UKZN Partners with Florida University for Wellness Fair

UKZN Partners with Florida University for Wellness Fair
Wellness Fair on Westville campus.

More than 50 delegates from Florida A&M University were on UKZN’s Westville campus for a Wellness Fair held in partnership with the School of Health Sciences

Members of the university community were screened for diabetes, had their body mass index examined, and received health tips, with referrals being made where necessary. 

Supported by the School’s Dean and Head, Professor Mahmoud Soliman, the Wellness Fair was the result of an on-going partnership between the Pharmaceutical Sciences disciplines of UKZN and Florida University, whose delegates spent a week in South Africa which included their Westville campus visit.

Second-year student, Ms Nkechi Ikediobi of the Centre for Health Equity in Florida, said she wanted to become a professor of pharmacy and play a leading role in policy-making and implementation. The South African trip had exposed them to similarities and differences in national health changes. 

Ikediobi said HIV, child mortality and diabetes remained prevalent overseas with underprivileged communities facing many disparities in primary health care. 

‘The partnership’s cultural immersion programme sensitises students to challenges faced by each other’s host country and they learn to engage with people from different walks of life,’ said Dr James Moran who led the visit. 

Soliman said: ‘One of the goals in the School of Health Sciences is to sustain existing partnerships, forge new relationships and be actively engaged with the outside community – national and international stakeholders. 

‘Through collaborative partnerships, staff and student development, training activities, sharing visions, and other educational and research opportunities, we are creating an international footprint for our institution and broadening its vision,’ Soliman said.

‘An example of this is our partnership with Florida A&M University  which developes students and staff, establishes collaborative networks and cultural exchange programmes, and creates international opportunities for our graduates and  a visible global landscape for our institutes.’

 Lunga Memela

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Humanities Time of the Writer Festival Tackles “Decolonising the Book” and Higher Education Spaces

Humanities Time of the Writer Festival Tackles “Decolonising the Book” and Higher Education Spaces
Professor Cheryl Potgieter (centre), and Deputy Minister, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi (fourth left), with UKZN staff and government officials on opening night of the 19th Time of the Writer Festival.

The 19th Time of the Writer Festival, organised by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, enjoyed a highly successful run in Durban.

The opening night was at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Monday, 14 March with the Festival closing on Sunday, 19 March.

The theme for this year’s Festival, “Decolonising the Book”, interrogated the central question of how to go about decolonising literature in South Africa.

Supporting the Festival theme, DVC and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, believes that the process of Decolonising the Book and the minds of people should have happened in South Africa years ago. 

‘The paradigm of the Festival fitted in with the vision and mission of the College and UKZN. We hope the Festival acts as a catalyst to decolonise the spaces we live and work in and to decolonise sexist, racist and homophobic mind-sets.’

Potgieter further stated that the Festival is contributing to the College’s transformation agenda to provide access and to transform the curriculum and mind-sets. She said the College is also keen to appoint a Writer in Residence within the School of Arts.

The keynote address on opening night was given by the co-curator of the Festival, Mr Thando Mgqolozana, who said many people struggled to understand the concept of decolonisation.

‘You can expect this to be the case when for decades our language has been that of reconciliation. Frantz Fanon found a useful definition in the Gospel: “The first shall be last, and the last first”. This is so because in the first place, the function of colonisation is to put the natives last,’ he said.

Mgqolozana said decolonisation was an act of self-love, healing and a necessity. ‘When we go to Umlazi, KwaMashu, and Inanda we will be consciously putting ourselves first. If we don’t, whatever other action or inaction from our side is nothing but a form of participation in the process of keeping us as the last ones.

‘This is the first of many steps that we will be taking to realise decolonisation. It will not be easy. Coloniality will fight back. It is a dangerous thing, but it is a choice that I have made, and I intend to work on until the last ones come first,’ he said.

Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, said the Festival coincided with South African Library Week. ‘Reading is close to my heart. I have witnessed the power that books have in changing lives,’ said Mabudafhasi. ‘I am glad the theme of the Festival recognises the dilemmas of the literary landscape and takes cognisance of the need to preserve Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and that transformation of the book sector is needed.’

Councillor Mr Mbuyiselwa Ephraim Sibiya, speaking on behalf of eThekwini Mayor, Mr James Nxumalo, said the City had committed R4 million a year for the next three years to support the Centre for Creative Arts.

Both the City and government were committed to supporting the Festival and the CCA.

UKZN’s Music Professor Salim Washington and senior Music students performed jazz songs, such as Freedom Jazz Dance, that tied in with the festival theme of “Decolonising the Book”.

The Festival opening night also featured Playwright/Director Mr Welcome Msomi speak about Living Legends and the ways in which writers have sought to dismantle colonial expectations of a Black writer in their practice. It was presented to Living Legend Ms Sindiwe Magona, who is a South African Writer, Poet, Dramatist, Storyteller, Actress and Motivational speaker.

