Classics Students host Agorion Bake Sale

Classics Students host <em>Agorion</em> Bake Sale
Classics Postgraduate students at their Agorion Bake Sale.

The Classics Postgraduate student contingent within the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently baked up a storm, took to the Howard College campus and managed to sell their baked confectionary in record time in order to raise much needed funds for the Museum of Classical Archaeology, fondly known as the Classics Museum on campus.

Building on the idea from former Classics student Ms Catherine Bilro, this year’s Agorion Bake Sale was conceptualised and initiated by the small group of students for the purpose of maintaining the Classics Museum and to create awareness amongst UKZN students about the Classics Department.

Student Mr Will Parker stated they had all come to love the Classics Department and the wealth of information it provided and wanted to help the department increase its postgraduate numbers.

‘Many students on campus are unaware that we actually have a museum and that one can actually study the Classics. With future bake sales, we hope to change this perception and to spark an interest amongst students to join our department,’ he said.

The students opened the bake sale with a Greek twist choosing the name Agorion as it is the diminutive form of the Greek word Agora for the open-air, often tented, marketplace of a city (as it still does in Greece) where merchants had their shops and where craftsmen made and sold their wares. 

The students even dressed up for the sale, adorned with wreaths of ivy, adding to the authenticity of Greek culture. Even their promotional flyers used Greek words and ideas to attract students to the sale.

Some of the baked goodies on sale were home-made brownies, fudge, chocolate profiteroles, cupcakes, a Greek honey cake and even Kajil Kara’s famous lemonade- all of which were sold out within the hour.

‘We had received such a good response from students and many of them were disappointed that we had sold out so quickly. But many were keen to know more about Classics and our museum so we hope to build on this for the next bake sale,’ said Ms Liliana Tappeiner.

The students had baked the confectionary on their own, using family recipes that were handed down from generation to generation. They hope to try out more recipes and have a wider variety of baked goods in the future.

Ms Robyn Baxter added, ‘It’s definitely something different from the food on campus and students seem to like this. We’re actually trying to make this a sort of tradition at the department and to someday have the Agorion within our Museum or closer to the Classics department so that students can see what we have on offer and to come study with us.’

Both students Ms Mikara Achary and Ms Carey Kirkman added that the next Agorion will be bigger and better. ‘This is our motivation to keep the department alive and we plan on incorporating other art events into it such as music and even poetry recitals. And we really appreciate the continual support shown by students and academics,’ they said.

The next Agorion Bake Sale is scheduled for early next semester, with another one towards the end of the year. Flyers and notices are expected to be distributed, once final dates have been confirmed.  

Melissa Mungroo

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Distinguished Teachers Honoured at Gala Dinner

Distinguished Teachers Honoured at Gala Dinner
Dr Aneshkumar Maharaj (left) and Professor Michael Savage received the Distinguished Teachers’ Awards.

The Teaching and Learning Office recently hosted a gala dinner to honour two eminent academics who received Distinguished Teachers’ Awards during the 2015 Graduation ceremonies.

The academics are Dr Aneshkumar Maharaj of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) and Professor Michael Savage of the discipline of Agrometeorology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

In her welcome, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, said the awards were designed to recognise innovative teachers of a high calibre.

Guest speaker, Professor June Pym, who is the Director of the Education Development Unit (EDU) at the University of Cape Town’s Commerce Faculty, delivered a presentation titled: Shifting Teaching and Learning practices in Higher Education.

She encouraged change in teaching practices, touching on things which make a difference to first-generation higher education students’ learning experiences and environment.

Recipient of the Harvard/Mandela Fellowship (2003/2004), Pym said three important aspects were involved in the learning experience: knowing what you want your students to achieve; the levels of student engagement; and developing a community of learners. She added that it was important that students expressed themselves in a language they were comfortable with.

Maharaj and Savage both expressed their joy at receiving the awards, thanking the University, students and colleagues for their continued support.

Maharaj said the award brought back a lot of good memories. He advised lecturers to teach the students they have and not students they would like to have.

Commended for his ability to break down complex issues, Savage said the award was humbling and he dedicated it to his wife and his postgraduate students.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Dermatology bags MEC’s Award

Dermatology bags MEC’s Award
Caption: Dr Ncoza Dlova, MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Professor Anisa Mosam and Dr Cebisile Sibisi.

UKZN department of Dermatology, under the leadership of Dr Ncoza Dlova, and Professor Anisa Mosam received special recognition for service excellence through outstanding innovation and best practices in the public sector from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and acting Director-General of health Dr Lindiwe Simelane.

The award followed the relaunch of the Dermatology Department’s revamped Skin Clinic at King Edward Vlll Hospital. The team received the MASEA Special Recognition Award at a ceremony held in Durban.

The Special Recognition Award is accorded to employees/teams/institutions who have been nominated at various provincial, national and other competitions. The segment also includes long service awards for those employees who have achieved 45 and more years of continuous service.

Dlova said it felt good to see her team’s hard work acknowledged by the Department of Health (DoH), ‘The whole department of dermatology is ecstatic. It’s wonderful to know that hard work is recognised and rewarded.’

King Edward Hospital’s Medical Manager Dr Linda Mtshali nominated Dlova and her team for the accolade.

Dlova said her team is excited about the recognitions, from the nursing staff, registrars, consultants and patients. ‘Everyone in our department lives by our departmental motto:  “together each achieves more: TEAM”.

‘The team felt a great sense of achievement for their contribution to such a successful initiative. They sacrificed time with their families on Saturdays to oversee workers at the skin clinic,’ she said.

Dlova is particularly grateful to Mosam and their colleagues for sharing her vision and for their unyielding support in all that the department strives for, and Registrars who donated their time and money.’

Sister Thabisile Duma, who has been in the department for 18 years, was visibly happy about the achievement, ‘This has never happened before. We are very happy to be acknowledged in this manner. It shows that our department is doing very well.’ Duma said it is great to work with Dr Dlova and she loves the way she has reformed the department into a great place.

‘We are very happy, our hard work eventually paid off. We are also happy about the improved client service and overall attitude of staff towards patients,’ said KEH Nurse Thembani Khumalo.

Dlova, who has been a Dermatologist for 17 years, said when she first joined the department as a registrar there were no African Dermatologists in the province of KZN, and there were only two  other African Dermatologists in the country. Presently there are 11 African Dermatologists who qualified from NRMSM, 80% of whom work in either rural areas or in the academic sector.

She has created a nurturing environment, mentoring registrars in preparation for their specialist exams, research careers and commitment to public sector service, as well as development of Dermatology as a leading academic field.

Nombuso Dlamini

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UKZN Named Among Top 200 Agricultural Universities in the World

UKZN Named Among Top 200 Agricultural Universities in the World

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has been ranked in the top 200 universities in agriculture and forestry in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings. 

QS is regarded as one of the three most influential and widely observed university measures alongside the Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education World University Rankings. 

Rankings are calculated according to factors such as academic reputation and research impact. 

 The QS World University Rankings’ methodology includes assessment of academic peer review, faculty/student ration, citations per faculty, employer reputation and international staff and student ratios. More than 3 000 institutions are considered in the process of these rankings, with only three other South African universities featuring in the top 200. 

The centre for the University’s agricultural work, the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), maintains close working relationships with many of the institutions in the top 200, including Cornell University, Wageningen University, Purdue University and Lincoln University. 

There is a regular flow of collaborative research and visits by staff and students of these institutions with UKZN, strengthening its international standard of research and teaching. 

UKZN’s agricultural research output remains one of its largest, with the 14 disciplines in SAEES largely focused on the training of students in this area and the advancement of studies related to agri-food production, especially as challenges such as food insecurity and climate change threaten the industry and demand innovative solutions.  

