Business Breakfast Advises businesses to Function Despite Load Shedding

Business Breakfast Advises businesses to Function Despite Load Shedding
UKZN’s Energy Management Consultant, Mr Greg Diana; Chairman of the South African Independent Power Producers’ Association, Mr Sisa Njikelana; Chief Director of Energy Planning at the Department of Energy, Ms Tshilidzi Ramuedzisi; Sanlam’s Markets Specialist, Mr Mannie Kambourakis; Dean and Head: Graduate School of Business and Leadership, Professor Theuns Pelser; and Academic Leader, Dr Mihalis Chasomeris.

The Durban business community recently gathered at the ICC for UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s (GSB&L) 5th Business Forum to exchange ideas on how businesses can remain productive during the country’s energy crisis.

The Forum, titled: “The State of Energy in South Africa: Business Thinking Outside the Box”, was hosted in partnership with Sanlam. The Forum brought together experts from the public, private and civil sectors to critically engage on this topical issue, which is affecting economic and social development in our region.

Discussing this topic was a panel consisting of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer, Ms Dumile Cele; the Chairman of the South African Independent Power Producers’ Association, Mr Sisa Njikelana; and the Chief Director of Energy Planning at the Department of Energy, Ms Tshilidzi Ramuedzisi.

Speaking on behalf of the Chamber, Cele said that businesses were being crippled by the effects of the energy crisis, including load shedding. He believed other alternatives, such as utilising the services of private energy suppliers, should be considered.

Ramuedzisi viewed the topic from a national perspective, highlighting the challenges Eskom faced when it came to meeting the country’s demand for power. She also emphasised that the energy crisis was not only limited to electricity supply. Therefore businesses needed to look beyond the energy department and play a role in driving the economy.

Njikelana, who has served as a member of parliament for ten years as well as being the Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee on Energy and the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, said that the energy crisis called for innovative solutions such as the use of nuclear power, coal and renewable energy, as it could take years for Eskom to resolve its infrastructure issues.

After the panel discussion, the floor was open to the audience to voice their opinions and engage with the panel through a question and answer session. Among the issues that were raised was the looming electricity tariff hike and its impact, the increase in the demand for energy and whether small businesses will be able to survive and remain profitable during this crisis.

Sithembile Shabangu


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UKZN SRC President earns BCom Degree

UKZN SRC President earns BCom Degree
Central SRC President, Mr Dithobe Mosana.

Central SRC President at UKZN, Mr Dithobe Mosana, graduated with a BCom (Supply Chain Management and Marketing) degree.

Growing up in Seshego township in Limpopo, Mosana switched to commerce from a science and agriculture stream after matric.

Adapting to commerce was not the only difficulty he faced as a young undergraduate student. Coming from a middle-class family, he didn’t qualify for NSFAS and while his parents managed to pay his fees and living expenses, he found creative ways to do assignments and prepare for tests without prescribed text books.

‘I remember I didn’t have funds to buy books and resorted to lecture slides and the books at the library reserve in order to survive academically.’

As President of the Central SRC, Mosana was determined to complete his degree and fulfil his leadership responsibilities. ‘Being a student leader compromises one’s social life or academic performance, it’s really up to the individual to choose which one they wish to sacrifice. In my case, I chose to sacrifice the social aspect.’

Mosana found time to explore his entrepreneurial side, and was part of the SIFE (rebranded Enactus) team that won the national championship title in 2011 and 2012.

He was also involved in other student organisations. ‘I’ve led the Black Management Forum Student Chapter at a branch and provincial level, and received the Most Progressive Leader award.’ Mosana was part of the Westville Local SRC in 2013, having served as the Residence Liaison Officer.

Mosana is grateful to have graduated. ‘It feels very good to finally get a degree,’ he said, acknowledging Jehovah and his parents, ‘The joy this degree brought on my family, more especially my parents, was very fulfilling and it was one of the best days in my life.

‘My greatest support came from my mother. She would call more than anybody else, and made sure I had everything I needed.’

‘Thanks to Jehova Jirah, the Lord who provides, I have finally completed and I am now enrolled for my honours degree.’

Mosana suggested that the University find ways to support student leaders and ensure they performed academically. ‘The SRC office is very demanding and in a number of cases, student leaders have to miss lectures to be able to attend meetings and vice-versa.’

Mosana plans to read for his PhD and has ambitions of influencing South African policy ‘especially with regards to procurement and building state capacity to own the means of production’.

He is also working towards being a farmer, a land developer and opening a supply chain consultancy business.

