DIFF Opening Night a Phenomenal Success

DIFF Opening Night a Phenomenal Success
At the opening of the Durban Film Festival are (from left): Mr Zee Ntuli; UKZN’s Professor Cheryl Potgieter; Mr Pallance Dladla; Mr Kishore Gobardan and Ms Thishiwe Ziqubu.

The 35th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) opened at the Suncoast CineCentre with the world premiere screening of the highly anticipated action romance movie Hard To Get from young Director Mr Zee Ntuli. 

Ntuli and the talented cast walked up the red carpet to their seats in the cinema which created a great buzz of excitement among the capacity audience. 

The film tells the story of TK, a handsome, young womaniser from a small community who falls for a sexy, reckless young thief named Skiets. Thrust into Jo’burg’s criminal underworld TK realises that his best bet is to trust her and hang on for dear life. 

Addressing the audience on opening night, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter said: ‘The Film Festival is a major contributor to social cohesion and is crucial to nation-building. In light of our 20 years of democracy, there is a generous spread of documentaries that shows where we have come from and the progress the country has made. As UKZN we are proud to be associated with DIFF and we will continue to work with our partners to further grow the Festival.’ 

Festival Manager Mr Peter Machen also spoke on South Africa’s 20 years of democracy, tying it in with the film festival which he described as a critical voice for change in a young nation that’s still struggling to find its democratic footing. 

‘Films have the ability to change us on a personal level and can be seen as an agent of change. They are both an expression of freedom and an enabler of it,’ he said.  

For more information visit www.durbanfilmfestival.co.za 

* The 35th Durban International Film Festival is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

 Melissa Mungroo

Photograph by Melissa Mungroo

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Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music
The Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra (LYJRO) during a performance.

UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music features England’s Leeds Youth Jazz Rock Orchestra (LYJRO) playing live this evening (July 23).

The LYJRO Big Band, which has been in existence since 1991, offers young people of Leeds the opportunity of experiencing through performance the spectrum of jazz-related styles ranging from swing to hip-hop and funk.

The LYJRO recently held a sponsored play-a-thon fundraiser at the Leeds Civic Hall to help pay for the orchestra’s Durban project. The orchestra has raised £16 000 (about R288 000) in the past three years to visit primary schools and arts centres in England and help with music education.

During their visit to Durban the band – which has been on two previous tours of South Africa – will perform with local musicians and hold music workshops.

Guitarist in the orchestra, 17-year-old Ms Carmel Smickersgill, said: ‘I’m very excited to be here in Durban and at UKZN. The benefits of bringing music to a community are unimaginable. It just makes people get on better.

‘People in Durban are a lot more open about dancing and singing along to the music here and I like that.’

Orchestra leader, Mr Brendan Duffy, said: ‘When we go out to Durban and UKZN we hope to bring everyone together.’

•   Catch LYJRO live at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on Level 2, Shepstone Building at UKZN’s Howard College campus this evening (Wednesday, 23 July). Doors open at 17h30 and music starts at 18h00.   Entry fee is R40 (Pensioners R20 and students R15). Contact Thuli on

031-260-3385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za for more details.

Melissa Mungroo

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Women Academics Part of Masakhane Youth Leadership Course Panel Discussion

Women Academics Part of Masakhane Youth Leadership Course Panel Discussion
The Masakhane Youth Leadership Course panel members, from left: Dr Thabo Msibi, Professor Renuka Vithal, Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Professor Cheryl Potgieter and Ms Nomzamo Nxumalo.

Two senior UKZN academics were part of the Masakhane Youth Leadership Course panel of women Professors which discussed challenges faced by women in leadership positions in front of an audience of about 200 young leaders from  disadvantaged schools. 

The academics were Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, who were joined by Research Director in the Education and Skills Development Programme Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa of the Human Sciences Research Council. 

The Masakhane Youth Leadership Course (MYLC), which is in its 13th year, is the flagship project of the Community Development Association (CDA) founded by Senior Lecturer and Cluster Leader in UKZN’s School of Education, Dr Thabo Msibi. 

The course attracts close to 200 young leaders from disadvantaged schools from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to the Edgewood campus for a week to learn about leadership. The MYLC is planned and facilitated by more than 60 students from UKZN and other South African tertiary institutions which are members and affiliates of the CDA. 

Leaders from various sectors were invited to speak on a variety of subjects concerning leadership over the course’s seven days. 

The core discussions for the Women Leaders’ Panel concerned the empowerment of young women as leaders and conscientising young men to be gender sensitive. The panel discussion was facilitated by Master’s student, Ms Nomzamo Nxumalo.  

