Sustainable Development Goals discussed at Round Table meeting

Sustainable Development Goals discussed at Round Table meeting
Dr Carl Wright (in blue) engaging with MIG academics during the round table discussion.

“Local Government and the new Sustainable Development Goals: Implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, 2015-2030 was the topic of a round table discussion with Dr Carl Wright, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum at the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance.

The discussion created an open line of communication where staff, provincial municipal practitioners and NGO’s involved in the local governmental sector to share their views about the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets relating to future international development.

Wright’s presentation looked at the essential role that local and regional government play in implementing and meeting SDGs and development targets. The need for a multi-level government stakeholder approach, a national enabling environment for local governance and localising resources alongside localising SDGs.

Discipline of Public Administration academic, Professor Purshottama Reddy  who facilitated the meeting said that such information sharing sessions are important

‘When the Millennium Development Goals were adopted, it is a top down approach and there was not much consultation and buy in from a majority of developing countries. However, things need to be different with the SDG’s that I why we felt it was imperative to have this roundtable with Dr Wright. Now we can start conscientising people and disseminating information, starting at a local level. More importantly municipal functionaries have to be held publicly accountable for disseminating their development mandate,’ he said.

Things have to be different with the SDGs that is why we felt it was necessary to have this discussion with Dr Wright so that issues concerning local governance when it comes to DGs can reach a wider audience and society knows who to hold accountable if things go wrong,’ he said.

Fellow academic, Dr Mogie Subban, echoed Reddy’s sentiments. ‘It was good to engage in robust discussions on issues of local government. Lessons of best practices and models of governance are beneficial to the discourse in academia, and some important emerging and developed aspects provided “food for thought” for further research. Indeed a great ongoing opportunity for knowledge sharing,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Student attends Soil Ecology meeting in the USA

UKZN Student attends Soil Ecology meeting in the USA
Mathodi Motsamayi at the Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs, United States of America.

PhD candidate in Art History at the Centre for Visual Art (CVA) on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus, Mr Mathodi Motsamayi, attended the 2015 Soil Ecology Society meeting at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs in the United States.

Motsamayi was among international delegates representing diverse areas of academic interest and research at the biennial meeting which addressed contemporary global issues in several fields of soil ecology.

The Soil Ecology Society (SES: USA) is an international organisation of researchers, students, environmental professionals and others interested in the advancement and promotion of soil biology and ecology.

He said the meeting had been a great platform to communicate his research to scholars from natural sciences.

Presented at a conference in Greece in 2014, a paper by Motsamayi examined the interface between art, culture and ecosystem, alerting international soil scientists and USA soil ecologists to the importance of South African natural resources, specifically soil and clay-types used for socio-cultural purposes by vessel-makers in South Africa.

Pottery and other vessels decorated with natural pigments derived from local ferruginous soils and clays in Limpopo province are outstanding examples of the interface of material cultural creativity and natural resources.

Motsamayi’s presentation examined the sustainability of ceramic and other vessel productions in the context of ecological and economic potentialities in vivid fieldwork studies. He gave close attention to physical and visual features of Limpopo indigenous pottery vessels with regard to significant environmental aspects of their social and cultural contexts of production, questioning if domestic pottery productions were sustainable in the face of globalism and dwindling natural resources.

Since 2014, Motsamayi has been serving on the Reviewers’ Board of the Athens Journal of History, published by the History Research Unit of the Athens Institute for Education & Research (ATINER). He has already been involved in the reviewing process of the Athens Journal of History.

Motsamayi, a recipient of the 2015 Parkinson Student Travel Award from the Soil Ecology Society (SES), is currently writing his PhD thesis chapters and continuing to conduct academic research at the Social History Collections – Iziko Museums, in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo province. During 2015, he will be helping to teach at the CVA at UKZN.

He acknowledged the National Research Foundation for financial support and research associates in fieldworks and colleagues at CVA for their academic support.


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Leading UKZN Academic named in team to develop Africa’s Education Sector Strategy

Leading UKZN Academic named in team to develop Africa’s Education Sector Strategy
Team to develop Africa’s education sector strategy.

Leader of Higher Education Training and Development at UKZN, Professor Damtew Teferra, has been named among a team of six experts tasked with developing Africa’s Education Strategy - 2016-2025.

Sanctioned and spearheaded by the African Union Commission, the Continental Education Strategy is expected to serve as a blue print in guiding the education system in Africa for the next decade.

The first step of developing the Strategy started with the meeting of education and other development experts from around Africa and beyond in Addis Ababa last month.

The team of six technical experts then met separately for three days to develop the initial draft which was presented to the African Union’s Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr Martial De-Paul Ikounga, and his advisors.

The team is expected to submit its final draft to the Commission within a few weeks for wider continental and global consultation.


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UKZN Hosts Workshop Series aimed at Developing Institutional Research Capacity

UKZN Hosts Workshop Series aimed at Developing Institutional Research Capacity
Participants at the 2nd Data Analytics Workshop at the UNITE Building on the Howard College campus.

In an effort to foster inter-departmental collaboration and develop institutional research capacity, the University Teaching and Learning Office at UKZN (UTLO) hosted the second in a series of Data Analytics Workshops on the Howard College campus.

