Umfundi Womculo we-Opera Uzitholele Umfundaze Ophambili i-Shooter Voice Bursary Fund

Umfundi Womculo we-Opera Uzitholele Umfundaze Ophambili i-Shooter Voice Bursary Fund
uNkz Avuya Ngcaweni, ohlomule ngomfundaze i-Shooter Voice Bursary.

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Umfundi we-Opera uNkz Avuya Ngcaweni ungohlomuliswe ngonyaka wezi-2017 ngomfundaze ophambili i-Shooter Voice Bursary Fund.

Umfundaze uzokhokhela izindleko zokufunda zikaNgcaweni aze aphothule izifundo zakhe zeziqu eziyiminyaka emithathu kanye nezindleko zezinsiza zokufunda umculo nezincwadi. ‘Angikaze ngicabange ukuthi ngingazuza lo mklomelo – ngizizwa ngikhethekile. Lesi yisiqalo sezinto ezinkulu,’ kusho uNgcaweni. 

Oyi-Trust Officer yalo mfundaze uNkz Inge Jansen van Nieuwenhuizen uthe: ‘Kuyinto enhle kakhulu ukuthi sikwazi ukulekelela umfundi ngale ndlela futhi nginesiqiniseko sokuthi uMnu Shooter ongasekho wayenezinhloso ezinhle ngalo mfundaze.’

UNgcaweni uthe imali izomsiza ukuthi afeze izinjongo namaphupho akhe. Ngoba uzobe engasenazinkinga zezimali, uNgcaweni uhlele ukusebenza kanzima, egxile kakhulu ezifundweni zakhe kunezinkinga zezimali.  

‘Bengithwele kanzima kakhulu ngingenalo uxhaso lwezimali ngonyaka odlule. Umama wami, ongumzali oyedwa ubengenakho okutheni abengakwenza ukungilekelela. Bengihlala kuze kube yisebusuku kakhulu emtapweni wolwazi ekhempasini ngiqedelela imisebenzi yami yesikole ngoba ngingenawo ilepthophu.  

‘Njengomfundi womculo, ukuzilolonga kubaluleke kakhulu ukuze ube umculi osezingeni eliphezulu ngakho bengisebenza nge-keyboard nephimbo lami kuze kube sebusuku kakhulu. Ngihlala eMlazi futhi bengisabela impilo yami zonke izinsuku ngoba bengijwayele ukubuya ekhaya ngezikhathi zehora lesi-9 ebusuku,’ kusho uNgcaweni.

Ukhuthaze abafundi ukuthi balandele izinjongo namaphupho abo. ‘Lokhu esibusiswe ngakho akwandele noma ubani kodwa labo ababusisiwe mabazinikele.’

Njengentombazane esakhula, uNgcaweni wayeziculela nje ezijabulisa ngaphambi kokuthi uthisha wakhe abone ithalente lakhe futhi wamgqugquzela ukuthi aqhubeke nokufundela umculo. Wajoyina ikhwaya yesikole futhi wakuthakasela kakhulu. Uthando lwakhe lomculo lugcine lumholele ekutheni agcine efunda e-UKZN.

‘Njengeqhawe lami umculi we-opera u-Pretty Yende, ngangifuna ukwenza into ezoba nomthelela empilweni yami okungukwelapha abantu ngomculo. Umculo we-opera ukhuluma nabantu. Ayikho into ekhuthaza futhi ethokozisa njengokufunda into oyithandayo. Ukucula kuletha intokozo enkulu kimi futhi kwenza ngibuke impilo ngokunentshisekelo,’ usho kanje.   

UNgcaweni ubonge abakwa-Shooter Bursary Fund. ‘Ngiyabonga kulabo ababeneqhaza ngokungithemba nokungipha isipho esihle kangaka. Ngizimisele ukwenza le nhlangano iziqhenye kakhulu.’

Ubonge othisha bakhe base-UKZN Opera School and Choral Academy (OSCA) oMnu Lionel Mkhwanazi, Nkz Amanda Kosi noNkz Slindokuhle Zondo.

ngu-Melissa Mungroo

Isithombe: Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Students Tour SA’s Astrophysical and Space Science Research Facilities

UKZN Students Tour SA’s Astrophysical and Space Science Research Facilities
UKZN students at the SALT facilities with Professor Sivakumar Venkataraman (third left) and Professor Thebe Medupe (far right).

UKZN honours and masters students heard about South Africa’s advances in Astrophysics and Space Science during a four-day tour of research facilities in the Western and Northern Cape provinces.

The tour was organised by the UKZN node of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) which is a multi-institutional postgraduate programme, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Based in the School of Chemistry and Physics, the programme aims to train graduates in astronomy, astrophysics and space science who come from various institutions across the country and as far afield as Malawi, Ethiopia and Kenya.

According to Academic Leader of the UKZN NASSP node, Professor Sivakumar Venkataraman, the programme will contribute to strengthening UKZN’s space science and astrophysics teaching and research as well as build capacity in the field in South Africa.

Venkataraman and Professor Thebe Medupe of North-West University, the site of one of the other two South African NASSP nodes, joined the tour which was attended by 14 students. The group visited the University of Cape Town node where they were hosted by its head, Professor Kurt van der Heyden.