The University is pleased to announce the following SRC members have also graduated:

                                     

GRADUATE SRCS 2014/2015

Central SRC

Mr Dithobe Mosana

Mr Manyano Mpelane

Local SRC Pietermaritzburg Campus

Mr Mondli Desire Nkonzo

Mr Brian Wandile Ndlovu

Local SRC – Howard College

Mr Sanele Mthembu

Mr Vuyo Jali

Local SRC – Westville Campus

Mr Lukhanyo Mtshingana

GRADUATE SRC’S 2013/2014

Central SRC

Ms Nomfundo Andile Mngadi

Mr Goodman Machi

Local SRC - Edgewood Campus

Wanele Dlamini

Mr Mthokozisi Madlala

Mr Siyabonga Mtolo

Mr Ashkelon Govender

Mr Siyabonga Sithole

Local SRC – Pietermaritzburg

Mr Lungani Nhlenyama

Mr Mduduzi Frederick Zuma

Mr Siyabonga Angelcus Ngubane

Ms Lonolinamandla Letsoalo

Ms Phumza Nozuko Myingwa

Mr Innocent Razano

Local SRC – Howard College

Mr Zwane Nduduzo

Mr Thembinkosi Patrick Daemane

Mr Mandlokwazi Sithole

Local SRC – Westville Campus

Mr Senzosenkosi Innocent Kunene

Mr Lukhanyo Mtshingana

 

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


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UKZN Academic Specialises in Blistering Disorders

UKZN Academic Specialises in Blistering Disorders
Dr Nokubonga Khoza.UKZN’s Specialist Dermatologist, Dr Nokubonga Khoza runs the only Immunobullous disease clinic in the province every Tuesday at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, Dermatology clinic.

Khoza’s clinic provides first-class service delivery to patients who are exclusively suffering from blistering disorders. She sees about 15 cases per day and about 50 a month from all over the province.

The specialised clinic started in July 2014, ‘As this is the first of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal, and to my knowledge in South Africa, the vision is to grow the clinic, especially the patient education and support wing, wherein we can offer comprehensive treatment including, psychological and genetic counselling to affected individuals and their families, as well as a proper wound care segment. Dietician facilities and counselling can be adopted at a local level or at the patient’s living environment, creating a multidisciplinary facility, that can attract international collaborations, donors and sponsors,’ said Khoza.

She is currently involved in the production of educational material on the disease, pamphlets in both English and IsiZulu as well as video material through self-funded sponsorships. ‘We are planning to start a Bullous disease support group which will be driven by patients with the department providing the necessary educational support,’ she said.

The clinic is frequented by patients of all ages from both urban and rural communities, ‘Our patients travel from as far as Manguzi and our referral patterns ensure that we are able to offer optimum support to all.’ 

Bullous diseases are a group of rare diseases that cause blisters in the skin. She said they are a group of skin diseases which need treatment and can be fatal, if not treated properly. They affect all races, both males and females at equal rates.

The Umlazi-born doctor said some Bullous diseases are curable and others are not, depending on the type of bullous disease one is suffering from.

‘We may be able to control some and sometimes we achieve complete disease remission whilst others resolve spontaneously or are self-limiting,’ she explained.

Khoza developed interest with this subspecialty in her first year of training as a dermatologist after seeing new-borns with lethal forms of congenital Bullous diseases, ‘I was intrigued, somewhat traumatised by the impact this was causing on young hopeful moms. I wanted to clearly understand the molecular basis of the disease and also get to unravel the emotional impact that this may have had on the affected mothers. I needed to know how it affected their quality of life in order to offer a more holistic management which may include complete psychosocial support, education and proper genetic counselling to the families.’ 

She said the clinic started as a research interest into Immunobullous diseases in KwaZulu-Natal, looking at the epidemiology and prevalence, the clinical types, treatment outcomes.

‘Being able to somehow cause effective change in the medical field on a small but significant scale inspires me.

‘The Department of Dermatology has also been very instrumental in inspiring me to reach for academic excellence by creating links and opening channels of communication with international institutions. The Department has been great in encouraging us to be innovative and super-specialist at any sub- specialties of our choice

‘My Head of Department, Dr Ncoza Dlova played a pivotal role in me pursuing a career in dermatology. I’m currently at the beginning of my academic and research career, and I find the support extended by senior management very humbling. I believe the sky is the limit in the field of medicine and innovative care.’ 

Khoza’s family keeps her going. Her parents played a significant role in her career and inspired her to become a medical doctor. She said her siblings, and the love and support from her husband are very important.

Domesticated by nature, Khoza enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her other interests include reading, outdoor activities and travel locally and abroad.

Some of Khoza’s accolades include receiving the Janssen - Foundation Research Award Medal from the College of Medicine of South Africa, UKZN CHS Masters and Doctoral Scholarship 2012, The International Society of Dermatology Global Scholarship Award 2013 and the L'Oreal African Hair and Skin Research Grant, 2014.

She has presented a poster at an international congress and published articles in peer reviewed journals as well as contributed chapters in dermatology textbooks on the following topics, permanent hair loss, melasma/pigmentation and autoimmune Bullous disease.

She has also contributed a chapter in a textbook that’s aimed at local undergraduates’ dermatology curriculum 2015.

