Multi-Million Rand Research Award to College of Health Sciences

Multi-Million Rand Research Award to College of Health Sciences
UKZN research partners (clockwise, from left) Professor Douglas Wassenaar, Dr Mosa Moshabela, Professor Fatima Suleman, Professor Jonathan Burns and Professor Petra Brysiewicz.

UKZN’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) has been awarded a R45 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Developing Research Innovation, Localisation and Leadership in South Africa (DRILL).

The award will fund the implementation of a five-year multidisciplinary international research training programme for junior faculty members, under the auspices of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative 2 (MEPI2).

Led by Programme Director, Professor Jonathan Burns, who is the current HOD of Psychiatry at UKZN, research will be conducted in the fields of HIV and AIDS, Mental Health, Health Professions’ Education and Health Systems Research.

Trainees need to have an appointment within the CHS, a desire to pursue research as part of their professional careers and have already demonstrated some commitment to research as part of their career development.

Said Burns: ‘The trainees can be from any discipline which contributes to improved human health within their country and have a desire to build research leadership. They must also be committed to the development of the reformed health professional training located outside the metropolitan areas in KwaZulu-Natal.’

The grant will fund the training of 20 junior researchers with the aim of producing world-class scientists who will lead and direct research programmes designed around real world problems outside the Metropolitan areas and who will inspire and support others to follow their paths and build communities of practice. All 20 trainees will be retained within UKZN after graduation.

Principal Investigator, Dr Mosa Moshabela, who will lead the project’s HIV and AIDS research area, said: ‘The junior faculty research training programme is founded on the joint mission of the University and the Department of Health to establish a new generation of faculty members suited to deliver, support and lead the reformed health professional training and development located outside of the metropolitan areas in KwaZulu-Natal. We look forward to being responsive to health priorities through research that is underpinned by the philosophy of social accountability.’

Other Principal Investigators of the project include Professor Fatima Suleman of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, who will lead the research area of Health Systems, and Professor Petra Bryciewicz of the Discipline of Nursing, who will lead the area of Health Professions’ Education, while a new research training programme covering areas of ethics, scientific writing and data analysis, will be developed by Professor Douglas Wassenaar of the UKZN Biomedical Research Ethics Committee.

Other PI’s of the project include Professor Fatima Suleman from the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences who will lead the research area of Health Systems. Professor Petra Bryciewicz from the Discipline of Nursing who will lead the area of Health Professions’ Education while a new research training programme covering areas of research ethics, scientific writing, grant writing and data analysis, will be developed by Professor Douglas Wassenaar, PI of the NIH-funded SARETI research ethics Masters programme in the School of Applied Human Sciences (Pmb) in the College of Humanities.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS, Professor Rob Slotow, thanked the NIH for the grant saying: ‘We seek to be locally relevant but globally competitive, scientifically robust and effective, to be scalable and expandable, and to have an impact beyond the trainees and the training institutions.’

 MaryAnn Francis

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UKZN Conference Examines Teaching, Policy and Higher Education Development for 21st Century Learning

UKZN Conference Examines Teaching, Policy and Higher Education Development for 21st Century Learning
At the Conference are (from left) Professor Murthi Maistry of UKZN, Professor Narend Baijnath of the Council on Higher Education, and Dr Rubby Dhunpath.

The newly-appointed CEO of the Council on Higher Education (CHE), Professor Narend Baijnath, delivered a keynote address at UKZN’s 9th annual Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference in Durban.

Titled: “Policy and Higher Education Development for 21st Century Learning”, Baijnath’s presentation focused on improving the quality of teaching and learning and Higher Education in South Africa.

Baijnath explored the various ‘push factors’ affecting academia, which included increasing numbers of students and planning-led expansion, which were straining resources and infrastructure and ‘placing tremendous pressure on practitioners within universities as well as within leadership’.

He said unprecedented regulation and demands for compliance, reporting and performance management initiatives were aimed to regularise and enhance governance within institutions. ‘The glory days of being an academic, being left to your own devices, doing your own thing, at your own pace, coming and going as you please – those days are well gone.’

The rationale behind this was an impetus for greater accountability and extraction of greater value from the ‘investments that are made from the public purse’.

Baijnath said universities should prepare students for the digital world, referencing the huge advancements that have been made in technology.

‘Pull factors’ included technological advances in applications for teaching and learning coupled with expanded national broadband infrastructure and the ‘declining costs of devices’ which have led to a ‘conjuncture of possibilities hitherto unimagined’.

He cautioned that there may be skepticism on the side of employers on whether universities were equipping graduates for the changing world of work.

Baijnath concluded that advances needed to be made along the following fronts:

·        Institutional strategy, infrastructure and a deliberate development trajectory

·        Equipping students with access and winning them over

·        Winning over our staff and creating an enabling environment.

As the newly appointed CEO of the CHE, Baijnath said the Council’s primary focus was to improve the quality of Higher Education in South Africa.

Baijnath commended Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, for hosting the ‘highly regarded Conference’. He thanked UKZN’s Professor Michael Samuel and Dr Rubby Dhunpath for inviting him to present at the Conference.

Hosted by the University Teaching and Learning Office, the three-day Conference explored issues surrounding Higher Education policy implementation. The Conference explored the theme: “Re-imagining Higher Education policy implementation: can policy learn from practice? Complexities, challenges and possibilities”.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN Hosts International African Music Symposium and Cultural Calabash

UKZN Hosts International African Music Symposium and Cultural Calabash
Renowned South African performer Madosini is performing at the 10th African Cultural Calabash at UKZN.

UKZN’s Music Discipline is hosting an international African Music Symposium that will bring together academics, artists and documentary film makers with an interest in Africa and the diaspora.

The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) African Music Symposium from 29 September to 4 October will involve delegates exchanging research and creative outputs about African music and dance. There will also be discussions on academic papers, concerts and workshops where delegates can interact and share knowledge.

The keynote speaker is Emeritus Professor J H Kwabena Nketia, a Ghanaian Ethnomusicologist and composer who is considered Africa’s premier musicologist.  He is regarded as the world’s most published and best known authority in African music and aesthetics.

Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee and Programme Committee, UKZN academic, Dr Patricia Opondo, said she was very proud the prestigious international Symposium was being held in Durban. 

Opondo said the Symposium had three themes - African Bows, Harps, Fiddles, Guitars; Packaging Heritage; and Transnational Diasporic Cultures. 

‘It is so exciting that after a year of planning, we are about to celebrate this decade of presenting African folklore and indigenous performing arts through mounting the annual African Cultural Calabash. This year is special as we have included a three-day Symposium that includes paper, workshop and film presentations by 35 performer-academics from around the globe.