The tour involved a visit to the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), hosted by chief scientist Professor Michael Kosch who gave a lecture and practical exercise in which he discussed sprites and their relevance to South African weather and atmospheric science.

The group visited the Houwteq Space Centre, a subsidiary of Denel Spaceteq, where Mr Deon Lategan spoke on satellites developed by Denel, a proudly South African company, with the focus on the Sumbandila satellite.

‘It’s unbelievable that we here in South Africa have created this technology - it makes me proud to be a South African, to expand NASSP and put young scientists at the forefront,’ said Medupe.

The group also visited Sutherland, where they went on a night tour of the astronomical facility to view stars and planets through telescopes. At Sutherland, they also went to the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, which is breaking ground in terms of scientific and astrophysical research advancement.

‘This was the first time I have seen stars that close up,’ said Mr Bernard Mmame, a masters student from Malawi.

Students on the tour said the experience had been invaluable in exposing the infrastructure and potential available to South Africans and Africans through NASSP. The group thanked everyone involved in making the trip successful.

Christine Cuénod


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UKZN's Rural Health Director Awarded Multi-Million Rand Research Grant

UKZN's Rural Health Director Awarded Multi-Million Rand Research Grant
Professor Inge Petersen.

The Director of the College of Health Sciences’ Centre for Rural Health, Professor Inge Petersen, and her colleagues, Professor Arvin Bhana of the Medical Research Council and Professor Deepa Rao of the University of Washington, have been awarded a research grant worth US$2 955 303 over a period of five years by the National Institutes of Mental Health.

The grant entails the establishment of a research consortium with South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania, titled the Southern African Research Consortium for Mental Health INTegration (S-MhINT);

The Consortium will evaluate the scale-up of an integrated mental health care package for chronic disorders at primary health care level in South Africa as well as to build implementation science and dissemination research (ISDR) capacity in South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania to implement integrated mental health care at scale.

‘While the S-MhINT grant has been awarded to UKZN, it is a collaborative project with the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington, Muhimbili University in Tanzania and Health Alliance International in Mozambique,’ said Petersen.

‘The departments of Health from all three countries are also key collaborators.’

The project builds on years of work on the development and evaluation of integrated models of mental health care in South Africa through other projects now being scaled-up in Amajuba in KwaZulu-Natal and Gert Sibanda in Mpumalanga using implementation science.

The grant will also support smaller pilot projects and capacity building of policy makers, health managers and service providers in ISDR to scale up integrated mental healthcare in Mozambique and Tanzania.

The funding will allow the Centre for Rural Health to grow its research agenda to engage in systems strengthening, human resource development and health and social justice research around non-communicable diseases with mental health being a key aspect.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the College of Health Sciences, Professor Rob Slotow, congratulated Petersen on her achievement. ‘The College is extremely pleased that Professor Petersen has succeeded with this major award from the NIH. Mental Health is increasingly being prioritised, and building capacity and expertise both locally and in other African countries is key to addressing the mental health treatment gap. This project links well with other capacity building initiatives being funded by a range of key global funders in the College of Health Sciences and reinforces the increasing recognition that staff in the College are receiving as leaders in their fields. We wish Professor Petersen and her team every success with the project,’ said Slotow.

The Dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health Medicine, Professor Busi Ncama, said: ‘I congratulate Professor Inge Petersen for this award. As a School we are very proud of this achievement. Professor Petersen is a renowned scholar and an academic who has made a mark for herself in the area of mental healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) made a call for integration of mental health into primary health care services and this project responds directly to that call. It also speaks directly to UKZN’s “African Scholarship” concept as it seeks to build capacity and strengthen mental health integration into primary healthcare in South Africa and beyond its borders into Mozambique and Tanzania.’

Petersen was seconded to the School of Nursing and Public Health from the Discipline of Psychology at the School of Applied Human Sciences. Her research work in the field of public mental health has many synergies with current research in the School of Nursing and Public Health.

For the past 20 years, her work has focused on how best to integrate mental health into primary healthcare as a means to close the treatment gap for mental disorders in South Africa. To further this, Petersen works in collaboration with a number of multinational research consortiums involving low and middle income countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, India, and Nepal.

Nombuso Dlamini


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Student Starts Campaign to End Hunger at UKZN Residences

Student Starts Campaign to End Hunger at UKZN Residences
Mr Vamisa Nzima.

Second year Drama and Performance Studies student Mr Vamisa Nzima dedicates his free time to innovative projects in order to improve the lives of those in need, particularly fellow students.

One of the projects is an organisation - established in response to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) the crisis - known as Movie Night, which raises money to feed hungry and needy UKZN students not awarded funding.

Former SRC student leader Mr Thanduxolo Sabelo inspired Nzima. ‘I was inspired by how the SRC would raise money to help students with outstanding fees,’ he said.

Nzima identified NSFAS and hunger as two of the major issues concerning students on campus. ‘In the Movie Night campaign we organise a monthly movie screening with an entrance fee of R20 per person.’

Since the launch of Movie Night, money raised has been used to buy groceries for 18 deserving students. ‘Due to the number of students we have on our list we often end up using money from our own pockets,’ said Nzima.

He is currently planning to launch Campus Art Day, under the Movie Night organisation in order to increase donations. Campus Art Day will feature musicians and actors.

