Education Student Recognised as Inspiring

Education Student Recognised as Inspiring
Inspirational student, Mr Lihle Mbatha.

Mr Lihle Mbatha is thrilled to be among UKZN’s Top 40 Most Inspiring Students.

Mbatha - nominated by his peers on the Edgewood campus – is completing his honours degree in Education, specialising in History.

UKZN’s 40 Most Inspiring Students were named during the annual Spotlight on Greatness Competition organised by the University’s Corporate Relations Division.

Mbatha’s main research interest is in ICT usage in the teaching and learning of History, while he strives to be an agent of change in society, valuing and supporting the notion of giving back to the community.

He is a Mentor under the Academic Monitoring and Support (AMS) organisation where he offers peer-to-peer mentoring through one-on-one and group sessions.

Mbatha has also peer-reviewed students’ assignments for the Discipline of Education Studies and has, collectively with his colleagues, co-hosted exam revision for Geography modules.

Mbatha is passionate about community engagement and assists Grade 12 learners with extra classes as well as exam revisions for Mathematical Literacy. He started this initiative at Ntee High School in KwaNdengezi, Durban, and Bhande High School in Mhlumayo, Ladysmith.

He also assisted more than 250 newly qualified, unemployed teachers in compiling a comprehensive and detailed curriculum vitae for a teacher with no teaching experience.

‘I am delighted to receive the recognition following my hard work and dedication,’ said Mbatha. ‘I feel I now possess all the attributes of a good UKZN ambassador, which include academic excellence, community engagement, University service and research.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied

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UKZN to Host 23rd Time of the Writer Festival

UKZN to Host 23rd Time of the Writer Festival
The Time of the Writer Festival opens on 16 March at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UKZN’s Howard College campus.

The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, in partnership with eThekwini Municipality, will host the 23rd Time of the Writer International Festival from 16 to 21 March.

To inspire more people to read in order to get to know and understand each other’s stories, the theme of this year’s Festival is: Do You Read Me?

The programme will feature 20 leading novelists, social commentators, activists, playwrights and short story writers from South Africa and abroad who will participate in an exciting programme that sees a mix of panel discussions, workshops and writers’ visits.

Opening night takes place at the Ekhaya KCAP Multi-Arts Centre in Kwa Mashu, where all writers will introduce themselves.

‘As we enter a new decade, let the book and literature be the medium of communicating and understanding that will lead us to the future,’ said curator Ms Siphindile Hlongwa.

Hlongwa is excited about the diverse line-up of 20 writers. ‘Seasoned writers are featured and we hope they will drive the conversation forward to a better future.

‘The Time of the Writer platform was created for audiences. We are definitely sure that Durban will come out to meet and engage with their favourite writers and buy books to support them,’ said Hlongwa.

The writers are:

•    Forgiveness advocate, author and public speaker Candice Mama [SA]

•    Comic-book and Hindi film aficionado Ebrahim Essa [DBN-SA]

•    Novelist and poet Euclene Busi Maphumulo [DBN-SA]

•    Journalist and award-winning author Fred Khumalo [SA]

•    Writer and poet Haska Shyyan [Ukraine]

•    Ugandan fiction writer Jennifer Makumbi [Uganda]

•    Storyteller and short story author Keletso Mopai [SA]

•    Fiction and non-fiction writer Kirsten Miller [DBN-SA]

•    Children’s book writer Lebohang Masango [SA]

•    Children’s book writer Refiloe Moahloli [SA]

•    Novelist Nozizwe Cynthia Jele [SA]

•    Rwandan-born Namibian novelist, short story writer, essayist, columnist, poet and photographer Remy Ngambije  [Namibia]

•    Sociologist and writer Shafinaaz Hassim [SA]

•    Literary critic, novelist, short story writer and playwright Siphiwo Mahala [SA]

•    American political theorist and writer Dr Tiffany Willoughby-Herard [USA]

On the last day of the Festival, the KZNSA Gallery will host a publishing forum looking at publishing perspectives in the age of media convergence, while UKZN Music lecturer, Dr Sazi Dlamini will facilitate an Indigenous Language Authors’ Music Archive Workshop.

The South African Music Archive Project (SAMAP) at UKZN is inviting selected authors in indigenous African languages to engage with their historical musical resources. These are comprised of audio field recordings of traditional, popular and indigenous musical performances from Southern Africa that constitute the historical online archive of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) - presently run under the Rhodes University institutional umbrella.

Authors will be engaged in transcribing musical items documented in performance using the region’s diverse ethnic languages. This workshop will mark the start of this project.