Etisalat Shortlisted Writers - Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Penny Busetto and Rehana Rossouw - were introduced to the audience.

Opening night featured nine writers, mostly from South Africa and Africa who gathered for a thought-provoking week of literary dialogue, exchange of ideas and interesting discussions.

In addition to nightly showcases, there were daily activities, including book launches, seminars and workshops to promote a culture of reading, writing and creative expression.

* Organised by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, the 19th Time of the Writer was supported by the National Department of Arts and Culture, the City of Durban, the French Institute of South Africa, the Goethe Institute and The Daily News.  The Centre is housed in UKZN’s College of Humanities.

Melissa Mungroo

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Assessments of Life Expectancy among Durban Youth Discussed at Seminar

Assessments of Life Expectancy among Durban Youth Discussed at Seminar
Dr Gerard Boyce.

The relationship between hope and subjective assessments of life expectancy among a group of young people in Durban were discussed during a public seminar by micro-economist, Dr Gerard Boyce.

Hosted by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), Boyce presented his findings from a survey of young people in Durban.

Boyce, who holds a PhD from UKZN in the field of Behavioural Economics, explored the relationship between the future-oriented concept of hope and subjective survival probabilities among a sample of about 650 Grade 11 pupils from six schools in Durban. 

Respondents’ perceptions of the ‘social clock’, broadly-held societal beliefs about the various stages into which an individual’s life can be divided and the culturally or socially appropriate times or ages by which certain milestones are expected to have occurred, was also explored.

‘Subjective life expectancy has been found to influence a number of decisions, such as savings behaviour and smoking, which have significant economic impacts,’ said Boyce. ‘It has been found to be predictive of actual survival even after controlling for (objectively measured) health status.’ 

He identified that among young people, subjective assessments of life expectancy have been associated with outcomes such as adolescent delinquency and school adjustment.

Boyce noted that several empirical studies conducted mainly in developed country settings had investigated the relationship between assessments of long-term survival and covariates such as gender, age, health status or socioeconomic status.

‘Studies find that the relationship between these variables and subjective probabilities of survival are generally consistent with the relationships between these covariates and objectively estimated survival probabilities.

‘Generally, however, few empirical studies have investigated the possible relationship between subjective survival probabilities and psychological perspectives even though the role that psychological perspectives could play in mediating this relationship had been recognised,’ he explained. Through his study, Boyce attempted to address this gap.

Gerard Boyce is a Micro-Economist who holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the area of Behavioural Economics. He harbours a wide variety of professional interests, ranging from the effect of psychosocial variables such as hope and perceptions of racial hierarchy on economic attitudes to the inter-relationship between environmental factors and outlook/future orientation.

 Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Academics at SA Fluorine Symposium in Cape Town

UKZN Academics at  SA Fluorine Symposium  in Cape Town
Thermodynamic Research Unit students and staff members at SAFS Conference.

A group of 23 UKZN academic researchers and postgraduate students from both Chemistry and Chemical Engineering attended the inaugural SA Fluorine Symposium (SAFS) in Cape Town.

The group was led by Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, the South African Research Chair for Fluorine, Process Engineering and Separation Technology and Director of the Thermodynamics Research Unit at UKZN. 

Ramjugernath and his team undertake cutting-edge research contributing towards chemical process development and optimisation and are involved in the Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative. They have won numerous institutional and national awards for research and innovation. 

In his keynote address, Ramjugernath said the fluorochemicals market was globally valued at about R240 billion a year, with a significant annual growth potential of about 5.5%.

He said South Africa’s revenue in this market was earned primarily from the export of Fluorspar ore and accounted for only a fraction of a percent of the global revenue. This was highly undesirable and indicative of the fact that there was limited beneficiation.

The Department of Science and Technology as part of its chemical sector development plan identified Fluorspar as a priority mineral that should be beneficiated in the country and together with the Department of Trade and Industry created the Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative (FEI). As part of FEI, there is the plan to grow the fluorochemicals industry in South Africa through research and development as well as through human capacity development.

The Research Chair in Chemical Engineering at UKZN - an integral part of FEI research currently being undertaken under the Chair, includes the study of the phase behaviour of fluorocarbon based refrigerants, blending of refrigerants and retrofitting of refrigerant systems, thermophysical properties and phase behaviour of fluorochemical based electronic gases, experimental and molecular simulation based surface fluorination studies, and applications of fluorochemicals in separation processes.

Some of the applications  presented by the Unit at SAFS included carbon dioxide capture, flue-gas cleaning, desalination, solution concentration, and separation enhancement

Fiona Higginson 

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UKZN Academics part of Time of the Writer Discussion Panels

UKZN Academics part of Time of the Writer Discussion Panels
Professor Sihawu Ngubane, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa and Dr Gugu Mazibuko at the 19th Time of the Writer Festival.