Student Mr Andile Andries Ndlovu of Campus Vibe SA, who works closely with Nzima, encouraged the University community to support the Movie Night initiative. ‘I urge everyone to support this initiative because hunger is one of the critical issues students face in their residences.’

Said Nzima: ‘We want to promote this initiative to universities across the country in the hope that they too will do the same for needy students.’

To encourage donations, the organisation recently hosted a fund raising concert at the Howard College Theatre, inviting eThekwini Councillor Ms Barbara Fortein, the ANC Youth League provincial secretary, Mr Thanduxolo Sabelo, and the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities, Professor Stephen Mutula.

During the event they received a donation of R20 000 from the Acting Dean of the School of Arts Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa and her office as well as the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College, Professor Stephen Mutula.

‘We are still a small and newly formed organisation but we urge students and the University community to support us,’ said Nzima.

For more information on the Movie Night organisation contact Nzima on email 216065084@st.ukzn.ac.za

Nomcebo Mncube


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UKZN Researcher Elected Society of Neuroscientists of Africa Representative

UKZN Researcher Elected Society of Neuroscientists of Africa Representative
Dr Lihle Qulu.

Human Physiology Lecturer and Neuroscientist based in UKZN’s School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, Dr Lihle Qulu, has been selected as a Southern Hemisphere Region Representative for the Society of Neuroscientists of Africa (SONA).

SONA, a non-profit organisation registered in Kenya, functions as the umbrella organisation for regional and national neuroscience societies and groups in Africa. The society’s mandate is to promote neuroscience research and teaching in Africa.

‘This appointment was unexpected and I am very excited as the opportunity will give sub-Saharan scientists like me a platform and exposure to formulate neuroscience research collaborations,’ said Qulu. ‘Most importantly, I hope that my contribution towards the Society will assist in establishing curriculum development of neuroscience and escalate mental awareness in the sub-Saharan region. I would really like to see an upswing in the number of neuroscience conferences held in this region and more research collaborations.’

Qulu received the news of her appointment after her return from Regensburg University in Germany where she was researching ways on how the incidence of rape can be reduced in South Africa.  Her research work focuses mainly on the psychopathology of a rapist and how rape is defined in the African context. 

To determine if rehabilitation measures can be effective in the mind of a rapist, Qulu and research colleagues, Dr Suvira Ramlall and Professor Musa Mabandla aim to develop a two-fold research model they hope can be used on animals and humans.

‘I will forever be grateful to the UKZN College of Health Sciences for all the support and resources they give me. The support and mentorship I constantly receive from conventional researchers such as Professor Chimbari, my mentor and Dean Professor Musa Mabandla and many other people in the College is remarkable,’ said Qulu.

She will attend the SONA Conference in Uganda in June and is looking forward to tackling any challenges that may arise over the next four years.

Lihle Sosibo


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Exploring the Cosmic Dawn!

Exploring the Cosmic Dawn!
UKZN research team members (from left) Mr Heiko Heilgendorff, Ms Ridhima Nunhokee, Dr Cynthia Chiang, and Mr Liju Philip. (Right) the team assembling the 70MHz antennae.

A UKZN research team has returned from a trip to Marion Island in the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean where they conducted work on Probing Radio Intensity at high-Z from the Marion (PRIZM) telescope.

The team comprised a senior lecturer at the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit, Dr Cynthia Chiang, and Astrophysics PhD students Mr Liju Philip, Ms Ridhima Nunhokee and Mr Heiko Heilgendorff.

PRIZM is a low-frequency radio telescope which collects information about the universe during the Cosmic Dawn - the period a few hundred million years after the Big Bang when the first stars in the universe formed.  The light from these first stars is too dim for optical telescopes to see thus they have never been measured directly. PRIZM is designed to make this measurement and data received could help in determining when the first stars and galaxies formed.  

PRIZM observes the average brightness of the sky below 250 MHz.  At these frequencies, it is impossible to get clear readings in populated areas due to interference from man-made radio signals. FM radio stations, for example, operate between 88 and 108 MHz, which is right where the cosmic dawn signal is expected to peak.

In their quest to capture uncontaminated data, the astronomy team selected Marion Island as the location for the telescope as it is separated from the nearest continental landmasses by 2 000km and is one of the most radio silent locations in the world. 

The only access is via the SA Agulhas which sails to and from the island once a year. The island lies in the Roaring Forties, an area notorious for high winds and rain which posed new challenges for the team in setting up their equipment. In addition, the team had only three weeks to get everything up and running. However, in spite of these hurdles they succeeded in deploying two new antennas on the PRIZM telescope observing at 70 and 100 MHz. 

‘Marion Island is a fantastic new location for radio astronomy, and we’re very excited to see the data from our year of observations,’ said Chiang. ‘The telescope worked beautifully thanks to hard work from the whole team, especially the students who participated in the voyage and who relentlessly braved the long hikes and harsh weather to get the science done!’

Exploring Marion Island as a new place for low frequency astronomy is exciting as the island may actually provide the best place to observe ultra-low frequencies (10 MHz). If researchers can get to those low frequencies, it would be possible to start looking back to an earlier time in history, such as the Dark Ages - the period before the Cosmic Dawn.

To date, astronomers have not been able to access such information from that time due to difficulties in obtaining measurements.

The latest UKZN venture was the first astronomy project to operate on Marion Island and could pave the way for similar projects there in the future.

