From goat herding to a PhD

After spending time in Japan, Natangue is ready to plough back into his community.

11 August 2019 | Education

Windhoek • John Haufiku

Born and bred in Eendadi village, Natangue Heita Shafudah now finds himself in Japan reading towards a PhD in Renewable Energy and Physics.

Natangue says he grew up in the Ohangwena region, doing his share of domestic work such as goat and cattle herding, cultivating Mahangu and fetching water from water points. He completed his high school at Oshela Senior Secondary School in 2008.

Thanks to a bursary from Nampower, he enrolled at the University of Namibia for a four-year Bachelors’ degree in Physics and Geology. Afterwards, he enrolled for a Masters’ degree in Physics and was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship by the Namibian government.

After completing this degree in 2015, he started looking for opportunities and scholarships to do a PhD. He was awarded the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) scholarship from the Japanese Government to study Renewable Energy and Physics.

Turning Japanese

After arriving in Japan, he went through a six-month Intensive Japanese course which was also sponsored by the MEXT scholarship and offered by the University of Electro-Communication (UEC). “After grasping basic Japanese, it was an excellent opportunity to communicate with Japanese people and understand their culture and values,” he says.

His research interests include numerical simulations, fabrication and characterisation of nanomaterials in the form of functional metal oxide thin films. “The professors and my laboratory members at the university are very supportive, and we are always trying to find the best way to develop new materials concept,” Natangue says

After completing his PhD, he looks forward to coming back to Namibia to contribute to the development of the country via science and technology. “I am delighted to be employed at the University of Namibia and under the excellent leadership lead by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu,” he says adding that he is looking forward to contributing toward innovation towards sustainable energy materials, value addition of our country rare minerals.

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