As part of the eThekwini Home-Grown programme, a group of five writers from the city was selected to participate in the daytime panel discussions and to engage with the writers on the main programme. The eThekwini writers are Joe Spirit, Nelly Shozana, Rodney Roskruge, Sylvia Garib and Zanele Dlamini.

The Festival is made possible by the support from eThekwini Municipality, the National Department of Arts and Culture, and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture.

•    To stay updated, please follow @Timeofthewriter on Twitter and Instagram or like the Festival on Facebook at The full programme is available at:

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied

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Law Professions Day Attracts Scores of Students

Law Professions Day Attracts Scores of Students
Scenes from the Law Professions Day 2020.

Law students on the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses turned up in their numbers at the Law Professions Day 2020 to interact with and gain information from prospective employers.

Dean and Head of School, Professor Managay Reddi said the annual event apart from exposing students to the legal profession also serves to forge important links between academics in the Law School and members in the profession. ‘This relationship keeps the academics abreast with the needs of the profession to ensure that the training we offer to our students is relevant and of the highest standard.’

The day attracted representatives from more than 20 law firms including Adams & Adams Attorneys, Bowman Gilfillan, Norton Rose, Werkmans, The Phatshoane Henney Group as well as from organisations such as Legal Aid and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Students heard about various employment and training opportunities available in the legal profession and the value of early job applications. In turn, they raised concerns they had regarding the profession and some gave their CVs to the representatives.

Provincial Human Resources Manager at Legal Aid, Mr Baboo Brijlal said his organisation had over the years recruited a “fair number” of UKZN students and were always happy to come back and find more service oriented recruits passionate about serving the poor.

‘We are committed to giving students hard core experience and access to the law profession by affording them the opportunity to serve their articles,’ said Brijal.

Among those representing their employers at the gathering was UKZN alumna, Ms Moshina Ismail who graduated cum laude last year and is currently a second year candidate attorney at Bowman. ‘I was recruited back in 2017 and started serving my articles of clerkship in Sandton last year,’ said Ismail. ‘I am here to look for candidates to join our graduate programme.’

Fourth-year student Mr Uyanda Maboea said he had already been recruited by Adams & Adams Attorneys to serve his articles. ‘After meeting representatives of the firm in 2018 during my second-year, I was shortlisted for their Recruitment Games programme - a Pretoria-based boot camp event that invites top students around the country. I made it through that and I start serving my articles next year,’ said Maboea.

Words and photographs: Lungile Ngubelanga

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Alumnus Stars at London Fashion Show

Alumnus Stars at London Fashion Show
UKZN alumnus, Ms Xia Narain, who closed the show for the Burberry Ready To Wear Fall 2020 collection at this year’s London Fashion Week.Click here for isiZulu version

College of Humanities alumnus, Ms Xia Narain - a Miss South Africa 2019 finalist and Bachelor SA contestant - closed the show for the Burberry Ready To Wear Fall 2020 collection at this year’s London Fashion Week.

Narain, who shared the catwalk with a variety of well-known models, said: ‘It was such an honour. Thank you Burberry for making me one of your exclusive models and letting me close the show. It was one of the best days of my life.’

Selected from 108 models, she was the only South African who walked as a closing girl for the show. Narain wore a heavy, armour-like silver dress dripping with crystal tassels designed by Burberry’s chief creative officer, Riccardo Tisci.

Narain said she had been overwhelmed by the support from home. ‘It makes me so proud to be a South African and to have contributed something positive towards representation in the industry,’ she said.

Narain has a tattoo of her grandfather’s name on her left hand and touches it as a ritual before she steps out on any stage.

She plans to do her postgraduate degree in Psychology and is optimistic about what the future holds for her.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Richard Isaac

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UKZN Law Students Pledge Commitment to Legal Career

UKZN Law Students Pledge Commitment to Legal Career
First-year Law students taking an oath.

More than 250 first-year Law students committed to serve the legal profession with integrity as students and future practioners during a recent pledge ceremony.

During the ceremony they were formally inducted into the Law School, taking an oath to conduct themselves with decorum, to respect fellow students and staff and to act with integrity.

Keynote speaker, Consumer Law specialist Professor Tanya Woker, encouraged students to make their mark and work hard in order to become ‘change-making professionals’ and to uphold the values set out in the Constitution.

‘You have started on a wonderful journey and you are walking in the steps of some remarkable Law professionals who preceded you in this School and are continuing to make a contribution to the justice system in South Africa, such as UKZN’s Chancellor and the Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng Mogoeng, Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo and President of the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, Mandisa Maya,’ said Woker.