UKZN is regarded as a leader in the agricultural sector by international staff and students and has attracted many top students and researchers who have contributed to its research and to the larger agricultural sector worldwide.

 Christine Cuénod

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‘Onboarding’ New Staff at UKZN

‘Onboarding’ New Staff at UKZN
New recruits at the Onboarding event on the Westville campus.

The Human Resources Division hosted a two-day Onboarding Workshop aimed at familiarising new members of staff with the University.  

Executive Director of Human Resources, Ms Avril Williamson, outlined UKZN Values and the Employment Value Proposition.   

Williamson, who has been with the University for just over four months, took the new recruits through the REACH campaign which underscores Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Client Orientation and Honesty.  

She encouraged staff to ‘deliver on what you promise’ and to maintain high standards when interacting with colleagues, students and members of the public. 

Manager: HR Development, Mr Michael Cloete, spoke about ethical conduct, encouraging staff to refer to relevant policies such as the procurement and finance procedures before accepting extravagant gifts. Cloete also recommended that employees contact their Line Manager, Procurement or Finance to ensure they follow the correct procedures. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and the Head of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi, standing in for the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, outlined the strategic vision of the University and highlighted some of UKZN’s recent accomplishments, including rankings, research and influential alumni.  

The workshop, arranged by HR Development’s Mr Russel Mnguni, also featured presentations by the acting Registrar, Mr Baatile Poo, on the University’s organisational structure; the Dean of Research, Professor Urmilla Bob, on managing research funds, research ethics and research productivity, and the Director of Teaching and Learning, Mr Rubby Dunpath, on the Teaching and Learning Unit. 

Remuneration Consultant, Mr Vincent Mbukwana, took staff through the basic conditions of service and Principal Officer of the UKZN Medical Aid, Ms Philippa Hempson, discussed the medical aid organaisation, while Fund Officer, Ms Sharron Lessing, advised staff about retirement.  

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN’s Involvement in HIV Free Survival Project Ends on High Note

UKZN’s Involvement in HIV Free Survival Project Ends on High Note
Ballito clinic staff receive an appreciation award from UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health, Chief Operations Officer, Mr Glen Naidoo.

The Centre for Rural Health’s (CRH) has ended its partnership in the HIV Free Survival (PHFS) project after achieving its goal of improving HIV free child survival through support and mentorship.   

The project was part of CRH’s Quality Improvement (QI) programme which aimed to reduce HIV transmission rates from mother to child to less than 5% at 18 months at ILembe District clinics over two years. 

CRH’s Quality Mentor, Ms Lorraine Mkhize, said detection of malnutrition at Primary Health Care (PHC) level improved through training in identifying and managing malnutrition. 

It also improved the accuracy in the recording and measurement of key nutrition indicators, said Mkhize. 

‘The project achieved its goal to improve care for mothers and infants through support for Community Caregivers (CCG) and their supervisors in maternal and child health promotion, infant and young child feeding practices and promotion of adherence to ART,’ said Mkhize. 

PHFS was in line with the multi-country learning network to implement the World Health Organisation (WHO) Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and infant feeding guidelines to share best practices, disseminate knowledge and accelerate improvement in breast feeding and postnatal PMTCT practices for mother-infant pairs. 

‘It used a phased QI approach to integrate maternal, child health and nutrition service delivery in the postnatal period,’ Mkhize said. 

CRH’s Senior Quality Mentor, Mrs Zodwa Sibisi, said through the project they discovered that at least 90% of mothers and babies return to facilities for follow-up six days post-natal. ‘Rapid testing of all infants at 18 months increased from 75% to 90%,’ said Sibisi. 

Provincial  (DoH) Maternal Child and Woman Health and Nutrition Cluster Manager Ms Lenore Spies, said that in addressing malnutrition, the department had embarked on an intervention which was multi-sectorial and included the departments of Agriculture, Education, Social Development and Home Affairs because malnutrition as a challenge needed a multidisciplinary approach.  

Community Health Facilitator, Mrs Fikile Dlamini of the KwaDukuza District, said the project helped them strengthen the linkages between CCGs in the facilities through monthly meetings. 

‘The two-way feedback helped to create good working relationships. It also assisted with follow up visits of pregnant mothers and with the identification of pregnant women before they are 14 weeks,’ said Dlamini. 

PMCT co-ordinator in the iLembe District, Mrs Thembelihle Mungwe, said one of the project objectives - knowing the HIV status of every mother who attends clinics -assisted with the launch of Zazi Campaign which targeted the youth.  She admitted that as a district they were not doing well - ‘we can do better if we work together’. 

Some of the clinic sisters who participated in the project gave positive feedback about the PHFS, saying they will continue with its teachings although it has come to an end.

 Nombuso Dlamini

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Child and Maternal Nursing Programme

Child and Maternal Nursing Programme
Students from Congo-Brazzaville with NEPAD, the Republic of the Congo Government and UKZN officials.

Twenty students from the Republic of Congo have started a specialist studies programme in child and maternal nursing as part of the NEPAD Project on Nursing and Midwifery Education in Africa in which UKZN is involved. 

The NEPAD Agency in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Congo; host institution, the Marien Ngouabi University; UKZN, and African education authorities, have begun a bridging/honours programme which will continue into a Masters degree programme next year. 

The Project is a partnership between several tertiary institutions which do not offer nursing and midwifery education at postgraduate level and those that do. The aim is to assist the host Institutions in developing their own postgraduate programmes. This educational intervention involves collaboration in curriculum development, teaching, research and student assessment. A crucial and strategic relationship is developed and placed within the context of the needs of the country, the region and the continent with regard to health professional training as well as higher education institutional revitalisation.  

Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique also have such specialist programme. So far, about 70 nurses and midwives have completed masters degrees and acquired work experience which enable them to improve how they could serve their communities. In addition, around 100 nurses and midwives graduate this year.   

In Kenya, students are trained in community health nursing, maternal and child nursing graduated whilst students in Tanzania specialise in psychiatric nursing, critical care and trauma. In Rwanda, the training focuses on critical care and trauma.  

The NEPAD project not only provides training for specialist practitioners, but also researchers in these fields and people who can train others. The Project will be extended to Gabon and Cameroon next year. 

* The article first appeared on NEPAD e-alert on June 1

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Centre for Rural Health Project Manager receives Excellence Award

Centre for Rural Health Project Manager receives Excellence Award
Mrs Dolly Nyasulu.

UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health Project Manager, Mrs Dolly Nyasulu, received a Service Excellence Award from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, in recognition of her commitment to service delivery in the field of nursing, focusing on maternal health. 

The Senior Midwife, who has worked for the Department of Health (DoH) for many years, said she was humbled by the accolade: ‘I feel very honoured and realise I have to work even harder to live up to expectations brought about by this award.’ 

Nyasulu said the award came as a surprise. ‘Job satisfaction is very important, that on its own is a huge reward.’ 

She is currently a project Manager for the KwaZulu-Natal Initiative for New-born Care (KINC) Project, a CRH programme that aims to improve the care of new-born babies in KZN district hospitals by training doctors, professional nurses and enrolled nurses to improve their skills and knowledge in new-born care.  

She trained as a basic midwife in a Norwegian mission hospital. ‘During those times there were no incubators, no ultrasound machines and no CTG machines. We were trained to use our five senses when examining a pregnant woman.  It was an amazing experience to provide care to a pregnant mother until she delivers her baby,’ said Nyasulu. 

This made her realise that midwifery was a noble profession and as a midwife one become a part of the family from the time the baby was born. ‘I also realised that in midwifery one does not deal with sick human beings and if I do my job well, I quickly get my reward of handing the baby to the mother,’ she added. 

Nyasulu qualified as a nurse in 1969 and the following year did a one-year midwifery course. She has been in the field of nursing specialising in midwifery-related programmes since then. 

