Ginwala Reflects on SA Society Today During Lecture at UKZN

Ginwala Reflects on SA Society Today During Lecture at UKZN
Dr Frene Ginwala (left) and Dr Albertina Luthuli share a happy moment as Ginwala is gifted with a painting of Chief Albert Luthuli and Ma Nokhukhanya Luthuli. Looking on is Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.

‘I am ashamed of the poverty around us, the growing difference between rich and poor and the despair that leads people to tear down and burn what little they have,’ ANC stalwart and former Speaker in the National Assembly, Dr Frene Ginwala, said in a Lecture on UKZN’s Westville campus.

Ginwala was delivering the 7th Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Lecture in which she captivated the gathering with an emotional and thought-provoking reflection on the liberation struggle. The theme of the presentation was: “For Tomorrow Belongs to Those who Prepare for it Today”.

She asked: ‘What has happened to the values which the ANC always stood for and which Chief Luthuli exemplified? We need to do more than pay lip service to them. All leaders at every level and ANC members need to promote and live by them.’

Giving hope after the serious views raised, Ginwala spoke of the recently established “Integrity Committee” – ‘together with this Corruption Watch body, every citizen can start mending the fractures in our society. In a sustainable democracy the responsibility of all citizens goes beyond casting a ballot ... it requires action to promote the improvements we want for ourselves, for our people and for our country.’

The Lecture, held in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the Luthuli Foundation, forms part of the National Legacy Project.

In her address Ginwala took the audience on a journey that touched on her personal experience as a member of the ANC and of the “long and difficult road” that led to the birth of a democracy.

She spared no attention to detail and depth in her story, conveying a strong message of reflection on the legacy of Chief Luthuli and the preservation of the values he envisioned for a free, non-racial and democratic South Africa. She spoke of what was lost, what was achieved and of its significance to the present day.

‘For over 150 years, issues linked to the franchise such as who should be allowed to vote and who should be excluded, what the qualification for the franchise should be; and which electorate system should be used, have all been part of the contested terrain that bedeviled our country. We have only to consider the lead up this year to the 2014 elections, these past months, to realise that variations of old debates, are now being revived,’ said Ginwala.

She told of the history of South Africa’s struggle with White domination; the hegemony that was once established over African people by Dutch and British colonisers, the abolition of slavery, the bloody conflicts that followed between the Dutch and Africans, and the introduction of indentured Indian labour, calling it “a case of one step forward and two steps backward”.

She explained how doors slowly began to open for “Non-whites”; the formation of political organisations, such as Imbumbe Yama Afrika, and the South African Native Congress, the start of newspapers and of African political journalism. She told of how Martin Luthuli, uncle of Albert Luthuli, advocated for racial equality, quoting him directly: ‘I think myself that it is time we had a voice in parliament’, and on his view about how members should be elected, ‘by white people and by natives’.

‘Martin Luthuli never went to Parliament. It took a further 90 years before any African, man or woman, was elected to the South African Parliament - I think the loss was that of the whole country.’

Ginwala described the avarice of British imperialism that came into play with the discovery of precious minerals and how this further entrenched racism. She outlined the era of apartheid - the restrictions, violence and repression it introduced and how that repression served to unite Black people.

She also took the audience through the formation of the ANC and the series of events that followed which served to establish her role in the struggle for liberation. She fought back tears as she reflected on her involvement in the ANC’s external mission that led to her exile from South Africa for 31 years.

On the Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants, Ginwala remarked about how a mission group was once given the name the “Luthuli detachment” by Oliver Tambo. ‘And so were born the soldiers of Luthuli’.

Ginwala shared with the audience her first encounter with Chief Luthuli in 1960, a significant meeting which helped advocate for the international condemnation of apartheid.

In her role as a journalist, Ginwala interviewed the then banned and restricted, Luthuli, about events of the time. The recording she taped was then broadcast in Trafalgar Square in London and elsewhere, calling for the boycott of South African products and was part of what sparked the ‘world’s largest solidarity movement’.

She commented on the ‘serious problems in our country. We have not yet been able to bring about improvements to the extent and as quickly as we had promised. We still live in segregated areas, divided not by laws but by wealth.’

She spoke emotionally of her concerns regarding issues of poverty, education, health and housing, and lashed out at the growing rate of violence against women and of violent crime.

Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Joe Phaahla welcomed the audience and spoke of the initiatives taken by the DAC to preserve the legacy of Chief Luthuli. The old house where Luthuli lived in Groutville, Stanger, had been restored and was now a national museum, a sculpture of Luthuli stood in the Kwadukuza municipality grounds and Luthuli’s grave was to be unveiled as a National Heritage Site.

He reflected on preceding Luthuli Lectures; three of which were held at UKZN and some delivered by highly-esteemed statesmen - Thabo Mbeki, Kenneth Kaunda, Joaquim Chissano and Jacob Zuma.

Dr Albertina Luthuli, daughter of Chief Luthuli, thanked Ginwala for her words, she said, ‘These lectures are meant to connect all of us, the veterans of the struggle and the born-frees.’

Luthuli encouraged the audience to follow in the footsteps of her father, ‘As long as you can define and respect certain values, values that my father and the other leaders envisioned, we will be a great nation.’

The event ended with an unveiling of a painted portrait of Chief Luthuli, presented as a gift to Ginwala.

-          Sejal Desai

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Top Students Honoured at UKZN’s Awards Ceremony

Top Students Honoured at UKZN’s Awards Ceremony
Dr Christopher Pierre Andre Naidu.

Three students - Dr Christopher Pierre Andre Naidu, Dr Dane Perumal and Dr Nisholini Naicker – of the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine Class of 2013 graduated summa cum laude.

The trio, who were honoured at an oath taking and awards ceremony hosted by the College of Health Sciences, received 12 awards between them.

