SHAPE Stimulates Partnerships between Young Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals

SHAPE Stimulates Partnerships between Young Entrepreneurs and Business Professionals
Participants of the “Meet Your Business Friend Day” event engage in activities.

A “Meet Your Business Friend Day” event hosted by the SHAPE (Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship) in partnership with UKZN, the eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) created a platform for networking and sharing of ideas between established entrepreneurs, business professionals and entrepreneurship students.

The event, at the Durban Undersea Club, allowed business professionals to share their knowledge and entrepreneurship skills as well as their contribution towards their KwaZulu-Natal’s Regional Economic Development with the students who in turn shared their entrepreneurial aspirations with the professionals.

It is envisaged that through such social entrepreneurship initiatives - which expose students to the business industry and the business industry to the students - partnerships will be created which contribute towards stimulating entrepreneurial thinking and a start-up culture essential to the sustainability and economic growth of KwaZulu-Natal.

At the event, participants took part in an interactive workshop facilitated by Graduate School of Business and Leadership academic, Dr Shamim Bodhanya. The workshop involved the participants in fun actives aimed at building friendships and exploring leadership and business strategies. International top Surf-Lifesaving athlete and world class sport achiever, Mr Wade Krieger, was part of the event to inspire young entrepreneurs and co-ordinated  the beach activities with Bodhanya. 

The day used innovative societal technologies of combining Multiple Intelligence pedagogy practices, with Living Theories, Action Learning and Participatory Action Research. 

It had a distinct purpose of introducing young entrepreneurs and business professionals to each other, hoping to increase each other’s levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and forming business friendships. The beach day unfolded into a beautiful happening of emerging social science. 

The Founder of the SHAPE Project, UKZN academic and doctoral candidate, Ms Thea van der Westhuizen said: ‘It was about relating like-hearted people, sharing business passions and getting inspired by one human being to another. It was about raising levels of self-confidence of being a young entrepreneur in South Africa and not being scared to network with business professionals. It was about stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks through finding a business friend through beach activities and creative play that symbolises real life situations. It’s about placing people first, returning to creative play and finding fun filled purpose in an era that is driven by idolising money and capitalism. It’s about inspiring greatness and being inspired to greatness,’ she said. 

Business partners and students described the event as a great way to network, exchange knowledge and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in business.

Mr Thabani Nsele of Inamandla Mathematics Education and Entrepreneurial Platform said he learned a lot about building friendships and came up with a lot of new business ideas; while Mr Richard Hoffmann-Jensen of Truck and Plant Engineering said the event was a positive step towards forming lasting business relationships and he called for more events of this nature in the future.

From a student’s perspective, SHAPE candidate Mr Andile Xaba said the enriching experience exposed him to the fun side of business.

‘The business professionals I met were very helpful and approachable. It was inspiring to get advice on my ideas from people who have been in the industry for years and I am looking forward to applying this newly acquired knowledge,’ said Xaba.

 Thandiwe Jumo


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UKZN Volleyball Teams Scoop Awards

UKZN Volleyball Teams Scoop Awards
Members of UKZN’s volleyball teams celebrating their achievements at national championships in Gauteng.

Men’s and women’s volleyball teams from UKZN competed at the National University Volleyball Championship held at the University of the Witwatersrand.  

Both UKZN teams scooped bronze medals after an intensive five-day competition which saw 22 men and 20 women’s teams from institutions across South Africa compete for medals.  

The teams were commended for their sporting prowess and training regimes. ‘Both male and female team coaches must be congratulated for the excellent manner in which they prepared their teams for the tournament. It was quite evident that both teams trained well and could maintain the high standard of volleyball,’ said UKZN University Sports South Africa (USSA) Team Manager, Mr Lawrence Naidoo. 

UKZN student Mr Devin O’Regan received a special award for being the “Best Attacker” at the tournament while he and fellow players Ms Atrika Hansraj; Ms Yasmin Rajak and Mr Usangiphile Buthelezi were selected for the USSA National Team.  

Raylene Captain Hasthibeer


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Students Get Tips on Successful Trading and Investment Strategies

Students Get Tips on Successful Trading and Investment Strategies
Mr Simon Brown delivering his presentation.

Finance students were enriched with knowledge on trading, profitable investments and investment strategies by Investor Mr Simon Brown at a seminar hosted by UKZN’s Finance Society

The Seminar was one of many events planned by the Society aimed at ensuring its members are aware of the latest business trends as well as to create a link between academia and the business world. 

Brown’s presentation titled: “Trade to Trade Well”, detailed aspects of how to grow money and build an investment portfolio. He also provided tips on trading. 

The presentation is part of Brown’s free online university, JustOneLap.com, which features teachings and courses on Standard Online Share Trading including Trade to Trade Well (psychology of trading) and Trading Index Futures (a hands on course) and ad-hoc courses and talks on various money/trading/investing related subjects. 

Brown told participants at the seminar: ‘Trading requires you to know the market which means you have to use resources such as the internet to keep up to date while you also need to be money-wise about your investments. I did not study finance like you but through empowering myself with knowledge and being passionate about investing and trading, I have managed to succeed and you can do the same.’  

Brown’s presentation - a perfect balance of theory concepts and real-life experiences - led to Society members, who are mostly third and fourth year Finance students, asking questions related to what they have learned in lectures. 

Society President Mr Hamza Goolam-Mahomed said they are planning more events of this nature especially those geared towards internships and graduate programmes. 

‘We are very grateful to Simon Brown for taking time out of his schedule and sharing his wealth of trading and investment knowledge with us. It was an invaluable experience for those who attended. We are indeed planning more events and we especially look forward to having Simon come back, and people can email Katrina or myself to get the details and be put on our mailing list,’ he said.  

To become a member send an email to: hamzagoolam@gmail.com or katrinacumming@hotmail.com 

Thandiwe Jumo


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Building a Giving Foundation!

Building a Giving Foundation!
UKZN Foundation and Alumni Affairs staff creating the culture of giving on Mandela Day, one food item at a time!

The UKZN Foundation Trust in partnership with Alumni Affairs recently honoured the Mandela Day “Giving Legacy” with a novel approach - collecting groceries valued at R67 from each of its staff members to present to an organisation in need.  

‘Foundation staff must lead by example in building a culture of giving at the University,’ said Acting Foundation Executive Director, Professor Jane Meyerowitz. 

Building a culture of sustainable giving lies at the heart of the UKZN Foundation’s core values.

By honouring the Mandela Day legacy, the Foundation seeks closer collaboration from its corporate donors, alumni and friends, in building an outstanding university and a more successful, prosperous nation.

The groceries were handed over to the Mater Populi AIDS hospice in Wentworth. 

