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“I feel elated, I feel relieved, I am grateful to God because it’s been a long journey but he’s been gracious, so I’m absolutely proud of myself. I believe my mom would have been proud of me as well, as she passed away through this journey,” said Dr Onwaba Zurich Makanjana.

Dr Makanjana, a Food and Nutrition lecturer at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Steve Biko Campus, graduated with her Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the DUT Celebratory Autumn Graduation Celebration on Wednesday, 13 July 2022.

The title of her thesis is: The impact of an orange-fleshed sweet potato yoghurt on the nutritional status of pre-school children in Durban, South Africa.

Her supervisors being DUT’s Prof Carin Napier and Dr Ashika Naicker.

“Vitamin A and iron deficiency are common among pre-school children in South Africa. There has been a growing trend to include food-based solutions to address dietary deficiencies. In this study, orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), rich in vitamin A, was used as a food-based solution to address the vitamin A deficiency.

The study resulted in a publication in an international journal.

Dr Makanjana also finds time to be part of the team collaborating with UNIZULU on the study investigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on food consumption habits, food purchasing behaviour and food security status of the adult population in South Africa. She is also a mentor of an nGAP lecturer in the department. . Going forward, Dr Makanjana said in terms of her research she aims to address vitamin a deficiency in young children and plans to continue on that path and perhaps look at other products that can be developed to make sure that the children that don’t eat enough foods can actually bulk up their intake at the adequate levels.

To view the livestream ceremonies, go to

#DUT Autumn Graduation

# DUT Celebratory Grad 2022

#I am DUT

Pictured: Dr Onwaba Zurich Makanjana (Picture credit: Sandile Nkosi)

Nonkululeko Ngcobo/Waheeda Peters

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