‘To have esteemed Emeritus Professor Kwabena Nketia presenting the keynote address is the cherry on top. These four days and the preceding weeks provide life changing experiences for our Music students, particularly those majoring in African Music and Dance as we will bring the best in the field to them. They will not only listen to ground-breaking research, but be able to participate in amazing workshops, and best of all, perform to an illustrious international community,’ said Opondo. 

About 100 guests are expected to attend, including Professor Dave Dargie, who has a prolific publication record spanning over 40 years on Southern African bows, particularly those found in the Eastern Cape. 

Papers that will be presented include: “Southern Africa’s Remarkable Heritage of Musical Bows: Does It Have a Future?”, by Professor Dave Dargie (Germany/South Africa); “Re-packaging Heritage, Reinventing Africa: Rethinking Musical Education, Culture and Insight into Diasporic Cultures”, by Ayorinde Oladele (Nigeria/South Africa); and “Ethnomusicological Perspectives on the Nile Project: Musical Collaboration as Transnational Cooperation”, by Damascus Kafumbe (Uganda/USA).

‘We will also be bestowing a Lifetime Achievement Award to the UKZN Umakhweyana Bow teacher, Bro. Clement Sithole,  in recognition of his contributions in preserving this Zulu indigenous instrument that he learnt at the feet of the late Princess Constance Magogo, the mother of Honorable Mangosuthu Buthelezi.  

‘We have also invited the South African musical bow icon and legend, Madosini of the Eastern Cape,  one of South Africa’s musical treasures, who will perform on uhadi and Umrube,’ added Opondo.

Delegates from music Departments of all the major South Africa universities who teach and research African Music and Ethnomusicology will attend.   

‘The Symposium will showcase UKZN’s mission to be the premier institution of African Scholarship, and indeed in inspiring greatness. There will be artists and scholars from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda, Cape Verde, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Malawi as well as from Portugal, Germany, USA, Turkey and Hungary,’ said Opondo.

The Symposium dovetails with the 10th Anniversary Celebrations of the African Cultural Calabash, hosted by the African Music Project at UKZN. The African Cultural Calabash is an annual folk life event curated and produced by the Applied Ethnomusicology section in the School of Arts – African Music and Dance division.  

This pan-African show will feature trailblazing and pulsating international acts including: Tomeletsi Sereetsi (Botswana), Zviri Mudeze (Zimbabwe), Jembeken (Mozambique/South Africa, USA); Zippy Okoth (Kenya), Ngalanga Ensemble (Mozambique/South Africa), and Praise Zinhuku (Zimbabwe).

Hosts South Africa will be represented by the Maskandi duo of David ‘Qadasi’ Jenkins and Maqhinga Radebe Qadasi, who hail from Empangeni in the heart of Zululand. They are an acoustic duo on a quest to revive the powerful sounds of traditional Maskandi music. 

Both artists are SAMA and SATMA Award nominees and their joining forces has resulted in a fusion of traditional Zulu and western folk music of an international calibre.

The line-up includes Madosini, the Grande dame of Xhosa Umrube and Uhadi bows; and performances by other Southern Africa bow researcher-performers, Dave Dargie, Cara Stacey, and KwaZulu-Natal’s own Bro Clement Sithole, performing on an old Zulu indigenous instrument, the umakhweyana bow. There will also be a performance from our own postgraduate student and Maskandi star, Nozuko Nguqu.

Following the performances, African cuisine will be on offer.

‘Come dressed in your African gowns and beads and skins in true Pan African spirit, and celebrate with legends and youth practitioners and researchers,’ exclaimed Opondo.

Tickets for the 10th Anniversary concert cost R200 for adults and R150 for students and pensioners. Contact Thulile Zama (031-260 3385) at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on the Howard College campus or email:

For further information, visit

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Challenge of Access to Higher Education Examined at Conference

Challenge of Access to Higher Education Examined at Conference
Professor William G Tierney delivering a keynote address at the UTLO Conference.

“Challenge of Access: Praxis and Structure in Higher Education”, was the title of a keynote address at UKZN’s Teaching and Learning Conference by Wilbur-Kieffer Professor of Higher Education and Co-director of the Pullias Centre for Higher Education at the University of Southern California in the United States, Professor William G Tierney.

Tierney, whose research focuses on increasing access to Higher Education, said education was seen as a key vehicle to escape poverty.  ‘How do we get more low-income, first generation youth, into university and graduate?’ 

He said a truism had been that the wealthier the country was, the better developed the educational system. Referring to China, Tierney said: ‘Countries which have sought to improve their economic well-being, have invested heavily in schooling.

‘There is, in general, a common acceptance that a high school education is no longer sufficient for a society wanting high wage jobs in a global society.’

Tierney said having grit - ‘passion and perseverance for long-term goals in the face of setbacks’ - had been identified as an individual characteristic that was predictive for success.

Tierney said the role of the academic was not simply to acquiesce, but instead to ‘engage in analysis of the overall cultural politics that defines the era and proffer ways for social engagement’.

He examined the construct of ‘responsibilisation’, which he defined as assigning the burden of managing one’s risk in society entirely to the individual rather than to the state and/or the influence of institutional cultures and more broadly the role of globalisation.

Tierney extended the debate in a workshop on Creating a Culture to improve Student Performance: Increasing Access to Higher Education.

Day two at the Conference included sessions on: “The Role of Technology in a Constructivist Classroom” by ZG Baleni and “Inclusion of a Community of Practice in the Digitalization of Indigenous Knowledge” by L Sosibo and A Mwanza.

 Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Isifundiswa saseZimbabwe Sikhulume Ngezindlela Zokuthuthukisa Izilimi ZaseAfrika Engqungqutheleni YezokuFunda NokuFundisa

Isifundiswa saseZimbabwe Sikhulume Ngezindlela Zokuthuthukisa Izilimi ZaseAfrika Engqungqutheleni YezokuFunda NokuFundisa
Engqungqutheleni ye-UTLO (kusuka kwesobunxele) uSolwazi Herbert Chimhundu, uDkt Langa Khumalo noDkt Rubby Dhunpath.

Click here for English version

Isifundiswa esiqavile kwezolimi uSolwazi Herbert Chimhundu wethule inkulumo yosuku  ngaphansi kwesihloko esithi: Izilimi ZaseAfrika, Ezobuchwepheshe, Nezikhungo Zemfundo: Imibono yoKwakha izichazamazwi, Ezokwakhiwa kwamatemu NezamaGugu, osukwini lwesithathu lweNgqungquthela YezokuFunda NokuFundisa e-UKZN.

