School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Young Mathematician Continues to Shine

Having graduated with his Honours degree in Mathematics summa cum laude, Mr Ntokozo Khuzwayo came back for more. This year he earned his Master’s – again, with distinction!

‘I was motivated to do my MSc at UKZN because of its reputation in research and because it has one of the best experts in my chosen field, Professor Fortune Massamba, who was willing to be my supervisor. After completing my Honours degree summa cum laude and being awarded the Hanno Rund mathematics prize for the best project in mathematics, it became clear to me that UKZN also recognises students who strive for excellence and that is the kind of the university I like to be a part of,’ he said.

Khuzwayo’s research was on the geometry of locally conformal almost Kähler manifolds. Its relevance relates to the fact that it lies at the intersection of complex analysis, differential geometry, algebraic geometry, partial differential equations, microlocal analysis, probability and topology. Some of the most important examples in the above-mentioned fields are derived from Kähler structures.

‘What motivated my interest in this study is its abstract nature and the fact that it includes most of the fields in mathematics,’ said Khuzwayo. ‘So rather than focusing on one mathematical field, it allowed me to broaden my skills in different fields.

‘The significance of my research is the new results that my supervisor and I came up with during the course of my study,’ Khuzwayo explained. ‘We presented and proved the conditions at which a locally conformal almost Kähler manifold admits a globally defined Kähler metric in terms of curvature tensors. We also presented new results in terms of foliations.

An article based on Khuzwayo and Massamba’s research was published in the prestigious International Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences. The young mathematician is currently enrolled for a PhD.

Khuzwayo acknowledged a number of people who helped him on his academic journey: ‘My parents Thabi and Mbongiseni Khuzwayo; my sister and brothers Sindiswa, Bandile and Lethukuthula for their unwavering support when I was conducting my research at home because of lockdown; UKZN for awarding me the Talent Equity Scholarship; my research supervisor Professor Fortune Massamba; my scholarship mentor Dr Simo Mthethwa; Mr Yougan Aungamuthu who was my mathematics lecturer in the access programme and is now helping me broaden my skills in teaching and learning; and most importantly my life partner Sanele Mhlongo with whom I share a wonderful son Ntokozo Junior Khuzwayo.’

‘They are the reason I keep striving for excellence.’

Said Khuzwayo: ‘I would like to encourage learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to work hard, chase their dreams and change the situation they come from. But most importantly, I would like to encourage them to see mathematics as a universal language.’

Words: Sally Frost

Photograph: Supplied