‘Always remember that you are entering a service profession and that ultimately it is through your service that you can make a difference and make your mark in society. Choose today the kind of lawyer you want to be and then live up to that choice through your words and your conduct.’

The oath taking was presided over by the Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, with students signing the pledge to place on record their commitment to the profession after which they each received a copy of the South African Constitution.

Students, Ms Micayla Desvaux de Marigny and Ms Thabisile Ngubane described the ceremony as inspiring and motivating.

‘The ceremony was a rite of passage. It is a pathway to the rest of my life in a profession I am passionate about,’ said de Marigny.

‘I am officially a Law student,’ said Ngubane. ‘This day marks the beginning of a journey I am excited about and I am looking forward to the knowledge I will gain through this qualification.’

Words and Photograph: Lungile Ngubelanga

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UKZN’s Research Trajectory Propels it to the Top

UKZN’s Research Trajectory Propels it to the Top
UKZN campuses.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has secured the top spot in South Africa for total published research outputs and total weighted actual research outputs for the year 2018.

This was for the latest audited assessment period by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). UKZN had previously been placed second nationally with regard total published research outputs.

Total published research outputs are based on journals, books and book chapters, and conference proceedings. UKZN produced a total of 2 069.36 units in 2018.

The University produced the largest number of accredited journal outputs nationally. The total weighted actual research output includes graduated doctoral and master’s students. UKZN was the largest producer of doctoral graduates nationally, contributing approximately 15% of the total national number for 2018. For the first time, UKZN also clinched the position as the top university for total weighted actual research outputs.

The University’s 2018 research output reaffirms its standing as a research intensive university, and commitment to contributing to the knowledge economy through knowledge production and human capacity development.

‘The University is extremely proud of this achievement,’ said Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research. ‘Our gratitude goes to all staff, students and stakeholders that have been instrumental in us achieving this position as the top university nationally in terms of research outputs. For 2018 alone, UKZN graduated approximately 500 doctoral students. This made up 15% of the total doctoral graduates nationally,’ he said.

Words: Indumathie Moodley 

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New Dean at UKZN

New Dean at UKZN
New School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences Dean and Head, Professor Fhatuwani Mudau.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) has a new Dean and Head - Professor Fhatuwani Nixwell Mudau, an expert in Horticultural Science who has distinguished himself both in business and in academia.

Mudau hails from the Limpopo province where he completed his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree at the University of Venda, specialising in Crop Science, inspired by the agricultural activity in the subtropical region in which he grew up. He joined an undergraduate class of only six people, who split their focus among several agricultural areas.

After completing his degree, a scholar from the University of California at Berkeley in the United States, Professor Godwin Mchau – a former Dean at the University of Venda who also worked at the University of Stellenbosch (SU) – recommended that Mudau pursue his Masters in Horticulture at SU.

His MSc research involved investigating the yield and fruit quality of citrus species relative to foliar sprays of macronutrients under the supervision of Professor Etienne Rabe and Professor Karen Theron.

Mudau went on to work at Vista University, during which time he registered for PhD studies at the University of Pretoria (UP), where he was recruited to conduct research on bush tea (Athrixia phylicoides). There was a paucity of knowledge on how to propagate the wild tea, and in order to be closer to his Limpopo-based trials, Mudau moved to the University of Venda. While completing his PhD through UP, Mudau got married and moved to the University of Limpopo (UL).

At UL, Mudau was involved in the establishment of the Limpopo Agro-Food Technology Station (LATS) created to improve agro-processing by small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs). Mudau worked in this strategic role for two years, publishing extensively and earning a promotion to Associate Professor.

He then joined the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), working in agro-processing and agriculture and the Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Strategic Business Units, while still continuing to supervise students at UL. The transition from academia to a more business-based role led Mudau to enrol for a Master of Business Leadership (MBL) through the Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

After five years at the IDC, and now a father of two, Mudau joined UNISA, bringing with him a new perspective on both business and academia. He completed his MBL, which enhanced his understanding of issues of leadership, strategy, corporate finance, human resources and funding that underpin the success of an organisation.

A year after joining UNISA, the position of Chair of the Department of Agriculture and Animal Health opened up, and believing that ‘if you don’t want to manage, you might be managed badly’ and if ‘you don’t want to lead, you will be badly led’, Mudau took up the position which he held for more than six years. This involved oversight of a large department comprising all agricultural disciplines.

