I-UKZN Ilekelela Ekulwisaneni Nomdlavuza Wesibeletho

I-UKZN Ilekelela Ekulwisaneni Nomdlavuza Wesibeletho
Oyinhloko YoMnyango WezeSayensi Yezezifo Zabesifazane NeSayensi Yezokubelethisa, uSolwazi Motshedisi Sebitloane ethula umkhankaso i-Umdlavuza "Pap Smear" Drive ngengqungquthela i-SASOG 2018.

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Umnyango Wezezifo Zabesifazane NeSayensi Yezokubelethisa kanye noMnyango WezeMpilo waKwaZulu-Natali bahlangane nenhlangano i-Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) ukuze kufundiswe ngomdlavuza wesibeletho nokugqugquzela ukuhlolelwa lesi sifo ngenyanga ezayo.

USolwazi Motshedisi Sebitloane wethule umkhankaso obizwa nge-Umdlavuza Pap Smear Drive ngesikhathi benengqungquthela yenhlangano i-South African Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists ebisanda kubanjelwa eThekwini ngaphansi kwesihloko esithi: Ukugqugquzela Ukufinyeleleka Okulinganayo KwezeMpilo Yabesifazane.

Lo mkhankaso uhlose ukukhuphula izinga lokuqonda komphakathi ikakhulukazi kubantu besifazane abangakahlolelwa umdlavuza wesibeletho ukuze bazohlolwa enyangeni kaMbasa. UMnyango wezeMpilo uzosebenzisana kakhulu nezigodi zawo, omasipala, amahhovisi ezimeya, abelaphi bendabuko, izinhlangano zokholo, izikole, nabaholi bomphakathi ukuze kufundiswe, kugqugquzelwe futhi kuhlolwe imiphakathi. Lo mkhankaso uzophothulwa ngomzamo wokubeka i-Guinness World Record lokuhlola esakhiweni sinye ngosuku olulodwa okukwedlula konke okwake kwenziwa. Lokhu kuzokwenziwa ngomhla zingama-21 kuMbasa esigodini saseThekwini, lapho kuzobe kuphokophelwe ukuhlola abesifazane abayi-1000. Abazobamba iqhaza bahlanganisa abesifazane abaneminyaka engaphezulu kwengama-30 kanye nabesifazane abane-HIV, kungakhethwe minyaka yobudala. Kwenziwa ukuhlolwa okungaphansi kwezi-15 000 eKwaZulu-Natali (KZN) nyangazonke.

‘Sikholelwa ukuthi lo mkhankaso uzokwakha ukuqonda okwengeziwe mayelana nokungenziwa ukugwema isifo somdlavuza, hhayi esifundazweni sethu kuphela kodwa nakuzwelonke futhi uzoqhamuka nezinhlelomasu ezizoholela ekuncishisweni kwesibalo sabantu abathola lomdlavuza wesibeletho abasha e-KZN naseNingizimu Afrika,’ kusho uSebitloane.

Kwabesifazane abahlala esigodini saseThekwini, ukuhlolwa kuzokwenziwa ngomhla zingama-21 kuMbasa esibhedlela e-Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital eThekwini.

Amagama: nguNks Lihle Sosibo


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UKZN Academic Runner-up in National Three-Minute Thesis Competition

UKZN Academic Runner-up in National Three-Minute Thesis Competition
Mr Lee Swales.

Law academic Mr Lee Swales’ PhD research earned him second place in the national three-minute thesis competition held at the University of the Free State.

The Postgraduate Research Competition, based on a concept founded by the University of Queensland in Australia, requires participants to deliver their thesis in a concise presentation using only one slide and in no more than three minutes.

Swales research titled: Analysis of the Regulatory Environment Governing Electronic Evidence in South Africa, suggests a law reform for electronic evidence in South Africa - primarily hearsay electronic evidence and the authentication and weight of all electronic evidence.

‘I am researching electronic evidence in South Africa with a view to suggesting law reform. The law often lags behind technological and societal developments,’ said Swales.

‘The research suggests certain changes in the regulation of electronic evidence. In this way, I hope that some of my work will be used by future courts and/or the law reform commission when they analyse this issue again.’

In preparation for the competition, Swales participated in and won the Three-Minute Thesis competition at UKZN’s School of Accounting, Economics and Finance Research Day in January. He also presented a paper at the first annual meeting of South African IT and IP Teachers and Researchers at Stellenbosch University last year and worked together with his supervisors Professor PJ Schwikkard and Professor C Ncube from the University of Cape Town as well as several colleagues within the School of Law.

‘The process of presenting my research to leading academics and attorneys in the country was a tremendous help in further refining the topic and giving me confidence with what I was doing. UKZN Three-Minute team manager Mr Sanele Gumede also provided great support and assistance.  I hope in future to be able to offer expertise and capacity in cyber and IT related issues at UKZN and supervise others in similar areas,’ said Swales.

Swales, who aims to submit his research for examination by August, is confident of getting at least one more published paper in a peer-reviewed article as the Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal has already agreed to publish a two-part feature on the first two chapters of his research later this year.

‘I have also been asked by Oxford University Press to write two chapters on electronic evidence for an evidence text book, which I have done,’ said Swales. ‘The drafts are with the editor and I hope to see that published next year.

‘Finally, the former Dean of Law at UCT has asked me to co-write a chapter in an international text book with her and some English, Irish and Australian colleagues. I have agreed and will be working on that in the latter half of this year,’ he added.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo


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Architecture Students Win through to Africa Finals of Saint Grobain Competition

Architecture Students Win through to Africa Finals of Saint Grobain Competition
Architecture students who competed in the Saint Grobain Multicomfort House Student competition.

 

Architecture students Mr Vahin Parmananda and Mr Mthoko Sibisi, who won the UKZN leg of the Saint Grobain Multicomfort house student contest, will now compete against representatives of other universities in Africa in Johannesburg on 20 April.

Developed by ISOVER in close collaboration with the Dubai Municipality and Dubai Properties Group, the contest requires entrants to create a vision for a transcultural vibrant community development in the Cultural Village of Dubai.

The students had to create sustainable architecture integrated into the urban space while responding to Saint-Grobain MultiComfort criteria, taking into account the climatic conditions and regional context of the Al Jadaf site in Dubai.

Mr Sibusiso Mthembu of the South African Saint Grobain organisation said the design needed to be sustainable, innovative and able to drive the city further.

Mthembu was impressed with the calibre of the work produced by UKZN students.  ‘The designs by the students are some of the best I’ve seen so far. The execution of the conceptual design and the sensitivity and incorporation of the environmental elements are really good.’

