Isifundo Somphakathi Nesibheke Inqubomgomo Yezomnotho YaseSouth Africa

Isifundo Somphakathi Nesibheke Inqubomgomo Yezomnotho YaseSouth Africa
Izifundiswa zase-UKZN, uDkt Mihalis Chasomeris (kwesobunxele) noNkz Nonmfundo Kakaza benoDkt Rudi Steinbach we-Reserve Bank.

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Ungoti kwezomnotho eSouth African Reserve Bank owuNgoti Omkhulu wezomnotho emnyangweni i-Macroeconomic Modelling Unit, uDkt Rudi Steinbach, wethule inkulumo yakhe mayelana nenqubomgomo yezomnotho yezwe kubafundi base-Graduate School of Business and Leadership abenza idiploma yasebeneziqu ye-Business Administration (Economics), eze-Local Economic Development  neze- MBA.

Ethula isifundo sakhe somphakathi esinesihloko esithi: Fighting Inflation: A Brief History of Monetary Policy in South Africa, u-Steinbach ukhulume ngodaba lokukhuphuka kwamanani ezinto nomthelela onakho emnothweni wezwe, ukuhlinzekwa kwemali, kanye nokuthi amamodeli asetshenziswa kanjani ekwakhiweni kwenqubomgomo yezomnotho nokubhekwa kwezomnotho yi-Reserve Bank.

U-Steinbach ubuye wavula isikhathi sokuxoxisana nezethameli ngokuthi asebenzise uhlelokusebenza olusetshenziswa yi-Reserve Bank uma yenza uqagulo, lapho exoxisane nabafundi ngokwezinyathelo ezilandelwayo uma kwenziwa lo msebenzi. Emva kwalokhu babe nethuba lokubuza imibuzo nokunikezwa kwezimpendulo lapho abafundi bebuze imibuzo ngemalimboleko, intengo yokudla ekhuphukayo, intengo kawoyela nokukleliswa kweNingizimu Afrika kwezokubolekwa kwezimali.

Isifundiswa sase-GSB&L,uNkz Nomfundo Kakaza, ohlele lesi sifundo, uthi inhloso bekungukunika abafundi umqondo mayelana nokusebenza kwethiyori uma sekusetshenzwa.

‘Impokophelo yesifundo bekuwukukhombisa abafundi ukuthi ithiyori abayifunda ekilasini isebenza kanjani ngaphandle. Okunye bekuwukubagqugquzela njengoba besacabanga ngemisebenzi abazoyenza ngomuso ukuzo bazibone sebesebenza e-Reserve Bank,’ usho kanje.

Jumo noPfano Mashau


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UKZN in talks with Nigerian University on Possible Collaboration

UKZN in talks with Nigerian University on Possible Collaboration
A leadership delegation from the Federal University Birnin Kebbi in Nigeria and representatives of UKZN management at a meeting on the Westville campus.

A leadership delegation from the Federal University Birnin Kebbi (FUBK) in Nigeria visited UKZN to discuss the possibility of forging links between the two universities.

FUBK, established in 2014 in the north-west region of Nigeria, boasts about 300 academics and 1 200 students.

Staff and student exchange programmes, the training of staff and secondment of senior academics of FUBK, library development, and the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding were discussed at the meeting on the Westville campus. 

FUBK opens its College of Health Sciences in September this year and intends to draw upon UKZN’s expertise to assist going forward.

Vice-Chancellor at FUBK, Dr Sahabi M. Jabo, said their aim was ‘to make the university great, in order to produce great people’.

Pioneer Vice-Chancellor of FUBK, Professor Lawan Suleiman Bilbis, said they chose UKZN after examining university rankings in Africa.

UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert Van Jaarsveld, welcomed the delegation and proposed a reciprocal visit to Nigeria in July 2016 as the ‘first level of engagement’.

 Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


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Dermatology Department Organises Teaching Outreach Programme

Dermatology Department Organises Teaching Outreach Programme
Medical students observe Dr Khoza utilising a “Wood’s Lamp” ultraviolet light evaluation to identify skin infections.

UKZN’s Dermatology Department held a four-day Teaching Outreach Programme which is part of the Vaseline Healing project. 

The programme was attended by about 200 primary health care (PHC) workers, nurses, doctors and final-year Medical students.

UKZN’s Dermatology HoD, Professor Ncoza Dlova, said: ‘The project is a global aid effort, in partnership with Direct Relief and Unilever USA, to provide dermatology care and training, Vaseline products and medical supplies to people with limited access to skin health resources.’

Dlova said teaching and empowering PHC doctors and nurses to diagnose common skin conditions would prove to be a great investment in the future.

Participants were trained on basic and common dermatology conditions at no cost. Each participant received a copy of an HIV and Skin Atlas co-authored by Dlova and Professor Anisa Mosam as well as a handbook of all the lectures presented by the Dermatology consultants.

Project organiser, Direct Relief’s Social Impact Initiative Manager, Mr Kevin Molloy, said the outreach programme’s mission was to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty and emergency situations through mobilising and providing essential medical resources. ‘Our aim is to help the Vaseline Healing Project heal the skin of 5 million people by 2020,’ said Molloy.

Unilever’s USA Brand Manager, Vaseline, Mrs Neha Minj, said: ‘I must say I am greatly humbled by how every doctor we met had such a selfless attitude towards serving their community and wanted to do more. Personally being part of the training and hearing live feedback from the nurses and medical officers, it’s evident that this training programme is fulfilling a vital need in dermatology training.’

Dlova said the project had received a donation of R900 000 from Unilever USA.

The programme consisted of a three-day training programme in the eThekwini, ILembe and Pietermaritzburg districts during which a total of 346 primary health care practitioners were trained. At a one-day clinic, 144 patients were treated free of charge. 

Training and consultations were conducted by UKZN’s 11 Dermatologists as well as the HoD of Umtata University, Dr Avumile Mankahla, and Livingstone HoD, Dr Phakamile Magigaba.

Mosam worked closely with Dlova in planning this venture together with their colleagues Dr Antoinette Chateau, Dr Korashia Hoosen, Dr Nokubonga Khoza, Dr Zamambo Mkhize, Dr Khumo Duze, Dr Cebisile Sibisi, Dr Levashnie Naidoo, Dr Mamello Ndumo and Dr Mthobisi Mazibuko.

 Nombuso Dlamini 


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Raising the UKZN Flag Internationally

Raising the UKZN Flag Internationally
Mr Nyangi Philemon Ngomu.

UKZN’s Discipline of Nursing alumnus, Mr Nyangi Philemon Ngomu, is currently the National Professional Officer for Medical evacuations at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) South African Country Office.

After supporting himself through odd jobs, Ngomu graduated with his honours degree in 2004 and a master’s degree in 2008. Ngomu put himself through university. ‘I have always made it through hard work and not giving up,’ said Ngomu.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo his path has never been easy, ‘I did all kinds of jobs from car guard, barber to security guard just to make it through my studies.

‘It is through that determination that some senior lecturers and admin staff in the School of Nursing pushed me to believe in myself. They understood my challenges and their moral support was enough for me to keep going.’

Ngomu, who manages daily operations of the Medical Unit at the WHO Country Office, is responsible for hospital placements, stay and redeployment of WHO Regional Staff on evacuation for specialised care in the country.

‘I provide orientation/briefing and pertinent education and health promotion to staff and medical evacuees, and work with the regional medical unit and HQ on staff wellbeing programmes and management of Staff Health Insurance medical scheme,’ said Ngomu.

He is also involved with the International Council of Nurses in the Leadership for Change Programme and Trainer of Trainers for Southern Africa and the Middle East.

‘I am doing this under the umbrella of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA). I am also a volunteer trainer of the Xavery South Africa Catholic Movement in Pretoria,’ said Ngomu.