Perumal scooped six awards:  Top Student in the School of Clinical Medicine, the YK Seedat Prize, Academy of Family Practice for Best Student in Family Medicine, the Randle Road Medical Centre Prize in Family Medicine for the Highest Mark in Family Medicine, the Sammy Sacks Prize in Obstetrics and Gynaecology for the second highest mark in the final examination and the Department of Paediatrics Prize for the Best Overall Student in Years three, four, and five.

Perumal was overwhelmed by the awards and his achievements saying they were unexpected.  ‘I was not aware that I was one of the top students. I strive for excellence in whatever I do,’ he said.

He did not view his studying as work because it was his passion and love. ‘I will be serving my internship at RK Khan Hospital and I will use the time and the opportunity to decide what would be the best fit for me in terms of specialising. I love everything so much, I feel like all doors are opened but my practicals will guide my decision.’

Naidu received Awards for the Top Student in the School of Clinical Medicine, the YK Seedat Prize, the Servier Prize in Family Medicine for second highest mark in Family Medicine, the KM Seedat Prize in Medicine for the second highest mark in the final examination in Medicine and Department of Paediatrics Prize for best final year student in Paediatrics.

Naidu said he was really excited about his achievement. ‘I am so grateful to my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Without him nothing would have been possible.’

 He thanked his wife, Celestina, who has been studying with him and supporting him, ‘A big thanks to my parents and my sister Crystal who have been there throughout the good and bad times. They encouraged me and provided me with a stable support. Crystal has been more than a sister, she spoiled me throughout my final year.’

Naidu will serve his internship at Gandhi Hospital and is considering specialising in plastic surgery once he has completed his internship.

Naicker received the YK Seedat Prize for the Top Student who obtained a summa cum laude degree.

She was overjoyed by her achievement: ‘I feel great, it was quite unexpected and it is what I have always wanted. I have put in a lot of hard work into my degree and I had great support from my family.’ She is doing her internship at Addington Hospital in Durban.

-          Nombuso Dlamini

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UKZN Launches Postdoctoral Association

UKZN Launches Postdoctoral Association
Director of Proceedings at the Postdoctoral Association launch, Mr Nyasha Mboti.

A Postdoctoral Association, under the UKZN Research Office, which aims to increase representation, provide support to students and hike numbers in the University community has been launched on the Howard College campus.

The Association plans to:

·   voice the needs of the postdoctoral students and publicise them to other universities;

·   assist in establishment  and administration issues  by sharing knowledge, contact details and life after students have completed their qualifications

·   organise social events and promote mutual networks.

Actions and activities already undertaken include the formation of the Association, raising awareness among academic leaders at UKZN, publishing a collective CV booklet and preparing a survey on Postdoctoral situations and needs.

Future plans include the creation and production of handbooks to assist Postdoctoral individuals establish themselves in South Africa, career management, interaction with administrators, and involvement in social and scientific networking.

Guest speaker at the launch, the Executive Director: Institutional Engagement and Partnership Development, Dr Thandi Mgwebi said postdoctoral students needed support and mentorship on issues such as professional development, how to produce quality publications, attending conferences and networking; science communication skills; strengthening ties with industry and entrepreneurship.

-          Sithembile Shabangu

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UKZN Academics Present Research on Information Security

UKZN Academics Present Research on Information Security
Ms Zahra Bulbulia and Dr Brett van Niekerk.

The result of investigations by two UKZN academics into the safety of personal information provided to municipal and tertiary institutions as well as to social online networks was presented at the eThekwini-University Research Symposium in Durban.

The academics were Dr Brett van Niekerk and Ms Zahra Bulbulia of the School of Management, Information and Technology and Governance.

The Symposium was a joint initiative between the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) and its partnering universities aimed at creating a platform for academics, students and city practitioners to share research outputs which could be applied in areas of local government.

Van Niekerk’s paper titled: “Information Security for Municipalities and Tertiary Institutions”, explored the effectiveness of legislation designed to ensure that personal information of ratepayers, staff, and students supplied to municipalities and tertiary institutions was protected. He proposed a community-based cyber-security concept that would help protect institutions and municipal departments.

‘The proposed security system will help minimise the possibility of a cyber-attack compromising the privacy of a ratepayer’s personal information. The presentation has raised awareness about the programmes we offer at UKZN and how they can benefit the staff of the municipality and possibilities for future research collaboration.’

Bulbulia delivered a presentation which is part of her Master dissertation.  It was titled: “Social Networking Privacy Issues Amongst Students and Young Employed Adults in the KwaZulu-Natal Context”.

The research aims to determine whether users’ demographic profiles determined how much information they revealed online.

‘There are a lot of privacy concerns around social networks and this research looks at whether gender profiles and race affect how people behave on social networks. I hope to further my PhD research in the information security area,’ said Bulbulia.

Thandiwe Jumo

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UNESCO Water Centre Established at UKZN

UNESCO Water Centre Established at UKZN
UKZN’s Professor Graham Jewitt at the UNESCO General Conference in Paris.

The African Centre for Global Change and Water Resources Research (ACGCWRR) at UKZN has been made a UNESCO Category 2 Water Centre following a decision at the 37th UNESCO General Conference held in Paris.

The Centre will be hosted on the Pietermaritzburg campus under the auspices of UNESCO through its International Hydrology Programme (IHP).

Category 2 Centres formed part of the discussion of the Science Commission at the Conference and was chaired by the Director-General of the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), Dr Phil Mjwara.

The General Conference was also attended by the head of delegation from the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), Mr Mbangiseni Nepfumbada, and his colleague, Mr Ramogale Sekwele, and Professor Graham Jewitt from UKZN who has overseen the creation of a centre for water-related teaching, research and outreach at UKZN and together with DWA developed the proposal for hosting the UNESCO Category 2 Centre.