Rudi Kimmie


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UKZN Launches the Graduate Development Programme

UKZN Launches the Graduate Development Programme
From left, Ms Adeshini McIntosh, HR Consultant -CAES; Ms Manqhai Kraai, Developmental Lecturer: School of Life Sciences Ambassador; Dr Sibusiso Mthembu, Developmental Lecturer: School of Chemistry and Physics Ambassador; Ms Busisiwe Ramabodu, Manager: Human Resources Development; Ms Zinhle Nzaji, Acting Director – HRD and Ms Shereen Balkisson, Manager: College HR – CAES.

As part of its commitment to being an “Employer of Choice for Graduates”, UKZN recently launched the Graduate Development Programme by exhibiting as an Employer at the recent Careers Exhibition in Pietermaritzburg and Durban campuses. 

The programme has been a great success with many final year and postgraduate students expressing interest in pursuing a career in academia at UKZN.  

The Programme, the brainchild of the Human Resources Division, is all about academic “talent and excellence”. 

‘Students and graduates who are capable and driven are being identified to remain with the University and pursue a career in academia,’ said Mrs Busisiwe Ramabodu; Manager: Human Resource Development. 

‘Our aim is to recruit graduates into various disciplines at various levels with the aim of employing them as full time UKZN employees.  If eligible, graduates may be awarded scholarships to further their studies and in turn work for the University. Graduates who may not meet the criteria for the Scholarship, but who want to become academics have an option of pursuing their studies to Masters level and thereafter apply for Developmental Lecturer positions, as advertised on the University’s website, whilst pursuing their PhD studies,’ said Ramabodu. 

Several academics, who are ambassadors of the programme, were at the launch and spoke positively about the initiative.  

Dr Nolwazi Nombona, one of the ambassadors felt it was quite unique for a university to actively recruit its students to become academics.  

‘The programme offers graduates the option to pursue two career paths that inevitably cross at any given point in time in an individual’s academic career depending on their career aspirations i.e. specialists or leaders in academia.’ 

‘In order to be in a leadership position in academia; one has to have demonstrated academic excellence by rising through the Specialisation Pathway. As higher education, we recognise that in order for UKZN to succeed as an academic institution nationally and globally; it requires a variety of capabilities across academic disciplines,’ said Ramabodu. 

UKZN’s Graduate Development Programme launch continues in other campuses between 9am and 3pm as follows:

•   8 August HUM/ LMS – Westville - Westville Sports Centre

•   11 August HUM/ LMS – HC - Howard: SU Building

•   15 August AES – HC – UNITE Building 

For more information, visit http://hr.ukzn.ac.za/Homepage.aspx or email Mrs Busi Ramabodu at ramabodub@ukzn.ac.za  or phone: 031-2607831.

Rakshika Sibran


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International School 2014 relaunched

International School 2014 relaunched
United States students visited UKZN as part of the International School Programme.

Fourteen students from the United States visited UKZN as part of the International School Programme relaunched this year. 

The Programme offers international students the opportunity to visit an area rich in cultural diversity and history for an intensive study programme between the end of June and beginning of August each year. 

It also provides an opportunity to study at one of South Africa’s leading Universities under the tuition of experts, engaging in multi-cultural experiences, with opportunities to participate in community projects, and obtaining insight into the social, political and economic challenges of the region. 

The enthusiastic group of US students attended 80 hours of lectures during the five-week programme. 

Tailor-made credit bearing courses included Zulu Language and Culture; Service Learning; Gender and Education; Multilingualism and language policy in South Africa; South African Film, and Politics of KwaZulu-Natal. 

The programme included visits to two destinations of historical and environmental interest and students also went to the Giants Castle World Heritage site in the Drakensburg to see the San rock paintings, the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and Isimangaliso Wetland Park, another world heritage site.   

They also invited to one of Durban’s prestigious events, the opening night of the Durban International Film Festival. 

At the end of the International school programme the students departed with a sense of fulfilment and achievement. 

Roy Dace,Reshina Umra and Sithembile Shabangu 


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UKZN Medical alumna a Hit on Idols

UKZN Medical alumna a Hit on Idols
Dr Lihle Buthelezi at her audition.

College of Health Sciences medical alumna Dr Lihle Buthelezi has made it through to the next round of Idols after impressing the judges at the Durban auditions. 

Buthelezi, 26, who is currently doing her second year of internship at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital and at Addington Hospital, is ecstatic about getting the “Golden ticket” to Sun City. ‘Excited is an understatement. All my life I’ve wanted to pursue a career in music and this Golden ticket is a kick start in the right direction.’ 

She said if she won the competition she would first complete her internship before focusing on her album and promoting her music career. ‘I’m passionate about chasing dreams and becoming SA’s next Idol would be a vehicle to spread that message to young people everywhere.  

‘Medicine is a noble profession of which I am proud to be a part of,’ said Buthelezi. ‘Win or lose I’ll always be a singing doctor.  It’s good to have something to fall back on and that is why I waited.’ 

She said her family in Ladysmith was very proud: ‘Especially my four-year-old daughter who persistently says: “Mom you must win Idols, OK”.’ 

Her family has always supported her music: ‘I remember my mom and brothers would come to all my choir festivals at school, even though the boys were not into that kind of music. They’ve put up with me belting out ballads from my room, singing through my hairbrush! I think now, more than ever, they realise I’m serious about music as a career and are right behind me.’ 

Buthelezi hopes to specialise in Surgery, particularly Vascular Surgery, however public health is also an option. ‘At this stage I’m leaning more towards public health as I need to be free to do other non-medical projects.’ 

Buthelezi had this message for all young people: ‘There’s always a reason to keep living and pressing on, so what if you fail - you’re better and have learned more than those who have not even tried. And if you win, you’re EVEN BETTER!’ 

Buthelezi missed an opportunity to go to an Arts school when she was accepted into Medicine: ‘I’ve always been in speech and drama and plays at school. And I’ve also been told that I have a great voice for radio.’   

Nombuso Dlamini


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College of Health Sciences spreads "Madiba Magic"

College of Health Sciences spreads
Dermatologists spreading the love at Edith Benson Children’s home.

UKZN College of Health Sciences (CHS) students and doctors celebrated International Nelson Mandela Day by spending their 67 minutes offering services to different communities in Durban and surrounding areas. 

Members of the Medical Students Representative Council (MSRC) at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and the Department of Public Health went to the Happy Valley Clinic in the Valley of 1000 Hills and Westville Juvenile Prison. 

The students presented a special programme to clinic patients, providing useful information about healthy eating and general well-being. They also conducted breast examinations and eye and Body Mass Index (BMI) tests on people in the community. 

Head of Public Health, Professor Joyce Tsoka-Gwengweni, and Research Manager from UKZN, Dr Myra Taylor, spoke to the community about healthy eating and the idea of creating vegetable gardens to provide organic food for themselves. 