According to Ngomu, his work has been very exciting, ‘Many young people think that nursing is limited in scope of practice but this profession has great opportunities and well-trained nurses like myself can occupy any position in clinical, academia, research, leadership and management. With this career I have travelled the world and have been involved in many activities and am looking forward for the best is yet to come.’

He plans to do his PhD and hopes to retire in academia one day, contributing to nursing sciences through research.

Ngomu has a special interest in health systems and policies in general and nursing regulations.

Nombuso Dlamini 


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Building Bridges - University of Hull and UKZN’s Maritime Unit

Building Bridges - University of Hull and UKZN’s Maritime Unit
Delegates at the recent meeting held at UKZN’s Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies.

The University of Hull in England with its long historical maritime association and its unique geographical location on one of the world’s busiest sea routes on the United Kingdom’s east coast, has an established and integrated maritime studies programme that draws on multiple disciplines connected to the maritime environment.

While, UKZN - through its proximity to the port of Durban, the largest and most active general cargo port on the continent of Africa - hosts the highly rated Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies.

It was about exploring value-adding synergies that underpinned the successful breakfast seminar at which the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hull, Professor Calie Pistorius, was hosted by UKZN.

After the welcome by the Dean and Head of School, Professor Managay Reddi, current Head of the Unit, Professor Trevor Jones, provided a succinct overview of the Unit, emphasising that Maritime Law and Maritime Studies had become key focus areas of teaching and research within the College of Law and Management Studies. These were in response to demands from the professional and commercial sectors as well as national government through its Operation Phakisa.

Staff and researchers at the Unit presented on some of the exciting research, including Seafaring Labour Markets and Piracy at Sea.

Future initiatives such as the Masters of Commerce in Customs and Excise Taxation and outreach programmes to secondary schools were also mentioned.

The School of Law falls within the College of Law and Management Studies and operates on both the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses. It is one of the largest contact Law schools in South Africa.

 Rudi Kimmie


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Accounting Graduate Placed Fifth in SAICA’s Initial Test of Competence

Accounting Graduate Placed Fifth in SAICA’s Initial Test of Competence
Ms Justine Lindsay.

When Ms Justine Lindsay graduated with her BCom degree cum laude and became the first student to receive top awards for all modules at the UKZN-SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Students’ Awards Ceremony in 2015, it was an indication she was destined for success!

Fast-forward to 2016, she continues to achieve, as she recently graduated  with her Bachelor of Accounting Honours degree summa cum laude and ranked fifth in SAICA’s Initial Test of Competence (ITC).

ITC, a standard-setting examination written after the completion of an accredited Certificate in the Theory of Accounting programme, needs to be completed on the journey towards becoming a charted accountant.

Lindsay, a Trainee Accountant at Deloitte’s Audit and Assurance Department, said passing the ITC with special honours was hopefully an indication of a successful future in accounting.

‘In order to qualify as a CA, I need to complete three years of SAICA accredited articles and write two board exams - ITC and APC. The ITC exam is done - I was one of six students to pass with honours - and I am currently completing my first year of articles at Deloitte, which I am enjoying and  plan to write the APC exam in November next year. I am uncertain whether I will study further after that, but if I do, I would like to start a Master of Commerce in Taxation,’ she said.

Remaining dedicated to beating the odds of a challenging academic career in accounting meant that Lindsay had to not only overcome the obstacles associated with her studies but life’s low blows as well when her mother passed away during her undergraduate studies.

‘My family has shown immense support during my studies. When my mother passed away, I made a promise that I would continue with my studies despite going through a difficult time. I received an overwhelming amount of support from my father (John) and fiancé (Timothy Freese) who both motivated me to carry on strong and this carried on into my honours studies. I believe they are proud of my achievements,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo


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Connection between Politics and Stock Market Quality Explored

Connection between Politics and Stock Market Quality Explored
Professor Jerry Parwada of Australia during his presentation at UKZN.