The relevance of the ACGCWRR is made clear in a forthcoming paper written by Jewitt and Mr Simphiwe Ngcobo, with input from Dr Michele Warburton and Mrs Sabine Stuart-Hill in the journal Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.

In the article they state that ‘the relationship between change which results from global drivers and its impact at a local scale is complex and dynamic, and local economic and social realities exacerbate vulnerability to global change.  In southern Africa, impacts of land use have a bigger impact on water resources than climate change and given the development focus of the region, this situation is likely to persist for the foreseeable future. Innovative policy responses from the region exist, however, the extent to which these have been implemented is limited’.

Jewitt said: ‘Global change is far more than climate change. It includes changes in population, land cover, ocean dynamics as well as climate change. All of these are already taking place and have a major impact on the water resources in southern Africa.

‘There is a huge need to investigate and understand these impacts, how they affect the people of this region and how we should best respond. However, there is a severe lack of scientific capacity to do so. So, just as important as investigating and understanding the impact of global change on our water resources is the training of a cohort of young scientists to do so. The Centre, through its partners and collaborators will address this through mentorship of recently graduated PhDs and the training of PhD and MScs from the region,’ said Jewitt.

UNESCO assessed South Africa’s state of readiness and found that it and UKZN met the requirements for hosting a UNESCO category 2 centre in the field of water management.  The approval process required endorsement from the continent and specific region and this was achieved at the 4th Regional Meeting in Tanzania of the IHP Africa National Committees and Focal Points on Water Science Policy and Governance in Africa.

The inclusion of “African” in the name signals the approval of other African member states.  The Centre has also been endorsed by the South African Cabinet. 
The Centre will be hosted under the auspices of UNESCO and on behalf of the State, with Cabinet committing to provide seed funding for the Centre. Operation of the Centre will be guided through a Governing Board comprised of the State, UKZN, UNESCO and other appropriate institutions. The University will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the DWA on operational matters and DWA will also enter into an Agreement with UNESCO under which evaluation of the success of the Centre will be made.

This international endorsement of UKZN’s strengths in the field of hydrology and water resources management is significant in that it facilitates research and capacity development related to global change and water resources in Africa. The University will also collaborate with partner institutions in South Africa, especially those historically disadvantaged Universities that are key feeders of hydrologists and environmental scientists for post-graduate studies. As an African Centre, the Centre will operate in close collaboration with UNESCO Chairs and relevant research institutions and networks in Africa. 

Speaking of the endorsement, Professor Albert Modi, Dean of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences - where the Centre will be located – said: ‘We seek to be the best African University offering skills in Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences as well as Human Geography through relevant teaching, research and community engagement that responds to the contemporary social and ecological dynamics in South Africa, Africa and the world. The ACGCWRR will contribute to this vision and we appreciate the vision and commitment that DWA and UNESCO have shown in supporting the establishment of the Centre at UKZN.’

In response to the confirmation of the award of this grant, the South African delegation thanked the South African National Committee for UNESCO IHP for support and in particular the IHP colleagues  from sub-Saharan Africa (Group VA) and the UNESCO IHP secretariat for facilitating the assessment process.

- Christine Cuénod

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UKZN Masters Student Develops Prosthetic Arm

UKZN Masters Student Develops Prosthetic Arm
Finalists at the Step-Up Technology Innovation Competition in Johannesburg.

A prosthetic arm developed by Mechanical Engineering masters student, Mr Drew van der Riet, earned him joint 1st place in the Health and Biotechnology section of the Step-Up Technology Innovation competition at the Microsoft offices in Johannesburg.

Under the supervision of Dr Riaan Stopforth, van der Riet submitted his project in the Ideas in Development category.

Van der Riet identified three key features in the advanced prosthetics field which can be improved on: sensory feedback, advanced control and reduced cost.  He developed the proof of concept work during his masters research project with Stopforth which entailed the design of a sensory feedback system which sends information to the amputee.

The amputee controls the prosthetic arm by giving the system commands to control the hand. The number of grip-types available to the amputee is increased greatly through the design of the new control system.

‘The competition gave me excellent experience to the world of tech-entrepreneurship and exposure and networking opportunities with some of the up-and-coming tech-entrepreneurs in South Africa. My prize includes a bundle of business support that will hopefully help me start an advanced prosthetics company in South Africa soon,’ said van der Riet.

The competition is a platform for people to showcase any device, small or large, which will contribute to the improvement of life and mankind. 

-          Prashina Budree

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NRF Ratings for College of AES Researchers

NRF Ratings for College of AES Researchers
Dr Sahal Yacoob, Dr Edilegnaw Wale Zegeye and Dr Riaan Stopforth.

The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science maintains a strong presence in the recently released updated database of National Research Foundation (NRF)-rated researchers

The NRF released its rating of researchers in South Africa as part of its goal to develop an internationally competitive scientific research system in the country.

Of the 120 College staff listed, four were given A-ratings which identifies researchers unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs.

A total of 21 College researchers were given B-ratings categorising them as those who enjoy considerable international recognition by their peers, for the high quality and impact of their research.

The College boasts 73 C-rated researchers - established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity in the field, who are recognised by their peers as having produced a body of quality work which has coherence and attests to on-going engagement with the field. These researchers have also demonstrated the ability to conceptualise problems and apply research methods to investigating them.

The College has 10 NRF-rated scientists who have just received new ratings in their specific fields of research. Recognition by the NRF is noteworthy as ratings are allocated based on a researcher’s recent research outputs and impact as perceived by international peer-reviewers. Rated researchers are also recognised as being capable of imparting important, innovative skills to those they supervise.