She grew up a rural area. ‘I used to watch the village women getting together to assist a woman in labour. Although we did not know much about what the women were doing to help, it was interesting to see how they went about their tasks until it would be announced that the baby had been born,’ she recalled.  ‘I guess this is what influenced my decision to specialise when I studied nursing.’ 

She said the support she received from her family, especially her husband and daughters, was awesome. ‘I have also been very lucky wherever I work I enjoy a lot of support from my colleagues. I have also been fortunate to have wonderful supervisors who encourage me to strive against all odds. 

‘Peer support and job satisfaction are the key to my successes. Making a difference, however small in people’s lives, is rewarding,’ she said.   

Nombuso Dlamini

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Strini Moodley Annual Memorial Lecture

Strini Moodley Annual Memorial Lecture
From left: Professor Salim Vally, Dr James Marsh, Mrs Ntsiki Biko, Ms Aasha Moodley and Dr Lubna Nadvi at the 8th annual Strini Moodley lecture.

Professor Salim Vally delivered the 8th Strini Moodley memorial lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Vally’s lecture, themed “The Battle for Truth: Youth, Neo-liberalism and Education in South Africa”, coincided with Africa Month.  

The Director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg, Vally said he felt compelled to discuss the recent xenophobic attacks that had swept through the country. ‘Durban has seen momentous and watershed events that contributed to our freedom,’ said Vally. Strini was part of this history.  

It was quite significant then that the city that had seen Moodley develop as a young activist, would be affected by violent xenophobic attacks so many years after the liberation of the country. 

Vally cautioned: ‘Xenophobic attacks are the canary in the cage – tomorrow it will be other South Africans.’ 

His lecture looked at the challenges facing education, including poverty and inequality. 

Speaking at the event, Dr James Marsh, Chairperson of Umtapo who co-hosted the event with the University, said he hoped attendees would engage with issues raised at the Lecture.  

Dr Lubna Nadvi, an academic whose areas of specialisation includes political science, said Strini Moodley cut his political teeth on Salisbury Island, the predecessor to the University of Durban-Westville. UDW merged with the University of Natal in 2004, to form the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  

The 2015 Umtapo Peace Award, presented by Ms Aashaa Moodley, political and gender activist and the late Strini Moodley’s wife, was given to Ms Nombeko Ndlovu from Langa High School in Cape Town. Ndlovu thanked Umptapo for the award, and said the school peace club she ran allowed scholars to share ideas and allowed her to ‘make the lives of these little kids better.’ 

Mrs Ntsiki Biko, former member of the Black Consciousness Movement and Steve Biko’s wife, introduced Professor Vally. Ms Hannah Kim, a member of Umtapo for eight years, recited a poem “Fool’s Gold”.  Dr Farida Patel was the Programme Director.  

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Animal Science Students set Records at Royal Show

Animal Science Students set Records at Royal Show
Dr Nicola Tyler, Rhys Boast, Dr Marion Young and Christof du Plessis with the trophy from the carcass competition.

Animal and Poultry Science students from UKZN's School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences shone in various categories of the cattle competition at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg this year.

The top achievement was in the carcass auction at which a UKZN entry set a new South African record – this is the first time UKZN has produced a champion carcass since 1999. The champion steer carcass sold  for a record price of R150/kg, with the winning bid from the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga. 

In other competitions, Ms Liberty Nkuna was awarded 1st place in the Future Farmers Steers class, Ms Nokwethaba Ntuli was second in the Commercial Steer Over 450kg class and Mr Rhys Boast was third in the Future Farmers Best Handler class, where competitors in all classes are assessed on their handling skills.

UKZN was placed first and fourth in the un-haltered class competition. 

Each year, students from the discipline enter the steer project at the Royal Show where they take part in various competitions during which entrants display their animals. 

Students who are interested in taking part get the opportunity to do so thanks to the work of Dr Nicky Tyler and Dr Marion Young in the discipline, who undertook the management of this project voluntarily.

Young and Tyler feel that the presence of UKZN students at the Show is important as they represent a section of the institution's agricultural studies, and it is also an opportunity for the students to benefit from exposure to industry and experiential learning.

Thanks to the support of industry, the Animal and Poultry Science staff has been able to give students the chance to be a part of competition at the Show. 

The ten animals taken to the Show this year were secured through Andrew Adams of Virbac with the assistance of Bryan Mills from De Heus, with Adams and Mills supplying sponsorship for medication, feed and other associated costs. 

Tyler organised training halters, brushes/curry combs and shirts, and SAEES provided funds for show halters and hay. 

Students involved were also able to raise funds for some of the running costs incurred by their participation in the Show, making the experience all the more valuable for them.

The experience allows students to gain experience in handling animals and to learn about feeding cattle. The students also have the chance to show other cattle at the Show.

 Preparation for the event involved the students weighing their animals weekly and recording their feed intake, enabling them to calculate average daily gain and food conversion efficiency. According to Tyler, through the project they also get to know their fellow students better and learn to work effectively as a team. The 21 students taking part this year were mostly in their third year.

Tyler expressed the group's gratitude to staff members at the Ukulinga Research Farm, who were instrumental in the care of the animals at the farm.

Christine Cuénod

Photo: Dr Marion Young

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Students and Academics on the Fate of UKZN’s statues!

Students and Academics on the Fate of UKZN’s statues!
Statue of King George V on the Howard College campus.

UKZN held a series of panel discussions at all five campuses on the University’s statues, historic symbols and artefacts with students and staff weighing in on the debate while academics provided a historical context.  

The Westville campus session was chaired by Professor Hassan Kaya, Director of UKZN’s Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation’s Indigenous Knowledge Systems Centre of Excellence. Panelists included CSRC Student Services Officer, Mr Manyano Mpelane, and academics, Dr Lubna Nadvi and Professor Sabine Marschall. 

A Political Scientist, Nadvi reflected on the question of political expression and the #RhodesMustFall campaign.  

She said it was important to have monuments which captured the history of the country and the journey made to liberation. ‘Shouldn’t we also capture the negative components of history, to ensure we should never repeat it?’ said Nadvi.

‘We must use spaces to remind people of the history of our country,’ she said. 

Nadvi cautioned against removing names of donors on buildings on the Westville campus as they had funded the building of the structures. 

Kaya said the question of reconciliation was a complex process and that symbols served as a reflection of identity.  

A specialist in cultural and heritage tourism, Marschall’s field of research includes monuments and architecture as heritage. She advised against a radical approach, saying relocating statues should not lead to them being ‘dumped’ in museums.   

Marschall said one option was to relocate the statues to an appropriate community, a less prestigious, but still public space.  

She also said the statues could be recontextualised by placing a plaque or board next to them, providing information about the subject. ‘This would be constructive and have a huge educational value.’ 

Said Mpelani: ‘The statues must go! Their removal is just a mere piece of the puzzle of what we want to achieve.’ 

He said he believed the statues did not represent ‘the new South Africa’ and ‘our stance is clear, we need to create a history we are proud of’.  

Staff and students on the Westville campus suggested the entire University vote on the fate of the statues to ensure it was a collective process.  

The University thanks all stakeholders for their active support, participation and contribution to the series of historic symbols and artefacts events that took place. The input shall be taken through the necessary university processes, including presenting the feedback at the UKZN Naming Committee.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Conflict Transformation and Peace-building under the Spotlight

Conflict Transformation and Peace-building under the Spotlight
Participants at an international colloquium at UKZN.

International students from around the world gathered at UKZN for a discussion on African indigenous approaches to conflict transformation and peace building.  

The students, part of the International Scholar Laureate Programme in the United States, attended the colloquium which examined the implications of conflict transformation on human rights in Africa.

The colloquium was hosted by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Fund Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems on UKZN’s Westville campus.  

