College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Electrifying at 54!

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Graduating at the age of 54 with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and already working toward a PhD at a time when most other people start to slow down, Mr Kabulo Loji has all sorts of personal and professional aspirations.

Loji obtained his first degree cum laude while he was living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and completed his B-Tech in a year at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in 2004. He registered for an M-Tech in 2005 first at VUT and then subsequently at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) but was unable to complete either degree because of unforeseen circumstances.

He subsequently registered for a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at UKZN in 2019 and succeeded in completing the degree in record time.

‘Graduating with another qualification and with a mark of 74% at the age of 54 is a personal achievement for me, especially during this challenging COVID-19 period,’ said Loji. ‘Juggling so many different personal and professional pressures at this juncture was stressful. I hope this degree will inspire my kids.

‘I have studied and enjoyed anything electrically-related since Grade 9, and my passion has remained in this field of study.’

In the 1990s he became a technical secondary school teacher and taught a variety of subjects related to electrical engineering. ‘Those teaching experiences sparked a passion and interest in me for engineering education,’ said Loji.

Having worked in industry before joining academia, Loji really has enjoyed a multi-faceted career. ‘I am now lecturing in the Electrical Power Engineering department at DUT and my greatest aspiration is that learners and colleagues are inspired and should feel enriched after their association with me,’ said Loji.

Loji’s research areas are renewable energy (RE) and engineering education, especially the area of Teaching for Learning. He has locally and internationally authored and co-authored published papers.

‘The increased penetration of RE in electric grids affects and modifies both the structure and the operation of the distribution networks, giving rise to uncertainties in power system operations, affecting in particular power system variables such as the voltage profiles and direction of network power flows,’ said Loji. ‘My research investigated voltage control and stability conditions at Solar PV buses through various case studies and scenarios simulated using the Power Factory® tool, both in static and dynamic analysis modes.’ He hopes that his research contributes to the alleviation of the energy crisis society is facing.

Loji has started working towards his PhD in Electrical Engineering at UKZN. ‘It is a very exciting journey and I hope to complete the degree in record time as I did with my MSc,’ he said.

Words: Swastika Maney

Photograph: Supplied