Merissa Naidoo


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UKZN Hosts International Colloquium on Higher Education and Global Challenges

UKZN Hosts International Colloquium on Higher Education and Global Challenges
Students from the International Scholar Laureate Program and Colloquium participants on the Westville campus.

International Scholar Laureate Program students from the United States, Japan, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, Trinidad, Nigeria and South Africa were at UKZN for a Colloquium on Higher Education and Global Challenges.

The Colloquium was hosted on the Westville campus by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Fund Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS).

A board member of CIKS and a member of the Freedom Park Trust, Professor Muxe Nkondo, spoke on the role of African Knowledge Systems in the decolonisation process.

Nkondo posed questions including how Higher Education could contribute to the establishment of world peace through its curricula and the strategic value of integrating African moral philosophy (ubuntu) in socialisation.

He said: ‘One of the most important developments in recent years is the push for global dialogue and consensus in a world of differences in the struggle for global justice and peace.’

Nkondo said there was a need to develop a ‘social epistemology to integrate science, technology, humanities and the decision process in everyday life’.

The 50 international students, who are primarily interested in international affairs and diplomacy, raised a number of complex questions on the significance of indigenous knowledge systems in global issues such food security, climate change, transformation, land restitution and social cohesion.

Director of CIKS, Professor Hassan Kaya, emphasised the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change when dealing with issues of food security.

A CIKS post-doctoral researcher in ecology health and biodiversity, Dr Yvette Ehlers Smith, presented on the initial stages of her research on unifying cultural heritage with conservation practices within a rural community in south-central KwaZulu-Natal.

Ehlers Smith’s research, which focuses on southern ground-hornbills, examines the interface between humans, hornbills and the natural habitat.  In particular, Ehlers Smith aims to bridge the knowledge gap between human and hornbill coexistence within limited habitat availability and potential conflict mitigation using IKS as part of a conservation strategy.

Research Manager at CIKS, Dr Mayashree Chinsamy, outlined the Centre’s background and achievements.  She highlighted CIKS programmes that promote, preserve and protect IKS through research, postgraduate training, knowledge brokerage and community engagement activities to facilitate further collaboration with the delegates. 

UKZN’s Dr Richard Beharilal gave the international students a snapshot of South Africa’s history and focused on the country’s path from ‘homelands to democracy’.

The International Scholar Laureate Program, which serves as an international relations and diplomacy forum, is a product of an educator-led initiative founded more than 25 years ago to give top scholars the lifelong advantage of an international career perspective and the opportunity to further their career development, strengthen their leadership skills and engage in a culturally enriching experience in South Africa.  This is the third time that the CIKS at UKZN is hosting these international visitors on behalf of South Africa.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photograph: Albert Hirasen


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STEM Careers Symposium on Edgewood Campus

STEM Careers Symposium on Edgewood Campus
Staff and students from UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science were at the annual eThekwini/UKZN STEM Career Week to encourage learners to study Mathematics and Science.

More than 4 000 Grade 11 and Grade 12 pupils from schools in and around the eThekwini Municipality region attended the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Careers Symposium held on UKZN’s Edgewood campus.

The Symposium was organised by the Human Settlements, Engineering and eThekwini Transport Authority and Trading Cluster: Support Services in collaboration with the eThekwini Municipal Academy, UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education.

The eThekwini Municipality is mandated by the Cluster to implement STEM initiatives to help eradicate the shortage of scarce skills and trained professionals within the municipal area.

Learners from numerous schools, particularly disadvantaged ones, were transported to the Edgewood campus for the official opening which featured speakers from the eThekwini Municipality, the Department of Education and UKZN.

Officials from the eThekwini Municipality included Councillor N Khuzwayo, who represented the Mayor Councillor Zandile Gumede; Deputy City Manager (Trading Services), Mr Philemon Mashoko, and  Deputy Head of the Corporate Human Resources, Trading Services and Infrastructure division, Mr Gideon Vundla.

The event opened with the national anthem sung by learners from JG Zuma School followed by an address from Vundla who welcomed guests and emphasised the role of various stakeholders in driving STEM initiatives.

Khuzwayo delivered the keynote speech during which he spoke about South Africa’s poor international ranking in Maths and Science which has led to STEM initiatives being prioritised. ‘Our municipality is resolute in ensuring it provides assistance to not just Grade 11 and 12s but the entire educational fraternity with the emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM.’   

A CAES Masters graduate Ms Sinenhlanhla Sikhosana, who is currently employed at InQubate, captivated the learners with her experiences at UKZN.

Professor Thomas Konrad of the School of Chemistry and Physics thrilled audiences with his science show, in the process refreshing the youngsters’ knowledge of Physics.

After the formal programme, learners were given time to visit the exhibits and interact with UKZN staff and students. CAES had exciting exhibition stands manned by representatives from the School of Chemistry and Physics, the School of Engineering, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.

The four-day event also featured exciting magic shows by Mr Ajay Bissessur and Dr Roshila Moodley’s postgraduate students.

Said Bissesur: ‘I was glad to see the emphasis placed on the importance of Mathematics and Science as career choices.  The positive response to the science demonstrations by learners, educators and officials clearly indicates that science can be cool, fun and intellectually stimulating.’