Opening the event, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Jonathan Blackledge, welcomed the international students to the University and commended the DST/NRF Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems for taking the initiative to host the colloquium.  

Blackledge underscored the importance of promoting international human understanding through shared experiences and knowledge systems.  

Director of the DST/NRF Centre in  Indigenous  Knowledge  Systems, Professor Hassan Kaya, outlined the work being done by the Centre to promote  the contribution  of  Indigenous  Knowledge  Systems  in the  global pool of  knowledge. This  is in line with  the  National  IKS  Policy  and  the  vision and  mission of  UKZN.  

The colloquium included a keynote address by the Dean of the School of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Professor Palamagamba John Kabudi.

Kabudi shared his knowledge on the topic, with particular emphasis on customary law, border conflicts and alternate dispute resolutions.   

UKZN doctoral student in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Mr Valery Ferim, shared  his research  work  with the  international  visitors  on the  Role  of  African Indigenous  Approaches  to Contemporary Conflict  Transformation and Peace-Building with  special  reference to the Bakweri  people of South-West  Cameroon.

The colloquium was chaired by Professor Muxe Nkondo, a Board member of the DST-NRF Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems 

With 42 students from countries such as the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Japan, Puerto Rico, Botswana, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, Australia, the Philippines and China, faculty advisors from the International Scholar Laureate Programme, Ms Cindy O’Leary and Ms Sarah Dachos, said the programme served as an international relations and diplomacy forum.

Kaya said the most important focus on this international initiative on promoting IKS was community involvement in knowledge production, because that is where indigenous knowledge was being generated and used. ‘Our IKS experts are not in the universities - they are in the communities,’ said Kaya.  

UKZN Dean of Research, Professor Urmilla Bob,  told the  international  visitors about how the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal were merged to form the University of KwaZulu-Natal, noting the ‘apartheid construct’ which reflected the divide and rule ethos at the time.  

Bob, who said the merged University had shaped its own destiny, reflected on her own experiences, having edited a book titled:  Conflict-Sensitive Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa. The book is freely available on the ACCORD website:  

 Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

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Public Lecture Discusses Evidence-Based Practice for Allied Health Care

Public Lecture Discusses Evidence-Based Practice for Allied Health Care
Professor Karen Grimmer.

The significance of evidence-based practice for allied health care professionals was recently discussed at a stimulating public lecture delivered at UKZN by University of South Australia’s Professor Karen Grimmer.

Grimmer, the inaugural Director of the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) at Unisa, was invited by Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Associate Professor Fatima Suleman.

She engaged academic leaders, and seasoned and novice researchers at UKZN about the iCAHE’s on-going research; relating it to the South African context, and highlighting opportunities for collaboration.

Grimmer presented and discussed the theory of evidence-based practice in terms of aspirational evidence-informed application and uptake of effective allied health care. She also recommended ways in which allied health researchers, policy-makers, clinicians, educators, consumers and funders could engage.

She said allied Health Care includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, speech pathology, dietetics, nutrition and medical radiation and involves radiographers, sonographers, audiologists, laboratory technicians and medical physicists. Pharmacists, social workers and psychologists were also on the list. 

Among the challenges faced by Allied Health, according to Grimmer, was an overlap in tasks, professional definitions, competencies and outcome measures – all of which set up internal competition and clouded departments of health from allocating adequate funding to support their functions.

Allied Health was said to be a key component for holistic care for patients in addition to the work done by doctors and nursing. Allied health care to patients included assessment, diagnosis, treatment, counselling, education, manufacturing, and organisation.

Her passion for epidemiology (the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events, including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems, inspired her advocacy for Allied Health care.

‘Most allied health activity deals with morbidity, not mortality. It doesn’t “talk” the same epidemiological language as medicine.’

She said essential for allied health care professionals was the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values which optimise clinical health outcomes and recognise patient choices.

The way to go was to produce persuasive, integrated research and clinical evidence of service effectiveness and then present this as a credible evidence-informed, united, collective voice at healthcare policy and funding discussions.

According to Grimmer, expensive, avoidable tertiary care would be reduced if allied health care professionals succeeded with evidence-based practice. She encouraged the identification of priority questions which, if answered well, could reduce barriers to Allied Health engagement, effectiveness, and collegiality within the broader healthcare arena.

‘Foster multidisciplinary partnerships that showcase and value effective allied health engagement in management of priority health conditions, in partnership with medicine and nursing,’ she advised, also lobbying for the promotion of Allied Health care and outcomes in terms of long-term cost savings.

The Dean and Head of UKZN’s School Health Sciences, Professor Mahmoud Soliman, was in the audience which enjoyed the topical discussion that followed Grimmer’s presentation.

Suleman said universities were pioneers of evidence-based practice through research. She said it was important to develop a model of care and outcomes by documenting the work that was being done at the university and in clinical practice.

Lunga Memela

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School of Education hosts Minquiz KZN Regional Competition 2015

School of Education hosts Minquiz KZN Regional Competition 2015
At the Minquiz Regional Competition were (from left) Mr Ugur Patli of Star College; Mr Daverin Nadesan; Dr Nadaraj Govender of UKZN; Mr Malusi Ngidi; Mr Thulasizwe Patrick Ntuli of MINTEK, Mr Samuel de Beer and Ms Letisha Girdhari.

The School of Education on the Edgewood campus hosted the Minquiz Regional Competition, an annual national Science and Mathematics event for Grade 12 learners.

About 150 high school learners, accompanied by their teachers, attended and participated in the competition which has written and oral sections. Mintek sponsors the event, providing meals, prizes, accommodation and air tickets for the top KZN team to participate in the national finals. 

According to UKZN academic and coordinator of the Quiz, Dr Nadaraj Govender, the school has hosted the completion for the last 15 years. The competition aims to encourage interest in careers in science, engineering and technology, especially in minerals and metallurgy, and to promote an awareness of the importance of minerals and metallurgy in South Africa. 

‘Minquiz is entertaining for the learners participating, the accompanying educators and the audience.  At the same time, it conveys the importance of mathematics and science as foundational subjects for a career in the minerals and metallurgy industries, other sciences and for promoting interest in science and mathematics teacher education,’ he said.  

Ten UKZN staff and 15 pre-service science students were involved in planning the event and also advising learners on programme offerings by UKZN. 

Govender explained that participating learners wrote a preliminary multiple-choice question test, followed by competing as a team during a live, on-stage oral quiz, also with multiple-choice questions.  

‘Semi-finals are held in all nine provinces on the same day and the final is held in Johannesburg on 13 July. Questions are in the fields of physical sciences, mathematics, and general knowledge in science, engineering and technology, and are in line with the National Curriculum,’ said Govender.  

Speaking at the event, Mintek Engineer, Mr Thulasizwe Patrick Ntuli, encouraged all learners to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology. He advised teachers to maintain passion for the sciences and to reflect their passion in their teaching.

 Winners of the regional competition were grouped into Gold or Platinum categories based on the school’s historical resources and results.  

The top two in the written quiz in the Platinum category were Daverin Nadesan of Star College and Samuel de Beer of Westville Boys and in the Gold Category they were Malusi Ngidi of Adams College and Letisha Girdhari of Apollo Secondary.  

The top three schools in the oral quiz in the Platinum category were St Mary’s DSG, Star College and Westville Boys. In the Gold category they were Adams College, Wiggens Secondary and Amangwane High School. 

Melissa Mungroo

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Social Work Student involved in Children’s Day event

Social Work Student involved in Children’s Day event
Social Work student, Ms Mandisa Mthembu (left) with Sports Union Development Officer, Ms Sinethemba Kubeka.