This workshop series is being presented by internationally renowned academic and Institutional Researcher, Professor Victor Borden of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington in the United States.

Borden has served as an advisor to several national bodies in the USA, teaches in the field of Institutional Intelligence and has published extensively in his field.

He said the aim of the workshop series was to provide participants with a deeper understanding of how to do inquiry and analysis in a Higher Education setting for the purposes of improving student success as well as quality and learning in the working environment. He emphasised that institutional research was not simply about doing the research and analysis, but rather about doing it in a way that made it ‘usable and useful’.

The workshop series, attended by academic and support staff, seeks to improve institutional capacity for collaboration across Colleges, across programmes and between central administration and the programmes. ‘The research and analysis only becomes useful if it is done collaboratively,’ said Borden.

He also underscored the importance of buy-in and support from the Executive and collaboration between departments to ensure the success of institutional research projects.

Borden’s general area of scholarship is on the assessment of organisational and performance within Higher Education Institutions. Within this general area, he has pursued four themes: student progress and performance; organisational performance assessment and accountability; diversity and equity within higher education, and organisational learning and development as a framework for institutional research.

UKZN’s Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr Rubby Dhunpath, said he was satisfied about the progress the Data Analytics Group was making. ‘Under the expert guidance of Professor Borden, the group of emerging specialists has been able to conceptualise four signature institutional research projects, which will begin to address perennial problems related to student success in a coherent and holistic approach.’

For more information on the Data Analytics Workshop Series, details on the Institutional Research projects and to watch the recent interview with Professor Victor Borden, please visit:

Ebrahim Adam and Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN Strengthens Ties with Captains of the Maritime Industry

UKZN Strengthens Ties with Captains of the Maritime Industry
From left: Professor Managay Reddi, Dean and Head of the UKZN School of Law; Mr Peter Besnard, CEO of South African Association of Ships Operators and Agents; and Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Maritime Studies is a niche research area at UKZN. Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, told guests at a dinner hosted by the Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies at the Howard College campus.

Van Jaarsveld said the purpose of the gathering was to proactively engage with key role players and leaders in the maritime economy with the aim of starting a conversation about where and how UKZN could add value and share the University’s vision for advancing maritime research and education. 

Welcoming guests, who included executives from all sectors of the maritime economy including cargo owners, ship operators, port operations, shore side service providers, maritime lawyers and policy makers, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi, unpacked the rationale behind the establishment of the Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies which has been housed in the School of Law since 2012.

‘The Unit is located at the doorstep of the largest port-related maritime community in any city in the southern hemisphere and offers a consolidated postgraduate teaching site and research portal for this professional and commercial maritime community,’ said Mubangizi.

He acknowledged that the Unit’s success in teaching and research had been made possible through the support and unwavering commitment from industry stalwarts such as the past president of the Maritime Law Association and Director of Norton Rose Fulbright, Mr Malcolm Hartwell; Supreme Court of Appeal judge, Dr Justice Malcolm Wallis and Professor Trevor Jones, currently the Co-ordinator at the Unit.

Durban Ports Manager, Mr Moshe Motlohi, who was also at the dinner, appealed to UKZN to support Operation Phakisa – a government initiative aimed at fast tracking the delivery of certain priorities outlined in the National Development Plan including capacitating the youth with skills required by the maritime sector.

A call from the Managing Director at Bidvest Bulk Connections, Mr Iain Geldart, to expose students to real practical maritime experience was welcomed by the Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, who reassured the executives of the School’s commitment to researching topics that would make meaningful contributions in the maritime sector.

Dr van Jaarsveld welcomed ideas from the industry and echoed the sentiments made by the CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms Dumile Cele, that the gathering was just one of many that would be of mutual benefit to the University and the local business community for the development and sustainability of the local economy.

Hazel Langa

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Leadership in Nursing

Leadership in Nursing
Discipline of Nursing academics with FUNDISA delegates.

More than 50 nursing students from 16 universities attended the annual three-day Forum of University Deans in South Africa (FUNDISA) symposium at UKZN which was aimed at empowering nursing students with leadership skills.

FUNDISA strives to be a unified platform to pursue excellence in nursing scholarship at South African universities.

The Forum’s CEO, Professor Hester Klopper, said the organisation aimed to provide innovative leadership, promote scholarship and strengthen collaboration with relevant stakeholders through representing the interests and standpoints of University nursing education at various gatherings, providing innovative/transformative leadership in developing scholarship, and building capacity among nursing scholars, among other things.

UKZN’s Nursing and Public Health Dean and Head of School, Professor Busi Ncama, welcomed the students on campus: ‘Nurses need to learn communication skills and to be scholars to keep abreast with what is going on around them.’

Ncama said the forum would provide future nursing leaders with research ideas and also empower them with the necessary skills.

‘The country needs nurses who are caring and willing to help,’ she said.

‘We train you to become future nurse leaders through stewardship,’ Nursing HoD, Professor Gugu Mchunu, said while welcoming the participants.

Mchunu expressed the hope that the forum would help create selfless nurses who would engage in developing, assessing and refining innovative and fresh models of health care delivery.

‘I trust that in future you will work with health practitioners, nurse leaders and educators to influence nursing policies,’ Mchunu said.