Said Architecture lecturer Ms Magda Cloete: ‘This is the first time we have entered the contest. We have seen the value in allowing the whole class to participate as part of their academic programme.

‘The issues raised in the project around environmental conditions as well as the cultural context that architecture responds to, have enabled students to broaden their understanding from a local to a global view. Many of the lessons will be useful for work in the remainder of the architecture and urbanism programme,’ said Cloete.

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo 


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Uhlelo Lokwesekwa Kwabafundi Abangomama e-UKZN

Uhlelo Lokwesekwa Kwabafundi Abangomama e-UKZN
Abangamalungu eqembu lokwesekwa kwabafundi abangomama (kusukela kwesobunxele) uNks Wendy Corfe, uNks Rossella Meusel kanye noNks Cebisa Nkatu.

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Abafundi abaqeqeshelwa umsebenzi eKolishi YezoLimo, EzobuNjiniyela NezeSayensi (CAES) eMnyangweni Wezokwesekwa Kwabafundi (SSS) baqale uhlelo olusha oluhlinzeka abafundi abangomama ngengosi yokudingida izinselelo abahlangabezana nazo ezimpilweni zabo njengoba bengabafundi futhi bengomama.

Owayengumfundi oqeqeshelwa umsebenzi emnyangweni we-CAES SSS uNkz Wendy Corfe wethule leli qembu elibhekana nesidingo somama abafundayo futhi babe abazali kubantwana babo.

U-Corfe ukhuthazeke ukuthi aqale leli qembu lokwesekana emva kokubuyela eNyuvesi ezoqedela izifundo zakhe ze-onazi esengumfundi okhulile onabantwana abathathu. Waxhumana nongumfundi weziqu zemastazi kwezesifundongqondo  uNkz Ms Cebisile Kubheka, ongumama naye, bobabili baqale ucwaningo ngokwezimo abafundi abangomama ababhekana nazo e-UKZN.

Ucwaningo luka-Corfe lukhomba ukuthi kunabafundi abalinganiselwa emaphesentini ayi-15% abakhulelwa ngokungenhloso, lapho umsebenzi omningi wokukhuliswa komntwana uthwalwa umama, naye osuke engaphethwe kahle ngenxa yokukhulelwa ngaphandle komshado. Ingcindezi yalokhu iba nomthelela ongemuhle emqodweni womfundi futhi kuvule nethuba lokuthi umfundi ashiye izifundo zakhe.

‘Ngesikhathi benza ucwaningo ngabafundi abanabantwana, u-Corfe noKubheka babona isidingo sokuqala lengosi ngenkathi ababambe iqhaza becela ukuthi kubanjwe eminye imihlangano njalo, lokhu kwakuwumphumela wokubona ukuthi ukuxoxa ngezinkinga zabo kwakunosizo olukhulu.

‘Simangazwe ukuzimisela nogqozi olukhonjiswe abafundi nayizinselelo ababhekene nazo ezingxenyeni ezihlukene zezimpilo zabo,’ kusho u-Corfe.

Imihlangano yeqembu iqale ngenkathi u-Corfe esaqeqeshelwa umsebenzi emnyangweni we-CAES SSS, uthe ‘lendawo yayifanelekile kakhulu ukuthi isungule futhi ilawule leli qembu lokwesekana okwakubangelwa ukuba khona kwabaluleki babafundi abebeseka lo msebenzi’.

U-Corfe kwafaneleka ukuthi ahlukanise omama abahlala nabantwana babo kanye nalabo abangahlali nabantwana babo, okwenze ukuthi izihloko ekuxoxwa zihlukaniswe ukuze zihambisane nezinselelo ababhekana nazo njengamaqembu ngokuhlukana kwawo.

Kwaba khona abahehekayo ababamba iqhaza njalo ngenxa yezikhangiso ezazisabalele eNyuvesi kanye nokuthunyelwa kwabafundi abanesidingo abaluleki babo.

Iqembu lihlangana wonke amasonto lapho iqembu lokuqala lihlangana izikhathi eziyisishiyagalolunye futhi liphinde lihlele izihloko okuzoxoxwa ngazo, lisebenze njengeqembu lontanga elesekayo kunelengxubekwelapha. Ukwabelana ngolwazi, ukwesekana ngokwemizwa, ukwamukelwa abanye omama, nokuxoxa ngezimo asebebhekane nazo ukuze nabanye baqonde kangcono izimo ababhekene nazo, futhi ingosi iphenduke yaba umhlangano onesasasa kubafundi obuhlale ulindeleke kakhulu kubafundi ngawo wonke amasonto.

Ababebambe iqhaza bathi bazizwe begqugquzelekile, benokuzethemba, benesasasa sebezibona behloniphekile futhi bamukela isimo ababhekene naso. Baphinde babalula ukusebenza kangcono ezifundweni zabo, ukubhekana nesimo ngokwengqondo nokusebenzisa abeluleki ngokunciphile kunakuqala.

U-Corfe uqedela izifundo zakhe zemastazi, kanti uNkz Cebisa Nkatu we-CAES SSS uyaqhubeka nokuhlela umsebenzi weqembu elekelelwa umeluleki wakhe wezokufunda. Leli qembu lihlanganisa nezindlela eziyingxubekwelapha njengokudweba, ukuba umzali, ukuzinza ngokujulile kanye nokunye.

‘Nginethemba lokuthi abe-SSS kwamanye amakolishi azogqugquzeleka ukuthi asungule amaqembu afanayo futhi azokhuthaza abafundi abangomama ukuthi babambe iqhaza ukuze kuthuthuke ukusebenza kwawo,’ kusho u-Corfe.

* Iqembu lihlangana njalo ngoLwesihlanu nge-9.30 AM. Uma udinga eminye imininingwane noma ufisa ukujoyina ungathintana noNkatu ngocingo ku-033 260 6550 noma i-imeyili: nkatuc@ukzn.ac.za

Amagama: ngu-Christine Cuénod


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College of Health Sciences Launches Infections Diseases Research Programme

College of Health Sciences Launches Infections Diseases Research Programme
UKZN Staff at TIBA Launch.

Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA) - an Africa-led, multi-disciplinary research programme - has been launched by the College of Health Sciences at the Mgedula Primary School in Ingwavuma in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

‘The project explores and draws lessons from ways different African health systems tackle infectious diseases,’ said TIBA co-Deputy Director and SA team leader, Professor Moses Chimbari of UKZN’s Discipline of Public Health.