The link between politics and economics was explored during a lecture at UKZN by the Head of Banking and Finance in the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Professor Jerry Parwada.

Parwada’s presentation to academics at the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF), was titled: “Dominant Party Political Cycles and Stock Market Quality: Evidence from South Africa.”

Parwada was keen to gather ideas from the academics on how he could improve his research.

‘The paper I am delivering today is a work in progress that needs to be properly motivated that’s why I am here today.  I can’t complete my motivation sitting in my office in Sydney; I need to get into an academic setting such as this one and get valuable input.’

The research uses South Africa’s political environment as a laboratory to examine the effect of dominant political party cycles on stock market quality and measures such as efficiency, integrity and systemic risk.

‘People have been trying to study the discipline of politics and finance but the majority of literature today concentrates on the correlation of market characteristics and economic fundamentals,’ said Parwada.

‘The study’s preliminary results find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that political uncertainty in such a context has negative effects on market quality. However, this effect is reduced by the level of political plurality that exists in SA at the provincial level.’

SAEF academics responded to Parwada’s request for suggestions on how to strengthen his research, giving feedback on how he could extend his analysis by including the aspect of changes in government ministers, exploring political associations and looking into counterfactual challenges.

Parwada acknowledged contributions from the academics and said he would use some of the input when he presented his paper at the 6th Annual African Finance Conference in Ghana later this month.

During his visit to UKZN, Parwada also delivered a lecture titled: “Low interest rate environment in developed countries poses challenges to asset allocation strategies of portfolio managers to MBA students”. The lecture reviewed the global economic climate with particular emphasis on changing interest rates in developed countries and South Africa.

Thandiwe Jumo


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UKZN Academic Discusses Classical Antiquity in Monster High TV Series

UKZN Academic Discusses Classical Antiquity in <em>Monster High</em> TV Series
Dr Suzanne Sharland.

As part of the Classics Research Colloquium in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC), Lecturer Dr Suzanne Sharland spoke on: “Classical Antiquity in Contemporary Children’s Media and Literature: the case of Monster High”.

Monster High is an animated TV series that features the lives of a number of high school students at a fictional academy for the offspring of famous monsters from literature, film and legend such as Draculaura, adopted daughter of Dracula; Abbey Bominable, daughter of the Abominable Snowman, and Operetta, the child of the Phantom of the Opera.

Sharland questioned whether: ‘the classical allusions in Monster High are incorporated in an intelligent manner and if this usage of classical antiquity represents a “dumbing down” of the classics or rather a useful way in which to introduce the young to the imaginative creations of antiquity’.

She also acknowledged that the series and its associated dolls, marketed and sold by Mattel-the company which produced Barbie, have been criticised for presenting young girls with hyper-sexualised, idealised and misleading images of women. ‘They have also been taken to task for supposedly jumping on the anti-bullying bandwagon.’

Sharland observed that the majority of monsters to emerge from Greek mythology were female. ‘But being a monster can be empowering, and other critics have suggested that the presentation of a high level of individuality in each of the characters in Monster High, as well as the series’ tacit acknowledgement that everyone has their strengths and flaws, encourages young viewers to accept their own differences and to focus on the things which make them unique,’ she said.

In her concluding remarks, Sharland said: ‘Although I sometimes find it a bit exasperating, the series’ engagement with classical myth, literature and history is ultimately, for me, a very creative and witty endeavour. It is itself a unique take on classical antiquity. In the words of the school’s tripartite motto: ‘Be yourself. Be unique. Be a monster.’

Monster High image by: dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

Melissa Mungroo


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Academic Presents Research at eThekwini Research Symposium

Academic Presents Research at eThekwini Research Symposium
Dr Andrew Okem.

Research findings on stakeholders’ perspectives on the social acceptability of effluent in agriculture were presented at an eThekwini Research Symposium.