As part of International Children’s Day, final year Social Work student Ms Mandisa Mthembu joined forces with the Howard College Campus Sports Union to organise a fun-filled day for children from the Durban Children's Home and iCare Place of Safety.  

About 100 children between the ages of 12-18 years were invited from the two care centres to participate in fun games, to play sports on campus as well as enjoy a colour bomb festival. 

 ‘This outreach programme was arranged as I feel it is important to find time to give back to our community. Having a fun programme allowed the kids to have a day of fun and laughter and to feel better about life and themselves,’ said Mthembu. 

‘It’s a day set aside so that these kids feel loved and special and to make new friends. Being a part of this project is close to my heart, especially as a future social worker,’ said Mthembu.  

Children, who were motivated and encouraged to believe in themselves and to never lose hope, all received goodie bags. Sponsors included Kimberly-Clarks, the Holy Family High School which donated meals for the day and Childline-Durban, which distributed a 100 stationary packs. 

Streetwise for Street Kids - a youth-based initiative that serves meals to the homeless in and around Durban - also participated.  

‘The overall aim of this project was to give the kids a day out of their homes, to feel special and appreciated’ said Mthembu. 

Social Work lecturer Dr Tanusha Raniga said: ‘We are very proud when students play an active role beyond the academic programme to nurture community partnerships and contribute in a tangible way through an outreach programme to uplift the lives of children in our community.’ 

Prior to the event, donation boxes were set up at the Sports Union and the Social Work Department with students being encouraged to donate any item that would assist the Care Centres as winter approaches. These items were then presented to the Centres.  

Mthembu thanked the Social Work Department within the School of Applied Human Sciences for their support during the event.  

Melissa Mungroo

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Discussing Pathways to Success for Black Women Academics

Discussing Pathways to Success for Black Women Academics
Dr Pamela Roy at the workshop.

‘South Africa like many nations faces an urgent need to revitalise the academy as a result of an aging professoriate and shortages in academic staff,’ said inspirational international speaker, Dr Pamela Roy, at an Interactive public lecture at UKZN.

Organised by the College of Health Sciences’ Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee (WILL), the lecture attracted male and female academics from various disciplines, including Deans and Heads of Departments, who also shared their views and experiences in academia during the discussion phase of Roy’s talk titled: New Understandings of ‘Success’ in Academe: Narratives from Black Women Academics’ Lives and Careers in Post-apartheid South Africa.

The Lecture was based on Roy’s dissertation research which used a qualitative, interview-based, phenomenological approach to explore, describe and analyse the factors that shaped the careers and lives of 28 black women academics at two South African universities.

According to Roy, who serves as a consultant for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme and as the Director of Assessment and Learning of Golden Future – a Canadian-based charitable organization serving the Khayelitsha community near Cape Town, the inclusion of more women academics and academics of colour in particular is critical to ensuring that a full range of perspectives and experiences are represented in academe.

A visionary and creative leader, with expertise on the global professoriate, gender and economic empowerment, and educational success of learners in international contexts, Roy said: ‘South Africa is a nation that is striving for equity, inclusion and equality among its citizenship as it attempts to redress the legacies of colonial history and apartheid.’

Roy said she believed the nation could achieve its goal of meeting the equity targets set by the national government and higher education institutions toward historical redress, reconciliation and transformation.

The findings of Roy’s study suggest that, in post-apartheid South Africa, black women academics’ lives and careers are best understood across four broad domains of influence: context, community, commitment, and competence. Each of the academics’ careers was found to be deeply embedded in her life, connected to her inner commitments and competencies, and influenced by the multiple contexts and communities to which she belonged. The interactions and interrelationships between these domains of influence were reportedly complex, nuanced and dynamic as they influenced the vibrant nature of these academics’ lives and careers.

The study found that participants were influenced by apartheid policies that enforced racial segregation and prescribed racial inferiority of all non-White individuals. Systemic racism in schooling, reinforced by family and community in some cases, likely resulted in several academics’ internalized racism. Positive influence of school educators during their childhood influenced these academics career choices.

Personal and professional communities were central to the majority of these academics’ work and lives, according to the study. These academics spoke about positive and negative experiences with people in their communities, and the challenge in juggling elements of their lives that competed for their time and energy.

‘Exerting individual and relational agency, possessing positive self-efficacy and exhibiting resiliency were paramount in overcoming and/or managing impediments that stood in the pathway toward the participants’ successes,’ said Roy. ‘Assisting with the transformation agenda of their institutions and the development of the new South Africa was also central to the ideological values of most academics in this study.’

The study also found that spirituality was a major influence on how some of the academics created and sustained their careers. Furthermore, their scholarly work had the potential to span across local and global arenas and to serve as the main engine for generating knowledge that contributes to national development.

Roy said: ‘Black women academics in post-apartheid South Africa are one example of how talented academics create and sustain successful and meaningful careers in ways that honour their work and personal lives.’

The study has implications for several stakeholders, such as university leadership, government and policy makers, as well as academics – from those entering the academy to those on the cusp of retirement.

University leaders were encouraged to continue creating collegial and supportive work environments to support black women’s success, and continue to offer programmes and resources to support their growth and development as academics.

Academics were encouraged to ask themselves what success means to them, evaluate their support structures, opportunities for professional growth and development, time management, and to work actively with their mentors.

Late-Career and retired academics could also play a critical role by keeping connections with junior colleagues and continuing to contribute to knowledge production, such as through scholarly publications.

Government and policymakers needed to be cognisant that optimising performance for academic women requires support for all aspects of their lives, including their personal responsibilities, Roy said.

WILL Chair and Convenor for the workshop, Professor Thirumala Govender, said: ‘Dr Roy’s presentation is perfectly timed as WILL will be embarking on workshops this year to specifically assist women in improving their promotion eligibility in academia. The results from her study are extremely useful as they highlight both the specific personal and professional factors that need to be considered to facilitate upward mobility in the academy as well as considerations for what success “looks like” for those who may not be interested in promotion through title and rank.’

For a copy of Roy’s published dissertation, please email her at

Lunga Memela

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UKZN Ombudsman Manager Awarded an International Scholarship

UKZN Ombudsman Manager Awarded an International Scholarship
Retired MIT Ombudsperson, Professor Mary Rowe, and Manager of the UKZN Ombuds’ Office, Advocate Busisiwe Mngoma, at the International Ombudsman Association headquarters in Atlanta.

Manager of the UKZN Office of the Ombudsman, Advocate Busisiwe Mngoma, was recently awarded a scholarship by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) to attend both the IOA Foundation’s training for organisational ombudsmen and the 10th IOA Annual Conference in Georgia in the United States. 

Mngoma said she was very pleased to have received the Scholarship and attributed the success of the Ombud’s office partly to professional support and development she has received from the IOA since she joined as a member in 2012.  

‘The IOA training gave me an opportunity to sharpen my Ombud skills, deepen my knowledge, especially in areas of dealing with leadership and visitors, as well as generating reports. Working with Leadership and rethinking the IOA Standards of Practice was one of the important discussions which focused on the complexities, challenges and accomplishment Ombuds face in respective organisations,’ she said. 

The IOA is an organisation founded in 2005 after the merger of the University and College Ombuds Association (UCOA), and The Ombudsman Association (TOA) for the purpose of supporting Organisational Ombuds.  

Professor Mary Rowe, a veteran Ombud at MIT Sloan who retired at the end of September 2014 after being an Ombud for 41 years, was honored for her immense contribution at the IOA.

Mngoma, who has been the Manager of the Office of the Ombud since December 2010, says she found out about the IOA while researching the value of establishing an organisational Ombud’s office. 

The UKZN Ombud’s office operates according to IOA Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics for Organisational Ombudspersons. Both are founded on the principal that Ombudspersons must be confidential, neutral (or impartial), informal, and independent.  