Third year Nursing student from the University of Venda, Ms Mphonyane Mamisane, said she enjoyed the experience. ‘The programme was very good and empowering. I will recommend it to all nursing students back home.’

Nombuso Dlamini

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UKZN’s Rural Health Project Partner wins Award

UKZN’s Rural Health Project Partner wins Award
Together here are UKZN and Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital representatives (from left): Mrs LM Ntuli, Mrs MZ Khanyile, Dr Patrick McNeil, Ms AG Zuma, Dr Thameshree Naidu and Ms RN Mbatha.

UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health (CRH) Project partner, Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital (CJM), won the Health MEC’s Annual Service Excellence Award for achieving Gold in the National Core Standard Assessment.

Dr Thameshree Naidu, a public health medical specialist, led and developed the risk management strategy for the hospital which is in Nqutu in the Umzinyathi Health District.

‘The commitment and enthusiasm of the CJM staff participating in the project played a major role in the achievement,’ said Naidu, who hopes that, given the success of her pilot project in the Umzinyathi Health District, the work will be taken further and developed to assist primary health care facilities reach compliance with the core standards.

‘This project was unique in that it capacitated Department of Health staff to plan their own solutions to their challenges given their unique context,’ she said.

CJM hospital CEO, Mrs MZ Khanyile, said: ‘We are very excited and humbled by the award. We have been working very hard with Dr Naidu and her team. We are very proud of what they achieved.’

Khanyile’s senior management felt the dashboard and risk register developed by Naidu’s team had filled a gap and had been central to their success.

Naidu said: ‘Both the hospital CEO and the M&E manager didn’t expect to win as they were competing in the category with hospitals such as Edendale and Greys. They said that being deep rural and not having skills and resources like urban hospitals, they didn’t think they had a chance.’

‘The risk management project aimed to assist the Umzinyathi Health district achieve compliance with the National Core Standards by using a risk management approach.

‘A current priority of the National Department of Health is the implementation of National Health Insurance. As part of preparation for this, all health facilities need to be compliant with the National Core Standards in order to be accredited for NHI,’ explained Naidu.

CRH developed an evidence-based strategy which is being piloted in the Umzinyathi District. The strategy has three components, including the introduction of Risk Management Committees, engaging the managers in action learning sets as well as developing a risk register.

The project started in the district in January last year and ends this December. ‘The project helps senior hospital management put systems in place, develop governance skills and interpret their own data. This helps ensure they are compliant with the National Core Standards,’ said Naidu.

Nombuso Dlamini

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Pro Bono Work Pays Dividends for Law Student

Pro Bono Work Pays Dividends for Law Student
Ms Abongile Swana.

Volunteering for ProBono.Org, an organisation that provides legal services to the poor, has been an enriching experience for Masters of Law student, Ms Abongile Swana.

Swana, who is studying towards an LLM in Business Law, volunteered her services at ProBono.Org’s Consumer Law Clinic for three months as part of the requirements for the Consumer Law module taught by Professor Tanya Woker.

During her time at ProBono.Org, Swana worked on a variety of cases that dealt with consumers rights, an experience she says has given her valuable insight into the law profession.

‘The experience I had at was truly amazing as I was exposed to other issues that consumers are facing that may not have been dealt with as yet. I also got to interact with knowledgeable and experienced attorneys in the field which is always a privilege. I honestly believe that this is an experience that every student should have prior to practising in the field,’ she said.

Studying Business Law has created an opportunity for her to fuse her interests in law and commerce for her research on Emoluments Attachment Orders and their abuses.  She is being supervised by Mr Lee Swales and Woker.

Next year, Swana will serve her articles of clerkship at Norton Rose Fulbright who are sponsoring her undergraduate and postgraduate tuition.

‘I always knew I wanted to study towards an LLM but wasn’t sure about which area to specialise in,’ said Swana, ‘It was not until I attended a vacation programme at Norton Rose Fulbright in 2012 that one of the directors looked at my interest in commerce and suggested I pursue Corporate Law as it balances law and commerce perfectly. I am very grateful to God and to Norton Rose for this opportunity and to UKZN for grooming me into a graduate ready to venture out into the legal field.’

Woker praised Swana’s dedication and work ethic. ‘This is the second year I have encouraged my students to volunteer at ProBono and those who do find it very rewarding.  It also gives them valuable practical experience.

‘Abongile was a very committed student and as it turns out she is the top Consumer Law student this year.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Classics Student gets Vogel Award and NRF Innovation Scholarship

Classics Student gets Vogel Award and NRF Innovation Scholarship
Classics doctoral student, Ms Sonja Gammage.

Classics doctoral student, Ms Sonja Gammage, has been awarded an NRF innovation scholarship as well as the prestigious Classical Association of South Africa’s Vogel Award to conduct research for her doctorate at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Gammage said having her research recognised through the two awards was a great privilege and a blessing.

‘The scholarship will aid with general finances while the Vogel Award is especially exciting as it will provide me with the opportunity to spend a couple months in Oxford where I can conduct research for my PhD.

‘I will have access to books and resources which are not easily accessible in South Africa. I will also have the advantage of discussing my work with experts in the field, some of whom I know from when I did my master’s Degree in Oxford.’

