Lube Yimpumelelo Usuku Lwabazali e-UKZN

Lube Yimpumelelo Usuku Lwabazali e-UKZN
Amazwibela oSuku Lwabazali lonyaka wezi-2018.

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INyuvesi YaKwaZulu-Natali ibambe imicimbi Yosuku Lwabazali emaKolishi amane esikhungo.

Le micimbi ebanjwa kuwo wonke amakhempasi ase-UKZN minyaka yonke, isebenza njengongosi lapho abasebenzi baseNyuvesi bexhumana nabazali babafundi abazoqala izifundo zabo zonyaka wokuqala. Abasebenzi basebenzisa lokhu kuxhumana ukuze banikeze ulwazi ngezinsiza ezibalulekile zabafundi ngesikhathi besasesikhungweni sase-UKZN.

Kule micimbi abazali baphinde baziswe ngezibonelelo zemifundaze ekhona nezinye izibonelelo ezitholakalayo.

Iphini LikaSekelashansela NeNhloko eliyibamba eKolishini LezesiNtu uSolwazi Stephen Mutula ukhulume nabazali ekhempasini yaseMgungundlovu lapho ethe ‘iNyuvesi izibophezele ekuhlomiseni abafundi ngemfundo efanele endaweni evundile ngobunyoninco.’

NgokukaNkk Gloria Mkhize, iKolishi LezesiNtu liyiKolishi elifanele indodakazi yakhe, uZinhle, ebhalisele iziqu ze- Bachelor of Social Science. ‘Le ingenye yamaNyuvesi aphambili ezweni lonke. Ngiyazi ukuthi uzofunda lukhulu, kusho uMkhize.

Imali yokufunda, izindawo zokuhlala kanye nokubhalisa kube izihloko ekuxoxwe ngazo kabanzi emcimbini Wosuku Lwabazali weKolishi Lezifundo ZoMthetho NezokuPhatha. Bekukhona abazali abangamakhulukhulu abaziswe ngokuthi iKolishi lizobalekelela kanjani izingane zabo uma sezenza izifundo zazo e-UKZN.

Ekhuluma nabazali nabafundi esikoleni sezoMthetho, iSekelashansela noMphathi uDkt Albert van Jaarsveld ukhuthaze abafundi ukuthi basebenze kanzima futhi basebenzise wonke amathuba abazali babo abangawatholanga.‘Ngenkathi nisekhempasini, nikhethe abangani benu ngokucophelela futhi niqinisekise ukuthi niyasithokozela isikhathi senu ekhempasini. Ngeke niphinde nilithole ithuba nenkululeko yokukhulu njengomuntu nesakhamuzi edlula le eninayo manje,’ usho kanje.

EKhempasini yase-Westville inkulumo yethulwe yiPhini LeSekelashansela NeNhloko YeKolishi Yezezifundo ZezoMthetho NokuPhatha, uSolwazi Nana Poku kanye neDini eyiNhloko YeSikole SezokuPhatha, UbuChwepheshe NokuBusa uSolwazi Betty Mubangizi.

UPoku uqinisekise abazali ukuthi izingane zabo zikhethe kahle ngokukhetha isikhungo esisezingeni lomhlaba njenge-UKZN. ‘Ingane yakho izofunda eNyuvesi engagcini nje ngokuba lapha kodwa esezingeni lomhlaba. Asigcini ngokukhiqiza abafundi abaneziqu kodwa sikhiqiza isizukulwane esilandelayo sabaholi, osozimboni nabahlinzekeli besizwe,’ usho kanje. 

UMubangizi utshele abazali ngokwakheka kweKolishi nolunye ulwazi olubalulekile oluqukethwe umhlahlandlela wabazali kanti abebemele iminyango yezokwesekwa kwabafundi, owezokufunda nokufundisa nowezimali zokufunda, bakhulume ngezindlela okwesekwa ngazo abafundi.

Omunye umzali obethokoze kakhulu uMnu Nkosinathi Ntanzi, uthe unethemba lokuthi indodakazi yakhe uNqobile uzophumelela ezifundweni zakhe abe ummeli.Umeluleke ngokuthi asebenzise isikhathi sakhe esiningi ezincwadini zakhe futhi asebenze kanzima.. 

Babalelwa e-1 400 abazali nabafundi abebehambele umcimbi wabazali nabafundi waseKolishi LezoLimo, LezobuNjiniyela NezeSayensi (CAES) lapho bemukelwe ngezandla ezifudumele abasebenzi beZikole zonhlanu kanye nabasebenzi bezokuphatha, ezokusekwa kwabafundi, ezezimali zokufunda, abezokuphepha kanye nezezindawo zokuhlala. Inkulumo ngempilo yasenyuvesi ilethe ukukhululeka nokuphela kokwesaba ngenxa yezinkulumo ezethulwe ngendlela enobungani futhi enika ulwazi oluningi.

Iphini LikaSekelashansela eliyibamba uSolwazi Albert Modi wamukele abazali ekhempasini yaseMgungundlovu; e-Westville umphathi wohlelo uSolwazi Neil Koorbanally ukhuthaze abafundi abebenovalo ngokuqala izifundo zabo, kanti inkulumo kaSolwazi Bala Pillay iqinisekise abazali nabafundi ngokuthi i-UKZN iyisikhungo esiphambili. USolwazi Ademola Olaniran ukhulume ngesakhiwo seKolishi nolwazi ngeziqu, uDkt Neeshi Singh-Pillay ukhulume ngezokwesekwa kwabafundi ezitholakala eKolishi, UMnu Sizwe Sithole ukhulume ngezindlela ezihlukene zokusizwa ngezimali zokufunda.