The Ombudsman profession is developing in South Africa and much of the practice depends on literature research and experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  

The conference provides delegates with an opportunity to exchange ideas and practical experience with seasoned colleagues and Ombuds practitioners from other Universities around the world.   

 Sithembile Shabangu

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Mandela Rhodes Conversations reveal ‘Anger at Inequality’

Mandela Rhodes Conversations reveal ‘Anger at Inequality’
Panellists at the Conversations for Change event are (from left) Mr Paul Kariuki, Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya, Vasu Gounden, and Mr Elisha Gounden, with Mr Suntosh Pillay, lead organiser of the Mandela Rhodes Conversations for Change.

‘I can’t speak my own language right here in Durban,’ said academic leader in Development Studies at UKZN, Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya, at this year’s Conversations for Change. 

Ngcoya, a panelist at the event, lamented the slow pace of transformation in South Africa, using an example of an incident whereby a waitress in Glenwood was offended because he greeted her in isiZulu . ‘I will never go there again,’ he said.  

 Hosted by the Mandela Rhodes Community, Activate!, and UKZN, students, staff and community members filled the Howard College Theatre to engage with four experts on whether Africa was united in its diversity.  

Chairperson of the event, Mr Suntosh Pillay, said more dialogue spaces were needed. ‘The energy was amazing. People are angry, inspired, restless, optimistic, but most of all, ready for change. The Rhodes Must Fall movement brought decolonization back onto the national agenda. But xenophobic violence made society question what unity in diversity actually means. Social pathologies continue to haunt us,’ said Pillay. 

Activist and conflict negotiator, Mr Vasu Gounden, who founded the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), challenged students to deal with inequality, poverty and unemployment. ‘Every generation must define their mission, and then either fulfil it or betray it,’ said Gounden, quoting anti-colonial writer, Frantz Fanon, to resounding applause from the audience. 

Law student and President of the Debating Union, Mr Elisha Kunene, defended his stance that UKZN students should take a different route to the UCT students in handling the colonial statues saga, in light of the defacing of King George V statue outside the venue. 

PhD researcher and programmes manager of the Democracy Development Programme (DDP), Mr Paul Kariuki, urged everyone to ‘keep talking’ because dialogue preceded all change. 

As part of Africa Week, Mandela Rhodes scholars and the Activate! Leadership network also ran grassroots conversations in Ndwedwe in northern KZN where learners from three schools attended a diversity and leadership training workshop. ‘We want to nurture young leaders and help them take an idea for social change and turn it into a practical plan that embraces diversity and prevents incidents like xenophobic violence from happening again,’ said Pillay. 

Activate! Connector and event partner, Ms Kanyisa Booi, said: ‘We are at a stage where we first need tolerance in diversity, then education, then appreciation, and then unity is an eventuality.’  

Chief editorial officer at Socially Acceptable, Ms Nazareen Ebrahim, who was a member of the audience, said she appreciated the very good effort at engaging young people in dialogue to effect social change, but criticised the space as ‘still occupied primarily by academic or angry lettered youth who are newly discovering the theories from sociology, psychology or politics’.


ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders or ‘activators’ equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa. The organisation was born out of the experience of Dr David Harrison, former CEO of LoveLife, who realised that there are many young South Africans who are talented and committed to transforming their communities. He found, however, that these young people hit a glass ceiling because of a lack of skill and opportunity. Because of this, it was decided that a mechanism of sorts was needed to capitalise on their spark and commitment, while building their capacity to drive public innovation and social transformation in South Africa. In 2011, as part of its Leadership portfolio, the DG Murray Trust commissioned the establishment of a special purpose public benefit organisation, to develop and deploy the ACTIVATE! Programme.

For more info: Kanyisa Booi:  / 0717727060

The hosted event stems from a partnership between UKZN, The Mandela Rhodes Community and ACTIVATE! The Mandela Rhodes Community is a body envisions itself as a socially relevant and reliable source of intellectual and passionate leadership, and hopes that the Conversations for Change event brings together educational and business institutions, communities, high scholars, academics and the general public. ACTIVATE! is a network of young leaders or ‘activators’ equipped to drive change for the public good across South Africa.

Pillay highlighted how our Community is incredibly diverse in nationalities, cultures, political affiliations, educational histories, and ideologies. He further said, ‘These differences are our biggest asset and exemplify a pan-African unity in diversity. We have been most successful when we function as a platform for debates, most notably at our annual conference which is a key networking space and idea incubator, having had notable speakers such as Ms Grace Machel and Mr Zackhie Achmat; and via media articles on the website ThoughtLeader. Our aim is to position the Community as a space for non-partisan intellectual and progressive debate. But beyond words and ideas, we hope to inspire ourselves and others towards enacting change.'

For more information, please visit or contact Suntosh Pillay: / 0312426180 / 0746030300 or contact Kanyisa Booi: / 0717727060

Rakshika Sibran

Photo: Albert Hirasen

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Lack of Detailed Data on SA firms, UKZN Research Reveals

Lack of Detailed Data on SA firms, UKZN Research Reveals
Dr Myriam Velia.

There is a lack of detailed data on firms in South Africa, according to studies by a School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) research team. 

 Project researcher, Dr Myriam Velia, says the finding was made following a comprehensive survey of establishments in eThekwini completed by staff at the School in 2013/2014. 

Velia, who has a PhD in Economics (International Economics) from the University of Sussex (UK), has been involved in a number of projects while at the School.  

The collaborative project involved the Economic Development Department (EDD), Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), eThekwini Municipality and UKZN.  

‘One can now start looking closely at what is directly reported as constraints to growth and employment by experts in medium and large manufacturing establishments in the Municipality,’ she said.  

Although the survey is large and the data analysis is just being initiated, Velia highlighted elements and some of their implications for policy-makers, particularly those at the local level.   

The data reveal that the top constraints to growth have changed over the last decade. ‘While, unsurprisingly, CEOs or MDs report that their manufacturing establishments are notably affected by sluggish economic growth and high electricity costs, availability of technical/vocational skills is a notable constraint to expansion in 80% of firms,’ said Velia.  

‘A greater supply of skilled workers is reported to be required by the manufacturing firms studied to specifically increase their labour demand.  While the particular issue of insufficient technical/vocational skills has gained notable prominence when compared to the early 2000s - possibly fuelled by the need to improve labour productivity - HIV/AIDS amongst employees and crime and theft at establishments, prominent issues for the firms in the past, have markedly decreased in importance.’   

The survey is yielding a wealth of insights into manufacturing firms in eThekwini, however, some of the results differ markedly from those found a decade ago for the study area, reflecting a better integration of firms into the global context and new challenges.   

The data also offer hints, at this stage, of firms shifting to a more capital intensive production base.  ‘This is problematic as government is seeking a sharp reduction in the number of unemployed.’ 

Melissa Mungroo

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Abafundi abahlala ngaphakathi ekhempasini i-Edgewood bebenomgidi wezamasiko

Abafundi abahlala ngaphakathi ekhempasini i-Edgewood bebenomgidi wezamasiko
Abafundi nabasebenzi base-Edgewood Residence abebenomcimbi wokugubha amasiko nemashi yokuthula yokulwisana nobandlululo ngokobuzwe.

Click here for English version

Abafundi basezindaweni zokuhlala ekhempasini i-Edgewood bebenosuku lokuqwashisana ngamasiko ezakhiweni zezemidlalo emuva kwezehlalakalo zokucwasa ngokobuzwe ezithinte nabokufika abangabafundi base-UKZN.

Lolu hlelo obulinesihloko esithi : "Sabelana ngolwazi lokufanayo futhi sijabule ngokwahlukahlukana kwethu",  luhehe abafundi abahlala ekhempasini abangaphezulu kwezi-1500 lapho bekukhonjiswa ngamasiko ahlukene akhona phakathi kwabasebenzi nabafundi.

