UKZN Honorary Doctorate for Renowned SA Jazz Musician

UKZN Honorary Doctorate for Renowned SA Jazz Musician
Dr Vusi Mahlasela was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Music from UKZN.

Legendary and socially conscious South African musician, Dr Vusi Mahlasela, who has addressed issues of social justice throughout his music career spanning over two decades, was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate in Music by UKZN for his outstanding contribution to the betterment of South African society and the global music industry.

Internationally renowned for his poetic and unique voice through which he delivers songs that carry messages of freedom and humanity, Mahlasela is a celebrated guitarist, percussionist, composer, arranger, band leader and performer who wrote songs about justice, freedom, revolution, love, peace and life during the apartheid years. 

At his Graduation ceremony, Mahlasela spoke fondly about the power of music, saying not only does it have the power to nourish the soul, expand the brain, heal the sick and keep families and communities together; its power also transcends difficult times such as conflict and even death.

‘But, is music capable of doing these in South Africa which is considered the most unequal society in the world? How is it possible for music to do all these if artists themselves die of hunger from exploitation, only to be remembered and celebrated by those who (are) supposed to care for them, government in particular, when they are dead and given glowing obituaries? How do those who buy music contribute to the welfare of musicians when they purchase counterfeits in the streets? Where is the law enforcement in this regard? I’m certain that I’m not the first to pose these difficult questions. They have been asked many times before, and I suspect an inquiry will continue well into the future. But, is anyone listening, or perhaps should I say ‘who is supposed to listen?’ The answer is simply: all of us as a nation’ said Mahlasela while focusing his attention on the difficulties faced by musicians in South Africa.

He spoke about the SABC’s decision to pay needle time royalties to local music artists for songs played on its 18 radio stations for the 2014-2015 period. While Mahlasela said this decision is welcomed, he added that it raises concerns such as the fate of the galaxy of musicians exploited throughout their careers and died before the cut-off period. ‘Why the cut-off date in the first instance and what informs it? How much are musicians likely to make since the (public) broadcaster, and all other media outlets in the country, are obsessed with playing overseas music?’ he asked.

‘Controversies aside,’ continued Mahlasela, ‘The local music fraternity temporarily tasted a bit of Africa’s musical cake with the 90 percent local content playing quota. Now we are back to western cultural imposition which indoctrinates the nation to doubt or despise itself. To its credit though, the SABC has called for public submissions on its editorial policy review. Musicians can only cook, dish and enjoy this food themselves, together with those for whom they create it in the first instance, if given genuine opportunities when those who have the means can, to use the pun, put their monies where their mouths are. On this note, I call upon all South Africans in the form of citizens, government, academia and business to invest in and support the arts in a sustained, tangible and substantive manner,’ said Mahlasela.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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PhD for 79-Year-Old Theology Graduate

PhD for 79-Year-Old Theology Graduate
Dr Ossie Kretzmann gets his PhD in Theology.

Dr Ossie Kretzmann will tell you that it is never too late to start something new or take your life to new heights.

This is because at 79, Kretzmann attained his PhD in Theology during UKZN’s Spring Graduation ceremonies. ‘I feel humble but deeply fulfilled and grateful. It’s a paradoxical feeling that I have,’ he said. ‘While the study has been long and hard, it has also given me joy over the acquisition of new knowledge. I also realised how little I know,’ he added.

Kretzmann, the oldest graduate from the College of Humanities who also ministered the late statesman, Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, said his age did not deter him from pursuing his degree as he needed to study to make a fundamental contribution to a theological issue in the Methodist Church. 

His study looked at baptismal convergence in relation to sacramental baptism and rebaptism. The findings were tested according to Methodist Church South Africa (MCSA) sacramental and evangelical hermeneutical requirement for an accurate Christian result. ‘These principles of testing form the basis of what it ultimately means for the Bible to be the highest authority and thus should serve as an objective arbiter for all matters of dispute within MCSA doctrine and theology,’ he said.

Kretzmann is grateful to God, his wife Deirdre, children, and especially supervisors Professor Lilian Siwila and Dr Helen Keith-van Wyk for their indispensable part in the study. ‘An old dog may not be able to learn new tricks, but with their assistance I have come to see that all things are possible at any stage of life,’ said Kretzmann who believes that God is using him to contribute towards the enhancement of the redemptive mission of Christ in the Methodist Church through this study of water baptism as well as in the promotion of Christian Ecumenism.

Kretzmann was born in 1939 in Potsdam near East London, South Africa, into a German farming community. Because of financial constraints caused by the economic depression of the 1930s, a series of droughts and the loss of a herd of milk cows; his father was compelled to remove him and his siblings from school as they could legally earn a living. At the age of 15, he was employed as a delivery boy. At 19, he requested to enter the full-time ministry of the Methodist Church. He would later become a lay preacher, later earning a BA degree in 1968, a BA Honours in 1982, a masters degree in 2012 and now, a PhD.