I-CAES yenze imizamo yokufaka nolimi lwesiZulu ezinkulumweni zokwamukela futhi beyinotolika  abahlanganisa nabafundi asebeneziqu  abebekhona belekelela ngezinkulumo nangesikhathi s emibuzonezimpendulo.

Abazali baphawule ngokuthi lo mcimbi ubenze banokuqonda ngokufanele bakwenze ukuze balungiselele izingane zabo, ubahlinzeke ngolwazi oluwusizo kakhulu, wabacacisela ngohlelo lwaseNyuvesi waphinde wakhombisa nosizo olutholakalyo lwabazali nezingane.

‘E-UKZN sizimisele ngezokufunda nokufundisa futhi sinenhlanhla yokuba nothisha abazinikele abenza okungaphezulu kokubekiwe ukuze bahlinzeke abafundi ngesimo sokufunda esisezingeni eliphezulu,’ kusho iPhini LeS ekelashansela uBusi Ncama ngenkathi ethula inkulumo yakhe yokwamukela abazali nezingane eKolishi Lezifundo ZezeMpilo. 

Wengeze ngokuthi : ‘Ukungena eNyuvesi YaKwaZulu-Natal kunzima kakhulu futhi sinomlando wokuheha abafundi abaphambili abaphuma ezikoleni zasemadolobheni nasemaphandleni.’.

UNcama uqinisekise abazali ukuthi bathathe isinqumo esifanele ngokubhalisa izingane zabo enyuvesi esihlale endaweni yokuqala eNingizimu Afrika ngokomkhiqizo wezocwaningo iminyaka eminingi.

‘Sikhiqiza abasunguli bangempela. Abantu abazozibuza ngomhlaba futhi babheke ngaphakathi kubona ukuze bawuguqule ube ngcono.’

Amagama: nguMelissa Mungroo, Thandiwe Jumo, Sithembile Shabangu, Nombuso Dlamini, Christine Cuenod


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KZN Produces the First Nuclear Physician

KZN Produces the First Nuclear Physician
First KZN trained Nuclear Physician Dr Alphonse Msomi celebrates his graduation with his mom Ntombizodwa Msomi.

‘Graduating as the first Nuclear Physician to have been trained in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) is an amazing feeling. It’s something that brought pride to my family. I hope this achievement will encourage more young people in the province to pursue a similar career path.’

These were the words of Doctor Alphonse Msomi who recently graduated with a Fellowship of the College of Nuclear Physicians of South Africa (FCNPSA) from The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.

Even though there are Nuclear Physicians in KZN, they were trained elsewhere in the country and Msomi hopes that his achievement as the first KZN-trained Nuclear Physician will draw special attention to the discipline.

Sharing his life journey, Msomi said his career choice was influenced by his family as his mother is a nurse who has specialised in midwifery while a few of his immediate family members are also nurses.

Growing up asthmatic meant he spent a lot of time consulting doctors. He remembers how he looked up to them and appreciated how they appeared to always know what to do.

The 31-year-old is a Medical Officer in the Nuclear Medicine Department of Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.  He completed his matric at Bechet Secondary School in 2004 and his MBChB degree at UKZN’s Medical School in 2009. He did his internship at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi and in 2012 completed his Community service at the Church of Scotland Hospital in Msinga.

After some work in private practices he then worked at Osindisweni Hospital in Verulam and later began the registrar training programme in nuclear medicine at Albert Luthuli Hospital from 2013 which he completed in 2017.

For his Masters research in Medicine, Msomi is exploring the use of nuclear medicine imaging in patients with carcinoma of unknown primary. His research objectives include looking at whether or not nuclear medicine imaging is more likely to find or suggest a primary tumor when compared to conventional imaging modalities, such as CT or MRI. In addition to that he looks if this has influence in the management of patients in any way. His research questions if there is any clinical value in doing a nuclear medicine scan (specifically F18-FDG PET-CT) in patients with carcinoma of unknown primary?

‘In this region not much research of this sort has been done except in other parts of the world like Europe and North America.   Our population is different however in terms of ease of access to resources and the majority of our patients are only seen once the disease is advanced. In such a setting, I thought it would be useful to see if the same value can be found from using such imaging modalities. Already from the data I have collected I am seeing that patients potentially can benefit in that fewer scans need to be done once a F18-FDG PET-CT scan has been done. This in turn shortens hospital stay, guides the clinician in what other tests need to be performed and helps them to plan a more specific treatment plan,’ he elaborates.

 Words: Lihle Sosibo


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Odokotela Abasebasha Bavulela Amathuba Okufinyelela Kwezempilo Emlazi

Odokotela Abasebasha Bavulela Amathuba Okufinyelela Kwezempilo Emlazi
Odokotela abasebenzela ukufinyeleleka kwezempilo elokishini: Dkt Siphesihle Dlamini nomlingani wakhe uDkt Langelihle Ngubane.

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Odokotela abaningi abasebasha bakhetha ukuqala izindawo zabo zokusebenzela ezindaweni ezisemadolobheni eziphithizelayo nasenxanxatheleni yezitolo kodwa lokhu akubanga yindlela oDkt Siphesihle Dlamini (27) nabambisene naye ebhizinisini uDkt Langelihle Ngubane (37).

