Saleem Sulaiman Patel has become the youngest PhD graduate ever at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The 25-year old Durbanite was awarded a PhD in electrical engineering.

Patel was pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering, specializing in wireless communication. He reportedly submitted a master’s thesis that was so good that the examiners recommended he be awarded a PhD.

Patel’s thesis was titled: Uncoded Space-Time Labelling Diversity: Data Rate and Reliability Enhancements and Application to Real-World Satellite Broadcasting.

The student said that he decided to study information technology while studying at Durban High School in tenth grade.

There’s an indescribable feeling that comes with taking an idea, implementing it and seeing it work in the real world. I first experienced that feeling after completing my first programming project in IT class,” Patel explained.

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As an engineer, Patel says he wants to be ‘less foolish every day’.

Patel, who was raised in Sherwood, does not come from an able family. Bursaries put him through school, and he had to fight for them through perseverance and good grades.

I wanted to ease the financial pressure placed on my parents, it subsequently became a habit thereafter.”

He praised his parents for getting him where he is, “Every accolade I have today is because of their sacrifices, and no matter where life takes me, I will always remember that I started off as a humble kid behind the shop counter of my parents’ store.

PhDs take about three years. However, Patel was allowed to pursue the coveted award based on his master’s thesis, one of his supervisors, Dr. Tahmid Quazi, explained.

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