UKZN and the Cochrane Collaboration

UKZN and the Cochrane Collaboration
The Cochrane Centre’s Dr Solange Durao (left) and Dr Tamara Kredo (far right) with UKZN’s Dr Nombulelo Magula, Dr Veena Singaram and Dr Nisha Nadesan-Reddy.

UKZN’s Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) together with the School of Clinical Medicine (SCM), recently hosted a successful and invigorating workshop titled: “Evidence-based practice and the Cochrane Collaboration”.  

Presenters, Dr Tamara Kredo and Dr Solange Durao from the South African Cochrane Centre, told participants that in health sciences research, with healthcare decisions being so complex, it was essential that research was evidence-based to ensure cost effectiveness and the best use of resources resulting in appropriate patient treatment.  

According to the Cochrane Centre, evidence-based healthcare up-to-date information from relevant and valid research about the effects of different forms of health care, the potential for harm from exposure to particular agents, the accuracy of diagnostic tests, and the predictive power of prognostic factors. 

Hence, healthcare research needed to be informed by clinical and community information guaranteeing relevance and implementation in one’s own setting. In this regard, currently to conduct a clinical trial, there was a need to have completed a systematic review to prove that the study would be effective in its setting and is novel. 

Clinicians in the audience were also encouraged to conduct evidence-based practice which entails integrating individual clinical expertise with the current best available evidence.  

Conducting evidence-based research would entail a review of current studies in a relevant field. However, with on average 74 articles published within a week, according to the British Medical Journal, this is not an easy task. 

The Cochrane Collaboration assists in this regard by providing systematic reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy, and which is internationally recognised as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. Cochrane reviews are published online in The Cochrane Library, making it easily accessible to healthcare researchers and clinicians. 

Durao explained that a Cochrane review took into account all the information available on a topic, removed bias, made use of a standardised format, was subjected to extensive peer review and was kept up-to-date. 

* The Cochrane Collaboration is internationally recognised as the benchmark for high quality information about the effectiveness of healthcare. It consists of an international network of more than 31 000 dedicated people from over 120 countries.  

The extensive team works together to help healthcare practitioners, policy-makers, patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care, by preparing, updating, and promoting the accessibility of Cochrane Reviews. 

The collaboration also prepares the largest collection of records of randomised controlled trials in the world, called CENTRAL, and is published as part of The Cochrane Library

-Maryann Francis


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Postgraduate Conference and Staff Research Colloquium

Postgraduate Conference and Staff Research Colloquium
Staff and students of the College of Humanities who worked tirelessly to make the Postgraduate Conference and Staff Research Colloquium a success.

The College of Humanities Office of the Dean for Research recently hosted its second Annual Postgraduate Conference and Staff Research Colloquium aimed at nurturing postgraduate students and to offer staff the opportunity to learn how to disseminate the knowledge they produce through maximising their research output.  

The theme of the Conference: “Postgraduate Research in the Humanities: Exploring Trends, Theories and Trans-Disciplinarily”, attracted phenomenal interest and enthusiasm, with about 90 papers presented by Masters and PhD students. There were also keynote and plenary panels as well as the research development workshops.  

College Dean of Research, Professor Sarojini Nadar, said, ‘The need for such a conference stems from the belief that our core business in academia and UKZN is to acquire, produce and disseminate knowledge. The traditional form of dissemination of knowledge from postgraduates has been in the form of a dissertation or thesis. The Conference provides the opportunity for students to learn how to disseminate their knowledge through scholarly publishing.’  

She added that through the process of the Conference, postgraduate students would learn how to offer and accept scholarly critique. ‘This form of peer review is the bedrock of academia and the skill of peer-review is important for both staff and students.’ 

The theme of transdisciplinarity as the overarching conference theme was chosen because Nadar observed that the majority of postgraduate students were engaging in transdisciplinary research. 

‘Transdisciplinary work is not only encouraged, it is actively supported as is evident by the requirement of international and national research funding agencies that researchers produce and engage with knowledge beyond their traditional disciplines.

‘However, transdisciplinary research requires multiple sets of skills and competencies which need to be acquired. The keynote panel speakers, who have produced leading transdisciplinary research will share their experiences and thereby hopefully inspire other scholars to acquire the competencies required for such research.’ 

The themes for the parallel thematic track sessions where postgraduate students presented their work were derived from the abstracts which were received. The themes were: Language, Literature, Media and Communication; Culture, Race, Gender, Identity and Religion; Well-being, Health, HIV and Peace; Development, Economics and Politics; and Education and Knowledge Production. 

‘What was pleasing to note was how the research that is being conducted in the Humanities is in line with UKZN’s strategic research focus areas,’ said Nadar.  In addition to focusing on Goal 3 (Pre-eminence in Research) of the UKZN’s Strategic Plan through a plenary panel on the Transformation Charter, the Conference also turned the spotlight on the issue of transformation which is the underpinning principle of much of the intellectual and operational functions of UKZN.’ 

The College was particularly proud of being able to collaborate this year with other universities whose students were also present at the Conference.  Universities represented included the University of Zululand, the Durban University of Technology and Stellenbosch University.  

The staff research development workshops on third stream income, NRF Rating as well as Impact Factors attracted a large number of staff. 

Almost 200 staff and students registered for the Conference and the various workshops. 

Nadar was delighted by the enthusiastic support. ‘Overall, the event was jam-packed with rousing and challenging conversations which hopefully inspired further research and collaborations in the local and national landscape of Higher Education.’  

-Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN hosts Prominent Feminist Scholar

UKZN hosts Prominent Feminist Scholar
Professor Sarojini Nadar with Professor Obioma Nnaemeka (Left) and colleagues from Edgewood, Howard and PMB campuses.

The Dean of Research in the College of Humanities, Professor Sarojini Nadar  recently hosted the eminent and distinguished Feminist Scholar Professor Obioma Nnaemeka to a “Roundtable Conversation and Dinner” at Coastlands on the Ridge.  

Colleagues from the Howard, Edgewood and Pietermaritzburg campuses gathered to welcome Nnaemeka and to collectively share the contexts of their own work around gender and feminisms. Nadar explained that Nnaemeka was here as a guest of the School Applied Human Sciences and the College of Humanities. 

Her visit forms part of an on-going initiative by the College of Humanities to implement the “Humanities Charter”. 

Professor Nadar said, ‘The aim of the discussion, apart from intellectually engaging Professor Nnaemeka, was to also explore possible networking opportunities and future research collaborations.’  

The trans-disciplinary nature of the research being conducted in the Humanities was foregrounded when colleagues working within varied disciplinary homes shared their research interests. 

Dr Rubeena Partab (Social Work) and Dr Roderick Hewitt (Religion) shared their common interests in the study of Masculinities. Dr Lilian Siwila (Gender and Religion), Dr Saras Reddy (Health Sciences) and Sarojini Nadar (Gender and Religion) shared their current research in the Swedish-funded project on Gender, Religion and Health.   

Professor Rozena Maart, the Director of the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity, spoke about her work at the intersections of race, class and gender, while Dr Vivian Ojong and Dr Janet Muthuki (both from Anthropology) shared their interests in gender and trans-nationalism and migration.  

Dr Nyna Amin (Education) spoke of her research interests in the girl child, as well as her more theoretical interests in the subject of gender. Dr Maheshvari Naidu (Anthropology) together with her post-doc scholar Dr Nina Hoel spoke about their interests in feminisms in local contexts and their work in sexualities and body politics.   

All the participants spoke to how they were shaped by both personal and institutional trajectories in their own “histories” as researchers and academic activists, and how they understood feminism in a local and personal context. Nnaemeka revealed a wonderful sense of humour and said that she was known affectionately as “Obi” to her students and friends, saying that her students “often likened her to Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars”. 

She shared the background to her own work and was interested in knowing how scholars at UKZN were engaging with some of her work, as well as interrogating and deconstructing/reconstructing notions around various forms of feminisms and dialogue that could be considered as imperialistic. Both Nnaemeka and the UKZN colleagues at the “Conversation” indicated keen interest in forging intellectual links across the Universities and are keen on pursuing the conversation around a possible MOU with the University of Indiana. 

Although the reference to the character from Star Wars was tongue in cheek, Nnaemeka is a “true intellectual star” and her constellation of accomplishments and accolades speak for themselves. She is Chancellor’s Professor (Indiana University) and President of the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS). She is amongst the leading theorists and scholars in critical gender studies and African feminism/womanism. She has also written extensively in the fields of transnational feminisms, French/Francophone literatures, oral and written literatures of Africa and the African Diaspora, gender and development, and human rights.  

She has edited two critical volumes, namely The Politics of (M)Othering: Womanhood, Identity and Resistance in African Literature (Routledge 1997)and  Feminisms, Sisterhood and Power: From Africa to the Diaspora (Africa World Press 1998). Her scholarly publications have featured in various journals including SignsFeminist Issues, Research in African LiteraturesLaw and Policy, Dialectical AnthropologyWestern Journal of Black Studies and International Journal of Third World Studies

Nnaemeka’s intellectual body of work speaks to a wonderfully embedded sense of spirit and creativity and deep commitment to addressing gender asymmetry. She was able to share with the group, her thoughts around “Nego-feminism” which she describes as “no Ego” Feminism, as well as negotiated feminism. Negofemism, she said, was a response to overly individualistic feminisms that indulged in pandering to a sense of self, at the expense of the group or collective. It was felt that such a perspective has in turn spawned much “theoretical-fatigue” around defining and redefining feminism, while itself marginalising the very beneficiaries of feministic praxis.  

