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UKZN Study Makes Hard Times Better



UKZN Study Makes Hard Times Better

UKZN Study Makes Hard Times Better. From selling fruit and snacks at a taxi rank in Newcastle during his school years to pursuing a PhD in Chemistry, Siyabonga Ndlela journey is a testament to resilience and ambition. Despite facing financial struggles and familial responsibilities, Ndlela unwavering commitment to education led him to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), where he not only excelled academically but also made significant contributions to his field.

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Hardship Fuels Ambition

Growing up as the second youngest in a large family, Ndlela witnessed the cycle of limited opportunities and financial constraints. Determined to break free from this pattern, he set his sights on higher education. With sheer determination, Ndlela applied for financial assistance and enrolled in a degree program in Applied Chemistry at UKZN.

Support and Opportunities at UKZN

Despite arriving with little more than his belongings, Ndlela found a supportive environment at UKZN. Encouraged by staff members like Ms. Pinky Mathonsi, he not only settled into university life but also thrived academically. His involvement as a Supplementary Instruction tutor not only enriched his own experience but also allowed him to support his family financially.

Passion for Academia

While offered internships in industry, Ndlela discovered his true passion lay in academia. His journey through masters and PhD studies was marked by significant achievements, including securing funding for his research. His doctoral work focused on developing catalysts for converting inexpensive materials into valuable products, showcasing his innovative thinking and dedication to scientific advancement.

Contributions to the Field

Ndlela research, supported by industry giants like SASOL, yielded groundbreaking results. His development of stable catalysts with minimal byproducts represented a significant contribution to the field of Chemistry. His publications and participation in conferences underscored the impact of his work and established him as a respected researcher in his field.

Giving Back to the Community

Throughout his academic journey, Ndlela remained committed to giving back to his community. As a Residence Life Officer at UKZN, he played a pivotal role in mentoring and empowering students. His dedication to student development extended beyond the classroom, demonstrating his holistic approach to education.


Siyabonga Ndlela story exemplifies the transformative power of education and resilience in the face of adversity. From selling snacks at a taxi rank to becoming a respected Chemistry lecturer, his journey is a source of inspiration for aspiring scholars everywhere.

Through hard work, determination, and a passion for learning, Ndlela has turned hard times into opportunities for personal and professional growth, leaving an indelible mark on his field and community alike.

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