At UNISA, Mudau also acted as Deputy Executive Dean for six months, and was Director of the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences for five months before joining UKZN. He is a National Research Foundation C-rated scientist.

Mudau was motivated to join UKZN by its reputation as one of the country’s top agricultural universities.

In this new role, Mudau looks forward to building on the School’s strengths in research, teaching and learning, and community engagement, as well as its robust administrative systems. He is particularly interested in integrating teaching and learning with community engagement to achieve societal transformation. He believes his strengths in issues of governance will contribute to the School, and sees the input of strategic leadership as essential.

Mudau has continued his work on bush tea, from production to quality to chemical analysis, a field in which he has published extensively. A significant achievement in his research included characterising, for the first time, a major new flavonoid in bush tea leaves.

Mudau has received several awards, including the UNISA Chancellor Prize for excellence in research, five best paper awards from the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and a Combined Congress floating trophy for best poster. He was also a finalist for two National Science and Technology Forum awards and for a New Generation of Academics Programme Bio Sciences award.

Mudau is currently serving a three-year term on the American Society of Horticultural Sciences Outstanding Researcher Award Committee, and has been a member of the South African Society for Horticultural Sciences.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod

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You Can Become a Rocket Scientist Through UKZN!

You Can Become a Rocket Scientist Through UKZN!
Front from left: Professor Glen Snedden, Mr Tim Velthuysen, Professor Mike Brooks, Mr Humbulani Mudau (DSI), and Dr Jean Pitot with the ASReG group.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN is offering its undergraduate students the opportunity to study Rocket Engineering in their fourth-year by taking a new module on Rocket Propulsion.

The elective course covers topics such as rocket engine thermodynamics, nozzles, thrust chamber design and orbital mechanics.

‘This is a unique offering in South Africa,’ said Academic Leader of Mechanical Engineering at UKZN Professor Mike Brooks. ‘Only UKZN offers a Rocket Propulsion module at undergraduate level, and the students who take the course are passionate about Aerospace Engineering.’

The University’s Mechanical Engineering Discipline is home to Africa’s largest university-based rocket propulsion research group. The Aerospace Systems Research Group (ASReG) conducts cutting-edge work in the fields of hybrid and liquid rocket engine design, aerostructure development, launch operations and engine testing.

ASReG recently secured more than R15 million in funding from the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) for its work on the SAFFIRE and Phoenix programmes.

The SAFFIRE programme aims to develop South Africa’s first commercial liquid rocket engine to enable the launch of microsatellites into orbit from South African soil. The Phoenix programme focuses on the development of sub-orbital rockets for technology testing and demonstration purposes, while ASReG draws inspiration from the “NewSpace” movement, which has pioneered a host of new, low-cost commercial rockets revolutionising the global launch market.

‘Over the past decade satellites have become more powerful, but also much smaller,’ said Brooks.

 ‘This has driven the development of smaller, cheaper rockets to launch microsats into orbit. We are living in a new space race and see a great market opportunity for South Africa to join the industry and develop its own indigenous space launch programme as well as for the African continent.

ASReG supports more than 25 undergraduates and postgraduates working on rocket-related projects, including MScEng, and PhD students. Projects include investigations into propellant pump design, rocket engine chambers, sounding rocket motor and aerostructure design, launch operations and the development of engine test facilities.

‘ASReG has been in existence for over a decade now and as it has grown the group’s mission has been sharpened to focus on developing rocket propulsion technology and human capital that can enable space access for South Africa, and the African continent as a whole,’ said the leader of ASReG, Dr Jean Pitot. ‘We’re proud of the technological milestones we’ve achieved during this journey, and we’re particularly excited about what the future holds for the group. 2020 will be a big year for ASReG, as we seek to conduct the first test of an indigenously developed liquid rocket engine and the launch of two hybrid sounding rockets at the Denel Overberg Test Range towards the end of the year.’

Apart from its research work, ASReG is heavily focused on the development of aerospace engineers. Most of ASReG’s postgraduate students are fully funded through entities such as the Department of Science and Innovation, Armscor and the South African Space Agency (SANSA). Past graduates have gone on to work for companies in the aerospace sector, including Rheinmetall Denel Munition, Denel Dynamics, Aerosud, Armscor, and a host of other high-tech entities.

ASReG’s success has impacted the Mechanical Engineering programme and this year the Discipline began offering its undergraduate students the opportunity to study Rocket Engineering in their fourth-year by taking a new module on rocket propulsion.

