Derrick Mwanje Kakai’s main goal is to one day become the President of Kenya, his home country, with the ambition of working toward comprehensive and lasting peace for Africa.
The 24-year-old’s desire and determination has brought him to Dundee to undertake his second Masters degree, but that’s not the only reason why he chose to study here.
Derrick heard stories about the City of Discovery from a young age. He grew up listening to his grandparents tell tales about the Scottish culture, people, and a university and its campus where they spent many years.
“My choice to study at Dundee was informed by the good stories about the city and the university that my late grandmother used to tell me,” said Derrick. “Her wish had always been for her grandson to pass through the university she enjoyed most in her days.”
In 1986, Gladstone Bernard Wangusi, Derrick’s grandfather, travelled to Dundee to pursue his undergraduate degree in Geology. His wife, Judith, soon followed and took up a course at Dundee in administration.
Now over thirty years since his grandparents lived and studied here, Derrick has followed in their footsteps and travelled to the city, hoping to connect with the place held dear by his grandparents and to help fulfil his dream of becoming a diplomat.
“My ambition has always been to be the future President of Kenya,” he continued. “The never-ending conflict that resurges every now and then in many African countries has always made my heart bleed for peace.
“Earlier this year, I finished my first Masters degree in Conflict Peace and Security at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana, and now I have ventured into the field of law, studying the Law (General) LLM course at Dundee.
“Understanding the law of the land is key for me to understand how to go about different angles of restoring peace in my continent. It will give me the precise knowledge and skills to enable me to pursue my ambition of becoming a peacekeeper and serve my purpose of making Africa a great continent.
Sadly, Derrick’s grandmother, Judith, has passed away in recent years. His grandfather continues to hold their memories in Dundee close to his heart and is proud to see his grandson studying at the University.
“When Derrick came to my house jubilating about the opportunity to study in Dundee, I was very proud as his grandfather,” said Gladstone. “Today I smile and constantly encourage him to make the best of the opportunity.
“Dundee felt like home away from home for my wife and I. The Scottish people are very friendly, and the beauty of the city goes without saying. Scotland is one of the most beautiful places to study and work.”
The 74-year-old admits his time in Dundee helped open many doors for his career and says he is confident it will do the same for his grandson.
“My greatest appreciation to the University of Dundee is for proper technical knowledge that made me to be a respectable Engineering Geologist,” he continued. “Now, I am highly in demand working as a materials engineer. The skills that I gained at the University has positioned me as one of the best in my industry.
“Dundee will always remain very dear to my heart, and I hope it will have the same impact on Derrick. I am positive the University of Dundee will equip him with the necessary knowledge to be the best.”