-          Maheshvari Naidu


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Successful Masters Support in the Humanities Profiled at UTLO Conference

Successful Masters Support in the Humanities Profiled at UTLO Conference
Professor Sarojini Nadar and Dr Saras Reddy (second row, right) at the ULTO Conference Presentation.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Educations’ Code of Practice (September 2004) clearly highlights the responsibility of Higher Education Institutions in defining mechanisms for monitoring and supporting postgraduate students progress.  

The benefits of the doctoral cohort supervision model, as an academic support mechanism, in the discipline of Education have been well-documented.  

Arguably, the most significant advantage, of the doctoral cohort model, these studies have shown, has been its ability to produce graduates who become critical thinkers and responsible knowledge producers and researchers. But what about Masters students? Can they benefit from such support and if so, what are the features of such a support system?  

These were the questions which Dr Saras Reddy and Professor Sarojini Nadar, College Dean of Research: Humanities, recently engaged with in their conference presentation at the University Teaching and Learning Conference held from 25-27 September at Edgewood campus.   

The title of their paper was “Crossing Knowledge Boundaries: A Case-Study of a Trans-disciplinary Masters Cohort Supervision Model in the Humanities”.  Speaking about the programme, Nadar acknowledged the importance and contribution of the Teaching Development Grant to assisting the College in increasing its throughput rates of postgraduate students. 

Due to the enormous success of the support programme for PhD students in 2012, in 2013 Prof. Nadar, together with Reddy (who is currently on sabbatical and researching this model) conceptualised and developed the Masters programme of support.  

However, Prof. Nadar says that it is not enough to simply offer the programme. ‘In-depth pedagogical theoretical and qualitative reflection (not just number-crunching) is needed, if such a model is to be meaningful for both academics as well as policy-makers,’ she says.  

Their paper sought to understand what knowledge boundaries are crossed by the Masters students registered in a trans-disciplinary cohort within the Humanities.  

Since the authors were the key facilitators of this cohort model, their research was framed by the notion of “design experiments in educational research” as propounded by Cobb et al.  They describe this as “a more grounded theory” approach which is described by the theorists as: “entail[ing] both engineering particular forms of learning and systematically studying those forms of learning within the context defined by the means of supporting them…the purpose of design experimentation is to develop a class of theories about both the process of learning and the means that are designed to support that learning…”.  

The research sample comprised the Masters students in the cohort, the supervisors of those students, and the cohort facilitators. The data was collected through interviews, questionnaires, and observation. The study concluded that the trans-disciplinary nature of the cohort enables the participants to develop their critical thinking skills; to acquire a theoretical literacy outside of their disciplines; and to broaden their knowledge of methodological approaches used in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  

These findings will be relevant to Higher Education policy makers, as well as educationists interested in academic monitoring and support of postgraduate students, which is currently perceived as a priority in the Higher Education landscape in South Africa.

-          Maheshvari Naidu


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Teenage Engineering Prodigy Visits UKZN

Teenage Engineering Prodigy Visits UKZN
Easton LaChapelle shows off his first and second generation robotic arms.

Seventeen-year-old engineering whizz Easton LaChapelle of Denver, Colorado recently visited UKZN to share his experiences in the design and development of a prosthetic arm. 

 Lachapelle was hosted by Dr Riaan Stopforth, Head of UKZN’s Mechatronics and Robotics Research Group (MR2G) Bio-Engineering Unit, in conjunction with the South African Institution of Electrical Engineering (SAIEE). 

Addressing students, staff, members of industry and the media, Easton explained how the idea for the robotic arm stemmed from a childhood fantasy. ‘I thought, how cool would it be to put on a suit and have super human strength,’ he said. From this fantasy, Easton got the idea to develop a robotic arm with a wireless control glove. Making use of the internet, CAD software, 3D printing and composite materials he was able to develop his first generation model. 

He entered his creation into a Colorado science fair where he met a seven-year-old amputee with a prosthetic arm. After speaking to the young girl’s parents he discovered that not only was the prosthetic expensive (about R800 000) but it had limited mobility and would need to be refitted several times during her life.  

In what he describes as his ‘Aha! moment’, Easton realised that his passion project could save and change lives. 

With a new found determination, Easton then 15 years old began developing a second generation model of his robotic arm. The new model costs around R5 000 to produce and boasts improved weight, mobility and human similarity. 

 Incorporating the mechanical structure with electronics and artificial intelligence, it is able to “think” for itself and performs tasks depending on the sensory system incorporated in the hand. The control system uses a wireless brain wave sensor, unlike many of today’s advanced prosthetics which are controlled by neural implants that require spinal surgery.  

Easton demonstrated how the arm worked by bending the elbow to extend the hand. It will only shake another person’s hand if it detects that the other person has gripped the hand. 

Easton shared his plans to aid a fellow class mate who was recently paralysed from the waist down. He plans to develop a complete exoskeleton robotic system that will enable the youngster to walk across the stage for their high school graduation. 

He is currently working on a third generation robotic hand system that is more light-weight (2.5 kg) and able to pick up heavy objects (up to 70 kg), by means of improving the efficiency of the actuators within the system. 

Easton is also looking for a university in the United States which will allow him to explore his diverse interest in Electrical, Computer and Mechanical Engineering as well as Neuroscience and Business. 

After the presentation, Easton joined the MR2G Bio-Engineering Unit members in the lab where they compared and discussed the Unit’s own prosthetic arm and hand. UKZN Mechanical Engineering students: Mr Drew van der Riet, Mr Preyen Perumall, Mr Simangaliso Ngema and Mr Zaheer Dimala are currently developing a prosthetic for a man who lost a limb when he was struck by lightning. Their design was showcased at the recent Mechanical Engineering Open Day. 

Easton spoke about the lack of support he received for daring to defy convention and test the system. He then issued a challenge to the audience: ‘I challenge you to redefine those systems and redefine those boundaries for everything and to be curious.’

- Sally Frost 


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Exploring Trends, Theories and Trans-Disciplinarity in the Humanities

Exploring Trends, Theories and Trans-Disciplinarity in the Humanities
From left are Professor Kopano Ratele, UNISA; UKZN’s Professor Sarojini Nadar and Professor Cheryl Potgieter; Professor Vasu Reddy of the Human Sciences Research Council; and DUT’s Dr René Smith.

The College of Humanities hosted its 2nd Annual Postgraduate Conference and Staff Research Colloquium attracting scholars from UKZN, Stellenbosch University, the Durban University of Technology and the University of Zululand to its various workshops, lectures, panels and research paper presentations.  

In her opening remarks, College Dean of Research, Professor Sarojini Nadar, outlined the five  main objectives of the Conference: (1) To identify trends, theories and levels of trans-disciplinarity in postgraduate research at UKZN and the wider national landscape; (2) To expose postgraduate students to scholarly critique through  peer-review; (3) To enable students to have their papers published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings (co-publication between postgraduate student and supervisor) as well as relevant DHET accredited journals; (4) To inspire and motivate developing academics to become recognised researchers and to contribute to the body of knowledge in the Humanities; and (5) To motivate PhD students to take up post-doctoral positions that will enable them to develop a research academic career. 

Delivering the opening address, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said the Conference would produce not only peer-reviewed proceedings but an accredited conference proceeding publication.

‘With regards to research, the College, in keeping with the vision and mission of UKZN, aims to build a research ethos that acknowledges the responsibility of academic staff to nurture its postgraduate students and to be a pre-eminent producer of new knowledge that is both local and global in context,’ said Potgieter.  

The keynote plenary panel focused on the overall Conference theme of “Exploring Trends, Theories and Trans-disciplinarity in the Humanities” with Professor Vasu Reddy of the Human Sciences Research Council; Professor Kopano Ratele of UNISA and Dr René Smith of the Durban University of Technology discussing this particular theme. 

The aim of this panel was to obtain a variety of expert perspectives on the theme, “Postgraduate Research in the Humanities: Exploring Trends, Theories and Trans-disciplinarity”. Each of the panellists responded directly from the ambit of their own academic expertise.  

Reddy examined Food Studies as an intellectual object of inquiry in the trans-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary context. ‘Once we understand food, we understand the human condition in all its complexity. It offers a key to various types of social organisation, uses of technology and patterns of daily life.

‘Food opens up the nature/culture debate and is always a part of an elaborate symbol system that conveys cultural messages. It’s also an emerging field of research in South Africa as compared to food studies from other countries. And food will always remain a central element of our cultural identity and food studies opens up the possibility for intellectual inquiry in respect of Humanities and Social perspectives,’ he said. 

Ratele discussed his academic journey within the Conference theme by looking at the three steps of an inter-disciplinary scholar starting with his time as a doctoral student at the University of the Western Cape under the primary supervision of Professor Cheryl Potgieter in which his study focused on the sexualisation of apartheid.  

‘I wanted to discursively understand how apartheid was being sexualised and even though at times I found it very difficult and I didn’t know what I was doing, my doctoral thesis laid the foundation for me to contribute to scholarly journals and books on sexualism.’  He advised postgraduate students to get a supportive research community which is trans-disciplinary to aid in the flow and exchange of ideas. 

Smith ended the plenary panel discussion by focusing on the “Media, Society and Trans-disciplinarity” in which she spoke of her experiences as an undergraduate student in the United Kingdom and at her current post as a Media Academic and Acting Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design at the Durban University of Technology. 

‘Being trans-disciplinary allows one to think and go beyond the disciplines. The world is changing rapidly and if the way we are living is changing and if the way we are working is changing, I believe a different kind of research is required,’ said Smith. 

- Melissa Mungroo


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Traversing Paths to Research Success in Higher Education

Traversing Paths to Research Success in Higher Education
From left: Professor Sarojini Nadar; Professor Urmilla Bob, Professor Gerald West, Dr Janet Muthuki, Dr Maheshvari Naidu, Professor Deevia Bhana, Professor Relebohile Moletsane, Dr Pholoho Morojele and Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul.

Eight prolific researchers from various Schools within the College of Humanities, participated in a roundtable discussion on Traversing Paths to Research Success in Higher Education.  The event was part of the 2nd Annual College of Humanities Postgraduate Research Conference for staff and students.  

The discussion was facilitated by the Dean of Research for the College, Professor Sarojini Nadar. The eight academics on the panel were Professor Urmilla Bob, Professor Gerald West, Dr Janet Muthuki, Dr Maheshvari Naidu, Professor Deevia Bhana, Professor Relebohile Moletsane, Dr Pholoho Morojele and Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul.  

The aim of the discussion was to trace the research journeys of the academics from their initial career choices to their milestones and award-winning developments in academia. The roundtable semi-formal discussion prompted a discussion that elicited the challenges, opportunities and successes experienced by the academics during their research career paths.  

The academics are all accomplished researchers either at the beginning of their careers, in mid-career or reaching the pinnacle of their careers in Higher Education. The other important aim of the panel was to inspire young postgraduate students as well as emerging academics interested in a research career path. The discussion was centred on criticality, creativity, collaboration, community and context.  

To kick-start the conversation, Bob stated that a scholar needed to be able to take criticism. ‘You must understand how to take criticism, to challenge it and to talk about it. To take criticism is to establish a strong trans-disciplinary foundation to enable collaborations and partnerships bringing in different perspectives and growing the body of knowledge in various fields.’ 

Naidu indicated it would be difficult for a young Masters or PhD student to be able to understand the concept of trans-disciplinarity as it took years of theories and research practice and transforming methods until it was mutually constituted, and therefore a first step before trans-disciplinarity was a solid grounding in a discipline. 

Speaking on the sub-topic of context, Bhana said: ‘We might be utilising Westernised theories but we are adapting and interpreting it all within an African context, however we should also be looking to sharpen our understanding of theories and creating our own indigenous theories.’

West said: ‘Coherence in research is an important factor and emerging scholars should ensure it is evident in their works. While transdisciplinarity is to be encouraged, and our African context demands it, nevertheless coherence remained an imperative.’ He described coherence as a spider’s web, which though fragmented at times, was always interconnected. 

Moletsane spoke about the challenges of collaboration and provided advice to other scholars present at the event to write in a conceptual framework, to integrate context within academic work and to choose partner researchers who would ultimately better aid the research.  

The roundtable discussion proved to be a huge success with many pertinent questions being raised and outside-panel conversations being struck based on the responses and experiences of all eight academics. 

- Melissa Mungroo


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Honours Student Shares her Love for Teaching and Learning with the Less Fortunate

Honours Student Shares her Love for Teaching and Learning with the Less Fortunate
Ms Silindile Mgaga.

Growing up with parents involved in the education sector has inspired postgraduate student Ms Silindile Mgaga to empower KwaZulu-Natal children through improving their literacy skills. 

Mgaga, who holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree in Industrial Organisational Labour Studies, is pursuing a BCom Honours degree in the Discipline of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations which has partnered with the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance in establishing the non-profit company, Chocolate Kids. 

The company runs several activities aimed at improving learners’ vocabulary and public speaking skills and boosting their confidence.  The first primary school selected was Christopher Nxumalo Higher Primary School in the Chesterville Township area. 

Mr PM Makhanya, a Maths Teacher at the School, chose Grade six learners to attend extra tutorials every Saturday at the Chesterville Library.  Their progress will be tested at the organisation’s First Spelling Bee Competition to be held at UKZN’s Westville campus on 26 October. 

Mgaga’s research revealed that Grade six pupils from township schools struggled with spelling and sentence construction thus performing poorly in oral practicals. 

‘I have studied at multi-racial schools and have been given an opportunity to further my tertiary education at UKZN - that is why I want to give back to those who have not been afforded the same opportunity I have by empowering and uplifting them and making learning fun,’ said Mgaga. 

Mgaga’s Academic Mentor, former Research Methodology Lecturer and Academic Leader in the Discipline of Human Resource Management/Industrial Relations, Professor Sanjana Brijball Parumasur, said the project had the potential to inspire greatness, and trigger a yearning for knowledge, betterment and academic excellence. 

‘Silindile’s enthusiasm made me visualise the benefits of assisting these children and I realised the importance of guiding and supporting her.  Her dedication, effort and enthusiasm has made the project a success and I have no doubt it will successfully motivate students to excel in their studies and improve their spelling and vocabulary,’ said Parumasur.  

 -Thandiwe Jumo


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UKZN Transformation Charter Discussed at Postgraduate Conference

UKZN Transformation Charter Discussed at Postgraduate Conference
UKZN and Stellenbosch University postgraduate students discuss the Transformation Charter in relation to their universities.

One of the highlights of the College of Humanities’ two-day postgraduate and staff research Conference was a panel discussion on: “Living the Transformation Charter at UKZN and Stellenbosch University”.  

The aim of this panel was to showcase the collaborative research by eight selected Masters and PhD students from both universities which engaged with the ways in which students at the two universities “live out” the values of the Transformation Charter at their respective institutions, through their daily culturally lived experience.  

Topics for discussion emanating from the four UKZN students under the guidance and supervision of Professor Rozena Maart were: Gender based Violence and the Transformation Charter by Ms Zaria Govender; Bringing the Mind and its Consciousness to the UKZN Transformation Charter by Mr Lukhona Mnguni; and Body Politics and the Political Body within the UKZN Transformation Charter by Ms Vuyi Khona, and Self-perceptions on Black men in Higher Education by Mr Themba Shibase.  

Speaking on her paper which examined the use of love medicines as a means of addressing the extent to which people will go to handle matters of sexuality, Khona said, ‘Whilst gender is addressed within the Transformation Charter, very little is said about sexuality, and sexual practice, and clearly we need to inject the Transformation Charter with the lived reality of how sexuality is experienced on a day-to-day basis.’ 

Stellensbosch students, under the guidance and supervision of Professor Rob Pattman, also participated and offered their research papers for discussion.  Ms Megan Robertson’s paper titled: “Researching Diversity, Friendship Groups and Patterns at Stellenbosch University”, examined the nature and quality of different friendship groups by exploring social cohesion and the catalysts that promote it.  

Roberston explained how students experienced residences in a racial context and the significance they attached to race and gender. ‘My research raises questions about social cohesion and it must be known that diversity cannot be understood without social cohesion,’ she said. 

Maart and Pattman have been working with students on the Transformation Charter of their respective universities for more than a year now, and the fruit of their labours was evident in the panel presentations by students, which elicited much debate and questions among the audience.  

Professor Sarojini Nadar, College Dean of Research, said the papers presented were of such a high standard that she had managed to secure a special issue of a DHET accredited journal, Alternation, to publish them. Maart and Pattman will be the Guest Editors of this special issue due to be published early 2014.  

- Melissa Mungroo


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Strategies for Business Growth and Sustainability Explored at Business Breakfast

Strategies for Business Growth and Sustainability Explored at Business Breakfast
From left: Nedbank Retail’s KZN Regional General Manager, Mr Fayzel Omar, Mr Praneel Nundkumar, Dr Abdulla Kader, Dr David Schwegmann and Professor Stephen Migiro.

Banking Industry Expert Dr David Schwegmann addressed the business community on strategies that ensure sustainability and growth at a breakfast hosted by the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB & L) in partnership with Nedbank. 

The breakfast was part of the University’s strategic goal of mutual community engagement which is also embedded in the College of Law and Management Studies’ strategic plan.  The event is one of the many activities undertaken by the GSB&L in line with its vision of producing well informed graduates through the involvement of practitioners and experts in business management and leadership fields, thus blending theory with practice. 

Through his talk titled: “Integrated Channels Strategy: The Complexity of Managing The Duality of Revenue Growth and Cost Efficiency”, Schwegmann - the  Managing Executive of Nedbank’s  Retail Branch Network, South Africa -  shared ideas about how business could modify their services to effectively  cater to the needs of their clients.

Through an introspective look into the bank’s performance management approach, financial management and the various strategies adopted to ensure business growth, Schwegmann identified strategies which can be adopted by the business community as whole. 

‘As a business you have to be relevant and distinct to the community you serve that is why at Nedbank we create enduring relationships with our stakeholders and entrepreneurs. This relationship gives us access to their employees which opens up a world of opportunities for us,’ said Schwegmann. 

‘Your business has to be underpinned by sound risk management principles and develop a collaborative culture that is central to the organisation’s effectiveness and innovation. The lessons we have learnt regarding growth and sustainability are valuable to all business communities and those who are involved in business education.’ 

As a UKZN Alumnus who recently graduated with a Doctorate in Business Administration during the University’s Graduation ceremony in April this year, Schwegmann understands the importance of sharing his expertise with students which is why he delivered a lecture on the same topic to MBA students the day before the breakfast.  

In his welcome address at the breakfast, GSB&L’s Dean and Head, Professor Stephen Migiro, said it was important for students to have the ability to translate what they learned from the experts, taking the knowledge from the classroom into the working world. The School was thus looking forward to strengthening its links with business practitioners to give students a realistic view of the business world.  

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor John Mubangizi, highlighted the importance of maintaining and establishing strategic partnerships. He said: ‘The relationship between the GSB&L and business community is of strategic importance in the shaping of business leaders and the formulation of innovative education programmes.’ 

Chief Operations and Financial Officer at the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and MBA holder, Mr Praneel Nundkumar, said the event was insightful and enriching. 

‘The talk provided insight on strategies aspiring businessmen can adopt in their work as well as giving students an opportunity to identify with the business methodologies they have been learning. We are looking forward to more events of this nature in future,’ said Nundkumar. 

 -  Thandiwe Jumo 


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UKZN Shines at Sunday Tribune Garden Show

UKZN Shines at Sunday Tribune Garden Show
Visitors at the Sunday Tribune Garden Show get a lesson on sharks from Postgraduate Marine Biologist, Mr Brent Chiazzari.

UKZN won a Silver Gilt Certificate at the 2013 Sunday Tribune Garden Show maintaining its impressive record of success at the annual show.  The University stand, organised by the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, consistently walks away with the silverware at the Pietermartizburg’s Royal Agricultural Society’s two major annual events: the annual Royal Agricultural Show and the Garden Show.  

Stands are judged on a number of criteria including interpretation of theme, overall impression and technical competence.  With the judging panel led by a Chelsea Flower Show-trained expert, standards are rigorous and contestants come from as far afield as Cape Town.  

The theme of the 2013 Garden Show was: “Be Yourself”, and this year the UKZN stand featured the dietetics, zoology and marine biology programmes within the College.  

Whilst dietetics students from the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences created funky creatures from food and were on hand to give expert advice on how to eat a balanced diet; the School of Life Sciences’ Postgraduate Marine Biology group, MARVEL, provided the public with interesting and hands-on information on the rich and diverse world that exists under the sea.  This was complemented by a collection of marine skeletons on loan from the School’s zoological museum.

The judging panel said that they were impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of the UKZN students and their engagement with the public.   The stand was organised by College PRO, Ms Swasti Maney, with input from the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Life Sciences.  ‘Without the support of the Schools, our show medal would have been impossible,’ said Maney.  ‘I am extremely grateful for their help.’ 

-Sally Frost


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17th International Poetry Africa Festival

17th International Poetry Africa Festival
South African Poet Natalia Molebatsi attending the 17th International Poetry Africa Festival.

Organised by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, the 17th International Poetry Africa festival - presented in partnership with the City of Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture – is taking place from 14-19 October.  The Festival is a critical platform for self-expression offering a space for cultural exchange in the city of Durban.

The Festival’s line-up features a ground-breaking poetry project – a 12-track recorded album titled Insurrections – featuring poets and ethnomusicologists from India and South Africa. The project sees the rich sounds of the Indian music tradition blend with African instruments accompanying radical poetry from both continents. 

In keeping with the musical theme of this year’s edition, the festival features five poets who also work as recording musicians.

Returning to the Poetry Africa stage, respected Soweto-born Dub-Poet and Writer, Lesego Rampolokeng, will deliver an infectious brand of poetry influenced by Black Consciousness and rooted in the experience of people on the margins. Also from Soweto, Khulile Nxumalo presents works from his first title: Ten flapping elbows, mama, and his latest collection, fhedzi, published by Die Hard Press.

Nigerian-born poet Kole Odutola will read his latest work at the festival. Odutola teaches at the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Florida and has published extensively both in academia and literature. Another participant with a background in teaching languages is Kobus Moolman, based at UKZN. Moolman’s latest collection Left Over is currently enjoying rave reviews in the press and his performance will allow an eager Durban audience a chance to celebrate his works.

Johannesburg-based performer and Slam Poet Mandi Poefficient Vundla forms part of the Word n Sound collective and is featured on the online and print publications of Poetry Potion. Crowned Queen of the Word and Sound Mic in 2012, she has graced numerous poetry stages including Arts Alive and the Jozi Book Fair.

Another young female voice featured in the line-up is Sanelisiwe Ntuli, a Wordsmith from Hammersdale who writes and performs in isiZulu. Also writing in isiZulu is Professor Langalibalele F. Mathenjwa, a published writer of isiZulu poetry, novels, short stories and folklore.

Four poets from the Irish poetry collective O’Bheal will present their work at the festival. This contingent consists of Paul Casey, Afric McGinchey, Billy Ramsel and American-born Raven. Completing the international line-up will be Ian Kamau (Canada), Barnabe Laye (Benin) and Raphael d’Abdon (Italy/ South Africa).

Kamau is a Writer, Visual Artist, hip hop and spoken word artist from Toronto, whose discography lists five collections, including the popular album One Day Soon (2011). He presented additional workshops in advance of the festival. A poet and novelist, Laye has published a dozen books and is the recipient of the Nelligan Prize. His most recent work is titled Poems in Absent, a long wait (2010).

D’Abdon is an Italian Scholar, Writer, Editor and Translator and a Post-doctoral Fellow in the English Studies Department at UNISA. As an Editor, D’Abdon recently published Marikana - A Moment in Time, as well as an anthology of poetry about the massacre and his own collection, Sunnyside Nightwalk.

The Festival’s community outreach programme will see poets visit more than 20 community centres, campuses and tertiary education departments in Durban and beyond. In addition, participating poets will visit 20 schools to discuss reading, writing and the performance aspects of poetry.

For more details about this year’s Poetry Africa, visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za or call (031) 260 2506. 

-          Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Fights Mental Illness Stigma

UKZN Fights Mental Illness Stigma
Fourth year nursing students with members of the KwaZulu-Natal Refugee Council handing out food parcels to mentally challenged students at Oakland Special School in Mariannhill.

To commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Day, UKZN fourth-year Nursing students held a Stigma Awareness Day at the Oakland Special School and Care Centre for People with Disabilities. 

The day was aimed at educating the community about the stigma attached to intellectual disabilities with students opening a classroom where they helped to paint and hand out food parcels to children.

The students decided to help when they saw the poor condition of the Oakland Special School while visiting to do a community needs assessment.

Student Ms Nqobile Xolo said:  ‘The School is in dire need. It has no teaching aids or any form of material to show that it is a place of learning.  When we visited, there were no windows and the classroom was dull. We saw a need to intervene by painting the classroom and decorating it with tactile stimulations on the walls.’

The aim was to make the school more attractive to the children. ‘As students we could not find funding or sponsors to assist in renovating but the KwaZulu-Natal Refugee Council provided us with food parcels. The parcels were welcomed especially since most of the children come from poor families.’

The students also encouraged the community to accept and support mentally challenged children.

Xolo said the intervention by the students was aimed at encouraging parents to be active participants in their children’s growth.

‘Parents need to be more supportive. They should assist the teachers in their efforts to help grow and develop the minds of the children… it is important to educate people to refrain from using terms such as mental illness and to rather use intellectual disability.’

The School started in 2008 and was registered as a non-profit organisation. One of its founders, Ms Colleen Ngubane, recalled how it all started:

‘I was watching the news on TV when a story of a mentally ill child appeared. The child had been chained to a tree. In the same month there was another story about a child who had been locked up in his room and chained to his bed.’

Ngubane decided to open a school for children with mental retardation and physical disabilities. 

‘I opened the centre with five colleagues.  It was not easy - we only had passion and love. We rely on the community for assistance and support.’

Ngubane said volunteers assisted occasionally with the 46 children aged from four to 18. The care centre has three adults.

‘We as the community are very happy about the support the students have shown,’ said Ngubane.

Mr Baruti Amisi of the Refugee Council encouraged the students and the community to continue assisting the School in any way.

‘I believe this is in line with the spirit of Ubuntu. We have a moral obligation to the School, Teachers and these children.’ 

Ms Zodwa Magcaba, the mother of a 13-year-old mentally ill child, said: ‘We are so happy about what the students have done. We hope the government will also assist, even if it’s just a food scheme, as it has done at other schools.’

Another mother, Ms Noluthando Thalaza, said she relocated to the area three years ago after she found out about the School. ‘We love Miss Ngubane and appreciate the care she shows for our children,’ said Thalaza.

-          Nombuso Dlamini


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CCMS Revamps and Launches Website

CCMS Revamps and Launches Website
CCMS students excited about their revamped website.

The Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) within the School of Applied Human Sciences recently launched their revamped website which has generated about a million views already.  

Asked about this defining moment for CCMS, UKZN’s Professor Keyan Tomaselli said: ‘Browsers are accessing it for research, for information on our courses, for news of our activities, which is exactly our intention. We feel just great and delighted that UKZN has occupied this virtual space with regard to providing access to cultural and media studies research output in Africa.’ 

‘We field calls daily from international students - who have stumbled upon the site while conducting their research - inquiring about registration for 2014. Additionally, many students from other local universities often ask permission to use work uploaded on our site. 

‘This site is a resource for students at UKZN and beyond.  What’s really exciting is that students have learned web management as part of their professional hands-on activities,’ said Tomaselli. 

The response from browsers numbers well over 3 000 hits a day as CCMS heads towards the million mark since 27 September 2010. The site is constantly refreshed and new alerts are circulated regularly, thus sustaining interest and repeat browsers. 

The site, under the auspices of the UNESCO Chair in Communication, Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli, hosts two open access peer-reviewed journals, African Communication Research and Journal of East African Communication, and contains links for Critical Arts:  South-North Cultural and Media Studies and the Journal of African Cinemas.   Beyond these, many of CCMS books are on open access, as are theses, student projects and registration information. 

‘The CCMS website has always attracted top international students to UKZN, so it plays a vital recruitment role,’ said Tomaselli. ‘Also, anticipating the UKZN 2007-12 Strategic plan, we wanted to showcase the work done by CCMS students and researchers to the world at large.  In fact, the site has become a hub for a lot of work on African cultural and media studies, locating UKZN as a pre-eminent leader on African scholarship in the field. 

‘One of our Centre’s sponsors, Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, wanted this work made globally accessible as along with its parent institution, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, is of the opinion that the CCMS’s work on public health communication is cutting edge globally.  They wanted CCMS’s knowledge on public health interventions and campaign strategy to be popularised all over the world. 

Postgraduate CCMS student Ms Tasmin Paul expressed her delight at the CCMS website. ‘The site is easy to navigate through, user-friendly and provides access to many theses and dissertations online. It’s also a great recruitment and marketing tool.’ 

Another postgraduate student, Mr Itunu Bodunrin of Nigeria, praised CCMS for their website and wealth of information which motivated him to complete his Honours at the Centre.  

The CCMS site can be accessed via (http://ccms.ukzn.ac.za

- Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Hosts Function for Architects

UKZN Hosts Function for Architects
From left: Mr Nick Proome, Mr George Elphick, Mr Kevin Bingham, Professor Thokozani Xaba and Mr Mthembeni Mkhize.

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies hosted a function to formalise the participation of professional architects affiliated to the KwaZulu-Natal Institute of Architecture (KZNIA) in the teaching of architecture. 

The KZNIA has been very supportive of the UKZN programme over many years and the function provided a forum for the formalisation of their commitment to the continuous and quality education of the University’s architecture students.  

‘We are very glad that the Institute of Architects has agreed to partner with us in our efforts to improve the quality of architectural teaching and learning,’ said Professor Thokozani Xaba, the Dean and Head of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies.  

The meeting was attended by the President of KZNIA, Mr Kevin Bingham, and a number of professional architects.  ‘The skills and experience of professional architects are specifically required in our design and technology studios. We are extremely grateful to the President of the Institute who did not hesitate to respond to our request,’ said Xaba. 

Bingham said the study of Architecture was a life-long process and the two UKZN programmes in architecture provided students with the essential grounding required to enable the transition into architectural practice. ‘Due to the symbiotic relationship between education and practice in this profession, the architecture programmes are partnering with the KZNIA to establish an environment which enables the smooth transition between the two, for its students. 

‘The Province and the building industry are reliant on the local universities to provide well-grounded graduates to ensure the successful growth in the region. The relationship between UKZN and the KZNIA is therefore mutually beneficial and addresses the future development of KZN,’ he said. 

‘The KZNIA is currently assisting in providing expertise from skilled practitioners to facilitate in-studio project review sessions, visiting lectures and external examination support. This both assists the University in skilled resources and enables the transfer of current technological advances in practice. In turn the architectural profession is assured of well-prepared graduates ready to meet the challenges of practice,’ said Bingham. 

Mr George Elphick and Mr Nick Proome of Elphick Proome discussed their architectural work at the UKZN Programme of Architecture.  Their lecture was attended by a large contingent of eager undergraduate and postgraduate architectural students keen to meet the figureheads behind one of the biggest commercial practices in Durban who recently celebrated 25 years as a practice and as a partnership.

Their lectures focused on their practice ethos and their approach to design, specifically about their recently completed 30 000m² industrial building for Unilever in Riverhorse Valley.  

Elphick spoke about his design education, encouraging boldness and a strong concept.  He took students through some of his company’s commercial as well as residential work stressing the need to take advantage of the opportunity clients or projects may present as ‘you never know where they may lead’.  

Proome spoke about the design and programming of the Unilever building, its tight time constraints for submission and construction, the experience of working in industrial buildings as well as a committed staff contingent working tirelessly to make it possible. 

Students asked questions that addressed the resilience of the practice, its ability to continuously gain clients even through tough economic times and how it has managed to adapt and to grow over 25 years.    

Xaba also indicated that professional architects would play a larger role in 2014 in the teaching of the Masters in Architecture programme, which would be offered in block-format.  The block-format design is aimed at addressing the need of various practising architectural technologists interested in qualifying as professional architects. 

- Melissa Mungroo


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English Studies Students off to a Conference in Germany

English Studies Students off to a Conference in Germany
Mr Alan Muller and Ms Rachel Matteau-Matsha who will attend a postgraduate research conference in Germany.

Two postgraduate students from the English Studies discipline in the School of Arts will attend a three-day postgraduate research conference at the University of Gottingen in Germany.  The students, Mr Alan Muller and Ms Rachel Matteau-Matsha, supervised by Professor Lindy Stiebel, are excited to be presenting chapters from their theses to other scholars from around the world. 

The event is the first Postcolonial Narrations postgraduate Conference which focuses on Challenging Boundaries: Postcolonial Narratives and Notions of the Global.  

The Conference will investigate ways in which authors respond to these processes and whether new literary strategies can be detected which are used to imagine notions of the global, to challenge narrative conventions and to possibly engender new genres.   

The Conference is designed for PhD students and Postdocs who work in the field of Anglophone postcolonial literatures and cultures.  It aims to provide a platform for exchanging ideas and to constructively discuss current projects. 

‘Postcolonial literature is a broad field and it will be a great learning experience to listen to and engage with the different perspectives of literature from other scholars,’ said Matteau-Matsha. It would also be interesting for the international scholars to hear research papers from South Africa and UKZN. 

Said Muller: ‘It will be the first time I have presented a research paper in Germany. It’s a great opportunity and provides us with a chance to interact with other scholars and receive valuable feedback.’ 

- Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Cleaner Striving for a Better Life

UKZN Cleaner Striving for a Better Life
Ms Phumzile Ngobese and Professor Monique Marks.

Despite financial and time constraints and being a single mother, cleaning staff member on the Howard College campus, Ms Phumzile Ngobese, continues to strive for success both academically and personally. 

Ngobese (39) has enrolled for a four-year Bachelor of Education degree hoping to become a teacher at a primary school. She is a single mother of two girls and struggles to pay for her studies and to run her household. 

Despite these challenges, Ngobese is determined to give her family a better life. To earn extra money for her studies and to support her family she designs and makes dresses at her home in Umlazi. 

‘It is hard to make ends meet but I am trying. Education is important and I will complete my degree and become a teacher so that I can give my children a better life and put them through University,’ said Ngobese.  

She begins her day at 6.30am on campus, returning home late in the day to care for her children. She then studies late into the night. 

Professor Monique Marks of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) describes Ngobese as being positive, enthusiastic and always smiling.  

‘It would be wonderful if UKZN could establish some kind of support group and a bursary scheme for workers who are studying. Students could also volunteer to do tuition for those studying by correspondence,’ said Marks. 

Said Ngobese: ‘I know my children are proud of me and all I am doing for them. And I also know God has never failed me.’ 

To offer assistance please contact Mrs Meera Dalthaman at 031 260 7430 or e-mail: dalthamanm@ukzn.ac.za 

- Melissa Mungroo


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Outreach Programme to Increase Awareness of Chemistry

Outreach Programme to Increase Awareness of Chemistry
UKZN Chemistry Lecturers partner with Swansea University to host “Catching the Light with the Rainbow Nation”, a successful schools’ outreach initiative.

The School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in partnership with Swansea University in the United Kingdom hosted an outreach initiative in the Durban and Mafekeng area titled “Catching the Light with the Rainbow Nation”. 

The aim of the outreach project was to increase the popularity and understanding of chemistry.  About 250 learners from the Wingen and Wyebank High Schools in Durban were accommodated at the School of Chemistry and Physics on the Westville campus during the three-day programme.  

The programme gave the learners an opportunity to fabricate solar cells dyed with fruit juices, and for that extra local flavor, they also tried rooibos tea.  With an excellent workshop team of staff and students from the Swansea University and the School of Chemistry and Physics, the workshop was well presented. 

The young pupils were equally involved and excited by the programme. UKZN’s Professor Bice Martincigh said: ‘The learners showed a high level of understanding and involvement pertaining to the project. And, just for the record, blackberry juice is better at “Catching the Light”.’  

The team then visited Mafikeng High School, Golfview High School and the International School of South Africa where about 800 learners participated in the outreach initiative. In addition, the team found time to visit the Rotary Learning Centre where they painted T-shirts with the children.  

Mr Mike Chetty, a Teacher at Wyebank Secondary School in Durban, said:  ‘We would like to thank UKZN for affording our learners the opportunity to experience chemistry hands on. The learners were well informed about the need for alternate sources of electrical energy and the human resolve to find solutions to problems involved. The aim of the outreach project was definitely achieved as learners of Wyebank Secondary related their experience of the activities of the day to all their peers.’

-Leena Rajpal


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Pharmaceutical Sciences Annual Research Day Winners

Pharmaceutical Sciences Annual Research Day Winners
The two winning teams with their Academic Mentors, Mr Manimbulu Nlooto and Professor Thirumala Govender.

Two UKZN research projects conducted by groups of fourth-year Pharmaceutical Sciences students were winners at the Discipline’s Annual Research Day Symposium held in the Senate Chambers on the Westville campus.  The winning groups were in the Community-Based and Laboratory-Based categories.  

The winning team in the Community-Based category, under the supervision of Mr Manimbulu Nlooto (Zephy) presented a study titled: “Adverse Event Reporting in HIV Clinical Practice by Healthcare Professionals in the eThekwini Health District”.  

This study was conducted to determine whether adverse events are being spontaneously reported by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and post basic pharmacist assistants caring for HIV/AIDS patients attending public health facilities, in the eThekwini Metro Health District.  

The study was conducted from June to August 2013 during clinic hours among health-care professionals in accredited antiretroviral sites. Results of the study indicated that 82 percent of all health care professionals stated that they were aware of Standard Operating Procedures on adverse reporting, however only 72 percent followed them properly when reporting.  

The team further discovered that spontaneous reporting is limited by the lack of knowledge on the reporting process itself. Lack of human resource capital available was also a problem as many of these institutions were both under-staffed and inadequately equipped to deal with adverse drug events reporting and lack of proper communication between patients and health care professionals due to overload of work as well as language barriers. Health care professionals believed that adverse event reporting could be increased by increasing staff, creating online databases for reporting and offering in- service training. 

The Laboratory-Based team, assisted by Ms Elsabe Jones and supervised by Professor Thirumala Govender, presented on: “The Effect of Formulation and Process Variables on Didanosine-Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles (SLNs) for HIV/AIDS Therapy”. The aim of the study was to prepare Didanosine (DDI)-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles and to evaluate the effects of lipid, surfactant type and homogenisation speed on these nanoparticles. DDI is a drug used as part of antiretroviral therapy. 

Results of the study indicated that Poloxamer 188 yielded optimal results and through a Transmission Electron Microscope analysis, optimal uniformity in shape and size was attainable at a homogenization speed of 9000 rpm. The team indicated that DDI had been successfully incorporated into SLNs; satisfying the criteria of acceptable size, polydispersity index, zeta potential and morphology. The results suggest that DDIs can be tested for further potential into treating HIV/AIDS in future.  

Dr Panjasaram (Vassie) Naidoo, Academic Leader of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences congratulated the winning teams and their respective supervisors for their successful presentation at the Research Symposium. ‘A special congratulations to the winners from the community-based category: Fathima Akbar, Shaista Karim, Lerisha Maharaj, Zubair Mansoor, William Maphanga, Snenhlanhla Mthembu, Nkosingiphile Ndlovu, Shahnaaz Sheik  and Lance Singh and to the laboratory based winners who were Nikita Sohini Amaidas, Unsa Essop, Bernita Haripersad, Shaveer Joaché Inderjith, Jason Ross Naidoo, Shirvana Ramghulam, Khethukhutula Nhlangothi, Lungile Shezi and Fareeya Vahed.  

‘It was indeed a very successful Research Day co-ordinated by Dr Raj Karpoormath, the Research Co-ordinator for 2013. He had an able team of hard-working and dedicated staff who ensured the success of the day. Congratulations to Raj and his team as well,’ said Naidoo.  

-Nombuso Dlamini


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IsiZulu Communication Skills Videos for Med Students

IsiZulu Communication Skills Videos for Med Students
From left: Ms Roshni Gokool, Dr Paula Diab and Dr Margy Matthews are helping to teach isiZulu to Medical students.

UKZN’s Discipline of Rural Health recently hosted a presentation on the use of isiZulu videos to teach communication skills to Medical students.  The presentation was the result of interdepartmental and inter-College collaboration with the main aim being to ensure that isiZulu language skills are transferred to medical students from their first year of study to enable them to adequately converse with patients. 

The team comprised of Dr Paula Diab of the Discipline of Rural Health, Dr Margy Matthews of the School of Clinical Medicine and Ms Roshni Gokool of the Discipline of African Languages, College of Humanities.  Together they illustrated how various videos had been developed to support teaching isiZulu to Medical students.  

The team said communication skills teaching did not extend through all the clinical years of training, ie. the fourth to sixth years. While limited isiZulu support and assessment have been introduced by Matthews and Gokool in the second and third years, the language skills learnt in the first year isiZulu course were insufficient to equip students to converse with their patients. 

Consequently, there was a need for isiZulu communication teaching throughout the MBChB curriculum. 

The concept began with teaching students simple isiZulu, using only basic vocabulary and sentence structure. Scenarios were developed in keeping with the themes as taught in the pre-clinical years (Years one - three).

Thereafter, further videos were developed which involved more complex usage of the language, an extended vocabulary and an understanding of the patients’ responses in order to negotiate a shared management plan.  

The final stage of the videos depicted scenarios which also required more complex language but concentrated on culturally-specific scenarios needing an understanding of the Zulu culture and how it overlapped with western biomedical presentations (eg: the use of enemas in children, and a case presentation of “ukutwasa”). 

The presentation of a selection of the videos as well as a pilot study currently underway to evaluate students’ opinions was well received by members of the African Language Department, UKZN’s Language Board and the College of Health Sciences. 

Potential partnerships were formed and it is hoped that, with the support of the Language Board and Research Office, further videos will be able to be developed for use at all levels and across all courses in the College of Health Sciences. 

The presenters were congratulated for their innovative teaching methods and development of the videos to date. Professor Noleen Turner, Academic Leader of African Languages at UKZN, applauded the great work being done by the project team. ‘Truly an example of “promoting greatness”, and enhancing research and teaching through interdisciplinary collaboration,’ she said. 

Matthews has been involved in teaching communication skills to Medical students from their first to third year of study. In conjunction with Gokool, an isiZulu teaching module was developed in 2010 for second language isiZulu speakers. Diab has been involved in teaching communication skills during the final year. 

-          Paula Diab


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UKZN Outreach Initiative for High School in Durban

UKZN Outreach Initiative for High School in Durban
Grade nine learners from Greenbury Secondary School receive subject choice counselling from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

Staff from Student Support Services assisted in administering the PACE career guidance programme to Grade nine learners from Durban’s Greenbury Secondary School - one of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES)’s top feeder schools.  

The workshop took place over two days on the Howard College campus at the Academic Support Advancement Programme (ASAP) local area network (LAN).  

The workshop stemmed from a visit by the College Public Relations team to the School where parents and teachers requested assistance in helping learners research possible career choices which would influence their subject choices for next year. 

The PACE programme is a computer based career guidance tool consisting of 105 questions and is based on the concept of self-reporting.  Once the questions are answered, a report is instantly generated which ranks the individual’s area of interests in terms of percentages.  Pupils are then allowed to explore different careers under relevant headings such as health sciences. 

The system then produces a description of each career, the skills needed, the matric requirements and the tertiary studies that can be undertaken.  Pupils were excited to be given the opportunity not only to access the software, but it was also an experience for them to visit UKZN. Well trained counsellors guided them through the entire process after which they were given an opportunity to have a group session with the counsellors to discuss their results further.  

Co-ordinator of the Workshop Ms Prashna Singh said: ‘The CAES HC student support services welcomed the opportunity to become involved in the community engagement project initiated by the College PR team In providing a career guidance exercise for Greenbury High School pupils. 

‘We believe that students choosing the correct career or degree path is an important factor in ensuring their future academic and personal success.  We often see registered students who are performing poorly due to degree dissatisfaction or career confusion.  If we can assist prospective students chose more appropriate careers/degrees, hopefully we will contribute to their success.’ 

One of the parents Mr S Panday said: ‘Like many teenagers my daughter was uncertain about her subject choice for Grade 10. It was difficult for me as a parent as I wanted to be careful not to steer her in a direction that would hinder her potential.

‘I am thankful to the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Public Relations team and the team of psychologists who kindly volunteered to assist in that area. My daughter now has a clear indication of her strengths and weaknesses which has given her the advantage of making an informed decision regarding her subject selection and career choice.’

-           Leena Rajpal


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Global Optimisation Applied to Industrial Problems

Global Optimisation Applied to Industrial Problems
Dr Aderemi Adewumi (left) and Professor Montaz Ali.

Professor Montaz Ali of the University of the Witwatersrand delivered a Public Lecture at UKZN on the topic of “Global Optimisation Applied to Industrial Problems”.  

Ali was the guest of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science with the lecture organised by Dr Aderemi Adewumi, in conjunction with the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA), KwaZulu-Natal Chapter.  ‘Whether we realise it or not, the theory of global optimisation drives our everyday desires and actions,’ said Ali.  

‘For example, we want to do things better, to achieve our goals faster, to make our investments or other actions risk-free. Industries want to improve the quality of products for bigger market shares or to make strategic decisions for better profit margins.’   

Ali explained that the mathematical theory of global optimisation was used to achieve these desired goals in the best possible way. ‘Global optimisation algorithms make problem solving more efficient,’ he said. 

‘As we live and operate in today’s competitive global village, the need for global optimisation is becoming imperative.  Indeed, global optimisation is impacting all aspects of the technological world in which we are privileged to live.’  

Ali presented various optimisation problems and some related algorithms for the solutions to these problems, stressing the complexity in the solution process. ‘The mathematics is there, but you need to discover it,’ he said. ‘For example, when building a new university, one would need to decide which department should be placed next to which.  Which facilities should go with which location?  The solution requires global optimisation algorithmic simulation.’ 

Ali cited the successful application of global optimisation algorithms in solving problems in resource allocation, cryptography, transportation, telecommunication, advertising and budget allocation. These included a number of practical problems faced by industries, for example, optimisation of the brewing process in South African Breweries, and on-demand air transportation at Sefofane, Botswana, among others. 

An alumnus of Dhaka University, Bangladesh, Professor Ali received his PhD degree in stochastic global optimization from the University of Technology, Loughborough, United Kingdom, in 1994.  Following a long and successful international career, Ali is currently a Research Professor in the Centre for System and Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment at the University of the Witwatersrand.  

Ali’s research interests include global optimisation, mixed integer nonlinear programming, operations research and optimal control theory. He is the Author or Co-Author of more than 50 scientific papers in refereed international journals. 