The following researchers have been newly rated: Professor Fernando Albericio of Chemistry and Physics (A2), Professor Bogale Gebreyohannis of the African Centre for Food Security (C3), Professor Mark Laing of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (C3), Professor Derek Stretch of Civil Engineering (B2), Professor Jules-Raymond Tapamo of Engineering (C3), Dr Stephen  Ojwach of Chemistry and Physics (Y2), Dr Adam Shuttleworth of Life Sciences (Y2), Dr Riaan Stopforth of Engineering (Y2), Dr Sahal Yacoob of Chemistry and Physics (Y1) and Dr Edilegnaw Wale Zegeye of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (C2).

Stopforth said: ‘The NRF rating means being recognised for the research one is doing at a national level. There are high expectations, and it is an indication of all the long hours and work put into UKZN and the research.’

Stopworth heads 2 research groups: (1) The Mechatronics and Robotics Research Group: Search and Rescue Division, which focuses on research, design and development of unmanned vehicles to assist in emergency and disaster situations in terms of search and rescue efforts and (2) the Mechatronics and Robotics Research Group: Bio-Engineering Unit which applies engineering capabilities for biomedical research and technology development, looking at devices that will assist disabled persons and surgeons.

Stopforth is one of the College’s 19 researchers who feature in the Y category for young researchers (usually younger than 35 years of age), who have held a doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of application. They are recognised as having the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period after evaluation, based on their performance and productivity as researchers during their doctoral studies and/or early post-doctoral careers.

Yacoob, also a Y-rated researcher, said: ‘This NRF recognition of early career quality contributes to the entrenchment of UKZN as a research-driven institute. Personally it creates an expectation of continued productivity which needs to be justified and verification that the work is important and worthy of support, both within and external to UKZN.’

Yacoob’s research can best be summarised as the curiosity-driven pursuit for greater understanding of the laws of nature. It seeks to answer questions such as what we are made of and how these things interact to form the universe we live in. To answer these questions and gain knowledge of the extent of the wonders of creation, his research develops new technology and methodology which is incredibly useful to society, with the most well-known being the world wide web, and neutron and proton therapy for cancer treatment.

Laing spoke of the benefit that his C-rating has for his students and the work that they are busy with, which covers ‘many crops, many diseases, many projects and many approaches’. Zegeye, also a C-rated researcher, said of the rating: ‘For me, it is one form of recognition for one’s research endeavors which encourages me to do even better.’

B-rated Stretch said he applied for an NRF rating this year because of the increasingly important role of the NRF in supporting multidisciplinary research.

‘I am happy that a B-rating implies international recognition for the work done in my research group. I am of course indebted to my graduate students and collaborators for that,’ he said. Stretch’s research group focuses on bio-hydrodynamics - the interactions between hydrodynamics and biological processes within hydro-ecosystems.

The group is currently involved in an NRF-supported project to understand factors that affect the sustainability of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (the country's first UNESCO World Heritage Site), including factors such as the effects of waves and turbulence on phytoplankton and zooplankton dynamics. The group also studies the vulnerability of our coastline to wave attack and sea level rise, and how these things will be affected by climate change in the future.

Ground-breaking research being conducted by these recognised UKZN researchers will be furthered as a result of the NRF ratings which make their achievements more visible and widely acknowledged worldwide.

-           Christine Cuénod

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UKZN Lecturers Receive MRC Scholarship

UKZN Lecturers Receive MRC Scholarship
Mr Saul Cobbing and Mrs Gina Rencken.

Two of UKZN’s School of Health Sciences Lecturers have been awarded scholarships by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) to pursue their doctorates.  They are Mr Saul Cobbing and Mrs Gina Rencken.

Cobbing, a Physiotherapist, said it was an honour and a privilege to receive the scholarship because it would allow him time off to do his PhD full time. The MRC will finance the cost for teaching relief allowing Cobbing to concentrate on his research.

Cobbing, whose research interests is the rehabilitation of people living with HIV/AIDS and disabilities, has four years to complete his PhD but is hoping to complete it earlier.

He said his dissertation would look at rehabilitation for people living with HIV, carrying out an intervention programme conducted in people‘s homes in resource-poor communities as opposed to patients having to attend physiotherapy at hospital.

‘I will be looking at various measures of how effective home-based rehabilitation is. This is building on my Masters work, which identified many of the barriers that people living with HIV experience in accessing rehabilitation services.’

Cobbing hopes to begin his field work in July next year, pending acceptance of his PhD proposal. He will work in collaboration with the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD) under the supervision of Dr Jill Hanass-Hancock.

Cobbing was the first to graduate from an online Master of Health Sciences Programme. Designed by Professor Fatima Suleman, Associate Professor in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a recipient of UKZN’s Distinguished Teacher Award, the interactive online programme enables working professionals unable to study full-time to pursue Masters Qualifications in health sciences.

Rencken, a Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy has been employed at UKZN since July 2012, teaching Occupational Therapy in the paediatric field.

‘I feel very blessed and very excited to be awarded this scholarship, and to get the opportunity to make a difference in the field of neonatal paediatrics. I have always been interested in paediatrics, and am honoured to be able to further this interest,’ she said.

Rencken, who registered for her PhD this year, said: ‘I will commence with the formalisation of the proposal, and hope to start with data collection in 2014, after the birth of my baby.’

She said her PhD would examine the neuro-behavioural functioning of infants born to mothers who are seropositive to HIV, and comparing these to babies born to mothers who are seronegative to HIV.

‘I will use the neonatal behavioural assessment scale (NBAS) as the main tool for data collection.’

Rencken obtained her degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pretoria in 2001and spent some time specialising in Paediatrics, completing sensory integration and neurodevelopment training. Rencken completed her masters by dissertation through the University of the Free State in 2011, with a thesis titled: “Prevalence of Sensory Integration in the Childhood Cancer Population”.