At Westville Juvenile Prison, students spent their time educating young offenders about safe sex, HIV and STIs and medical male circumcision.  

The programme aimed to create HIVand AIDS awareness among young offenders and provide support and mentorship to young people while encouraging them to look beyond their current situation. 

The programme was co-ordinated by the CHS Public Relations Manager, Ms Maryann Francis; Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine HIV Counselor, Ms Lindiwe Mbhele, Miss Kwanele Mahamba of the MSRC Finance and Projects section and Bonginkosi Mafuze, MSRC. 

Young offenders were treated to edutainment during which they were able to win Madiba T-shirts by answering health related questions. They were also given a chance to ask questions. 

Mahamba did a presentation on STIs while Mbhele did a presentation on HIV andAIDS, in which she encouraged the prison youth to know their status and advised the men to undergo medical circumcision.  

After the presentations, more than 100 young offenders lined up to get tested by the health officials. 

Prison warder and HIV Councillor Mr A Mthembu said: ‘I am surprised by the number of boys who have showed up to the clinic to be tested. We have this facility open daily but they never come.’

One of the inmates, known as Sunshine, said he was grateful for the information: ‘I am happy that UKZN came and gave me the courage to want to know my status. I will try harder to live a responsible life.’  

School of Health Sciences’ members of the Hindu Student Association (HSA) and other Medical students spent Mandela Day at Malagazi Township where, in conjunction with the Berea and Food for Life Group, they fed about 500 community members  hot meals, desserts and soft drinks. They also conducted free eye tests, BP monitoring, and face painting for the children who all received small gifts. The students also conducted first aid demonstrations. 

The theme for the day was: “Our Hands can Help to Build a Brighter Future”. 

Department of Dermatology doctors led by Professor Anisa Mosam, and UKZN’s Dermatology HOD, Dr Ncoza Dlova, visited the Edith Benson Children’s Home where they handed out gifts.   

The doctors screened about 49 young children some of whom exhibited serious skin problems including fungal infection, eczema, viral infection, and pigmentation and inflammatory disorders. They were referred to the children’s skin clinic at King Edward VIII where they will be given proper treatment. 

Dr Nerissa Moodley of Stanger Hospital’s Dermatology Department arrived with a boot full of new toys and clothes. ‘This is our way of giving back to the community and also to have the humbling experience of being where our patients live.’ 

Mrs Firdose Moola thanked the UKZN doctors for the donations and their much needed skills. 

The doctors left the home with hope and promised to visit annually.  

Members of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) visited Umlazi Child and Youth Centre, a home for abandoned children where they handed out toys, clothes, toiletries and shoes.

 Nombuso Dlamini


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Top Published UKZN Woman Researcher for 2014 Announced

Top Published UKZN Woman Researcher for 2014 Announced
Humanities academic and Anthropologist at the School of Social Sciences, Dr Maheshvari Naidu, who is the Top Published Woman Researcher at UKZN for 2014.

Dr Maheshvari Naidu is the Top Published Woman Researcher at UKZN for 2014 and is placed third overall in the University’s research rankings. 

Naidu, a Humanities Academic and Anthropologist at the School of Social Sciences, has featured several times in the Top 30 rankings, achieving ninth place in 2009.  

She was also one of the national winners for the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Women in Science Awards (WISA) in 2013 for her work in the fields of Gender and Violence. 

Naidu’s area of completed research is squarely placed in gender and feminist studies and is a sustained research vector that cuts across her ethnographic work in the disciplines of anthropology, religion and mobilities studies. 

When asked about what the recognition meant to her, Naidu said it indexed sustained work she felt was a vital part of being an academic. Research within the Humanities was for her, about creating and contributing to fluid bodies of intellectual capital that were semiotically and inherently ‘creative” in the sense of being potentially innovative and resourceful.  

‘Such a resource allows one to conceptualise this capital in wider knowledge economies and knowledge ecologies and draw thereon within applied and collaborative public contexts that make real time connections with the substantive world,’ she said.  

Naidu added, however, that she joined other academics, many on the Top 30 list, who had concerns around the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) privileged publications in journals.  

‘This is a discussion that academics have attempted to raise on several occasions, at various forums. It would be naive to assume that some of our colleagues, who are not on the list, are not research active, as in many instances, this work is in the form of books and chapters, and sometimes in journal publications not the DHET list.’ 

Naidu stated that while incentivisation was a necessary mechanism, in many contexts, its effect could also be invidious. She referred to a recent paper by Hasrati (2013) which goes as far as arguing thatmaterial and credentialing incentives could be regarded as a kind of soft “violence” in the exercise of disciplinary power, detailing how publishing has become (overly) instrumental in order to receive research funding and promotion. 

She added, however, that most academics worked on the twin feit accomplis that that doing research was critical, and that publishing that research was both evidence of having done research, as well as more importantly, having done ‘good research’ that had been peer-reviewed, and which was able to contribute some social value.  

‘That said; when publishing and the number of publications becomes the dominant index of “the good researcher”, we suffer the possibility of ghettoising that which is potentially beneficial about doing research.’ 

Naidu added that as the key to both achieving (legitimate intellectual) visibility and garnering (sometimes questionable) quantifiable “impact factors and citations’, was easily accessible distribution of work, many were understandably keen to get published. This, she said, was complicated by the “material and credentialing’ power assigned by DHET to getting published in accredited journals as opposed to books, for example.  

‘We enjoy - as we should - our hard earned success in journals with a sustained tradition of what is widely perceived as good quality scholarship. Yet in incentivised “bean counting” exercises, the good quality journal as well as its “ugly sister” (journal) both get the same full point.’ 

UKZNDaba Online


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Durban Movie Mogul hails from UKZN

Durban Movie Mogul hails from UKZN
Professor Keyan Tomaselli with his Simon Sabela film award.

Media Studies Professor Keyan Tomaselli of the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) has won a prestigious film award. 

Tomaselli received the Simon Sabela film award in the Legends and Heroes category at the second annual Simon Mabhunu Sabela Awards ceremony organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission.  

Sabela was South Africa’s first Black film director and Tomaselli is the first film researcher to study the director’s work which he did in his recently re-issued book, The Cinema of Apartheid:  Race and Class in South African Film (Routledge, 1988, 2014).   

Tomaselli was selected for this particular accolade in recognition of his lifelong contribution to building up the film industry; his policy work for the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) which resulted in the White Paper on Film; the Film Strategy Document and the establishment of the National Film and Video Foundation.  

Accepting his award, Tomaselli dedicated it to Simon Sabela whose premature death he felt had robbed the industry of a great democrat and pioneering director. ‘The Awards as a whole indicate a wonderful inclusiveness in their selection because film makers and actors are recognised for their contributions, their potential and not their politics,’ he said.  