The presentation was made by Dr Andrew Okem, a Senior Researcher with the South African Research Chair Initiative in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS),

The Symposium is an annual event that aims to provide a common platform for city practitioners and their academic partners to network and identify opportunities for strategic and collaborative research outputs that advance municipal service delivery.

This year’s event revolved around the theme of “Durban, A City in Transformation: Towards an Effective, Inclusive and Sustainable Socioeconomic Outcome”.

Okem’s presentation was part of a large interdisciplinary research titled “Integrating Agriculture in Designing Low-Cost Sanitation Technologies in Social Housing Schemes”, which is led by Dr Alfred Odindo. The study was informed by the need to simultaneously address the challenges of sanitation backlogs, food security, lack of access to safe water, and environmental pollution.

In his presentation, Okem noted that ‘increasing population density in the urban and peri-urban areas of the eThekwini Municipality, coupled with water constraints, has necessitated the need to explore innovative ways to manage the provision of water and sanitation services. One of the innovative options being explored is closing the water-sanitation-food security loop by integrating sanitation systems with agriculture in social housing schemes’.

He pointed out that ‘despite the potential of this approach in addressing challenges of water, sanitation, food security and pollution, questions around the social acceptability of food grown using domestic effluent remains unanswered’. The study was grounded on the qualitative paradigm with samples drawn from local communities, municipal officials and academics.

The study finds that although literature identifies culture, religion, odour and health concerns as barriers to reusing human excreta in agriculture, findings from the focus groups demonstrate openness towards growing and consuming food using domestic effluent.

‘Importantly, the study demonstrates that there is potential in simultaneously addressing issues of food insecurity and sanitation that characterise many peri-urban and rural areas in South Africa. Critically, we recommend that existing government policies restricting the use of human excreta in agriculture be revisited in order to permit the exploitation of a potentially valuable resource,’ he said.

Okem noted that although there were mixed responses with regard to whether food grown using domestic effluent should be labelled, the prevalent finding was that participants had no problem purchasing labelled food.

Interviews with technocrats and academics had shown that food grown with effluent could be labelled as organic.

Okem recommended further research to explore the ethical and policy implications of labelling food grown using effluent.

Melissa Mungroo


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Students Perform Water Is Life Play on Durban’s Beachfront

Students Perform Water Is Life Play on Durban’s Beachfront
UKZN students showcase the play - Masihambisane: Water is Life - on Durban’s beachfront.

UKZN’s fourth-year Architecture students and Drama and Performing Arts students recently showcased their “Masihambisane: Water is Life” show on the Durban beachfront.

The play was staged under the guidance of Lecturers, Mrs Bridget Horner and Dr Miranda Young Jahangeer.

‘It was the culmination of three months of interdisciplinary experimentation with socially responsible and responsive pedagogy,’ said Young Jahangeer.

The play was performed in an effort to conscientise and inform the public about the importance of water, especially in a time of drought.

Architecture student Mr Ntobeko Sosibo said: ‘Throughout the play, we made people aware of how precious water is and how to conserve it. With song and dance, we managed to convey that in a fun way. We also engaged with people from all walks of life and heard their stories of how the drought is affecting them and what water means to them.’

Central to the play was the depiction of the Water Goddess with the three themes of the play: inequality; spirituality and scarcity, within the urban rural context. The structure of the Water Goddess was designed and built by architecture students and further enacted by both Drama and Architecture students.

Ms Jenni Roberts said: ‘This interdisciplinary collaboration between Architecture and Drama students really made us grow as individuals. It was a learning experience where we had to step out of our comfort zones and we are really proud of how well we worked together and what we accomplished. ’

Ms Dhiantha Archary added: ‘As architects, this gave us the chance to humanise the profession because often we forget the lived experiences of the built environment and being a part of this reminded us that we are designing for the public.’

Masihambisane: Water is Life” will be performed again in the second semester, giving the University community an opportunity to experience the full performance.