TIBA aims to empower African scientists to effectively and sustainably tackle often neglected tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis, malaria, trypanosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis, and improve preparedness for epidemics such as ebola.

The International project involves nine countries - South Africa (UKZN), Ghana (University of Ghana), Sudan, Kenya (Kenya Medical Research Institute), Tanzania (National institute for Medical Research), Zimbabwe (University of Zimbabwe and the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe), Botswana (University of Botswana), Rwanda and Uganda.

Chimbari and his team have been working with the Ingwavuma community for the past four years on a project known as Malaria and Bilharzia in Southern Africa (MABISA).

‘TIBA is essentially a successor of MABISA but now deals with a wider spectrum of diseases,’ said Chimbari.

Dr Harvey Vaughan-Williams of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DOH) in the uMkhanyakude District commended the project and pledged the support of the DOH. He suggested that the project look at the efficacy of existing drugs.

Mgedula Primary School learners performed a play for guests and the community showcasing their understanding of malaria and bilharzia and how it was usually not possible to treat such diseases using traditional medicine.

Local authorities in the area pledged their support for the project.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini


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Thuthuka Grant Awards for Five UKZN Researchers

Thuthuka Grant Awards for Five UKZN Researchers
NRF grant winners (from left) Dr Nontobeko Eunice Mvubu, Dr Oliver Zishiri, Ms Seipati Mokhosi, Dr Matthew Adeleke and Dr Karen Pillay.

Five researchers in the School of Life Science’s Biotechnology cluster on the Westville campus have been awarded National Research Foundation (NRF) Thuthuka Grants to support their work.

Dr Oliver Zishiri and Dr Matthew Adeleke of the Genetics Discipline, Dr Nontobeko Eunice Mvubu of Microbiology, and PhD candidate Ms Seipati Mokhosi and Dr Karen Pillay of Biochemistry received grants for their work in the fields of antibiotic resistance, infectious diseases in poultry production, virulence in tuberculosis, neurobiochemistry, nanotechnology and magnetotactic bacteria.

Thuthuka funding supports emerging researchers working in academic professional appointments at public universities, science councils and other public research institutions.

Professor Shahidul Islam, the Academic Leader of the School of Life Science’s Biotechnology Cluster on the Westville campus, said the securing of the grants was a great achievement for the young researchers involved.

The research includes Zishiri’s work on the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance (AR) using a One Health approach that recognises the interconnection between animal, human and environmental health. He is genetically characterising antimicrobial and virulence genes from common pathogens including SalmonellaCampylobacterStaphylococcusEscherichia coliListeria and Enterococci emanating from South African livestock industries using molecular DNA technologies. This project will contribute to understanding of how livestock and agriculture contribute to AR.

Adeleke received a grant for his research into the genetic diversity and genomics of the Eimeria species - protozoan parasites that cause coccidiosis, an infectious disease affecting chickens and other livestock. Developing a vaccine for this disease is important to reduce the use of anticoccidial drugs in livestock, and to do so will involve improving knowledge of the genetic diversity of the Eimeria species. Adeleke hopes this grant will contribute to the control of coccidiosis in South African poultry.

Mvubu is conducting research into the identification of virulence factors in drug resistant strains of M. tuberculosis during early infection to help address the growing public health emergency of tuberculosis. Her research, following on from successful PhD research, will contribute to a better understanding of disease progression and involvement of innate immune response in tuberculosis. Her research also hopes to use a multi-omics approach in understanding TB pathogenesis for early detection, diagnosis and control of the disease.

Mokhosi, a developmental lecturer and PhD candidate, is conducting research on the use of inorganic nanoparticles in diseases affecting the central nervous system. Her career, inspired by the 1984 film Lorenzo’s Oil, led her to do her doctoral research into the use of magnetic nanoparticles in diseases affecting the brain, with a particular interest in Parkinson’s disease. 

Pillay is focusing her research on magnetotactic bacteria. The magnetospirillum species of bacteria has the unique ability to uptake metals and package them into nanoparticles, leading Pillay to investigate a green synthetic strategy for metallic nanoparticles and use of this bacterial species as potential wastewater treatment agents. She will also test other applications of nanoparticles, for example, their potential as antimicrobial agents.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Bheki Mthembu


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International Musicians at UKZN’s Mandela Centenary Concert

International Musicians at UKZN’s Mandela Centenary Concert
Musicians performed at UKZN’s Jazz centre (from left): Bob Sinicrope, Stefan Johnsson and Melvin Peters.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music boasted Swedish musician and composer Mr Stefan Johnsson, SA Jazz pianist and UKZN alumnus Mr Melvin Peters and internationally acclaimed bassist Mr Bob Sinicrope of the United States for its Mandela Centenary Concert 14 March.

Visiting musicians were joined on stage by jazz students under the tutelage of lecturer Mr Burton Naidoo. All performance pieces were dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

The concert featured a tribute piece titled: A Hero of Our Time, composed by Johnsson in 2004. ‘I have always wanted to visit South Africa and have this piece performed here,’ said Johnsson. ‘When the organisation Star for Life was visiting Sweden last year I got to know about UKZN through the Swedish leaders.

‘I was invited in October and started planning this project. Unfortunately Mr Mandela is not alive to attend my tribute to him which was a vision I had during the composing work, however it is still a great moment for me,’ he said.

His piece is written for choir soprano, alto, tenor, and bass horn sections, piano, bass, and percussion, which was led by UKZN Music students. Poetry included in the composition is by Andrew Motion, Nasibu Mvanukuzi, Kilian Mc Donell and Marianne Williamsen.  

Sinicrope and Peters first worked together in 1998 when Peters was on a scholarship at Harvard University in the United States. Sinicrope invited Peters to join his World Leaders band and they performed in Boston at the prestigious school, Milton Academy, where Sinicrope is currently the Director of Jazz Studies.

For the performance at UKZN, they were joined by guest trumpet player Johnsson as well as horn players Salim Washington and Jeff Robinson, who have lectured at UKZN. Drummer Bruce Baker of Durban completes the line-up.

The programme featured a wide variety of music, ranging from jazz standards to arrangements of well-known tunes by Abdullah Ibrahim.

Words: Melissa Mungroo


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Dialogue on Low Success Rate of Rehabilitating Drug Users in SA

Dialogue on Low Success Rate of Rehabilitating Drug Users in SA
Professor Nirmala Gopal.