Under the supervision of Professor John Hilton, Gammage is researching a phenomenon in Hellenistic Greek known as Atticism. ‘Hellenistic Greek changed over the centuries much as English changed after Shakespeare's day, but people were critical of these changes and insisted that the Classical form of Greek was the “proper” form.

‘I am looking especially at how much the Hellenistic Greek novelist Achilles Tatius used the archaic “proper” language as opposed to the newer current-day form,’ explained Gammage.

She believes her research will increase the understanding and knowledge of aspects of the ancient world which can inform how one understands modern day issues.

‘All languages go through periods of change like Greek did and there is always some resistance to this change. Learning more about this ancient phenomenon can give us a better understanding about similar issues of language change happening in our own South African languages.’

Gammage thanked the NRF and the Vogel Award committee for their support and confidence in her research.

Melissa Mungroo

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Durban Art Deco Society tours Historic Buildings on Howard College campus

Durban Art Deco Society tours Historic Buildings on Howard College campus
Professor Franco Frescura conducts a tour of the Howard College building.

The Durban Art Deco Society (DADS) recently visited the Howard Davis Memorial College building and the Memorial Tower Building to view, discuss and marvel at the intricate architecture of the historical buildings.

The visit was arranged by Professor Michael Mulholland of the Discipline of Chemical Engineering and conducted by Professor Franco Frescura of the Architecture discipline, who provided thought-provoking commentary on the architectural and art deco features of the buildings.

The interior of the main entrance rotunda of Howard College is well known for its art deco embellishments, however Frescura took the discussion further, noting the symbolism of the orb, dome, barrel, cubic surround and wings, implying that architects of that era played a tantalising intellectual game with passers-by, challenging their cerebral sensitivities.

‘The atrium of the Howard College Building, on the other hand, was designed as a metaphorical mausoleum. Although the body of Howard Davis, the young man who died at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, rests in the fields of France, the centrally-located glass caisson placed beneath his portrait might as well contain Davis’ miraculously preserved corpse rather than a model of the ship he sailed in.

‘Unlike Egypt’s King Tutankhamun, whose tomb was packed with mere earthly belongings, Howard Davis’s eternity is now filled with the debates of countless academics whose intellects are more likely to keep him entertained than mere goods and chattels,’ said Frescura.

He noted that the Memorial Tower Building was a memorial to the democratic dead. ‘The building is better suited to celebrate the values of fascism and anti-historicism that signify the Modern Movement in architecture.’

Frescura found the juxtaposition of the Memorial Tower Building to the sensitive Howard College building almost intolerable. The scale, the placement, and the sheer brutality of Memorial Tower Building were all wrong. As a building which exudes such power, its roots seemed to be in the fascism of those that instigated World War 2, rather than in tribute to those who fell fighting it.

At the end of the tour, Frescura stated: ‘Modern Architecture is the architecture of the lumpen, because it equates simplicity and technology with stupidity and visual illiteracy. Less became more not because it is so, but because a totalitarian-minded Nazi fellow traveller said so, and like sheep, a flock of money-minded capitalists and bottom-line accountants followed him.

‘Lenin once remarked that western capitalists were so stupid that they would invest their money in the rope that would be used to hang them. Modern Architecture has proved Lenin right,’ said Frescura.

Melissa Mungroo

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36th Durban International Film Festival opens on 16 July

36th Durban International Film Festival opens on 16 July
Durban International Film Festival movers and shakers (from left) Ms Carol Coetzee of the KZN Film Commission; Mr Kishore Gobardan and Ms Tiny Mungwe of UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts; Festival manager, Mr Pedro Pimenta, and Ms Toni Monty of the Durban Film Mart.

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, runs from 16-26 July in celebration of the wonder and diversity of global cinema.

Speaking at the launch, Festival Manager Mr Pedro Pimenta said DIFF would show a selection of the best of contemporary cinema, including 74 feature films, 50 documentaries, 74 short films and 23 films on surfing.

Pimenta has chosen two films for special screenings. ‘The anti-apartheid film Dry White Season, pays tribute to the late writer André Brink and homage to South African actors who risked their lives for making the film. The other film, Tell me Sweet Something, will be a once-off screening in KwaMashu. I hope all these films at DIFF will be a source of inspiration to current and future generations of filmmakers.’

Speaking on behalf of the DVC and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl PotgieterDirector of Professional Services for the College, Mr Kishore Gobardan, said the University had a strong association with DIFF and the remaining CCA festivals and would continue to support them.

The Head of the eThekwini Municipality's Parks, Recreation and Culture Department, Mr Thembinkosi Ngcobo, said DIFF had become a signature event for Durban and continued to grow.

‘As a city, we are confident that DIFF is contributing to a shifting perception towards the importance of the Arts. Through the evident achievements of the CCA’s festivals, we are increasing our financial contribution from R1million rand to R4 million,’ said Ngcobo.

This year’s opening night film is Ayanda, which tells the story of a 21-year-old woman who holds onto the legacy of her late father through an auto repair garage. The closing night’s film will be an animation of the Kahlil Gibran book, The Prophet.  

The festival offers extensive workshops, panel discussions and seminars with industry experts which run throughout the festival.

There is an expanded focus on African Cinema with a selection of Africa’s Lost Classics as well as a cross-section of contemporary cinema from Brazil, an investigation into the film-making landscape of a changing Tunisia, and DIFF Beat which celebrates several music-based films. There is also a selection of environmentally and sustainability themed films and the Wavescape Surf Film Festival.

