Motswana student shines in London

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Motswana student shines in London by

BHIERGE KHUMALO

Kagiso Bikane (24), from North West is a man of firsts, he has mastered the winner’s code.

He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, in the United Kingdom. He and 18 other young Batswana with academic prowess, won the Botswana government’s Top Achievers Scholarship in 2009, which afforded them the opportunity to pursue their studies overseas.

The aim of the scholarship is to promote hard work and enhance excellence, consequently promoting the quality of education.

Prestige in education

The prestigious scholarship enabled Bikane to complete his A Levels at Bellerbys College, Cambridge from 2010 – 2012, where he was the top student from Africa.

Thereafter he enrolled with Imperial College London from 2012 until 2016 where he studied Chemical Engineering and subsequently, a Masters in Engineering.

During this technically demanding course, he says he learnt to be more independent and resourceful. “I also developed skills to present high-quality technical reports frequently and persuasively. I also learnt to be more creative as evidenced by my final year design project in which we designed an inherently safe nuclear power plant that uses innovative molten salt reactors,” he said.

Support is paramount

Throughout his academic career, Bikane’s teachers made him conscious of his intellectual ability. Furthermore, they created platforms to showcase his abilities through competitions such as science fairs. “They also gave me advice on how to organise my studies and prepare for my exams,” he said.

However, he takes his hat off to Mma Mbati, his class teacher at Tutume McConnell College (TMCC) as well as Mma Muzila, his junior secondary class teacher at Shangano JSSS.

“I believe my class teachers at junior and senior school have had a great influence. They showed a great amount of enthusiasm around how I was progressing in my studies. We would set targets in terms of the number of prizes I had to win at the prize giving ceremony. I am truly grateful that they were able establish a good relationship with my parents by making them feel welcome to partake in my education,” he said.

Always treasure their love

Bikane’s mother became a member of the Parent-Teacher Association at both his schools.

TMCC school head, Mma Dube and his Statistics teacher, Mr Sematla also shaped him greatly. Prior to sitting his BGCSE examinations, this driven young man had a friendly chat with Mr Sematla, around exams preparation. His advice was simple – all he said was he should not enter the exam room feeling over confident, and that he has to be well prepared. “I should sit my exams still having the desire and hunger to study further rather than kicking back and saying I know everything there is to know because that is when complacency sets in,” says Bikane.

Mr Sematla’s words have been the core of his academic development over the years, leading to his consistently outstanding performances at all levels.

Bikane aspires to set up a research and consultancy company offering advice on energy issues, and looking to study the thermochemical conversion of coal, biomass and solid waste.

“With the demand for energy expected to increase, it would be best to study the processes, technological and economic developments to help our country be self-sufficient and competitive in global markets. I would also like to facilitate production of internationally competitive next generation skilled manpower by sharing knowledge through seminars or delivering educational lectures,” he said.

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