Labo dokotela abasebasha basanda kuvula indawo yabo yokusebenzela elokishini laseMlazi, eNingizimu neTheku.

Emva kokuphothula iziqu zabo ze-MBChB eSikoleni iSezifundo KwezokweLapha i-Nelson R Mandela e-UKZN futhi bebe bekhulele khona eMlazi besayizingane, bekuyiphupho labo ukubuyela kulo mphakathi bezokwenza ngcono isimo sokuhlinzekwa kwezokwelapha.

‘Ukulahlekelwa umama wami ngisafunda ibanga likamatikuletsheni nokushiywa ubaba wami sengisenyakeni wokugcina enyuvesi kwangigqugquzela ukuthi ngiguqule zonke izimo ezimbi zibe ngezinhle,’ kusho uDlamini.

Wazalelwa kwaMashu wabuye wayohlala eMlazi, uDlamini waqeda umatikuletsheni wakhe eSibonelo High School KwaMashu waphothula iziqu zakhe ze-MBChB ngonyaka wezi-2013. Manje umatasa nezifundo zeDiploma kwezempilo nokuphepha emsebenzini.

‘Ngenkathi ngiqedelela uhlelo lokusebenzela umphakathi esibhedlela i-Prince Mshiyeni, uNgubane wasevele ekade aba udokotela onozinzo. Wangiqeqesha kwaze kwaba ukuthi siba osomabhizinisi ababambisene futhi saba abangani. Okubalulekile kakhulu ukuthi sinamaphupho nemibono efanayo, okungakho ke sifuna ukwenza umsebenzi omningi wokulekelela umphakathi ukuze ezempilo  zitholakale kalula emiphakathini yethu.’

UNgubane, owaphothula iziqu zakhe ze-MBChB ngonyaka wezi-2003, wazalelwa eNquthu eNyakatho ne-KwaZulu-Natali. Ingxenye yokukhula kwakhe yaba semadolobheni asemaphandleni aseShowe nakwaNongoma lapho uyise, owayewumfundisi, wayenza khona umsebenzi wakhe wesonto. Kungalesi sikhathi ke lapho uNgubane wabona khona ukuthi abantu basezindaweni zasemaphandleni babekuhluphekela kanjani ukuthola usizo lokwelashwa. Wabona ukuthi abantu basemiphakathini yasemaphandleni babe hamba amabanga amade beya emadolobheni ukuze bathole usizo lwezempilo.

‘Indawo yethu yokusebenzela esesigcemeni sakwa-P, kuMayibuye Drive phakathi elokishini laseMlazi iyindawo eyisizinda esisodwa sakho konke lapho silekelela ngosizo kwezezifo eziphuthumayo neziwundendende, ukuhlonzwa kwezifo, ukwelashwa nokudluliselwa kongoti, ukuxilongwa kwabesifazane, ukusokwa, ulwazi lwezempilo nokwelulekwa, ukuhlolwa, ukunakekelwa kwezinsana nokuhlelwa kwemindeni okuyizinto ezidingwa kakhulu yimiphakathi yethu,’ kusho uDlamini. 

KuNgubane ukuvula indawo yokusebenzela eMlazi kuwukufezeka kwephupho ngoba naye wayesehlale eMlazi iminyaka embalwa. UNgubane ubuye abe obhekene nezokwelashwa emsebenzini kwenye yezinkampani eziseThekwini.

‘Ngisakhula ngangikholwa ukuthi ngizoba unjiniyela wengqalasizinda, manje angiboni ukuthi ngangizomelana nalo mkhakha – senginothando olukhulu lwezokwelapha. Lo msebenzi ukunikeza ukugculiseka ngokuqhubeka wakha ubudlelwano obuhle neziguli zakho, lapha awulaphi nje izifo zomzimba  kodwa ugcina sewunika nezeluleko nokunakekela ngokwenhlalo nengqondo yeziguli njengoba besuke bekutshela ngezinkinga nexhala lazo nsuku zonke enibonana ngazo. Iziguli ziyasithemba futhi lokhu kunikeza umuzwa wokugculiseka,’ kubeka uNgubane.

Ohlelweni lwabo olumatasa lokukhangisa ngendawo yabo yokusebenzela entsha eMlazi, ukufunda, nokubhekana namabhizinisi aseceleni, laba ababili babuye benze umsebenzi wokwelapha nase- Pinetown.

‘INyuvesi YaKwaZulu-Natali ayigcinanga nje ngokusiqeqesha ukuthi sibe odokotela abafanele kodwa yabiye yasihlinzeka ngamakhono obuholi, yasinika nendawo yokuthi sakhe ubuhlobo nobudlelwano njengabasebenzi bezokwelapha.’

Amagama: nguLihle Sosibo


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African Centre for Crop Improvement Launches Book Celebrating 15 Year Milestone

African Centre for Crop Improvement Launches Book Celebrating 15 Year Milestone
Professor Mark Laing (left) and Dr Joe DeVries at the book launch.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) celebrated the launch of a book titled, African Centre for Crop Improvement, The New Breed: Training the Next Generation of African Plant Breeders, in Africa, on 24 January in Pietermaritzburg.

The publication, edited by ACCI Professors Mark Laing and Hussein Shimelis, together with Ms Shelagh McLoughlin, chronicles the ACCI’s 15-year journey to train the next generation of African plant breeders, in Africa, to tackle specifically African food security challenges using plant breeding.