Principal screening venues are Suncoast Cinecentre; Ster Kinekor Musgrave; Cinema Nouveau – Gateway; Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu, and the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel.

Other venues include the Bay of Plenty Lawns, the KZNSA Gallery, the Denis Hurley Centre, Sizakala Centre, Durban Music School and the Luthuli Museum on the North Coast, which will have a special programme of screenings.

There is free entrance to screenings at the Luthuli Museum, Ekhaya, Elangeni Hotel, the Denis Hurley Centre, Sizakala Centre, Durban Music School and the Bay of Plenty lawns.

Tickets at other venues cost between R20 and R40.

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films will be available free at cinemas, and other public information outlets.

For full festival details go to or phone 031-260 2506 or 031-260 1816.

Melissa Mungroo

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Linguistics Student Awarded African Pathways Scholarship

Linguistics Student Awarded African Pathways Scholarship
Mr Prosper Takavarasha.

PhD Linguistics student Mr Prosper Takavarasha was recently awarded the prestigious African Pathways Programme scholarship.

The award was made by the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), in association with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).

The aim of the scholarship is in line with the mandates of NIHSS and CODESRIA to promote and facilitate research in the humanities and social sciences as well as to explore new vistas in Pan-African scholarship.

‘I realise that this is an accomplishment to be proud of. I feel satisfied choosing UKZN and grateful to Professor Heike Tappe for accepting me as her student and for encouraging and advising me on the scholarship,’ he said.

The scholarship will assist Takavarasha to acquire data for his research and to attend workshops and seminars related to his study.

‘The data I need are found at the National Archives of Zimbabwe and one has to pay per hour for listening to them as well as have them transcribed. I had thought of abandoning the project as this was going to be rather costly, but with the scholarship, this has been made possible.’

His research seeks to investigate the linguistic coherence of the epideictic rhetoric of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe while employing corpus linguistics tools as a method of analysis as well as incorporating tools of rhetoric and critical discourse analysis.

Takavarasha hopes his research will uncover findings on coherence that can be used in the teaching of English as a second language in Zimbabwe; to assist spokespersons of different political parties in Zimbabwe and other African countries to present a coherent narrative of their party, history and vision for their nation, and to make a contribution to media studies for political rhetoric.

‘This analysis of President Mugabe’s discourse is useful not only for linguists and rhetoricians who want to understand how language works, but also for political scientists as well as those undertaking studies in diplomacy and international relations who may want an insight into the use of language as action.’

‘I hope the study makes a contribution towards an understanding of Zimbabwe’s history and colonial legacy from an epideictic rhetoric point of view,’ said Takavarasha.

He thanked the committee for awarding him the scholarship and recognising his potential. ‘I really appreciate the time and effort they have invested in me. I encourage the committee to keep doing the work they are doing as there are many African scholars with potential who can contribute good ideas for the benefit of Africa and humankind but face many financial challenges.  However, through assistance of scholarships such as these, they are able to.’

Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Education Academic Involved in Siyakhuluma Community Engagement Project

UKZN Education Academic Involved in Siyakhuluma Community Engagement Project
Ms Tholani Hlongwa.

A Lecturer in the isiZulu Discipline on the Edgewood Campus, Ms Tholani Hlongwa, is currently working with the Siyakhuluma Project, a Durban-based educational non-profit organisation which teaches isiZulu and English at community and corporate levels.

Through Hlongwa’s work, the Project - directed by Mr Christo Spetsiotis - is now officially collaborating with UKZN’s isiZulu discipline on the Edgewood campus.

Hlongwa, whose duties are to help develop the syllabi and teaching materials and assist in training the Project’s teachers, started working with the organisation in November last year when Spetsiotis was piloting it.

‘Christo had come to the School of Education looking for someone to help him with the Project and he was referred to me. I took a keen interest in his work as it linked to my research. Together we developed the teaching materials. This also allowed me to build on my community development passion and to be an ambassador for UKZN,’ she explained.

Hlongwa’s PhD focuses on IsiZulu second language pedagogy and is supervised by Professor Thabisile Buthelezi, the Language and Arts discipline co-ordinator.

Hlongwa created lessons that linked to the Project’s motto: Bridging the Linguistic Divide; Creating an Integrated Society. ‘I get excited about languages and this venture opened a new page for me. It gave me a platform to provide knowledge to the community. The reaction from the classes has been mutually beneficial - we converse in isiZulu and they also learn about African culture. It has been wonderful so far.’

The classes run for two terms with hour-long, weekly lessons. There are even basic and advanced isiZulu classes with everyone being given the chance to improve on their language skills.

‘I am continuing to work with the whole team as they need guidance on how to design the teaching material suitable for adults. The participants are aged between 30 to 60. When I volunteer my time, I use the Hellenic Community Centre in Durban North,’ said Hlongwa.

One of the participants, Mr Brandon Stephenson, said: ‘This is an awesome initiative. I thoroughly enjoyed it and Tholani is a brilliant teacher!’ Another participant, Mrs Irene Green, added that ‘the lessons are worth it’.