Words: Ndabaonline

Photograph: Asok Rajh

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#IMadeADoctor – Theme of Fundraiser to Help Keep Medical Students in Class

#IMadeADoctor – Theme of Fundraiser to Help Keep Medical Students in Class
A campaign launched to assist students who are unable to pay their historical debt.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN’s Medical Campus Representative Council (MCRC) has launched a campaign to raise funds for students with historical debt to enable them to register this year.

‘Our main aim is to raise funds to help clear the debt of those students who are faced with financial exclusion,’ said MCRC Student Support Services Officer and co-head of the campaign task team, Ms Xoliswa Njapha.

‘Up to now the MCRC has ensured no Medical student was excluded because of a lack of finances thanks to assistance from stakeholders within the College of Health Sciences. Unfortunately, this year those stakeholders have been unable to assist due to financial constraints. This prompted the MCRC to launch a fundraising campaign with the theme: #IMadeADoctor,’ said Njapha.

The UKZN Foundation supported the campaign listing it a “just cause” and has placed it under a soon-to-be-launched bigger student fundraising campaign.’

‘Thus far the campaign has made headway with up to R800 000 raised. The outstanding debt remains at around R9 million, thus our call for more donations to assist more learners, pleaded Mr Thanduxolo Dube who is co-head of this campaign task team and a student at UKZN Medical School.

Anyone wanting to donate towards the cause can use the UKZN Foundation’s secure online platform:, and select under the cause’ section: Campaign I Made a Doctor. Donors will receive an acknowledgement letter and a Section 18A tax certificate.

Words and photograph: Lihle Sosibo

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Nurses Need to be Sensitised to African Medicine – Traditional Healer

Nurses Need to be Sensitised to African Medicine – Traditional Healer
UKZN Students and academics with visiting traditional leaders.

Early Diagnosis of Psychosis by Traditional Healers and their Partnerships with Psychiatrists at Townhill Hospital, was the title of a seminar presented on the Howard College campus by UKZN Masters Nursing graduate and traditional healer Mr Elliot Makhathini.

Makhathini focused on the importance of culture competence and stressed that despite the shift from the biomedical approach to a social one, further changes were necessary in the recognition of an African worldview linked to the causes and management of illness.

‘The integration of the Western health system and the South African traditional medicine system allows for the retention of belief structures and an opportunity for healthcare providers to learn from each other. Recognition was given to each system holding limitations and merits and because of this process, growth is possible, and allows for cross referral,’ said Makhathini.

He stressed the importance of sensitising nurses to African medicine and then proceeded to discuss the core topic of the day.

The seminar gave attention to terms, roles and practices including ukuthwasa, isibhobo, Izangoma, abathakathi, amagobongo and izinyanga. An opportunity was provided for the participants to differentiate between izizwe, amafufunyane and umhayizo.

Evidence of traditional healers working together harmoniously was seen in the manner in which questions from students and academic staff were answered. Students actively engaged in the interactions and posed many questions in a lively Q&A session.

The seminar was organised for both the academic staff and Bachelor of Nursing students (Psychiatric Nursing Science module) by the discipline’s Dr Ann Jarvis.

‘In line with the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and as a World Health Organization collaborating centre, the Discipline appreciates the importance of producing relevant and responsive graduates who can meet the ever-changing needs of the current heath care context,’ said Jarvis.

‘In order for graduates to be relevant in their delivery of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) they need to develop an understanding of the African worldview with its different perspectives of illness, compared to a Western worldview.’

Dr Winnie Cele extended a warm welcome to Makhathini and his colleagues: Mr H Mkhwanazi, Mr AB Madlala, Ms NG Sibiya, Ms N C Ngcobo, Ms M Memela, and Mr B W Mkhize who heads up the Pietermaritzburg Traditional Healers’ Society.

Professor Gugu Mchunu thanked Makhathini and the traditional healers for visiting the discipline, ‘Thank you for a wonderful informative and thought-provoking interactive session.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied

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Alumnus Nominated for Songwriter of the Year Award

Alumnus Nominated for Songwriter of the Year Award
Hitmaker and UKZN alumnus, Holly Rey.

Musician Ms Holly Wasserfall, aka Holly Rey, has been nominated for the Songwriter of the Year award at the AfriMusic Song Contest – Africa’s biggest song competition.

Should Rey win with her song Fire, she goes on an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the EuroVision Song Contest in Holland. Eurovision is the biggest music competition and event on the European continent and is often referred to as the Grammy awards of Europe.