The questions guiding the panel discussion were: What is your definition of leadership? What are some of the challenges that you have faced as women leaders in your workplaces? What are some of the key issues young leaders, particularly women, should be conscious of as they develop their leadership skills? 

Speaking at the event, Meyiwa described leadership as an interactive experience benefitting both the leader and the led.  Potgieter emphasised the importance of recognising the potential for leadership in everyone, while Vithal conceptualised leadership as an action of service. 

Asked about the challenges women in leadership positions faced, all three Professors agreed that the challenges differed according to the time and space a woman found herself in.  

Potgieter spoke about leadership as not being not only perfection but encompassing intelligence, honesty and doing the correct thing. Part of leadership, she argued, was influencing the commitment of others towards achieving potential around a shared vision.   

Potgieter supported this with statistics and data which showed that women were taught to equate leadership with perfection in ways men did not. ‘It is important that young women believe they are talented, that they do not need to be super perfect people to be leaders and their intelligence and integrity are the basis for them to be good leaders.’ 

Overcoming such challenges called for the push to actively challenge the “way things are”. Still on this trend, Vithal warned of the dangers of being “boxed” - being relegated to tasks outside one’s ambit based on the submissive position often ascribed to women.  

Meyiwa brought to light the often underappreciated internal struggle faced by women leaders as they attempted to negotiate their way through often unfavourable systems. She stressed how trust in one’s ability worked as an invaluable tool to overcome this challenge. 

The discussion raised issues of the diversity of people and how this inevitably led to the need for a fluid and contextual leadership paradigm. The panellists echoed each other on how women, particularly Black women, faced multiple-pronged challenges in leadership. Society’s failure to demarcate the limits of the domestic and the public with reference to women often led to the undermining of women leaders’ capabilities. 

The panellists encouraged the identification of mentors as a source of inspiration and a point of reference for making it in spite of the slanted odds. 

Potgieter expressed the importance of a can-do attitude and leading a balanced life because leadership should be enjoyed. Agency emerged as a powerful tool in successful leadership. 

Vithal encouraged young leaders to take charge of their environments and not let convention dictate their ambition. ‘In the current context of high levels of gender violence it is important that men should be respectful to women and women leaders. What matters in leadership is the quality of ideas, the content of leadership and how the world can be changed for the better through leadership.’  

Speaking to the packed lecture hall of Grade 11 learners she further added, ‘Be conscious of your own attitude as a person and a leader. Before you can lead anyone else, you should be able to direct your own life. Demonstrate and lead by example.’ 

Engaging with the panel, a young woman in the audience shared her journey to discovering her independence and strength as a woman while another urged her peers to become a new breed of young women, seeking to encourage and boost others.  

The panel discussion evoked excitement in the audience who could not get enough of the Professors’ wisdom. By the end of the session their confidence in their potential was electrifyingly palpable. 

Melissa Mungroo and Nomzamo Nxumalo

Photograph by Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Music Students Attend Grahamstown National Arts Festival

UKZN Music Students Attend Grahamstown National Arts Festival
Music students (from left) Mr Jude Ganasen, Mr Dalisu Ndlazi and Mr Rogan Van de Burg at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.

Three UKZN Music students - Mr Jude Ganasen, Mr Rogan Van de Burg and Mr Dalisu Ndlazi - recently attended the Grahamstown National Arts Festival where they were given the chance to audition for the National Youth Jazz Band, which recognises the best young musicians in the country. 

They all advanced to the second round of auditions, with Ndlazi making it to the finals.   

As part of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival, the students were also given the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops, performances and open rehearsals with world class musicians from a variety of countries.   

With the teaching programme being a critical component of the Festival, workshops were offered in jazz history, theory, practice and its associated disciplines such as sound engineering and management. Seminars were held with a focus particularly on South African jazz heritage. 

Ndlazi said: ‘It was life changing to be part of the Jazz festival and all the other art forms. I went to workshops every day, had band rehearsal every day, and I watched shows every evening. We learned a lot about what happens in the music business and what to watch out for as well as how to sustain our careers as musicians.’ 

UKZN Concert and Jazz Centre Co-ordinator, Ms Thuli Zama, accompanied the students on the educational trip and was able to network with colleagues nationally and internationally in an effort to strengthen relationships with stakeholders for future prospects. 

Zama believes UKZN Music students should attend the Festival annually to take advantage of interaction with local and international musicians and teachers as well as to assess themselves against their peers. 

‘It was a very motivating experience. We always try and expose our students to educational workshops and trips available country-wide. And we hope to return to Grahamstown next year and attend other events such as the South African Jazz Education Association (SAJE),’ said Zama.  