UKZN’s Professor Nirmala Gopal of the Discipline of Criminology and Forensic Studies (College of Humanities) has initiated an interdisciplinary dialogue with academics from the College of Health Sciences informed by her research into why the success rate of rehabilitating drug users is significantly low in South Africa.

‘Drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions among the youth in South Africa,’ said Gopal. ‘The devastating effects of drug addiction impact on the user, the family and community. Drug addiction is correlated to gangsterism and drug wars resulting in many deaths and the perpetuation of violent communities.  The type of collaboration we have started assures vital progress in identifying, preventing, and treating drug addiction holistically.’

Gopal’s knowledge of the social and psychological reasons for the low rehabilitation success led to her recognising a possible caveat in empirical work on the neurobiology of drug addiction.

She then invited colleagues at the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit, who were extremely receptive to the idea, and the collaboration was formalised. This resulted in a first of its kind study.

In the research, Gopal together with academics from pharmaceutical sciences used mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) in order to determine the localisation and distribution of methadone and naltrexone in the rodent brain in order to better understand their mechanisms of action.

MSI image analysis showed that the drugs were highly localised in the striatal and hippocampal regions, including the nucleus caudate, putamen and the upper cortex.

These areas are strongly implicated in the development of addiction and are the major pathways that mediate brain stimulation during reward and now pave the way for many studies into the exact mechanism of action of these drugs and aid clinicians in making informed choices in addiction therapy.

Consequently, she then headed a project that resulted in the publication of a ground-breaking paper in the Journal of Addiction Biology.

Her work showcases opioid addiction as a serious public health concern with severe health and social implications requiring extensive therapeutic efforts to keep users drug free.

The two main pharmacological interventions in the treatment of addiction involve management with methadone an mu (µ)-opioid receptor agonist, and treatment with naltrexone, µ-opioid, kappa (?)-opioid and delta (d)-opioid antagonist. The use of these drugs is coupled with psychological therapy in the form of counselling.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research Professor Deresh Ramjugernath said, ‘UKZN promotes interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research. We also want to encourage research that has both social and economic impact and relevance. Professor Gopal’s project on drug addiction and the initiative between the College of Humanities and the College of Health Sciences is a good example of the type of research we want to see at our University.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo 


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Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering Receive a Vector Analyser

Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering Receive a Vector Analyser
From left: Professor Thomas Afullo (EECE), Mr Douglas Armstrong (Protea), Dr Leigh Jarvis and Mr Anthony Lester (Head Technician EECE).

Protea Electronics donated a Rohde & Schwarz Vector Analyser to the Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering (EECE) discipline on the Howard College campus.

Reacting to the acquisition, academic leader in the Discipline, Dr Leigh Jarvis, said: ‘Given the need for modern equipment this donation is greatly appreciated - Rohde & Schwarz is the Rolls Royce of communication instrumentation.

The Analyser will be used by Electronic Engineering undergraduate students working in the field of communications. Protea Electronics and the EECE have enjoyed a long history of co-operation.’

Words: Prashina Budree

 


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Governance and Transformation - National Budget 2018

Governance and Transformation - National Budget 2018
Professor Matthew Lester.

Tax expert Professor Matthew Lester presented a lecture to Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s MBA students on: Governance and Transformation - National Budget 2018.

Lester, who lectures on tax and corporate governance at Rhodes University’s Business School, shared insights on how the recent changes in South Africa’s political landscape had affected the economy.

‘Transformation and the budget go together - that is we have to speak about governance in South Africa. Good governance is about seeing the problems before they happen and managing the risks. We are at a point where personal tax is not sufficient to handle the country’s debt and we now have to figure out how to live in this mess,’ said Lester.

Besides discussing the VAT increase, Lester also spoke on state capture and its cost to the economy, Jacob Zuma’s resignation, the cost of free Higher Education, land expropriation without compensation and the crisis of youth unemployment.

‘The current budget requires the poor to pay more than the wealthy because there are different types of zero ratings,’ said Lester. ‘If this budget really favoured the poor then we should have had a 2% VAT increase with the 1% going to the poor through social grants. We are in a situation where the population is growing faster than the economy and we need to create 9 million jobs in the next 50 years to control our unemployment crisis. That is why we need good sound leadership because more is expected from our leaders than anyone else,’ said Lester.

Sadly, Professor Matthew Lester passed away this week after a short illness. He will be missed.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Sakhile Fatyi


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Academic Uses Scientific Equations to Create Artworks

Academic Uses Scientific Equations to Create Artworks
Professor Randhir Rawatlal has taken the world by storm with his “Equation Art” pieces. The above artwork is titled A Thought is Worth a Thousand Pictures.

UKZN Academic Leader of Research at the School of Engineering Associate Professor Randhir Rawatlal has taken the art world by storm with his paintings some of which use scientific equations or even computer code to create art pieces illustrating topics in the fields of engineering, philosophy and mathematics.

Rawatlal says ‘Equation Art’ is a new technique he used to illustrate some of the creative writing he was doing as an "escape" while finishing his PhD thesis. However, it soon took on a life of its own with a number of people showing interest.

‘I serialised the text and mailed it out anonymously. In a short time, I had a following from readers from countries around the world,’ said Rawatlal.

Explaining the technique he said: ‘I draw or paint out an equation and turn that work into a brush and then use the equation-brush to paint a scene related to phenomena in science.’

Rawatlal said he was not aware of anyone else using fractal paintings with equations and code.

‘I started trying to learn better techniques and once posted a question on Fine Art America asking for tips on visual nomenclature, as I called it, to help get more concepts across. The conversation around this question exploded and became the most widely read discussion on Fine Art America with contributions from artists from several countries.’

His drawings have also found places on UKZN campuses, the Clinical Psychology Department at King Dinuzulu Hospital and with University staff members.

His latest painting titled: A Thought is Worth a Thousand Pictures has pride of place in the office of UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

Describing the painting, Rawatlal said it was a partial-fractal image. ‘If you look closely, you will see the painting is actually the result of smaller paintings which are equations.’

He said many of his paintings were related to topics he taught. ‘I do it partly because I think students sometimes lose the sense of wonder in the race towards an exam. It would be enough for me for a student to look at a painting, recognise some elements that relate to their studies, and think: “Perhaps there’s more to my studies than meets the eye”.

‘I’ve produced other “equation art”, together with energy drawings of yoga poses. On the cultural side, I’ve produced scenes from stories in Vedic mythology. All my paintings were created from trying to illustrate some of the creative writing I produce. Currently I am interested in producing paintings for people who are trying to personally develop certain qualities or overcome issues. I create a scene in which a person is interacting with him or herself in some way to improve a quality or overcome an issue,’ said Rawatlal.