Uhlelo losuku luqale ngemashi yoxolo ezungeze ikhempasi ebikhombisa uvo lwe-UKZN nokweseka kwayo umkhankaso wokulwisana nokucwasa ngokobuzwe ngaphansi kwesiqubulo esithi : "I-Africa Eyethu Sonke – Masibumbane". 

Emva kwemashi, abebebambe iqhaza baphinde bangenela umncintiswano lapho bebezikhethela isiko kwamanye atholakala ezindaweni zokuhlala bese benza okungumculo, umdanso nokunye ubuciko obenziwayo, umdlalo weshashalazi nemisebenzi yezandla yalelosiko.

I-Royal Kingdom, ebeyenza okwesiko lwesiZulu idle umhlanganiso, kwathi endaweni yesibili kwalandela uMdoniwood (Setswana) neRoyal Estate (IsiXhosa). 

Obhekene neMpilo ezindaweni zokuHlala, uJulian King ubonge zonke izindawo ezihlala abafundi ngokuzinikela ngalobu busuku. 

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UKZN Pollution Research Group Contributes to National Sanitation Indaba

UKZN Pollution Research Group Contributes to National Sanitation Indaba
Ms Susan Mercer and Professor Chris Buckley of UKZN’s Pollution Research Group at the National Sanitation Indaba held at Durban’s International Convention Centre.

The Pollution Research Group (PRG), a professional research centre based at UKZN’s School of Engineering, took part in and made inputs at Durban’s National Sanitation Indaba at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. 

The PRG contributed to the debate about alternative solutions to sanitation in order to enable the provision of safe, reliable and decent sanitation as a means to restore the dignity of many South Africans without access to such services. 

Themed: It's Not All About Flushing, the Indaba was attended by representatives from government, water authorities, business, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and research and innovation institutions. 

The issue of providing adequate sanitation to citizens is a priority in the national governmental sphere, with high profile people such as the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, emphasising the importance of the issue at the Indaba.  

The PRG, which conducts innovative research projects on water resources, waste water reclamation, the impact of effluents on local environments, sanitation systems and other water related environmental issues, has already set benchmarks in the field of sanitation research. The PRG works closely with the Water and Sanitation Unit (EWS) within the eThekwini Municipality, making its research relevant and accessible to policy-makers and officials to improve service delivery. 

Durban, thanks to its collaboration with groups such as the PRG, has already been recognised for its eco-friendly approach to sanitation and commitment to service delivery in this field, having been awarded the 2014 Stockholm Industry Water Award. With the PRG and Swiss aquatic research institute, Eawag, leading the project, the city has been investigating the use of faecal sludge in fertilisers and the recovery of water from urine as part of its Re-invent the Toilet Challenge. 

The PRG also receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), with the most recent capacity grant from the foundation enabling it to provide support to other grantees and sanitation practitioners in faecal sludge management. 

At the Indaba, EWS and the PRG, together with other research groups within UKZN, showcased the work being carried out in the sanitation field through the use of posters and booklets. 

A site visit to the Newlands Mashu Research Facility was also undertaken. This site is one that has been developed by several partners - EWS, South African Water Research Commission (WRC), Bremen Overseas Research Organisation (BORDA) and UKZN - to enable the piloting of on-site wastewater treatment systems and agricultural research. 

The PRG’s involvement in the Indaba allowed postgraduate students the opportunity to be involved in the exhibitions and site visits held during the event. 

The outcomes of the Indaba were covered by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Mokonyane during her Budget Vote for her Department in Parliament recently. Her presentation covered plans for the management of water resources by government as well as plans for delivery of sanitation services. 

Speaking about the Indaba and the importance of the topic, Professor Chris Buckley of the PRG said ‘The current drought in KZN and the prospect of water shortages in the future illustrates the need for rethinking our approach to sanitation.’ 

To encourage innovative thought about how individuals use water in sanitation systems, Buckley posed the question: ‘How would your toilet and downstream system perform in the absence of water?’ 

Christine Cuénod

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Community Engagement a Priority at UKZN

Community Engagement a Priority at UKZN
Ms Megan Dey-van Heerden presents the King-Dinuzulu Group’s community engagement project.

UKZN fourth-year psychiatric nursing students have been involved in several community engagement projects aimed at assisting communities with health and social issues in and around Durban as part of their final-year curriculum.  

The King-Dinuzulu Group, comprising six Psychiatric nursing students, presented their project titled: HIV in Mental Health Care, which included a short HIV awareness film aimed at people accessing mental health care services.

The students - Ms Megan Dey-van Heerden, Ms Pauline Kapena, Ms Claudia Botha, Ms Yashmika Tika, Ms Zanoxolo Buthelezi and Ms Lindelwa Zungu - worked closely with the producer, script writers, professional actors and other members of the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) production team to produce the film. 

The students identified that HIV testing rates in mental health care clinics were low. ‘During our literature review, we identified a high prevalence of HIV among mental health care users. The risk factors varied,’ said Dey-van Heerden.  

In their project, the Chatsworth Community Project 2015 group, comprising Ms Nqobile Sithole, Ms Nomzamo Simamane, Ms Nompumelelo Zulu, Mr Mpendulo Ngcobo and Mr Mqobi Faya, worked with Grade 8 learners from Montarena Secondary School, focusing on developing an increased sense of self-esteem and self-respect.  

The students did research at the School through the Chatsworth Psychiatric Clinic with the help of the clinic manager Mrs Nalini Padyachee’s existing relationship with the school. Principal of the school, Mr P. Govender, told the group about current issues, including drug abuse. ‘The students decided to assist by working with the principal to reverse the victim mentality of the learners and redirecting the focus in a strength-based direction,’ said Faya. 

‘Some of our aims were to promote a good perception about academic achievements such as performing well in class tests and exams and to keep learners within the school premises which will help them achieve their best results,’ he added.  Faya said the project encouraged learners to dress according to the school’s code of conduct. 

The Phoenix community project 2015 titled: Together in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), was completed by Ms Mandisa Manzi, Ms Olwethu Chili, Ms Nicole Rungen, Ms Sharne Wroots, Mr Sandile Mcunu and Mr Xolelani Ngubane. 

The project aimed to help provide adequate knowledge to parents about ADHD and create an understanding of the diagnoses. ‘The project addressed parents’ and guardians’ concerns about the medication (commonly Ritalin) being used and also provided knowledge about other forms of management besides medication,’ Manzi said. 

They also helped restore the Phoenix Starwood Psychiatric Clinic play area which was created by the previous group of students.  

The last project, Umbilo Community Profile 2015, was conducted by Ms Zanele Khuzwayo, Ms Nokuzola Luthuli, Ms Hlengiwe Madonsela, Ms Hlengiwe Nkosi, Ms Thembeka  Nsele and Ms Vuyiswa Nyawose.  

Titled: Collaborating Together for the Future, the project examined ways in which the University community could work together with the Umbilo Community. 

The group launched a collaboration between UKZN nursing students and the role players of the community after noticing several challenges faced by the Glenwood Christian School. 

Students said the learners in the school were exposed to various social challenges and they decided to focus on the school by assisting it with available services and resources in the area. 

The group worked in collaboration with the police to do needs assessment of the area and also formed links with the school’s principal. 

Students were assisted by their lecturer Mrs Ann Jarvis in all their projects.

Nombuso Dlamini

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Conference highlights social issues

Conference highlights social issues
At the Society of Commons conference are (from left) Mr Minenhle Dlamini, Mr Themba Shibase, Mr Jackie Shandu, Professor Rozena Maart and Ms Philile Langa.

The Society of Commons at the University of KwaZulu-Natal recently hosted a conference at the university’s Howard College Campus under the theme, Philosophy Born of Struggle-inspired. 