Melissa Mungroo

Photograph by Thuli Zama

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UKZN Students Involved in UIA 2014 Durban Architecture Congress

UKZN Students Involved in UIA 2014 Durban Architecture Congress
Architecture students from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies will participate in the UIA 2014 Architecture Congress in Durban next month.

About 18 Architecture students from the School of Built Environment and Development studies will participate in the UIA 2014 Architecture Congress at Durban’s International Convention Centre from 3-7 August.  

The students are part of the International Union of Architects (UIA) student steering committee and at the head of major student-oriented events forming part of the Conference.  

Lecturer within the Architecture Discipline Mrs Bridget Horner explained that the congress had a student component with UKZN and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) driving the bulk of student events during the Congress. 

‘The Congress will bring together architects and students from around the world to debate their common concerns and interests all within an African context. Each day, two hours will be set aside for student-related events,’ said Horner.  

Student Ms Sophie Troskolanski is heading the Des Baker Student Architecture Design Competition, promoting pragmatic solutions relating to the phenomenon of informal trade by proposing trade stalls which relate to the competition theme of “play + purpose”.  

This competition recognises and rewards students of Architecture for their conceptual ability and design excellence. Troskolanski is also involved with fundraising for the student events and describes the overall congress experience as an exciting way of integrating with dynamic people in the field of Architecture and related professions. 

Media co-ordinators for UIA 2014 - Ms Aadila Kajee, Ms Judy Poswa and Ms Bongeka Mnguni - are creating a media firestorm as they populate the various media outlets of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to fuel the hype and excitement around the congress. 

Secretary and Event Co-ordinator for the Student Community Project, Ms Natache Iilonga, is organising a pilot project, as part of the Conference, to give Grade 9-11 pupils the opportunity to be an architect for a day.  

‘We will introduce learners from three disadvantaged high schools in Durban to the Architecture field in an effort to get them interested and to possibly follow this exciting career path. The day will include everything from model-building to designing and presentation of their work.’ 

Event Co-ordinator for Pocket Parks, Mr Danvir Pillay, said the Conference would see the introduction and utilisation of the nifty Pocket Parks (miniparks that are urban open spaces on a small scale) being featured in and around Durban. Asked about the concept, Pillay said it was one of the student-led ideas in collaboration with city architects and would be instrumental in beautifying and recreating dead spaces in the city for public usage.  

Communications Head and Event co-ordinator for student social events, Ms Sinethemba Sade Buthelezi, said social events would include the UIA student programme, the Archiball - a street party boasting a stellar line-up of entertainment.  

According to Buthelezi, the student programme would also provide a platform for students to unpack the concept of Otherwhere along the lines of the sub-themes of Resilience, Ecology and Values.  

‘Students will be able to voice their own opinions on the subject of current and future practices of architectural education in the student debate which will conclude the UIA 2014 student programme. This will also form part of the Student Charter to be presented at the next UIA Conference in Seoul in 2017.’ 

Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) Manager Mr Peter Machen said the week after DIFF ends, there would be a presentation of films which explored various aspects of Architecture.  

www.facebook.com/UIA 2014Students

Twitter: @UIA2014Students

Instagram: @UIA2014Students

Melissa Mungroo

Photograph by Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Student Led SA Youth 20 Summit Delegation in Australia

UKZN Student Led SA Youth 20 Summit Delegation in Australia
Mr Nhlanhla Khumalo.

UKZN Master’s student Mr Nhlanhla Khumalo led a five-member South African Youth Delegation team at the Youth 20 (Y20) Summit held in Australia earlier this month.

The Summit is a platform for young people from G8 and G20 countries to engage in policy discussions on pressing global, economic challenges and generate innovative solutions which are presented to the G20 Leaders Summit for consideration in their discussions.

This year’s youth summit examined Growth and Job Creation, Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development.

Khumalo (30) said being a leader proved to be a huge responsibility with the location of members in different provinces being a major challenge.

As a graduate of Development Studies, Political Science and Public Policy, Khumalo has a keen interest in South Africa’s foreign policy on global issues such as international security, energy security and climate change.

He is currently a member of the Black Management Forum (BMF) Young Professionals and works in the Patents and Designs Unit of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria.

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

The role of each delegate is to:

·             engage with other delegates to enable them to represent the views of young people in their country

·             liaise with the head delegate to contribute to pre-summit discussion with delegates from other   countries in the period prior to the Summit

·             contribute to policy recommendations for G20 leaders on behalf of G20 youth

·             generate wider community understanding and recognition of the work of the Y20 and the G20

·             to participate actively in the Y20 Summit

·             follow up on policy recommendations and action plans coming out of the Y20 Summit and wider consultations.

