From goat herding to PhD in Physics

Born and bred in Eendadi village, Natangue Heita Shafudah finds himself in Japan reading towards a PhD in Renewable Energy and Physics.

Natangue says he grew up like many kids in the Ohangwena region, doing a large share of domestic work such as goat and cattle herding, cultivating Mahangu and fetching water from distant water points. He completed his high school at Oshela Senior Secondary School in 2008.

University education
He enrolled at the University of Namibia, for a four-year Bachelors’ degree in Physics and Geology. His studies were sponsored by the NAMPOWER student bursary scheme. Afterwards, he enrolled for a Masters’ degree in Physics at the University of Namibia, and was fortunate to be awarded a scholarship by the Namibian Government Scholarship Training Programme (NGSTP). After completing this degree in 2015, he started looking for opportunities and scholarships to do a PhD. He was awarded the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) scholarship, from the Japanese Government to study Renewable Energy and Physics. The University of Namibia supported him through the staff development fellowship programme.

Life in Japan

After arriving in Japan, he went through a six-month Intensive Japanese course which was also sponsored by the MEXT scholarship and offered by the University of Electro-Communication (UEC). “After grasping basic Japanese, it was an excellent opportunity to communicate with Japanese people and understand their culture and values”, he remarked.

His research interests include numerical simulations, fabrication and characterisation of nanomaterials in the form of functional metal oxide thin films. “The Professors and my laboratory members at the university are very supportive, and we are always trying to find the best way to develop new materials concept”, says Natangue.

Life after Japan

After completing his PhD, he looks forward to coming back to Namibia and contribute to the development of the country via science and technology. “I am delighted to be employed at the University of Namibia and under the excellent leadership lead by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu”, he says. Further adding “I look forward to contributing toward innovation toward sustainable energy materials, value addition of our country rare minerals, for us to realise the University’s dream of becoming a Centre of Excellence and global hub of innovation in science and technology”.

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