Ramulifho Pfananani says being the first from his family and village to complete a doctorate degree was a moment of immense pride for him. His PhD is in river management, he is the national vice-chairperson of the Young Water Professionals and he is a postdoctoral research fellow. He got his PhD in zoology from the University of Venda, and it was there that he’s previously completed his honours and undergraduate degree in environmental sciences. He is fascinated by rivers and has contributed to research on sustainable management of rivers in Venda and the protection of voiceless organisms that inhabit these environments.
Pfananani is the happiest and most fulfilled when he is able to help others and share his knowledge. Even though he sometimes learned this the hard day, Pfananani says he always makes sure to listen to the good advice offered to him by those who know more.
“The truth is I have learned that there are some opportunities where we would never ever get a second chance in life,” he says.
Pfananani is all about grabbing the opportunities presented to him. He says it is important to focus on one’s strengths, rather than weaknesses when trying to accomplish anything. This positive thinking helped him to complete his PhD.
“Working on your faults might help you make a living, but honing your talents may help you change the world for the better,” he says. Being one of the first from his family to complete a PhD is something that has made him aware of the importance of helping others. And helping others encourages a culture of helping. “This means that the more we give our time or resources to the issues we care about, the more others will give in return. In that way, one person’s actions really can change the world for good,” he says.