Amongst the highlights of his ministry were the monthly visits to Robben Island for two years (1970-1971) where he regularly ministered to former president Nelson Mandela amongst the hundreds of other political prisoners; attending the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976 with an evangelistic group called Youth With A Mission; being part of the World Conference on the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem Israel (1974), and in 2009, being invited back into the Lutheran Church to do locum work where he received his Christian upbringing.

He gives credit to his parents, especially his mother, for saving his life after contracting diphtheria - a bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose - at two years old.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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Summa Cum Laude Research Explores Means Employed by Design Students in Generating Ideas

<em>Summa Cum Laude</em> Research Explores Means Employed by Design Students in Generating Ideas
Mr McDonald Mnelemba graduates summa cum laude with his Master’s in Education.

Mr McDonald Mnelemba is ecstatic to have graduated summa cum laude with his Master’s in Education following research that looked at creativity in students’ design projects amongst fourth-year students at Malawi Polytechnic; one of the constituent colleges of the University of Malawi.

His research stemmed from his love of design and technology, an interest in the concept of creativity and how one can enhance it.

Findings revealed that the majority (91.5%) of the students’ design projects fell into the routine design solutions (familiar designs) category; meaning they were low in novelty and originality. The study also found that 3.7% of the designs were characterised as intelligently adapted designs, while only 5.7% of the design projects were characterised as proactive, creative designs.

The study found that the students’ design projects were informed by factors such as personal experience; existing design solutions seen on the internet; simply engaging in design projects to fulfil academic requirements because of academic pressure as well as compromising originality by replicating ‘simple’ designs obtained from the internet because of a lack of materials and/or skills needed to produce original designs.

‘By understanding the whole process which university students use to generate design ideas, it might help teachers and university lecturers’ understand how students approach their design projects and how they can assist them to develop higher order thinking skills, hence increasing creativity. In the long run, the creative students will be able to solve societal problems creatively,’ suggests Mnelemba.

During his studies, Mnelemba fell ill and was hospitalised. This hindered the progress of his studies; rendering him to progress “at a snail’s pace”. ‘I could not sit for longer periods because my leg swelled and I was in excruciating pain. Most of the time, I had to work from my bed,’ he said. Mnelemba however never gave up and is proud of his achievement.

He thanked his family, friends and supervisor, Professor Busisiwe Alant, for their support during his illness and studies.

He has a PhD in Education degree in his sights, advising students to focus and never give up despite whatever challenges they face.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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Graduates Celebrate Attaining PhDs in Anthropology

Graduates Celebrate Attaining PhDs in Anthropology
From left: Dr William Muchono, Professor Maheshvari Naidu and Dr Gabriel Darong.

Dr William Muchono and Dr Gabriel Darong were thrilled to graduate with their PhDs in Anthropology recently. Their research was supervised by Professor Maheshvari Naidu, with Darong being co-supervised by Professor Mosa Moshebela (Dean of the School of Nursing).

Muchono’s study probes how the cultural practice of chinamwali (an initiation ceremony for females upon marriage, where women gather to dance and share their experiences as adults) among the Shangaan people is used to construct “womanhood”. The study was premised on the understanding that the gendered practice of chinamwali socially constructs, shapes and defines women in particular Mahenye culture. The study reveals that if a woman is not “initiated” she is considered no longer “valuable in the community”, and a social outcast.

He shares that he owes this success to God and acknowledges the people of the Mahenye community, particularly the women, who shared their lived experiences, knowledge and understanding of the cultural practice of chinamwali/khomba. Muchono envisages that the study findings will not only contribute to his academic achievements, but will help in policy formulation and support the women of Zimbabwe in confronting the gendered regimes in the practice.

Muchono thanked his supervisor Naidu, saying, ‘We have walked together through this journey of my PhD studies since 2015 and I have found her to be a conscientious and courteous supervisor who assisted and motivated me in my studies. The journey was tough but she was there for me always.’

He also thanked Chief Mahenye for permission to do research in the community; his research assistant Lingiwe; his wife, mother (Lillian Muchono), siblings and in-laws for the continual support.

Darong’s study explores the experiences of People living with HIV (PLHIV) in their practice of medical pluralism, most especially how they navigate the plural systems and treatments utilised. This study was conducted at the Hlabisa sub-District, a rural area in uMkhanyakude District of KwaZulu-Natal.

‘HIV/AIDS is currently only treatable biomedically. PLHIV are expected to strictly adhere to active antiretroviral treatment (ART) prescribed by biomedical health practitioners in order to “progress” on the cascade of care. Poor progression on the cascade of care, however, has been shown to exist amongst PLHIV. The use of multiple health systems - biomedicine, traditional healing and religious healing, known as medical pluralism, has been said to be a contributing factor in the poor adherence to HIV testing and treatment,’ explained Darong.

The study found that the PLHIV in the study consciously made concurrent, parallel or sequential use of plural healthcare for various health conditions when they believed such conditions can best or only be treated using specific health systems.

The study found that some of the participants refused initiation into ART due to the attitude of the biomedical health practitioners towards the participants’ use of plural health.