He said he wanted to share this technique with others and work on collaborative projects to produce artwork for charitable purposes.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu


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UKZN Hosts Boost Your Business Workshop

UKZN Hosts Boost Your Business Workshop
Makhathini Media’s Ms Owethu Makhathini and participants at the social media workshop.

UKZN’s Extended Learning in partnership with business incubator, Bizfarm, DigifyBytes and Facebook, hosted a social media workshop on how to Boost your Business.

The workshop, run by Makhathini Media’s Ms Owethu Makhathini, focused on harnessing Facebook as a tool to increase sales and let prospective buyers know about a business.

Makhathini emphasised the importance of connecting with an audience and knowing one’s own story. ‘When you know what your story is, you know what success looks like,’ she said. ‘Be authentic and don’t use someone else’s story.’

She stressed the importance of establishing business objectives before embarking on a social media campaign – the fundamentals of business need to be in place before running marketing campaigns.

Makhathini’s top tips included uploading short videos, between 30 seconds and two minutes, and ensuring content appears correctly on various platforms, with particular focus on mobile phones.

Makhathini (24) has established herself as a serious player in the social media world. Known for her sharp digital media, marketing and copy writing acumen, she has used her skills to create a business geared at improving the skills of young people.

To attend forthcoming workshops, check the UKZN noticeboard or email Thando at MakhazaZ@ukzn.ac.za to be added to the UKZN Extended Learning mailing list.

Words and photographs: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


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International Women's Day Celebrated in Durban

International Women's Day Celebrated in Durban
Youth trainees received a GBV scenarios banner and quick reference information cards to assist them in leading Gender Based Violence discussions and training in KZN communities.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organisation operating in 39 countries, celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) - an occasion of advocacy and celebration by and for women and girls - with events all over the world, including Durban, last week.

IWD is formally observed each year on 8 March as a combined global holiday and campaign that promotes and commemorates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. IWD also brings governments, organisations and businesses together to spark change for gender equality through action advocacy.

Almost 18 million women over the age of 15 make up over half of all adults living with HIV, according to the World Health Organization, and women aged between 15-24 account for 60% of those infected in that age group. Additionally, HIV positive women in many countries are not afforded equal access to treatment and are often victims of discrimination and increased violence – including infringement of their sexual and reproductive rights.

AHF calls on decision makers, organisations and people everywhere to do their part to help narrow this gap and ensure that women have unimpeded access to lifesaving HIV testing, prevention services and treatment. AHF co-hosted an event with info4africa, a centre within UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences and SA Voices HIV Museum at KwaMuhle Museum in Durban to commemorate IWD. The event brought together youth peer educators who have been trained to use the SAVY backpack - a resources and material filled backpack with education modules on HIV, TB and social change.

‘The past few months have seen a lot of social movements that have come to the forefront in the fight against sexual harassment and the misrepresentation of women in the workplace,’ said Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager for AHF in South Africa Ms Larissa Klazinga. ‘While such movements have made inroads into gender injustice, women are still far behind their male counterparts as seen when it comes to HIV infections. Women are still four times more prone to being infected with HIV than their male counterparts, and this is a conversation that as women and men we should be having.’

Said Director of info4africa Ms Debbie Heustice: ‘What we are aiming to do with the AHF and SA Voices Museum partnership is to empower women to equip themselves with accurate knowledge on HIV and AIDS to allow them to successfully use a condom every time they engage in sexual practices and to help others to do the same. If we do not do that, then who will do it for us?’

‘The world cannot go on talking about the end of AIDS while HIV remains one of the leading causes of death among women, especially among young women and girls in developing countries,’ said AHF Chief of Global Policy, Advocacy & Marketing, Ms Terri Ford.  ‘From the smallest community clinic, all the way to the national health programmes and at the international level, we must keep the promise to women by ensuring that they are empowered and able to access reproductive and health services, including HIV treatment, testing and prevention without long waiting times and without fear of intimidation and stigma.’ To view a selection of photos from last year’s IWD, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aidshealth/collections/72157677821369413/

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organisation, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 872 000 clients in 39 countries worldwide. To learn more about AHF, visit the website: www.aidshealth.org, find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow them on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare

For more information on AHF, visit either www.aidshealth.org or www.facebook.com/aidshealth

Words: Debbie Heustice


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London Imperial College Academic Presents Seminar at UKZN

London Imperial College Academic Presents Seminar at UKZN
Seminar presenter Dr Christos Markides (left) of the Imperial College in London with UKZN’s Mr Jean Pitot.

The School of Engineering hosted a seminar by Dr Christos Markides of the Imperial College in London who addressed the topic: High-Performance Distributed Solar and Low-Grade Heat Conversion Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities.

Markides said solar energy could be used to provide either heat or electricity, although most solar panels were designed for one of these purposes. ‘Photovoltaic (PV) panels are the fastest growing solar energy technology, however, they are typically less than 20% efficient in converting sunlight into electricity. Furthermore, PV cells experience a deterioration in efficiency when operated at high temperatures.  Hybrid PV-thermal (PV/T) solar collector technology combines PV cells with a contacting flow of a cooling gas or liquid, and offers some advantages when space is at a premium and there is demand for both heat and power,’ said Markides.

‘A major motivation in PV/T technology is to cool the cells to increase their electrical efficiency, while delivering useful thermal output. PV/T technology is highly efficient, capable of achieving combined system efficiencies potentially in excess of 70%.  The most common use of the thermal output from PV/T systems is to provide hot water at 50-60°C. However, a much wider range of opportunities arises at higher temperatures, where power-generation cycles or cooling technologies can be combined with PV/T collectors. These options become viable at temperatures typically above 80°C, with efficiency progressively improving at higher temperatures,’ he said.

‘Operating PV/T collectors efficiently at high temperatures is a significant challenge, however, since thermal losses that result in a drop in collector performance are exacerbated at higher temperatures.’

Markides also spoke on recent advances in evacuated PV/T technology combined with organic Rankine cycle power systems for high-efficiency electricity generation.

A lecturer at UKZN’s School of Mechanical Engineering and leader of the Group for Solar Energy Thermodynamics (GSET), Mr Jean Pitot, was instrumental in organising the seminar.  ‘It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to host Dr Markides, and to hear more from him regarding solar energy and waste heat utilisation research being undertaken at Imperial College’s Clean Energy Processes laboratory. ‘The global energy landscape is changing rapidly and technologies such as those his group is studying have the potential to profoundly contribute towards the common goal of generating cleaner, cheaper and more accessible power,’ said Pitot.

