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06 March 2020 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Dr Ocaya
Dr Richard Ocaya’s research addresses the skills development and transfer millennium goal of many governments globally.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution becoming a reality, Dr Richard Ocaya’s research is receptive to the fact that Africa and the world need to re-imagine their research. His research focuses on electronic instrumentation design for scientific measurements, computational physics on atomic nano-atomic structures, and semiconducting organic compounds materials built on silicon to realise Schottky devices.

Software developer 
“I develop most of the instrumentation that I apply in my research – both software and hardware,” said Dr Ocaya, a Physics Lecturer and Programme Director: Physics and Chemistry on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus.

“I am active in scientific computing through the computing cluster and software development, mathematical physics for material science modelling, and embedded instrumentation design using microprocessors. I also have deep interest in radio and data telemetry, in which I hold a South African patent issued in 2013. My present international collaborations are with like-minded researchers in similar fields in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Japan, Egypt, South Korea, and the United States,” he added.

How does his research talk to the real world?
“The driving principle of all areas of my research has always been to deploy cutting-edge research to actual, real-world applications for the immediate betterment of Africans. The areas of my research align closely with the millennium goals of many governments globally, including the Republic of South Africa. These goals pertain to skills development and transfer that position us to better address the challenges of energy, water, and other priorities.”

Dr Ocaya is currently co-promoting a PhD student, having previously supervised one PhD, two MSc, and more than twenty honours students. He is a self-taught electronics and computer programmer, whose curiosity led him to question ‘the voices and music coming from a box; a radio’. “In my quest to satisfy my curiosity, I collected many discarded devices, took them apart, and tried so many circuits, only to have them fail because the theory was lacking. After thousands of failed projects and with me barely thirteen and in lower secondary school, my first ever project actually worked,” he said.

NRF-rating
He is the author of the book Introduction to Control Systems Analysis using Point Symmetries: An application of Lie Symmetries, which is available in all major bookstores such as Amazon, in both print and e-book format. He is a C3 NRF-rated researcher whose work makes a pioneering contribution to the new and growing field of phononics, an independent field of the now established photonics.

“This field will someday lead to improved energy-storage devices and faster processors due to more efficient heat removal from nanodevices,” he concludes.


News Archive

Help to rural women to become entrepreneurs
2006-10-24

Some of the guests who attended the ceremony were, from the left: Mr Donray Malabie (Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust), Ms Jemina Mokgosi (one of the ladies from Tabane Village who is participating in the Women in Agriculture project), Dr Limakatso Moorosi (Head: Veterinary Services, Free State Department of Agriculture), Prof Johan Greyling (Head: UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences) and Ms Khoboso Lehloenya (coordinator of the project from UFS Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences). Photo: Leonie Bolleurs\

Alexander Forbes and UFS help rural women to become entrepreneurs
 
Today, the Alexander Forbes Community Trust and the University of the Free State (UFS) joined forces to create an enabling environment for rural women to become players in the private sector.

Three years ago the UFS set up a unique small-scale household egg production project called Women in Agriculture in Thaba ‘Nchu as a pilot project. The project was officially launched today by Mr Donray Malabie, Head of the Alexander Forbes Community Trust.

The aim of the Women in Agriculture Project is to create jobs, provide food security and to help develop rural women into entrepreneurs. A total of 25 women based in Tabane Village in Thaba ‘Nchu are the beneficiaries of the project.

“This is the first project in the Free State the Alexander Forbes Community Trust is involved with.  The project would help rural women acquire the skills they need to run their own egg-production business from their homes,” said Mr Malabie. 

“The ongoing debate on the shortage of skills ignores the fact that people with little or no education at all also need training. This project is special to the Trust as it provides for the creation of sustainable jobs, food security and the transfer of much needed skills all at once, particularly at this level,” he said.

Every woman in the group started with two small mobile cages that housed 12 hens each. The units are low in cost, and made of commercially available welded mesh and a metal frame. Now, each woman has four cages with 48 hens. The group manages to collectively produce 750 eggs daily.

The eggs are currently sold to local businesses, including spaza shops and the women are using the income generated to look after their families and to further develop their business.

The Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS identified the project and did the initial research into the feasibility of setting up such a project.

“A demonstration and training unit has been established at the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre and the women attended a short practical training course. Subsidies are provided for feeding, together with all the material and the lay hens necessary for the start of the business,” said Ms Khoboso Lehloenya, coordinator of the project from the Department of Animal and Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the UFS. 

“The advantage in using lay hens is that they are resistant to diseases and the women will not need electric heating systems for the egg production,” said Ms Lehloenya. 

According to Ms Lehloenya, the women are already benefiting from their egg production businesses.  “Some of them have used the profit to buy school uniforms and tracksuits for their children and others are now able to make a monthly contribution to their household expenses,” said Ms Lehloenya. 
“In South Africa, possibly due to cultural reasons and circumstances, most black people prefer to eat older and tougher chickens, compared to younger soft commercially available broiler chickens. This preference creates a further advantage for the women. At the end of their production cycle, old hens can be sold for a higher price than point-of-lay or young hens. This brings in further money to pay for more hens,” said Ms Lehloenya.

The Alexander Forbes Trust contributed R191 000 towards the project aimed at expanding it to benefit 15 more women.

“We are in the process of recruiting an additional 15 women in Thaba ‘Nchu who will be trained by the Lengau Agricultural Development Centre in order to replicate the model and extend its reach”, said Ms Lehloenya.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl@mail.uovs.ac.za
20 October 2006

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