College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Adversity Builds Determination – MSc Graduate

Adversity Builds Determination – MSc Graduate

‘An expert in anything was once a beginner.’ These words by American actress Helen Hayes were inspirational for Ms Nombuso Majola who graduated with a Master of Science in Physics.

Majola, of UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, said she was motivated to help solve some of South Africa’s challenges through scientific intervention.

Her MSc research, supervised by Professor Naven Chetty, Dr Angela Dudley and Professor Andrew Forbes, focused on the digital control of light. She investigated the use of a beam-shaping system made up of a spatial light modulator, digital holograms and various other optics, to re-shape laser light to produce a beam with properties suited for a particular application. Furthermore, Majola used different techniques to study the properties and behaviour of the beams produced.

‘Laser beam shaping creates a uniform light distribution ideal for laser surgery,’ explained Majola. ‘Laser material processing applications are produced thus preventing laser induced damage.’

Majola said she was grateful to her Intshisekelo High School teachers as well as Mr Idris Pando of GEM School Wear in Durban who assisted her to become a university student. ‘Education has opened so many doors for me,’ she said.

‘Graduation is an amazing moment of standing victorious and celebrating a great accomplishment. It is the reward for all the hard work and triumph over all financial obstacles.’

‘Nombuso is a very determined young lady who has overcome severe adversity,’ said Chetty. ‘Having passed through the Science augmented programme herself as a student, she is now teaching on it.’

Majola, who is working at UKZN’s Centre for Academic Success in Science and Engineering (CASSE), hopes to register for a PhD in Physics.

Words: Ntokozo Dladla 

Photograph: Supplied