Tomaselli’s keen interest in film and the visual arts evolved from being a hobbyist and social activist capturing anti-apartheid protests while a student at Wits University to shooting footage on surf culture and wildlife on Super-8 and 16mm reels for commercials.  He later worked in TV and was part-owner of a film sound studio.   

Tomaselli’s skill as a professional cameraman was bolstered by his astute understanding of how the technical processes of script-writing, editing and production were closely connected to seemingly unrelated aspects of film - such as the current political climate, funding considerations and film theory.  

As a Scholar/Scriptwriter/Producer/Cameraman whose career in the film industry spans almost 40 years, Tomaselli has proven that he is a legend. Adding to this, he also served on the KZN Film Commission’s steering committee during its first phase, and his students’ films have been screened over the years at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) as well as by SABC-TV and DSTV. 

His most recent book on film is Encountering Modernity:  20th Century South African Cinemas (UNISA Press 2007), and he launched the Journal of African Cinemas in 2009 which is published in the United Kingdom.   

Students interning as journalists at DIFF this year report that Tomaselli is the talk of the festival, with the new CEO of the Film and Publication Board even telling a public panel on the Board’s work that he had himself been educated in film at Wits in the 1970s by Tomaselli.  

This presence is also boosted by Tomaselli’s intervention at the 2013 Festival when he helped to rally academics, the industry and film organisation across the world to oppose the banning of the opening film, Of Good Report.   

The processes arising, and his research emanating from this incident, not only witnessed the unbanning of the film which closed the 2013 Festival, but also in the Film and Publication Board rethinking its assumptions and role.    

Masters students from the CCMS are using the Festival as a research site in conducting research into Durban film friendliness, of which the festival is a key driver. 

Currently Tomaselli spends his time behind-the-scenes training media professionals, analysing film theory and monitoring the socio-economic contextual factors that influence film production in Durban.  

Melissa Mungroo and Varona Sathiyah


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Strong UKZN Presence on the Water SA Journal Editorial Board

Strong UKZN Presence on the <em>Water SA</em> Journal Editorial Board
Dr Joyce Chitja, Professor Chris Buckley and Professor Graham Jewitt.

Three UKZN academics working in various disciplines related to the fields of water science, technology, engineering and policy are on the new editorial board of the journal, Water SA

This is the first time so many UKZN representatives have been selected to the board at the same time, demonstrating the strength and diversity of UKZN’s water research. 

The three researchers are: the Acting Academic Leader of the Food Security Centre at the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), Dr Joyce Chitja; the Head of UKZN’s Pollution Research Group, Professor Chris Buckley, and Umgeni Water Chair of Water Resources Management and Director of the Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR),  Professor Graham Jewitt.  

Water SA is the Water Research Commission’s (WRC) quarterly accredited, open-source scientific journal which publishes refereed, original work in all aspects of water related research. Launched in 1975, the journal includes articles from authors both locally and internationally. 

Working on the board enables members to guide the direction of the journal in an advisory role and shape the strategic themes of the journal during a three-year period. 

Chitja, selected to the board for the first time, is doing research in the fields of water access, livelihoods and food security of smallholder farmers on irrigation schemes.  She has been implementing a WRC project since 2010 and has PhD students working on water-related issues in Limpopo.

 ‘Serving on the board is quite a big responsibility,’ said Chitja. ‘I look forward to seeing what broader water-related research issues exist in the country and their implications for livelihoods and food security.’

Said Buckley: ‘The Editorial Board provides a high-level policy and management review function for the journal and is not directly involved in the screening or review of manuscripts.’  

Buckley, who has served on the board once before, says he wants to encourage papers to be submitted which relate to water and sanitation challenges and applicable solutions in developing countries specifically. 

‘The staff from the former University of Natal  and the University of KwaZulu-Natal have been involved in many WRC- funded research projects in a range of disciplines since the inception of the WRC more than 40 years ago. The three UKZN staff members on the Editorial Board is an indication of the breadth of water related knowledge and experience at the University and the regard with which it is held. 

‘A particular attraction of Water SA is the fact that it has always been an open access journal - even the paper copies were free to developing country readers - and thus accessible to all scientists, consultants, managers and policy makers in developing countries,’ added Buckley.

Jewitt, also serving on the board for the second time, says he is looking forward to working towards seeing the journal’s significance as an African journal highlighted. 

‘The journal, despite its breadth of readership, doesn’t have as high an impact factor as some but that is certainly not reflective of its quality or importance.’  

Their term of service is from 1 July, 2014 to 30 June, 2017. 

Christine Cuénod


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WANTED : People to Promote Responsible Behaviour and Healthy Lifestyle Management

WANTED : People to Promote Responsible Behaviour and Healthy Lifestyle Management
Peer educators and forum members at UKZN’s Westville campus.

Peer educators and forum members at UKZN’s Westville campus travelled from far and wide during the recent vacation to undergo Brothers for Life and ZAZI training, demonstrating their commitment to being responsible adults in the struggle for a transformed generation of role models for society at large. 

The students built relationships among themselves as a team of young people who want to encourage others to be the kind of adults the nation can be proud of. 

Young women participants were trained to be ZAZI women – ie women of strength and regardless of how tough life gets are role models to other women who face various challenges.  

Exciting talent was displayed in the drama productions and poetry readings. 

The challenge is to reach one million men and one million women in one million moments to be responsible people transforming our nation for the better. 

People are encouraged to register to be members of Brothers for Life and ZAZI women.  Those interested should contact the secretaries of the Central and Westville campus Men’s Forum, Mr Mxolisi Nkomo (0846576447) or Mr Sphesihle Khumalo (0739802399); or Ms Luyanda Funeka (0766515374) Chairperson of the Westville Campus Women’s Forum. 

Membership is open to people from all walks of life including the youth in school, those already out of school and students in tertiary institutions.

Eleanor Langley


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The UKZN Griot. Of Journalism And Cyberspace

The UKZN Griot.  Of Journalism And Cyberspace
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Keyan G Tomaselli

Everyone knows that serious papers are declining in circulation while the salacious tabloids are skyrocketing.  What do the readers of these rags know that is not known to the “mainstream” titles?  Hey, man I read Business Report every day and I advise my stock broker accordingly.  

I also read The Sun. Its stories of witchcraft and crazy people are just up my research alley.  These occult-laden topics make wonderful studies for our cell-phone addicted students. The occult is real-world – like the financial markets.  If you don’t believe me, watch “Zeitgeist”. This film argues that if all the money listed on the world’s computers was withdrawn by its owners on a single day, that the paper currency spat out would be only 20% of the total.  Let’s not even talk about the virtuality of stock markets, bonds and other chimerical financial instruments which are simply interacting genres of a foolish volatile video game. Where does the 80% go?  Money is an imagined entity.  Reserve banks manage imagination, not hard cash. When money is no longer virtual, it will no longer exist.  This is one of the few instances where the illusion is real.  Funny, economics and accounting text books don’t discuss this virtuality much. 

