Sulaiman Saleem Patel
Durban - DURBANITE Sulaiman Saleem Patel was the youngest graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal to be awarded his PhD in electrical engineering.

The 25-year-old was awarded his PhD after his master’s thesis was deemed to be at the level of a doctoral thesis.

Having earned his BSc in engineering, Patel registered for his Master’s in electronic engineering, specialising in wireless communication.

Patel was 24 when he submitted his Master’s thesis called “Uncoded Space-Time Labelling Diversity: Data Rate and Reliability Enhancements and Application to Real-World Satellite Broadcasting”.

However, due to the high standard of his work, examiners recommended he transition directly to a PhD.

Patel said his first real exposure to the field was when he made the decision in Grade 10 at Durban High School to study information technology.

“There’s an indescribable feeling that comes with taking an idea, implementing it and seeing it work in the real world. I first experienced that feeling after completing my first programming project in IT class,” said Patel.

As an engineer, Patel strives to be less foolish today than he was yesterday. Regarding wireless communications, the internet has revolutionised how people live, interact and conduct business.

Hailing from Sherwood, Patel said he was not raised in an affluent family and his academic drive and perseverance stemmed from him fighting to secure bursaries.

“I wanted to ease the financial pressure placed on my parents, it subsequently became a habit thereafter.

“Every accolade I have today is because of their sacrifices, and no matter where life takes me, I will always remember that I started off as a humble kid behind the shop counter of my parents’ store,” said Patel.

Dr Tahmid Quazi, one of Patel’s supervisors, said PhDs generally take around three years, however Patel was allowed to build on the foundations of his Master’s thesis.

Sunday Tribune