Tumelo Genge,
civil engineering student at Nelson Mandela University

Tumelo from Motherwell in Port Elizabeth is a second year Civil Engineering student

What drew you to Civil Engineering? What did you hope to learn?

That I would be able to create. Civil engineers create the world around us, from buildings to roads, to railways and tunnels. That I would bring designs to life, as well that I would be doing something that challenges me in a field that would allow me to grow. The fact that civil engineering is a very broad field and includes a ton of specialities which all are very challenging and keeps you on your feet. I have always loved being creative and bringing my ideas to life, and civil engineering is actually giving me a chance to do that in my own unique way.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt this semester?

I have learned how to do levelling, traversing and tacheometry in surveying. As well how to do the different soil tests, in order to ensure that the soil is essential to build roads and dams on in construction. The most interesting one for me was water engineering, when we were working on pipe flow as well as pumping systems.

If you hadn’t been awarded your SANRAL bursary, what do you think you’d be doing this year?

My plan was always to study no matter what. Even if I had to apply for a student loan, which was actually my back up plan. I also applied for NSFAS in hope that I would get accepted if SANRAL did not to accept my application.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ten years from now I see myself as a qualified civil engineer with some experience in the civil engineering field, and hopefully I would be in the process of opening my own construction company.


What are you reading?

My hobbies are reading, drawing and cooking. I have not been able to have a chance to read for a while now because of my academics, since I’m between my exams and all.

Is your course a high-pressure one?

There is a lot of pressure. There is a lot of competition amongst the students. Everyone wants to make it and do well. So yeah, my course is a very high pressure one. And the modules in my curriculum are very challenging. But what I love most about my fellow students is that despite the pressure and all, we are all able to help each other where we can, because at the end of the day we all want to make it and see each other succeed also. And since our course is very challenging, you should be able to ask when you get stuck, and if my not understanding my lecturer I am able to turn to my peers for help.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned so far?

One of the interesting things I have learned are life lessons. Varsity has taught me and shown me more about life than I knew, it has taught me to be patient, it has taught me to strive, to not wait for something but to chase after it, and finally how to be grateful. And I am still learning more along the way.

What do you do to let off steam?

Whenever I feel stressed or there’s too much pressure, I jog or go to the gym or sometimes I just take a shower.

What do you think the five-year-old you would want to tell you now?

She would probably say, keep going. Never stop dreaming and never let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do.