Markides has BA, MEng, MA and PhD degrees in energy technologies, obtained from the University of Cambridge in England.  He also has technology transfer experience as co-founder of multiple spin-out companies.  He holds the post of Head of the Clean Energy Processes (CEP) Laboratory at Imperial College.

Words: Prashina Budree

 


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Occupational Therapy Students Work among Youth of Mariannridge

Occupational Therapy Students Work among Youth of Mariannridge
From left: Ms Nelisiwe Mabuyakhulu, Ms Minenhle Mhlongo, Sister Geetha Maharaj and Ms Debrah Govender.

UKZN’s fourth-year Occupational Therapy (OT) students initiated a community engagement project in Mariannridge near Durban aimed at improving the health and well-being of young folk in the area.

Working in collaboration with the Mariannridge Clinic and the local high school, the project - the Youth and Adolescents Friendly Clinic - was initially organised because of concern about the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the district. Initially, only girls at the Mariannridge High School were recruited to join the project.

It was later expanded to target both boys and girls at the school, focusing on topics related to substance abuse, self-esteem, sexual health, relationships, peer pressure, stress and time management.

The UKZN OT team comprised Ms Minenhle Mhlongo, Ms Neliswe Mabuyakhulu, Ms Siddeeqah Kader and Ms Debrah Govender working closely with a senior sister at the local clinic, Mrs Geetha Maharaj.

At each meeting issues of concern were explored in depth with the learners to help prevent them becoming involved in irresponsible behaviour and situations.

‘Due to the influx of drug abuse and high pregnancy rates, particularly in Grade 8 classes, the team provided motivational talks at the high school,’ said Govender.

‘The project also aimed to increase the learners’ insight into the consequences of making poor health choices and the possibility of life beyond Mariannridge as well as encouraging them to join the Adolescent and Youth Friendly Clinic.’

The project started in February with weekly sessions with the students at the Mariannridge Community Clinic. ‘Building a relationship with Sister Maharaj has been our stepping stone in this project and more so in the community as we have worked side by side with her as an ongoing partner, building an alliance of support in meeting our aims and end goal of good health and wellbeing for the adolescents and youth of Mariannridge,’ said Mhlongo.

‘We want to create an after school programme for the youth in the community to share their stories, provide them with a safe environment where they can ask for help and most importantly, allow these issues to be dealt with in a friendly environment,’ said Kader.

‘Youth are the backbone of the nation, therefore to promote a healthy community, we need to start with them,’ said Mabuyakhulu.

Words: MaryAnn Francis


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Super Highway of Innovation Seminar Empowers Students

Super Highway of Innovation Seminar Empowers Students
Professor Neil Koorbanally addresses participants at the seminar.

The School of Chemistry and Physics together with UKZN InQubate recently held a seminar on the Westville campus titled Super Highway of Innovation, which focused on the 4th industrial revolution, intellectual property, commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

Targeted at postgraduates, the goal of the seminar was to offer advice and give a head start to those keen to turn opportunities into businesses.

Following the enthusiastic responses and turnout by students, the feeling was that it’s safe to assume that entrepreneurship is the new reality destined to become a leading factor in South Africa’s economic growth.

It has become obvious that students recognise the difficulties of finding employment and are keen to get skills and guidance to venture into entrepreneurship as a means of providing employment for themselves and others.

Academic leader in Research at UKZN’s School of Chemistry and Physics Professor Neil Koorbanally addressed students on transforming research work into viable businesses and also on the large number of opportunities available to young entrepreneurs.

After the seminar he said: ‘I was thrilled to see so many students wanting to hear about entrepreneurship and innovation.  These young folk are the future CEOs of our pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies.’

Director of Intellectual Property and Commercialisation at InQubate Mrs Suvina Singh guided students through the process of starting up a business, the importance of intellectual property and explained the shift in business in the emergent 4th industrial revolution.

InQubate believes that the students are the business leaders of tomorrow and the goal is to give them a successful start and show them how to run businesses.  The organisation also believes that its researchers are doing an excellent job that has the potential to better lives, to better the environment and to better the world.

Through its skills development STEPUP and its networking activities such as the Mind to Market initiative, UKZN InQubate is making a concerted effort to promote entrepreneurship as a viable and essential offering at the University. By contributing towards an enabling environment and partnering with skilled business practitioners and entrepreneurs, STEPUP aims to grow the next generation of business leaders who can positively impact South Africa’s social and economic development.

Asked for comment on the seminar, student Ms Nyameka Vuyokazi Diko said she had gained insight into becoming an entrepreneur. Diko suggested the seminar become an annual event featuring more speakers with their own businesses. ‘In terms of reading papers and research, the seminar provided ideas on how to commercialise research and start a business,’ she said.

Another student Ms Andiswa Ntshele said the event helped her to think more about her research project in terms of what impacts it would have on the future of the country and the world. Ntshele said it also helped her in terms of problem solving.

She agreed the event should become an annual one as it would be very useful in helping new postgraduate students starting their projects.

Words: Krielan Deby

 


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Sparking Innovation Breakfast on UKZN’s Medical School Campus

Sparking Innovation Breakfast on UKZN’s Medical School Campus
Professor Fernando Albericio (centre) and Professor Tulio de Oliveira (second right) with KRISP stakeholders.

The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)-funded KZN Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) recently hosted its second Durban Spark Innovation breakfast featuring UKZN’s A-rated scientist Professor Fernando Albericio as the keynote speaker.

The breakfast series of presentations, held in partnership with Stanford University in the United States, is aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Durban.

Leading bioinformatician and Director of UKZN’s KRISP, Professor Tulio de Oliveira, is passionate about creating a new university that is business orientated, undertaking innovative research and translating it for the benefit of society through entrepreneurship and commercialisation. ‘The Durban SPARK Innovation Breakfast meeting aims to ensure that Durban is in a position to seize opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence, robotics and biotechnology,’ said de Oliveira.

Albericio, who is passionate about the transfer of scientific knowledge into society, is a research professor in UKZN’s School of Chemistry and Physics and served as general director of Spain’s successful Barcelona Science Park from 2005 to 2012. The park, which currently hosts more than 40 companies, offers researchers, entrepreneurs and society in general a setting equipped with powerful research support services, research staff, specialised technicians and agents to promote knowledge and technology transfer pointing to the creation of new companies.

