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Monday, 01 June 2020

Physics Lecturer’s outstanding research performance hailed

ON A MISSION: Dr Velaphi Msomi aims to produce knowledge that is valuable and also be of assistance in solving the problems facing our country. ON A MISSION: Dr Velaphi Msomi aims to produce knowledge that is valuable and also be of assistance in solving the problems facing our country.

Dr Velaphi Msomi has earned a nomination for the 2020 National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Excellence Award For Early Career/Emerging Researchers.

The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) Physics lecturer’s research deals with material processing with the purpose of enhancing their performance. Two other researchers, Dr Moses Basitere and Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury have also been nominated for the same award. It recognises outstanding research performance by current Early Career / Emerging Researchers, who are NRF grant holders.  

Msomi says the award is one of the strategies that the NRF uses to develop and enhance the research stature of Early Career / Emerging Researchers, prioritising black, female [researchers] and people with disabilities as part of its transformation agenda, which among others, ‘aims to redress historical imbalances in the South African researcher cohort’.

“My research focus deals with material processing with the purpose of enhancing their performance. We are using the newly discovered technology called friction stir processing. We are doing a lot of work on dissimilar joints processing. We are aiming to use this knowledge in the construction of thermal desalination systems”

He regards his first nomination as an inspiration: “To be nominated for such award, I feel so honoured and motivated with my research…This means that I must keep on pushing so that I keep on growing and keep CPUT on the global map,” Msomi remarks.

“An accepting attitude is what contributes to my academic success. I build on the inputs that I receive from other researchers more especially those in my field.”

His wife is the one who always motivates him and the eagerness of his students also contributes to his success.

“My main objective is to produce knowledge that is valuable and also to be of assistance in solving the problems facing our country… I see my work being listed as one of those that can be useful in solving some societal problems.”

When he is not busy with academic work, Msomi teaches his kids about Zulu culture or listens to Maskandi music. Weight lifting is one of his hobbies.

“I always make sure that I create my own personal timetable which harmonises all these commitments [academic schedule and family commitments].

“I see my family as a very understanding family. They understand when I happen to steal their time due to some deadlines but I always try to avoid situations that will put me in a situation to compromise their time.”

The leader of the research group, Friction Stir Technology Group, is also a founder and the leader of the Masibuyele Eskolweni project.  “This project encourages township-based youth to continue with their schooling (more focus on drop-outs). We give all the necessary academic information that they need for them to continue with school,” Msomi reveals.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce

Email: boyceap@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and the Built Environment and Applied Sciences Faculties.