‘Their health-seeking behaviours can be seen as an expression of their agency. Hence, rather than excluding them from using basic primary health services due to their plural health use, a better understanding and appreciation of their reasons, motivations, and manners of practicing medical pluralism is needed. This will aid in the development of health programmes that better cater for their health needs,’ said Darong.

His PhD journey was one that came with many unanticipated challenges. The support received from family, friends and his supervisors, Naidu and Moshabela, went a long way in enabling him to persevere through the challenging times and produce an excellent thesis, which was highly commended by the examiners.’

He acknowledged the unflinching support of his parents and family and Samkelisiwe Nxumalo, who assisted him during the data collection process. ‘The lessons learned, and relationships gained during this journey remain highly valued,’ said Darong. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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SRC Members Thrilled to Graduate with Social Sciences Degrees

SRC Members Thrilled to Graduate with Social Sciences Degrees
Ms Thandeka Mkhwane and Ms Nonkululeko Mhlongo graduate with their Bachelor of Social Sciences degrees.

Howard College Student Representative Council (HSRC) members from the University of KwaZulu-Natal were thrilled to graduate with their undergraduate degrees recently.

Ms Thandeka Mkhwane (Community Development Officer) and Ms Nonkululeko Mhlongo (Deputy President) received their Bachelor of Social Sciences degrees at the UKZN Spring Graduation ceremonies.

Mkhwane initially wanted to become a teacher. However, due to her high school background, she ended up enrolling for the College of Humanities’ Bachelor of Social Science Access/Extended programme. ‘My plan was to transfer to Edgewood campus the following year, but during the course of studying Social Sciences, I developed a passion for Administration. It was influenced by a volunteering role during UKZN’s applications and registrations period. This is why I chose Industrial Psychology (equivalent to Human Resources Management) as one of my majors,’ said Mkhwane.

Mkhwane comes from a supportive family that helped raise her son while she pursued her studies. For the first two years, she did not have any financial aid and relied on assistance from friends and her grandmother who was always there for her since her parents died.

‘It’s difficult to balance academic life, family responsibilities and student activism. Through perseverance and commitment, I always manoeuvred my study timetable to accommodate other responsibilities. I am inspired by myself because I am the first graduate amongst my siblings. I hope this will encourage other undergraduate students to be active in academia and participate in volunteering in order to gain work experience,’ she said. Mkhwane plans to further her studies and to get a job to support her family.

Fellow SRC member Mhlongo was introduced to social sciences in her high school geography class in which she studied the various social challenges that society face on a day to day basis. This inspired and motivated her to pursue a bachelor of social sciences degree.

Mhlongo left home to study with her parents’ blessings and the last R50 her mother had. She juggled both academia and motherhood, often finding it difficult but through hard work and dedication, she prevailed. Mhlongo is now the pride of her family, being the first to graduate with her degree.

She thanked her family and friends for their support. Offering advice to other students, Mhlongo said, ‘Each and every study has their own struggle. Don’t let your problems define you. Stay focused through tests and trials.’

Words: Nkululeko W. Mbatha 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Graduate Completes Education Degree to Make a Difference in Classrooms

Graduate Completes Education Degree to Make a Difference in Classrooms
Ms Fezeka Ndlovu graduates with her Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

Ms Fezeka Ndlovu graduated with her Postgraduate Certificate in Education with the aim of making a difference in classrooms as well as in learners’ lives.

‘From my personal exposures and observations while growing up during my primary and high school years, I have been exposed to harsh experiences with children being bullied and abused. As a child, you’ll feel helpless and angry that you cannot do anything about such to rescue and save your peers. This is what triggered my interest to go back to schools to learn how kids are being treated as a teacher myself,’ she said.

Ndlovu was compelled to pursue a Postgraduate Certificate in Education so she could expose herself to problems children still face in schools in the 21st century while also contributing to solving such problems using her organisation Woman in Responsibility. ‘Enrolling for this qualification has been relevant because through it, I have observed the challenges teachers are facing with learners and now I am more than ready to fold my sleeves and tackle the matter,’ she added.

Ndlovu is currently enrolled for a Bachelor of Social Science Honours degree and believes that society will benefit tremendously in knowing the socio-economic impacts faced by communities. ‘Always get your intentions right in all you do. Never do anything for money but always focus on bettering yourself and those around you,’ she advised.

Ndlovu thanked her family and friends for their ongoing support.

Asked about her future plans, she said, ‘I have a lot on my plate, such as publishing more books, establishing my own businesses and focusing on Woman in Responsibility which is to help Black women understand their value and break away from the patriarchal system that is leaving them feeling hopeless and broken. In all I do, I aim to inspire and impact those looking up to me while bringing the best of myself.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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PhDs for Proud Philosophy Students

PhDs for Proud Philosophy Students
From left: Dr Christopher Yaye, Dr Joyline Gwara and on the far right, Dr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti. The three are pictured with their supervisor, Professor Bernard Matolino (third from left).