Melissa Mungroo


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Edgewood Campus Tackles Gender-Based Violence and Cyber Bullying

Edgewood Campus Tackles Gender-Based Violence and Cyber Bullying
The Edgewood Campus Community Development Association at their anti-gender-based violence and cyber bullying wall.

The Edgewood Campus Community Development Association (CDA) has launched an anti-gender based violence and cyber bullying campaign.

The campaign includes a wall near the main cafeteria displaying photos of UKZN students and staff who are against gender-based violence and cyber bullying.

CEO of the CDA Mr Nkonzo Mkhize said: ‘It started with a message of support from the association to students who are survivors of gender-based violence. The campaign is a result of seeing what is happening in South Africa and the silenced voices of students at Edgewood campus, who have no space to share their stories and experiences of gender-based violence and cyber bullying.’

Supporting the campaign, the Acting Dean and Head of the School of Education, Professor Thabo Msibi, said: ‘I’m very pleased that CDA students have started such an important campaign.  Given the occurrence of gender-based violence on our campuses and in our residences, it is important that as the University community we respond proactively and vigorously to change the situation.  Our University has to be a safe space for all students, and I believe this effort from the CDA will assist in achieving that.’

As part of the campaign, the CDA has organised a Share your Story night, providing victims with a space where they can share their experiences and find closure and support. The sessions will be guided by the campus counsellor.

The CDA will also host an Anti-Gender-Based Violence talk to educate students and academics about abuse in its many forms. The session will be guided by a panel of academic experts in the field.

 Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Team Encourages Aspirant Tertiary Education Students in Newcastle Area

UKZN Team Encourages Aspirant Tertiary Education Students in Newcastle Area
UKZN’s student recruitment drive in the Amajuba district.

UKZN’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) in partnership with the Department of Basic Education recently hosted the Amajuba district (Newcastle area in northern KwaZulu-Natal) high achievers symposium programme for top maths and science students in the area.

The aim of the programme was to provide learners with sufficient information on programmes offered at UKZN in order to make informed career choices in their Grade 12 year of study.

UKZN staff members from the CHS - Mr Lunga Memela, Mr Mlungisi Chili, Ms Vanessa Chetty and Ms Sinenhlanhla Ngubane - as well as the Corporate Relations Division’s Mr Morena Tsotetsi and Ms Thandiwe Jumo of the College of Law and Management Studies, attended the student recruitment drive and presented on UKZN’s programmes.

Grade 12 learner, Sinobuhle Ndlovu from the DNC Combined High School, said: ‘I did not know that in order to study medicine you needed a 65% aggregate for all your subjects. I am going to work hard to ensure that my grades go up.’

‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve,’ said Mr Ntokozo Hlongwane, a motivational speaker whose positive energy was contagious, motivating and inspired learners to aim to pass with distinctions.

When asked his opinion on the seminar, Mr R N Khuzwayo of the Department of Education (Amajuba district), said: ‘UKZN’s presentation was well prepared. They managed to cover all the details applying to the Institution and I liked the fact that they were able to go deeper into this by explaining the points requirement for each College, thus leaving the learners with an in-depth understanding of what is expected of them.’

‘UKZN identified that most schools were offering subjects not recognised by tertiary intuitions and even if these students pass, they are not getting accepted into universities. Going forward I plan on addressing this issue by having a meeting with all of the school principals in the district and rectifying this problem,’ said Khuzwayo.

Sinenhlanhla Ngubane


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UKZN Student to Lead SA Delegation to China

UKZN Student to Lead SA Delegation to China
Mr Muhammed Bilaal Ismail.

UKZN student Mr Muhammed Bilaal Ismail has been selected as the head delegate of a five-member team representing South Africa at the Y20 Summit in China later this year.

Originally known as the G20 Youth Network, the annual Y20 Summit provides an opportunity for young people from across G20 countries to engage and negotiate in international policy discussions about the most pressing economic concerns and generate innovative solutions.

