College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Ms Zahra Kader was supported by her family when she graduated with her Honours in Physics.

Student Graduates Summa Cum Laude in Physics

Miss Zahra Kader graduated with Honours in Physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Kader, a former learner at Al-Falaah College, said she decided to pursue her studies at UKZN because it has one of the most ‘highly acclaimed’ Mathematics departments in the country.

‘UKZN offers a brilliant academic programme that provides students with a solid foundation in Mathematics and Physics,’ said Kader.

Kader obtained an undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (BSc M). ‘It was difficult, but definitely worth it and I have no regrets’ she said. After obtaining her BSc M degree, Kader was interested in pursuing her honours degree.

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the astronomy modules that I did in undergrad and was therefore eager to learn more. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to register for astrophysics and cosmology modules for my honours degree. My interest in astronomy is what lead me to pursue this specific honours degree,’ said Kader.

She said while doing her honours she struggled with a few concepts that were taught in undergrad, which required her to revise the work that had already been covered.

She advised undergraduates ‘to make sure that you really understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, at each step of the calculation in both Applied Mathematics and Physics.’

Kader feels very privileged to be journeying on her chosen career path. She hopes to finish her masters and pursue her PhD.

‘I am currently doing my master’s, working at UKZN with my supervisor, Prof Kavilan Moodley in Cosmology, which I plan to finish in the next two years. I plan to continue onwards with my PhD and then become a postdoc. I am very excited to be in this field which provides so many opportunities for students,’ said Kader.

Moodley praised Kader. ‘After performing outstandingly well in her undergraduate and honours degrees, Zahra has been awarded an SKA Masters bursary to continue with postgraduate research. Zahra has developed a strong interest in research in the area of astrophysics and cosmology and is an exciting prospect to watch.’

‘At a time when there is so much negativity regarding Islam and Muslim women, in particular, I hope that Zahra will in her quiet and unassuming way prove that women in general have a great role to play in shaping the world of tomorrow. I hope and pray that Zahra will continue to advance in the field of science as she has without compromising her identity and her femininity,’ said her proud mom, Fathima.

Kader recommends this career path to all students whose interests lie in science.

Words: Zolile Duma