Spetsiotis said: ‘A very big NGIYABONGA KAKHULU to Tholani Hlongwa for her wonderful lessons during the project's pilot course. She is an exceptional teacher and her years of experience teaching isiZulu are evident in her work.’

The Siyakhuluma Project has grown significantly and currently offers adult and children isiZulu courses in the morning and evenings in Durban North, Hillcrest, and Westville. Hlongwa and Spetsiotis are currently developing an adult isiZulu course that is KZN specific and focuses on practical language learning methods and techniques.

For more information, visit

Melissa Mungroo

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Law and Managements Postdoctoral Fellow’s Paper wins Best Paper Award

Law and Managements Postdoctoral Fellow’s Paper wins Best Paper Award
Dr Naveen Bandari.

Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s Postdoctoral fellow, Dr Naveen Bandari’s paper: “Challenges of Managing Organisational Culture: A Study on Indian IT and ITES Industry” earned him the Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Innovation and Business Management held in India.

The annual conference organised by the Society of Technical and Management Professionals creates a platform for researchers, scholars and corporate in technical, management and behavioural science disciplines to share new ideas and research Business and Management.

Bandari’s paper which is part of his PhD thesis explores the competitiveness associated with the learning and training in IT and ITES sectors in India.

Bandari said winning this award is motivation to further take up research and take part in further conferences under his research areas of Innovations and strategies at the Bottom of the pyramid and Entrepreneurship.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Habitable Planet Workshop at UKZN

Habitable Planet Workshop at UKZN
Professor Albert Modi (centre) with the group of students he addressed at the workshop.

Dean and Head of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), Professor Albert Modi, addressed a multidisciplinary group of students from all over South Africa at the 17th Habitable Planet Workshop on the Westville campus of UKZN.

The Applied Centre for Climate and Earth System Science (ACCESS) hosted the workshop in partnership with UKZN and the University of Zululand.

ACCESS is a consortium of agencies, research councils, programmes, groups and universities combining efforts to deliver various outputs aligned to the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Global Change Grand Challenge (GCGC). This involves integrated research and education, services and training outputs and outcomes related to the opportunities and challenges emanating from a varying and changing environment - collectively referred to as Earth Systems Science.

The focus of the workshop was the evolution of Earth’s diversity of flora and fauna and the conditions required to maintain these favourable environments, including environmental interactions that need to be taken into consideration. The course also emphasised past and present relationships between humans and the environment to assess the impact that future global warming and climate change could have.

Using a range of exercises, lectures and excursions, the workshop explored what makes Earth habitable and exposed students to the range of masters degree courses and career choices available in the field of Earth System Science.

Modi’s lecture, titled: “Tracing our Path Back into a Sustainable Future – an Agricultural Science Perspective”, received positive feedback from the workshop organiser, Dr Carl Palmer, a member of ACCESS from the University of Cape Town.

Palmer sad the lecture was a good introduction, covering all the basic, applied and social science aspects of the course.

The presentation was used as a reference for the students participating in the week-long workshop with many participants indicating they found the lecture very informative. There were numerous inquiries about postgraduate studies in the SAEES Disciplines and/or the possibility of collaborating with Modi in community outreach projects.

A student, Ms Refilwe Mofokeng, who has just started a food garden project for primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, thanked Modi for what she described as a very informative, dynamic and inspiring presentation. Her project, #GetInvolved, aims to establish food gardens in schools, to educate learners about nutrition and the importance of their own health, as well as teach them about recycling, science and assist with donations of school jerseys for winter. The project emphasises the use of skills and knowledge to contribute to the upliftment of these schools.

Christine Cuénod

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Supplemental Instruction introduced to improve Students’ Learning Skills

Supplemental Instruction introduced to improve Students’ Learning Skills
SI leaders put through their paces at a workshop on the Howard College Campus.

Supplemental Instruction (SI) has been introduced as an academic support programme in the College of Science, Engineering and Agriculture to assist students who need to improve their learning skills.

This was done after the College recognised that many first year students had particular learning needs because of different backgrounds, previous learning experiences and under-developed learning skills.

The University Teaching and Learning Office (UTLO) recently hosted SI workshops on the Howard College campus for staff and SI student leaders.

The workshops were co-ordinated by a Lecturer in the School of Chemistry and Physics, Dr Vino Paideya, , and facilitated by Ms Liesl Smith, a Senior Academic development professional and Head of the SI National Office at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), who was assisted by a colleague and co-trainer, Mr Philip Kitching.

SI, developed in 1973 by Dr Deanna Martin of the University of Missouri in Kansas City, is a student academic assistance programme that seeks to increase student performance and retention. It is voluntary, student-driven and places focus on ‘high-risk’ courses rather than on ‘high-risk’ students.

In SI sessions, students work collaboratively to understand course concepts, brainstorm ideas, engage in discussions on how the concepts relate to each other and reflect on the assigned tasks, with support from SI leaders.

In 1993, NMMU adopted the SI programme as it met the holistic needs of their students, had a proven track record, was cost effective and could be implemented on ‘high-risk’ courses across the institution. Since then, NMMU has established the SI National Office providing SI support and training to various institutions.

Reflecting on the UKZN workshops, Smith said: ‘SI is different from other programmes in that we don’t work with red-flagged or “at risk” students. If there are many-red flagged students in a module, we say let’s label the module as “at risk”.

