School of Engineering


Mr Yasthiel Kemraj with (from left) his father, Mr Deavesh Kemraj; mother, Mrs Nisha Kemraj; and girlfriend, Ms Tarika Panday.

Changing the World One Step at a Time

Mr Yasthiel Kemraj lives by Mahatma Gandhi’s credo, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’

Achieving his BSc in Civil Engineering summa cum laude places him in a good position to achieve his goals.

For Kemraj, graduating marks the end of a unique four-year experience that involved making new friends and learning new skills and values. ‘Graduating indicates that I am now capable of becoming a contributing member of society,’ he said. ‘Having acquired some of the tools and skills required to make me a functioning asset to a company can assist me in making a contribution to the country and the civil engineering industry.’

An avid love for maths, physics and engineering graphics and design in high school motivated his choice of degree. ‘Civil Engineering appealed the most owing to being able to contribute to the development of the country by providing infrastructure and service delivery,’ he said. He added that there are no engineers in his family, save for his late grandfather whom he never met.

The ex-Northwood Boys High School learner chose UKZN because he wanted to have a traditional university experience within a research-driven and innovative environment. ‘The BScEng degree offered at UKZN is also recognised nationwide and world-wide.’

As a top Civil Engineering graduate, Kemraj was nominated for the 2022 IPGIP (Integrated Postgraduate Industry Partnership) programme, which he won under the supervision of Dr Joy Adu. His project examined effective wastewater management processes to secure a sustainable water supply in domestic households.

‘To curb water wastage, a greywater treatment system was built to channel, treat and store greywater from a domestic kitchen. This system yielded positive results as the greywater constituents reduced in concentration. The results showed the treated greywater effluent could be used for non-potable purposes,’ said Adu.

Kemraj is currently a graduate engineer in the Bridges and Buildings Division at Naidu Consulting. He intends to obtain his professional registration within the next five years and to become a specialist in his chosen field. ‘I am enjoying my time at this company, which allows me to develop my skills and interests in a nurturing and informative environment as the company has several large-scale projects, which I hope to learn from and be a contributing member of the teams tasked with tackling them,’ he said.

Kemraj attributes his success to his parents and girlfriend, who provided him with the support and balance needed to complete this difficult degree.

An avid Manchester United supporter, Kemraj never misses a game and several hours are spent on weekends analysing the games and teams, and considering tactics and formations. If not watching a game, he is either playing indoor football or working out at the gym.

Words: Swastika Maney

Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan