PhD Graduate and UKZN Staff Member Investigated the Banking Sector

PhD Graduate and UKZN Staff Member Investigated the Banking Sector
Dr Sulaiman Atiku with his supervisor Dr Ziska Fields.

PHD Human Resources Graduate, Dr Sulaiman Olusegun Atiku, says his qualification will enable him to move to the next level in teaching, researching and community development.

‘Studying to the level of PhD in Human Resource Management under the College of Law and Management for me was quite challenging and very interesting,’ said Atiku.

‘A Doctorate degree could contribute to growth and development of a nation through knowledge creation when research outcomes are used in solving business and national problems’

In Atiku’s thesis titled: “The relationship between organisational culture and performance in the Nigerian banking sector”, Human Resource Development policy and human resource outcomes were utilised as mediating variables in the link between organisational culture and performance. An alternative route was proposed on culture and performance link, which offers advanced explanation on the variations in organisational performance.’

Despite the challenges he faced, particularly during data collection and at the analysis stage, Atiku attributes his success to dedication, focus and tenacity.

Sixth in a family of seven siblings, and born to Atiku Akinyemi family of Lagos, Nigeria, Atiku said it took a lot of sacrifice to get to this stage as a full-time international candidate, when considering work and family stressors associated with the study.

‘The motivating factors for the pursuit of this qualification are the passion for self-development as well as the desire to contribute my quota to knowledge in the field of human resource management and organisational behaviour.

‘As an individual I like adding value to people irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity or race. I like sharing knowledge with people around me provided they have potentials and eagerness for development.

‘This qualification will assist in my quest to advance the academic aspirations and development of youths across Africa’ said Atiku.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Social Media at the Core of Masters Degree Research

Social Media at the Core of Masters Degree Research
Mr Kambale Muhongya was awarded a Master of Commerce degree.

Master of Commerce graduate Mr Muhongya Kambale investigated how social media could be used to improve communication and solve ethnic group problems in institutions and organisations.

His study factors into influencing the translation of Facebook friendship into real world friendship provides valuable insight into how social media is being used as a communication tool to bridge the social division gap.

As Data and Information Manager of UKZN’s Information Systems and Technology, Kambala is totally up to speed with developments in the digital space.

‘Being from the Democratic Republic of Congo, I never thought about racial issues until I came to South Africa and experienced them,’ said Kambale. ‘I also realised that most people use social media for friendship, so I made this my focus. I said to myself, if people are using social media such as Facebook then it could be easy for them to search for people from other ethnic groups and befriend them.

‘I conducted research to determine to what extent language, race and gender impact on the translation of Facebook friendship among students. The results show that the vast majority are likely to convert Facebook friends into real world friends if the Facebook friends are considered trustworthy. This transformation is moving very slowly due to a lack of trust. So it was interesting that I came to realise that the information that people trust has power over people yet people have power over such information. It just depends on how they handle it. The question is what is it that people are choosing to trust? This influences the way they think about others,’ he added.

Although juggling work and studying required a delicate balance, Kambale said his passion for Information Technology and a need to progress academically made this qualification worth pursuing.

‘Many people think if you study toward a Masters or PhD degree then you can only be an academic but I don’t look at it that way. A Master’s degree allows an individual to be able to deal with any kind of challenge and find solutions to it in any kind of organisation,' he added.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Academic Success Runs in the Carnelley Family

Academic Success Runs in the Carnelley Family
Mr Pieter Carnelley was awarded an LLB degree cum laude.

Anyone who doubts that academic excellence can run in a family should refer to the Carnelleys’ example down the years.

Latest in the line to provide concrete evidence of prowess is Mr Pieter Carnelley, son of the College of Law and Management Studies’ Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley, who graduated with an LLB degree cum laude.

For Pieter, being named after his grandfather, renowned Afrikaans Author and Screenwriter, Dr Pieter Georg du Plessis, was a sign of things to come but it was his mother’s success as a Law Academic that influenced him to pursue a legal career.

The other choice was to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, Thomas Carnelley, a Professor of Chemistry in Scotland, but that somehow did not appeal.

‘I was driving to Johannesburg when my mother phoned to tell me the good news,’ said Pieter. ‘I then phoned my brother, girlfriend and grandparents to break the news, we were all very excited. I am incredibly proud of the education I got from UKZN so I am much chuffed that I managed to pass cum laude.'

 ‘The entire university experience at UKZN - the variety of people, politics, religions and professors - test and challenge you in some way or another. I feel as if I have grown and matured here in a manner that would not have been possible at any other university. But if I have to choose certain people who made the biggest impact it would have to be Professor Hoctor as Academic, Researcher, Scholar and Mentor,’ said Pieter.

‘Others include Professor Tennant and Mr Lambert from the Department of Latin in Pietermaritzburg, who both kindled in me a passion for Latin, life in general and the Law; and my mother of course – for pure passion, determination and grit through good times and bad.’

As much as the academics from UKZN have made an impact on Pieter the same can be said about him as he used the knowledge gathered from his Latin Honours to tutor Law Academic, Professor Shannon Hoctor, when he was studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Latin at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Hoctor graduated with this qualification in 2013.

 Pieter is currently doing his articles at Webber Wentzel and is looking forward to an interesting and successful legal career.

 ‘I hope to be admitted as an Attorney and then sometime later do my masters overseas.  With a little bit of luck and hard work I’ll get there,’ said Pieter, with his usual infectious laugh.

 For Marita, having her last born graduate cum laude was a proud moment. ‘It is fantastic to see your children happy in their chosen careers, even if it is tough and challenging in the beginning. It is even better to know and experience them as adults - and to like the product. I am only sad that their father did not live to see the men they have become.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Future Shines Bright for Law Cum Laude Graduates

Future Shines Bright for Law <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduates
Top achievers from the UKZN School of Law.

The impressive achievements of Law cum laude graduates Ms Nikki De Gay, Mr Pieter Carnelley, Mr Callum Cox, Ms Tasmiya Patel, Ms Amanda Sherwin and Mr Christian Chetty were recognised at the School of Law Graduation ceremony.

All six were very proud of their success and confident that their LLB qualification was the first step towards a successful career. 

For De Gaye, a part-time student, the qualification has already unlocked her potential as she is currently doing her pupilage at the KwaZulu-Natal Bar.

‘After being in the gaming industry for over 20 years, I decided to change my career and do something I am passionate about -practising law,’ said de Gaye. ‘My degree and graduating cum laude are confirmation that I can achieve anything I decide to do. I attended night classes at Howard College and met people who will remain good friends for the rest of my life. I also met a number of inspirational academics who I regard as mentors and motivators.'

‘The experience was made easier by the encouragement and guidance we as students received. Completing my degree at the age of 42, while in full-time employment made the sacrifice so special,’ she said.

De Gaye was also named the Top Part-Time student on the Howard Campus campus and was awarded the Lexis Nexis Top Part-Time prize.

For Carnelley, who is currently doing his articles at Webber Wenzel, studying towards an LLB opened up a new world for him producing experiences which helped him grow as a person.

‘This achievement really means a lot to me and I am incredibly proud of the education I got from UKZN and that I managed to pass cum laude. The entire varsity experience challenges you in some way or another. I met an incredibly diverse range of people each of whom had something different to offer and challenged me in different ways.

‘I hope to be admitted as an Attorney and then sometime after that  complete my Masters degree.  With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work I’ll get there,’ Carnelley added.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Law Graduates Encouraged to Uphold the Values of the Constitution

Law Graduates Encouraged to Uphold the Values of the Constitution
Justice Albie Sachs (centre) with Professors Managay Reddi (L) and Cheryl Potgieter.

Renowned human rights activist, Justice Albie Sachs encouraged young people to use passion and reasoning to bring about transformation in their societies. Sachs shared these words of wisdom with Law graduates during his address at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Sachs, whose dedication to the struggle against apartheid through his work as a lawyer and activist led to him being imprisoned, tortured and exiled reminded graduates that iconic leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Biko, Walter Sisulu, Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela were able to achieve great things because they had soul, humility and embraced the spirit of Ubuntu.

‘If you have passion without reason you can end up in a dark place that is why I am dismayed about the politics that is tearing this country apart. Our constitution should not only be reduced to Mandela and FW De Klerk striking a deal. There was a lot of fighting involved, a lot of African people lost their lives because they gave us shelter and every one worked as a team to bring about the freedom we are enjoying today,’ said Sachs.

Sachs' passion to inspire graduates to continually strive to bring about transformation wherever they are saw him echo the same sentiments during his address titled: “Is this the country we fought for?” at the 13th Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Memorial Lecture held at the UKZN School the night before the Graduation ceremony.

Sachs’ emotionally charged and thought provoking address also condemned the violent xenophobic attacks currently happening in South Africa.

Sachs reminded the audience that African countries opened their hearts and homes to South Africans during the struggle therefore foreign nationals also have a right to call South Africa home.

‘The people of African countries died because they were giving us a place to stay even though they knew they would be killed. Mozambicans died due to a car bomb meant to kill me and now we are chasing them away. We live in a country that gives us enormous hope hence we have a bill of rights that protects everyone because we are human beings. Yes, this is the country we fought for, now we need to use our constitution to create a society that we envisioned,’ said Sachs.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Research on the Employability of UKZN Graduates

Research on the Employability of UKZN Graduates
A Master of Administration degree for Ms Thina Mbhele.

Master of Administration graduate Ms Thinasonke Mbhele’s research was titled: "Employability of UKZN Graduates: A Public Administration Perspective".

Mbhele’s dissertation, supervised by Dr Thokozani Ian Nzimakwe, explored the importance of the transformation and capacitating of professional public servants through innovative strategies flexible and adaptable to South Africa’s ever-changing environment thus enhancing the standard of living.

‘Being a university student myself, it was important for me to recognise, reflect and evaluate on how far I have come and the attributes I have gained as a graduate,’ said Mbhele.

‘The findings reveal that the involvement of public sector employers and their input in the public administration curriculum are important in producing quality graduates and world class service delivery. Also resources need to be accessible to the students/gradates as recipients of these services and to ensure that they meet the requirements and are employable,’ said Mbhele.

During her academic journey, Mbhele worked as a tutor and an Academic Development Officer at the College of Law and Management Studies.  She said the experience ignited her passion for teaching and learning, research and community engagement.

‘My motivation for pursuing this qualification is my interest in the public service and the complexity of its management, through the building of human capacity to ensure efficient and effective services are delivered to the people of South Africa,’ said Mbhele.

Thandiwe Jumo

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BCom Honours Degree Unlocks Cum Laude Graduates’ Potential

BCom Honours Degree Unlocks <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduates’ Potential
College of Law and Management Studies’ top achievers.

The College of Law and Management Studies raised a resounding cheer for its top achievers who graduated with Bachelor of Commerce Honours degrees cum laude.

The top achievers were Mr Vaughn Arumugam, Mr Atlaaf Cassim, Ms Kayleen Govender, Ms Sarika Govender, Mr Aaqil Ismail, Ms Sameerah Kajee, Ms Kouvania Padayachee, Ms Anashya Sing and Mr Frank Van Vuuren.

They were all very proud of their achievement and looking forward to using their qualification as a foundation for a successful career.

This qualification has already opened doors for Arumugam who has been working at Accenture's Technology division in Johannesburg for the past three months.

‘My experience studying Information Systems and Technology has been amazing. The Honours programme at UKZN is in my opinion the strongest in the country. The countless number of presentations we do help you gain confidence for actual presentations in the working world, and the group work really helps you to work effectively in a team.'

‘The qualification itself is worthwhile having as it exposes you to business and technology and teaches you how these two worlds can align to create value,’ said Arumugam.

Arumugam is looking forward to publishing his research on Measuring the Susceptibility of South African SMEs to the Multi-Stage Socio-Technical (MSST) Social Engineering attack, and completing his MBA.

For Sing, who is a Business Analyst at First National Bank, the academic journey has been paved with a number of academic achievements. These include being given an award from the Golden Key International Honour Society for being in the top 15% list of academic achievers at UKZN during her second year and being awarded a Special Honours Bursary of R25 000 from the College of Law and Management Studies for being a top academic achiever in 2013.

Getting to study with her best friend, Kayleen Govender and landing her dream job is just the icing on the cake.

‘Kayleen and I were very enthusiastic about our BCom honours year and thought it would be ‘a piece of cake’. However, when we reached the first quarter of the year, we realised that this year would be quite challenging. We studied hard and even worked together on our research (even though our topics were miles apart) throughout the year. Our social lives took a back seat but we knew that it would be worthwhile in the end as an honours degree in Information Technology  is the best combination to have as IT is constantly evolving and revolutionising the business space,’ said Sing.

To Sarika Govender graduating cum laude was the reward for her hard work and determination. ‘I had an enjoyable experience studying for my BCom (Hon) degree in Human Resources Management. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, which finally paid off, with the completion of this degree. It is a worthwhile degree to have in any workplace as human resources is an essential component of any organisation,’ she said.

For Ismail, his degree in Information Systems helped him get a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Johannesburg - a sign that only the sky is the limit.

‘Obtaining a BCom honours degree in addition to my BSc in Computer Science broadened my knowledge, as well as helping me to further develop my skills. The many people I befriended as well as my lecturers, especially during my honours year, contributed in making my time at university a success. I personally feel that this qualification provides greater opportunities in finding something we can enjoy doing as a job,’ said Ismail.

 Thandiwe Jumo

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Summa Cum Laude Law Graduate Earmarked for Success

<em>Summa Cum Laude</em> Law Graduate Earmarked for Success
Summa cum laude pass for Law graduate Mr Musa Kika.

Graduating with an LLB summa cum laude, being awarded the Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship, being named as UKZN’s Distinguished Student for 2014- the highest honour a student can attain at UKZN - presented for academic excellence, university service and extensive community engagement, competing in the 2014 Ellie Newman Memorial Moot Court and being one of the students selected to serve in a clerkship programme facilitated by Judge Malcom Wallis at UKZN’s  School of Law are some of the achievements that pave the road to academic brilliance for Law graduate, Mr Musa Kika.

Kika is currently employed as an Assistant Researcher at the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU), an applied research unit within the Public Law Department at the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he is also studying towards an LLM in Public Law.

‘I was expecting to graduate summa cum laude but the reality of it all and the fact I have graduated with such distinction is overwhelming,’ said Kika.

‘These awards confirm my long-held belief that if you are determined to achieve something, only you can stop yourself from achieving that. I am the first person in my family to not only complete A level (matric equivalent), but to get a university degree … and it happens with a summa cum laude! Receiving these awards, I realise that I have a responsibility to use what I have achieved and the skills I have acquired to help those around me who are in need.

‘Going forward, this award has made me determined to achieve even more,’ said Kika.

Growing up in Harare, Zimbabwe, Kika's passion was to use Law to advance good governance, hence his passion for Human Rights, Constitutional Law and Administrative Law and his involvement in many activities outside the classroom to harness his skills.

During his first year, Kika was named among South Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds by the Brightest Young Minds Organisation.

Being part of the Clerkship programme in his third year he was able to research cases and prepared opinions on cases that Judge Wallis heard at the Supreme Court of Appeal. He also got a chance to debate them as a group with fellow Clerks, allowing him to put theory into practice.

As Editor-in-Chief of the UKZN Student Law Review which features articles, case notes and book reviews written by undergraduate and postgraduate Law students from UKZN’s Law School, he contributed to legal debates which shaped the country’s Constitutional democracy and South Africa’s legal system.

During his four years at UKZN, Kika represented the University in many forums including the 2nd International Conference of Human Rights Education in 2011, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association Law Students Conference in 2013, and the 9th Annual International Women Judges Association Conference (SA Chapter) also in 2013.

Being at the DGRU allows him to assist in conducting research in the Unit’s focus areas thus broadening his knowledge in various aspects of Law. He will be involved in two projects: The JSC Monitoring project and A scoping study on the expansion of the monitoring project to other African countries. This involves monitoring the judicial appointment process in other African jurisdictions.

Looking ahead, Kika plans to acquire more knowledge and make a valuable contribution to the Legal Profession.

‘I plan to join the Bar and practise in the areas of Constitutional law, Administrative law and Human Rights. In the long-term, I hope to contribute to African governance through institutions such as SADC and the AU, in the areas of the rule of law, good governance and human rights.'

Kika further said, ‘My LLB has given me the basic qualification to do this work, and a solid foundation on which to build in my expertise and knowledge.’

 Thandiwe Jumo

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PhD by Publication Challenging but Rewarding for HEARD Researcher

PhD by Publication Challenging but Rewarding for HEARD Researcher
Dr Gavin George celebrating his academic achievement with his wife Janet.

For Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) Senior Researcher Dr Gavin George drawing his dissertation from six papers published in peer-reviewed journals was a rewarding experience.

The fact that PhD by publication had not previously been done in the College of Law and Management Studies meant that there was little guidance in this respect. However, George’s passion for his research that offers solutions to the problem that South Africa’s public sector faces in attracting and retaining qualified health personnel, motivated him to persevere.

George’s dissertation titled: “Human Resources for Health (HRH) in South Africa: Identifying Challenges, Migration Intentions and Reviewing Policy Responses”, explored challenges facing South African health personnel and the subsequent factors which contributed to the migration of health workers.

Its findings present a considered analysis of the systemic challenges the public health system faces while also illuminating the important role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators in attracting and retaining health workers.

‘The thesis specific recommendations derived from the study  inform  the ambitious plan of scaling up of the national antiretroviral treatment programme and the effective delivery of primary health care services, while improving access and the delivery of health care for all South Africans,’ explained George.

‘More generally, this  research also provides insight into the human resource for health crisis in South Africa which is inhibiting the country’s ability to adequately address the high burden of disease and thereby impeding its progress in achieving the health related Millennium Development Goals,’ he added.

When George registered for this degree in 2012 he knew that as an academic who has worked as a Researcher for almost 15 years it was a necessary step to take his career to even greater heights.

‘I did a Commerce masters which I think was very useful for myself. I think business orientated degrees are very important more broadly as they equip individuals with some valuable skills which they can take into the workplace. I would have undertaken a PhD sooner but it was important that I was able to set aside the requisite amount of time and find a topic that I could engage in for two years. So I guess, my aim of forging an academic career was the real motivation for furthering my studies and undertaking a PhD,’ said George.

When George registered for his PhD, he was a father of eight-month-old Gabriella and towards the end of 2014 the family welcomed their son, Caleb.

Being a father and a husband were his top priorities so maintaining a healthy balance between work, home and studying was tough; but having the support of his wife reaffirmed that his decision to pursue this qualification was the right one.

‘I think my wife is very relieved that I can now just spend a lot more time looking after the kids,’ said George. ‘My family is very important to me and keeps me going constantly. I enjoy undertaking research and there is tremendous satisfaction once your research is published. Getting the first paper started was the most difficult. Once the first was published the PhD rolled on from there. Having the papers published proved most satisfying and this kept me motivated.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Law Cum Laude Graduate Proves that One is Never Too Old to Pursue Their Dream Career

Law <em>Cum Laude</em> Graduate Proves that One is Never Too Old to Pursue Their Dream Career
Ms Nikki De Gaye was awarded an LLB degree cum laude.

At the age of 42 most people would not consider starting a new career but for Law cum laude graduate Ms Nikki de Gaye, her dream to become a Lawyer has taken over two decades to achieve but the rewards are worth it.

De Gaye who gave up her job in the gambling industry after 20 years in October 2014 to become an advocate is currently doing her pupillage at the KZN Bar-a sign that pursuing an LLB part-time was the first step towards a successful future.

‘I was with Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom for almost 14 years and completed my degree whilst there. I then resigned to pursue my dream of becoming an Advocate which became a reality in March,’ said De Gaye.

Giving up a career that took two decades to build was not an easy choice for De Gaye who started working as a Croupier after completing her matric in 1990 and worked her way up to a Shift Manager. De Gaye has also worked in other casinos in Durban, Cape Town, Amsterdam and Israel.

Carrying on an upward trajectory of success, De Gaye is enjoying the practical training that she is graining from her pupillage as graduating not only with an LLB but graduating cum laude has further ignited her passion for Law.

‘I think completing a degree later on in life is, in some respects, easier. I had the maturity to realise that sacrifices would have to be made and that in order for me to reap the maximum benefits from my degree, I would have to put in the hours and work consistently,' he said.

‘I am the first person in my family to graduate with a degree and think the fact that I completed my degree at the age of 42 and whilst working full-time shows that it is possible and not that daunting a prospect. Quite a few members of my family are inspired by my achievement and have made enquiries and plans to study further,’ said De Gaye.

Thandiwe Jumo

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