Strini Moodley Remembered at UKZN

Strini Moodley Remembered at UKZN
Guests and students at the Strini Moodley lecture hosted by UKZN in partnership with Umtapo.

South Africa: The Unfinished Revolution was the theme of the annual Strini Moodley Memorial Lecture held at UKZN in collaboration with Umtapo’s Steve Biko Transformative Education Project.

The lecture explored South Africa’s progress, the exploitation of human rights and the inequalities in society.

Keynote speakers included Black Consciousness Movement stalwart and close friend and comrade of the late Moodley, Dr Nchaupe Aubrey Mokoape; and a co-founder of the Umphakatsi Peace Ecovillage, Ms Sarah Motha.

In his welcome, Professor Donal McCracken of UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences said memorial lectures were important as they provided an opportunity to explore challenges the country faced today and to commit to serving society.

Said McCracken: ‘Strini’s banning and imprisonment are reminders of the sacrifices made by many South Africans in the liberation struggle.’ McCracken added that Moodley exhibited most of the qualities that UKZN seemed to emulate. 

A medical doctor involved in politics from the age of 13 and becoming a spokesperson for the Pan Africanist Congress youth at 15, Mokoape met Steve Biko at medical school and became a leading member of the Black Consciousness Movement. He was imprisoned on Robben Island together with Strini Moodley and seven other leaders of the Movement. Mokoape’s presentation, was titled: The Tragedy of South Africa: A House Divided by Racism/Tribalism, Patriarchy and Greed.

His talk focused on inequalities in society today. He said a number of White South Africans continued to live comfortable lives because they are beneficiaries of “colonial dividends” while the majority of Black people continued to be victims.

Mokoape said the lecture was an important gathering to remember ‘where we come from, where we are, and where we are going.’ He commended Umtapo for their commitment to the struggle.

Mokoape encouraged South Africans to know their identity, carry their cultures with pride and emulate other African countries and rename the country. He added that names were important as they provided identity.

Programme Manager (Vulnerable Groups) at the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), Motha said South Africa was a wounded society suffering from generational violence.

She said it was important for South Africa to historically analyse the root causes of the current challenges, so it could be enablers and animators for the change people wanted to see.

She spoke about the Foundation’s involvement in partnership with the Department of Justice in teaching the citizens, especially school children, about xenophobia, Ubuntu and other fundamental human rights. 

Motha highlighted the work done by the FHR to correct the injustices of the past and urged the youth to continue on that path.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu 


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Rich Skills Harvest for Africa

Rich Skills Harvest for Africa
ACCI staff, Plant Breeding graduates and representatives from AGRA gather after the Graduation ceremony.

Eight students in UKZN’s African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) have graduated with doctorates in a rich skills harvest for the continent.

This class of graduates, working to achieve food security in their home countries of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, South Sudan and Rwanda, are the latest among the ranks of the ACCI whose mission is to train African breeders on African crops in Africa.

ACCI staff congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to aim for significance in their careers. Representatives from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which funded their studies, encouraged graduates to prioritise looking for funding for their work, to network to further their careers and to ask for input and collaboration from connections already made.

The graduates are:

Dr Maurice Nyombe, an Associate Programme Officer with AGRA-South Sudan. His research involved investigating factors that contribute to enhanced yield and grain quality traits as a basis for breeding and selection strategies in rice germplasm for South Sudan.

Dr Solomon Derese of Ethiopia works at Sirinka Agricultural Research Center in northern Ethiopia as a crop research co-ordinator on sorghum, tef, maize, rice and millet, as well as integrated Striga management projects. Derese, whose research involved breeding sorghum for drought tolerance and medium-maturity, overcame ill health to complete his PhD and has published two papers.

Dr Emmanuel Mrema researched integrated Striga management in sorghum through resistance breeding and biocontrol in the semi-arid regions of Tanzania. He has so far published four of his six chapters.

Striga species are parasitic plants that infect the roots of maize and sorghum plants, and then quietly remove nutrients from the plants, reducing crop yields by up to 100%.

Mrema identified Striga infestation as one of many major constraints affecting sorghum production in Tanzania. He evaluated 60 sorghum genotypes to identify resistant lines for future cultivar development. Mrema’s work on breeding Striga-resistant sorghum has already attracted interest, with funds secured for the next phase of his research from South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency.

Dr Tigist Shiferaw Girsil works at the Melkassa Agricultural Research Centre at the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research (EIAR) as a lowland pulse breeder. She concentrated on genetic studies of host plant resistance to Mexican bean weevil in Ethiopian common bean germplasms; the pest is a significant threat to Ethiopia’s production of common beans, which is an export crop and an important source of dietary protein for Ethiopians.

Dr Eduardo Mulima of Mozambique works at the Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique’s Sussundenga Research Station, His PhD studies involved investigating the genetic diversity of sorghum germplasm and hybrid potential under contrasting environments in Mozambique. He overcame language barriers, the challenge of leaving his family at home to pursue his studies, and changes in supervisors, to achieve his PhD.

Dr Filson Kagimbo is a Senior Agricultural Research Officer at the Tumbi Agricultural Research Institute in Tanzania. His research has produced purple - orange - and mixed-flesh colour sweet potato genotypes that are resistant to weevils, high yielding, and high in dry matter. The genotypes have been submitted for registration for release to farmers. He also published two papers thus far.

Dr Ronald Kakeeto is a research scientist at the National Agricultural Research Organisation in Uganda. During his PhD research, he received an African Biosciences Challenge Fund fellowship to conduct molecular studies at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya. His research on developing drought tolerant groundnut genotypes with better agronomic and seed physical quality traits in Uganda has resulted in four papers under review for publication.

Dr Damien Shumbusha is an Associate Research Fellow in the root and tubers programme at the Rwanda Agriculture Board. He conducted his PhD research on the breeding of dual-purpose sweet potato varieties for human consumption of tubers and biomass use for animal feed. He received a PhD scholarship after releasing six new high yielding sweet potato varieties in 2013. He has published several papers and received further training in Africa and Europe.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Corrette de Jager 


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Abacwanigi Ababili Abasebasha Bathole Imiklomelo ye-NRF Rating

Abacwanigi Ababili Abasebasha Bathole Imiklomelo ye-NRF Rating
UDkt Andrew Eloka-Eboka noDkt Samuel Iwarere.

Click here for the English version

UDkt Andrew Eloka-Eboka kanye noDkt Samuel Iwarere baseSikoleni Sobunjiniyela e-UKZN baklonyeliswe nge-National Research Foundation (i-NRF) Y bekleliswa esigabeni sabacwaningi abasafufusa.

U-Eloka-Eboka wenza izifundo ezingaphezu kwezobudokotela emkhakheni we-Mechemical Engineering, u-Iwerere yena ungumcwaningi esifundweni se-Chemical Engineering.