‘Since we released the EP titled You late last year, the crew’s been talking about how we’re going to get our sound out there in Africa,’ said Rey. ‘We were just discussing what our next move should be when we heard the news from AfriMusic 2020. It’s such an honour to get recognition for your craft as an artist among so many incredible songwriters across the African continent! I am really excited about this nomination!’

A UKZN alumnus, she considers her House music to be about love. ‘I try to write music that challenges the traditional views of love and promotes a more empowered mindset for women. This year I intend to maintain my independence as an artist and continue to blaze a trail for women artists in the industry,’ said Rey.

To vote for Holly Rey, visit

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied

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Excellent Attendance at Master of Medicine Orientation

Excellent Attendance at Master of Medicine Orientation
Participants at the MMed Orientation gathering.

More than 112 potential registrars in the School of Clinical Medicine, the School of Laboratory Medicine and the School of Nursing and Public Health attended the College of Health Sciences’ (CHS) Master of Medicine (MMed) orientation function sponsored by Investec.

The event brought together key role players, including the Department of Health (DoH) and UKZN’s Student Support Services.

The 2020 UKZN registrar intake included 13 international students from the United Arab Emirates, Namibia and Mauritius. 

The aims of the event were to familiarise registrars about UKZN rules and requirements for the MMed postgraduate qualification, introduce them to the postgraduate team and their colleagues from other Schools and Disciplines, and make them aware of the importance of personal wellness and self-care on the academic journey.

‘Most of you in the room have game changing abilities, choosing to follow your ambitions and dreams of becoming a specialist,’ said Dean and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Ncoza Dlova. ‘I have no doubt that in four years’ time you will all become specialists in your chosen fields. We will remain accessible to support you and create a conducive environment in which you can flourish – any department which strays from this vision should be reported without fear of victimisation.’

‘Most of you in the room have game changing abilities, choosing to follow your ambitions and dreams of becoming a specialist, I have no doubt that in four years’ time you will all become specialists in your chosen fields. Our job as UKZN is to support you and create a conducive environment in which you can excel while also promoting your wellbeing,’ said UKZN’s Academic Leader of the College’s Registrar Training Programme and event co-ordinator Dr Suvira Ramlall.

Ramlall, highlighted the need for personal self-care for medical doctors and the importance of developing holistically – both professionally and personally – due to the demands of studying while working full time. She warned that burnout, depression, stress and suicide were common among young doctors, urging participants to develop resilience by paying attention to their own physical and emotional health, leading healthy lifestyles and drawing strength from social and family support networks. ‘The unacceptably high levels of mental distress among doctors, especially young doctors, is a matter of global concern since our healthcare service depends on doctors who themselves need to keep healthy.’

Said Acting Dean of Research in the College of Health Sciences, Professor Anil Chuturgoon: ‘Ensure you use all the resources at your disposal to your benefit. I cannot stress enough the issue of developing good relations with supervisors and fellow registrars. And seek all the help you can get - that is your responsibility.’

Proceedings at the event focused on UKZN administrative and research requirements, student support services, DoH rules about leave and employee responsibilities as well as financial “health”. Financial difficulties are often a source of distress among students and required proactive and sound financial planning. The need for addressing the unique needs of supernumerary registrars was flagged for further attention by DoH and UKZN. Given the high demand for specialist training posts, registrars were encouraged to value the privilege of being accepted into the programme and to work hard to ensure their success.

Words and photograph: Lihle Sosibo

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National Treasury Delivers 2020 Budget Presentation at UKZN

National Treasury Delivers 2020 Budget Presentation at UKZN
National Treasury representatives, Mr Andisile Best (fourth left) and Mr Steven Kenyon (fourth right) with academics from the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.

Consolidation, reform and growth formed the basis for discussions during the National Treasury’s 2020 Budget presentation hosted by the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF).

National Treasury Directors of the Budget Process, Mr Steven Kenyon and Mr Andisile Best, explained to the gathering how the 2020 budget was designed, taking into consideration South Africa’s economic situation.

‘This year’s budget focused largely on social services that benefit the poor,’ said Kenyon. ‘The economic outlook is weak and we are not pretending we have large revenue or that we are going to spend money that we do not have,’ said Kenyon.

