SA’s first black observational ocean biogeochemist
Mhlangabezi Mdutyana is a University of Cape Town (UCT) PhD graduate-in-waiting. He’s the son of a domestic worker and a security guard and he grew up on the dusty roads of Polar Park in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
The young man couch surfed his way through the first year of his MSc to make ends meet; and had his socks knocked off when his master’s was upgraded to a PhD. As if that wasn’t enough, when this first-generation graduand receives his doctoral degree on 14 December, he will make history as South Africa’s first black observational ocean biogeochemist.
Mhlangabezi’s story with UCT started in 2015 when he was awarded a scholarship to pursue his master’s in marine biogeochemistry. The Department of Oceanography in the Faculty of Science became his second home, and he was excited about his bright future. Admittedly, he was not prepared for what was beckoning on the horizon. UCT News