Three College of Humanities academics – Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa (College Dean Teaching & Learning), Dr Gugu Mazibuko (isiZulu studies) and Professor Sihawu Ngubane (Head of African Studies) - formed part of the recent 19th Time of the Writer discussion panels.

Under the Festival theme “Decolonising the Book”, leading voices from literature in the areas of writing, editing, publishing, translation, marketing, bookselling and promotion (including events) deliberated on issues of transformation and growth in literature in South Africa. 

The academics spoke under the Conversations that Matter segment which provided a space for people to share and contribute towards vital topics.

Within a panel of Thabiso Mahlape, Kholeka Mabeta, Duduzile Mabaso, Mandla Matyumza and Siphiwo Mahala, Professor Ngubane spoke to The Book and Gatekeepers where he, together with the panellists, deliberated on whether the South African literary landscape has shifted to accommodate previously poorly documented and valued contributions and which attitudes are delaying decolonising access. This conversation culls from the experiences of both publishers and distributors.

Ngubane said, ‘Multilingual publishing in South Africa is a new concept in the new democratic dispensation. Historically only two official languages enjoyed monopoly in the publishing industry whereas indigenous languages focused on educational books.  Most publishing companies are now desperate to publish new authors whose work they can publish and sell.’ 

He notes that publishers are viewed by many as gatekeepers and censors. ‘By not publishing more books in the indigenous languages they are censoring Black voices. But the problem is deeper than that,’ declared Ngubane. The discussion further focused on accessibility of such books to the general public.

‘The book in SA is still struggling due to numerous factors such as the economy, poverty and appropriate infrastructure closer to the people that is acting as a gatekeeper. Publishers are not charitable institutions. They will only publish the books that they think they can sell. If they take too many risks and promote unknown authors and then can’t sell the books, they will go out of business. We need to revisit government policies that will create a conducive environment for indigenous language literary work to flourish,’ he said.

Another panel on The Book and Language saw Professor Hlongwa and Dr Mazibuko, together with panellists Eric Ngcobo, Dr Mpho Monareng and Dr Pamella Maseko, lead an important discussion on the preservation and promotion of marginalised languages.

Hlongwa said, ‘There are various empowering policy and legislative provisions that seek to empower indigenous African languages and their speakers that have been formulated. However, indigenous African languages are still side-lined when compared to English and Afrikaans.’

‘This is due to the fact that the act self-love, act of healing has not happened in the minds of many African people in South Africa. This has disastrous implications to the achievement of transformation, social justice and cohesion, access and the success of indigenous African language speaking students in South African Higher Education.’

She noted that while authors publish books written in African languages, these books are not read. Many publishing houses are not interested in publishing academic or non-fiction books because of sales.

Hlongwa recommended that as we live in the digital age we need to promote e-books to bridge the digital divide while promoting and preserving African language through ICT.

The panel concluded that it requires dedicated contributions from academics and cultural producers to preserve and promote marginalized languages. 

Melissa Mungroo

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Isihlabani Kwezikanobutshuzwayo sase-UKZN Sithokozele Ukuba se-Netherlands

Isihlabani Kwezikanobutshuzwayo sase-UKZN Sithokozele Ukuba se-Netherlands
UMnu Njabulo Sithole.

Click here for English version

Umfundi obenza unyaka wokugcina wezifundo zezoMthetho uMnu Njabulo Sithole ubeyingxenye yeqembu likanobhutshuzwayo i-Golden Arrows ebelimele iNingizimu Afrika ohambweni oluthathe isonto e-Netherlands.

Leli qembu elingabanqobi bomqhudelwano we-Multichoice Diski Challenge bebezinze ekomkhulu le-Royal Netherlands Football Association e-Utrecht futhi bezilolonga ngaphansi kweso elibukhali labaqeqeshi abakhulu besigaba i-Eerdivisie.

Babukele iqembu laseHolendi elikhulu liziqeqesha lilungiselela umdlalo walo womhlaba wobungani nezwe lase-France futhi bathamela nomdlalo.

USithole, oseke waya e-Hong Kong nase-New Zealand emele iNingizimu Afrika ngokuyimpumelelo, uthe uyabonga ngethuba alitholile nokuthi abazali bakhe neqembu bameseka kakhulu ezifundweni nakwezikanobhutshuzwayo.  

‘Bengifunda ngidlala nebhola cishe impilo yami yonke futhi bengikwenza konke kahle. Ngibonga kakhulu kubabazaIi bami, abaphathi nabaqeqeshi ngoba yibo abangenze ngafinyelela kuleli zinga,’ kusho uSithole.  