Informative talks were also presented by staff from UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division, including Ms Hazel Langa and Mr Sibusiso Kheswa who provided information about the various degrees and requirements for studying at UKZN.

Ms Gill Dawson of the CAES Access Programme said: ‘I am pleased to be part of the STEM initiative. I was pleasantly surprised to meet some of our former Access students who are now teachers.’

Teachers from Mayville Secondary School, Ms N S Hadebe and Mr S W Majola, found the event to be extremely helpful to both them and their students, while Miss N Ngcobo of the Nkosinathi High School complimented the programme saying it gave learners information on a wide variety of careers.

Leena Rajpal


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Architecture and Childhood Development Discussed at Seminar

Architecture and Childhood Development Discussed at Seminar
UKZN Architecture lecturer Ms Magda Cloete.

“Architecture and Childhood Development: Towards Establishing Architectural Design Guidelines for the Built Environment Designed for Children in South Africa”, was the topic of a seminar by Architecture lecturer Ms Magda Cloete.

The seminar was hosted by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS).

Cloete’s research in terms of architecture and childhood development is based on an understanding that architecture serves society and has the potential to impact positively on children. The research is grounded in a post-modern theoretical inquiry with the primary purpose of architecture established as the process of creating places for people to dwell.

‘The concern with childhood development and more specifically Early Childhood Development (ECD) relates to the universally recognised potential of changing society through early intervention and provision of quality childhood development,’ said Cloete.

The research relates to the principles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, and aims to initiate the transformation of the architectural design of spaces for children to achieve a positive impact on development for children in South Africa.

In her discussion, Cloete proposed the inclusion of the architectural profession in developing a strategy for implementation of the National Integrated Development Plan to enable the recognition of the physical environment as an integral part of ECD provision.

She supports the consolidation of the minimum requirements provided by the departments of Health, Education and Social Development to establish a universally applicable framework for ECD environment in South Africa.

Cloete argues for the establishment of a statutory design guideline for the development of ECD environments to be used by all stakeholders involved in the process.

‘The implementation of this framework will require a consultative process to enable the development of the design guideline document. The point of departure for the development of the design guidelines will need to acknowledge the role of architecture in society and the importance of Early Childhood Development and how Architecture and Childhood Development are integrated and related,’ said Cloete.

Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Melissa Mungroo


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Trauma Counselling Workshop Facilitated at UKZN by Visiting US Professor

Trauma Counselling Workshop Facilitated at UKZN by Visiting US Professor
UKZN’s Ms Zama Khanyile with Professor Lisa Lopez Levers of the United States.

A Trauma Counselling Workshop facilitated by Professor Lisa Lopez Levers of Duquesne University - a private Catholic institution in the United States - was held on UKZN’s Medical School campus.

The previous day, Levers facilitated a workshop on Crisis Intervention for professional Psychology masters students in the Discipline of Psychology on the Pietermaritzburg campus at the invitation of Professor A Nwoye, the co-ordinator of Psych 806 (Psychological Interventions: African and Global).

Levers, a Professor of Counsellor Education and Supervision in the School of Education at Duquesne University, is currently the Rev. Francis Philben, C. S. Sp. Endowed Chair in African Studies, which enables her university to give her extra funding for academic and research activities in Africa.

Levers has published books, scholarly chapters in textbooks, and articles in peer-reviewed journals regarding issues of relevance to African culture, trauma and disaster as well as the counselling profession in general. She had been awarded numerous grants and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Botswana in 2003 and 2004. She has also done trauma-related and disability-related work in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland, and some post-genocide work in Rwanda.

‘I have done quite a bit of research on the importance of indigenous knowledge in the African context. I am always looking for ways to assist with designing culturally relevant trauma interventions in sub-Saharan Africa,’ said Levers.

Her invitation to host the two workshops was based on her sound knowledge of the trauma counselling field and enormous experience in crisis intervention practice.

The Trauma Counselling Workshop was organised by Ms Zama Khanyile of the College of Law and Management Studies Student Support Services. Khanyile is an Educational Psychologist working as a Student Counsellor.

Khanyile met Levers at the International Congress of Psychology in Japan last year, discovering common and strong academic interests between them.

Student counselling professionals from the different Colleges of the University attended the all-day trauma workshop where Levers spoke on numerous theories regarding trauma, ethical considerations related to trauma, relevant supervision issues and methods on how to deal with trauma as well as integrative systemic approaches to trauma counselling.

Levers stressed that student counsellors needed to incorporate theoretical and philosophical counselling positions and practice the techniques of counselling in order to work with individuals who have been traumatised as well as to intervene appropriately in crisis and disaster situations.

In her vote of thanks, Manager of the College of Law and Management Student Support Services, Ms Aliya Vaid, said the workshop was the first step towards developing a very fruitful collaboration with Duquesne University which would enrich trauma work at UKZN.

Reatlehile Karabo Moeti


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UKZN Surgeon Benefits from Time Spent at Yale University

UKZN Surgeon Benefits from Time Spent at Yale University
ENT Surgeon, Dr Akhona Yakobi.

Dr Akhona Yakobi of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) is the first UKZN Black female Surgeon to visit Yale University in the United States on an exchange agreement between the two institutions.

The exchange arrangement began in 2015 when UKZN’s Head of ENT, Dr Yougan Saman, invited Yale representatives to visit UKZN. This initiative resulted in a research collaborative partnership inclusive of the provision of training programmes to staff and students across both institutions.