Ukukleliswa-kuthatha iminyaka emihlanu - kuwuphawu lokuhlonishwa komsebenzi omuhle kakhulu owenziwa abacwaningi eNingizimu Afrika yonkana, lapho kuklonyeliswa laba ababonakala benekhono lokuba abacwaningi ngokubuka imisebenzi yabo, abakukhiqizayo, izingabunjalo lemiphumela yocwaningo kanye nomthelela walo emhlabeni jikelele, lokhu kwenzeka ekuqaleni komsebenzi wabo emva kweziqu zabo zobudokotela.

U-Eloka-Eboka ungumfundi oxhaswe i-NRF Scarce Skills Development aphinde abe ilungu le-African Academy of Sciences (i-AAS). Wenza ucwaningo oluhlanganise imikhakha ehlukahlukene, okwamanje ugxile kwi-Green Energy Technologies (isiphehlimandla, i-biofuels, i-bioenergy, kanye ne-bio-nanotechnology) eziphokophele ekwakheni izinsiza ezizoletha izixazululo ezizohlala isikhathi eside ezindaweni zaseNingizimu Afrika zekhethelo zamandla akheka kabusha, imfucuza, isimo sezulu ngokwenkathi kanye nesimonhlalo esingxube okukhulisa umnotho.

Imisebenzi yakhe ihlanganisa ukuhlola amandla emvelo nge-micro-algal technology ne-bio-nanomaterials, i-pioneering research ocwaningweni olusafufusa kwezobuchwepheshe be-bio-nanotechnology obuzosetshenziselwa amandla nezokushisa.

U-Eloka-Eboka, owafika e-UKZN ngonyaka wezi-2012 ezoqala izifundo zakhe zobudokotela, weza e-UKZN ngenxa yodumo lwayo lokuba iNyuvesi ehamba phambili kwezemifundaze kanye nokwenza kahle kakhulu kwezobunjiniyela. Uncome inqubomgomo yocwaningo kanye nokuphumelela kweNyuvezi ezintweni eziningi.

Uthe: ‘Ngiyambonga uNkulunkulu owenza konke kube impumelelo, ekuqaleni kwami ukusebenza bengikulangazelela ukubalwa phakathi kwabacwaningi abakleliswe yi-NRF. Kuzongikhuthaza ngisebenze kakhulu.’

U-Iwarere ungumcwaningi aphinde abe umphenyi omkhulu kumklamo wokucwaninga ngokuhlanza amanzi asesebenzile okuxhaswe i-Water Research Commission (i-WRC). Ugxile ekukhipheni okunobuthi okunzima ukukukhipha emanzini asesebenzile, usebenzisa izindlela ezejwayelekile zokuhlanza amanzi, ukuguqula imfucuza ibe amakhemikhali asetshenziswayo, anciphise ukuphuma kwesikhutha ngokuguqula isikhutha asenze ikhemikhali namafutha asebenzayo esebenzisa i-Plasma Technology. Lokhu kuveza okuzuzwe umphakathi kwaphinda kwaba nomthelela ukuthuthukiseni izizwe ezintathu ze-United Nations.

‘Injongo yami ukuthuthukisa izingabunjalo lezimpilo zabantu, ikakhulukazi e-Africa, ngokwenza ucwaningo,’ kusho u-Iwarere.

U-Iwarere, ufike e-UKZN ezoqala izifundo zakhe ze-Masters zingama-2009, wathanda i-UKZN ngenxa yesithombe sika Solwazi Deresh Ramjugernath, owayehlola izifundo zakhe zobudokotela neze-Postdoctoral fellowship. Waphothula iziqu zakhe ze-undergraduate neze-honours kwi-Industry Chemichal eNyuvesi yase-Ilorin nase-Nigeria.

Uthe uyambonga uNkulunkulu ngokuthi ibonakale imizebenzi yakhe, ikakhulu njengoba bebancane ososayensi eNingizimu Afrika abasebenzisa i-plasma technology ukuxazulula izinkinga zomnotho emphakathini.

Amagama: u-Christine Cuénod


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School of Built Environment and Development Studies hosts 2018 Achievement Awards

School of Built Environment and Development Studies hosts 2018 Achievement Awards
High achievers from the School of Built Environment & Development Studies. Clockwise from left: Ms Eliza Solis-Maart, Ms Lerato Moshoeshoe, Mr Mcebo Mafoyana and Mr Daniel Daruty De Grandpre.

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies recently hosted its 2018 Student Achievement Awards function on the Howard College campus.

The event honoured high academic achievers from the Disciplines of Architecture, Community Development, Housing, Development Studies, Planning and Population Studies.

Students were recognised for their outstanding performances in achieving an average mark of 85% and above in their studies.

Dean of the School Professor Ernest Khalema congratulated the students saying: ‘The calibre of work you produce is a testament to your input and dedication.’ He encouraged them to continue to excel.

Second-year Housing student Ms Lerato Moshoeshoe was both excited and proud to receive her award for academic excellence. ‘This recognition by the School acknowledges hard work, commitment and dedication to studies. This motivates me to work even harder.’

She advised other students to ‘work at your own pace but remember to always strive to achieve your goals’. Moshoeshoe plans to complete her degree and work as a professional planner.

Dr Egerton Hingston attended the event to accept an academic excellence and merit award on behalf of his daughter, Danita, who was unable to attend. ‘I am very proud of Danita,’ said Hingston. ‘She values the importance of education and worked hard to excel in her studies. I am glad UKZN recognises students in this way. It encourages them to do better.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photographs:  Albert Hirasen 


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UKZN Drama Student Directs Tragicomedy Production Serve ‘n Nuts

UKZN Drama Student Directs Tragicomedy Production Serve ‘n Nuts
The cast of Serve ‘n Nuts Mr Vukile Ngwenya, Ms Elisha Shalom Chetty, Ms Lihle Ngubo with Director Ms Saranya Devan.

Honours student in Drama and Performance Studies Ms Saranya Devan directed the tragicomedy production Serve ‘n Nuts - a tale of painful emotions candy-coated with humour and drama.

The show premiered at the Space Theatre on the Howard College campus and was an instant hit with audiences.

The play lifts the lid on three office colleagues - the typical Indian “aunty” Munniamma Moonsamy aka Sue Moon-samy, the stuck-up boss Yvonne Fortoen, who comes from a bi-racial background, and the happy-go-lucky spoilt African boy living an Afrikaner life, Jonothan aka Nkosinathi (his “Zulu” birth name).

All three “serve” their emotions with a made-up persona that sometimes sound nutty, hence the play’s title after a savoury snack.

