African Physics Newsletter

Obituary: Professor Muzi Ndwandwe

Muzi Ndwandwe / by kind permission of the Physics Department, UNIZULU

Osman Muzi Ndwandwe passed away in early January 2020.

Professor Osman Muzi Ndwandwe was born on the 10th of September 1958 in Durban–Hillcrest (KwaNgcolosi). He is the second of four children born of the late Martin Ndwandwe and Linah MaMkhize Ndwandwe. He is survived by his wife Dr Ngwananielo Kate Lekganyane Ndwandwe. He is blessed with 4 children: Nokukhanya, Nonjabulo, Nhlakanipho, and Matsimela.

He obtained his BSc (Physics and Applied Maths) in 1982 from the University of Zululand. He then obtained his Master’s degree from the University of South Africa. In 1995 he completed his PhD in Physics under the guidance of Prof Rene Pretorius and Prof Bouke Spoelstra at the University of Zululand.

A specialist of nano structures

His research group has worked in nano structures, notably ZnO and nanophosphors, as well as in thin films for hydrogen storage. In 1986, he was appointed as a lecturer and as Senior Lecturer in 1999. In 2004 he was appointed as the Acting Head of the Physics Department. In 2005 he was promoted to a full Professor and appointed as the Head of the Physics Department.

In 2007, he was appointed as the Deputy Dean and became a Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at UNIZULU in 2013. In 2013, he was the Chair of the 58th Annual Conference of the South African Institute of Physics, hosted by UNIZULU. In 2015, he was seconded to the new Richards Bay Campus, as an Acting Executive Director.

Many collaborations abroad and in South Africa

He supervised more than 30 Masters and 5 PhDs in the field of Material Science. He has produced many articles in accredited high impact journals. Several of his collaborations are in Italy-Trieste, Sweden and the USA. In South Africa, he collaborated with the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), iThemba LABS (iThemba Laboratory for Accelerator Based Sciences) and with many other academic institutions.

He was instrumental in setting up the very successful MaNus/MatSci Programme (Master’s Degree in Accelerator and Nuclear Science, and Master’s Degree in Materials Science respectively) hosted by the University of Western Cape. The program has enabled many young black South Africans to pursue their dreams of becoming scientists and has produced a number of professionals in the field of material and nuclear sciences.

His legacy will live on in our hearts.

Dr Thulani Jili, University of Zululand (UNIZULU), South Africa

This article has first been published by the African Physics Newsletter. ©American Physical Society, 2020


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