Ngonyaka wezi-2014 waklonyeliswa ngomfundaze i-UKZN Prestige Sports Scholarship ngenxa yempumelelo yakhe kwezemidlalo emazingeni esifundazwe, kuzwelonke nasemhlabeni jikelele.

Izinhlelo zikaSithole ngekusasa lakhe zibandakanya ukudlalela iBafana Bafana nokwenza ibhola libe umsebenzi wakhe omkhulu.

‘Kusukela ngisemncane, ngangibukela kubadlali abaphezulu abahlanganisa no-Ronaldinho. Kade ngangifisa ukuphila impilo abayiphilayo Bangikhombisile ukuthi ibhola akukhona ukukhahlela ibhola nje kuphela kodwa lidinga nokusebenza kanzima nokuzithiba. Lokhu kusebenza kanzima sengikudlulisele nakwezinye izinto engifisa ukuzizuza empilweni,’usho kanje. 

Yize noma ehlele ukudlala ibhola ngokugcwele kodwa okwamanje uzimisele ngokuphothula iziqu zakhe ze-LLB nokuqhubekela phambili nezifundo zabaneziqu.  

 Thandiwe Jumo

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Memorial Service for Medical Student

Memorial Service for Medical Student
College of Health Sciences mourning the passing of student, Mr Valentine Ntethelelo Mashele.

UKZN’s Medical fraternity shared their grief at a memorial service for third-year student, Mr Valentine Ntethelelo Mashele, who died in a motor accident.

Mashele, described by his peers as a ‘humble, spiritual and compassionate soul,’ was an executive member of the Medical Students Christian Fellowship (MSCF) and always led by example.

‘It is always tragic when one so young and gifted passes away suddenly, especially in this manner,’ said School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences Acting Dean, Dr Musa Mabandla. ‘His true potential was yet to be realised – he is a great loss to the Schools, College and indeed the country.

‘A number of tragedies have befallen this campus over the past couple of months. Do not let such tragic events consume you. Let us learn from Ntethelelo’s strong belief,’ said Mabandla.

Mashele’s death comes hard on the heels of the deaths of two Medical students, Dr Sphesihle Luvuyo Ngubane and Mr Tumelo Seliane, also in road accidents.

‘The support has been really great, especially from Dr Magula,’ said student, Ms Thandeka Mtambo, who was with Mashele in the ambulance after the accident.

The memorial service was attended by Executive Director for Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, members of Ngubane’s church, the Medical Christian Fellowship, Medical Students representative committee, staff and students.

His friends, Ms Thandeka Mtambo and Mr Bahle Tshoba, said. ‘He gave of his time selflessly to anyone who needed it. Lala ngoxolo ngceku!.

Lunga Memela

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UKZN Students Clean up Pietermaritzburg

UKZN Students Clean up Pietermaritzburg
Students with bags of litter they collected along the Duzi River banks.

A group of UKZN students held a clean-up, fun walk in Pietermaritzburg to raise awareness about environmental responsibility and healthy lifestyles.

The walk was organised by the Golden Key International Honour Society’s Pietermaritzburg chapter, the International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa’s (IAIAsa) KwaZulu-Natal student branch, the South African Youth Climate Coalition (SAYCC) and the Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) Habitable Planeteers group.

The group of about 35 student volunteers met early on UKZN’s main campus in Pietermaritzburg and did a 6km walk to Camp’s Drift, through Alexandra Park, picking up litter and filling bin bags on their way. A focus of the route was the Msunduzi River, the lifeblood of the city which suffers severe pollution.

The walk had numerous goals, according to event facilitator, Masters in Environmental Science student, Mr Kusasalethu Sithole.

‘We want to promote environmental awareness in our local community, clean our surrounding environment - especially the troubled Msunduzi River, encourage healthy living through the social walk, promote inter-departmental and inter-organisational interactions within UKZN, honour World Water Day on 22 March, and kick-start what will become an annual event,’ said Sithole.

The walk was well-organised, with a vehicle following the group with supplies of gloves, water, sunscreen and rubbish bags, ensuring that everyone was safe and looked after.

Students represented came from disciplines as diverse as Chemistry, Law, and Crop Science, with a large number of Geography and Environmental Science students putting feet to their studies.

To get involved in any of these groups, contact Kusasalethu Sithole on

 Christine Cuénod

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Advocacy and Awareness Campaign Targets KwaDabeka

Advocacy and Awareness Campaign Targets KwaDabeka
Advocacy Awareness Day in KwaDabeka.

Following interventions by UKZN students, the KwaDabeka community in Durban is more sensitive to the challenges associated with living with disabilities and studying towards careers that will enhance local healthcare and rehabilitation.

Teaming up with KwaDabeka Community Care Givers (CCGs) to make this happen as part of their final-year programme were UKZN Occupational Therapy (OT) students, Ms Amy Wilson, Ms Tahlita Sparg, Ms Mashudu Mathedimosa and Mr Msawenkosi Mbele.