Talking about where the hard currency went, what I really want to know is where have so many of the good journalists gone?  Critical financial analysts are now in the Zeitgeist machine, churning out bland government press releases that have nothing to do with reality as us ordinary folks experience it.    

Conversely, folks like Chris Merrett who were once academic administrators, are now incisive writers for the media.  We need to find work for former librarians like Chris because the students lost in cyberspace don’t know what or where these facilities are anymore. Such writers infuse implicit theory into their journalism, while others like my old film industry buddy, Stephen Coan, get provincial awards for writing about Zulu cinematic history in The Witness.  That’s The Witness’s forté – cutting edge social commentary, history and literature that makes a difference and that grabs readers.  I remember Ray White’s sports journalism.  His stories read like thrillers.  The way that he examined South African cricket – especially its mad hatter administrative characters – was riveting.  

So where did some of the journalism talent go?  Well, some years back, a Professor of Journalism undertook a study of what media students read and watch.  The results were distressing.  Not as bad as one third year UKZN Media student who once innocently asked, after my berating the class for not reading newspapers, ‘But Prof, where can I get one of the papers that you are always talking about?’  The other Professor learned that film students don’t watch movies, journalism students don’t read newspapers, and TV students don’t watch TV.  Actually, in some cases, this also applies to their lecturers.  

The electronic occult is to blame.  PCs and then Internet killed history – everything is now experienced by digital natives as occurring in the perceptual present.  All one has to do is to press buttons and the digital magic will do the rest. If it’s not on the Net, it doesn’t exist.   Neither do students exist who can write functional sentences – those who can are a rarity.  

The two above examples occurred about 10 years ago before Web 2.0, smart phones and social media took us off the streets and into cyberspace.  So what were they doing when they were not doing anything?    Perhaps it’s better if we don’t ask. 

Financial genius Warren Buffet recently bought a whole slew of newspapers in the US.    He must know something. So too do the unemployed, the under-employed and the employed across big and small towns in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere. These folks rent their newspapers that are stacked on display frames from street hawkers. They read two or three a day.  They know where to buy their newspapers.  They read for entertainment, they read because they want to participate in the public sphere, and they read because they want to read, they read also because they are bored.  Now, that’s novel, as most South African students only read because they have to pass an exam (and get only 30% for matric).  In the pre-politically correct days, these kids were called pupils and those who got 30% were called failures.  Now, by sleight of hand they are hailed as “learners” (all they have done is to have learned how to write exams, not how to learn).  Shades of George Orwell’s 1984, sales of which were massively boosted by the exposé of a private spook who revealed the USA National Secret Service Prism surveillance programme to the world a year ago.   

Besides, the Net is just another “platform”, a ghastly new word that the geeks invented to describe all the new screens, earplugs and beeping things that everyone around me are using all the time.  No longer do they hear the birds, the bees or the muggers, so absorbed are they in their imaginary digital world.  Platforms, schmatforms, all they do is re-cycle predictable and usually banal content lit up via a back screen.  I mean, where’s the romance in reading off a Kindle while contemplating the ills of the world while on the lav? The Kindle can’t bend or fold over, and one can’t easily thumb an instant tactile spatial overview of the state of the world by paging though it.  Paper remains king.  It smells and it has texture. Support your local street vendor, teach him to shout ‘Read all about it’.  Buy the paper.  Make his day. 

‘Sir, where can I find a newspaper?’  With Durban now served by no less than seven daily and weekly titles, it shouldn’t be too difficult.  

* Keyan G Tomaselli is located in the Centre for Communication, Media and Society,  and once featured on the infamous salacious back page of The Sunday Times that reported on a lecture he once gave on the impending technology of cybersex (in 1976), way before anyone had anticipated the Net.  He was well ahead of his time.  Still is. 

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


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High School Pupils Become “Scientists” for a Week

High School Pupils Become “Scientists” for a Week
High school pupils being “scientists” thanks to UKZN.

A vibrant group of 55 pupils from various schools in KwaZulu-Natal took part in an exciting, week-long initiative within the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science during the July holidays, which allowed them to experience "Being a Scientist for a Week".  

Currently in its fifth year, the programme is primarily focused on engaging young minds with the array of exciting career opportunities available in the sciences through study within the College.  

Over the course of the week learners were introduced to the various disciplines within the College’s five Schools through a variety of interactive learning experiences, talks and tours of several of the disciplines offered by each School.  

The week started with the youngsters interacting within the discipline of Astrophysics and Cosmology, where they were divided into teams each needing to build a replica model of the solar system with materials provided. The students were given the added initiative of an exciting opportunity for the winning team to take home a prize at the end of the week.  

The pupils also spent time with graduates in the discipline of Microbiology where they took part in interesting activities such as making yoghurt and learning about the general relevance and importance of the discipline. 

Not to be outdone, the Chemistry section revealed the secrets of making ice-cream out of liquid nitrogen and milk as well as allowing them to experiment in the laboratories.   

The students also paid an educational visit to the Ukulinga Research Farm, where they were exposed to various Agricultural disciplines.  

The excitement among the students was tangible and many of them identified the programme as the perfect introduction to establishing a career direction for themselves. 

‘Be a Scientist for a Week’ forms a part of a number of useful and dynamic initiatives run by the College, which seek to engage and expose young folk to the multidimensional and diverse fields of opportunity that study at UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science allows.  

This programme is also aimed at actively addressing the need to emphasise the relevancy and overall importance of the sciences within the consciousness of South African youth and school-leavers.   

Sally Frost


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Greening Minds

Greening Minds
UKZN and GreenMatter stakeholders during a break at a strategic meeting held at UKZN.

The School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences hosted a meeting of GreenMatter stakeholders recently.  

GreenMatter, an initiative that drives transformation in graduate level skills for Biodiversity, is led by the Executive Director, Dr Sibusiso Manzini, who met with delegates from the School in order to provide an update of their strategy since 2010.  

GreenMatter’s co-founding partners, the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Lewis Foundation, led the development of a Biodiversity Human Capital Development Strategy (BHCDS) in 2009-2010. This strategy was aimed at producing specialist, research and management skills for all organisations with biodiversity mandates, objectives, interest or impact, in the context of skills shortages, the need for social transformation, and opportunities for growth and employment in the greening of the South African economy. 

GreenMatter operates through the involvement of a range of organisations, institutions and partners which include NGOs, SMMEs, parastatals, national and provincial government departments, Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), SETAs and business organisations, to deliver through a shared implementation model on the needs for quality skills and transformation.  

Manzini reported on the significant progress made since 2010 while stakeholders identified the need for greater collaboration among fellows and those who are outside GreenMatter.  

