Academic bags PhD at 27

Qinisani Qwabe who obtained his PhD in Sustainable Agriculture at the University of the Free State.

Qinisani Qwabe, a 27-year-old who originally hails from Northern KwaZulu-Natal and lectures at the University of the Free State (UFS), has obtained his PhD in Sustainable Agriculture.

Dr Qwabe started his academic career at the Mangosuthu University of Technology where he completed a National Diploma in Community Extension in 2013. He furthered his studies at the Tshwane University of Technology where he did Agriculture: Development and Extension. “This programme involved a lot of research projects. This is how I knew that I wanted to continue studying so that I could be a researcher at some stage. At the time, I did not really know whether I wanted to be an independent researcher or an academic researcher. I did, however, know that I wanted to be in academia. But in order for me to be considered as an academic, that meant continuing with my studies – which I did.”

Dr Qwabe continued his studies by obtaining his MSc Degree in Agriculture at Nelson Mandela University; this was also where his teaching career blossomed. He then registered for a PhD in Sustainable Agriculture at the UFS. “During the course of this programme I took a risk and did a Magister Technologiae Degree, which I completed last year. I did this because, apart from agriculture, I’m passionate about organisational development. This is inspired by both good and bad experiences I had in the work environment. So, my focus area was on the improvement of organisational productivity and cultivation of a healthy work culture.”

According to Dr Qwabe, many things and people inspire him. He is a goal-driven individual who works hard and feels the need to make a meaningful contribution, whether through research or practically.

“I plan to immerse myself in research and to contribute towards my institution’s strategic goals through teaching and learning, as well as community engagement. There are already projects that we are currently working on and which we will be working on with colleagues in the Sustainable Food Systems and Development Department. These are driven towards sustainable socio-economic development.”

When asked how he feels about being celebrated for his success, he laughs: “I don’t know. At this stage I cannot describe how I feel. I’m just exhausted and want to rest – a holiday in Cape Town for a week would do me good right now.”

Justine Fortuin