UChimhundu ukhulume ngezindlela ezingasetshenziswa zokuthuthukisa futhi zikhuphule izinga lezilimi zase-Afrika ngokusebenzisa ezobuchwepheshe, ikakhulukazi ubuchwepheshe bezilimi zabantu ukuze nezilimi zase-Afrika zibambe iqhaza kwezokuxhumana ngaleyondlela zikwazi ukubamba neqhaza emnothweni wolwazi.

Uphakamise ukuthi osozilimi basebenzisane nabanye abakulomkhakha. ‘Makwakhiwe amaqembu nabantu bakweminye imikhakha ukuze kukhuphuke izinga lomsebenzi okhiqizwayo,’ kusho Chimhundu.

UChimhundu uhloniphe obenguSihlalo womhlangano onguMqondisi WeHhovisi LokuHlelwa NokuThuthukiswa KoLimi uDkt Langa Khumalo, athe ungomunye wezifundiswa ezihamba phambili esazikhiqiza eNyuvesi YaseZimbabwe eMnyangweni WeziLimi neMibhalo’

UKhumalo uthe ulimi lubaluleke kakhulu empilweni yabantu. Luthwala futhi lukhangise ngobuntu babantu. Luqopha okuyimpumelelo kwethu luphinde lugqugquzele ukuqamba okusha nentuthuko.’

Usuku lwesithathu lwengqungquthela lube nezinkulumo ezethulwe uM A Samuel noM Swart ethi “Early Professional Learning Narratives of Two Novice Teachers as Funza Lushaka Bursary Holders”, kanye nethi “Investigating Perceptions of Food Insecurity Complexities in South African Higher Learning Institutions: UKZN”, eyethulwe ngu-L Sosibo no A Mwanza.

 nguRaylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN Academics Keynote Speakers at Language Education Colloquium

UKZN Academics Keynote Speakers at Language Education Colloquium
Professor Gregory Kamwendo and Professor Thabisile Buthelezi.

Dean and Head of the School of Education, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, and Professor Thabisile Buthelezi of the Language and Arts Cluster in the School, were keynote speakers at the Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy Colloquium.

Kamwendo delivered his presentation on “Voices of Ignorance Versus Voices of Knowledge: Debates in Malawian Mass Media on English as a Language of Instruction”.

Malawi unveiled a new language-in-education policy last year in which English becomes the medium of instruction in the first class of primary education instead of Chichewa (the national language).

‘Whilst in sociolinguistic discourses, Malawi is classified as an Anglophone country, the reality on the ground points to the opposite direction since it is Chichewa and other indigenous languages that predominantly serve as home languages. The bottom line is that Malawi is not an English-dominant context,’ he said.

Out of the intense debates, Kamwendo discussed two positions that emerged: those arguing from a position of knowledge (backed by empirical pedagogical evidence) and those arguing from ignorance.

Buthelezi then spoke on: “African Languages Pedagogy and Cultural Heritage Preservation: From Structural Towards Socio­cultural Approaches”. He discussed historical developments in African languages pedagogy, arguing for the de-emphasis of structural methods to advance socio­cultural approaches that would preserve cultural heritage through language and literature education.

‘Originally, the speakers of African languages did not use abstract writing systems and it was the European missionaries who first recorded African languages with an aim of translating the Bible. As Africans learned to read and write using their own languages, many utilised the opportunity to defeat the distance barrier and engage with one another through media and fiction.

‘The result was the emergence of many African prolific writers who produced works of fiction in African languages such as isiZulu, Kiswahili, Sotho, Yoruba, Pedi, isiXhosa, and so on.

‘Most of these works reflected the best responses of African intelligentsia registering the effects of racialised capitalism - Christian proselytising, land theft, marginalisation of Africans by different governments, cultural loss and change, the absurdity of racial discrimination, and many other socio­cultural and political issues,’ said Buthelezi.

However, influenced by the missionaries’ own linguistic approaches to learning and documenting African languages, Buthelezi noted that the pedagogy of African languages had long been dominated by structural approaches such as grammar­-translation method in language and formalism in literature.

‘While such methods provide knowledge regarding the nature of language and the artistic form of fiction, they do not adequately engage learners to uncover the wealth of ideas that are embedded in both African languages and the related fiction material,’ she said.

Using the socio­cultural theory, Buthelezi showed the necessity for African languages pedagogy to pursue the wealth of knowledge embedded in these languages by carefully considering a noticeable move away from formalistic approaches in language education.

Buthelezi recommended a review of pedagogical approaches in language and literature teaching of African languages.

Melissa Mungroo

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Colloquium on Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy

Colloquium on Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy
UKZN’s School of Education’s local organising committee for the Language Education Colloquium with keynote speaker Dr Stephen Olajide (fifth from right).

The School of Education recently hosted a Colloquium in Durban on Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy.

The Colloquium examined literacy development, language in curricula and African languages pedagogy with discussions and debates on the space of African languages in curricula and the strategies used to teach them both as home languages and second languages.

It also focused on the teaching and learning of English among speakers of African languages within and outside South Africa, and its space in curricula.

Dean and Head of the School, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, spoke on the University’s bilingual policy, and the role of UKZN in championing African Scholarship.

Commenting on students’ participation, Kamwendo said the Colloquium was important for students because they represented the next generation of scholars and that by being a part of this, they would gain confidence in academic endeavours.

Renowned scholar Dr Stephen Olajide, based in the Department of Arts Education at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, was the keynote speaker for the Colloquium with his presentation focusing on: “Revitalising Language Education in Curricula and African Languages Pedagogy for Sustainable Development”.

Olajide believes the problem faced by much of multilingual Africa today is the relegation of the mother tongue in national arrangements by which indigenous languages are hardly tolerated in education.

‘Most African learners have used the languages to acquire their worldviews that education should draw from for success. Colonialism, neo-colonialism and the hydra head globalisation would seem to have conspired to stifle the indigenous language.

‘Even though scholars and other stakeholders, through political debates and academic conferences, have been working for a redress of the worrisome situation, little success appears to have been recorded,’ he said.

Olajide re-examined the status and role of the indigenous language in African education and suggested strategies for making the mother tongue more prominent, for faster and sustainable development of the continent. He even considered the strategies of a literacy-centred model that implicates several disciplines.

‘Africa needs to redesign her education to suit the competency requirements of the 21st Century. Such requirements are best met by hinging language education, curricula and the pedagogies on functional literacy and adequate teacher preparation,’ he said.

Olajide emphasised that literacy became a genuine tool for national development and cross-border integration if it obtained fully developed indigenous languages and accommodated foreign languages in good measures.

‘The wash back effect of the situation envisaged would be greater if African languages curricula are harmonised and African children are encouraged to learn in their mother tongues well before they graduate to the higher levels of education.’