- Nombuso Dlamini

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GSB&L Researcher to Further Studies in Holland

GSB&L Researcher to Further Studies in Holland
Ms Nobukhosi Zulu.

Regional and Local Economic Development researcher Ms Nobukhosi Zulu  (24) has secured a Stimulating Knowledge Innovation through Life-long Learning (SKILL) bursary from SAVUSA to pursue a three-month masters programme at the International Institute of Social Studies in Holland.

The bursary, open to UKZN students because of the University’s Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and Joint Degree Agreements with the VU University Amsterdam covers the cost of flights, accommodation, visa and insurance as well as providing a living allowance and a tuition fee.

Zulu, who graduated with an LLB last year, is currently studying towards a masters degree in Regional and Local Economic Development with the Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s (GSB&L) Young Researchers Programme under the Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative (RLEDi) - a partnership between UKZN and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. 

She applied for the SKILL bursary after seeing the call for applications in the University notices.  The course fits well with Zulu’s passion for human rights and economics as it creates a platform for the exchange of information and research between students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.

‘When I was part of the All Africa Human Rights Moot Court Competition during my LLB studies, I was inspired by a presentation I heard about the World Bank and its role in promoting human rights and development. I am very passionate about human rights and development and that is why I applied for this programme which covers both. Also I have always wanted to travel and broaden my knowledge,’ said Zulu.

For Zulu, who is researching the role of Governance in Regional Economic Development for her dissertation, the course will not only contribute to her field of study but will also give her inspiration for a research topic for her doctoral studies which she plans to pursue after completing her masters degree.

‘This programme is a great opportunity for me to take what I have learnt from my LLB and RLED and consolidate it to come out with a topic for my PhD. It is also exciting that the course is at The Hague which is known as the “World’s Legal Capital” - I have always dreamt of going there.  I have learnt so much about economic empowerment as a young researcher and I cannot wait to learn more about international practices.’

Commenting on Zulu’s achievement, GSB&L Dean and Head of School, Professor Stephen Migiro, said: ‘One of GSB&L’s aspirations is to promote exposure for its students to international best practices. We are training and developing manpower that could actively contribute in local and international work spaces. We therefore encourage our students to try development opportunities whenever they emerge.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Ukusa Holds Final 2013 Concert

Ukusa Holds Final 2013 Concert
Ruth Thipe, vocalist, with beginner guitar class.

Ukusa, UKZN’s most successful and longest running Community Arts Programme, held its final concert for this year on the Howard College campus.

Professor Elizabeth Oehrle has been the co-ordinator of Ukusa since its inception in 1987 and for the past 26 years the programme has provided hundreds of aspiring musicians, dancers, actors and actresses with an opportunity to develop their creative potential.

Students hail from places such as Umlazi, KwaMashu, Chatsworth, Phoenix, Inanda, Mariannhill and centres further afield including Port Shepstone on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. 

Oehrle keeps alive the vision of helping financially disadvantaged students who show willingness to work, ability in the creative arts, and a desire to share with others in their community what they have learned at Ukusa.

Oehrle retires this year with Ms Maggie Reddy taking over the vital co-ordinating role.

-          UKZNDABAOnline

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Clinical Anatomy Dedication Ceremony

Clinical Anatomy Dedication Ceremony
Dr Azu O Okpara.

UKZN’s Discipline of Clinical Anatomy held its annual Dedication Ceremony at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

The event was attended by UKZN staff, students, family and next of kin of donors. The donors are people who have pledged to donate their bodies for the benefit of medical teaching/research. Pastor Melvyn Pillay officiated at the ceremony.

Programme Co-ordinator, Dr Azu O Okpara.said: ‘People who donate their bodies to medical research are helping humanity find cures for diseases and contribute towards advancing the training of future doctors in South Africa.’

Azu said the ceremony was held for the 27 cadavers donated during the past year to the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences for medical teaching and research.

Azu said UKZN encouraged the public to contribute to medical teaching and research by donating their bodies. He emphasised that the cadavers are treated ethically and with dignity at all times.

- Nombuso Dlamini

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UKZN to Bid Farewell to Campbell Collections Head

UKZN to Bid Farewell to Campbell Collections Head
Ms Yvonne Winters at a beadwork exhibition she held at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg in 2004.

UKZN will soon bid farewell to the Head of the Campbell Collections, Ms Yvonne Winters, who retires at the end of the year.

Winters’ journey at the University started in 1979 as a Museologist (museum curator). She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Science from the University of Pretoria and is a PhD candidate (History of Art) at UKZN’s School of Arts.

Her PhD topic is: ‘A Social and Cultural Theoretical Appraisal and Contextualisation of the Visual and Symbolic Language of Beadwork and Dress from Southern KwaZulu-Natal’.

‘My Masters was also on the History of Art and dealt with aspects of indigenous aesthetics and narrative as expressed in the works of select Black South African artists such as Trevor Makhoba, Azaria Mbatha and Cyprian Shilakoe.  Both dissertations draw upon the museum holdings of UKZN’s Campbell Collections,’ said Winters.

Over the years, she has enjoyed interacting with highly talented artists and sculptors due to ‘the unusual perspective they have given on life and creativity’. Notable artists she has interacted with include Henry Mshololo and the late Trevor Makhoba’s students, Welcome Danca and Sibusiso Duma.

Winters cites curating an exhibition of the now 101-year-old artist-recorder of indigenous dress Barbara Tyrrell’s work as one of the highlights in her career. The exhibition at IZIKO – SA National Gallery in Cape Town coincided with the artist’s 100th birthday on 15 March last year and was curated along with a colleague, Mr Vusi Buthelezi.