Furthermore, it also brought together ENT specialists from both universities to address clinical problems culminating in two research symposia and an outreach programme on early detection and prevention of head and neck cancer.

‘It’s an honour and a dream come true for me to be selected as the first exchange ENT Surgeon to visit Yale,’ said Yakobi, who is employed as an ENT specialist at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

During her visit, Yakobi observed surgical procedures performed at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, including vestibular schawannoma (suboccipital approach) surgery and endolymphatic sac decompression surgery. She also attended the otorhinolaryngology spring meeting where ENT specialists in America gather to present their novel research. 

She commented that the United States is miles ahead of South Africa in terms of advanced technology within its healthcare institutions, their privatised healthcare system and well-resourced hospitals, allowing highly specialised surgical procedures to be performed.

‘As a Black African female growing up in a rural area of the Eastern Cape, my experience in the US has confirmed for me that opportunities are now open to all and what we need to do is work hard to achieve our goals.’

Yakobi, who completed her MBChB at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape and obtained her Fellowship in Otorhinolaryngology in 2015 from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, is currently completing her Masters of Medicine degree at UKZN.

She plans to improve her surgical skills by doing sub-specialty fellowships focused more on rhinology and head and neck surgery.

Her current research project is titled “Autogenic Intracranial Complications”, in which she is collaborating with neurosurgeon Dr Basil Enicker and Dr Zach Porterfield of Yale under the supervision of Dr Yougan Saman.

Yakobi is married with two children Inam (11) and Elam (5) whom she loves being with. During her spare time she participates in athletics and has completed more than 30 races in the past year.

Lihle Sosibo


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Drive Safely and Reach your Destination – Advice from “The Traffic Guy”

Drive Safely and Reach your Destination – Advice from “The Traffic Guy”
East Coast Radio’s “Traffic Guy” Mr Johann von Bargen giving tips that save lives on the road during an address to the College of Health Sciences staff.

“The Traffic Guy” on East Coast Radio, Mr Johann von Bargen, presented a defensive driving training programme for staff at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences.

Through hosting seminars on road safety, anti-hijacking techniques, and defensive driving, von Bargen plays a major role in helping to reduce the road accident toll.

During many years of giving traffic update reports on East Coast Radio he has become well known to listeners as “The Traffic Guy!”

Von Bargen began his presentation by listing the three main causes of a skid - dry tyres on slippery surfaces, loss of traction and sudden braking. In other words, forward momentum and directional forces - which a driver is in charge of - against centrifugal forces - an adverse effect of those forces which indirectly a driver cannot control.

He also spoke about driving through water safely, saying the idea is to apply the dead leg (DL) technique .i.e don’t brake when approaching a puddle but rather stop accelerating!

Using practical examples in each section of his talk he had the undivided attention of his audience.

Von Bargen emphasised that defensive driving was all about avoiding collisions. He discussed two types of collisions - big collisions and testosterone collisions saying the goal should be to avoid accidents, even if it is others who make the mistake.

His three-step collision prevention formula is: (1) Look for dangers, (2) Decide what to do, and (3) Do it right away.

He said many accidents were caused by motorists not keeping a safe travelling distance between themselves and other road users. A safe following distance gives motorists time to react.

He completed his talk with an explanation of advanced driving techniques.

The audience came away more empowered to play a significant role in the reduction of road accidents, by being more observant on the road and practising basic driving courtesy. 

Ziphezinhle Silindile Biyela


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Good Time Had by All at Pietermaritzburg Alumni Lunch

Good Time Had by All at Pietermaritzburg Alumni Lunch
Dr Albert van Jaarsveld with Mr Fanle Sibisi, UKZN staff members and alumni.

UKZN alumni based in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas enjoyed an opportunity to interact with the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Albert van Jaarsveld at a lunch held at the Protea Hotel in Hilton.

The function was organised as a networking and information sharing opportunity by the Alumni Relations Office in the Corporate Relations Division.

Van Jaarsveld provided a comprehensive overview of the University, highlighting current developments, future/planned initiatives as a result of the University’s new Strategic Plan and the importance of giving back to the University. The presentation was very well received by graduates in attendance.

President of the Convocation Mr Fanle Sibisi spoke of the achievements and current issues at the University and the role all alumni could play in promoting and supporting the Institution. Sibisi encouraged alumni to donate to UKZN, stressing that the amount donated by each person was not the issue as collectively donations added up to a sizeable amount.

The three-course buffet lunch, a lucky-draw with prizes and the distribution of UKZN marketing material went down very well!

Finn Christensen


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Social Work Students in Oath-Taking Ceremony

Social Work Students in Oath-Taking Ceremony
Social Work students during the Oath-Taking Ceremony.

Social workers and students at the School of Applied Human Sciences participated in an Oath-Taking Ceremony hosted at the Howard College Theatre by the Social Work Students Association.

Under the theme: “Our Hope for the Profession”, the ceremony emphasised self-independence and development of social workers and implementing social change within communities.

Acting Academic Leader for the Discipline of Social Work, Dr Dorothee Holscher, spoke on the importance of the ceremony, highlighting the need for professionalism in the workplace as well as self-reliance.