Professor Thabisile Buthelezi of the Language and Arts Cluster in the School of Education said: ‘The overall Colloquium led to the building of research excellence by creating interaction opportunities among researchers, creating learning opportunities for postgraduate students, promoting research in language education, and establishing and strengthening collaboration and networking among researchers of language education.’

Melissa Mungroo

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Determined Student Lands Internship

Determined Student Lands Internship
Ms Ntombikayise Mabaso.

Community Development student Ms Ntombikayise Mabaso was given an internship at the Ladysmith municipality thanks to her determination and assistance from her Lecturer, Ms Phindile Shangase.

The internship was in the Planning, Development and Human Settlements Department, under the section of Local Economic Development (LED) at the municipality.

Mabaso says the internship enabled her to learn, gain experience and develop an understanding of how theories of community development can be planned and put into practice.

She was responsible for building the economic capacity of local communities in order to improve their standard of living and their quality of life by working with co-operatives, in which the municipality provides funding, training, and other assistance.

Her tasks filtered into the overall aim of the municipality to address relevant issues and alleviate poverty at the local communities through co-operative strategies.

Mabaso was able to relate theory to practice during her internship duties with most of her tasks linking to the Community Economic Development and Programme/Project Planning modules she studied.

‘I met new people with totally different personalities, attitudes and styles. I’ve learned to put the principles of Community Development into practice and developed new skills and capabilities. I have also become aware of how meetings are organised, how to communicate and engage with stakeholders, to be punctual, and discovered ways to solve problems and tackle arising challenges,’ she said.

Mabaso believes that work placement programmes are important for students to gain experience and practice what they have learned in class as well as to be able to engage with the community they serve with the purpose of improving their quality of life.

She is planning on securing more internships in the future and advised other students to do the same.

Her Lecturer Shangase said: ‘I congratulate Ntombi both as a student and a future Community Development practitioner. I hope other students will follow suit. Organisations willing to offer work placements to our students create an opportunity to explore partnerships.’

Melissa Mungroo

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Good Deed UKZN Students Aid Lecturer

Good Deed UKZN Students Aid Lecturer
Key finders, students Mr Siphumelele Sibutha (left) and Mr Sibonelo Nkosi, with Dr Nicola Jones.

Media Lecturer Dr Nicola Jones had a bright silver lining in her day recently after she lost her car keys.

Thinking they were history she contacted her son to fetch the vehicle using the spare keys and she would walk home from the Pietermaritzburg campus later.

But she hadn’t reckoned on the good deed spirit of two Education students, Mr Siphumelele Sibutha and Mr Sibonelo Nkosi, who found the keys and went out of their way to return them.

Jones said: ‘I discovered my car keys were missing, resulting in a bit of a personal panic. I had parked in Golf Road outside Psychology, which is somewhat renowned for car theft and which also has extremely high pedestrian and vehicle traffic. I realised I had dropped the keys in the road.’

‘Fortunately, they were found later by two students who left a note on my windscreen informing me of this and giving a contact cell number. Crisis over!

‘Some may say this was a small thing to do, but these random acts of kindness are, for me, so important, particularly given the general 21st century tendency to ignore the plight of fellow human beings. Also, so often we forget to say thank you. These small deeds are part of what makes me so proud to be a UKZN Lecturer,’ said Jones.

Sibutha and Nkosi said they had no idea who the car belonged to so they had kept the keys safe and left a note on the windscreen. ‘Two hours later Dr Jones called and we returned the keys to her. There are a lot of people like us aspiring to be teachers who, through examples like this, will instill good morals in kids in the future,’ said Sibutha.

Dean and Head of the School of Education, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, said: ‘These young men give us positive hope for the future. We live in a world where “thank you” is fast becoming an endangered species! I am proud of them.’

Academic Leader for Teaching and Learning in the School, Dr Sithabile Ntombela, added: ‘This makes me think there is still hope in our country and education system.’

Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Academic Named Language Champion for isiZulu

UKZN Academic Named Language Champion for isiZulu
Dr Langa Khumalo is the Language Champion for isiZulu.

The Director of the University Language Planning and Development Office, Dr Langa Khumalo, has been named as the Language Champion for isiZulu in Oxford Global Languages (OGL), a programme run by Oxford University Press (OUP) in England.

OGL is a new initiative by OUP, aimed at enabling digital language use and communication, focusing first on languages still under-represented in the digital landscape, although widely spoken.

Khumalo said the OGL sought to create a community of languages which could be easily accessed throughout the world. ‘It is a momentous occasion for the dissemination and advancement of isiZulu.’

He said OUP would, through this initiative, provide the technology and support to enable the development of interactive websites for 100 languages.

‘This initiative will inspire communities worldwide to invest in their languages and provide them with freely available technical resources to aid communication in these languages throughout the world,’ said Khumalo. 

He said the initiative was important in raising the status, role and use of isiZulu as a language. ‘Through this initiative isiZulu will become part of a community of languages that subsist in the digital world. Through keeping company with these global languages in this digital space, isiZulu will break the barriers of being a vernacular or “village” language’.

He said the initiative was particularly important for a language that has not had any traction or footprint in the digital world. ‘IsiZulu will become one of the few African languages embracing digital technology. This will have the effect of increasing chances of its access to the global community and study by anyone across the globe.’

OUP, a department of Oxford University, is the world leader in the dissemination of English language materials and publishes language materials in over 40 languages.

 Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Law and Management Studies Postdoctoral Fellow Represents West Africa at Prestigious Economics Programme

Law and Management Studies Postdoctoral Fellow Represents West Africa at Prestigious Economics Programme
Dr Adeoye Akinola.

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academic, Dr Adeoye Akinola was selected as one of the 34 leading international and African scholars to represent West Africa at the African Programme for Rethinking Economics" (APORDE 2015) held in Johannesburg recently.

APORDE is a high-level, two-week training programme in which talented African, Asian and Latin American economists, policy makers, academics and civil society activists are fully funded to participate in development economics lectures and seminars aimed at building capacity in economics and economic policy-making.

The programme is organised by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.

After a very competitive screening process, I was the only one short-listed to represent West Africa while others came from Japan, the Phillipines, Cuba and Southern Africa,’ said Akinola. ‘Scholars were drawn mainly from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, while other renowned economists acted as resource persons.’

The programme focused on essential topics in development economics, including industrial policy, rural poverty, inequality and financialisation.

Akinola said the opportunity provided him with knowledge to expand his research. ‘I greatly benefited from the themes discussed and engagements with both resource persons and participants. More importantly, I now have more of a grasp of the political economy of land reform, which is the theme of my post-doctoral research.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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African Musical Sounds at UKZN Concert

African Musical Sounds at UKZN Concert
UKZN Jazz Lecturer and academic, Professor Salim Washington.

