Young scientist to fly the South African flag high in the Netherlands.

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Ms Mbali Mahlayeye.

Staff Reporter

A young Remote Sensing Scientist from the Department of Water and Sanitation is set to fly the South African flag high at the Dutch Visitors Programme (DVP) organised by the Dutch Government in the Netherlands, expected to take place on 17-27 March 2019.

Mbali Mahlayeye joined the department four years ago as a Graduate Trainee and was selected to participate in the information- sharing programme that will showcase the Dutch expertise on drinking water and waste water.

The 29-year-old scientist is from a close-knit family of five and was born and raised in Gauteng, in the East Rand. She holds a Geology (Hons) and Geo-informatics (MSc) Degrees from the University of Pretoria (UP).

Planning to pursue her PhD studies at the University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands, Mahlayeye has expressed that this opportunity will help provide a platform for her to engage with other professionals from other countries on how to bring about positive change and advance the water sector, especially in developing countries.

“To say being nominated to participate in the programme means the world to me is an understatement. This is a platform that will not only open doors for me as an individual, but will also expand my thinking as a young scientist in a developing country like ours,” Mahlayeye said.

The self-assured young scientist said while growing up, she did not always know what to study, all she knew was that she wanted a career that will change people’s lives and make South Africa a better country.

“In my high schools years, I didn’t always know what I wanted to study. All I knew was that I wanted to further my studies and venture into a career that will have a positive influence in people’s lives,” she said.

“After passing Matric I studied Mining Engineering for a year, mainly because of the perceived notion that the mining industry pays well. But I soon had a change of heart as my mom encouraged me to look into a career that will have a positive influence in the lives of those around me and one that will fulfil me as a person,” she said.

“It was then that I decided to look into study fields that focus on addressing problems of geography, geosciences and related branches of science and engineering, and I haven’t looked back since,” said Mahlayeye.

The DVP hosts about eight people from different developing countries. Participants are talented, entrepreneurial and internationally oriented individuals with a background in government, politics, business, media, education or science. They are aged between 27 and 35, preferably in possession of a Master’s degree, fluent in English and active in a field or discipline relevant to the Netherlands.