The presentation detailed how halting fiscal deterioration, improving spending efficiency and reducing waste required:

•    reforms to make legitimate procurement easier without undermining the necessary anti-corruption safeguards

•    government introducing several changes to the provincial grant system and improving municipal revenue collection

•    the limiting of unreasonable medico-legal claims against the state

•    a review of tax incentives, repealing or redesigning those that are redundant, inefficient or inequitable

•    the National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to undertake a new round of expenditure reviews to identify cost savings and improve efficiency

•    a new law introducing a remuneration framework for public entities and state-owned companies

•    no increases in the salaries of public office bearers in 2020/21

‘Everyone is surprised we didn’t increase tax as we had said we might. Rather we scrapped that idea as we wanted to give income earners relief and felt that an increase would do damage to the economy, which is fragile at the moment,’ said Kenyon.

‘There has been an improvement in the governance of municipality funding but the funding of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is placing tremendous pressure on the budget. Insufficient progress on Eskom reforms and its financial position and the Road Accident Fund are the next liabilities. A decision on the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill is required to pave the way for a more affordable system,’ he said.

In the area of finical literacy, Best demonstrated how the Treasury’s new online Budget Data Portal - Vulekamali - designed to help people understand the country’s finances in a simple way - really works. The online portal allows users to explore and download datasets and resources.

Kenyon and Best interacted with the audience through a question and answer session where students raised topics such as sustainable fee free education, the taxing of middle class earners versus high earners and the background to how Budget decisions are made.

SAEF’s Dean and Head, Professor Mabutho Sibanda, said the Budget summary and debate were very relevant considering the recent news that South Africa had slipped into a technical recession.

‘We need to be enlightened on what is happening with our economy especially when it comes to government debt, spending, and the plans to boost economic growth. We are proud of the relationship we have with Treasury and appreciate the opportunity to get a detailed and complete overview of the national Budget.’

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Albert Hirasen

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Student Leadership and EQ Development Workshops

Student Leadership and EQ Development Workshops
College of Health Science student leaders who attended leadership and EQ workshops.

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) hosted a series of development workshops on the Howard College campus for leadership students.

The series comprised a one-day Emotional Intelligence (EQ) workshop for the Medical student leadership and a two-day leadership workshop for Nursing students.

The aim of the workshops was to explore and enhance current leadership capabilities and help develop skills in leadership on campus and in the community.

Hosted by renowned coach and mentor, Ms Mariane Vorster - who has over 18 years’ experience in strategic leadership development - the leadership workshops examined aspects relevant to young student leaders, including leadership versus management, communication, assumptions and stereotypes, conflict management, reflection, and emotional intelligence.

The EQ workshop touched on basic communication skills such as email etiquette, among other issues.

‘This workshop was very informative and helped me reflect on aspects of my life,’ said Mr Tholumusa Sibiya, a CHS Medical Council Student representative.

Nursing student, Ms Xoliswa Dlodlo said she had learned a lot during the two-day leadership course.

‘What stood out for me is that as a young leader I have to understand my emotions and also be able to understand other people’s emotions,’ said Dlodlo.

‘I am now better equipped to handle my emotions and have acquired some skills on how to deal with other people’s emotions which is a big plus in the leadership world.’ 

Said Nursing student Ms Ntandokazi Mzizi: ‘The workshop was very helpful and enjoyable. It made us aware of problems we hadn’t recognised before and helped us on the road to becoming better leaders.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini and Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied

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Motivating Young Achievers to Make the Best Choices

Motivating Young Achievers to Make the Best Choices
UKZN staff inspire greatness to KZN’s top-performing Grade 12 learners.

UKZN, in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (DoE), ran Leadership and Career Development Seminars for top-performing Grade 12 learners at quintile one to three schools in Hluhluwe and Durban.

Welcoming the learners, Ms Hazel Langa of UKZN, said the main goal of the seminars was to enlighten the high achievers on career choices and also to provide information to help them make informed decisions when selecting study programmes to pursue at tertiary level.

Mr Niranjan Bridglall of the DoE encouraged learners to use Higher Education as a tool to transform their lives and later contribute to prosperity in the KwaZulu-Natal region.

The University supported the event through motivational addresses, presentations and exhibitions organised by current students, alumni, and individuals and organisations from the public and private sectors. Other institutions of higher learning were represented at the seminars.

UKZN’s Bachelor of Business Science student and entrepreneur, Mr Jabulani Nyembe, shared his motivating life story and passion for healthcare and entrepreneurship which led him to establish Clinalytics (Pty) Ltd, a healthcare tech start up business that harnesses the power of technology to help improve the state of healthcare. ‘UKZN not only helped me with education, but with putting into practice what I had learned,’ said Nyembe. He encouraged the learners to be problem-solving orientated and business minded.