Holscher encouraged the future generation of social workers to bring about positive change in society, especially within their own communities.

Acting Dean for the School Professor Johanna Buitendach, Social Work Manager at King Edward Hospital Mr B Zondi, and Director of Victim Empowerment and Families Mr V Khoza, shared their social work experiences and perceptions.

They described the social work profession as a ‘calling’ saying it ‘is a career that makes an impact on the social justice system of this country with social workers being the voices of individuals unable to speak for themselves’.

Said Zondi: ‘It is important for a student to do practical work to gain as much knowledge as possible so they will be able to practice social work with integrity and in turn serve the community.’

For information on the Social Work Students Association go to their social media page: Instagram: Social Work Students Association.

Zinhle Zungu

Photographs: Zinhle Zungu


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Agricultural Economics Students Society Hosts Seminar

Agricultural Economics Students Society Hosts Seminar
From left: Ms Senamile Dlangalala, Ms Ntathu Tlale, Mr Lawrence Nkosi, Ms Noxolo Nxumalo, Ms Nosisa Zaca and Ms Rechi Dlamini.

The Agricultural Economics Students Society (AESS) hosted its second seminar on the theme: “Raising Graduates for the Job Market: A Public Sector Perspective”.

Forthcoming AESS seminars will focus on the private sector perspective.

UKZN alumnus Ms Rechi Dlamini, who is the Acting Chief Operations Officer at the KwaZulu-Natal Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA), organised the gathering.

Dlamini completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics at UKZN and has done postgraduate studies at various local and international institutions.

The seminar was attended by both undergraduates and postgraduate students in the Agricultural Economics Discipline, including students from Crop Science.

Dlamini spoke on her journey as an Agriculture Economist, the role of ADA in the agricultural sector, sector challenges and opportunities, and gave advice to students.

Ms Noxolo Nxumalo and Ms Ntathu Tlale, who accompanied Dlamini, also shared their experiences of working in the agricultural sector.

After the presentation, students had the chance to discuss with Dlamini how the ADA provides business support to emerging Black farmers, how the Agency gets young people involved in farming through an exchange programme they have with Dalum Academy of Agricultural Business which is a college based in Denmark, and what scholarships and internships are available.

A concerned student asked whether ADA had vacation work for students or volunteer opportunities. Dlamini replied that ADA was open to the suggestion and would investigate it in co-operation with the AESS.

AESS founder Mr Lungelo Cele thanked Ms Dlamini and her colleagues for the seminar and also for sharing their experiences and advice. He also thanked the AESS executive committee for making the seminar a reality and the students for attending and interacting with the guests.

‘When I start my own farm in the near future, I will make use of an organisation such as ADA. What I liked about Ms Dlamini is that she encouraged us to study further,’ said a student, Ms Nosisa Zaca.

* AESS aims to link students with workplace opportunities and to equip them with skills to be able to start their own businesses. This initiative was started to better understand the students’ goals and aspirations in the agricultural sector, particularly in agricultural economics. AESS shares scholarships and job opportunities on its Facebook page, and organises seminars and annual competitions for students.

Lungelo Cele


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Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative Established at UKZN

Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative Established at UKZN
Dialogue panelists.

The UKZN Anti-Drug and Substance Abuse Initiative (ADSAI) was established in 2016 through a collaborative effort driven by the University’s Risk Management Services (RMS) and the HIV and AIDS Programme. This initiative was started as a result of statistics related to drug abuse within the UKZN community. The HIV and AIDS Programme, in promoting healthy lifestyle practices saw a need for involvement in ADSAI especially in view of the link with risky behavior in relation to substance abuse and HIV infection.

At a recent event, that is set to become an annual programme, ADSAI was instituted as a major campaign after students and staff from all five campuses engaged in dialogue and debate with key stakeholders from the Department of Social Development (DSD), the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD), RMS, Students Representative Council, Peer Educators as well as the HIV co-ordinator, Occupational Health Practitioner and a UKZN psychologist.

The aim is to recruit a minimum of 20 volunteers (one representative to cover each School within the Colleges) as champions to work as ambassadors in the ADSAI project advocating for responsible drug-free lifestyles. ADSAI’s theme is that the best approach is to limit the consumption of alcohol and drugs to zero.

‘Like other dependence producing drugs, alcohol is a drug despite the fact that it is so socially accepted,’ said an ADSAI spokesperson. ‘Substance use can lead to misuse and abuse. Tolerance refers to when the body needs more and more to have the same effect. Addiction is when a person cannot cope without the substance and has withdrawal symptoms that may require specialist help.

‘Drugs, like alcohol, affect concentration, judgement, reaction time, perception, co-ordination and balance.

‘According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the only “cure” for drug and alcohol addiction is abstinence – because there is no cure.’

For further information on drug and alcohol abuse, phone SANCA on 031 202 2274.

To be an ADSAI champion phone Ms Eleanor Langley on 031 260 1670 or contact the Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit (CHASU) Health Promoter on your respective campus.

Thembani N Khumalo and Eleanor Langley


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The UKZN Griot. Of Colonialism and Capture

The UKZN Griot. Of Colonialism and Capture
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Colonialism - put back on the agenda by the inimitable Helen Zille who, like Trump, confuses twittering ravings with cold hard policy, forgetting political correctness and empirical impact.