It was agreed that GreenMatter had already started to contribute to the Government’s National Development Plan but that there were further opportunities for it to do so, particularly in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. 

Currently the GreenMatter Fellowship offers postgraduate development awards up to the value of R150 000 a year, which comprises R40 000 annually for Masters (up to two years) and R90 000 annually for PhDs (up to three years), including two skills development contact sessions in the first year.  

Applicants can either already be enrolled in their course or be commencing study in 2015. The deadline for applications is Friday, 29 August 2014.  

Senior GreenMatter fellow, Professor Albert Modi, said he was very pleased GreenMatter had chosen UKZN for the meeting and encouraged UKZN staff and students to apply for the 2015 fellowship awards. 

For more information about the GreenMatter Fellowship  visit the GreenMatter website http://www.greenmatter.co.za  

Professor Albert Modi


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ISikole Sasebusika SobuNjiniyela sibe Yimpumelelo

ISikole Sasebusika SobuNjiniyela sibe Yimpumelelo
Abafundi abebeyingxenye yeSikole sasebusika sobuNjiniyela sonyaka we-2014.

ISikole SobuNjiniyela besibambe iSikole sasebusika SobuNjiniyela saminyaka yonke kusukela ngomhla ziyi-7- 11 kuNtulikazi. Isikole besihanjelwe abafundi abangama-98 abavela kuzo zonke izifunda bonke bebese-Unite Building ekhempasini i-Howard College.

Inhloso yesikole ukucacisela abafundi bamabanga aphansi ngemikhakha eyahlukene kwezobunjiniyela nemisebenzi abangayenza uma bekhetha umkhakha othize. Abafundi banikezwe ithuba lokuvakashela umkhakha ngamunye lapho bebebamba iqhaza emisebenzini yakhona futhi baphinde bathulelwe izinkulumo ezinomdlandla abasebenzi nabafundi asebeneziqu zasenyuvesi. Izikhulumi zangaphandle ezivela kwa Unilever, eThekwini Municipality, TIA nakwa-Eskom ziphinde zabacacisela abafundi ngamathuba akhona uma sebethole iziqu zabo futhi sebelungiselela ukungena emsebenzini

Abafundi bathole ithuba lokuvakashela isikhungo samasosha AseNingizimu Afrika Asolwandle lapho bekhonjiswe isikhungo baphinde bathatha uhambo ngesikebhe ukuze babone obekwenziwa amasosha emanzini.  Ngaphezu kwalokhu, abafundi bavakashele kwa-Beacon okuyifemu ekhiqiza ushokoledi ukuyobona ukuthi imishini yakhona isetshenziswa kanjani. Kodwa okubajabulise kakhulu kube umvuzo wokuzitika ngoshokoledi ngendlela abayithandayo!

Sekuphethwa uhambo losuku, abafunda bakuthakasele kakhulu ukubona ubuhle beTheku begibele imoto ehamba phezulu yasenkundleni i-Moses Mabhida. Banikezwe inkulumo ngokwakhiwa kwenkundla baphinde bakhonjiswa nezindawo zokushintshela abadlali nezindawo zokuhlala izicukuthwane. Isonto liphele ngombukiso omnandi womlingo kaDr Megan Govender ochaze abafundi ngamaqhinga akhe akwenza uqonde imithetho elula yesifundo iFiziksi.

Umbhali, umthwebuli nongaxhumana naye: uPrashina Kallideen, budreep@ukzn.ac.za, x8077

Click here for English version

 


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Honour for Young UKZN Marine Geologist

Honour for Young UKZN Marine Geologist
UKZN Marine Geologist, Dr Andrew Green.

A Senior Lecturer in Geological Sciences in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Dr Andrew Green, has received the prestigious Emerging Scientist award from the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR).   

The award, made at the recent South African Marine Science Symposium in Stellenbosch, acknowledges research excellence in a new generation of scientists in Coastal and Marine Science.  

The citation for his award praised his prolific publication record, success in attracting international funding and collaboration, and his growing international reputation in the fields of Coastal and Marine Geology.   

Green’s PhD, awarded in 2009, was especially praised as ‘a work that globally advanced the understanding of submarine canyons’.  In addition, the vibrant team of young postgraduates under his supervision earned praise from SANCOR as an emerging African centre of excellence in the field.  

Commenting on his award, Green said: ‘I am honoured to have been recognised for something as prestigious as this. In South Africa, Marine Geology is often sidelined by the country’s focus on Economic Geology; likewise it is often overlooked within the larger South African marine science community where biology and oceanography tend to dominate.  

‘It is really exciting to see a growing recognition of our research and our research team in light of this.’ 

Green’s research focus is on changing sea levels and their record in the stratigraphy and geomorphology of coastal and marine environments.  In particular, he is interested in the response of shorelines to sea level rise, as evidenced by older shorelines left behind on the KwaZulu-Natal continental shelf.  

Green can be found most mornings, furiously examining the interaction between waves and the seabed along the northern beaches of Durban!


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New Direction for Education Research in South Africa

New Direction for Education Research in South Africa
The School of Education staff members at the 2014 South African Education Research Association (SAERA) Conference.

The South African Education Research Association (SAERA) - launched in 2013 to provide an overarching discursive space for galvanising education research in South Africa – hosts its second annual conference in Durban from 13 to 15 August.

The Conference, to be held under the theme: “Researching Education: Future Directions”, explores the current state of education research in South Africa and will look forward to the future directions research may take.

According to UKZN academic, Professor Michael Samuel, Chair of the Local Organising Committee, the Conference will provide a space to reflect on the nature, the purpose and the role of education research at present, and will look at new theoretical and methodological directions in the field.

‘Twenty years into the post-apartheid era we have to examine critically what heritages have been produced in the past  with respect to the different educational professional associations to which we belong, the different kinds of organisations that promoted education research and the ways in which these clustered and executed its framed mandates - often along very fragmented identities.

‘I think this particular Conference will allow the opportunity for people to draw on those heritages, mandates and identities and ask whether we should be forging new ones and forging new ways of dialoguing with each other,’ said Samuel.

‘We are in the process of becoming anew, walking and talking through our personalised histories of preferences, prejudices and new possibilities. In the past 20 years educational research endeavours concentrated  understandably on policy development, policy analysis and policy implementation.

‘This policy fetish gave rise to a strong emphasis on the unique varied contexts of situated educational practice, arguing for or against the intended laudable goals for education policy.

‘This spawned small-scale, individual case study research reporting. We are now posed to question whether a research-turn towards large-scale systemic analysis, larger-scale research projects mapping directions for systemic educational transformation, are necessary. The move away from descriptive studies to deeper and intertwined theoretical and practical analysis of educational achievements are needed at all levels of the system: at primary and secondary schools, in vocational and adult education; in Higher Education and Training contexts,’ said Samuel.