UKZN alumnus and Audiologist at Mseleni Hospital, Mr Sphamandla Mdletshe introduced learners to the field of Audiology, while Chartered Accountant, and UKZN lecturer, Ms Hlengiwe Ndlela spoke on the accounting profession and the Thuthuka Bursary Fund, an all-expenses paid bursary fund aimed at transforming the profession.

Medical Intern at the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and UKZN alumnus Dr Ntokozo Maphanga delivered an inspirational address about her journey to realizing her dream to become a medical doctor which started when she obtained a Bachelor of Nursing degree in 2010 before completing her MBChB degree in 2019.

Learners were entertained with presentations by UKZN PhD student in Astrophysics, Ms Sinenhlanhla Sikhosana; UKZN alumnus, Clinical Psychologist and TV personality, Ms Nozi Nyawose; Mr Mzwamandla Sosibo of the South African Maritime Safety Authority, and Mr Makhosandile Mnyandu of Imisebe Scarce Skills Awareness programme who spoke on careers in aviation.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photographs: Supplied

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Best Paper Award for PhD Student

Best Paper Award for PhD Student
Mr Michael Addotey-Delove (left) with Professor Anthony Smith, Scientific Program Chair, SFT conference.

Telemedicine PhD student, Mr Michael Addotey-Delove received the best paper award at the Success and Failures of Telemedicine (SFT) Conference held on the Gold Coast in Australia.

‘It is very refreshing to see that my hard work has been noticed and celebrated by my peers and practitioners, industry players and experts in the field,’ said Addotey-Delove.

‘The award means a lot to me, in the sense that I now feel motivated to do a lot more knowing that good work speaks for itself and is acknowledged and celebrated,’ he said.

Organised by the Australasian Telehealth Society, the SFT is the largest academic telehealth conference in the southern hemisphere. It provides a forum for academics, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, government representatives, policy advisers, health Informatics and information technology leaders, industry leaders, educators and managers to share both positive (successes) and the more challenging (failures) experiences in telehealth through presentations of their works.

After all the presentations and demonstrations are completed, a panel assesses the works presented based on originality, relevance, and – if it is a research paper – the nature of the investigation done.

Based in UKZN’s Department of Telemedicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, Addotey-Delove’s PhD focuses on identifying issues that affect the successful implementation and adoption of mobile health in the developing world from the perspective of both patient and health worker through a structured review of literature, questionnaire development, structural modelling of latent factors, and the development of a unified model for both stakeholder groups.

Titled: mHealth - Maximum Adoption in the Developing World: Development of a Comprehensive Model for Patients and Health Workers, the paper is about the development of a maximum mHealth adoption framework for the developing world through the creation of a comprehensive model for patients and health workers.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied

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UKZN Professor Shares Insights at International Seminar in Kenya

UKZN Professor Shares Insights at International Seminar in Kenya
Professor Fayth Ruffin presented a paper at a conference in Kenya.

An academic in the School of Management, IT and Governance’s Discipline of Public Governance, Professor Fayth Ruffin, has attended two events in Nairobi in Kenya at the invitation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of the African Union.

 Ruffin provided feedback on the launch of the African Governance Report and also presented a paper at the African Governance Seminar Series (AGOSS) where the theme was Governance Futures and the AU Agenda 2063.

Attended by experts from all over the globe, the AGOSS aims to provide an interactive platform for debate and analysis of emerging novel developments and trends within governance in Africa as well as to function as a Peer Review Panel for APRM papers submitted by various experts at the seminar.

Ruffin’s paper examined issues such as the African Union’s silence on epistemologies underlying Agenda 2063 and its aspirations, incoherence of multilevel governance in Africa, challenges of absolute sovereignty and refugee constructions, posing the question: How can African epistemologies help address complexities of migration of refugees?

She used maps of Africa from the 16th century to show that by the 19th century – externally imposed artificial borders existed. This helped give rise to divisive attitudes of people in different sovereign states post-independence which still manifests today as xenophobia.

The paper drew upon secondary evidence of empirical studies on migration of refugees to Rwanda and South Africa respectively. Both the refugee camp model in Rwanda and the refugee integration model in South Africa demonstrate that the entrepreneurialism of refugees increased economic growth of the respective countries.

The paper went on to show how African epistemologies can help bring coherence to regional, national and sub-national governance and mitigate against Africans seeing each other as foreigners.

‘Both the launch of the African Governance Report and the seminar series were intellectually stimulating,’ said Ruffin. ‘Every region of the African continent was represented and there were also delegates from overseas. I am grateful to have had this opportunity for continental engagement with a global audience.’

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied

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