 

Professor Bernard Matolino, an academic from the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, is proud of his three students Drs Joyline Gwara, Christopher Yaye and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti who graduated with their PhDs in Philosophy from UKZN recently.

One of the students, Dr Joyline Gwara, is the first Black African female in Zimbabwe to obtain a PhD in philosophy at UKZN. She said, ‘I want my achievement to be motivation for other students, especially females, to work hard and make their dreams a reality,’ she said.

Her research investigated the extent to which freedom is considered to be consistent with human agency in the face of a deterministic metaphysical substrata as outlined by various thinkers in African philosophy. As it is taken to be the case that a person receives a pre-ordained destiny at creation, Gwara seeks to account for notions of freedom and choice making in the light of a pre-ordained individual life plan.

Yaye’s research investigated the complex nature and relationship between culture and democracy in Africa. He outlined the fact that contemporary democratic dispensation in Africa is problematic in a number of ways. He proposed a new form of democratic governance for Africa called Integrated Consensual Democracy which presupposes the viability of African cultural values and practices in the postcolonial state.

Bhasikiti analysed the gutsaruzhinji (socialism) policy in Zimbabwe. In light of Africa’s quest to find an indigenous polity that is responsive to its citizen’s needs, he suggested that the concept and practice of gutsaruzhinji is a viable form of democracy that satisfies both the indigenous and progressive requirements of African political theorization. ‘As an anthropocentric, humanist and welfare theory, gutsaruzhinji retains the key requirements likely to be the blueprint for Africa’s future development,’ he added.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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UKZN Academic Graduates Record Number of PhD Students in 2018

UKZN Academic Graduates Record Number of PhD Students in 2018
Professor Stephen Mutula (centre) with his PhD graduates.

UKZN academic in the School of Social SciencesProfessor Stephen Mutula, graduated a record number of 11 PhD students in 2018. The College of Humanities boasts 83 PhD graduates during the UKZN Spring Graduation.

This includes the five that graduated during the April Graduation ceremonies.

Amongst the candidates that received their PhDs are Dr Mzwandile Muzi Shongwe who investigated software development failures and mitigation strategies in SMMEs in the province of KwaZulu-Natal; Dr Rehema Ndumbaro who investigated the role of information ethics in the provision of library and information services in Tanzania’s university libraries; Dr Nokuphila Saulus who investigated usability of the Institutional Repository by Faculty and Postgraduate Students at the University of Swaziland; Dr Rhodes Mwageni who investigated the perceptions of undergraduate education students about the influence of reading culture on their academic achievement at Universities in Tanzania; Dr Bakare Oluwabunmi Dorcas who investigated the use of Social Media Technologies (SMTs) in the provision of library and information services in academic libraries of South-West, Nigeria; and Dr Beatrice Kiruki who investigated information service provision to the people with visual and physical impairments in public university libraries in Kenya.

‘I am excited by the total number of PhD graduates we will have by the end of 2018. This has to be the largest number we have had since 2016 and that is encouraging. Most of these students finished in record time and that makes me very excited as their supervisor because it took time and dedication from all sides to make it all possible. I availed myself 24/7 for these students and I constantly checked their progress,’ said an excited Mutula.

He elaborated that he had many students who would request his assistance but he could not assist because he was fully dedicated to this group as he believes they needed him and his support.

Words: Nkululeko Walter Mbatha 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Education Academic Produces Nine PhD and Masters Graduates

Education Academic Produces Nine PhD and Masters Graduates
Education graduates with their supervisor, Dr Simon Bheki Khoza (seated, third left).

Nine excited Education students, all supervised by Professor Simon Bheki Khoza, graduated from UKZN; five with PhDs with the remaining four with their Masters degrees.

To date, Khoza has graduated a total of 16 students in 2018, of which seven graduated in April this year (two PhD and five Masters).

The latest graduands are Dr Sella Terrie Kisaka, Dr Dumisa Mabuza, Dr Makhulu Makumane, Dr Makhosazane Shoba, Dr Peter Sodje, Mr John Cobongela, Mrs Mafumane Morojele, Mr Victor Shozi and Ms Thando Matola.

Kisaka’s study sought to gain an understanding of the use of Moodle e-resources in teaching MEd students; Mabuza’s study explored educators’ reflections on the Swaziland Junior Secondary Integrated Consumer Sciences curriculum with the intention of improving it, particularly its subject matter; Makumane explored educators’ enactment strategies of the French integrated curriculum in the Lesotho context; Shoba’s study explored teachers’ experiences of teaching the speaking of English to Second Language learners in the Intermediate Phase in township primary schools; Sodje’s study looked at the use of internet resources in learning Mathematics at a Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in South Africa; Cobongela explored educators’ experiences of the implementation of the Grade 12 Dramatic Arts curriculum and assessment policy statement (CAPS) in three schools; Morojele focused on Grade 4 Educators’ enactments of Mathematics Curriculum within township context; Shozi explored educators’ views on the teaching of the Grade 9 Natural Sciences Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement in six selected rural secondary schools within the Zululand district; and Matola explored international postgraduate students’ experiences of lecturing at a university in KwaZulu-Natal.