The Dialogue of Musical Sounds concertin association with The African Music Project’s 10th African Cultural Calabash, takes place at The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) tonight (30 September).

The concert features the Zvirmudeze Mbira Ensemble of Zimbabwe under the direction of Dr Perminus Matiure and the UKZN-based Salim Washington Ensemble starring Jo Kunnuji of Nigeria.

The Durban collaboration is complemented by UKZN Jazz and AMD staff and senior students, to promote a dialogue between Cape Town and Durban, and Jazz and African Music, in the spirit of the ongoing International Council of Traditional Music’s African Music Symposium being hosted by the African Music Project at UKZN.

The first set will feature the Zvirimudeze Mbira Ensemble which boasts director Perminus Matiure (bass mbira), Wonder Maguraushe (rhythm mbira), Taona Muatengo (lead mbira), Decent Chambwera (drums), Absolom Mutavati (percussion and technical support) and Elijah Chikomo (vocals).

Zvirimudeze literally means ‘what is enshrined in the calabash’. The ensemble aims to preserve the legacy of mbira through contemporary performances (matandaro). The group performs its own compositions, traditional pieces as well as mbira songs composed by other players.

Zvirimudeze has managed to gain popularity over the past four years by performing in Gweru, Beit Bridge, Hwedza, Bulawayo and Harare. Preparations for recording a new album in Zimbabwe are at an advanced stage.

Sounds in the second set will be provided by the Salim Washington Ensemblefeaturing trumpeter Kunnuji, who has completed his BMus degree in Jazz performance and a BSocSc degree in Sociology, and is currently studying for an MMus degree in Ethnomusicology at the South Africa College of Music, University of Cape Town.

Washington describes his sound as a blend of jazz harmony and improvisational style with rhythmically exciting Ogu music from Nigeria.

The concert starts at 18h00 at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) which is on Level 2 in the Shepstone Building on the Howard College campus.

The entry fee is R50, reducing to R30 for pensioners and R15 for students. Contact Thuli on 031 260 3385 or email for more information.

Melissa Mungroo

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New Book Published on isiZulu Plant Names

New Book Published on isiZulu Plant Names
Professor Adrian Koopman with Ms Debra Primo (publisher at UKZN Press).

UKZN Emeritus Professor Adrian Koopman recently released a book titled Zulu Plant Names which details the complex relationship between plants, the isiZulu language and isiZulu culture.

The launch was held at Koopman’s home where he has many of the plants identified in the book growing in his garden.

Koopman retired as Professor of isiZulu Studies at UKZN after 37 years of teaching the language and literature. His major interest over the years has been in names, naming and naming systems.

He is the author of the 2002 Zulu Names as well as more than 50 articles and chapters in academic journals and books. He is the immediate past president of the Names Society of Southern Africa, and is still the Editor of their journal Nomina Africana.

Publishers of Zulu Plant Names, UKZN Press, say in a statement that Zulu plant names do not just identify plants, they tell a lot more about the plant, or how it is perceived or used in Zulu culture.

‘For example, the plant name umhlulambazo (‘what defeats the axe’) tells us that this is a tree with hard, dense wood, and that usondelangange (‘come closer so I can embrace you’) is a tree with large thorns that snag the passer-by.

‘In a similar vein, both umakuphole (‘let it cool down’) and icishamlilo (‘put out the fire’) refer to plants that are used medicinally to treat fevers and inflammations. Plants used as the base of love-charms have names that are particularly colourful, such as unginakile (‘she has noticed me’), uvelabahleke (‘appear and they smile’) and the wonderfully named ungcingci-wafika-umntakwethu (‘how happy I am that you have arrived, my sweetheart!’).

‘And then there are those plant names that are just plain intriguing, if not mystifying: umakhandakansele (‘the heads of Mr Ratel’), isandlasonwabu (‘hand of a chameleon’), intombikayibhinci (‘the girl does not wear clothes’) and ukhuningomile (‘piece of firewood, I am thirsty’).

Adele Branch

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Meeting to Explore Strategies to Transform Accounting Profession

Meeting to Explore Strategies to Transform Accounting Profession
Dr Terence Nombembe, Mrs Vanuja Maharaj, Mr Sandile Zungu and Mrs Jane Meyerowitz.

A high powered panel including a UKZN representative will explore various strategies to transform the accounting profession at a breakfast meeting in Durban on 20 October hosted by the College of Law and Management Studies.

The panel will comprise the CEO of SAICA, Dr Terence Nombembe; the KZN Auditor-General, Mrs Vanuja Maharaj; Chairman of ZICO Limited, Mr Sandile Zungu; and the Executive Director of UKZN Foundation, Mrs Jane Meyerowitz.

The meeting has been organised in light of the poor representation of Black people in the accounting profession in South Africa. According to the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) there are about 37 000 Chartered Accountants (CAs) in the country, of which only 21% are Black (African, Coloured and Indian).

These figures are clearly not a true reflection of the demographics of the South African population of just over 50 million.

Such a societal challenge requires a concerted effort from various stakeholders and in this regard the College of Law and Management Studies has proposed the adoption of the concept of the Triple Helix of university-industry-government relationships.

In order to fulfil its mission of educating business leaders who create value to society, the College has organised the 20 October meeting to discuss possible strategies and solutions aimed at addressing the shortage of accounting professionals, and in particular Black Chartered Accountants, in the country.

The breakfast meeting will be held at the Royal Hotel from 07h30 for 08h00 until 11h00. All members of the business sector and legal fraternity as well as postgraduate students, alumni and academics are invited.

Click here for reservations at R300 a person or R2 700 for a table of 10.

Hazel Langa

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UKZN Hosts 35th Medicine Update Symposium

UKZN Hosts 35th Medicine Update Symposium
At the Medicine Update are Professor Abdul Mitha (left) and Dr Nombulelo Magula.

UKZN’s Department of Internal Medicine hosted the 35th Medicine Update Symposium in Durban to brief general practitioners on the latest advances in internal medicine.

The event, well attended by doctors from all over South Africa, also attracted doctors from rural KwaZulu-Natal who were sponsored by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

Internal Medicine HoD, Dr Nombulelo Magula, said the annual event was the brain child of distinguished Emeritus Professor YK Seedat, former Head of Internal Medicine. 

‘All the presenters were experts in their chosen fields and their presentations were relevant and practical for practitioners,’ Magula said. ‘Presentations provided the latest information on the management of epilepsy, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, aging and HIV, among others.’

Dr Verushka Reddy from UKZN’s Nephrology Department spoke on improving chronic kidney disease (CKD) management in general practice. Reddy said CKD was a worldwide public health problem with global statistics showing that nearly a million people died from chronic kidney disease in 2013.

‘The increase in CKD prevalence is thought to be due to multiple factors including population, demographics, and a higher prevalence of diagnosed diabetes and hypertension.’

