Hailing from a rural village in Botswana has not hindered Mr Gaogane Jephtah Gaogane from achieving success.
He graduated cum laude with a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from UKZN. ‘To paraphrase Albert Einstein, it’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer,’ he said.
Gaogane’s research investigated the feasibility of converting the organic portion of municipal waste into biogas using anaerobic digestion, with the aim of generating alternative fuel and redirecting waste from landfill. His dissertation highlights the need for sustainability in waste management and the economy.
‘South Africa is moving towards zero landfilling. A sustainable solution can be achieved through anaerobic digestion, which is a widely accepted technology. I hope that this can be an initiative that creates employment for the youth. Botswana has already adopted this approach for youth empowerment and poverty eradication.’
Gaogane believes that studying at UKZN laid a foundation that will benefit his future endeavours. His choice of Institution was influenced by the excellence and diversity of cultures the University is known for. ‘I learnt a lot from studying here and the relationships I built,’ he said.
As the eighth of nine children, life has not always been easy. ‘However, my parents Loomtsoga and Violet raised and nurtured me to grow in Christ and this has helped me immensely in all aspects of my life. I can never thank them enough,’ said Gaogane.
Gaogane is thankful for the close collaboration that cultivated his success. He extended his gratitude to his supervisors Professors Bruce Sithole and Cristina Trois – the SARChI Chair in Waste and Climate Change, the Biorefinery Industry Development Facility (BIDF), and his colleagues and friends for their support throughout his academic journey.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading as he believes there is always something new to learn.
Gaogane is currently registered for a PhD. He aims to further his investigation of biohydrogen production in broader spaces.
Words: Wendy Mngadi
Photograph: Sandile Ndlovu