Khumalo, who has a disability after developing poliomyelitis as a child, previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), a think tank based at UKZN.

He is an advocate of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly as it relates to policies of the South African government as a signatory state.

Khumalo is reading for a Master of Social Science in Public Policy degree at UKZN.

 Sithembile Shabangu

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UKZN Hosts SAYAS Water Security Colloquium

UKZN Hosts SAYAS Water Security Colloquium
Attendees at the SAYAS Security Colloquium.

More than 60 delegates - including students, academics, civil society representatives, municipal managers and politicians - attended a two-day interdisciplinary colloquium on water security presented by the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) in collaboration with the School of Life Sciences

The colloquium, which took place at UKZN, was designed to specifically address the following themes:

·        Public expectations and municipal obligations regarding water quality

·        Water reuse – health and infrastructural considerations

·        Water security and governance – challenges and advances 

The guests were welcomed by the Dean of Research, Professor Urmilla Bob, while top SA water researcher and Hydrologist Emeritus Professor Roland Schulze of UKZN opened the colloquium with a thought-provoking talk titled: “Water Security Dimensions in South Africa”. 

Co-chair of SAYAS and organiser of the colloquium, Dr Sershen Naidoo, said: ‘Professor Schulze’s talk set the stage for a highly stimulating colloquium on a number of controversial issues within the water sector.’ 

The first session on public expectations and municipal obligations regarding water quality, facilitated by Professor Chris Buckley of UKZN’s Pollution Research Group and Mr Christopher Fennemore of eThekwini Municipality, highlighted a number of challenges faced by municipalities around the country. 

Challenges included lack of and/or dysfunctional infrastructure, rapid urbanisation and uninformed decision-making.  

There were a number of engaging discussions around the importance of striking a balance between citizen rights and government obligations, and fostering public responsibility. A key outcome of the session was that unrealistic political promises were giving rise to unrealistic public expectations within a number of municipalities. 

Apart from articulating the value of the Blue and Green Drop Assessment programmes, a number of participants expressed their support for government and public awareness campaigns, increased re-use of waste water, harnessing the benefits of ecological infrastructure, and the introduction of rising block-tariffs. 

SARChI Chair in Water and Wastewater Technology at the Durban University of Technology, Professor Thor Axel Stenström, and Professor Stefan Schmidt of the Discipline of Microbiology on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, facilitated the second session on Water Reuse - Health and Infrastructural Considerations.  

The two Microbiologists illustrated that a sustainable water management strategy had to account for factors such as urbanisation, projected water scarcity, high water use in agriculture as well as the water footprint of consumers and industry.  

One of the key points to emerge from the discussions was that re-use of water in the urban context, in agriculture and for energy production was possible but needed to be well balanced against potential risks due to the presence of disease-causing organisms, antibiotics and emerging organic pollutants. 

The second day kicked-off with a session on: “Water Security and Governance - Challenges and Advances”, facilitated by Ms Nora Hanke of Stellenbosch University’s Water Institute who is also Vice-Chair of the South African Young Water Professionals, and Dr Mark Dent of UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences. 

The discussions during the session suggested that water security could not be addressed in a fragmented manner by scientists since each individual, discipline or organisational grouping only had knowledge of a small part of the overall system. 

It was stated that when working in fragmented silos the system suffered from the bounded rationality (i.e. a person can only perform rational acts within the bounds of their cognition) of each of the actors. Dent emphasised that when acting on water-related matters, which by definition cross boundaries, problems were created with solutions if they were generated in a silo of thinking. 

The session went on to briefly explore the migration of human skills within the water sector and why the Policy, Legislative and Regulatory frameworks, from local to international levels, were all in place for good governance and to address water security. 

Dent and Hanke gave evidence for their contention that with appropriate thinking and sharing South Africa had the human and financial resources to significantly reduce water-related risks and cope with the challenges ahead.

 Participatory agent-based social simulation modelling and citizen science were introduced as two of the most promising vectors of change sweeping the water governance landscape. 

According to Dent, scientists should recognise that all water-related decision-making processes have two broad stages: firstly, the option generation stage which is open to all actors and secondly, the authority stage where the best option is decided on and made mandatory.  

The water authorities therefore, could not take systemically wise decisions, unless presented with several wise options. Based on the discussion that took place during the session, the option generation space was open to all and was the key focus area for actors to engage water security and governance. 