-Sally Frost


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Occupational Therapy on Display

Occupational Therapy on Display
King Edward Vlll Hospital’s Ms Lenise Clothier and UKZN’s Mr December Mpanza hold the Occupational Therapy Week flag at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

UKZN’s Discipline of Occupational Therapy in partnership with King Edward VIII Hospital held an “occupational therapy (OT) Flash Freeze” at the Moses Mabhida Stadium  to kick start Occupational Therapy Week held from 7 to 11 October.   

OT is the use of treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with physical, mental or developmental conditions. OT interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill, and educating the client/family in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities. 

Organiser of the hospital’s OT Department, Ms Lenise Clothier, said Flash Freeze was being used as a platform to raise awareness about the profession. 

‘We decided to take a different approach to raise awareness in a new, fun, creative and “free” way by hosting an OT Flash Freeze.’ At the event, a group of about 20 OT specialists, clad in green tops, froze at noon for three minutes in different positions, amid a huge crowd at the I Heart market. 

UKZN’s Mr December Mpanza from the Discipline of Occupational Therapy said a flash freeze was similar to a flash mob, but there is no dancing.  ‘The idea behind a flash freeze is to seem unplanned, and to suddenly gain the attention of by- passers,’ he said. 

The participants were carrying an OT banner with the slogan: Bringing Out the Ability in Disability, to give the public a general idea about what OTs do. They also gave the public OT stickers with the blog address printed on it. 

‘This way we were able to combine all the institutions, schools, centres and OT affiliates under one umbrella to promote our profession, which we so deeply love! Most importantly by the Flash Freeze, we are able to spark the interest of the general public by approaching health and wellness with a positive and energetic attitude,’ said Mpanza. 

She said they planned to continue with similar awareness campaigns in the future.

-          Nombuso Dlamini


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Fighting Abuse One Stitch at a Time

Fighting Abuse One Stitch at a Time
The Marianridge Community together with UKZN’s Nursing students hand over teddy bears for rape victims to Pastor Jane Curle of His Church in Pinetown.

UKZN’s fourth year nursing students and the Marianridge community donated 103 teddy bears for rape victims to the Thuthuzela Care Centre at Durban’s RK Khan Hospital.  The Teddy Bear Knitting project aims to fight abuse “one stitch at a time” by providing knitted teddy bears to child rape victims. Organisers believe teddy bears will comfort women and children who are suffering.

The bears were handed to Pastor Jane Curle of His Church who will send them to the centre where they will form part of the comfort kit given to rape victims.  Curle accepted the bears on behalf of the Centre and the Church.  She said every life the bears touched would provide healing and comfort. Out of 100 reported cases a day, 90 of the victims were children between the ages of three-months and 18 years old.

‘We hope these bears will be able to provide hope, love and joy.’Ms Charlotte Engelbrecht of UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health came up with the idea to donate teddy bears. She pitched the idea to the local church and UKZN’s fourth-year students who then made it happen.

Ms Kate Anderson of the local Happy Day Club for the Elderly said the old folk met once a week to knit the bears.  Most club members are aged from 60 years upwards and have been part of the Club for years. They joined the Teddy Bear Knitting project two months ago and have made more than 100 bears.

‘The elderly love the hand work, it gives them more purpose in life,’ she added.  A woman from the church who was almost raped, Ms Diann Bazly, said being part of the project had healed her old wounds. 

‘I found meaning in making these bears. I was nearly raped by a person known to my family when I was 11-years-old. I never completely recovered from that ordeal - it only happened once I started working with the teddy bear knitting intervention.’

Warrant Officer Joseph Sthebe said women and child abuse were rife in the Marianridge area.  ‘The area is ravaged by alcohol and drug abuse,’ he said, citing this abuse as the main cause of women and child abuse. ‘Most rape victims are attacked at night by those leaving shebeens or taverns.’

Regarding child rape, Sthebe said many of the incidents took place at homes at the hands of a family member or relative. This was why so many child abuse cases were not reported. He encouraged the community to speak up and never to allow economic factors to force them into silence.

Sthebe said abuse cases were a priority to all police members.  ‘We have a 24-hour office at RK Khan Hospital which is where we process all rape cases and assist rape victims with whatever help they require.’  Police in the area were working with the Liquor Board to shut down illegal shebeens and to make sure the licensed ones keep to the regulations.

-           Nombuso Dlamini


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UKZN Students Triumph at PHASA

UKZN Students Triumph at PHASA
UKZN’s fourth-year Medical students at PHASA, from left: Jothika Maharaj, Ms Denesha Naicker, Mr Uvir Maharaj, Mr Yasteel Deepnarain and Ms Naseera Joossab.

A presentation by two UKZN fourth-year medical students won first prize at the inaugural Student Symposium during the ninth Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) conference in Cape Town.

The title of the presentation by Ms Naseera Joossab and Ms Denesha Naicker was: “The Risk Factors for Asthma in the Indoor Home Environments of Primary Schoolchildren in Overport, Durban”.  The presentation focused on the increasing prevalence of asthma among children, highlighting environmental factors.

Joossab said it was a great moment for both her and Naicker. ‘It was surprising and amazing because there were a lot of great presentations.

‘We are really happy and appreciate the support from our supervisor Professor Rajen Naidoo from the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. He always encourages us. We wouldn’t have done it without him. 

 ‘It was overall a good experience and  great exposure. The exposure was rewarding in that we are still at the beginning of our careers,’ said Joossab.

Zimbabwean-born Joossab, who moved to South Africa eight years ago, has an Honours degree in Medical Science (Physiology). She graduated with distinctions (Cum Laude) and was accepted to study Medicine.

She is also a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society and served as Vice-President in 2008.  Naicker of Port Shepstone plans to specialise in psychiatry while Joossab is considering Obstetrics or Cardiology.

  -          Nombuso Dlamini 


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UKZN Student Attends Sweden Global Business Week

UKZN Student Attends Sweden Global Business Week
Ulundi Municipality convenor Mrs Thembeka Ntombela with Mr Sesethu Sidzamba in Sweden.

Enactus UKZN General President and third year Bachelor of Administration student Mr Sesethu Sidzamba represented the Social Entrepreneurship sector at the Sweden Global Business Week held at the University of Sweden. 

Sidzamba was part of a business delegation led by representatives of KwaZulu-Natal’s Ulundi Municipality who made presentations in line with the conference’s theme of: “Sustainable Solutions, Responding to the Challenges of Food Security, Water Scarcity, Insufficient Electricity Supply and Women Empowerment”. 

Sidzamba delivered a presentation highlighting how the involvement of students in community development projects or issues will improve the University’s Teaching and Learning process. 

‘Our academic curriculum is theoretical in nature and needs practical comprehension which is offered by actively engaging in communal affairs,’ said Sidzimba. 

The Conference also created a networking platform for the delegation which got an opportunity to engage with city officials of Sundsvall Municipality in Sweden and to share ideas on how South Africa could be instrumental in the promotion of the Global Business Week event and on possible ways of enhancing it. 

South African’s Ambassador to Sweden, Ms M D Marasha, delivered a speech in support of the continuing and strengthened relations between Sweden and South Africa, in particular the Ulundi Municipality.

Other presentations delivered by Sidzamba at the Conference included: 

•  Enactus UKZN community projects as mechanisms for sustainable solutions whilst equipping communities with economic independence fostering an entrepreneurial consciousness among the previously disadvantaged and poor communities.  Ulundi formed a contextual case study for this presentation.

•  A presentation  on Enactus-UKZN workings with Ulundi Municipality on a Waste Management system namely the buyback center concept. The essence of a buyback centre is to help with the reduction of waste that is taken to landfills in and around KwaZulu-Natal. It will effectively recycle, reuse and lastly reduce. The waste will be collected from households and taken to the buyback centre. The occupants of the area will be trained on sorting and making of products from the waste materials. This way the problem is decreased by a substantial amount. People will have a source of income. Through the creation of much needed jobs, this project will give the beneficiaries a much needed financial boost that will allow them to care for their families and even employ more people in their community thus tackling the issue of poverty and hunger.

•  The Conference attracted photographer Mark Edwards who is the founder of the Hard Rain project which infuses photography and development.

‘Edwards extended an invitation to UKZN to lead sustainability and be a partner in the Whole Earth 2015 Project. In principle 30 universities from Africa, Europe, America and Asia have agreed to host this exhibition in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) initiative,’ said Sadzamba.  

‘The exhibition will present a series of authoritative talks by personalities in the fields of science, environment, development, business and the arts. Experts at universities partnering in the project will be able to reach out and address the wider, international audience of students and staff at the other partner universities. Plans are in place for us to host Edwards early next year.’

 -          Thandiwe Jumo


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UKZN Academic Assists Youngsters in School Project

UKZN Academic Assists Youngsters in School Project
UKZN’s Dr Nicky Tyler (left) with high school pupils and animal lovers Ms Sarah Cameron and Ms Katya Williams.

Two Grade nine pupils at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof were fortunate to get support from UKZN Academic, Dr Nicky Tyler in a project for their school’s science expo.  

The pupils, Ms Sarah Cameron and Ms Katya Williams, are both very passionate about animals and Cameron has previously enjoyed guidance from Tyler who is keen to foster enthusiasm from youngsters. 

Tyler of the Discipline of Animal and Poultry Science showed Cameron around the poultry facilities at UKZN’s Ukulinga Farm in Pietermaritzburg which is the home of a diverse range of research projects in the areas of food, water, energy, and biofuels development. 