A partnership was established between the KwaDabeka community and UKZN’s OT discipline several years ago with the aim of finding ways to improve occupational justice within the community.

This year’s Advocacy and Awareness campaign included posters, pamphlets and information tables stationed at the Boxer Punch Shop, Clermont Library, and the Clermont and KwaDabeka Clinics.

Students lobbied for the fair and equal treatment of disabled individuals and promoted educating the community on how to access beneficial health professions such as audiology, speech-language pathology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

The six-week KwaDabeka projected included an intervention held with Grade R pupils from two local primary schools in addition to collaborating with the CCGs for regular home visits where treatment and rehabilitation were provided.

The Advocacy Awareness Day was a resounding success, attracting wide interest and providing an opportunity for the disabled to be seen and heard

‘Information was presented in isiZulu which made understanding much easier,’ said the students, who enjoyed working with community care givers.

‘We look forward to completing a community service year in rural communities to hopefully bring about the change so desperately needed.’

Lunga Memela

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UKZN hosts Japanese Research Delegation

UKZN hosts Japanese Research Delegation
UKZN-Japanese senior delegates after the research presentations.

The College of Health Sciences Placental Research Group hosted a delegation from Japan’s University of Fukui who applauded the College’s on-going research towards improving maternal and child health in South Africa.

Professor Tadashi Konoshita delivered a talk on: “Genetic Variants of the Renin-Angiotensin System”.

Konoshita and UKZN’s Professor Jack Moodley were awarded the Japan (JSTA)/ South African National Research Foundation research grant for 2013 to 2016.

Moodley, a world renowned pre-eclamptic expert instrumental in introducing maternal mortality audits in South Africa, said: ‘Because HIV and hypertension in pregnant women remain prevalent in local context, the studies conducted at UKZN are a significant endeavour towards eradicating mother-and-child mortality.’

His colleague, Professor Anita Naicker, who Heads the College’s Optics and Imaging Centre, said it was heartening to listen to presentations by young aspiring scientists in this field.

The pending studies of multidisciplinary masters, PhD and post-doctoral candidates were presented during the two-day visit, enabled by the JSTA/NRF grant. These included a study on iron prophylactic therapy during pregnancy in an urban regional hospital in Durban, biomarkers for HIV-associated pre-eclampsia, kidney toxicity biomarkers and the psychological effect of HIV diagnosis during pregnancy.

Dr Myint Aung, a PHD candidate and superintendent of Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, has just returned from Fukui University, where he carried out studies on genetic variants of the renin-angiotensin system in pre-eclampsia.

The Placental Research Group anticipates future collaboration through a PHD study by Yeshnee Naidoo, titled: “Vitamin D Gene Polymorphisms in Pre-Eclampsia”.

Lunga Memela

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Law Students Contribute to Fight Against Cancer

Law Students Contribute to Fight Against Cancer
CANSA Relay.

The Pietermaritzburg branch of the Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) participated in the recent CANSA Relay For Life to create awareness and raise funds for cancer.

The national fundraising event involves teams of 10-15 co-workers, friends, neighbours and families who commit to keeping at least one member walking during the 12-hour event.

To be part of the relay, the SLSJ team raised R1 050 in two weeks as their entrance and contribution fee which will be used to educate communities on the effects of cancer, conduct research and offer support to cancer care and support centres.

SLSJ Branch Chairperson, Mr Siyabonga Ngcamu said that as a student organisation that is dedicated to protecting human rights and the right to access to health care services this outreach initiative is close to their hearts.

‘One of the best ways to promote social justice is to support movements and programmes that aim to better the lives of those who are unfortunate economically and health wise. Such people deserve access to adequate health care to maintain a healthy life and get the proper treatment to live a dignified life, even if it is shortened,’ said Ngcamu.

Walking at 2am on a Saturday and cramping after a day of writing tests seems stressful but for these Law students it was an endurance and tenacity test that not only enhanced their team work but reinforced their dedication to the worthy cause.

‘I would like to commend the team for working synergistically and solidifying the dynamics,’ said Ngcamu. ‘Although our team got tired quickly, we were able walk every themed lap of the event. The team viewed the event as an opportunity to bond and travelled early to the campsite to set up their tent.’

SLSJ and Law Academic, Mr Khulekani Zondi, is currently putting together a Constitutional Literacy Programme to educate students in Pietermaritzburg’s township schools on their basic rights to promote and create awareness of the Bill of Rights.

‘Apart from the programme, we are also currently sitting with the Muslim Students Association to collaborate on a task of initiating the building of a mosque in Sobantu. We are looking forward to this initiative and hope that we will gain the support of our communities to recognise people’s right to religion and culture. We will also host debates with lecturers invited to participate,’ said Ngcamu.