In commenting on the success of the event, Dr Sershen Naidoo stressed how important it was for universities to play a role in finding solutions to national problems such as water security. Naidoo confirmed that the colloquium’s major output, a consensus document put together with the aid of the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE), would be shared with government,  civil society and academics across the country and in the Southern African region with the help of SAYAS.

Leena Rajpal

Photograph by Asok Rajah

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Professor Betty Mubangizi Salutes Madiba during a Tribute Debate at the Durban City Hall

Professor Betty Mubangizi Salutes Madiba during a Tribute Debate at the Durban City Hall
UKZN’s Professor Betty Mubangizi (second from left) with members of the African National Congress, from left: ANC Secretary, Mr Sihle Zikalala; ANC Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa; KwaZulu-Natal South African Youth Council’s Mr Mandla Shange, KZN Premier, Mr Senzo Mchunu and KZN MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Professor Betty Mubangizi was a member of a high powered panel which reflected on Mandela’s legacy in a political discussion hosted by the African National Congress (ANC) at Durban’s City Hall recently. 

Mubangizi was on the panel in her capacity as a public servant, a public administration researcher and educator, and a UKZN School of Management, Information and Governance academic.  

Other members of the panel were Deputy President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa; ANC provincial chairperson and KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Mr Senzo Mchunu as well as Mr Mandla Shange of the South African Youth Council. 

The KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial office of the ANC has monthly series of unmediated forums which help us to articulate state policies and also to educate people in that regard. As part celebrating the life of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, the late Dr Nelson Mandela whose birthday is on July 18, the ANC hosts a forum looking at his legacy. The topic for the July forum was: “How best can we preserve Mandela’s legacy?” 

The Deputy President called on the public to reflect on Madiba’s legacy and urged South Africans to follow the teachings of Nelson Mandela who he described as an iconic leader and a great mentor. 

In her address titled: “Maintaining the Mandela Legacy – A Public Administration Context”, Mubangizi addressed the packed hall on the pivotal role leadership and good governance played in building a better society for all the people of South Africa.  

Mubangizi highlighted the importance of building a capable state and, as an academic in Public Administration, welcomed the idea of this thrust being properly articulated in Chapter 13 of the National Development Plan. She suggested a three pronged approach on developing a capable state by professionalising the public service – notably; policy and legislation; norms and standards as well as cultural cognition.  

Professor Mubangizi added that community involvement and valuing public servants were also important aspects and reminded the audience that ‘Nelson Mandela took every opportunity to assure civil servants that they were valued and that their work was appreciated.   

‘Let us be vigilant in nurturing our public servants for they are the key to the National Development Plan Vision 2030.’ 

However, while a large responsibility for implementing the National development Plan lies with public administrators and policy makers, it is important that the Plan be seen as a lasting vision for all South Africans. It is a plan for everyone. Giving effect to it is therefore every citizen’s responsibility,’ she added.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Physiotherapy Technician Graduation Ceremony

Physiotherapy Technician Graduation Ceremony
Physiotherapy Technicians after their Graduation ceremony.

UKZN’s School of Health Sciences held an Oath-Taking and Graduation Ceremony for Physiotherapy Technicians at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH).  

Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, was on hand to congratulate the graduates and told them: ‘Your achievement is crucial in achieving the Health Millennium Development Goals.’  

Physiotherapy’s Head of Discipline, Dr Sonill Maharaj, thanked the graduates for participating in the year-long programme, which is a joint venture between the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DoH), UKZN and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). 

Maharaj encouraged the candidates to pursue Physiotherapy degrees: ‘Becoming a Physiotherapy Technician is a step towards a career as a Physiotherapist.’ Maharaj further encouraged them to register with the HPCSA. 

Mrs M Mkhize, a retired HR manager form KwaZulu-Natal DoH who initiated the process of the programme between UKZN and the Discipline said: ‘It took a lot of courage to forge a partnership with UKZN due to insufficient funding. It fulfilled one of the five priorities of the government, education. This is a success story of endurance and pursuit of a dream. It is a story of courage to realise a dream in order to support the community. We had a successful partnership with UKZN.’ 

To become a professional comes with responsibility, she warned the graduates. ‘Long learning is essential in order to remain an expert in your field of study. South Africa needs you all.’ She said as she wished them all the best. 

Dr R Mthethwa, Director of chronic diseases from KwaZulu-Natal DoH encouraged the candidates to continue to develop themselves through learning.  ‘Patients are a lot more informed these days as they are the ones living with the disease at all times. They can tell you more and sometimes better about their condition. As a health professional you need to know your limits and refer accordingly,’ he added. 