Winters’ penchant for art, along with reading for her PhD, will keep her busy once she has retired. ‘I am determined to pursue my passion of painting dreams (yes those nighttime visions we all have). I have never quite succeeded but intend to “stay with it” until I succeed in creating the right atmosphere in paint, even if this means they have to be abstracts!

‘If I succeed at this, I may just have an exhibition or maybe not. I do not think it a good thing to have to commercialise art, it compromises one’s integrity.’

She added: ‘Having made this “high-handed”’ statement I hope the fates don’t bring me down to size and I have to sell paintings because inflation erodes my pension. I have just been looking at the projections and at the age of 85 the financial advisor is leaving blanks – so I had best not live as long as my mentor Barbara Tyrrell. By 101 there will be a “zero minus” balance!’

About the Campbell Collections:

The Collections consist of the Killie Campbell Africana Library founded by Dr Killie Campbell.

Campbell, the daughter of the Natal sugar-magnate Sir Marshall Campbell, bequeathed her collections in 1949 to the University of Natal (now UKZN) which took over the administration in 1965 upon her death.

Her brother William Campbell donated the house, known as Muckleneuk – an imposing neo-Cape Dutch mansion on Durban’s Berea – as Public Trust to house his sister’s collections.

The Museum collections comprise contemporary African art and traditional ethnographic artefacts (including beadwork and woodwork and pottery) from all the indigenous cultures of southern Africa, but especially that of the Zulu, Bhaca and AbaMbo of KwaZulu-Natal.

Most distinctive of the museum are the 1 000 costume studies of all the indigenous peoples of southern Africa by Killie Campbell’s protégé Barbara Tyrrell.

- Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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BEDS Students Present at eThekwini Research Symposium

BEDS Students Present at eThekwini Research Symposium
From left: Mr Sandile Mbatha; Miss Thandeka Msebenzi; Miss Taryn Ramputh; Mr Kashmil Gopal and Dr Koyi Mchunu.

Masters students from Housing and Town Planning were participants in a symposium by the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE), which was presented in collaboration with University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology, and the University of South Africa.

The symposium provided opportunities for young researchers to share research projects while also exposing them to contemporary discussions around their respective areas of research.

‘Our students presented abstract and preliminary findings of their research on water management practices in low-income settlements in eThekwini. Their research topic “Water Management Practices in Low-income Settlements: Towards Appropriately Designed and Targeted Awareness and Education Campaigns” were aimed at assessing current practices in two low-income settlements of Johanna Road Informal Settlements and Mangamazini,’ said UKZN’s Mr Sandile Mbatha.

The students research findings suggest that water management practices in these settlements are inadequate and reveal that existing educational programmes on water management are ineffective.

They also argued that this may be due to the level at which educational programmes are pitched in these communities. ‘The medium through which some of the messages are transmitted is not accessible to targeted audiences. The presentation stimulated a vibrant debate on critical water management issues and the role of the state, the private sector, and communities,’ said Dr Koyi Mchunu.

Miss Thandeka Msebenzi, Mr Kashmil Gopal, and Miss Taryn Ramputh were applauded by the attendees for their bravery and contribution to discussions in the breakaway sessions of the symposium.

Dr Koyi Mchunu and Mr Sandile Mbatha from Town Planning and Housing Disciplines respectively were in attendance to support their students and to participate in the discussions.

Overall, the symposium proved to be a great success as it allowed for networking between research institutions, researchers and government departments and officials.

- Melissa Mungroo

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Festival Explores Food in Full

Festival Explores Food in Full
Sobantu community member Ms Philisiwe Sithole, who is growing vegetables to feed her family.

A five-day Food Festival was hosted by the Paulo Freire project at UKZN’s Centre for Adult Education on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The festival included movies, discussions/seminars, field trips, workshops, demonstrations and healthy organic lunches comprising locally-sourced produce.

The overall event was organised by students and staff from various disciplines and two local NGOs.

According to one of the organisers, Dr Anne Harley, the Food Festival created a platform for an examination of a wide range of issues, from hunger (including student hunger) to obesity, from genetic modification to junk food, from farm worker struggles to subsistence farming struggles, from the way our food is made to how it ends up on our plate, and all the links between the issues.

‘The Food Festival looked at not only what’s happening, and why, but also at practical things we can do to make things better. The event also brought together those who are actually experiencing issues relating to food to talk about their experiences, and their thinking about this, and the struggles they have been involved in, and academics who have been studying these issues,’ said Harley.

Four different films were shown during the Food Festival; each carefully selected to explore a wide range of issues and links such as industrial farming methods, junk food, health issues, worker rights, animal rights, urban gardens, seed banks, and food sovereignty. Group discussions were held after the shows.

Discussions were held on the experiences of food insecurity within the South African university student population with Psychology staffer Mr Nicholas Munro, presenting the results from a study he conducted on the extent of vulnerability to food insecurity among UKZN students.

Based on extensive data gathered between 2007 and 2010, the findings from the study suggest that 20.8 percent of UKZN students experience some level of vulnerability to food insecurity. Within this 20.8 percent, 4.7 percent were found to be severe to critically vulnerable to food insecurity. Students on financial aid and those in access/foundation programmes were also found to be more vulnerable to food insecurity when compared to those not on financial aid and those in mainstream programmes respectively.

The Food Festival also provided a healthy lunch. ‘We wanted to provide a meal that was not poisoned, packaged, and heavy with food miles, so we looked for produce that was free-range, local or organic,’ said another organiser, Ms Morag Peden. The lunch was held in the tea room in the Education building on campus.

Four third-year students who had created a food garden as part of Education and Development and Politics service learning modules, gave demonstrations on and explain how they had made the garden.

