ said Wissing. His study aimed to quantify the environmental impacts associated with a particular decentralised wastewater treatment system (DEWATS).

‘Through my study, we were able to quantify the environmental impacts associated with a particular sanitation technology,’ explained Wissing. ‘My research should assist planners, engineers and those in the water and sanitation sector to make more informed decisions regarding this particular sanitation technology.’

‘One of my main motivations behind studying and working in the field of water and sanitation is to assist in the journey towards making appropriate and dignified sanitation more accessible for all South Africans,’ he said.

Wissing is currently working for a consulting engineering firm in Cape Town, where he focuses on bulk water and sewer infrastructure for the company’s global design centre. ‘I aspire to become a technical expert in the field of water and sanitation engineering.’

He thanked his grandmother who motivated and inspired him to achieve the things he never believed he could. ‘Graduating with a Master’s in Civil Engineering means the world to me. Thinking back to when I was in matric, I would never have dreamed of achieving what I have been able to,’ he said.

Wissing found his research to be challenging but rewarding and urged anyone contemplating postgraduate studies to go for it.

Words: Sanelisiwe Mahlase

Photograph: Supplied