‘The New Breed’ focuses on the concept of the ACCI and how its objectives were achieved. The Centre has focused on supervising PhD students while they conduct research in their home countries, with a period of training in South Africa.

The Rockefeller Foundation and then the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF,) through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), have funded the ACCI since 2002. The Centre has graduated over 100 plant breeders at PhD level, with 29 PhD students still in training. ACCI graduates have released over 140 new crop varieties bred to be high yielding and resilient to biotic and abiotic stresses, and published over 200 publications so far.

‘The ACCI transformed us into what we are: true African plant breeders,’ said Dr Albert Changaya, an ACCI graduate, now a senior scientist in Malawi.

‘This has been a sea change in terms of the way people look at agriculture in Africa, in the belief that African scientists can make something much more out of its farming community and agricultural sector,’ said Dr Joe DeVries, Vice President of AGRA and one of the ACCI’s founders.

DeVries also credited UKZN academics and staff who have made ACCI a success.

‘It has been a tremendous journey,’ said DeVries. ‘There is a genuine difference between today and 15 years ago in the African agricultural sector.’

‘A project of this scale and this international nature in plant breeding had not been tried anywhere before,’ said Laing, Director of the ACCI, who emphasised the importance of researchers actively engaging with small-scale farmers and developing their own soft skills.

ACCI has made a name for UKZN at institutions and universities across Africa. In the preamble to the publication, UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Albert van Jaarsveld describes the ACCI as one of UKZN’s “leading success stories”.

At the launch, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Dean of Research Professor Kevin Kirkman said that ACCI has developed a successful model that the University could replicate in other disciplines.

ACCI has its final AGRA-funded cohort of eight PhD students in the field, due to graduate in four years. Changes in funding organisations mean the ACCI will be adapting the scale of its programme to match these changes.

ACCI saluted AGRA, the BMGF and the Rockefeller Foundation for their support over the past 15 years.

An eBook version is available from the ACCI website. A limited number of hard copies can be purchased from ACCI. For more information email: Acciadmin@ukzn.ac.za

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Alistair Nixon


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UKZN Students Welcomed at Orientation 2018

UKZN Students Welcomed at Orientation 2018
Highlights from the 2018 UKZN Student Orientation.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s 2018 Orientation events, recently held on all five campuses, saw large crowds of excited students attend, eager to learn about what the University had to offer.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Stephen Mutula addressed first year students at the Student Union Building at the Howard College campus. ‘By being here today, you, the students, have taken that important first step.  Your presence here marks the first stride in the journey towards securing a better future for yourselves and your families,’ Mutula told the students.

First year student, Ms Shanice Chinsamy of Phoenix said pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree ‘is a dream come true.’ Through staying focused, Chinsamy is confident she will maximize her potential, graduate and contribute meaningfully to society.

Welcoming students to the College of Health Sciences, Dr Saloschini Pillay, Manager at Student Support Services emphasised the critical role played by the Student Support Services unit and why it is important for students to utilise support services availed to them.

‘University students frequently experience anxiety and stress due to academic, psychosocial, emotional or financial issues. Most students cope adequately with these pressures and demands, but some become overwhelmed and without constructive help, their emotional wellbeing and academic performance may be threatened,’ Pillay said.

At the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, an exciting Orientation programme took place on three campuses. Students were introduced to various departments and services such as libraries, the Disability Unit, Sports, health support services, campus security, LANs, Financial Aid, Residences and more before proceeding to registration.

In Pietermaritzburg, Orientation included singer and dancer Derzy Kay, an interactive Science Show with prizes for students, and a safety on campus demonstration complete with tactics from UKZN’s karate club.

In Westville, College Dean of Teaching and Learning Professor Naven Chetty welcomed new students to a programme that included a demonstration from Dr Tanja Reinhardt from the Science and Technology Education Centre (STEC). Dr Mzamo Shozi shared a story of student success, followed by a Curriculum Planning Workshop, a presentation on essential University work habits for success, a presentation from InQubate and much more.

At the UNITE building, Howard College saw approximately 580 first year students enlightened as to what is expected from them in terms of the Engineering curriculum. They went on tours of the different facilities and labs, followed by an interactive Physics magic show by Professor Megan Govender.

The College of Law and Management Studies Law orientation at Howard College saw lecturer Mr Vishal Suburn directing proceedings as he gave a brief description of the activities of the day and introduced the students to the different dynamics associated with the LLB degree.

At the Pietermaritzburg campus Law academic Professor Michael Kidd welcomed undergraduates and emphasised how lucky they are to be in the position of being university students as only a few applicants are admitted each year. He further explained that both BCom and LLB degrees are first-rate degree programmes and require the University to teach specific content as they are “serving professions”.

Taxation lecturer Dr Suren Pillay from the Westville campus treated students to an unorthodox presentation in which he not only gave them details on what the BCom Accounting degree entailed but also provided vital tips on how to “study smart” in order to succeed in university. UKZN alumnus Mr Sakhile Dlamini, Financial Director of Dolsden Oracle, a business consulting company, gave a motivational presentation in which he reminded the students that entrepreneurship is an avenue that they can pursue once they have completed their degrees.

Words: Melissa MungrooLihle Sosibo, Christine Cuénod, Sibonelo Shinga


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College of Humanities Appoints Deans

College of Humanities Appoints Deans
Professors Jean Steyn and Ernest Khalema.