‘SI must be used in conjunction with other academic assistance mechanisms. It is one strategy of many, it cannot run in isolation and requires mentoring and support of SI leaders by SI supervisors.’

Paideya’s PhD thesis - titled: “The Phenomenon of Learning: Engineering Students’ Engagement with Chemistry Supplemental Instruction, was aimed at determining the impact of the SI programme on engineering students in Chemistry”.

This study, completed in 2011, revealed that SI leaders encouraged engagement with Chemistry concepts through the motivation of students by creating spaces for metacognitive development, engaging in activities that required higher-order thinking, and encouraged students to reflect on concepts learned through peer learning.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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New Optometry Programme to boost SA’s Eye-care Services

New Optometry Programme to boost SA’s Eye-care Services
First cohort of South African Optometrists trained in ocular therapeutics.

South Africans will soon have access to improved public eye-care services, thanks to a first-of-its-kind ocular therapeutics programme currently training a cohort of 135 Optometrists from across the country at UKZN in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY).

Previously, only those trained as Ophthalmologists – specialists in medical and surgical eye problems – could prescribe ocular therapeutic drugs to patients in South Africa.

‘The profession has reached a significant milestone with the Health Professions Council of South Africa setting up a new register for Optometrists to be trained in ocular therapeutics,’ said UKZN Academic Leader for Optometry, Ms Vanessa Moodley.

It has, over the past decade, reviewed and expanded its scope of practice to include the diagnosis of ocular diseases and prescription of ocular therapeutic medicines for anterior segment diseases to better serve the public.

‘The significant move to introduce optometry services into the public sector will require Optometrists to work in remote areas and more often than not without the backing of Ophthalmic Medical Officers or Ophthalmology services,’ Moodley said.

Before completing the programme, the trainees will spend 600 hours under the clinical supervision of an Ophthalmologist or Medical Officer within state hospitals around the country.

Studies indicate that approximately 49 million people in the world are blind, and in South Africa, causes of blindness and visual impairment include cataracts (66 percent), glaucoma (14 percent), refractive error (10 percent) and 10 percent due to other conditions, including trachoma.

‘Enhancing patient care and reducing avoidable blindness means a lot to us at UKZN,’ said Moodley.

The expanded scope for optometrists to train in the SUNY-UKZN programme is envisaged to bridge the gap between patient needs and the often limited access they have to specialist services; especially communities situated in rural areas of the country.

‘It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a very long time,’ said Upington Optometrist, Mr Russell Nugent, who travelled from the Northern Cape to attend the programme’s first block lectures at the International Convention Centre in Durban.

Nugent said: ‘It’s excellent that such a programme is finally being offered. The rural areas in which we work have very limited access to specialist care. The programme is very relevant to what I need to know as an Optometrist.’

With a keen interest is in public health services and policy, UKZN Optometry Clinical Resident, Mr Tate Madlala, said it was critical to ensure that even the poorest of the poor had access to eye care facilities. 

The first lectures were delivered by esteemed Professors, Diane Adamczyk and David Krumholtz from SUNY’s College of Optometry at the International Convention Centre in Durban.

Also present was SUNY’s Vice President for Student Affairs and International Programs, Dr Jeffrey Philpott and Senior Director of Admissions and Marketing, Dr Guilherme Albieri who said the Optometrists were in very good hands studying at UKZN in collaboration with SUNY – ‘one of the best Optometry colleges in the world’.

Philpott said the ocular therapeutics programme was aligned with SUNY’s mission to help international countries such as South Africa to achieve their true potential in Optometry teaching and learning.

Philpott highlighted that if Optometrists were enabled to deliver 70 percent of primary eye care services to the community, then this would free Ophthalmologists to excel as surgical professionals and help reduce the cataract backlog that continues to plague the country.

Albieri said it was important to note that the patients were the ultimate beneficiaries of such collaborations. ‘UKZN already has a great optometry programme and leadership,’ he said.

The international visitors are also facilitating the mentorship programme to develop five academics, from universities of Free State, Johannesburg, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, to lecture in the future ocular therapeutics programmes.

UKZN’s Optometry discipline continues to develop initiatives towards being more socially accountable to the communities its graduates will serve.

The Department of Health has been supportive of the discipline’s endeavour to improve student access to public sector hospitals in the province for training.


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UKZN Volleyball Team wins Gold

UKZN Volleyball Team wins Gold
The UKZN Volleyball team recently crowned the University Sport South Africa (USSA) National Institutional Volleyball Championships.

The UKZN Men’s Volleyball team were recently named the national champions of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) National Institutional Volleyball Championships.

The team won the tournament hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

UKZN won all their matches beating the University of Western Cape 3-1 sets in the finals and winning 15-11 in the semi-finals against champions for the last seven years, Vaal University of Technology.

Captain, Mr Devin O Regan said: ‘This is the first time UKZN has won this tournament, for most of us it took a day or two for it to actually sink in but coming home with that trophy, gold medals around our necks and two special awards, we are beyond happy!'

UKZN Coach, Mr Venai Naicker commended the team spirit of the boys as this kept them going throughout the tournament.

He said some of the challenges for the team was playing against a team that had players in the national team.