The policy discussion communiqué generated from the event is submitted to the G20 Leaders’ Summit each year and provides integral insight into the global youth landscape.

Ismail, who was selected by the South African Youth for International Diplomacy organisation from applicants across the country, says he is proud to represent UKZN on a global stage.

During the Youth Summit, delegates participate in conferences and workshops with high profile speakers and recognised experts discussing topics such as food security, poverty, sustainable development, global financial matters and the international monetary system.

The Y20 summit, in Beijing and Shanghai from the 24 -30 July, is themed: “Innovation and Partnership for an Inclusive World”.

Ismail hopes to engage with UKZN students to further ascertain the South African youth landscape and contribute truly national views and recommendations at the summit. Any students wanting to discuss and contribute to the South African/African papers should contact Ismail via email: bilaal.ismail@gmail.com

Ismail is a PhD student whose research incorporates novel inorganic compounds for their potential use in nuclear medicine. He is currently a graduate advisor for the Golden Key International Honour Society and represents chemistry scholars on the South African Chemical Institute.

He is passionate about learning and applying multidisciplinary, innovative knowledge for the holistic development of others. His achievements have previously won him the Graduate Scholar Award and the South African Student Leader of the Year award from Golden Key.

His visibly demonstrated leadership and innovation led to him being named as one of the Top 40 Most Inspirational Students at UKZN and one of the Top 100 Brightest Young Minds in South Africa.

Karen Suter


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UKZN Academic to Chair African Renaissance Conference

UKZN Academic to Chair African Renaissance Conference
UKZN Celebrates Africa Day.

The Head of African Languages at UKZN, Professor Sihawu Ngubane, is Chair of the organising committee for the Africa Renaissance Conference being held at the ICC in Durban from 23-24 May.

The conference, organised around Africa Day celebrations on May 25, will focus on Entrepreneurs in Africa – Entrepreneur Development and Innovation, with the emphasis on the youth.  It also aims to empower and increase entrepreneurial capacities, thereby strengthening communities through the creation of new businesses, new jobs and the promotion of self-sufficiency.

Africa Day, held annually across the continent, commemorates the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) - now known as the African Union (AU) - in 1963. 

UKZN prides itself on its vision of being the Premier University of African Scholarship and Africa Day provides an opportunity to highlight the progress the University has made as well as reflect on the challenges Africa faces in a global environment.

UKZN, recognised as one of the top three research-led universities in South Africa, is among the largest universities in sub-Saharan Africa. This in effect links UKZN to its mission of a truly South African university that is academically excellent, innovative in research, critically engaged with society and demographically representative, and redressing the disadvantages, inequities and imbalances of the past.

‘UKZN responds to the critical development needs of the entire continent and in the light of Africa Day it is crucial to acknowledge the Institution on the world map through its new economic and social strategies to improve the lives of people. In fact, UKZN should mount a core module that may create concepts of African Renaissance, its implications and impact to our curriculum,’ said Ngubane.

In celebration of Africa Day, UKZN has organised various activities, including a quiz and an edutainment drive aiming to create awareness and student participation. To participate, please click here (Terms and Conditions)

Meanwhile, in partnership with the Mandela-Rhodes Community and Activate, the fifth annual Conversations for Change event takes place at the Howard College Theatre on the Durban campus on 24 May at 17h30. The gathering will discuss racism and intersecting forms of prejudice, privilege and power.

Speakers include: the former Constitutional Court judge, Mr Justice Zakeria Yacoob; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College: Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter; Researcher and Political Analyst, Ms Nompumelelo Runji, and Mandela Rhodes Scholar, Ms Unathi Bheku. You may RSVP here to attend.

 Sunayna Bhagwandin


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Academics Need to Embrace New Ways of Writing and Sharing Research

Academics Need to Embrace New Ways of Writing and Sharing Research
Dr Craig Blewett, Senior Lecturer, School of Information Systems and Technology.