The College of Humanities recently announced the appointment of Professor Jean Steyn as Dean of the School of Applied Human Sciences and that of Professor Ernest Khalema as Dean of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies.

Steyn is an Associate Professor who has served in various leadership roles within UKZN and in other organisations. Some of the previous leadership positions he has held include Academic Leader of the Criminology and Forensic Studies Discipline, and Academic Leader of Research for the School of Applied Human Sciences.

Steyn has published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and also boasts book contributions to his credit. These have a focus on criminology, criminal justice, and related fields. Prior to joining UKZN in 2012, he was an Associate Professor with the Department of Safety and Security Management at Tshwane University of Technology, a position he held for just over a decade, and before that he was a functional member and commander in the South African Police Service (SAPS), for 10 years.

He has been the Chair of the Policing Portfolio of the Criminology and Victimology Society of Southern Africa, as well as Editor-In-Chief of the Southern African Journal of Criminology. Steyn is currently a member of the eThekwini Municipality Civilian Oversight Committee, and honorary member of several other local, regional and international bodies.

He holds a doctorate, masters and bachelor’s degree in policing, a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology and criminology, and a National Diploma in police management. He has received multiple awards, including Faculty of Humanities junior researcher of the year, as well as Faculty of Humanities senior researcher of the year. He has presented various papers and chaired conferences and symposia around the world. His research specialisation is police culture.

‘I’m very excited and look forward to serving the School with humility, and both preserving and advancing its sterling reputation. By the end of 2022, the School will be the South African university school of choice for the most talented applied human sciences students and scholars; renowned for delivering African scholarship, pedagogies and methodologies in its learning and teaching programmes that transform talented students into labour market prepared and empowered graduates.’

‘It will be recognised for African applied human sciences research impact, innovation, and entrepreneurship; known for its service excellence; and acknowledged as a leader in embedding sustainability and good governance in all aspects of the School’s operations, teaching and learning, research, and community engagement,’ said Steyn.

Meanwhile Professor Khalema was acting Dean and Head of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies for about one year. He also served as Academic Leader of the Discipline of Community Development. Khalema began his academic career in 2001 in Canada where he spearheaded academic and community work on migration, youth studies, political economy of sustainable development, social epidemiology, community crime prevention, community-based praxis and social and economic health of vulnerable populations.

Before joining UKZN, he served as Chief/Senior Research Specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) (2011-2016), an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Calgary in Canada (2007-2011), and held various academic and research leadership positions at the University of Alberta, Athabasca University, Grant MacEwan University, and Concordia University of Edmonton.

Khalema has led and co-led numerous national and international research projects in Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Mozambique, Brazil, and South Africa. He is a recipient of numerous research, teaching, and community awards locally and abroad.  He has published over 30 journal articles in accredited academic journals; 20 book chapters; 40 technical research reports; presented over 70 papers in local, national, and international conferences. He is also an author and co-editor of several books.

‘It is an honour to serve such a dynamic group of colleagues at the School, they are exceptional, vibrant, and committed to their crafts. The School of BEDS is one of its kind in the country with its strong interdisciplinary edge. I am looking forward to growing together and building the School,’ said Khalema.

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo


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Honour Bestowed on Molefe - UKZN’s Most Inspiring – Top 40

Honour Bestowed on Molefe - UKZN’s Most Inspiring – Top 40
Professor Thabo Msibi (right) and Mr Luthando Molefe.

Meet final-year Bachelor of Education (BEd) student Mr Luthando Molefe. In November 2017 Molefe received recognition as one of UKZN’s top 40 most inspiring students. This was after he entered the UKZN Spotlight to Greatness Competition.

Nominated by his peers and successfully selected by the Corporate Relations Division, Molefe received the award in recognition of his sterling achievements in academia. His leadership skills in the roles he performs were also found to be striking.

Working for the Edgewood Environmental Forum (EEF), a community based non-profit organisation which educates and raises awareness about issues pertaining to environmental consciousness, afforded Molefe the opportunity to communicate with diverse stakeholders on how to transform communities surrounding Edgewood and the campus itself.

Additionally, among many other accolades he has received various Certificates of participation. Apart from this, Molefe was awarded a Scholarship by the Office of the Head of Scholarships at UKZN for his academic excellence for the 2017 academic year. In his first year of study he was recognised as one of the best performing students within the School of Education by the Fundza Lushaka Bursary Scheme. As a result he was assigned two Biological Science students to mentor. This was an innovative drive aimed at helping students who were struggling to succeed. 

Humbled and extremely grateful Molefe expressed his appreciation saying, ‘I am very honoured to be awarded such by UKZN as they saw that my work is “seen” and very influential from a young person like myself. The recognition by my peers at the Edgewood campus, including my very supportive lecturers, to mention a few Dr Angela James (Academic Leader: Community Engagement) and Miss Makhosi Shoba (Education and Curriculum Studies Lecturer) motivated me to do good as they saw great potential in me.’

Words: Ziphezinhle Silindile Biyela


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Life Sciences Research Benefits from Ford Wildlife Foundation Research Vehicle

Life Sciences Research Benefits from Ford Wildlife Foundation Research Vehicle
Professor Colleen Downs and her research team with Ford Wildlife Foundation representatives at the research vehicle handover

Professor Colleen Downs, from the School of Life Sciences, Pietermaritzburg, and her research team received a Ford Ranger from the Ford Wildlife Foundation (FWF) in December 2017. The research vehicle will support their research on a number of topics related to terrestrial vertebrates, changing land use and more.