Reddy said the management of the progression of CKD, included general measures that addressed cardiovascular health and CKD together. Strategies included blood pressure control and interruption of the Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System, glycaemic control and dietary/lifestyle changes which impact on delaying the progression of CKD.

The second session which was preceded by an exhibition saw UKZN’s Department of Geriatrics HoD, Professor Bilkish Cassim deliver a highly interactive talk entitled: “Not Just Old Age: Case Presentations”.  Cassim spoke about falls suffered by the elderly and the measures used to assess the risks of falling.

Dr Halima Dawood from the Infectious Disease Department at Grey’s Hospital spoke on: “New and Emerging Treatments in HIV/AIDS”.

The annual Professor Vinod Gathiram Memorial Lecture was presented by Emeritus Professor Abdul Mitha.  Titled: “The Demise of Clinical Cardiology”, the presentation gave a detailed history of cardiology in KwaZulu-Natal, from when it began in Wentworth Hospital in 1965 to where it is today.

Magula thanked Mitha, UKZN’s former Head of Cardiology, for his contribution to the training of undergraduate, postgraduate students and specialists in cardiology. ‘The impact of his teaching abilities has been felt throughout KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa,’ said Magula.

Magula added: ‘The turn out and participation at the Symposium indicated that practitioners still see value in the Annual Medicine Update Symposium provided by UKZN’s Department of Internal Medicine.’

Nombuso Dlamini

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Masters Student Presents Work-In-Progress Thesis at Management Conference

Masters Student Presents Work-In-Progress Thesis at Management Conference
Ms Romona Sewpersad.

Human Resources Management (HRM) Masters student Ms Romona Sewpersad’s thesis was selected to be presented in the work-in-progress stream for the HRM discipline at the recent 27th annual conference of the Southern African Institute of Management Scientists (SAIMS) Conference in Cape Town.

The Conference provided a platform for high level research into a variety of management issues and concerns under the theme: “Management in Southern Africa: Change, Challenge and Opportunity”.

Sewpersad’s thesis titled: “Assessing the Influence of New Managerialism on Psychological Contracts of Academics at a KZN Tertiary Institution”, was supervised by Dr Shaun Ruggunan. It aimed to determine how the initial psychological contracts of academic staff were influenced by new managerialism.

Sewpersad said getting an opportunity to present her research to academics at the conference had been an awesome experience.

‘My presentation produced constructive feedback from academics from various universities who provided me with extra guidance. I also had the opportunity to listen to other presentations which were very interesting and informative. Not only did I get the opportunity to network and present my paper, but I also got the honour of representing UKZN. This was an incredible learning experience and I’d like to attend many more conferences in the future,’ she said.

Sewpersad’s plans include studying towards a PhD after completing her masters, and pursuing a career in academia, more specifically in the research field which she is passionate about.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Annual Alumni Function back at South Africa House in London

Annual Alumni Function back at South Africa House in London
UK-based alumni and friends at the annual alumni event in London.

More than 100 people attended the annual function of UKZN’s Alumnus Association in Europe in London.

Guests were thrilled to be back at South Africa House after a break of almost four years and the return of the event to the iconic building was made all the more special by the presence of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, who was the guest speaker.

Chair of the Alumnus Association in Europe, Mr Bruno van Dyk, welcomed guests and thanked the previous Chair, Ms Caroline Harben, for her dedication to the Association over the past decade.

President and Chair of Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi, addressed the gathering, highlighting UKZN’s achievements over the past decade and stressed the need for graduates to ‘give-back’ to their alma mater.

Van Jaarsveld’s address titled: “UKZN’s Past, the Present and the Prospects for the Institution into the Future”, highlighted achievements and developments at the Institution since 2004, current developments and statistics, and his plans for the institution over the next five years.

He supported Sibisi’s plea for graduates to consider donating to the University.

Executive Director of Corporate Relations at UKZN, Mr Lesiba Seshoka, thanked everyone for attending and the speakers for their contributions.

South African canapés and drinks were served after the talks and guests were able to network and catch-up with fellow graduates.

There was a draw for prizes with UKZN Foundation gifts being handed out to eight lucky winners.

Folders with the latest UKZN information and mementos were distributed to guests.

Finn Christensen

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Poster Presentations by Third Year Medical Students

Poster Presentations by Third Year Medical Students
Winning groups at the Symposium.

UKZN’s third year Medical students presented their research findings at a Symposium hosted by the School of Nursing and Public Health on the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus.

The 220 Medical students, divided into 72 self-selected groups, conducted research in their selective sites in their ‘home communities’. The research was based on the ‘community diagnosis’ made as part of the Selectives 01 block in the second year of study.

Public Health Specialist at UKZN and a member of the Selectives Co-coordinating Team, Dr Stephen Knight, said: ‘As Medical students return “home” for their selectives, research is conducted in a range of  townships, rural communities and towns and urban communities in order to gain a better understanding of what affects their local communities.’

The research involved surveying participants from the local community after ethical approval was received from the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee (BREC) and gatekeeper permission from the Provincial and Municipal Departments of Health.

The top eight groups were later given an opportunity to present their research to a wider audience that included representatives from the District Health Offices, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, BREC, and senior academics from UKZN.

Selectives Research Co-coordinator, Dr Saajida Mahomed, a Public Health Medicine Specialist, said the initiative allowed students to showcase their work to relevant external stakeholders ‘The students were very excited at having this opportunity, and feel like their work is making a difference in their communities.’ The students will use their research findings to develop and implement a health promotion intervention in their fourth year of study.

A wide array of topics reflecting the burden of diseases in South Africa - including non-communicable diseases, HIV and AIDS and Gastroenteritis - were covered. The focus of the studies was largely on patients’ knowledge of these diseases.

The top five presentations were from:

Group 2:  Knowledge of risk factors associated with HIV transmission among Primary Health Care (PHC) attendees at Mhlakulo Health Care Centre (MHC), Mthatha, presented by Ms Zukiswa Cabangana, Ms Sipesihle Lawana, Mr Ntando Ntsalaze and Ms Vuyelwa Qwesha.

Group 4:  The Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs of HIV Prevention among adults attending at the Newcastle PHC during June 2015, presented by Ms Phumelele Luvuno, Ms Fathima Osman, Ms Zandile Sibeko and Ms Mandisa Ziqubu.

Group 34: Hygiene and sanitation practices in patients with gastroenteritis in Reservoir Hills, 2015, by Mr Theshan Naidoo, Ms Riona Singh and Ms Sumika Singh.

Group 59:  Knowledge and Awareness of Asthma in Wentworth Primary School Teacher, by Ms Odielle Pather and Ms Robyn Thompson.