As part of the festival, a field trip was organised with visits being made to a variety of food gardens in Sobantu township, Broadleaze certified organic farm and even the Share-Garden in the suburb of Wembley.

- Melissa Mungroo

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Children Hear That “Street Life Kills”

Children Hear That “Street Life Kills”
UKZN Social Work students with learners and staff of J. G. Zuma Junior Secondary School in KwaMashu.

Street life hurts, it’s dangerous and it kills – this was the theme of a programme organised by UKZN at the J. G. Zuma Junior Secondary School in KwaMashu.

The programme was presented by Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul of the Social Work discipline with three final year students: Mr Mondli Ngema, Mr Mandla Mtungwa and Mr Sphamandla Mthombeni.

J. G. Zuma is a resource-strapped school with more than 90 Grade 7 learners in each classroom.

The programme received the full support of school Principal Mrs T K Ngcobo and Life Orientation (LO) Teacher Mrs A Ntombela.

The programme was the result of previous research by Sewpaul and some of her students into the life circumstances of children and youth living on the streets of Durban.  The conclusion reached was that youngsters often entered the lives of the children and youth far too late.

A video, which clearly depict this message was produced and is being used in schools with the aim of preventing children from leaving their homes and communities and migrating to the streets.

The programme, which is participatory in nature, is run workshop style with the active engagement of the learners in discussing the major concerns/problems in their community; the resources and strengths that exist; who they can revert to for help should they need it, and their views on the potential of the video to help prevent children from leaving home. 

‘The engagement and responses of the learners have been very positive. In addition to the community programme, groupwork and individual services were offered as per the needs identified by the Principal and the LO Teacher, who demonstrated a marked commitment to the well-being of learners,’ said Sewpaul. 


Regarding the community outreach, Luthuli said: ‘The young learners needed the message and I hope they’ve learnt considerably. The School is in need of such integrative services.’

Ntombela added: ‘The students have assisted me as an LO Teacher and also the learners by informing them about the dangers of street life and factors that lead to it using general ideas and by also attending to the learners’ personal cases. My wish is to have the UKZN Social Work students for an extended time.’

- Melissa Mungroo

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Abafundi bemiDwebozakhiwo (Architecture) bazolibhekisa eBelgium ukuyokwethula inkulumo ngeWarwick Junction

Abafundi bemiDwebozakhiwo (Architecture) bazolibhekisa eBelgium ukuyokwethula inkulumo ngeWarwick Junction
Umfundisi uMs Bridget Horner kanye nabafundi , uMnu Mongezi Ncube kanye noNksz Nadiya Moodley nomdwebo wabo wendawo iWarwick.

Umfundisi uNksz Bridget Horner nabafundi bakhe ababili, uMnu Mongezi Ncube kanye noNadiyah Moodley, bazolibhekisa eBelgium maduze nje lapho beyosebenzisana neNyuvesi yaseLiege lapho bezongenela khona umncintiswano womhlaba wonke wemidwebo. Umsebenzi wabo uzobe ususelwe kuWarwick Junction eThekwini.

Umncintiswano womhlaba wabafundi owaziwa ngele International Union of Architects (UIA) International Student Competition ibheka iWarwick Junction ngenhloso yokuqonda ngale ndawo ngokwezomnotho, amasiko kanye nezenhlalo nokuthola izindlela zokukhulisa kuphindwe kuthuthukuswe noma kuqiniswe lemikhakha ngendlela enenzuzo.

uHorner nabafundi bakhe banikezwe ithuba lokwethamela umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi ozothatha izinsuku eziyisihlanu lapho bezocobelelana ngolwazi lwabo lweWarwick babuye bachaze ngezakhiwo kanye nokunye okuphathelene nalendawo kubafundi baseLiege.

‘Sithemba ukuthi sizodlulisela ulwazi ngeWarwick kubafundi sibasize baqonde ngayo kangcono. Sihlele ukubanika esikubonile eWarwick ukuze babe nemibono emisha ngaphezu kwezibalomdanti nolwazi abanalo manje.’kusho uMoodley.

Umnu. Ncube ucwaningo lwakhe lugxile kwezohwebo eWarwick, unethemba lokuthi lokhu kushintshisana kuzosiza abafundi base UKZN kanye nabaseLiege. ‘Sifisa ukuxoxa indaba yale ndawo futhi siyinikeze ukuphila . Sihlele nokwenza umbukisombiko (documentary) ngalendawo siyikhombise abafundi.

Laba fundi bobabili bazongenela umncintiswano weUIA International Students Competition futhi bakholwa wukuthi izingxoxo abazoba nazo ngeWarwick zizobasiza ekucolisiseni umsebenzi wabo ngaphambi kokuwufaka emncintiswaneni kungakashayi usuku lokuvala.

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author : Melissa Mungroo
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Cake Sale Raises Funds for Fight Against Breast Cancer

Cake Sale Raises Funds for Fight Against Breast Cancer
CRD’s Mr Len Mzimela with Ms Marika Wade (left) and Ms Mo Friedrichs from Reach for Recovery - a nonprofit organisation.

A total of 1 100 cupcakes were sold during UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division (CRD) annual mass cake bake which raised just under R8 000 for the fight against breast cancer.

The cakes were sold on all five campuses to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment.

CRD staff and students from the Westville campus Golden Key chapter wore pink T-shirts and bandanas as they sent out the message of HOPE embodied in the delicious little cakes.

Cheques of R5 000 each were handed over to the CANSA Association of South Africa and the Reach for Recovery Organisation.

Ms Nadia Baderoon of CANSA said the funds would be used in the Association’s programmes in rural areas where there is a great need for cancer prevention and treatment programmes.

Ms Marika Wade of Reach for Recovery said they would use the funds to help breast cancer patients and their families.