O Regan was voted the Best Attacker of the Tournament while Mr Ardel Shaikally received the award for Best Setter of the Tournament.

‘This year we felt like we had the strongest team that we'd ever had, we really felt like we were going into the tournament and would have no problem getting to the final,’ said O Regan.

‘The great thing was that we all motivated each other on and off the court, the mood, no matter what, was always positive even if the game was tense and we were losing, people would be making jokes. That would alleviate that stress and help us play better.’

He added that their coach kept the team motivated and focused on the task at hand. ‘He told us exactly what we needed to hear to help us win game after game.’ 

USSA’s aims to create an environment which will encourage student sports persons to strive for excellence on an academic and sports level, while giving participants an opportunity to interact socially and competitively. Their fundamental goal is the development and promotion of sport at all tertiary education institutions in South Africa.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Ucwaningo lwaseUKZN lwezindlela zokulala kwamalulwane lubeyingxenye yohlelo lamabonakude iBBC Earth

Ucwaningo lwaseUKZN lwezindlela zokulala kwamalulwane lubeyingxenye yohlelo lamabonakude iBBC Earth
Uhlobo lwelulwane elibizwa ngeWahlberg's Epauletted Fruit Bat lilele.

Click here for English version

Umsebenzi owenziwe ngabanye babacwaningi beSikole seziFundo ngokuPhilayo wokubheka inzindlela zokulala kwamalulwane ukhonjiswe esiteshini sikamabonakude i-BBC Earth.

Lo msebenzi,  obuphenya ngobudlelwane bokulala  kanye  namazinga okushisa  elulwane lase-Wahlberg  (Epomophorus Wahlberg)  usetshenziswe ohlelweni: Weird Ways Animals Sleep.

Lolucwaningo beluholwa nguSolwazi Colleen Downs, elekelelwa ngabafundi uNksz Adowa Awuh, uNksz Maryna Jordaan, uNksz Londiwe Magagula, uNksz Truth Mkhize, uNksz Christine Paine, uNksz Esmaella Raymond-Bourret  kanye noNksz Lorinda Hart.

Uncwaningo luka Downs beluhlose ukubheka imiphumela yokunyuka kwamazinga okushisa ngenxa yokuguquka kwesimo sezulu  ekulaleni kwalamalulwane.

uDowns nethimba lakhe bathole ukuthi ukunyuka kwamazinga okushisa kuba nomthelela ongemuhle ekuphumuleni  kwalamalulwane njengoba ephoqeleka ukuchitha isikhathi esiningi zizikhotha uboya, ekululeni izimpiko Kanye nasekuzibhakuziseni ukuze ahlezi epholile. Kuthe uma amazinga okushisa edlula kwanga 35c asemini. Abacwaningi babike ukuthi awekho amalulwane, atholaka kakhulu ezindaweni eziseNingizimu neAfrika, abonakale elele.

Njengoba lamalulwane ekuthola kunzima ukupholisa imizimba yawo ngezinsuku lapho kushisa kakhulu, kuphinde kuveze ngokusobala ubunzima ahlangabezana nawo ngenxa yalamazinga okushisa. Esikhathini esisanda kudlula amalulwane ashona ngenxa yesifudumezi ezweni lase-India nase Australia. 

Uhlelo lwe-BBC Earth belugxile ezimweni zokulala zamalulwane, ama-sea otter, izimfene zohlobo lwama-orangutan, izinyoni kanye namahlengethwa. Kugxilwe ekutheni amalulwane kumele ahlale eqaphile ngisho elele, ngoba odlezinye bangagasela engalindele, Uhlelo luphinde lwabalula uphenyo luka-Downs kanye nencazelo yesimo ‘sokulala ungalele’ 
Ngokwe BBC, lokhu kuziphatha ekulaleni kujwayelekile ezilwaneni zasemanzini kodwa uDowns nethimba lakhe libike ukuthi amalulwane ayi-Wahlberg’s Epauletted ayisilwane sokuqala esingesona esasemanzini okubonakala kuso loluhlobo lokuziphatha. Lolucwaningo ludalule amalulwane angamaphesenti angama-21% alala evule ihlo elilodwa, emboze ihlo lawo elivaliwe ngaphansi kwephiko.

Lokuziphatha kuveza uhlobo lokulala olubizwa nge-unihemispheric, okuwukulala kwengxenye yengqondo enye ibe isebenza ngokujwayelekile. Lendlela yokulala yenza ukuthi izilwane zihlale ziqaphile ukuzivikela ekubeni yizisulu zokudliwa odlezinye njengezinkawu nokhozi lwase-Afrika, khonamanjalo aphinde athole ukuphumula ngokulala.

Amalulwane okwakwenziwa ngawo ucwaningo anendawo yokuphumula ngaphandle kwesakhiwo i-John Bews ekhempasisni yaseMgundundlovu, amanye amalulwane okwenziwa ngawo ucwaningo ayegcinwe lapho kugcinwa khona izinyoni. uDowns ubike ukuthi ucwaningo lwalezi zilwane okubhekwa kuzo umthelela wokushintsha kwesimo senhlalo kanye nokushintsha kwamazinga okushisa, kuzonikezela ngolwazi ukuze ucwaningo olufana nalolu lwenziwe nakwezinye  izilwane zaloluhlobo

Christine Cuénod

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