Playing the lead characters are third-year Drama and Criminology student Ms Elisha Shalom Chetty (Munniamma Moonsamy), third-year Drama and Music Student Ms Lihle Ngubo (Yvonne Fortoen), and second-year Drama and Music student Mr Vukile Ngwenya (Nkosinathi van Niekerk).

The idea for the production materialised from Devan’s personal experience of noticing and dealing with people who have twangs in their voices.

‘The central theme of the play is that there is no need to put on an accent and adopt strange mannerisms, if only to please “other” people,’ said Devan.

‘One should strive to be oneself – and natural – otherwise life can be painful, even in the most ordinary situations. In the play, Sue Moon-samy wants to create an image and battles to eat a bunny chow with a fork and knife, all the time yearning to eat with her fingers.

‘One of the qualities that drew me to directing this play was the overwhelming support I received from my supervisors. Thereafter, the enjoyment increased as I saw the actors give of their best in terms of enthusiasm and bringing the characters to life. Thank you Lihle, Elisha and Vukile.’

When Devan began working on Serve ‘n Nuts, she hoped to share, with a group of friendly strangers, the joy, laughter, a sense of togetherness, and most importantly, the message of the play: embrace your true self.

‘At the end of the day we are all human beings and that is what should matter. It is not important how we dress, how we speak and what we eat.

‘It’s about time we stand up for our own identity in today’s society. I am sure that together we can all relate to the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that our actors strive to bring out through the humour and humanity of the characters they portray,’ said Devan.

Other Drama students who made their directorial debuts this semester are Mr Samkelo Ngcobo, Mr Sizwe Hlophe and Ms Marcia Mzindle.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photographs supplied by Saranya Devan


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Student Chapter of Black Lawyer’s Association Holds Dialogue

Student Chapter of Black Lawyer’s Association Holds Dialogue
The audience listens to the panelists’ view prior to engaging with them.

The student chapter of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) on the Pietermaritzburg campus held its first ever Student Thetha Dialogue with the topic being racism in the democratic era.

It proved to be an insightful debate which unearthed possible solutions to the continuing problem of racism in South Africa.

A member of the audience, Mr Siphesihle Zondi, commented that the event was a success and emphasised that everyone should be entitled to have a voice on the issue and share their stance moving forward to a more transparent democracy in South Africa.

BLA branch Chairperson Ms Nonopa Vanda, commended the branch as well as the students who took time out to attend. Vanda said the dialogues would continue under the BLA UKZN Pietermaritzburg banner to identify pertinent issues in society and possible solutions.

Words: Fezile Nqubeko Hlope


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Chota Motala Biography Launched on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus

Chota Motala Biography Launched on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus
From left: Mr Fuad Cassim, Professor Shireen Motala, Mr Irshad Motala, Mr Yunus Carrim (MP), Minister Pravin Gordhan, Mrs Rabia Motala, and Dr Zweli Mkhize.

About 300 guests attended the launch on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus of the book Chota Motala: A Biography of Political Activism in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, written by Professor Goolam Vahed.

The Motala family - including Ms Rabia Motala, widow of the late Dr Mahomed Moosa (Chota) Motala - co-hosted the event with UKZN Press.

Guests and speakers lauded the book for filling a gap in the legacy of liberation heroes from smaller areas, and for recording the history of the fight for democracy in South Africa.

Programme director Mr Yunus Carrim welcomed guests, who included the families of Motala as well as those of Mr Harry Gwala, Mr AS Chetty, Mr Archie Gumede, and Albert Luthuli, and of other notable heroes involved in the fight for South Africa’s liberation.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Zweli Mkhize, who wrote the foreword to the book, was the guest speaker.

Also present were the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan; Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, John Jeffery; Mr Truman Magubane; Msunduzi Mayor, Themba Njilo; KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Ravi Pillay, and the Head of the Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre at UKZN, Mrs Zandile Qono Reddy.

‘This book is not just about Motala personally; it is also about the history of his times, and of the Indian community and broader Pietermaritzburg community,’ said Carrim.

‘More than most, Motala was a community activist who wove together his political and medical roles,’ said Carrim.

Carrim added that one could not understand Motala without his wife Rabia, known as Auntie Choti.

Speakers referred to Motala’s example to younger politicians and freedom fighters, his commitment to non-racialism and his care for the communities he treated.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research at UKZN, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, welcomed distinguished guests, family and friends, and noted the achievement of Vahed.

‘UKZN Press is fulfilling our desire to be the Premier University of African Scholarship by publishing books like the one we are launching today,’ said Ramjugernath, adding that the work acknowledged the contribution of struggle veterans and activists to democracy, contributed to nation building and promoted social cohesion.

Vahed, who said he had aimed to capture Motala’s wider socio-economic context, praised Motala’s sacrifice of instant riches as a doctor for a life of social service and justice.

‘He was a man who ranged beyond the confines of his surgery, playing a role in linking struggles in racially segregated townships to a powerful and ultimately victorious movement.’

Vahed said it was the duty of academics and historians to record and publish the lives of great people. He thanked family and friends of Motala for their input into the book as well as UKZN Press and journalist Nalini Naidoo.

Gordhan acknowledged the importance of the book in recording events, providing particular context and acting as a collective memory. He said Motala’s life emphasised the importance of non-racialism, a principle crafted through struggle.

Mkhize, who said it was a special honour to be at the event, spoke about the impression made by Motala and colleagues on his (Mkhize’s) generation and credited the Natal Indian Congress for its role in the struggle, adding that men like Motala, who dealt with the most vulnerable, were inspired to act because of these people.

‘He taught us when you deal with an illness, you diagnose an ailment of the whole community,’ said Mkhize. ‘Unless you change the socio-economic conditions around any patient, you will continue to treat the person in a way that is not sustainable. The best way to solve the problem was to go out and fight apartheid.

‘Dr Motala drew his inspiration from people who put the needs of other people first - his career could offer all the trappings of the privileged but he threw in his lot with the poor,’ said Mkhize.

Guests at the event commented on the influence of Motala in their lives; many noted his neighbourliness, his humility, and his hospitality, saying he gave Pietermaritzburg a soul.

Motala’s daughter, Professor Shireen Motala, thanked guests for their contributions, and said a sense of history and warmth had emerged from the event, making it a rich and emotional day.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Alistair Nixon


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Supply Chain Student Association Announces New Branch

Supply Chain Student Association Announces New Branch
Supply Chain Student Association members with School of Management, IT and Governance academics.

The Supply Chain Student Association (SCSA) recently held a meeting to announce the formation of a branch in Pietermaritzburg and also to encourage students to join the association.

SCSA was founded by Supply Chain Management postgraduate students after they realised final year and postgraduate students were often uninformed about what was expected of them in the workplace.