The Conference will also chart directions about how a moral commitment in line with Nelson Mandela’s legacy could be infused into educational research. The Conference will also exploit photographic displays as a visual means of alternatively communicating new ideas.

The main Conference programme themes are clustered around presentations related to Rurality and Rural development; Higher Education Quality and Transformation; Education Leadership and Management in Schools; Teacher Development in Professional Learning Communities and Adult Education and Vocational Learning, among others.

A pre-conference workshop for research development will take place on Tuesday, 12 August and will focus on building capacity of post graduate students and supervisors in educational research.

About 250 delegates are expected and keynote speakers include the Executive Director of the American Educational Research Association and the Secretary General of the World Education Research Association (WERA), Professor Felice J. Levine; Professor of Economics at the University of Stellenbosch, Profesor Servaas van der Berg; Professor of Educational Linguistics and the founding Director of the Centre for Education Practice Research (CEPR), Professor Elizabeth Henning; Head of the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education at the University of the Free State, Professor Sechaba Mahlomaholo, and the Director of the Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Peliwe Lolwana.

* For further information about the Conference, contact: Professor Michael Samuel at tel:031-2601859 or email: Samuelm@ukzn.ac.za; or Dr Vimolan Mudaly at tel: 031-2603682 or email: Mudalyv@ukzn.ac.za

Melissa Mungroo


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Talents Durban at 35th Durban International Film Festival

Talents Durban at 35th Durban International Film Festival
Filmmakers at the seventh edition of Talents Durban.

The 35th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) recently hosted the seventh edition of Talents Durban - formerly known as Talent Campus Durban – a skills sharing, development and networking platform for emerging filmmakers from Africa.  

Forty filmmakers attended from various African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Madagascar, Tunisia and Namibia. 

The programme consisted of master classes, in depth discussions with critically acclaimed film professionals from across the globe, hands-on training programmes as well as networking opportunities for selected participants. 

Talents Durban participants were able to participate in a co-production master class with French producer Denis Vaslin, who is a producer of documentaries and fiction. 

Australian documentary development expert, Julia Overton, presented a Documentary Finance master class on Documentary Financing. Overton is a Development and Investment Manager at Screen Australia where she is instrumental in assisting filmmakers with getting their projects produced with local or international support.  

Talents Durban participants also had access to a master class with pitch expert, Stefano Teadly, a South African-born, Italy-based producer, director and pitch expert. Talents Durban also featured a hands-on training programme including Doc Station, Script Station and Talent Press.  

Speaking at the DIFF media conference, Project Manager, Ms Tiny Mungwe, explained that Doc Station selected three documentary projects in development for coaching and mentoring towards participation in a public pitch at the DFM’s pitching forum – The African Pitch.  

Participants were given mentoring prior to the pitch and during preparations at the festival. After the pitch they were given advice from mentors on how to proceed with their projects.

‘Script Station is a script development programme for short films which paired four participants with script editors who assisted in clarifying stories and getting to an advanced draft of their script,’ said Mungwe. 

‘Talent Press is presented in co-operation with Fipresci, an association of national organisations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world which lobbies for the promotion and development of film culture and for the safeguarding of professional interests. The programme invited four critics to cover the films and events of the Durban International Film Festival for online and print publication,’ she said.  

DIFF Festival Manager Mr Peter Machen added: ‘DIFF welcomed these filmmakers to the Industry Programme and we were proud to have presented them as the future of African Cinema. The diversity of voices in this selection echoed the theme of this year’s Talents Durban – Continent of Contrasts/de Contraste – inspired by a revered elder of African cinema Djibril Diop Mambéty whose 1968 short films was entitled Contras’city (City of Contrasts).  

‘We hope this crop of Talents at DIFF will follow in the footsteps of giants of African cinema.’ 

The 35th Durban International Film Festival is organised by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts  and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.  

Melissa Mungroo


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info4africa celebrates Mandela Day

info4africa celebrates Mandela Day
info4africa staffers spent their 67 Mandela Day minutes visiting residents of the Tuinsig Centre for the Aged.

Staff at info4africa, a self-funded centre within UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences, celebrated Nelson Mandela Day by spending 67 minutes visiting residents at the Tuinsig Centre for the Aged. 

Info4africa Director, Ms Debbie Heustice, said: ‘On the day when we as a nation look to celebrate the service given by Madiba, we follow his call to spend 67 minutes serving others. Connecting communities through service is exactly what info4africa strives to do. 

‘Thanks to the generous donation of Mr Pravesh Choonilall of Queensmead Spar, whose team provided a beautiful cake, the participants were able to enjoy an afternoon full of food, laughter, and music.’ 

Heustice and Operations Manager, Ms Dianne Merchant, enlisted the help of their two young sons and a friend who entertained the residents with a live music performance.  

Other sponsors of the event included Mr Malcolm Vishwanathan of Davenport Checkers who provided chocolate and small gift bags and Ms Lucy Venter of African Extracts who provided specialty Rooibos creams for the tenants and a gift hamper was given to the winner of a lucky draw.  

Info4africa creates and maintains a nationwide database and directory of health and wellbeing service care providers. Visit www.info4africa.org.za for more information. 

Melissa Mungroo


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Media student presenting research at Comic-Con International

Media student presenting research at Comic-Con International
Mr Damien Tomaselli who is presenting his Master´s research work at the 2014 Comic-Con International.

UKZN Master's student in Media and Cultural Studies Mr Damien Tomaselli is currently in San Diego in the United States where he is presenting his Masters Research work at the 2014 Comic-Con International. 

Comic Con International is a huge multi-genre entertainment and comic annual convention which attracts thousands of academics, artists and even software programmers. 

The 22nd Comics Arts Conference (CAC), one of the leading academic gatherings focusing on comics, is held during the convention and offers panels, seminars, and sessions over all four days of Comic-Con. 

Tomaselli is featured in the CAC session focusing on the Comic Arts with his presentation and exhibition analysing how the visual rhetoric of comics is developing with specific reference to digitally manipulated books primarily Madefire's motion books. 

‘The Conference merges the latest developments in both academic and industry developments in many realms of digital media including video games, comic books, role playing games, series premiers and film. About 130 000 people are expected to attend the event,’ he said.  

Damien is a Lecturer in Cinematography and Digital Media at the AFDA Film School Durban campus and holds South African colours in bodybuilding. 

 Melissa Mungroo


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Financial assistance gained for students in need.


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The actions of an organisation at UKZN known as Hope of the Nation have made it possible for about 50 students to continue with their studies at the University this year. 

The 2014 academic year began with some prospective students at UKZN – many from disadvantaged backgrounds – facing exclusion because of financial problems around the payment of fees. 

The SRC had tried secure registration for the students and approached potential funders with limited success. 