Group 64:  The knowledge and practices of hormonal contraceptive use in women aged 18-50 years old, in PHC facilities in Westville, 2015, presented by Ms Ashleigh Dowel and Ms Kirsty Reynolds.

BREC Chairperson, Professor Joyce Tsoka-Gwegweni, said she admired the quality presentations made by the students, ‘I enjoyed reviewing your protocols and listening to your presentations.’ She said the students’ work was of a high standard and quality.

Public Health Medicine Specialist Dr Ozayr Mahomed thanked the students for their hard work. ‘They have been through the entire process of writing a research protocol, obtaining BREC approval, conducting the research and preparing a scientific poster.’

He acknowledged the role of the BREC committee, KZN Department of Health, and the eThekwini Municipality Health Unit for facilitating and fast tracking student access and permission.

Nombuso Dlamini

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Research Rewarded at Annual Health Sciences Symposium

Research Rewarded at Annual Health Sciences Symposium
Winners at the CHS Research Symposium.

More than 130 oral and poster presentations were made by staff and postgraduate students at the College of Health Sciences’ (CHS) Annual Research Symposium held on the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus in Durban.

The Symposium’s Scientific Committee received an impressive 151 submissions for presentation at the two-day event, from which 132 were accepted, with 86 being oral presentations and the remainder poster deliveries.

The event contributes significantly towards the achievement of CHS’s Strategic Goal 1 (Student centeredness and excellence), Goal 3 (Research intense through PhDs) and Goal 4 (Health sciences research leadership), according to Symposium Chair and CHS Dean of Research, Professor Moses Chimbari.

The College boasts 2 200 registered postgraduate students this year.

Chimbari said it was pleasing to see the hard work of novice and seasoned researchers showcased at the Symposium. Their kaleidoscope of research topics was geared towards improving the country’s health professions and most importantly, the lives of fellow human beings.

‘The College Management has once again committed itself to appreciating the good work being done across the College and to promote excellence by giving wonderful prizes to outstanding presenters by students, staff and credentialing staff.’

The CHS was congratulated by SA Medical Research Council Vice President, Professor Cristina Stefan, whose keynote presentation was titled: “Research in the Health Sciences in South Africa”.

Stefan applauded South African health scientists for successfully increasing life expectancy over the past decade. She said thanks to increased scientific research, the county was in an active process of transformation. ‘We are definitely making progress but need to move faster to close the gap between South Africa and the rest of the world,’ she said.

Stefan said Africa had the potential to lead global research. Evidence suggested that PhD students excelled when they had both a research supervisor as well a personal mentor to consult with as they progressed.

Addresses were also made by the College’s fractional research professors: Professor Per I. Arvidsson of the Karolinska Institutet, Professor Hans-Peter Lippof the University of Zürich, Professor Bob Hickner of the East Carolina University, Professor Takafira Mduluza of the University of Zimbabwe and Professor Vivian Russell of UKZN.  They spoke on their progress in a range of on-going research projects they have embarked on following their appointments within respective disciplines of the College.

A total of 27 awards were issued in recognition of outstanding research presented during the Symposium. The winners, who received cash prizes of either R30 000 towards attending an international conference or R15 000 for a national conference, were:


Dirk Lamprecht - R30 000

Saiyur Ramsugit - R15 000

Garth Horsten - R15 000


Precious Sibisi - R30 000

Shoohana Singh - R15 000

Sharana Mahomed - R15 000


Lihle Qulu - R30 000

Debbie Fewster and Bongiwe Ndlovu - R15 000

Pam Pillay - of R15 000


Takshita Sookan - R30 000

Sanjeev Rambarose - R15 000

Nosipho Ntombela - R15 000


Akeem Akilimali and Resign Gunda - R30 000

Savaniah Nagiah - R15 000

Lara McGillewie - R15 000


Vanessa Korb - R30 000

Dhiraj Sikhwal - R30 000

Katya Govender - R15 000


Rivona Harricharan - R30 000

Christine Driver - R15 000

Naeem Sheik Abdul and Santhuri Rambaran - R15 000


Thabiso Tlaila - R30 000

Chanelle Mc Arthur - R15 000

Kashmeel Maharaj - R15 000

Lunga Memela

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We Love, We Care Celebration

We Love, We Care Celebration
UKZN's HIV/AIDS Programme hosted the We Love, We Care Women’s Celebration.

The UKZN HIV/AIDS Programme hosted its highly anticipated We Love, We Care Women’s Celebration event in honour of all female students and staff.

The Central Men’s Forum of the UKZN HIV/AIDS Programme organised the event to extend its appreciation to its female counterparts and to stand against gender based violence and other social ills that impact women in South Africa.

Deputy President of the Central Men’s Forum, Mr Thula Dlamini explained the reason for the event, welcomed all the women and reminded them how special they were. Dlamini made it clear that the Men’s Forum was against all forms of violence directed towards women.

President of the Men’s Forum and founder of Men in Responsibility, Mr Khethani Njoko, empathised with the women who were still angry at the men who had hurt them in their lives. In his capacity as the President of the Men’s Forum, he apologised on behalf of all men who had hurt women in the past and reaffirmed that the forum was a relevant platform through which to correct these wrongs, to teach young men to be responsible and to treat women with respect. He encouraged all women to radiate confidence and to value themselves.

Gospel artist, Mr Babo Ngcobo cautioned women about men who use religion to oppress them. Ngcobo congratulated all women for excelling in their studies and wished them all the best for their future endeavors. He said that women should be commended for their strength and ability to endure the types of hardships they have encountered in the past.

A variety of entertainment kept the audience occupied.

The programme was honoured by the presence of Ms Nomonde Magantolo (who is the Programme Coordinator for the UKZN HIV/AIDS Programme) and closing remarks were made by Mr Mxolisi Nkomo, the secretary of the Men’s Forum who thanked everyone for making the event a success. 

Kenneth Qalaza

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Law School Celebrates Success of First Internship Programme

Law School Celebrates Success of First Internship Programme
Mentors, students and Law academics at the certification ceremony.

Interns, (fourth year Clinical Law students) and mentors (Candidate Attorneys in the Law Clinic) participated in the Law Clinic’s first Internship Programme which was devised in collaboration with Legal Aid South Africa.  The internship programme had a social justice orientation and aimed at providing legal assistance to the indigent community. The School of Law recognised the effort and dedication displayed by the interns and mentors at a function hosted by the School of Law. The internship programme was devised in response to the LLB standards document compiled by the Council for Higher Education.

During the internship, Candidate Attorneys from the Clinic mentored LLB students over a two-week period, striving to develop the students’ legal skills and further inculcate values of social justice in the interns and mentors. The interns were involved in various legal matters the Clinic handles, court visits and conducting legal outreach workshops at the Luthuli museum at Groutville. The interns and mentors were also trained in interactive Street Law methods of presenting legal outreach workshops.