The trumpeter’s compulsion to the issuing of shorthand complex ideas via Twitter might result in a world war. Ill-thought-out statements draw forth rage, retribution and revenge.  Better to write boring, impenetrable and philosophical exegeses that argue the point methodologically and theoretically with references. 

Studiousness requires irrelevance, well ensured by the time that publication is secured.  That’s the value of academia. Think, theorise and then teach – the three Ts.  Much safer.

But I think - as usual - we make a molehill out of a mountain. We regress into the dark subterranean murk rather than climb mountains and see the world clearly from a bird’s-eye view.  But that was the - now lost - Mandela moment. 

When I first visited Ghana in 1994, I met President Jerry Rawlins and folks from across Africa participating in the African Council for Communication Education (ACCS) conference.

We South Africans were the flavour of the moment.  Heroes all, we were welcomed into the African fold, and immediately educated as to the failure of colonialism in West Africa, in contrast to its perceived success in East and Southern Africa.   This was expressed in the recurring epithet, “The British did not take West Africa seriously enough”.  Eh? I muttered.

Our new-found West and East African colleagues pointed to road, rail, port and civil infrastructures and institutions and functioning rules and regulations that had outlasted the departure of those groups known by sloganeering students as our “colonial masters”.  If they were our masters, then why did they leave?  Did the kids become too unruly?  If so, then the relationship was never fully a master-servant one.  That’s what the sizable South African contingent in Accra signified.  Repression is never complete.  Resistance is always under way.  Democracy is always alive, if under the surface.  The “masters” are never fully in control – even if, as Zille naively suggested, “colonialism was not all bad”. 

While in Ghana I found myself in the President’s vehicle, loaned to the conference to speed up organisational arrangements.  His chauffer was allowed to drive on the wrong side of the road to escape the interminable traffic jams on decaying single lane arterial roads.  Quite scary.  I doubt that the car even had a blue light and there was no noisy, speeding and aggressive cavalcade of self-important VIP security within which our own Prez wraps himself.

The wrong side of the road privilege was accorded to Rawlins’s car only - in Johannesburg most taxis think that they are part of Rawlins’s entourage as they are mostly on the wrong side and red lights mean not much at all.  Stop streets are ignored by everyone. Arrive Alive means nothing.  Arriving dead seems to be the objective here in Johannesburg.   Since Rawlins’s limousine was the only one allowed on the wrong side all motorists knew that it would not be followed by phalanxes of reckless opportunists riding in its slipstream. No Twitter in Rawlins’s day, but when he spoke off script at the opening of the conference, the Ghananean media turned their microphones off.   They missed the real news.

What to do with the twittering twits who create real news?   Take away their electronic hand-held devices.  Black-list them with the cellphone companies, remove the temptation of texting from the hip. Essay writing is a lost art, thanks to Twitter, Facebook and smspeak. And, just consider the consequences of the urge to comment immediately on everything and everything at a moment’s notice.  We should make essay writing (with references) respectable again.  Rhetoric, argumentation and thoughtfulness, and a consideration for the consequences of ill-advised raving must be taught.

Oh, and what of colonialism, whether British, Arabic or Soviet?  Some benefits were that folks learned to write, read and do maths.  It also generated resistance and helped to forge national identities and new nations.  But mostly, colonialism’s most significant import was Christianity, whether of the theological or happy clappy kinds.  Helen’s nemesis, Pastor Mmusi Maimane, owes his religion, his suit and his political position as leader of the opposition to our British colonial heritage, rather than the Shakan way.   But by charging Helen, the DA now gets, ironically, to project an image of a Black anti-colonial party in a state that is being colonised by the new colonisers:  a corrupt comprador bourgeoisie captured by the Zuptas, the Russian nuclear industry and SANRAL.

You ain’t seen nothing yet as we cede our economy to foreign interests that will indebt us forever.  There can be nothing good in this form of colonialism – what we can call comprador monopoly capital.

I do not participate in the twittersphere.  Too many hashtags, truncated philosophers and people who have lost their jobs or fined for their rants.  Send me an email if you want to haze me. 

One of my regular correspondents wrote on a previous column on whispering and the dogs-eye-view: ‘As to dogs, they transformed themselves, from fierce wolf-pack predators into man’s best friend 14 000 years or more ago. This has meant that unlike other wild animals, they no longer had to work for a living usually. This is why they love us no matter how neglectful we are. Give me a dog’s life and I’ll lick your ass (sounds like SA). But note at least that dogs will quickly learn to run away from people who abuse them. Not so South Africans.’  Could my respondent be referring to the new colonialism – or what is now called “state capture”?  Capture is the project being forced by the acolytes of Guptastan and in new period of what former UKZN staffer, Chris Merrett, calls the Second Liberation Struggle [2].  Something indeed stirring.

Just who is colonising who?  In the meantime the Zille-twitter must be better managed by the DA. 

1. See William Saunderson-Meyer, Political correctness is more stifling than religious dogma http://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/making-treason-out-of-reason

2. Merrett, http://www.fromthethornveld.co.za/uncle-kathys-legacy-and-south-africas-second-liberation-struggle/

Keyan G Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor, University of Johannesburg and a UKZN Professor Emeritus.  He was the first academic at UKZN to buy a PC, then a laptop.  But he’s no-one’s lapdog.

 

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


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