Universities are a “thousand-year-old industry on the cusp of profound change”. That’s according to a study that explored Australia’s higher education landscape four years ago. One warning from the report rings true far beyond Australia and all the way around the world:

Over the next ten-15 years, the current public university model … will prove unviable in all but a few cases.

Warning shots are ringing out across the world. But how many academics are actually paying attention? In my experience as a lecturer at a South African university, we continue to placate the two denizens of academia – teaching and research – in the same way we always have. Teaching remains focused on instruction and content reproduction, while most research never makes it beyond journals.

If we continue to teach in outdated ways, we will increasingly lose touch with our students. Equally, if we continue to closet our findings in traditional journals, we may find our hard work increasingly eclipsed by research organisations that use new media to effectively share their findings.

Lots of attention is being given to new ways of teaching. The great news is that there are also exciting new publishing opportunities springing up.

The right to write

On May 12 2015 I published my first article with The Conversation Africa. One year and ten articles later, I’ve started to view my “right to write” in a totally different way. For more than 20 years as an academic, writing has been more of a duty than a need – let alone a right. Productivity units must be met. Papers must be written and published in approved journals. Even the joy of writing for conferences, which can generate spirited discussion, has been removed. Conference presentations don’t contribute much to one’s chance of promotion.

Of course there is great merit in writing for journals. These have been one of the primary stores of human knowledge, and their peer review process foregrounds credible research – most of the time. They teach academics how to write carefully argued pieces, and the best ones hold us to high standards of quality.

Pragmatically, they also pay. Individual academics and their institutions earn money for each article that’s published in certain accredited journals.

However, the money associated with such journals has created an entire industry that flies counter to a world where sharing knowledge is seen as the right thing to do. Journals are being accused of using the free services of academics to write and the free services of reviewers to edit. They then charge exorbitant prices so that the very same academics can’t even access their own content.

But traditional journals are no longer the be-all and end-all. At least, they shouldn’t be. Open-access journals, blogs, wikis, professional Facebook pages and YouTube channels offer academics a range of exciting, different ways to share their research. These spaces come with a range of benefits.

New media means new benefits

The first of these is the far quicker turnaround time. One of academics’ abiding frustrations with the current publishing process is how long it takes for articles to see the light of day. Research shows that it takes, on average, between nine and 18 months (and sometimes longer) from submission to publication. Writing for new media spaces means that research can be shared within hours or days, opening up the opportunity for discussion, debate and dissent far more quickly.

Your reach is far greater in new media spaces. Some studies estimate that the average journal article is read entirely by only ten people. Tools like Google Analytics can help academics to track their readership in new media spaces. Some sites, like The Conversation, have their own metrics systems – from this, I know that each of my articles is read on average 4,000 times.

Greater reach leads to far greater exposure. This can take the form of comments from academics around the world, invitations to collaborate, and TV and radio interviews. This takes academic research far beyond conferences and journals. I’ve discussed my work on different platforms, including international newspapers, and have been drawn into several local and international research collaborations. Isn’t that sort of work the point of publishing?

New media spaces can also be less intimidating for young, inexperienced academics than established journals are. Getting used to writing, finding your own voice and presenting your work on a public platform is all good practice for journal writing. Universities often offer programmes designed to help young academics develop and strengthen their writing, and these are useful tools as well.

Finally, new media spaces offer a valuable opportunity for feedback, conversation and even correction. They’re not about getting it perfect upfront  – they’re about learning, arguing and altering. This encourages the kind of dialogue and idea sharing that any academic should value.

Stepping out of our academic closet

Change isn’t coming to academia – it’s here. And the one thing you don’t do in the path of an avalanche is stand still. The privilege of just talking about new teaching approaches and new publishing opportunities has passed. If academics don’t make bold moves to change how we use new platforms and technologies, we ourselves are at risk of becoming irrelevant.

Courtesy of The Conversation


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