The Association hosts seminars and site visits where students get to interact with industry experts to broaden their knowledge and outlook on how supply chain practices are practically applied. The initiative has been applauded by Professor Betty Mubangizi of the School of Management, IT and Governance.

‘In university there are a lot of associations and clubs but this one is quite unique because it links social aspects within the context of an academic programme,’ said Mubangizi. ‘This means that as students you are aware that having theory is not enough - your objectives are very noble and you have shown leadership which makes us proud as a School.’

Students were addressed by representatives of prospective employers eThekwini Municipality’s Supply Chain Division who discussed human resources and recruitment processes, their work experience programme for graduates and the upcoming eThekwini Youth Employability Indaba and KZN Career Expo where students could interact with KwaZulu-Natals’s captains of industry.

Chairperson of the SCSA Westville campus branch Ms Zolani Mbindwane said they were optimistic about the Association’s growth especially the newly-established Pietermaritzburg branch. ‘This platform has groomed us to be better leaders for the future. As an organisation we can only recruit a few candidates out of the thousands of UKZN students but we do hope that you will join us and help us make this organisation grow,’ said Mbindwane.

Supply Chain lecturer MS Nomalizo Dyili said it was inspiring to see students take charge and responsibility for their education.

‘The Association is a think tank for students founded after the realisation that there are gaps between university education and the world of work. Although it was started with the assistance of academics, students have been driving it from day one and we encourage you to be part of it,’ said Dyili.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo


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Cum Laude Masters Graduate Poised for Successful Career in Sugar Industry

<em>Cum Laude</em> Masters Graduate Poised for Successful Career in Sugar Industry
Mr Sbonelo Shezi.

An Assistant Research Officer at the South African Sugar Association (SASA), Mr Sbonelo Nicholus Shezi, has received his Master of Science in Agriculture degree cum laude studying through UKZN and the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI).

Shezi of Port Shepstone, who chose UKZN for his studies because of its impressive international rating, decided to concentrate on Crop Science so he could play a role through innovative research to help farmers achieve greater yields and thus improve food security.

Knowing his career could provide a better life for his family and having the desire to become a mentor to youth in his community, inspired him to do well in his studies.

Coming from a poor community, he said he had been determined to uplift people in his area and become someone his parents and others could be proud of.

‘It was tough sometimes but when you focus and know that every action has consequences it’s easy to make a decision based on your goals,’ said Shezi.

Shezi’s research involved assessing the agronomic performance of tissue culture (NovaCane®) versus conventional seedcane under rain fed conditions. His study aimed to ascertain growth and yield differences between tissue-cultured (TC) and conventionally (Conv) propagated sugarcane plants for different cultivars across two crops and two different plant spacing in the first vegetative propagation stage, and later at a second stage, established at three planting rates.

Shezi hopes this work will contribute to a complete understanding of any yield penalties associated with the use of TC plants, and help to better advise seed bulking co-operators and commercial growers.

‘The project was an excellent innovation for the manipulation of cane genetic material to enhance production,’ said Shezi’s supervisor, Professor Albert Modi, who congratulated him on his success and on overcoming hurdles along the way.

Shezi thanked Modi for believing in him and affording him the opportunity to pursue his masters with SASRI.

He also thanked his supervisor at SASRI Dr Sanesh Ramburan for his advice and encouragement, Dr Sandy Snyman for her input as well as the Nazareth Tertiary Student Association (NATESA) for their support, prayers and guidance.

Shezi paid special thanks to his family, especially his mother and only sister, for their love, patience and support. He also thanked his friends at UKZN and SASRI, especially Lindani Cebelihle Mchunu.

Shezi plans to continue studying onto doctorate level. His current role at SASA involves assistance with planning, co-ordinating and supervising of field operations associated with variety evaluation trials and plant breeding activities.

Shezi is passionate about the environment and says his job has enabled him to do what he enjoys most: interacting with it.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph supplied by Sbonelo Shezi 


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Oncologist to Give Back to UKZN

Oncologist to Give Back to UKZN
Compassionate Oncologist Dr Sithembile Ngidi.

UKZN alumnus Dr Sithembile Ngidi says she will offer oncology training to undergraduate Medical students at no cost to the University or the students involved.

Based at the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Johannesburg, Ngidi said she planned to visit Durban once a month as an honorary lecturer providing a day of teaching in various oncology modules.

Due to the ongoing oncology crisis in KwaZulu-Natal, UKZN lost its accreditation to train registrars in oncology with a major hurdle being the shortage of State oncologists to provide training in Durban.

Ngidi is passionate about the field and committed to growing oncology as a specialisation in the city.

‘The Oncology department has collapsed as there are no state oncologists left in Durban,’ said Ngidi. ‘I want to give back and be part of the change that will develop UKZN’s reputation once again as a powerhouse in training the country’s best oncologists. I also want to be at my alma mater and help the University that helped me reach my goals in Medicine.’

Ngidi was born and raised in Gamalakhe, a township on the outskirts of Port Shepstone on KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast. She grew up in a large household with four siblings. ‘Medicine has always fascinated me. Being able to explore, heal and fix is inspiring. I was a sickly child so I want to help prevent others from suffering the way I did,’ said Ngidi.

A Clinical and Radiation Oncologist, she completed her undergraduate degree, fellowship and Master’s degree in Oncology at UKZN. In 2015, at the age of 31, she qualified as KwaZulu-Natal’s first Black female Oncologist and only the country’s second.

‘UKZN has produced South Africa’s finest clinical and radiation oncologists. We were the leading university when it came to technology and knowledge in Radiation Oncology. Graduates from UKZN’s Radiation Oncology departments were respected and sought after both in the public and private sector.’

Ngidi has offered UKZN her expertise with no salary but will pursue her love for research and publish through the Institution. She also intends to register for a PhD through UKZN and become UKZN’s first doctoral graduate in Radiation Oncology.

Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Ncoza Dlova, was ecstatic to hear about Ngidi’s plans to give back to UKZN. ‘I would like to encourage all UKZN alumni to give back and make a positive difference to our University.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis


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UKZN Hosts School Principals and Teachers

UKZN Hosts School Principals and Teachers
UKZN hosted Stakeholder Relations breakfasts in Newcastle and Pietermaritzburg.

UKZN’s Corporate Relations (CRD) team hosted school principals and teachers during Stakeholder Relations breakfasts in Newcastle and on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Acting Executive Director of CRD Ms Normah Zondo said that as part of the strategic vision, UKZN is geared towards an institutional climate that promotes excellence, transformation, service culture, innovation and entrepreneurship. 'At UKZN we are passionate about teaching and learning. Our purpose of INSPIRING GREATNESS is what we aspire to achieve in all we do,’ said Zondo.

In her presentation, Acting University Relations Director Dr Sally Frost added that collective collaboration between higher education and secondary schools was vital in ensuring that communication channels remained strong, open and geared towards being relevant for discerning high school learners.