The conference was supported by the Student Representative Council, Student Services Division and the College of Humanities. 

Speakers included Professor Ari Sitas of UCT; socio-political critic and activist, Mr Mphutlane wa Bofelo; Director of the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (CCRRI) at UKZN, Professor Rozena Maart; a panel of students from the CCRRI who work on Philosophy Born of Struggle, including Minehle Dlamini and Philile Langa; and Pan African activist, Mr Vusi Oldman Mahlangu. 

The Conference also featured book launches, music and poetry performances. “When Molaudi and Zola came to me to discuss their idea about hosting a conference that was titled, “Philosophy Born of Struggle – inspired,” I gave them my support immediately. With short notice, and little funds one can plan events that still have an impact.  

‘As someone who has been in attendance at Philosophy Born of Struggle conferences for several years now and a keynote speaker at the 20th conference at Purdue in 2013, I have seen our students take on the old school of intellectual traditions and inject them with questions that speak very clearly to their understanding of Philosophy Born of Struggle,’ said Maart.   

Maart explained: ‘Philosophy Born of Struggle, as an area of study is also the name of the annual conference which brings together scholars from around the world who offer accounts of the Black experience of being human in their work, as well as examine the ways in whick key concepts in philosophy – mind, consciousness, thinking, knowledge and reason, among others –are addressed within African, African American, Asian, South and Central American contexts, the global south, the Arab world.’  

‘One only has to look at the history of our country, and the continent of Africa with its remaining 52 countries, to understand why social and political thought that emerges from social movements within which the oppressed and the colonised are embedded are crucial to the study of philosophy.  Scholars who work from the Philosophy Born of Struggle position recognise the struggles against slavery and oppression, the struggle for freedom, humanity, independence and decolonisation, and as such also address these themes within their work.  The struggle with European philosophy is not simply one of curriculum adjustment within our country but one that needs to, in the words of Enrique Dussel, “shift the geography of reason.’ 

There were skype exchanges featuring Professor Tommy Curry of Texas A&M, who is the president of Philosophy Born of Struggle conference; Professor Lewis Gordon, one of the key scholars in this area, and Professor Louis-George Tin, the President of CRAN (a coalition of black organisations fighting racism) in France. 

Chairperson of the Society of Commons, Mr Molaodi Wa Sekake, said the conference looked at, among others, the level of participation of students into social matters that affect them.  

‘Many think that a university is the beginning and the end. They don’t think about life after university especially social and political issues in the labour market, like retrenchments, inequality, racism, sexism and patriarchy, among others. This conference was an attempt to raise consciousness on the basis of our experiences not on the basis of how or what we are told is the reality. Hence, Philosophy Born of Struggle.’ 

Maart said the organisers of the conference showed great leadership and a commitment to broadening the parameters of philosophical thinking. ‘The organisers certainly did the university proud,’ she said.  

Mahlangu, who spoke on Pan Africanism and Socialism in Africa, said he found the conference unique and interesting. 

‘As a Pan Africanist activist, I enjoyed the topic of my talk very much. It gave an opportunity to correct mistaken ideas and misconceptions about Pan Africanism as a revolutionary ideology. Our intellectual and political discourse has been highly littered by utter valgurization and misconceptions of the ideology. 

‘I must congratulate the Society of Commons for organizing such a unique Conference. We should encourage the youth and African working class youth in particular to organize such conferences. Engaging with the youth and grass roots activists made the conference more special,’ he added. 


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UKZN honours academic achievements of student leaders

UKZN honours academic achievements of student leaders
Student leadership honoured at UKZN.

UKZN celebrated the academic achievements of student leaders at a celebratory lunch held on the Westville campus.

Executive Director: Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, said the event, which is in its fourth year, was held to honour and celebrate the academic achievements of the University’s student leaders.

Chalufu commended the young leaders for their ability to excel academically, while ‘being of service to others.’ He encouraged student leaders to exercise courageous leadership, which he argued was currently in short supply, and further challenged the graduates from the SRCs and various student clubs and societies to make a positive contribution in shaping the country, the continent and the world around them.

Former Howard College SRC President and UKZN Language Researcher (Teaching and Learning Portfolio), Mr Siyabonga Nkontwana, delivered the keynote address.  

Nkontwana advised young student leaders to learn from UKZN alumni who had previously served in student leadership, and were excelling in their fields of expertise. He cited as examples the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa, and the President of UKZN’s President of Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi.  

He proposed a forum where former student leaders could share their experiences with current SRC members and leadership from clubs and societies.  

Nkontwana encouraged students to ‘lead by example, be trustworthy, courageous and confident,’ and to attend lectures. He also advocated a ‘good working relationship between student leadership and Management’.

The Central SRC President, Mr Dithobe Mosana, commended his fellow students for being both students and leaders. He encouraged excellence and challenged his fellow student leaders to be ‘great agents of change in the different spheres in our country’.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said it was important students be critical thinkers who ‘contribute to transformation’ and change the Institution and society. ‘If we are serious about transformation we need to produce knowledge.’

Potgieter acknowledged the leaders present but advised that strategies be put in place to ensure student leadership reflected more women.

Student Governance and Leadership Development Manager, Mr Meliqiniso Sibisi congratulated the students on the academic achievements. ‘This becomes a preparatory school for you to be able to impact the country and the world.’  

He encouraged the student leaders to make an impact, particularly within the community. ‘Let us work together to move South Africa forward,’ said Sibisi.

Chalufu expressed gratitude to staff members, particularly Mrs Priscilla Cele, Mrs Nokwanda Jali and Mr Ntobeko Mbuyisa for the roles they played in arranging the event.

Student Governance and Leadership Development Officer, Mr Muzomuhle Mhlongo, was the programme director.  

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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New post-graduate diploma’s success celebrated

New post-graduate diploma’s success celebrated
Professor Thokozani Xaba – UKZN, Ms Saudamini Siegrist - UNICEF, Ms Hannah Uprichard – Save the Children, Ms Sabine Rakotomalala – UNICEF and Ms Marlene Abrahams – UKZN.

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) in the College of Humanities hosted a gala dinner to welcome their partners and thank students involved in the newly- launched Child Protection in Emergencies (CPIE) post-graduate diploma. 

BEDS’ partners include UNICEF, Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) and Save the Children UK and it has students from around the world. 

Project Leader and Dean and Head of the School, Professor Thokozani Xaba, thanked the partners for the trust they had in the University. Expressing his appreciation to the students, he said the programme would not have existed had they not being part of it.  

Student Ms Riyam Maraq of Palestine said she felt privileged, inspired and motivated to be part of the programme. 

Ms Caroline Erong thanked the donors and UKZN adding that she was privileged to be part of the course. ‘We must continue to fight for the children,’ she added. 

Ms Hanna Uprichard of Save the Children UK said she was pleased to work in this partnership, adding that UKZN had been fantastic from the outset.  

The CPIE postgraduate diploma seeks to strengthen the capacity of staff within national child protection systems to respond to emergencies and to increase the number and capacity of deployable child protection mid-level staff in international organisations to respond to emergencies.

The CPIE Postgraduate Diploma students and donors were also honoured at a recent civic reception held at the Luthuli Hall at which eThekwini Mayor Mr James Nxumalo commended the establishment of the postgraduate diploma thus far and wished the CPIE diploma programme continual growth and success.

The Dr John Langalibalele Dube Institute for Humanitarian and Development Praxis, which is currently operating on the Howard College Campus was also introduced.

The Institute was established with the purpose of furthering the humanitarian and development principles of John Dube, specifically those that relate to humanitarian and development service aimed to address both natural and man-made conditions and disasters that negatively affect the powerless, KwaZulu-Natal, and South Africa.

Sithembile Shabangu

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