Said Makumane, ‘On behalf of the PhD and MED students supervised by Khoza I would like to acknowledge the excellent support we received from UKZN through our excellent and outstanding supervisor. Our PhD journey was strenuous but worthwhile as it not only sharpened our habitual and social skills, but also our professional knowledge. The superb mentorship we received from our dedicated supervisor honed our analytical and research knowledge with skills, and the results that we received from the examiners proved this because my thesis was accepted with no reservations. From our experience, we have learned that working side by side with the supervisor, although sometimes unnerving, can breed amazing results. We urge every PhD student to adhere to this.’

Added Shoba, ‘This PhD journey is really a long lonely journey with amazing outcomes if you have a strong supervisor who can motivate you even if you try to give up. Our supervisor understood each and every one of us in terms of our strengths to be used in the theses.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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School of Education Celebrates Staffers’ PhDs Achievement

School of Education Celebrates Staffers’ PhDs Achievement
Education staffers celebrate the success of graduating with their PhDs.

The School of Education celebrated the graduation of six of its staffers, Drs Sibonelo Blose, Tholani Hlongwa, Patrick Mweli, Jabulile Mzimela, Makhosazane Shoba and Maxwell Thabethe, who attained their PhDs in Education.

Blose’s research looked at the lived experiences of Deputy Principals across each of the five school quintiles; Hlongwa, whose thesis was written in isiZulu, explored the teaching and learning of productive skills, speaking and writing in isiZulu Second language in selected Pinetown and Umlazi district schools; Mweli explored Grade 4 teachers’ language attitudes and their lived experiences in managing the language transition in the grade; Mzimela, who lost her father and sister during her studies, soldiered on with her study which explored the teaching of a first additional language (FAL) in different geographical contexts; Shoba explored teachers’ experiences of teaching English-speaking to Second Language learners in the Intermediate Phase in township primary schools and how teachers’ experiences influence their teaching of English-speaking; while Thabethe’s research explored the learning of Mechanical Systems in a Grade 9 Technology classroom by deaf learners in KwaZulu-Natal.

Dean and Head of the School Professor Thabo Msibi said, ‘The School of Education is pleased to celebrate the graduation of the six staff members with their PhDs. This brings the total count of graduated staff in 2018 to 11. We believe that this achievement adds value to University’s new strategic plan, and we commend the staff members and their supervisors for this outstanding feat!’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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Thesis Explores Lives of PMB Street Women

Thesis Explores Lives of PMB Street Women
UKZN staffer, Dr Lungile Zondi, graduates with her PhD in Anthropology.

UKZN staffer, Dr Lungile Zondi, graduated with her PhD in Anthropology recently for research that delved into the life and experiences of young women (19-35 years) living on the streets of the Pietermaritzburg CBD and surroundings.

According to Zondi’s study which sampled 20 women, push and pull factors such as ancestral calling, whoonga addiction, forced/arranged/early-marriages, corporal punishment, grandmother and big brother headed families, family connections on the street as well as hereditary recurrences have led to women living on the streets.

Her study also found that these women possess obscured and misconstrued identities that comes with living on the street and they actively use fending strategies for survival. Fending strategies include hourly prostitution, standing on the road intersections and working as car-guards during the day and night.

Zondi argues that the women’s vulnerability context includes being treated less than human, smuggling whoonga, unpaid prostitution, assault by law enforcement authorities and the death of their friends while sleeping. Despite such challenges, the study finds that the women are skeptical about being reunited with their families.

‘Responsive interventions that policy custodians can embark on based on other African countries are part of the solution,’ says Zondi.

Zondi thanked her family, friends and supervisor, Professor Vivian Besem-Ojong, for being her support system during her studies.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Pure Bliss as Supervisor and Student Graduate Together

Pure Bliss as Supervisor and Student Graduate Together
Dr Sibonelo Blose (right) and his student, Mr Ndumiso Khuzwayo, graduated from UKZN with their PhD and Master's in Education respectively.

UKZN staffer Dr Sibonelo Blose and his student Mr Ndumiso Khuzwayo were all smiles as they celebrated graduating together.

Blose graduated with his PhD in Education while Khuzwayo graduated with his Master’s in Education cum laude. Both Blose and Khuzwayo are proud of their educational achievements, saying that hard work and dedication was key to their success.

‘I feel honoured to get my Master’s degree alongside my supervisor,’ said Khuzwayo. ‘Dr Blose is a humble person that I look up to. He is an amazing and supportive supervisor who taught me a lot of things about the world of academia. This achievement would have not been possible without his support and guidance,’ he said.

Khuzwayo’s research explored the lived experiences of three Subject Head educators in three secondary schools. The findings revealed that the Subject Heads perform various functions in leading teachers; curriculum management and the provision of mentoring to novice teachers being the main functions performed by these leaders.

His study further revealed that Subject Head educators experience numerous challenges in leading fellow teachers such as resistance from their colleagues, lack of power in their roles and in training as well as time barriers. To respond to some of these challenges, the participating Subject Heads lead through delegation and by going the extra mile.