Mr Cassius Gumede and his Hope of the Nation team stepped in and through interaction with a variety of business enterprises, politicians and influential individuals secured close to R500 000 to cover debt incurred mostly by students from the class of 2013. 

The team’s action made it possible for 50 students facing exclusion to continue with their studies this year. 

The Hope of the Nation team is still in negotiation with other sponsors to financially assist a further 60 students.

 Ndabenhle  Moloi


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UKZN lecturer on editorial board of international medical journal

UKZN lecturer on editorial board of international medical journal
Dr Shahidul Islam.

A Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry at the School of Life Sciences, Dr Shahidul Islam, has been inducted as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Translational Internal Medicine (JTIM) for a period of four years.

JTIM, designed by Wolters Kluwer and Spring Media Publishing and launched last year, publishes articles on all aspects of internal medicine focusing on translational application, including respiratory diseases, circulatory diseases, gastroenterology, urinary diseases, haematology, kidney diseases and endocrinology, among others.

Spring Media Publishing, which has its headquarters in Hong Kong, cooperates with more than 40 well known international institutes and associations such as the American Heart Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Society of Critical Medicine.  

Apart from this recent appointment, Islam is also a Review Editor of the Swiss journal Frontiers in Experimental Pharmacology and Drug Discovery; a Lead Guest Editor of the American journal Experimental Diabetes Research, a member of the Editorial Boards of the World Journal of Diabetes published from Republic of China and the Journal of Biochemical and Pharmacological Research headquartered in the United States.

Based at the School of Life Sciences, the focus of Islam’s current research is on Diabetes mellitus, particularly on type 2 diabetes.

‘We are not only developing novel and alternative animal models of type 2 diabetes but also conducting intervention trials and underlying mechanisms of actions of several functional and medicinal foods, natural and artificial sugar substitutes, and medicinal plant extracts, which have no or less side effects compared to chemical originated drugs,’ said Islam.

 Because of the rapidly changing pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, Islam and his team have a plan to develop several models of which the first was published in an international pharmacology journal, Pharmacological Reports, on 2012. The development of other models of type 2 diabetes is currently underway.

Islam is also an active member of a number of local professional organisations including Diabetes South Africa (DSA), Nutrition Society South Africa (NSSA) and recently joined the Society for the Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes South Africa (SEMDSA).

As a potential diabetes researcher, Islam offers complementary consultation to diabetes sufferers.

He can be contacted on e-mail at islamd@ukzn.ac.za and by phone at 031-2608717 or 079- 5748178.

* The latest issue of the Journal of Translational Internal Medicine, published on 31 March, is available online at: www.intern-med.com.


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UKZN Astronomers make Ground-breaking Discoveries

UKZN Astronomers make Ground-breaking Discoveries
The varying intensity of blue haze in this image of the MACSJ0416, is a mass map created by using new Hubble observations combined with the magnifying power of gravitational lensing.

Two astronomers attached to UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) have made groundbreaking astronomical discoveries based on data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope.  

Dr Mathilde Jauzac, a former ACRU Postdoctoral Researcher and a current affiliate of ACRU, has measured the mass of a merging galaxy cluster named MACSJ0416, to the highest precision yet. 

This has allowed her team, which includes ACRU PhD student Miss Kenda Knowles, to determine the geometry and dynamics of this cosmic collision, approximately 4.5 billion light years away from Earth.  

This cluster is estimated to have formed 9.2 billion years after the Big Bang. 

Jauzac led an international research study to analyse data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Frontier Field (HFF) initiative which began exploring the Universe in October 2013. The new data include images from the Hubble Space Telescope’s longest ever exposure of galaxy clusters which lasted almost 24 hours.  

Jauzac weighed the galaxy cluster by measuring how it warps the space around it, distorting the apparent shapes of distant objects behind it, like the view through a bathroom window. This distortion is known as gravitational lensing, a phenomenon that was first predicted by Albert Einstein.  

When the cluster is massive enough, such as in this case, and the distant object is aligned right behind the cluster, the distortion effects can be quite dramatic: the images of normal galaxies can be transformed into rings and sweeping arcs of light, even appearing several times within the same image. As a result, one background galaxy can be transformed into several magnified images of the same source. This is referred to as a multiply-imaged system.    

The more mass in the way, the more the light is distorted which changes the expected position of multiple images. The relative positions, sizes and orientations of these multiple images can be used to determine the mass distribution of the cluster. The more multiple images there are, the more precise the calculation of the mass can be.  

The HFF initiative enabled Astrophysicists to see the faint galaxies behind the already distant MACSJ0416 cluster, so that more multiple images could be detected than ever before. 

Jauzac’s discovery shows the accuracy that can be achieved with the high quality of HFF data in terms of estimating the mass of galaxy clusters from gravitational lensing. In astrophysics, masses of objects cannot be measured directly and instead, must be inferred indirectly via other observations. This makes mass estimation a tricky business and prone to various uncertainties. 

The new HFF data reduces the significance of these errors due to the unprecedented depth at which it probes the Universe, collecting data that is of an improved resolution and higher overall quality. The resultant mass estimates allow for better cosmology which translates to better modelling of the Universe. 

‘By using ultra-deep Hubble Space Telescope images we were able to discover “faint” (distant) background galaxies that are gravitationally lensed by the cluster, and thus magnified,’ said Jauzac. ‘The amount of magnification shows us what is happening in the cluster, and, as some of the most distant objects known, they are interesting in themselves, since they help us to understand the environment of the distant Universe.’ 

A Lensing Workshop was hosted by ACRU and funded by the National Research Foundation in January 2014 in order to analyse the first set of HFF data, and to introduce gravitational lensing to the South African science community. It was whilst working on one of the projects at the workshop that Knowles discovered a new multiply-imaged system, leading to her inclusion in the international collaboration. She assisted in the discovery and confirmation of other multiply-imaged systems which were used to provide a better estimate of the mass of MACSJ0416 thus allowing scientists to have a better understanding of the structure of the newly discovered galaxy.   

The cluster was modelled to be more than 650 000 light-years across and its mass was found to be 160 trillion times the mass of the Sun. This measurement is the most precise ever produced. The uncertainty on the measurement is only around 0.5%, or 1 trillion times the mass of the sun. That may not seem precise but it is for a measurement such as this. 

This work of Jauzac and Knowles brings new information as to what is physically happening in this massive, merging galaxy cluster, and begins to answer difficult questions relating to cluster dynamics of merger processes and the evolution of structure formation in the Universe.  

Jauzac and Knowles, along with their international collaboration, will continue their work by studying the five other galaxy clusters that are scheduled to be observed during the next segment of the HFF initiative. 

In 2013, Jauzac made international headlines when she used the Hubble Space Telescope to discover the three-dimensional structure of a cosmic filament associated with a different galaxy cluster. 

Authors:  ACRU and ESO / Strini Rajgopaul


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