The Principal Attorney of the Clinic, Mr Eben van der Merwe, told the students: ‘We are very proud of your dedication to the programme which has gone above and beyond the call of duty, especially as the programme was implemented during the University July holidays. This programme is very innovative and will inform the Clinical Law curriculum’.

Candidate Attorneys and Interns were awarded certificates of appreciation by the School of Law’s Dean and Head, Professor Managay Reddi. Professor David Mcquoid-Mason from the Centre of Socio-Legal studies conducted the training of the interns and mentors for the legal outreach workshops.

Mentor Mr Philani Ngcobo said being part of the programme was a wonderful experience and a learning curve for all involved. ‘As much as we were the ones doing the teaching we also found ourselves learning a lot from the students because they have their own way of seeing things,’ said Ngcobo.

Intern Ms Verusha Govender described the internship ‘as a wonderful learning experience’.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Students Hear About Social Work in Practice

Students Hear About Social Work in Practice
Social Work Lecturer, Ms Babalwa Dano (third left); Ms Zilungile Dlamini (fourth left); Major Derrick Olivier (fourth right); Mr Sipho Sithole (second right) and Social Work students.

UKZN Social Work students attended two guest presentations as part of their first year course: “Fields of Practice in Social Work”.

The presentations were delivered by Ms Zilungile Dlamini of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and Major Derrick Olivier, Area Manager for the Social Work Department at the Area Military Health Unit in KwaZulu-Natal.

Both Dlamini and Olivier spoke about their roles as social workers in their respective departments and their lived experiences in their profession, while sharing insightful and interesting information about what students could expect in the field.

Students also heard about how to be an effective social worker.

Dlamini told students that learnerships offered by DCS consisted of both theoretical and practical training in how to contribute to the rehabilitation of prisoners. ‘As a trainee you will be taught how to do this via correction and human development in a humane, secure and safe detention or under community-based correctional supervision.

‘The DCS learnership will give you the opportunity to learn the skills and gain the knowledge, acceptable workplace behaviour and attitude required in the correctional services,’ she said.

Olivier showed video clips of life as a social worker within the military and his overall experiences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. ‘You are first a soldier and then a social worker. You are deployed on the frontline and this job demands loyal dedicated service. As military social workers, you have to give support to people and soldiers left behind after war and conflict situations,’ he said.

Both Dlamini and Olivier advised students to be humane and genuine and to help people as much as possible.

Students Mr Sanele Mhlongo and Ms Nomzamo Mbhense said the presentations by the guest speakers had been highly motivational and educational.

‘These talks showed us what we can expect in the future as social workers and how we can make a difference in society and in the lives of people. This further emphasised how important the role of social workers is and we plan to uphold and maintain the ethic and integrity,’ said Mhlongo.

Melissa Mungroo

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The UKZN Griot. Of Rabbit Holes and Protocols

The UKZN Griot.  Of Rabbit Holes and Protocols

Keyan G Tomaselli

A response to my Transformation and New Math column  drew forth this response from a dean at another university:  ‘This is shockingly true! You have to chase rabbits as they jump out of the holes and chase them until a new rabbit appears which will take you in a totally opposite direction. If universities had to be self-sustainable they would not last beyond a couple of years!’

For universities there is no bottom line as they are public services that must deliver employable graduates to the market place.  The unemployable graduates go into government and state-owned enterprise managements where they earn much higher salaries, benefit from huge perks, and do less work, without much accountability.  Everyone is happy even if universities are bankrupt.   That explains the differences when one visits some government departments where functionaries scowl, are sullen and rude, compared to organisations that have no public purse to bail them out where the customer is treated with greater respect. 

Where else in the world would self-respecting graduates willingly want to associate themselves with bankrupt organisations operating literally in the dark ages like Eskom, SAA , SABC , PRASA and Telkom?    They might offer good benefits but they offer lousy service and attract government bail-outs and never-ending mirth from their critics.  Career pathing in such organisations is actually political pathing - it’s about the money and patronage; it’s not about changing the institution for the better, service delivery or sustainability. 

A ‘better life’ can never occur while these dinosaurs of cadre deployment and rampant patronage wreck the economy.  Get fired from one, draw your golden handshake, then go to another and do the same.   Problem is, eventually there is no more money and no-one can ‘pay back the money’.  Just ask the Greeks.  These kinds of phrases are becoming increasingly characteristic of South African discourses, touched off some years ago by ‘Don’t touch me on my studio’, uttered by an exasperated White right-winger during a TV discussion.

Then there is that unique ‘All protocols observed’, which shortened by 20-60 minutes the tedious ritual genuflecting undertaken in official gatherings where everyone endlessly repeats what in the old days were called ‘Dank die Minister’ sycophancy.  These, of course, are aimed at reminding those who imagine that they are VIPs that they are indeed VIPs deserving special treatment and special mentions.  Whether articulated in the officious or shortened sense, the democratic world marvels at this indulgent ritual, the self- and mutual admiration and the time it wastes. The cost to the taxpayer must be immense when it can take half a day just to get a conference started.

And in good African presidential orature, the call and response is to trivialise serious issues by pronouncing ‘Nkandla’ in 10 different ways in Parliament.  That takes one’s critics’ eyes off the ball (or the money).  In pornography, ejaculation is called ‘the money shot’, so  maybe we’re all masturbating to the EFFing tune hoping for better political accountability from those whose salaries we pay but who represent only themselves?  Fat chance.  Expulsion from the party and parliament are the outcomes.

Seth Afr’can English has been never more opaque.  No wonder no-one understands us, and why American actors can’t mimic SA accents and why SA films have to be dubbed into American to get distribution there.  Money shots don’t require any translation.  Ditto with violence, that’s why American movies travel so well.

South Africa seems to operate on the basis of endless crisis management, which may explain the massive consumption of fake aphrodisiacs and high levels of violence, though individuals here don’t massacre people on campuses, in schools, theatres, military bases and churches as is the case in the US.  Our preferred killing fields are the roads – tailor made for lethal weapons called vehicles being mishandled by rank amateurs who can’t read road signs and who have fake licences.  Where the maniacs spraying gunfire in the US have selected purposive samples, South African killers behave in a more random manner.

That’s the problem facing deans.  There are too many rabbit holes to jump through – ‘every which way’ - to cite Clint Eastwood’s memorable movie phrase: All we need now are special effects to get through the day. 

Keyan Tomaselli is a UKZN Emeritus Professor and Distinguished Professor at the University of Johannesburg.  Neither his PhD nor his driver's license are fake.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.

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