In the hope of creating a new university, Albericio commented that a Durban model was possible if the focus was on creating potential synergies. ‘We must function within an entrepreneurial culture, and share laboratories with the private sector and ensure that the transfer of science is key.’ He also advised scientists and clinicians in the audience to focus on globalisation with a local flavour.

In order to advance innovation and commercialisation in Durban, KRISP and UKZN partnered with the SPARK Global Programme at Stanford University, which is one of the most successful innovation programmes in Silicon Valley in the United States with a staggering 62% of transfer of technology to commercial products.

‘We are delighted to have started this innovation programme with some of the top universities in the world,’ said de Oliviera. ‘We are also very enthusiastic about working with the private sector. The public may not be fully aware but UKZN is ranked as one of the top research universities in South Africa with some of the leading world experts on HIV, TB, chemistry and quantum computing on its academic staff. Durban entrepreneurship and business orientation culture provides a perfect combination to transfer scientific developments to commercial products.’

The Durban Spark Innovation breakfasts are open meetings and the participation of the private sector, government and civil society is encouraged. Meetings run from 07h30 to 08h30 on the first Wednesday of every month, with breakfast provided before and after the meeting. They are held in the K-RITH Tower Building on the Medical School campus at 719 Umbilo Road in Durban.

Words: MaryAnn Francis


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Law Professions Days Draw Students

Law Professions Days Draw Students
Law students finding out about their career options at the Law Professions Day.

Annual Law Professions Days were well supported on both the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses by students who turned out in force to take full advantage of interacting with representatives from some of the best law firms in South Africa.

In his opening address in Pietermaritzburg, School of Law academic Professor Mike Kidd said the School was honoured to have so many legal firms supporting its students.

The School’s LLB course was recently fully accredited by the Council for Higher Education (CHE).

The Law Professions days which celebrated its 10th year anniversary last year, were attended by non-profit organisations such as Legal Aid and ProBono, student organisations including the Black Lawyers Association and Students For Law and Social Justice (SLSJ), as well as big companies Baker and McKenzie, Standard Bank and Adams and Adams, among others.

Law firm MacRobert Attorneys, at the event for the first time, was looking to recruit top candidate attorneys. ‘We get a lot of applications from UKZN so it is necessary for us to be at the event and engage with students so they know what we  require and in turn we inform them of opportunities available at our company,’ said a representative from the firm, Ms Chanelle Taljaard.

Students visited stalls reading pamphlets handed out by the law firms while listening to briefings. Some used the opportunity to apply for jobs.

‘Law Professions Day is very useful because without it, I would not have the opportunity to engage with law firms and be aware about closing dates for applications,’ said third-year student Mr Ethan Thorne.

First-year student Ms Sphiwokuhle Sibiya said she believes in planning ahead that is why she attended the event.  For second year student Nabeel Hoosen finding out which opportunities are available in business law is what attracted him to the event.

‘There are so many areas of law and it is important for us as students to know what the areas we are interested in so that we are better prepared for the working world,’ he said.

Words and photograph:  Thandiwe Jumo

 


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Gender Studies Hosts Writing the Body Workshop

Gender Studies Hosts Writing the Body Workshop
Professor Rozena Maart (fifth left, back row) with her students during the Gender Studies workshop.

The Gender Studies Discipline within the School of Social Sciences hosted a Writing Memory, Writing the Body workshop run by Professor Rozena Maart.

The workshop was attended by 60 honours students.

Maart, who is an award-winning writer, has conducted the workshop for the past 25 years in a variety of countries, both within and outside universities.

‘Students who do research need to learn how to observe their environment. They often think they know their environment but soon discover there is much to learn about a place they have lived in their entire lives,’ said Maart.

‘The body is used as a site of knowing, a site that students are supposed to know considering they have inhabited, lived within and through their bodies for their entire lives.’ 

The main exercise involves students writing down the names of all of their body parts; everything from eyelashes to knuckles to heart and spleen. They examine their lists and look at what they have left out, what that body part absence means to them, and why they have left it off their list. They then write a paragraph or two about each of those absences and their significance.

‘It’s rather like writing a letter to that body part,’ said Maart. ‘They discover all sorts of things about memory, about knowing and being, about the absence of presence and what that absence means, and what that relationship between consciousness and the unconscious suggests. Students were at first very nervous but soon transformed the nervousness into excitement, intrigue, joy and sheer pleasure, as was noted in their reflection papers.’

Student Ms Noxolo Xulu described the workshop as enlightening and liberating. ‘Through this exercise we were able to understand ourselves better and in turn become better researchers. It also developed our writing and observation skills which are vital for research.’

Another student, Mr Yamkela Duze, added: ‘The workshop was a rigorous introspection of self. It made you think differently about the way you approach and evaluate research but also created self-awareness about cultural beliefs, sexuality and backgrounds.’

The students agreed that the workshop not only addressed sexuality but offered a chance for them to tackle issues of society - race, politics and gender - and demystify social discourse.

Dr Cordula Weisskoeppel of the University of Bremen, Germany, was a guest at the workshop.

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo


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Ocean Turbulence Under the Spotlight at Workshop

Ocean Turbulence Under the Spotlight at Workshop
Civil Engineers out at sea.

UKZN's Department of Civil Engineering held the first ever workshop on Ocean Turbulence in South Africa.

The workshop was facilitated by Derek Stretch, Professor for Environmental Fluid Mechanics, with funding provided through an Office of Naval Research (ONR) global grant. 

Turbulence at microstructure scales (a centimetre or less) is an important mechanism for mixing in the ocean where regions of enhanced turbulence can influence the entire marine food web. Turbulence is, however, difficult to measure and requires very sensitive and specialised equipment and highly skilled scientists to process and interpret the data.

The week-long workshop aimed at advancing South Africa’s expertise and capacity in state-of-the-art ocean measurement techniques and was taught by specialists in microstructure measurements from Rockland Scientific in Canada, Dr Ralf Lueck and Mr Evan Cervelli.

20 scientists, postgraduate students, and technicians from Durban, Cape Town and Stellenbosch attended to learn about the theory of turbulence and practical measurement techniques.

 The workshop included sessions on instrument handling and data processing. Participants enjoyed a trip to the Durban Harbour where they measured the turbulence in the water column generated by a large vessel entering the harbour.  They appreciated being able to get hands-on practice with data processing and data visualisation using Matlab.

Following this workshop, a UKZN research team from the environmental fluid mechanics laboratory spent a week in Sodwana Bay measuring small scale turbulence in the Agulhas current, one of the world’s strongest ocean currents. The team included Stretch, Dr Sam Kumarasamy, Dr Justin Pringle, Dr Katrin Tirok, Mr Atish Deoraj, and Mr Chris Muledy and was joined by Cervelli and Lueck from Rockland Scientific who supported the field measurements.