The class of 2014 class representative, Mr Senzo Khoza said the course helped them as a group to realise their dreams. He thanked the supervisors and hospitals that participated in their training. ‘This was not an easy road for us, some of us are grandparents and we had to persevere a number of trials.’ 

GJ Crookes Hospital’s Physiotherapy Assistant, Mr Sizwe Shangase said: ‘It’s been a long and exciting journey.  I am looking forward to the next step. I am still young, I plan to do my Physiotherapy degree if the DoH allows me.’ 

Madadeni Hospital’s MR Mandla Dlamini said he was happy about his achievement. ‘It was a long road to this achievement. It took me longer than I anticipated.’ 

Niemeyer Memorial Hospital’s Mr Sphiwe Guquka said: ‘I would love to pursuit a Physiotherapy degree, but due to financial constraints I cannot.’ 

Edendale Hospital’s Mrs Mildred Miya said: ‘I am glad it is over. The course was difficult, too much work over a short period.’ Miya is planning to take a little break and focus on her new qualification before deciding on what to do next. ‘I have learnt a lot in the past year. The site visits were very fruitful,’ she added.  

The course participants visited a number of hospitals in the Durban area; Addington Hospital, King Edward VIII Hospital, Mahatma Ghandi Hospital and Clairwood Hospital. 

Prince Mshiyeni Hospital’s Nomvula Khumalo enrolled for the course in 2011 December. She said she was devastated when she failed the first year: ‘I was devastated but I decided to pick myself up and go back again. I am over the moon now. When I failed I was traumatised, so when I repeated the course I was worried because I had no idea why I failed the first time.’ Khumalo has been a Physiotherapy Assistant since 1998. 

The course has been discontinued.

Nombuso Dlamini

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US Visitors Enjoy UKZN Experience

US Visitors Enjoy UKZN Experience
US students and academics with UKZN academics from the Discipline of Sports Science.

Academics from the Department of Kinesiology at East Carolina University in the United States as well as seven students from Florida State University visited UKZN as guests of the Corporate Relations Division and the Discipline of Sports Science

The students’ visit formed part of a Study Abroad Programme they are completing through the East Carolina University.  

The delegation included Mr Gabe Dubis, who is an academic in the Department of Kinesiology, and Professor Bob Hickner, a fractional professor in the College of Health Sciences. 

Hickner, a specialist in exercise metabolism and nutrition, expressed an interest in working together with UKZN in developing research at both institutions.   

The partnership is being driven by Professor Andrew Mckune of UKZN’s Discipline of Sports Science who is drafting a Memorandum of Understanding between the universities. 

Said Hickner: ‘We are overwhelmed by the warm welcome we received from the University and very impressed by the orientation programme organised for us.  We are looking forward to a long relationship with UKZN.’  

The students, all first-time visitors to South Africa, enjoyed spending a few days in residence on the Westville campus.   

Their action-packed week started with an orientation programme organised by the International Office on the Westville campus.  

Their activities in KwaZulu-Natal included watching the Sharks rugby team in training, visiting a game park and a trip to the Drakensberg.  They then went to Cape Town for two days before returning to the United States.


Shakila Thakurpersad


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Conversing with College of Health Sciences Head Through Open Dialogue

Conversing with College of Health Sciences Head Through Open Dialogue
From left: Ms Suvanie Chetty and Ms Lerato Zincume with Professor Rob Slotow.

An open discussion session with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) and Head of the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Professor Rob Slotow, was held at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and video conferenced to staff based on the Howard and Westville campuses. 

The event provided an opportunity for staff and students to discuss and share issues of concern with Professor Slotow, who raised issues about communication and delivered informative feedback in terms of developments within the CHS. Slotow also took live questions from the staff across all three campuses. 

‘Communication in a large complex organisation is difficult but necessary in order to ensure a shared understanding. Due to the challenge of ensuring effective communication, management has prioritised a Multifaceted Communications Strategy for the year which will enable enhanced communication and engagement thereby ensuring social cohesion and the sustainable inclusion of all in the College,’ said Slotow. 

Slotow encouraged the sharing of a multitude of ideas thereby promoting engagement. ‘Our behaviour and actions relate to the environment in which we are working and Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Client Orientation and Honesty (REACH) are the values of the University and qualities we should embrace in all spheres of our interactions.’ 

‘We work in a very dynamic and challenging environment and enabling support and understanding people will help us to do things better, so we can have the courage and commitment to work and achieve a shared vision.’ 

