Former footballer close to obtaining PhD in Water Resource Protection at UWC

Koleka Makanda

Koleka Makanda

Published Aug 11, 2023


Cape Town - A former footballer is currently in her final year of study at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), pursuing a PhD in Water Resource Protection.

Koleka Makanda, 38, is currently in the process of completing her PhD in Environment and Water Sciences, specialising in Water Resource Protection, funded by the Water and Sanitation Department.

Originally from Buffalo Nek, Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape, Makanda is in her final year at UWC.

“I am one of the very few people in South Africa who are able to reach this academic level in their lives. Studying on its own is hard, it takes a lot of discipline, commitment and a whole lot of money which I did not have. That was until I became aware of the bursary programme of the Department of Water and Sanitation,” Makanda said.

She was awarded a bursary to further her studies in 2009 while she was studying for a postgraduate diploma in integrated water resource management at UWC.

“I must be honest, back then, I did not think that I would reach this level of my studies, but as fate would have it, I am here,” she said.

Makanda has been with the department since 2010 when she joined as a graduate trainee and currently works as a production scientist responsible for the co-ordination of water resource classification projects.

“If I were not in the sector, I would probably be a soccer player. I have been playing football all my life and I am pretty good at it too. Before I joined the department, I represented the country in international tournaments in Bangkok, Serbia and Uganda with the national student team through the University Sports South Africa.”

She currently has three published research papers to her name. The department has put out a call on youth to make use of its bursary programme currently available for Grade 12 learners and first-year postgraduate students with an interest in water and sanitation fields.

Bursary applications close on November 30. Application forms can be sent by email to [email protected].

For more information, students are encouraged to visit the department’s website on