Downs is also the SARChl Research Chair in Ecosystem health and biodiversity in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The Ford Ranger 4x4, one of 11 donated to eight partner organisations in 2017, was handed over at Halfway Ford in Waterfall in December 2017 at an event attended by Downs and a group of her students, as well as FWF representatives. According to a statement from the FWF, the handover forms part of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s (FMCSA) commitment to the conservation and preservation of the environment in sub-Saharan Africa.

The FWF was established by the FMCSA in 2014, equipping partner organisations with Ford Rangers to enable their conservation efforts. The vehicles are maintained by the Ford Dealer network to ensure that they operate at peak efficiency.

Researchers will utilise the vehicle in their investigations of the impacts of changing land use, including urbanisation, on biodiversity, particularly herps, birds and mammals. One of the projects Downs’ team is focusing on is vultures as they are under threat across Africa due to anthropogenic change. Among vultures, 61% appear on the Red List of Threatened Species and conservation remains challenging as vultures are relatively long-lived with low reproductive rates. The research includes species movement, local attitudes, and the effect of land use. Their work will aid in understanding how these and other species persist with anthropogenic change, and continue to contribute to conservation, management and public awareness.

‘We’re really proud to be associated with all of you who everyday go out and actually make a difference in our world by looking at how we can further conservation and education,’ said Ms Linda du Plessis of the FWF as she wished the researchers well in their various projects.

The locally built, top selling vehicle handed over to Downs and her team is being used to enable projects to go further and make a real impact – particularly in the remote locations often associated with conservation and environmental projects. The vehicle is capable of traversing dirt, gravel, and the kinds of terrain found in South Africa’s natural parks and protected areas where this research is taking place.

‘The use of the Ford Ranger is a major contributor to our work and our postgraduates being able to successfully undertake the research, as travel is one of the biggest constraints,’ said Downs.

Downs’ research in these fields has been going on for the past 10 years, receiving impetus with Downs’ appointment as a SARChI Chair. Downs and her students travel extensively to field sites in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo provinces.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod


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Enactus UKZN Hosts an Innovation Challenge

Enactus UKZN Hosts an Innovation Challenge
The Enactus winning team.

On the weekend of the 13th of January 2018, Enactus UKZN members were up until the wee hours of the morning preparing for their first ever Innovation Challenge. This highly competitive challenge was held at UKZN Westville campus where the Enactus UKZN team also held its annual January Camp. 

During the two-day competition, members were separated into 12 teams and each team was tasked with addressing a socio-economic challenge that South Africans currently face. To ensure that this Innovation Challenge was aligned to Enactus, each team had to come up with an innovative, sustainable and entrepreneurial project that will serve as a viable solution to the socio-economic challenge assigned to that particular team. The teams were given eight hours to prepare for their first presentation which took place on Saturday, 13 January. This was Day one of the Innovation Challenge, the teams presented to the Enactus UKZN team and were given feedback on how they could improve their concepts and presentations for the final round which took place on the following day. With the help of Enactus UKZN’s Research & Development team, all 12 teams were able to improve their ideas and develop their projects.

On Day two, the 12 teams had to present their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges. The panel included: Dr Ngcoya (Enactus UKZN Faculty Advisor), Njabulo Buthelezi (Enactus UKZN Alumnus), Sandile Zondi (Central SRC President), Mduduzi Daniso (SRC Sports & Recreation Officer – Howard College), Lee Du Preez (Managing Director of BEEnovation and a member of Enactus UKZN’s Business Advisory Board) and Lindo Makhaye (Founder and Managing Director of Lusizo IT). The teams were judged on their innovation, impact, feasibility and their presentation. 

Out of the twelve participating teams, there were only four winners. In fourth place was an idea named CroChange, this concept aimed to address the problem of unemployment among disabled youth by introducing crocheting and the production of crocheted products to supply the national and international markets. In third place was Hlalakahle, this concept was aimed at tackling the problem of improper housing and informal settlements by introducing mobile housing for the homeless and those awaiting RDP homes.

In second place was Amanzi, this concept came as response to the current water shortage in some parts of the country, it introduces a technological device which instantly turns grey water into clean drinking water that can be distributed into different households. The overall winner was Enacto-Chip, this addresses the issue of laptop theft within the university community, this team came up with the idea of creating a chip that will act as a tracking device to be installed in students laptops. 

Enactus UKZN would like to extend their gratitude to the following parties who sponsored prizes of the Innovation Challenge: BEEnovation, iLawu Hospitality Group and Lusizo IT.

For more information about Enactus UKZN, find them on the following platforms:

Facebook :Enactus-UKZN

Instagram: @EnactusUZN

Twitter: @EnactusUKZN

Words: Sanelisiwe Msweli


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Macroeconomists Hone Modelling Skills

Macroeconomists Hone Modelling Skills
Participants at the macroeconomics modelling workshop.

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s (SAEF) Macroeconomics Working Group (MWG) recently organised a three-day macroeconomics modelling workshop that was attended by academics from the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Zululand.

The workshop took place from 29 to 31 January at UKZN’s Westville campus and was facilitated by Economics academic Dr Christian Tipoy, who is an expert in Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models.

Economics lecturer and founding member of the MWG Mr Simiso Msomi who headed the organising team said their primary objective was to develop the study of macroeconomics as a niche area at UKZN. In order to achieve this objective, he added, UKZN needs to be ahead of other institutions in terms of its knowledge base and skills.