The two (Khuzwayo and Blose) are in the process of writing a paper from Khuzwayo’s Master’s dissertation. Apart from this, Khuzwayo plans to return to UKZN to pursue a PhD in Educational Leadership, Management and Policy (ELMP).

Blose’s study explored the lived experiences of Deputy Principals across each of the five school quintiles. The study intended to understand the role of Deputy Principals in the school quintile system; what meanings and understandings shape their leadership practices and how school quintiling shapes their leadership practices. 

The study found that Deputy Principals have multiple identities as they affiliate to various social categories. These categories describe and prescribe how they think, feel and behave. ‘Deputy Principals also hold a multiplicity of meanings and understandings derived from their personal and professional aspects of selves. These leaders therefore drew from this repertoire of meaning and understandings in enacting their leadership in schools. Further, school quintiles were found to have a bearing on the leadership practices of Deputy Principals,’ said Blose.

Several contextual factors associated with each of the school quintiles were identified and these contextual factors were found to present challenges and opportunities to Deputy Principals. Accordingly, Blose’s study concluded that Deputy Principals negotiate relevant context-based leadership practices in their respective school quintiles. The study viewed the leadership practices of Deputy Principals as a product of the interaction within self and the interaction with the school quintile or context in which they operate.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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Dissecting the Impact of Weapon Proliferation on Peace

Dissecting the Impact of Weapon Proliferation on Peace
Dr Adegboyega Adedolapo Ola graduates with his PhD in Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies.

Dr Adegboyega Adedolapo Ola was thrilled to graduate from UKZN with a PhD in Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies following the successful completion of his study which examined public perception on proliferation of small arms and light weapons and its impact on peace and security in Abuja, Nigeria.

Supervised by Dr Gerelene Jagganath the major findings of the study were that the ineffective control of small arms in the city led to their proliferation, accessibility and availability; causing various terrorist attacks and great havoc, lack of a national database and registration of the weapons as well as the absence of an effective marking, recording and tracing system which contributed largely to the proliferation. The study found that rogue military and security personnel aided in the proliferation of the weapons by illicit users.

‘Small arms, having the attributes of being readily available and easy to use, have been the primary tool of the terrorist attacks in every part of the world including those of Abuja. Wide availability, accumulation and illegal flow of small arms tends to escalate conflict, terrorism and insecurity and hinder development, social stability and good governance,’ explained Ola.

Through the study, it was discovered that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons is a major cause of terrorism in Abuja which is a major factor that threatens peace and security in the city; leading to death and loss of property.

Ola recommended that the Nigerian government must increase the strength of regulating agencies in charge of the Nigerian borders such as the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration, Nigerian Police, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and other security forces, who should be provided with adequate and functional modern technical equipment for arms detection. He also recommended the establishment of an arms bearing national body or agency that will monitor and guard the stockpile, diversion and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the country.

‘The 1959 Nigeria Fire Act should be reviewed and amended in accordance with the Economic and Community of West African State Convention (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Programme of Action to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The Nigerian government should seek assistance and co-operate with foreign countries and relevant agencies towards resolving the issue of illegal arms trade into the country in order to reduce and control the problem of small arms proliferation. Even the civil society groups should co-operate better with government in terms of arms control and the fight against illicit arms.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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PhD Graduate Unpacks Male Partner Involvement in Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

PhD Graduate Unpacks Male Partner Involvement in Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission
Dr Vimbai Chibango graduates with her PhD in Development Studies.

Zimbabwean born Dr Vimbai Chibango recently graduated with her PhD in Development Studies focusing on the involvement of male partners in the prevention of transmission of HIV from mother-to-child.

The main aim of the study was to shed insight into the role of male partners in programmes tackling HIV mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in the Gokwe North District of Zimbabwe.

‘HIV/AIDS research has often been a sensitive subject to deal with especially when conducting focus group discussions. Stigma and discrimination against HIV infected persons is still a problem in the community,’ she said.

According to Chibango, the recommendations, made for both policy and practice, are intended to suggest opportunities that could be utilised to increase male partner involvement in PMTCT programmes. ‘Male partners play an important role in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. If male participation is to be improved in the district, HIV interventions could engage the local traditional leadership in motivating men as they play a significant role in influencing outcome of community programmes. In addition, provision of male-oriented services within antenatal care centres can be one way of ensuring that male partners get services pertaining to their health,’ explained Chibango.

She was also awarded the PhD fellowship under the Health Economics HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD). She is thankful for her support system, saying, ‘My family and friends provided invaluable moral, financial support and encouragement throughout my PhD journey.’

Some of the most important moments of the research were the meetings conducted with her supervisor, Professor Pranitha Maharaj during the writing of the thesis. ‘She is an experienced supervisor and a supportive individual who assisted in shaping the thesis to be a piece of work that we both are proud of,’ said Chibango, who plans to continue her research on HIV/AIDS.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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An Inspiring Learning Journey of Perseverance and Commitment

An Inspiring Learning Journey of Perseverance and Commitment
Master’s in Education graduate, Mr Sylvester Mbatha, with his supervisor, Dr Jaqueline Naidoo.

