Engineering graduate provides water and sanitation to the Thohoyandou community

The greatest growth happens in discomfort. One needs to understand that education gives you intellectual growth, and students need to make peace with the fact that one has to be comfortable in discomfort. This is the sentiment of Mpho Muloiwa, a recent graduate in MTech Civil Engineering, specialising in Water Engineering.

Muloiwa graduated at the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) Campus, Sanlam Auditorium, on Wednesday, 07 June 2017.

Born and raised in the dusty streets of Thohoyandou, Limpopo, South Africa – an area where running water is considered luxury for those who can afford it, Muloiwa wants to make a difference in his community and give back. “When I completed my Matric in 2007, I decided to pursue a career in Civil Engineering because I wanted to do something that will enable me to give back to the community after completion,” said Muloiwa.

His dissertation for his MTech degree, titled ‘Household water demand and management in rural areas’ – is based on work he conducted in Thohoyandou. “I hope that the work I have done will go a long way in assisting the area with identifying solutions to water demand and supply. I always joke around with my fellow academics and say “lidoda duvha” a Venda phrase meaning “the day will come” when people in Thohoyandou won’t have to walk kilometres to access drinking water, and I will make the day possible.”

Muloiwa believes that nothing beats hard work and determination. He says he gets his strength from uncomfortable conditions because that is where he learns the most and becomes a better person. “As a young person I believe the sky is the limit and that if you work hard you are most likely to achieve your potential,” he added.

“When I joined UJ, I was very close to my mentor, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation at UJ. What he has managed to achieve from his humble beginnings really shows that indeed the sky is the limit, and I am inspired by him” Muloiwa emphasised.

Muloiwa points out that doing whatever it takes and using what we have to make a difference is where one should start. “I started with nothing. I am not chasing money but I am chasing the dream. I want to see my community with running water and I know my hard work will be rewarded,” he concluded.

The 28-year-old is currently a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering in Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), and will be leaving South Africa in October 2017 to pursue his PhD in Civil Engineering in Europe.

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