Thandiwe Jumo

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US Professor Shares his Work on People Living with HIV

US Professor Shares his Work on People Living with HIV
Professor Busi Ncama and Professor Jason Farley.

Professor Jason Farley of the Johns Hopkins University in the United States provided an overview of his research dedicated to improving the lives of people living with or at risk of HIV during a presentation at the College of Health Sciences’ School of Nursing Public Health (SNPH).  

Farley reviewed the development of an initiative in the Ugu district in southern KwaZulu-Natal to expand access to MDR-TB patients in South Africa, of whom 70% are HIV co-infected, through a nurse-led model of care.

‘This cohort analysis demonstrated that task-sharing between a nurse and medical officer does not compromise care outcomes,’ said Farley.   

He provided an overview of a rapid linkage to a care system called miLINC that he developed with the IT company, Emocha.  

In this analysis, his team demonstrated that linkage to care in less than three days was possible using the miLINC mobile smartphone app-based system.  

Farley also discussed some of his recent HIV prevention and case management studies in South Africa and the US, demonstrating unique multi-component interventions to engage patients in care for long periods.  

SNPH’s Dean and Head of School, Professor Busi Ncama, thanked Farley for his presentation, saying the presentation was fruitful and beneficial for the School’s PhD students who were in the audience.

Farley’s research seeks to optimise the prevention and management of HIV infection with a particular emphasis on drug resistant TB among persons with HIV in international settings.

Through co-ordination and capacity development of an international team, Farley has led the development and scale-up of a programme to enhance diagnosis, linkage and retention in care for patients with drug-resistant TB/HIV co-infection.  

Farley is a nurse practitioner in the Division of Infectious Diseases within the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service. He holds adjunct faculty appointments at both UKZN and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.

He is the Johns Hopkins HIV Prevention Trials Network site leader within the School of Medicine and the Founder of the REACH Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.  He is currently the President of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC), the world’s largest HIV focused nursing organisation.  

Nombuso Dlamini

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Alumni Dinner in Cape Town a Great Success

Alumni Dinner in Cape Town a Great Success
Ms Nonkululeko Xulu, Ms Thandeka Mtshali, Mr Finn Christensen and Mr Mikateko Mahlaule.

The annual UKZN alumni and donors function in Cape Town featured a three-course dinner at the Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia and an entertaining and informative talk by fellow alumnus and Convocation award winner, Professor Jay Pather. 

The event provided an enjoyable opportunity for alumni, donors and friends to renew old acquaintances, and get updated on developments at their alma mater. 

Pather’s presentation was titled: “Reflections, the Arts in a Transforming Society, Four Decades On”, which conveyed a strong message about the role and adaptation of art in the country.

President of the Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi, highlighted recent developments at UKZN and encouraged those at the function to support the University financially.

Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, Professor Jane Meyerowitz, cited an example of how  financial support from those who attended last year’s Cape Town alumnus dinner assisted a Medical student successfully complete a year of study.

All guests were given information packs containing a selection of University publications and a corporate gift, while the three winners of the lucky draw took away gifts donated by the UKZN Foundation.

Similar events will take place in other centres in South Africa and in Swaziland and Zimbabwe during the year.

Finn Christensen

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International Experts Unite at Clinical HIV Symposium at UKZN

International Experts Unite at Clinical HIV Symposium at UKZN
International experts at the clinical HIV Symposium at UKZN.

This year’s Clinical HIV Symposium, organised by UKZN’s Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in collaboration with the MEPI site from the University of Mozambique, highlighted successes in combating the disease as well as the many challenges that still lay ahead.

Speaking at the Symposium, UKZN’s Medical Microbiology Head, Professor Koleka Mlisana, who obtained her PhD through the MEPI programme, said scientists had still not found a vaccine against HIV.  This was because there ‘is no natural immunity against the virus and nobody has ever recovered from HIV infection. HIV is a rapidly moving target with rapid mutations and immune escape, it integrates into human DNA, it is difficult to neutralise, and current vaccines are unable to stimulate broadly neutralising antibodies.’

Mlisana’s presentation was titled: “The State of HIV Prevention”, and quoted UNAIDS Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in November 2015, saying: ‘Africa is on the brink of breaking the AIDS epidemic.’

Sidibe made the statement based on the fact that a total of 15.8 million people globally now have access to antiretroviral treatment. Other encouraging indicators are that in sub-Saharan Africa more than 10 million people are accessing treatment; the number of AIDS-related deaths in 2014 was 48 percent lower than in 2005; new infections have declined by 41 percent since 2000; prevention of mother-to-child-transmission has resulted in a 48 percent drop between 2009 and 2014 in vertical HIV transmission; scientific breakthroughs –  including PrEP, PEP, micobicide gel, and the vaginal ring – have proved effective when used consistently; and antiretroviral drugs prevent HIV infection and reduce viral load in the infected.