Slotow also revealed results from the UKZN Employee Wellness Survey, a survey conducted in 2013 with staff members from CHS. Elementary scores for the College of Health Sciences was seen to be higher than the University average, with scores were categorised under various themes like General engagement and motivation in the work environment, Satisfaction, Efficiency, Participation, Influence and Openness, Diversity Management and Rewards and Recognition. 

The College scored a 75% overall score for engagement. ‘While this result is good, 1 in every 4 people is dissatisfied, which means that there is a lot of work to be done to improve this score.’ 

Issues of concern that were shown in the results of the survey shall form part of the Communication Strategy that is currently being formulated. ‘We can use this information to guide the way our environment addresses many negative issues.  

Our values system needs to be facilitating communication. The surveys give insight to the employees as the responses help us to pinpoint what needs to be improved. People in an environment need to see themselves as a team and not little isolated groups. We have a challenge, particularly how we work together as a team.’ 

Slotow also discussed Sustainable inclusion at the University, which is about an individual being a part of something and being given the opportunity to influence the system around them. ‘Part of making the strategy more inclusive is that we need to look at specific examples that need to be addressed. We have a plan demonstrating a commitment to improving communication and by maintaining an open, supportive, responsive environment which works towards the elements of REACH.’ 

During the session, staff mentioned that they often felt their own aspirations and passions clashed with that of the University. Slotow emphasised that the system cannot change too often to accommodate each individual’s aspirations but some stability is required to ensure success.  

Public Relations Manager for the College of Health Sciences, Ms MaryAnn Francis, explained that the College of Health Sciences is a large and complex college with over 1 000 staff members; based on various UKZN campuses and hospitals across KZN.  

‘We will be having an exciting and interactive Communications Workshop in August which will give everybody the opportunity to participate and engage with one other. This team building exercise will be an opportunity to provide feedback that will ultimately make up an effective communication strategy with input from all staff.’ 

One can access the presentation about the transformation at the College of Health Sciences here.

The College of Health Sciences Communications Workshop will be held on 8 August 2014. 

Zakia Jeewa

Photograph: Zakia Jeewa

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Eminent Physicist and Academic Receives High Honour

Eminent Physicist and Academic Receives High Honour
Professor Manfred Hellberg (left) being congratulated by Dr IMA (Igle) Gledhill, President of the SA Institute of Physics.

Eminent Physicist, Academic and Senior Research Associate at UKZN, Emeritus Professor Manfred Hellberg, has been awarded the highest honour of the South African Institute of Physics - the 2014 SAIP De Beers Gold Medal - for his outstanding contribution to the Discipline of Physics.

The award is in recognition of his ‘achievements as a researcher and his significant role in the promotion of Physics in the South African Physics community’.

An extract from the citation by the President of the SAIP Dr Gledhill reads:  ‘Following bachelor’s and honours studies at the University of Cape Town, Manfred Hellberg pursued a Ph.D. in Theoretical Plasma Physics at the University of Cambridge.  This degree was awarded to him in 1965, which is also the year in which he joined the academic staff of the University of Natal at Durban. 

‘The greatest part of Professor Hellberg’s scientific career was spent at this University and its successor, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he is currently Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Associate. At his home institution he has held senior administrative positions, including Dean of Science, and acting deputy vice-chancellorships.

‘Professor Hellberg’s research area involves theoretical studies of the properties of plasmas, in particular on linear and nonlinear electrostatic waves in kappa-distributed plasmas.  His work includes, among other topics, studies on linear waves also involving Maxwellian plasmas and soliton behaviour, and most recently, solitons beyond the double layer speed and supersolitons.  His papers are highly cited. 

‘Professor Hellberg has held numerous distinguished research fellowships, including the Von Humboldt Fellowship and fellowships at Princeton University.  Among the other academic distinctions he has received are fellowships of the Royal Society of South Africa, the UK Institute of Physics and the honorary membership of the SAIP.

‘A member of the South African Institute of Physics since 1962, Manfred Hellberg has served and continues to serve the broader Physics community in a variety of functions.  These include a term as president of the SAIP, representation internationally in the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) and activity on many councils and boards.  Most recently, he has acted as convener of the panel for the report: “Shaping the Future of Physics in South Africa”, which has had a fundamental and extremely positive impact in the physics community.  He also headed the Astronomy Desk at the Department of Science and Technology in a time crucial to South African astronomical projects and collaborations.

‘Professor Hellberg is awarded the SAIP De Beers Gold Medal for 2014 for his outstanding research career in Plasma Physics that has earned him international recognition in this field and for the numerous contributions he has made in his service to Physics in South Africa, and, with his significant experience, represented South African Physics internationally.’

UKZN NdabaOnline

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Law and Management Studies Recruitment Drive

Law and Management Studies Recruitment Drive
Pupils from Lesotho during the recruitment drive.