‘UKZN remains committed to being a truly transformed South African university that focuses on teaching and learning, research and community outreach,’ said Frost.

‘At UKZN, we are acutely aware of the role we play in promoting academic excellence, including building strong relationships with the communities we serve. Being future leaders and captains of industry, our students remain our most important asset and source of pride. So we know that the conversation should start when they are still high school learners.’

Presentations dealt with equipping students to meet the needs of global citizenry, the roles of Higher Education Institutes and schools in guiding learners to choose correct careers, and the importance of ensuring that applications to the Central Applications Office (CAO) were done correctly and timeously.

Associate Professor Nyna Amin of the Discipline of Curriculum Studies, addressed issues from an academic’s perspective.

‘In an age of uncertainty and ambiguity, schools will require intelligent leadership, dynamic teamwork and distributed caring for success,’ said Amin.

Central Admissions Office Chief Executive Officer Mr George van der Ross reflected on statistics in KwaZulu-Natal for the last two years, saying that UKZN remained the first choice University for students.

‘University readiness begins at school level,’ said van der Ross. ‘We need to engage with our learners from as early as Grade 9 to assist with subject choices and develop a personalised approach to understanding learner needs. This impacts directly on the types of qualifications and programmes they will have the opportunity to apply for when ready to take the next step.

‘Educators therefore have the important role of guiding and motivating their students to put them on the path to their goals. Lack of and incorrect information, wrong reference guides and late applications are some of the issues that cause unsuccessful applications - but which are easily avoidable. Correct and timeous information are vital,’ he said.

Education specialists Mr Reggie Khuzwayo of the Amajuba District and Mrs Nomhle Zondi of the Umgungundlovu district represented KZN’s Department of Education.

‘Stakeholder events such as this tell us that the door is wide open for engagement. Institutes like UKZN are excited and willing to partner. When we open doors to our learners, we make profound advancements to young lives with a very positive ripple effect,’ said Zondi.

Phendukani High School in Newcastle and Pietermaritzburg Girls High School were both presented with certificates in recognition of being top feeder schools for UKZN in their respective areas.

Words: Rakshika Sibran


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Umhlangano Wokucobelelana Ngolwazi Lokuthuthukiswa Kwamatemu EsiZulu

Umhlangano Wokucobelelana Ngolwazi Lokuthuthukiswa Kwamatemu EsiZulu
Izethameli zomhlangano, uSolwazi uAntia Bassey kanye nabasebenzi base ULPDO.

I-ULPDO ibinomhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi lwemithetho yokuthuthukiswa kwamatemu nemigomo yakho ngomhla ziyi-18-19 kuMbasa 2018 eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natal, esigcemeni sase Westville.

iHhovisi liyaqhubeka nokuba nemihlangano ethuthukisa ulwazi longoti bezilimi ukuze izimiso nemigomo yenqubomngomo yolimi yase Nyuvesi YakwaZulu-Natali zifezeke. Lo mhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi ungenye yezindlela ezibalulekile ukuthuthukisa ulimi lwesiZulu futhi ihambiselana nenye yezinhloso yehhovisi i-ULPDO Ukugqugquzela, sisize futhi siqikelele ukulandelwa kwezimiso zomthetho ekuthuthukisweni kwamatemu eZilimi Zomdabu.

Ukuthuthukiswa kwamatemu esiZulu kudinga ulwazi olunzulu lwenqubomgomo kanye nemithetho egunyazwe umhlaba wonke yokuthuthukisa izilimi, ingakhoke ihhovisi lisebenzisane nongoti onolwazi olunzulu ekuthuthukiseni izilimi futhi oyaziyo lemithetho esikhulume ngayo ngenhla, uSolwazi uAntia Bassey osemkantshubovu kulomkhakha. USolwazi uAntia Bassey ucobelele izithameli zalomhlangano ngolwazi lokubaluleka kokusebenzisa lemithetho ekuthuthukiseni izilimi zomdabu ikakhulukazi lwesiZulu ikakhulukazi ekwakhiweni kwamatemu asezingeni elamukelekile umhlaba wonke.

Isifundo sakhe besinohlonze futhi sinike izithameli zalomhlangano ithuba lokuthi zikhululeke futhi zibe ingxenye ngokubuza nokubeka imibono ngokungesabi. Lo mhlangano ubuthanyelwe ongoti bolimi lwesiZulu abasebenza ezikhungweni ezahlukahlukene singabala kuzo, ibhodi lokuthuthukiswa kwezilimi i-PanSALB, abasebenzi bomnyango wezilimi ePhalamende lase Ningizimu Afrika, isishayamthetho sakwaZulu-Natali, i-University of Zululand (Ungoye), iNyuvesi laKwaZulu-Natali, i- Durban University of Technology (DUT), abasebenzi basenkantolo i-CCMA, abasebenzi base RAF, uMnyango wamaSiko noBuciko waKwaZulu-Natal, abasebenzi bomnyango wezilimi kuMasipala waseThekwini, izikhungo ezizimele ezithuthukisa ulimi kanye nezishoshovu zolimi ezizimele.

Esephetha uBassey ugcizelele ukubaluleka kokusebenzisa lolu hlaka lwemithetho ekwakhiweni kolimi lwesiZulu ukuze sibe sezingeni elilinganayo nezilimi zonke emhlabeni jikelele. Umhlangano ube impumelelo. USolwazi wamukelise bonke abebethamele lo mhlangano ngezitifiketi zokuba ingxenye yomhlangano.

Words: Ndabaonline 


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UKZN BELS Students Excel on National Sports Stage

UKZN BELS Students Excel on National Sports Stage
BELS stars Mr Devin O’ Regan and Mr Sandile Ngcobo.

Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences (BELS) students Mr Devin O’ Regan and Mr Sandile Ngcobo represented UKZN at the Volleyball South Africa National Club Championship in Johannesburg.

The duo were also in the KwaZulu-Natal team which competed in the National Volleyball League in Durban.

A visibly elated BELS Academic Leader Dr Rowena Naidoo said her Discipline proudly supported the young volleyball players, ‘Both these young men are talented sportsmen and have excelled in their sports careers from a young age. They are role models of the Discipline and the University. We will continue to support them in their sporting and academic lives.’

O’Regan, a Biokineticist, is currently completing his Master’s degree in Sport Science. The recipient of the University’s Prestigious Sports Scholarship, he captained the University’s student team to victory and received UKZN’s 2015 Sportsman of the Year Award. 

His research focuses on the health and wellness of students living on campus. ‘I would like to promote healthier lifestyle habits among our students as well as encourage them to participate in university sports,’ said O’Regan.