Despite this progress, the UNAIDS Global Report of 2014 indicated that there were still 5 600 new infections each day. Of these, 3 700 were in Africa, of which 1 000 were in South Africa.

There were high rates of HIV among the key populations of young women aged 15 to 24 in Africa, while studies found that the incidence of young women with HIV was up to eight times higher than men of the same age group.

While Professor Constance Benson, the Senior Attending Physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California in the United States highlighted new developments in antiretroviral therapy, further exciting news was a global decision to drop the price of viral load tests, increasing their availability in low and middle income countries, said Paediatric Specialist in Infectious Diseases, Professor Raziya Bobat.

Bobat applauded new antiretroviral guidelines endorsing the treatment of all people living with HIV, across all ages and at any CD4.

UNAIDS made a Declaration on World AIDS Day in 2014 that by 2020, 90% of HIV-positive children’s statuses would be known,  children diagnosed HIV-positive would be on antiretroviral treatment, and that children on treatment are virally supressed.

Columbia University Adult Nurse Practitioner, Dr Steven Chang, said MEPI’s Nurse Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Treatment (NIMART) and task shifting played an important role in addressing South Africa’s shortfall of health care professionals and unequal distribution and retention challenges.

Dr Robert Schooley alerted those at the Symposium about the historical origin, virology and clinical manifestations and complications of the mosquito-borne Zika Virus which, significantly as with HIV, also has no specific treatment or vaccine currently available. Currently understood to be transmitted via mosquito, travel, sexual transmission and transfusion, Schooley warned that as with other yet unidentified pathogens in the human population, ‘we will see more of the virus as the world becomes a more global community’.

Schooley said while treatment as prevention worked, HIV treatment was a lifelong expense, had side-effects, and health care systems were not infinitely expandable. ‘Prevention is incompletely effective on some populations and AIDS vaccine research is at best a speculative effort.’

MEPI Communicating Principal Investigator, Dr Sandy Pillay, congratulated colleagues and partners who drove MEPI’s successful preceding five-year multimillion-dollar grant funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Pillay said: ‘The MEPI grant has not only had several significant achievements at UKZN, but has also promoted South-to-South collaboration. This Symposium is a result of the close association between African MEPI awardees.’

 Lunga Memela

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PhD Student Presents Research at Consumer Conference in Kenya

PhD Student Presents Research at Consumer Conference in Kenya
PhD student, Mr Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu.

UKZN PhD student in International Relations, Mr Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu, presented a research paper at a consumer conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Conference was 4th Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International and the CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CUTS-CIRC) Biennial Competition, Regulation and Development Conference.

An annual event previously held in Zambia and India, it is jointly organised by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International and the CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC).

The two institutions, which have their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and Jaipur, India, respectively, are involved in research, advocacy and capacity building in areas of international trade and development, competition, economic regulation, human development and consumer protection.

Vhumbunu’s research paper titled: “Facilitating Equitable Regional Integration through Competition Policy and Regulatory Reforms: Key Priorities for African Developing and Least Developed Countries in the Post-2015 Agenda”, focused on the critical role of Competition Policy and Regulatory Reforms in facilitating equitable regional integration in Africa.

He used a trend analysis of the specific successes, challenges and prospects of regional integration in African Regional Integration Arrangements (RIAs) such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS).

At the Conference, Vhumbunu further identified the key Post-2015 Development Agenda priorities for Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries in as far as competition and regulatory reforms were concerned.

Vhumbunu is grateful to the organisers for sponsoring him for the conference participation costs together with air transport and accommodation expenses.

‘Presenting a research paper at a high profile international conference of this nature helps to widen my network and also provides me with golden opportunities to exchange new and valuable ideas with fellow conference participants from different institutions/think tanks who have similar research interests to mine. Over and above, it is also a pleasure to fly the University flag wherever I go,’ said Vhumbunu.

Among those attending were researchers and experts on regional integration, international trade and competition policy from Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Chile, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Tanzania, Philippines, and Zambia.

There were also representatives from regional and international organisations such as the African Union Commission (AUC), World Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and Adam Smith International.

Melissa Mungroo

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Professor Gerald West Delivers Steve Gruchy Memorial Lecture

Professor Gerald West Delivers Steve Gruchy Memorial Lecture
Professor Gerald West.

“The Bible as a Site of Struggle: An Ongoing Dialogue with Steve de Gruchy”, was the title of the 4th Annual Public Memorial Steve de Gruchy Lecture delivered on the Pietermaritzburg campus by Senior Professor in Biblical Studies and UKZN Fellow, Professor Gerald West.

The lecture was hosted by the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics. 

West referred to two lectures he and Professor de Gruchy gave at the Bible Society of South Africa’s conference on the Setswana Bible’s 150 years of existence in October 2007. Robert Moffatt translated the Bible into Setswana – mainly from English and Dutch sources – in the 1840s. 