‘We want to equip our members with technical knowhow at the frontier of knowledge required to solve sophisticated real-world macroeconomic problems,’ said Msomi.

‘This is why MWG economists are honing their modelling skills,’ he added

According to Acting College Dean of Research Professor Harold Ngalawa, the workshop not only covered DSGE Modelling, but the use of DYNARE and Bayesian Econometrics as well.

‘DSGE models are very complex representations of real world phenomena that are purposely built to take into account behavioural changes that occur as a result of changes in policy. These models are used in contemporary macroeconomics to solve general equilibrium problems. Due to their complexity, the DSGE models were not popular until recently when a team of CEPREMAP Researchers in France invented DYNARE with funding from Banque de France and DSGE-net, an international research network for DSGE modelling,’ he said. 

‘DYNARE is a software platform that is used to solve, simulate and estimate DSGE models. To run DYNARE, researchers have a choice of running it inside programming softwares MATLAB (MATrix LABoratory) or GNU Octave. These softwares employ high level programming language aimed at solving linear and non-linear numerical problems,’ he added.

Words: Harold Ngalawa


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Drama and Performance Studies hosts Swiss Choreographer for Dance, Diversity and Disability

Drama and Performance Studies hosts Swiss Choreographer for Dance, Diversity and Disability
Highlights from the dance, diversity and disability colloquium.

In an unprecedented exchange that has taken almost two years to set up, Swiss choreographer Jürg Koch, arrived in Durban on 31 January 2018 to work with UKZN dance studies graduates and Flatfoot Dance Company.

With support funding by Pro Helvetia, Jürg is spending three weeks in Durban to explore dance teaching and choreographic practices that are based on ideas of diversity especially as they relate to the inclusion of differently abled dancers into mainstream theatre dance.

Jürg’s own dance history has seen him work extensively with UK based CandoCo – Europe’s first professional integrated dance company working with dancers with disability. He taught for 10 years at the University of Washington (Seattle) before heading back home to Switzerland and the city of Bern, where he now works as a freelance teacher and choreographer.

UKZN Dance Lecturer, Ms Lliane Loots said: ‘Jürg’s connection with Flatfoot and with UKZN’s dance stream of study is a natural fit as our own integrated dance praxis has been seminal in shifting national perceptions around who can dance.’

In a four-way collaboration Jürg, Flatfoot, and the UKZN graduate dance students are also joined by the Wentworth Arts and Culture Organisation’s (WACO) Dance Movement headed by Jarryd Watson. The final outcome of this exploratory dance residency was on show at the Loft Theatre at the Durban Playhouse Theatre.

This final performance was also the culmination of a two-day colloquium from 31 January to 01 February that Loots, has set-up to coincide with Jürg’s three-week visit. Loots, working in association with The Playhouse Company, created a two-day feast for dance teachers, dance academics and performers to allow further exploration of the politics and practice of integrated dance practice.

This colloquium features both papers and attention to pedagogy with special guests, Unmute Dance Company (Cape Town), Dr Gerard Samuel (University of Cape Town), Moving Into Dance (Johannesburg), Gladys Agulhas (Johannesburg) and disability activist and filmmaker Liza Aziz amongst others.

Loots says that the intention of the colloquium is to push the shared knowledge and practice-based learning around integrated and disability dance in South Africa - with a focus on revising the idea of dance as a tool for ‘living democracy’ - a term that Loots uses to describe her pedagogical impulses in dance education and community dance engagements.

She goes on to say that integrated dance ‘is also a growing desire towards diversity in terms of performance and the hope is that we are all challenged to think bigger and more inclusively in both our theory and practice.’

The colloquium took place at The Playhouse Complex.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Val Adamson


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Seminar on Nelson Mandela –Fidel Castro Collaboration Program (NMFCCP)

Seminar on Nelson Mandela –Fidel Castro Collaboration Program (NMFCCP)
NMFCCP students with UKZN academics and student Support Services.

The Dean of Teaching and Learning at UKZN’s College for Health Sciences, Professor Sinegugu Duma, recently hosted a seminar on the integration of the Nelson Mandela-Fidel Castro Program (NMFCCP). The main aim of the seminar was to address challenges raised by students who are currently part of the programme.

The concerns raised by students included the perceived absence of political will to fix the challenges that had been raised by previous cohort of students over the last 20 years.

Duma and the team of academics felt that the time is ripe for UKZN, together with other universities and the national Department of Health to contribute in finding solutions that are informed by student voices.

‘Locally, the Task Team on NMFCCP remains committed to work with all stakeholders to address the identified challenges,’ declared Duma.

She thanked the students for the professional manner in which they raised their concerns.  Duma said although the seminar may seem reactive, some research has already been conducted by UKZN staff on the experiences of the NMFCP students in the past.

Academic Co-ordinator, Dr Munira Motala and Developmental Lecturer, Ms Buhle Sithole presented the findings of their research respectively at the seminar.

‘Interestingly, although the presentations were conducted with different cohort  of students from the current NMFCCP students, there were similarities with the concerns raised by the current students, thus confirming the need to act swiftly to address this at both national, provincial and local level,’ observed Duma.

The discussions were guided by the following questions: What has been your experiences on transitioning into the SA programme? Differences in curricula from both countries and related challenges?, opportunities and strengths of both programmes?

‘Although there are many challenges experienced by the students in Cuba and during their transition into a UKZN MBChB curriculum, they also shared positive experiences of the exposure to a different country with a fully functioning primary care health system,’ she said.