Eighteen-year-old Ncgobo, born and raised in the Hambanathi Township, Tongaat, is a first-year Bachelor of Sport Science student. He started playing volleyball at the age of 11.

He received provincial colours in 2016 at the Schools Winter Games where he received the Best Setter Award. In 2017, he again he received the Best Setter award and also the Most Valuable Player Award.

A talented young sportsman, Ncgobo is passionate about his career in Sport Science ‘There are many young kids in South Africa who are talented in various sport codes but are not recognised, especially in townships and rural areas. I hope that as a sport scientist, I can make a difference and provide opportunities for such talent to be recognised,’ he said.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini


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Guest Lecture Explores Role of Small Towns in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Guest Lecture Explores Role of Small Towns in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Guest speaker Ms Phila Xuza with Graduate School of Business and Leadership academics.

The role of small towns in post-apartheid South Africa was the topic of a guest lecture delivered at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) by the Director of the Centre for Small Towns Regeneration Ms Phila Xuza.

As a leading strategist, scholar and practitioner of spatial economic development in African small towns, Xuza was invited by GSB&L academic Dr Bhasela Yalezo to share with his local economic development class her insightful views of how towns have changed since democracy.

‘Small towns played a very important role in South Africa’s development. In the 1960s, although they were preserved as the most plethoral link of the urban system, these places were important centres through innovation and urban services that were diffused to the surrounding villages,’ said Xuza.

She went on to elaborate how in the 1970s the role of towns shifted and became more administrative. This meant small towns being viewed by the capital system or former colonial powers as places to acquire resources such as people, materials and raw materials.

Xuza then moved on to the 1980s describing how new urban policies favoured towns which played the role of being service centres in rural regions and how with the new political climate of the 1990s towns found themselves under threat again.

‘The change in pass control laws enabled people to move freely which led to the loss of skills. The development of shopping malls meant people no longer had a reason to go to town leading to the demise of some CBDs. Then in 2000 the new wall-to-wall municipal demarcation after the December election changed the game - some towns almost disappeared and some municipalities lost their administrative functions.’

Xuza said while good urban management; functional systems; communication; partnerships; gap house market development; good leadership and governance, and a team of experts were important in developing towns, research also had its place which is why she encouraged researchers to contribute their expertise into this space.

‘We know very little about our towns where the vast majority of our population live and yet we know so much about cities.
‘I am always encouraged by the research coming out of universities and refer to it at every gathering I am part of. We need to think about why townships are not part of towns, why retail in small towns is a problem and to take into account the land debates taking place from a spatial perspective,’ said Xuza.

‘I invite you through your research to explore these issues and get government to see things the way we do.’

Words: Thandiwe Jumo


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UKZN Hosts Capacity-Building Workshop on Climate Adaptation for Local Government

UKZN Hosts Capacity-Building Workshop on Climate Adaptation for Local Government
Delegates at the climate resilience workshop at UKZN’s Ukulinga Research Farm.

Researchers from UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) involved in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s (UMDM) uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) hosted a half-day workshop at the Ukulinga Research Farm to focus on capacity building within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (KZNDARD).

The second in a series of UKZN-KZNDARD training sessions, it was attended by 35 scientists, extension officers and practitioners from KZNDARD.

The URP is a climate change adaptation project funded by the global Adaptation Fund through the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). It includes a component that is aimed at improving capacity and sharing learning between communities that are leading the implementation of early warning systems, climate-proof settlements and climate-resistant agriculture, all of which are development targets of the URP.

This component led to the workshop at which KZNDARD extension officers within uMgungundlovu were coached on climate change adaptation. UKZN and KZNDARD maintain a working relationship under an official memorandum of understanding.

Emeritus Professor Roland Schulze spoke on: An Introduction to Climate Change, during which he focused on providing a basic introductory course on climate change and sharing the outputs of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Climate Change Adaptation Handbook.

‘It is our hope that the handbook will become a very useful tool for the department and other professionals working in agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal,’ said Technical Co-ordinator Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi.

Schulze set the scene by speaking about farming systems in KwaZulu-Natal, including natural assets and deficiencies in climate, landscape and soils, and then addressed climate as a driver of agricultural production in the province, with the added challenge of climate change. He also spoke about vulnerabilities and challenges faced by small scale subsistence farmers.

Schulze expounded on projections of what could be expected in terms of the changing climate in KwaZulu-Natal, including temperature changes and their implications, frost occurrence, heat units, rainfall, soil water, and droughts.

His presentation offered suggestions of how to cope with climate change through climate smart farming, and what this would mean. He also gave example of how climate change could affect key produce including maize, sweet potatoes, dry beans, soybeans, sugarcane, dairy cattle and pigs.

Deputy manager of uMgungundlovu Extension and Advisory Services at KZNDARD, Mr Dayanand Chetty, thanked the University and UMDM for the workshop and the valuable information presented.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod 


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UKZN Academics Deliver Presentations at New York Conference

UKZN Academics Deliver Presentations at New York Conference
From left: Dr Diane van Staden, Professor Verusia Chetty, Mrs Stacy Maddocks, Dr Velisha Perumal-Pillay, Dr Saul Cobbing, Mr Ntsikelelo Pefile, and Dr Varsha Bangalee and her son, Josh.

Several UKZN Physiotherapy academics presented their postdoctoral and doctoral research outcomes at the 2018 Consortium of Universities for Global Health Conference in New York City.

Among them were Professor Verusia Chetty, Dr Saul Cobbling, Mrs Stacy Maddocks and Mr Ntsikelelo Pefile.

Physiotherapy Academic leader Cobbling presented a paper titled: Before the Exercise I Considered Myself as a Sick Person. After Joining the Programme I Started Feeling Free: Participants’ Reflections on a Home-Based Rehabilitation Intervention for People Living with HIV in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

The study examined the experiences people living with HIV had after receiving rehabilitation in their own homes and how their lives have changed as a result a year later. Chetty and Maddocks were co-researchers in Cobbing’s project.

Pefile presented a paper titled: Current Rehabilitation Practices for Spinal Cord Injuries in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Opportunities for Vocational Rehabilitation. His study investigated the structure, process and outcomes of rehabilitation for people who sustain spinal cord injuries.

The results indicated that there were limited interventions aimed at improving the employment outcomes for people who sustained such injuries. The study concluded by indicating that there was a need for a co-ordinated, multidisciplinary model to guide employment outcomes among people living with spinal cord injuries in KwaZulu-Natal.

Fellow academics Professor Fatima Suleman, Dr Varsha Bangalee, Dr Diane van Staden and Dr Velisha Perumal-Pillay also showcased important research being done at UKZN addressing health disparities in a local and global context.