The College of Law and Management Studies recently hosted Grade 11 and Grade 12 pupils from Lesotho to give them a broader view of how pursuing careers in Law and Commerce will benefit them and the world. 

The aim of the strategic recruitment initiative was to provide prospective students with vital information on various career opportunities, entrance requirements and scholarship opportunities they could benefit from through making UKZN their institution of choice. 

The College’s Public Relations Manager, Ms Hazel Langa, delivered a presentation explaining in detail the programmes offered, the different campuses, how the University’s point system worked and procedures for applications, and interesting facts about world firsts achieved by UKZN graduates. 

The pupils also received marketing material to ensure they had all the information necessary to discuss their career options with their parents back home. 

Grade 12 pupil, Ms Thethuwe Tsoboko of Dahon High School in Lesotho, said after hearing the presentation and the success story about law graduate Mr Ntokozo Qwabe, she was even more convinced about studying Law.  

Classmate Ms Lerato Tohlang said her future lay in the Accounting profession.

‘I want to be a Chartered Accountant because I am passionate about Accounting. I can’t wait to study at UKZN next year and I’ll work really hard so I can get a scholarship and make my parents proud,’ she said.

Apart from the enlightening presentation, the students also enjoyed the warm hospitality of Durban through sight-seeing and visited various large organisations in Durban such as the Tongaat Hulett sugar mill. 

Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph by Thandiwe Jumo

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Postgraduate Students’ Project Provides Access to Justice for Public


Master of Law in consumer law students partnered with non-governmental organisation ProBono.Org in a community engagement project which provided free legal assistance and representation for those in need. 

This four-month project was part of portfolio submission requirements for the Consumer Law module presented by Professor Tanya Woker. 

Through this initiative, which ran for four months, students handled cases including those involving constitutional and human rights law, family law, the law of succession, property law, labour law, local government law and consumer law. The students also assisted with preparing research reports. 

Commenting on the teaching and learning initiative, Woker said: ‘Students benefited enormously from this project because they were able to truly understand the difficulties consumers face when trying to sort out every day consumer problems. This made the theory so much more relevant for the students.’ 

From a student’s perspective, the programme was not only the perfect combination of theory and practice, it also sharpened their legal and research skills which are essential for a successful Law career. 

Mr Mlungisi Nkosi, who handled a case involving the sale of a defective motor vehicle to a client, said the following about the experience: ‘My exposure to the various matters at ProBono.Org honed my legal skills and developed me significantly - nothing brought me greater joy than providing a legal solution to a complex issue, and consequently seeing justice being done.’

Fellow student Ms Ntombifikile Zulu’s research involved in assisting with drafting papers in cases where judgments had been taken against consumers and in submitting a complaint to the Consumer Commission in a case involving gym contracts.

Zulu said: ‘Working with Pro Bono expanded my research skills and the depth of my understanding of consumer protection laws contained in the Consumer Protection Act and the National Credit Act. The most crucial skill is to apply the legislation to different issues the consumer encounters,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Film Festival a News Hub for Media Students

Film Festival a News Hub for Media Students
A team of students who are part of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

A team of students under the wing of UKZN’s Centre for Communication, Media and Society will again report on the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).   

This project was first organised for the 2013 festival as a way of offering students real world journalism experience;  helping them build their portfolio for employment applications and for them to be located in the thick of the film, TV and video industries.  

Student interns have been selected for and trained in the following fields: Journalism / Film Reviews, Communication Management, Events Management and Organisational Communication. 

CCMS is working with DIFF to manage a newsroom of selected third year and honours students to write reviews on the festival and its films, panels, directors and actors. Their stories will be submitted for publication to various newspapers; the CCMS magazine, SUBtext, and entered onto the African Cinema and TV page on the CCMS website, that has entries on 10 000 titles.  

 isiZulu-speaking students have been encouraged to also write for the Isolezwe newspaper.  

The Journal of African Cinemas will consider substantive reviews while qualifying reviewers will be supported by an experienced team of CCMS-based sub-editors and senior film students who are also lecturers. 

Professor Keyan Tomaselli, who is coordinating the initiative, said: ’The project will mimic a real-world media newsroom. The workshop will equip aspiring DIFF reviewers and reporters with skills they need to write effectively for specific readerships under tight newsroom deadlines within a professional  supervisory structure.’ 

Contributors include second and third year, honours, MA and PhD students. 

Four honours students will use the Festival as a research site in their analysis of Durban as a ‘Film Friendly City’.

 Keyan Tomaselli

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