West’s dialogue with de Gruchy started here. In his paper, Reversing the Biblical Tide: What Kuruman Teaches London about Mission in a Post-Colonial Era, De Gruchy argued that ‘the translation of the Bible into Setswana and the Setswana taking possession of it, reversed the direction of mission’ – it moved from the metropole in the North to the colonised contexts of the South.

Significantly, the translation and printing of the Bible in places like Kuruman in the 1840s, irreversibly started ‘a process of mission from the South to the North’. This meant that ‘the vernacular translation of the Bible in Africa sparked African agency’ dissolved from European interference. The translated Bible formed part of African “assets” where indigenous people could use the Bible for their own development and critical engagement of colonisation. 

West’s paper, titled: From Mmahutu to Today: A Case Study, reflected on Mmahutu, the senior wife of Chief Mothibi of the BaTlhaping people who were indigenous to the area which came to include the Kuruman mission. He sought to understand 'the nature of African agency with respect to the Bible, long before the Bible was translated into her language'. Mmahutu was asking questions about the Bible, even though it remained in the hands of the missionaries who brought it to the BaTlhaping in the early 1800s. 

West pointed out that ‘the Bible was a site of struggle and contestation’ with it continuing today, noting that the teaching of indigenous people by the missionaries was ‘a point of contestation and struggle’; this was also the case with the 'introduction of the Bible to the BaTlaping and the control of Biblical interpretation’; and the missionary translation of the Bible – which in the case of Moffat did not draw on the knowledge of the Setswana about their own language.  

West said the BaTlaping were not unanimous in ‘welcoming the missionaries’ instruction', especially that of the Bible.

Secondly, the BaTlaping ‘engaged with the Bible as preached by the missionaries, on their own terms’. This, however, was not allowed or supported by the missionaries, especially by Robert Moffat – who only preached his “single Gospel” or “message”. This was a great loss, because if this was fostered, it could have added to the 'wealth of Biblical interpretations’. The problem was the ‘moral character’ of the missionary was placed above that of the African. The missionary approach was ‘one-sided and demonstrated that Moffat had limited understanding of the importance of fostering a diversity of biblical theologies’. 

Contrary to Moffat though, and even though translations like his own were flawed, these translations ‘gave an impetus to African agency’ – in the areas of the interpretation of the Bible and especially in Bible translation itself.

African vernacular Bibles enabled local criticism to take root and flourish generating a host of African ‘theologies’ on the African continent. This argument is in one of West’s forthcoming books, The Stolen Bible: From Tool of Imperialism to African Icon

Finally, even though they agreed on many points, West highlighted that de Gruchy held Robert Mofatt in high esteem. ‘However, if this only focused on his “Gospel” that he propagated, then this is a reduction of the significance of the Bible in the context(s) in which it was produced in local vernaculars.’

Following the missionary era, as well as is evident in African Christianity today, there are ‘a multitude of interpretations of the Bible, and many different ways in which the gospel message has been interpreted and appropriated in African contexts.’ This multiplicity needs to be fostered, because it ‘empowers African Christian agency’.

Johannes Andreas Smit

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Dolus Eventualis an Area of Interest for Law Academic

<em>Dolus Eventualis</em> an Area of Interest for Law Academic
Generic props used by Professor Shannon Hoctor.

Law academic Professor Shannon Hoctor recently delivered a seminar titled: “Plausible Impossibilities are to be Preferred to Unconvincing Possibilities”, which examined various aspects of dolus eventualis.

The presentation focused on the history of the legal concept, some of the theoretical issues, how it is applied elsewhere, and critiqued some leading cases such as the High Court decision in the Oscar Pistorius trial.

‘There was a great deal of confusion and speculation around this subject arising out of the High Court decision in S v Pistorius, so it was obvious that this subject was both topical and challenging, and thus worthy of further consideration,’ said Hoctor.

The seminar was part of the Pietermaritzburg School of Law’s novel approach to teaching and learning which involves research using a tongue-in-cheek slogan on a T-shirt, props and a cake.  These are meant to illustrate their presentations in a comical fashion, while summarising the essence of the research. 

‘I hoped that the presentation would bring some clarity to the question of what our law understands by dolus eventualis by presenting a critical evaluation of the case law and academic writing. In the spirit of dialogue and learning from each other, I was very interested in the response I would get from colleagues to assist me to further clarify my own views or how I express them,’ said Hoctor.

‘I am writing an article on dolus eventualis and a lot of the material used in the presentation will appear in the article,’ he said.

* Dolus eventualis is a form of intent (in South African Law) where the accused foresees the possibility of an unlawful result due to his/her conduct but nonetheless persists in such conduct, reconciling himself or herself to the result in question.

Thandiwe Jumo

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