Titled: Evaluating the Impact of the Single Exit Price Policy on a Basket of Medicines in South Africa from 1999 to 2014 Using a Time Series Analysis, Suleman’s study evaluated the impact of the Single Exit Price (SEP) on a basket of original medicines, in terms of costs, immediate savings and projected savings.

In order to introduce transparency in the private market, the government introduced SEP - a fixed ex-factory price with a logistics fee component and value added tax for medicines - in 2004 for all prescription medicines. Her study indicated that the SEP regulation had a major impact on medicine pricing in South Africa in both the short and long term.

‘Most medicines investigated showed a smaller yearly increase in price compared to before regulations due to the controlled pricing environment introduced by Government,’ said Suleman.

The study provided evidence of the impact of medicine pricing intervention from a middle income country. ‘Useful lessons can be drawn by other developing countries looking at introducing medicine price controls,’ she added.

Bangalee said the high costs of therapeutic drugs remained a barrier to accessibility and improved health to the majority of South Africans. ‘While several studies reveal the price-lowering effect of generic competition with respect to the number of brands in the overall market, very little data is available within a specific drug therapeutic class.’

Bangalee presented a study titled: An Investigation of the Relationship between the Number of Generic Drugs and Pricing within a Therapeutic Class. The work examined the relationship between generic drug price competition and the number of brands within the cardiovascular class of drugs while comparing South African prices with International Reference Prices.

‘The results from our analysis do not indicate that there is a price-lowering effect for cardiovascular drugs with increased generic competition. While the pro-generic legislations may seek to increase accessibility to medicines and improved healthcare, the implementation of SEP may result in long term unintended effects by interfering in the normal market processes,’ said Bangalee.

She added that the differences between the high South African medicine prices and international prices warrant the implementation of future policy evaluations as well as possible pricing interventions such as benchmarking and reference pricing in an effort to lower drug prices.

Van Staden presented her concept paper on Decentralised Clinical Training (DCT) in Optometry titled: Social Responsiveness in Optometric Education: Addressing Eye Health and Development Challenges through a Community-based Model of Training in South Africa.

She will be investigating various aspects relating to DCT in optometry with the purpose of defining a socially responsive approach to training within the profession in the context of a DCT model.

Perumal-Pillay’s paper: Quantitative Evaluation of Essential Medicines Lists: The South African Case Study, investigated changes in South Africa’s Standard Treatment Guidelines and Essential Medicines Lists (STGs/EMLs).

‘The results showed substantial transformation in the number of medicines made available with subsequent editions of STGs/EMLs impacting on strengthening the provision for healthcare in the country,’ said Perumal-Pillay.

The study called for continuous monitoring of STGs/EMLs development and implementation to better understand reasons behind changes to adequately address healthcare needs of South Africans within budgetary constraints. ‘It provided important lessons for other low-middle income countries employing STGs/EMLs in their healthcare system.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini


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I-CAES Ibungaze Othisha Bayo Abavelele

I-CAES Ibungaze Othisha Bayo Abavelele
Kusukela kwesokunxele: uDkt Sudan Hansraj, uDkt Ché Pillay, uDkt David Lokhat kanye noDkt Matthew Akerman.

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Izifundiswa ezine zase-UKZN eKolishi YeZolimo, EzobuNjiniyela NeSayensi (i-CAES)  ziklonyeliswe ngezindondo ze-2017 Distinguished Teacher Award (i-DTA).

I-DTA ihlonipha imizamo yabasebenzi yokufundisa ngokuzimisela baphinde bakwazi ukwenza ucwaningo nomsebenzi wokufundisa ngokulingene, bezinikele kwezokufunda nokufundisa okusezingeni eliphezulu.

Lezi zifundiswa ezine kubalwa kuzo uDkt Matthew Akerman waseSikoleni seKhemistri NeFiziksi, uDkt David Lokhat waseSikoleni SezobuNjiniyela, uDkt Che Pillay waseSikoleni Sezifundo Ngokuphilayo kanye noDkt Sudan Hansraj waseSikoleni SezeziBalo, Izibalimidanti Nezifundo ZeKhompyutha.

IDini eyibamba Kwezokufunda Nokufundisa kwi-CAES, uSolwazi Naven Chetty wamukele izihambeli emcimbini lapho uSolwazi Ross Robinson eklomelise u-Akerman ngendondo ayibiza ngefanelekile.

U-Akerman usebambe iqhaza elikhulu emisebenzini ehlose ukuthuthukisa ezemfundo eSikoleni njengothisha kanye noMholi Wezokufunda Nokufundisa. Usethuthukise izinsizakusebenza ezintsha zokufundisa ezizolekelela ukufunda, lokhu kuhlanganisa amavidiyo okukhombisa indlelakwenza angesiNgisi nangesiZulu ukuze abafundi abenza unyaka wokuqala bakwazi ukuzijwayeza isimo sase-lebhu yeKhemistri, namavidiyo kanye namanothi omsebenzi wesikole afundisa ngezihloko ezibucayi emazingeni aphezulu.

Uselekelele ekuthuthukiseni amamojuli amasha eKhemistri neFiziksi, wahlanganisa ukubuyekezwa kwangaphandle kwawo wonke amameja e-SCP, waphinde wanikeza uvo lwakhe emaphanelini abuyekezayo. 

USolwazi Christina Trois unikeze u-Lokhat indondo yakhe, washayela ihlombe ukudlulisa ulwazi kwakhe ngokuzinikela. U-Lokhat, ofundisa ezobunjiniyela eziyisisekelo kanye nezisebenzisa ukulumbana kwamakhemikhali, usenze ukudluliswa kolwazi kwaba yinto ethokozelwayo ngokwethula indlela yokufundisa yaseklasini ebizwa nge-post-practical assessment.

U-Lokhat waziwa njengomuntu wabantu aphinde abe umqeqeshi nomeluleki ozinikelayo. Ucwaningo lakhe ekudwetshweni kwesilumbanisi makhemikhali, i-optimisation ne-chemical kinetics seluhehe imali eningi, futhi ungumcwaningi osekushicilelwe okuningi ngaye wathola nemiklomelo eminingi.

U-Pillay wamukele indondo abeyiklonyeliswa uSolwazi Ademola Olaniran, ogcizelele uthando nokuzimisela kuka-Pillay ngocwaningo lwakhe lwezinhlelo ze-redoxin. U-Olaniran ugcizelele ukukholelwa kuka-Pillay emsebenzini osezingeni eliphezulu, okubonakala emibhalweni aseyishicilele.

Kubalulekile ku-Pillay ukuqonda ukuthi kuphathwa kanjani ngobuhlakani nokuthola izindlela ezintsha zokusebenza, futhi uyakugqugquzela ukubuzwa kwemibuzo enza abantu bakhulume. Uhlola izindlela zokufundisa ezahlukahlukene, futhi usethule ifomu lokufunda ukuze athuthukise amakhono okucabanga. Uvamise ukuhola izingxoxo emaklasini, aphinde agcizelele ukuqeqeshwa ngendlela yokubuzana.