Recently, when Cameron and Williams decided to do a project on poultry for their school science expo, Tyler helped to organise them chicks, food and a brooder lamp and the girls built a brooder in which to rear the chicks.

‘Dr Tyler showed me the conditions for chickens raised commercially to give me an idea of how to reproduce a similar environment for this experiment to ensure the most accurate results,’ said Cameron. 

The students’ project examined the difference in growth rates of chicks being looked after by a broody hen versus those in an artificial brooder. Those in the brooder were found to be 27 percent bigger at the end of the experiment, although they were not as explorative as those reared with a hen. 

Cameron and Williams’s poster won first prize at their School science expo and also a gold medal at the Eskom Expo in Ladysmith. ‘The project involved lots of hard work but nothing is more satisfying than seeing a little chick you have raised since he/she was a day old become a handsome rooster or beautiful hen,’ said Williams. 

Tyler hopes that this sort of engagement with high school students will expose them to the variety of career possibilities at UKZN, and more specifically that it encourages Cameron and Williams to one day study in the Discipline of Animal and Poultry Science at the University. 

- Nicky Tyler


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UKZN’s Amarula Research Programme Reveals Fascinating Elephant Behaviour

UKZN’s Amarula Research Programme Reveals Fascinating Elephant Behaviour
At the side of an immobilised Kruger National Park elephant cow fitted with a GSM telemetry collar are (from left) SANParks Head of Veterinary Services, Dr Markus Hofmeyr, Dr Danny Govender of SANParks, UKZN PhD candidate Ms Audrey Delsink and SANParks helicopter pilot Mr Grant Knight.

Ongoing research funded by the not-for-profit Amarula Trust explores elephant behaviour as the basis for developing conservation and elephant management strategies in public and private game parks.  Run by Professor Rob Slotow of UKZN’s School of Life Sciences, the Amarula Elephant Research Programme (AERP), has been in operation since 2002. 

With a team of researchers, PhD and MSc students, the programme involves Government conservation agencies and private game reserves, as well as ecologists, in generating elephant management plans based on data collected through scientific research. 

To better understand their ranging behaviour, the AERP collars elephants it studies, using GPS devices that automatically record the location of each animal every 30 minutes. ‘This gives us an amazingly high resolution and accuracy of movements of elephants in real time. Using indices such as rate of movement, or even the frequency and angle of turning behaviour, we can discover how they are responding to local conditions,’ said Slotow. 

He tells of how park and conservation managers were concerned that the impact of elephants on vegetation would be most concentrated in areas near fencing, with the potential to affect sustainability, particularly in smaller reserves.  

‘Our results indicated the opposite - that elephants move faster, and turn less often nearer fencing, and thus impact vegetation less. What was surprising was the distance elephants stay away from fences - up to about 2,5 km in the dry season and over 4 km in the wet season. This is probably because the elephants associate the boundary of the reserve with risk, and this means that the impacts of elephants may be more concentrated than previously thought.   

‘We have also found that when a reserve is increased in size by dropping a fence, it takes up to a year for the elephants to move past where the fence had been, and to use the new area. Female elephants especially are slower to move into new areas, probably because they are more sensitive to risk as far as the young animals in the herd are concerned,’ said Slotow. 

‘Like humans, elephants are susceptible to stress, and even within small reserves, elephants consider some parts a refuge from threat, and retreat there when their basal stress levels are higher. They have corridors between these areas, along which they travel faster than normal to get to the next refuge.’  

One of the programme’s most exciting research projects has involved observing the response of elephants to recordings of lions roaring, says Slotow. ‘The study showed that young matriarchs under 40 years old responded more or less the same to the sound of male and female roars and also to recordings of one or more lions roaring at a time. 

‘Less discriminating than their elders, they typically under-reacted to male roars, despite the danger that they presented. Older, more experienced matriarchs of up to 60 years and more, however, were more nuanced in their responses, reacting most strongly to the sound of multiple male roars. This is because they would not discern a single male or female to be particularly threatening but would find a group of male lions to represent far graver danger. 

‘This study provided the first empirical evidence that individuals within a social group may derive significant benefits from the influence of an older leader because of an enhanced ability to make crucial decisions about a predatory threat,’ said Slotow. 

The programme has also been researching elephant response to seasonal changes and has observed that when the rains arrive, the collared females travel further and faster, whereas during the dry season, they are constrained by limited forage with the distances they cover being shorter and less variable.  

Another study determined that elephants tend to turn more often in favourable habitat where there is a greater abundance of food and shade, than in a less hospitable environment. When they need to reach a destination quickly for water or to access mates, they also move faster and more directly, with fewer turns.  

The Amarula Elephant Programme provides basic understanding, allowing an integrated approach to elephant conservation management. The nuances of behaviour, and understanding the context that influences important predictable responses, allows managers to better plan and intervene. 

‘For example, we know the value of older matriarchs in healthy and predictable behaviour, and so should avoid removing them from the system at all costs. We also know that some areas are perceived as refuges, and human use of these areas should be reduced to allow recovery from stress, and thus reduce the risks of an attack on people. We also need to plan carefully how we use fencing in the landscape,’ said Slotow. 

The findings of the AERP play a key role in local elephant conservation strategies and have contributed to the development of elephant management plans in the country’s public reserves, as required by the Department of Environmental Affairs.

 To date, three such plans, which incorporate the results and recommendations from the research, have been signed off by the National Government. All three are in KwaZulu-Natal - they are Tembe Elephant Park, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and Ithala Game Reserve. 

-  Tessa de Kock


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UKZN Academic Attends SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue

UKZN Academic Attends SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue
UKZN’s Dr Mark Dent with Global Water Partnership CEO Southern Africa, Dr Ruth Beukman (second left), and session Chair, Dr Cyril Masamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Senior Lecturer in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences Dr Mark Dent was part of the South African delegation to the 6th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue in Lusaka, Zambia. 

His invitation came in recognition of his widely syndicated Leadership Letters on the food/energy/water nexus and on integrated catchment management. Dent’s presentation introduced a Plenary Panel Discussion on the topic: “Deepening the Understanding of the Nexus Approach”.   

The session dialogue was facilitated by Dr Hastings Chikoko, the CEO of C40 Cities Southern Africa. 

Dent highlighted the fact that the nexus was a most important approach for integration in SADC. He illustrated new  ways of engaging the challenges and highlighted  the opportunity posed to SADC by the Nile Basin Initiative which has gained significant traction in the past five years following the UNEP-DHI engagement and their modelling, data base and information synergies.  

Dent also stressed that the DRC and Tanzania, which are an integral part of the Nile Basin Initiative and also of SADC, offered an opportunity for a practical connection and a learning pathway. 

Many speakers present emphasised the fact that biodiversity needed to be included in the nexus and also pointed out that ecosystems formed the very basis for food, water and energy systems. An excellent presentation on the local level application food/water/energy nexus Interactions in the eThekwini Municipality, was delivered by UKZN’s Professor Chris Buckley. 

Dr  Nick Tandi, Manager at the NEPAD office of the South African Water Partnership Network,  presented most informatively on how large entities in government, business and civil society in southern Africa were taking nexus lessons and connecting them across a range of initiatives at various scales, under the oversight of the Department of Water Affairs.    

‘It is clear that the South African Water Partnership Network sees the nexus as key to reducing systemic risk and increasing regional integration in a range of matters that have systemic impacts beyond the core of the nexus,’ said Dent. 

- Mark Dent


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School of Applied Human Sciences Postgraduate Conference a Great Success

School of Applied Human Sciences Postgraduate Conference a Great Success
Keynote speaker Dr Colin Chasi (left) and Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize at the opening of the annual postgraduate conference of the School of Applied Human Sciences.

The School of Applied Human Sciences recently hosted a successful annual postgraduate student conference. Organised by Dr Thandi Magojo and a special team of students from the Masters Industrial Psychology class, more than 140 students registered for the conference, a quarter being from other schools in Humanities.  

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, welcomed the delegates. The keynote address by Dr Colin Chasi, Head of Communications at the University of Johannesburg, was titled: “Communication, Health and Ubuntu”.  

The Dean and Head of School, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, presented UKZN’s Professor Anna Meyer-Weitz and Professor Donal McCracken with awards for their outstanding contributions to the School.  

Thirty papers were presented by honours, masters and doctoral students from Communications and Media Studies; Criminology and Forensic Studies; Psychology as well as Social Work.  

The cConference concluded with a stimulating seminar on Ethics in a University, chaired by Professor Steve Collings with McCracken, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, Professor Keyan Tomaselli and Professor Doug Wassenaar on the panel. 

- Donal McCracken


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UKZN Student to Represent South Africa at Mr Universe in Greece

UKZN Student to Represent South Africa at Mr Universe in Greece
Mr Joshua Nkosi.

UKZN bodybuilding student Mr Joshua Nkosi will be representing South Africa in Greece at the Mr Universe competition from 16 to 21 October. Nkosi, a second-year Dental Therapy student, was chosen to represent the country after scooping both the provincial and national titles.  

The passionate athlete also attained the UKZN Westville Sports Man of the year (2013) award due to his tremendous dedication and hard work.  Nkosi (22), is not only a passionate classic body builder but also passionate about his academics.  

Excelling academically, Nkosi said that the sport has taught him to balance his academic and social life. He acknowledged the support of his family and friends, and for always believing in him. 

Nkosi added the sport has opened many doors for him and advised other students to grab every opportunity and “think out of the box”. 

-Sithembile Shabangu


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