Mr Sylvester Mbatha is ecstatic to have graduated with his Master’s degree in Education for research that explored collaborative learning of senior phase Mathematics teachers in a 1 + 9 Mathematics cluster in the Maphumulo circuit.

Supervised by Dr Jaqueline Naidoo, the findings of Mbatha’s study were that senior phase Mathematics teachers enhanced their teaching and learning through collaboration in the 1 + 9 Mathematics cluster. This was mainly due to Mathematics teachers sharing effective teaching strategies, resources and expertise and discussing learners’ misconceptions of key concepts.

Teachers also shared innovative ways to motivate learners and develop positive attitudes towards Mathematics. In addition, the study found that teachers enhanced their content and pedagogical content knowledge by setting and moderating common assessment tasks and completing these tasks as tests. Furthermore, the study found that collaboration and commitment of teachers contributed to the cluster serving as an effective Professional Learning Community (PLC).

In 2005, Mbatha’s learning journey commenced at UKZN when the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education offered bursaries for underqualified teachers to study towards the National Professional Diploma in Education (NPDE). He selected Mathematics as a major in the Senior Phase and graduated in April 2007. Armed with another DoE bursary, Mbatha registered for an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) in Mathematical Literacy at UKZN, graduating in 2009.

In 2011, he was appointed as a Head of Department at a combined primary school. Due to the high failure rate in Physical Science and Mathematics at the time, he responded to the DoE’s call for interested teachers to apply for a bursary towards an ACE in Physical Science and Mathematics. He graduated with his second ACE in Physical Science in April 2012.

Being part of the School Management Team (SMT) motivated Mbatha to register in 2013 for the Bachelor of Education Honours specialising in Education, Leadership, Management and Policy (ELMP) at UKZN. He graduated with his BEd (Hons) ELMP degree in 2015.

As a Head of Department, Mbatha acknowledges the lack of professional development programmes to assist and support teachers with content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. This motivated him to register for a Master’s in Education in 2016 specialising in Teacher Development Studies. He adds that the degree ‘was very demanding and required time, dedication and hard work’.

Naidoo commented on how proud she was of Mbatha’s achievement and his learning journey. She hoped that his inspiring story of perseverance, commitment and dedication would motivate other students to study further. Mbatha shared his motto, ‘Let the passion that is within you rise to meet your destiny.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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PhD Research Focuses on Coastal Tourism on Ancestral Land

PhD Research Focuses on Coastal Tourism on Ancestral Land
Dr Mabuyi Gumede graduates with her PhD in Cultural and Heritage Tourism.

UKZN staffer Dr Mabuyi Gumede recently graduated with her PhD in Cultural and Heritage Tourism for research that investigated the extent to which the rural community of Nonoti Beach on the North Coast participates in coastal tourism taking place in their ancestral land.

‘During the apartheid era, this community was forcibly removed to make way for agriculture and the area was later identified for tourism development. After 1994, the first democratic government of South Africa prioritised the restoration of the displaced communities back to their land through land reform and redistribution, and the community under study is one of the communities that received land through the land claims process.’

‘Fourteen years after the settlement was made on this land claim in favour of the community, the government and other stakeholders with vested interest in coastal tourism have not delivered on the promise made to the local community to provide them with low cost housing and to develop a coastal resort to benefit this community through profit sharing and in other ways,’ said Gumede.

The findings of her study show that the various stakeholders’ interests are often times conflicting. She recommends that various stakeholders come up with a co-ordinated plan to create a balance between their conflicting interests for the benefit of the local coastal resources, the local community and the local cultures.

‘My study proves that the level of understanding of coastal tourism and associated benefits amongst the local community is limited, and as much as the land was restored back to the local community, they were not fully capacitated to live sustainably on this land. South Africa has adequate policies regulating coastal tourism and associated marine environments, but the greatest challenge lies with their implementation,’ she added.

Through Gumede’s PhD study, a model of local community participation is proposed based on the gaps that were identified in the existing community participation models as well as gaps in the policy regulating marine resources and coastal tourism in the study area.

The proposed model serves as part of her recommendations for enhancing local community participation in coastal tourism to ensure that maximum benefits accrue to them, consequently, leading to sustainable livelihoods.

Gumede thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Vivian Besem-Ojong for their support and guidance during her studies.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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PhD Research Zooms in on ADHD in Higher Education

PhD Research Zooms in on ADHD in Higher Education
UKZN staffer, Dr Faaiza Shaikh, graduates with her PhD in Psychology.

UKZN staffer, Dr Faaiza Shaikh, is thrilled after graduating with a PhD in Psychology which explores the management of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms experienced by students with the disorder at the University.

She examined the use of Mindfulness Breathing Meditation as a coping mechanism for addressing ADHD symptoms. ‘I was keen on creating awareness on the impact of ADHD on learning, tools and coping mechanisms students employed (to deal with ADHD) as well as services rendered to students. On a broader level, I wanted to create a space for the voices and experiences of the marginalised to reduce inequalities and enhance human rights and social justice,’ said Shaikh.

