Dr Bakama awarded Africa’s first PhD in Quality Engineering from UJ

Dr Eric Bakama awarded Africa’s first PhD in Quality Engineering from UJ. Picture: Supplied

Dr Eric Bakama awarded Africa’s first PhD in Quality Engineering from UJ. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 29, 2024


Dr Eric Bakama, a lecturer and tutor coordinator, has marked a momentous milestone in his career journey by acquiring his PhD in Quality Engineering, becoming the first person to be conferred in Africa.

In 2022, the Department of Quality and Operations Management in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) launched a programme exclusively available at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to close a postgraduate qualification gap in Quality Engineering.

For his thesis, Bakama concentrated on creating a framework for a robust higher education system in South Africa that combines quality and education 4.0.

The 28-year-old, who was animated to share his journey with the Saturday Star, says he began his academic career at UJ as a student and worked his way up to become a department lecturer and tutor.

He hopes that this momentous accolade serves as motivation for students, as the majority have expressed interest in obtaining the qualification.

“I am also able to inspire many young people. By the grace of God, I was able to complete it at 28, so at this point, I am kind of humble. I had many students interested in this. I have many students who are asking me, so how did I go about that? What do they need to get this qualification? You can see they have that motivation.”

“I feel like as African students we strive for excellence, and this is good for me that we are able to inspire many students. I hope that in the next five years, 10 or 15octor. years we will be able to have many young black academics that are also doing well and are impacting the communities,” he said.

He says his success is attributed to the support of his family and close colleagues, who have been instrumental in his journey.

“The university also gave me a platform. Even now, I still feel like it is not real. I am not used to being called a doctor. It is still not sinking in. But I want to look beyond it. And impact communities. Whatever we are called should impact the community; that is why I look beyond embracing community engagements.”

Bakama further expresses his willingness to collaborate with various entities and create innovative solutions for a better future.

“I am really open to collaborations on all levels. And mostly, I would like the government to know that what we do right now will affect the economy of the country because if there are people who are well educated, it puts South Africa on a different level on the map, and even gives us a much better image than we already have. So collaborations for me are really what I am open to.”

Bakama also has a national diploma in Operations management, a Btech in Operations Management and Mtech in Operations Management under his belt.

By earning this PhD, he intends to improve the standing of Africa internationally by making it easier to collaborate with other African universities in the future.

Saturday Star