Change the world


They say it is impossible to shoot two birds with one stone, but a Nelson Mandela University graduate has managed to defy the odds, excelling in both his studies and sport. In April, Madibaz football striker and former captain made history as the first player to be capped in a red gown, graduating with a PhD in Chemistry.

Zimbabwean-born, Cloudius Ray Sagandira, had a passion for football from a young age. His family had a strong belief in education so a career in football alone would be hard to convince them.

With a strong determination and living by the motto “Yes I can,” Cloudius has never been one to give up. Instead, his approach is to challenge the status quo and reach for the stars. While doing his undergraduate studies, he led the Madibaz team to the final of the Varsity Football in 2013. With the demanding pressure of the varsity football league and due to the constant travelling for away fixtures, his lecturers thought he wouldn’t be able to balance sport and doing a BSc. He was up for the challenge and did not disappoint; in the following year, he would go on to graduate Cum Laude in BScHons.

After turning down offers to join the South African Premier Soccer League, he went on to pursue his Masters, and surely became a master both on and off the field, graduating Cum laude and winning many sports accolades along the way. These awards included Madibaz player of the year 2013, Madibaz Sportsman of the year 2016,  the prestigious SPAR Sport Elizabeth HomeGrown Hero in 2016 (an award that recognises and rewards the achievements of the of the world-class sportsmen and women who have brought honour to our city) and the Madibaz top goal scorer in 2017.

Apart from working hard on the field, Cloudius immediately went on to enrol for his PhD, completing it in sub-record time of two years while still playing for and captaining the Madibaz Football Club. This was surely an unprecedented fit for a sportsman, demonstrating his unparalleled work ethic.

Due to his efforts, he was invited as one of the young and outstanding scientists in the world for the Bill Gates Grand Challenge Annual in Berlin 2018. There, he was given the opportunity to make a speech among many renowned world leaders, including Bill Gates, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, World Health Organisation Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, and Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, to name a few. In addition, having produced ground-breaking research in drug development and manufacture, his work has been patented and published in a number of research papers.

The Madibaz striker has never lost the passion for his beloved team, becoming a veteran of the Madibaz Football Club. At the beginning of the year, he stepped down from the captaincy to give way to new leaders to be groomed in order to ensure the continuity of the team. Currently, he is continuing his research in drug synthesis and process development as a Post-Doctoral researcher at Nelson Mandela University, working with Professor Paul Watts.

To crown his PhD graduation year, Cloudius will spend 3 months in Switzerland working for Novartis Pharma AG as a Next Generation Scientist (NGS) Intern. Novartis NGS program recruits only 20 talented and highly motivated scientists (Masters, PhD and post-doctoral level scientists and clinicians) from low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries across the globe annually. We are so proud of Cloudius and wish him all the best for his future in Basel, Switzerland, and beyond.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777