Her findings suggest that ADHD does impact on the functioning of students with the disorder, and that they develop coping mechanisms and are able to access services on campus. However, so said Shaikh, these students still experience many challenges; suggesting that a more integrated approach to management and accommodation is needed in this regard.

Because Shaikh embarked on her PhD journey as a student with visual and audio processing challenges, taking longer than the average student to complete a thesis. Due to this, and the large volume of reading she needed to do, she submitted a 12-chapter PhD, challenging the norm of a six or seven-chapter thesis.

‘I feel like I’ve accomplished a great deal. I feel productive in that I was able to contribute in a very constructive way to highlight issues that are sometimes seen as unimportant and thus, marginalised,’ she said. She hopes that her research will create awareness on ADHD in a tertiary setting and will provide a framework for institutions to utilise when rendering services to students living with ADHD. 

Shaikh thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Steve Collings for their support and encouragement. Offering advice to other postgraduate students, Shaikh said, ‘Your research will contribute to existing research and it can influence change in our society. Conduct research on marginalised issues like disability. I would like to reach out to students with disabilities to conduct research in the field of disability. Be your own agency for change. Be your own activist. You understand these issues at a deeper level as you experience them every day,’ she said. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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Shining the Spotlight on Teacher Migration

Shining the Spotlight on Teacher Migration
Ms Tatum Niemack graduated with her Master’s in Education.

Ms Tatum Niemack is proud to have graduated with her Master’s degree in Education following a study that explored pre-migrant teachers’ reasons for leaving South Africa.

A migrant teacher herself, Niemack’s study explored why pre-migrant teachers were choosing to migrate specifically to Abu Dhabi and how long they intended to remain abroad.

The findings revealed that teachers felt forced to exit South Africa due to low salaries, a high crime rate, religious intolerance and race-based policies, which ‘denied teachers and their families access to opportunities’. The study also found that additional push factors revolved around teachers’ working conditions as they were frustrated with the large class sizes and high workloads, a lack of career progress, ineffective curriculum, a lack of student discipline and poor school leadership and management.

According to the study, spousal influence was not a reason for migration from South Africa but emerged as an important consideration, especially in terms of the degree to which the nature of hierarchical structures within the family and marriage influenced migrant teachers’ decision-making.

Niemack believes her research is useful in stimulating discussions on the concerns of teacher migration in South Africa and to address the reasons that drive this issue. ‘If the current government focuses its attention and resources on the push factors that teachers face, it would have a significant impact on curbing migration. Such a scenario would greatly contribute to achieving the ideals envisioned for a democratic and prosperous South Africa,’ she said.

Niemack began her masters while in South Africa, often trying to balance being a mother, wife, teacher and student. She then took up the opportunity to teach in Abu Dhabi, however she found it difficult to complete her research whilst simultaneously trying to orientate and settle her family in a foreign country and culture. ‘What holds true is that a masters degree is not achieved alone as there are many, and in this instance, particularly my husband and children, who worked behind the scenes to help me achieve this academic milestone. To my supervisor, Dr Sadhana Manik, her guidance was invaluable and she went to great lengths to ensure that I completed my research including meeting me in Dubai,’ she said.

Offering advice to other students, Niemack urged students to choose a research area that they are passionate about. ‘It will help you stay the course during the tough days. To those who are facing tremendous obstacles, especially working mums, I encourage you to get innovative and creative with how you tackle the challenge of balancing the multiple roles we play,’ she said. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rogan Ward


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Social Sciences Degree for Author

Social Sciences Degree for Author
Mr Khethani Njoko, Bachelor of Social Sciences graduate.

Author of successful self-help book The Man in Me, Mr Khethani Njoko, graduated with his Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from UKZN.

‘I chose to do my Social Sciences degree majoring in Sociology and African languages so that I may understand society and the problems men face, particularly Black society. It’s through my degree that I have been able to publish four books which represents four pillars: the conscience, the self, the spiritual connection and ubuntu. As society, we know the source of our social ills yet neglect the resources. Until we help a man liberate his mind and connect his spirit, we are still too far from achieving the solution in a postmodernist society,’ said Njoko.

Some of his most cherished university memories include being recognised as one of UKZN’s Top 40 most inspiring students in 2016 and 2017 and being one of the participating authors in the 20th Time of the Writer Festival. ‘UKZN is the best institution in South Africa. Those who would like to become a proud UKZN alumnus and have a vision can be sure that this Institution will make it happen,’ he said. 

Asked about his future plans, Njoko said, ‘I am a man of vision, but I always make sure I achieve that with strategy. Currently, my focus is on finishing my honours degree and publishing my last two books titled Christianity Redefined as well as The Victim Man simultaneously in October.’

‘Don’t study to make someone’s dream come true but study to develop yourself and make your dream valuable and achievable. Have a vision and a goal for your life,’ he said to other students. 

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal


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