U-Hansraj, owamukela indondo yakhe kuSolwazi Delia North, unesipiliyoni ekufundiseni izibalo zemfundo zebanga eliphansi kuya ezingeni lobudokotela. Usebhale incwadi yokufunda yabafundi abenza unyaka wokuqala ezifundweni zobunjiniyela ukulekelela abafundi abangenzi kahle, usebenzisa ubuchwepheshe uma efundisa, obuhlanganisa i-website namavidiyo, futhi uzimisele ukuxoxa ngobuhle bezibalo.

U-Hansraj, oseshicilele imibhalo eminingi yokulungiselela izivivinyo yezikole zamabanga aphakeme waphinde wabhala nangokufundisa izibalo, uyisikhulumi esithandekayo kwizingqungquthela zezemfundo e-Afrika yonkana futhi usehlele izingqungquthela ngokufundisa izibalo emanyuvesi kanye nendima edlalwa ukuzimela. u-Hansraj ungumcwaningi nomeluleki oseshicilele kakhulu, usebenzisana nabacwaningi emhlabeni jikelele. Uthanda i-Lovelock and Einstein-Gauss-Bonnet higher curvature theory ye-gravitational field.  Usebenzisana kakhulu nomphakathi kanye namakomidi ezezibalo.

Obambe njengePhini Lesekelashansela Kwezokufunda Nokufundisa, uSolwazi Bala Pillay, wavala umcimbi, ebonga abathole imiklomelo ngokubamba iqhaza kwezokufunda nokufundisa e-UKZN.

Amagama: u-Christine Cuénod


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Benina’s Creations Stir Interest

Benina’s Creations Stir Interest
Benina’s Creations for all to see.

A flair for the arts and crafts led to the creation of a unique technique in clothing design by UKZN’s Principle Programme Officer (PPO), Ms Benina Mkhonto, who is based in the School of Nursing and Public Health (NPH).

The exclusive fashion wear, grounded in an African ethnic style, is impressive with the potential to compete on world markets. For now, fashion design is still a hobby for Mkhonto but her work has won the interest of many curious onlookers and fashionistas.

Benina’s Creations are handcrafted designs made free hand, using no needle, cotton or stitching. Rather, fabric is cut into the desired style and then knotted to ensure a comfortable fit; forming tassels.

Mkhonto, crafted her first dress at the age of 15 and won third prize at her school’s Arbor Day design competition for a creation made out of black bin bags and orange sacks.

With a flair for crafting, she went on to experiment with transforming women’s jeans into skirts and forming tassels on T-shirts.

Said Mkhonto: ‘In March this year, a friend of mine got married and I struggled to find a suitable outfit to wear to the wedding. I wanted something unique and trendy but with a distinct look that would set me apart. I then began crafting my first tassel dress and called it my Jungle dress.’

Since the beginning of April, Mkhonto has crafted more than 30 dresses and wears them regularly to the office, stirring the interest of colleagues and stakeholders at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences. Fabrics used includes leather, PU leather, velvet and jungle/army fabric – all bought from fabric factory shops.

Mhkonto stated: ‘My designs are a gift from God. I am guided by my spirituality and pray often for inspiration to create the ultimate unique design.’

A single mother to nine-year-old Azande, Mhkonto has an Honours degree in Sports Science and has been employed at UKZN since 2006 initially as a student mentor, then an Academic Development Officer and more recently a PPO managing a team of 10.

She is also a very active member of the Every Nation Student Christian Club at UKZN, otherwise referred to as “His People”, where she volunteers her time in community engagement projects around conflict resolution.

‘I love to design and craft and am so grateful to my colleagues, my leaders, friends, family and my church for their ongoing support.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis


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Behind the Scenes - Graduation Video Production 2018

Behind the Scenes - Graduation Video Production 2018
Lights, camera, action - it was somewhat of a relief when the director announced: ‘that’s a wrap, strike set’. The Graduation video marathon that spanned eight days in two cities was over.

Graduation is a culmination of a journey of hard work and dedication by students with their families’ support. An achievement that would be a lasting memory.

Corporate Relations Division (CRD) covered 20 Graduation sessions which were successfully live-streamed to You Tube and Facebook for audiences all over the world.

‘To celebrate and honor this milestone, CRD was pleased to afford graduates the opportunity to download their graduation videos from the University website free of charge. To date we have had over 2 000 downloads,’ said Producer, Mr Ruben Murugan.

The event was captured using five high definition cameras vision mixed live with the Video Production Unit’s, Outside Broadcast (OB) van.

Murugan said they were very proud of the Centre for Visual Arts students who had embraced the challenge to be part of the Graduation video production crew.

The students were mentored over the past year by the various staff members who provided hands-on training involving camera operations, video editing, lighting and technical elements both in studio and in outside broadcast environments. 

The BA Visual Arts students included third-year Ms Tholakele Hlongwa, Mr Xolani Mnguni and Mr Zico Mthethwa; while honours students were Mr Siyabonga Ngubane, Mr Sphelele Nzimande, and Mr Siyabonga Sibiya. While working as a camera operator during the ceremonies, Nzimande graduated with a BA Honours degree.

The Production team thanked the Centre for Visual Arts and its students for their contribution.

Words: Ruben Murugan 


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Zimbabwe’s Independence Day Celebrated at UKZN

Zimbabwe’s Independence Day Celebrated at UKZN
UKZN international students celebrate Zimbabwe’s Independence Day with a friendly game of soccer.

Zimbabwean students celebrated their country’s Independence Day with a variety of activities on the Howard College campus in Durban.

A highlight of the day was Zimbabwe soccer players winning the Independence Cup after victories against Nigerian and South African counterparts.

The event was all about fun, reunion and networking with students from all campuses joining in festivities.

‘This is a beautiful day for me because I got to make friends and can identify with people from and around Zimbabwe,’ said one of those enjoying the fun. ‘Thanks to the International office and the team that made this day a success.’

Zimbabwean Zandie Mpofu, a postgraduate student in UKZN’s School of Law, said: ‘Zimbabwe is a beautiful country despite its economic and political struggles. We know and pray that with the help of our neighbours, South Africa included, it will rise again.’

Speaking at the gathering, President of the Zimbabwe Society of UKZN (ZimSoc) Mr Simba Tembo gave a brief history of the liberation struggle, explaining what he believed independence meant to Zimbabweans. ‘Independence is an achievement we hold very close to our hearts and will forever celebrate. It reminds us of our liberation war heroes who sacrificed all they had, including their lives, for us to be free.’

Words: Venencia Nyambuya


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