- Siyanda Mihali

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UKZN Academic to do International Survey in Geometry

UKZN Academic to do International Survey in Geometry
Professor Michael de Villiers.

Professor Michael de Villiers has been invited by the International Programme Committee of the13th  International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-13) to participate in a survey of international research and developments in Geometry (and associated technologies) in the past four to eight years.

De Villiers of Mathematics and Computer Science Education in the School of Education will be part of a six-strong team under the leadership of Nathalie Sinclair from Canada.

The findings of the survey will be presented at the next meeting of the ICME-13 in Hamburg in 2016. The ICME congresses fall under the auspices of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and are the largest of their kind world-wide, and meet every four years.

The survey will place emphasis on pinpointing new knowledge, new perspectives, significant realisations and emerging challenges in a comprehensive and synthetic way, paying specific attention to the evolution since the time of the previous ICME.


-          UKZNDABAOnline

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Tributes to Nelson Mandela at UKZN

Tributes to Nelson Mandela at UKZN
From left: Phumla Mnganga; Chair of Council – UKZN; Bishop Paul Jones Mulenga Kawimbe; Senzo Mchunu; Minister Jeff Radebe; Comfort Ngidi; National Chairperson - PPF and Professor Malegapuru Makgoba lit candles on stage to remember Tata Madiba.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC and the Progressive Professionals Forum paid tribute to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at a Memorial Service at the Sports Centre on the Westville campus on Thursday 12 December.

Delivering the keynote address, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe said the Memorial Service at the University celebrated Mandela’s academic life. ‘Like many of us here, President Mandela sat in classes and lecture halls, thirsty for knowledge, thirsty for personal growth.’

Radebe acknowledged Mandela’s pro bono work as a lawyer and his efforts in the liberation movement. ‘That he became the servant of the people and a constant irritant to the Apartheid establishment was an early indication that apartheid was its own worst enemy.’

He paid tribute to Mandela’s belief in peace and reconciliation, ‘He was a true soldier, and it is only true soldiers that know the value of peace.’

Radebe urged all professionals to continue to uphold the legacy left by Mandela.’ ‘To all professionals, the clarion call has been made. ‘Mandela’s long walk has no statute of limitations.’

He acknowledged Mandela’s role as a global icon. ‘Apart from being our first President, Madiba was the President’s President.’

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UKZN, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, recalled his personal interactions with Mandela and acknowledged the impact the icon had on all South Africans.

‘Tata gave us an identity and a place in the world. Through his actions and conduct he symbolised Africa and Africans. He embodied all that was quintessentially African. He was the consummate African Prince with strong rural roots.’

He outlined Mandela’s longstanding relationship with the University including the awarding of honorary degrees from the former Universities of Natal and Durban-Westville; and the naming of the Nelson R Mandela Medical School of Medicine.

Makgoba acknowledged the importance of education for Mandela. ‘All of us knew how Tata valued education as a powerful force that drove individuals and national change. With education one could change one’s fortunes and one could change the fortunes of nations. Quoting Mandela, he said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you could use to change the world.’

He concluded: ‘And it is in death he commands tremendous power and inspiration. That is the mark of a truly exceptional person, ie to be more powerful in death than in life. He is like no other and needs no comparison with anyone.

‘How many people in their rest would evoke so much hope, so much inspiration, so much love and so much forgiveness throughout the world? Only one man – our former President.’

Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Senzo Mchunu, paid tribute to Mandela for his contributions to the liberation struggle. He noted the various ways Mandela served the people of South Africa by going ‘the extra mile’. This included ‘27 years in prison – more than any other person’ and ‘serving the people of South Africa with distinction’ as the first democratically elected President of South Africa.

Mchunu also noted the significance of hosting the Memorial Service at the Sports Centre on the Westville campus.  Following the unbanning of the African National Congress, the first ANC National Conference was held at the former University of Durban-Westville’s Sports Centre in July 1991. It was at this Conference that the ANC elected Nelson Mandela to succeed Oliver Tambo as President of the ANC.

He expressed gratitude on behalf of the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal to the University for hosting the event.

Messages of support and condolence were given by the South African Medical Association, the Black Lawyers Association, National Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Progressive Professional Forum.

Professor Jane Meyerowitz, the Registrar at UKZN, read out messages of support from the Durban University of Technology, Mangosuthu University of Technology and the University of Zululand.

The UKZN Tenors and Ithemba Chorus paid tribute to Madiba by singing Asimbonanga, which means ‘we have not seen him’. The song was written by Johnny Clegg during Mandela’s incarceration and is about Mandela and other struggle heroes. Clegg was given an Honorary Doctorate by UKZN in April, 2013.

-          Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Driving to Success

Driving to Success
Mr Khethani Njoko.

The Driving to Success (DTS) campaign which aims to inform young people in KwaZulu-Natal about how to access tertiary education has been launched on UKZN's Westville campus.

The campaign, supported by a variety of sponsors, is the brainchild of student Mr Khethani Njoko, who is running the operation with the support of colleagues.

The primary objective is to equip learners with the necessary tools to make the transition to higher education as smooth and as effective as possible.

Representatives of the programme will visit schools, particularly in rural areas where there is a lack of career guidance, and advise learners about access - including the availability of financial aid - to tertiary institutions in an effort to enable them to prepare adequately for the road ahead.

The campaign also hopes to help supply learners with food and uniforms and educate them on a variety of public health issues such as HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases

Objectives include the following:

- Provide clarity and proper guidance in terms of career paths
- Provide information on financial assistance available for students
-Assist learners to excel in all spheres of life
-Build healthy graduates for the future
-Emphasise the importance of education
-Assist learners to reach their goals
-Help young people in the transition from childhood to adulthood.

-          UKZNDABAOnline

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