This research project by Stretch running through the same ONR grant investigates turbulence and mixing in the coastal ocean near Sodwana Bay, an area that is linked to the Agulhas system. The highly energetic Agulhas Current provides an ideal opportunity to develop new insights and understanding of the turbulent mixing processes in the area and their role in the functioning of the marine ecosystem. Regions of enhanced turbulence are associated with heightened biological activity with increased densities of zooplankton and mid-level nekton which in turn attract top marine predators. Sodwana Bay is known for enigmatic species like coelacanths, manta rays, and whale sharks.

Words:  Katrin Tirok


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Civil Engineering Department hosts Data Management and Programming Workshop

Civil Engineering Department hosts Data Management and Programming Workshop
Dr Justin Pringle leads the DC workshop session.

UKZN’s Department of Civil Engineering in partnership with the eThekwini Coastal Engineering Stormwater Catchment Management Department ran a two-day Data Carpentry workshop, the first of its kind at UKZN.  

The workshop covered interactive lessons on data organisation using spreadsheets, analysing and visualising data using the python pandas package and managing data with SQL.

Thirty-five staff and students from Civil Engineering, Land Surveying and Property Development as well as engineers from the eThekwini Municipality participated in the workshop run by Dr Katrin Tirok and Dr Justin Pringle from Civil Engineering. Both Tirok and Pringle are trained Data and Software Carpentry instructors.

Data and Software Carpentry are non-profit volunteer organisations running workshops facilitated by community members.

‘While Data Carpentry (www.datacarpentry.org) focuses on teaching basic data literacy and programming concepts to novices including lessons on data management and data analysis with R or Python, its sibling organisation, Software Carpentry (www.software-carpentry.org), focuses on best practices in software development teaching use of the command line, version control and programming in R and Python,’ Tirok said.

‘These skills are crucial in todays research environment but are usually not taught as part of the curriculum.

With a growing instructor community in South Africa, we want to bring more Data and Software Carpentry workshops to UKZN,’ she added.

‘Housed on GitHub, all Carpentry’s lessons are open source, with an open contribution model, and lessons are collaboratively created and maintained by volunteers. The material contains lessons for different domains of research, ranging from life and physical sciences to social sciences. Library Carpentry (https://librarycarpentry.github.io) offers software and data skills training aimed at the needs and requirements of library professionals,’ Tirok said.

For more information contact Dr Katrin Tirok at email: tirok@ukzn.ac.za or Dr Justin Pringle at pringlej@ukzn.ac.za

Words: Ndabaonline

 


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Zimbabwean Plant Breeders at UKZN Workshop on Demand-Led Plant Breeding

Zimbabwean Plant Breeders at UKZN Workshop on Demand-Led Plant Breeding
Participants and ACCI staff at the Demand-Led Plant Breeding Workshop.

The African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) hosted a two-day workshop in Pietermaritzburg on the topic of demand-led plant breeding which attracted more than 20 plant breeders and scientists from the Zimbabwe Plant Breeders Association as well as current postgraduate students.

Zimbabwean participants, who came from universities, seed companies and associations, commercial agriculture and research institutes, among other bodies and organisations, arrived with expectations of learning about developing varieties that would be accepted by farmers, developing collaborations with UKZN and other organisations represented, and picking up important themes for education in plant breeding.

Researchers present had experience in a range of crops including forestry, tobacco, cotton, food crops and appreciated the opportunity to learn from one another.

‘The project goal is to enable African plant breeders to create more high performing varieties that are customer-focused and adopted by smallholder farmers so that they can better participate in their local and regional markets,’ said Professor Hussein Shimelis of the ACCI during his opening address.

This is achieved through educating participants on best practice from public and private sectors in Africa and internationally, strengthening postgraduate training, and ensuring that the business of plant breeding is introduced, and not simply the science,’ said Shimelis.

The training includes variety design so that participants can implement state-of-the-art knowledge, methodologies and tools as well as policy to enable them to provide evidence to support policy development and investments in plant breeding to meet emerging market demands.

More than 21 international partners support the project behind the workshop, 15 of which are African partners in the agricultural sphere. International partners include the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, the Australian International Food Security Research Centrethe Crawford Fund and the University of Queensland.

The workshop introduced concepts of demand-led breeding, and identified ways in which demand-led breeding approaches can be implemented within on-going crop improvement programmes. Another key objective was to discuss how to establish partnerships among plant breeders, farmers, agri-industry, government regulatory bodies and policy entities, and other important stakeholders and value chain participants within crop value chains in Africa.

During the workshop, presentations and discussion took place around seven training module units, including principles of demand-led plant variety design, setting breeding goals, understanding clients’ needs, new variety design and product profiling, variety development strategy and stage plans, monitoring, evaluation and learning, and making the business case for investment in new variety development.

A group of pan-African educators has developed this training module in partnership with private and public sector experts. The resultant seven training module units are included in a 2017 textbook: The Business of Plant breeding: Market–led Approaches to New Variety Design in Africa, which Shimelis contributed to.

 Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod


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New Recruits in UKZN’s Discipline of Civil Engineering

New Recruits in UKZN’s Discipline of Civil Engineering
Miss Katelyn Ann Johnson and Dr Justin Pringle.

UKZN alumnus Miss Katelyn Ann Johnson recently joined staff in the discipline of Civil Engineering.  Previously with Eyethu Engineers in Durban, Johnson specialises in hydrology and water engineering and is currently a PhD candidate in Engineering Hydrology at the Centre for Water Resources Research based within Civil Engineering at UKZN.

Describing her research, Johnson said: ‘I am working in an interdisciplinary space that merges engineering hydrology, hydrometeorology and climate change. My research focuses on estimating extreme rainfall events required for the design of hydraulic structures, and developing methods to account for non-stationary climate data in these estimates.’

Johnson is a lecturer in Civil Engineering and a member of the New Generation of Academics Programme.

Dr Justin Pringle, also a UKZN alumnus, will work in the field of environmental fluid mechanics within the Civil Engineering discipline.

Pringle, previously employed by the eThekwini Municipality in the Coastal, Stormwater and Catchment Management, Engineering Unit - will be lecturing as well as actively pursuing research and development within environmental fluid dynamics.

Pringle's research includes:

Words: Prashina Budree

Photographs supplied by: Katelyn Ann Johnson and Justin Pringle

 


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