In Cuba, they witnessed the best relationships between doctors and their patients, families and even communities, where all health professionals have genuine care for their patients. On the positive experiences with transitioning into the UKZN MBChB curriculum, the students seemed excited with the fact that “finally we are doing and learning real medicine” and “we are becoming competent in performing clinical skills on our own like real doctors”.

‘We hope that the students will maintain and share more of what they learnt in Cuba,’ Duma said.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini


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SMIG Collaborates with German University to Enhance Responsible Creative Innovation and Technology Management

SMIG Collaborates with German University to Enhance Responsible Creative Innovation and Technology Management
UKZN and CUT Delegates participating in the Joint Expertise Project.

UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (SMIG) in partnership with the Chemnitz University of Technology’s (CUT) Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, will participate in the Joint Expertise Project (JEP) to be held in Chemnitz, Germany and Durban, South Africa.

The collaborative initiative aims to shape a multi-level, academic co-operation project between the two institutions.

CUT and UKZN have a long-standing working relationship stretching back to 2003. Three years after the start of the relationship an initiative called the African, American and European Summer School was introduced. It aimed to bring together staff and students from participating institutions to debate current issues in management and governance.

SMIG delegates participating in the JEP are: Information Systems and Technology academic Professor Brian McArthur, Human Resource Management and Labour Relations lecturer Mr Taahir Vajeth, Academic Leader of Research, Professor Isabel de Azevedo Martins, Supply Chain Management lecturer Ms Jayrusha Ramasamy-Gurayah, Management lecturer Dr Andrisha Beharry-Ramraj and Information Systems and Technology lecturer Dr Upasana Singh, Postdoctral Research Fellow at SMIG Dr Khalida Akbar, Management and Entrepreneurship academic Professor Ziska Fields,  Public Governance academic Professor Henry Wissink, Marketing and Supply Chain academic Professor Micheline Naude, Information Systems and Technology lecturer Dr Indira Padayachee, Management and Entrepreneurship Academic Leader Dr Evelyn Derera and Marketing and Supply Chain Management Professor Deborah Ann Ellis.

The initial project meeting started with McArthur, Vajeth, Martins, Ramasamy-Gurayah, Beharry-Ramraj and Singh travelling to Chemnitz for a series of presentations, workshops and related field trips on international activities and sustainability in education.

Towards the end of 2017 UKZN delegates McArthur, Fields, Vajeth, Wissink, Naude, Padayachee, Derera and Ellis returned to Chemnitz where strategic planning and research co-operation’s for the year 2018 were defined and established at various workshops and meetings. During this time Professor Henry Wissink also delivered a series of guest lectures.

Wissink, who is the project team leader alongside CUT’s holder of the Chair for Innovation Research and Technology Management Professor Stefan Hüsig, hopes the project will renovate UKZN’s existing M Com Degree in Management, to make it a lot more relevant for the purposes of innovation and technology management, as well as serving the interests of the newly UKZN approved Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA), under the auspice of the SMIG as the proposed intellectual home. During a second phase, we will conceptualise, test and certify a new global joint master’s degree within the project to reflect growing local and global needs for innovation, technology management, smart cities and large scale urban developments.

‘Our relationship with Chemnitz has probably been one of the most successful and important strategic projects for the SMIG, within the many partnerships UKZN has established over the past few years. I believe that the project has been an important primer to cement new relationships between staff in both SMIG and CUT. This project has already started to bear fruit in terms of establishing joint research projects, and has the potential to dramatically change how we teach and what we offer our students at a postgraduate level to face the innovation and technology management challenges of the new millennium,’ said Wissink.

‘This project is now fully established in terms of objectives and deliverables, and is ongoing in its initial stages. We have our first strategic workshop meeting planned for March 2018 in Durban, in which we will discuss and debate the content of the renovated master’s degree in management for the challenges of responsible management in the 21st Century,’ he added.

Words: Sibonelo Shinga


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Student Motivates Youth to Think Hard about Life After Matric

Student Motivates Youth to Think Hard about Life After Matric
Mr Siyabonga Masoka.

Second year BCom Accounting student Mr Siyabonga Masoka’s book titled: Life After Matric encourages young people to fully explore their opportunities by pursuing tertiary education.

‘Many young people from my village still believe that matric is a big achievement when it comes to education. They then migrate to urban areas with hopes of fending for their families and themselves and earn only little that is worth keeping the body and soul together,’ said Masoka.

Drawing from his own personal experiences, Masoka, a high achiever who passed his matric with six distinctions details the socio-economic challenges he had to overcome growing up in the rural village of Mshunka, near Umsinga to adjusting to life as a UKZN student in Pietermaritzburg.

Apart from the book which was launched last year, Masoka has also founded an organisation called the  Siyabonga Masoka Initiative. The company visits various schools educating the youth about the importance of education. Its website www.siyabongamasokainitiative.com offers useful information such as past exam papers and information on universities.

The results we have achieved through this initiative have been very encouraging as it has benefitted more than 50 students who have gone on to study at various universities through bursaries or NSFAS. We also run the annual life after matric motivational seminar which takes place in January where we invite professionals from various sectors, and other relevant bodies to address the youth, said Masoka.

Looking to the future, Masoka aims to motivate more high school pupils to study and pursue a career in accounting. He hopes to find a sponsor for the self-published Life After Matric book and also plans on writing more books and establishing an education centre to benefit his community.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo


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