Nombuso Dlamini


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UKZN Offered Unique Research Facility by Oppenheimer Family

UKZN Offered Unique Research Facility by Oppenheimer Family
From left: Farm manager Mr Thulani Mnguni, Mr Nicky Oppenheimer, Professor Kevin Kirkman and Mr Duncan McFadyan at the Umgenipoort Research Facility.

The Oppenheimer family, owners of the farms Wakefield and Umgenipoort, recently entered into an agreement with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) to make their properties available for research and teaching activities.

The properties are close to Nottingham Road in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, and are about a one-hour drive from Pietermaritzburg.

The properties comprise mainly grassland over a varied topography, from steep upland slopes down to flat riverine areas along the Umgeni River, with access to indigenous forests. These farms are currently grazed by Nguni cattle, and managed on the principle of focused, intensive grazing for relatively short periods with long periods of recovery after grazing.

Umgenipoort contains a collection of buildings comprising an old nunnery, and these have been made available to UKZN as a Research Centre, with accommodation for researchers and students. The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science has welcomed the opportunity to develop and use this facility for the purpose of research by staff and postgraduate students, as well as for field-based teaching of undergraduate students.

The ideal location of these properties and their varied habitats create opportunities for research in a range of ecological and environmental fields, including grassland ecology, forest ecology, applied behavioral ecology, animal behaviour, entomology, water related ecological research, veld management, environmental research and human/nature interactions.

The Centre is also ideally placed for undergraduate field based learning, with the accommodation on site allowing cost effective options for field trips for students in the School of Life Sciences, the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Engineering.

These will form important components of the curricula for ecological, environmental and agricultural students, with opportunities to get involved in ecological surveys of vegetation, animals and soils, which are requirements for several degree programmes. These, in turn, can form the basis of future research projects.

‘Experience has shown that undergraduate students on field trips frequently develop a passion for research and it is likely that many undergraduate students who visit the site as part of their undergraduate degrees, will get involved with postgraduate research at the site,’ said grassland scientist Professor Kevin Kirkman, who is also Director of Professional Services for the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

The vision for effective utilisation of the facility is to ensure that it is equipped with the basic requirements for accommodating researchers and students, with facilities conducive to fieldwork and undergraduate field trips.

To date, several undergraduate (third year) field trips have been held successfully, and all students and staff participating have been very enthusiastic about the facilities and the opportunities for research.

PhD student, Sindiso Chamane, has set up grazing enclosures to measure the impact of cattle grazing and trampling on the forb component of grasslands. While grasses contribute the majority of the biomass in grassland, non-grass species, or forbs, typically outnumber the grasses by about six to one and thus contribute significantly to biodiversity. This study is the first in South Africa to investigate these impacts in detail, and the results are expected to contribute to our knowledge of the impacts of livestock farming on biodiversity and consequently contribute to veld management guidelines.

Kevin Kirkman


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STEC@UKZN iyisa inkulumo i-share and dare yesithathu esikoleni

STEC@UKZN iyisa inkulumo i-share and dare yesithathu esikoleni
uSolwazi u-Anne F. Grobler nabafundi baseWiggins High School.

Click here for English version

Konke bekumi ngomumo ngenkulumo yesithathu ye-NSTF i-share and dare esiZindeni sezokuFunda ngeSayensi nobuChwepheshe (STEC@UKZN). Abafundi abalinganiselwa kwabangamashumi ayisikhombisa kwakulindeleke ukuthi bethamele inkulumo ebizokwethulwa nguSolwazi u-Anne F. Grobler ongumqondisi we-DST/NWU Preclinical Drug Development Platform eNyuvesi yase North West.

Ngeshwa ngalolo suku abashayeli bamatekisi babetelekile, nokwenza ukuthi abafundi bangawatholi amatekisi azobathutha abayise e-Science Centre. Omunye umhleli waloluhlelo, uNksz Christina Stamper ovela enhlanganweni i-Umkhumbane Schools Project, waqhamuka nesisombululo salenkinga. Uma abafundi bengakwazi ukuza e-Science Centre yini kungathathwa u-Grobler ayiswe esikoleni?

Kuphethe ngokuthi u-Grobler ethule inkulumo yakhe kubafundi abangaphezulu kwamashumi amane  basesikoleni i-Wiggins High emtapweni wolwazi waseMkhumbane  e-Cator Manor. Izethameli zathola ulwazi mayelana nemithi nokuthakwa kwemithi yokwelapha. Enkulumeni yakhe u-Grobler waphinda wacacisa ngamathuba emisebenzi akhona emkhakheni wokuphathelene nokwakhiwa kwemithi.

Uhlelo lwe-NSTF share-and-dare lwasungulwa njengengxenye ye-NSTF BHP Billiton Awards ukunikeza abaklonyeliswe ngezindondo ithuba lokuba ngamanxusa eSayensi, ubuNjiniyela, ubuChwepheshe nokuQambakabusha, baphinde babe ngabantu intsha ebukela kubo, kulowonyaka abathole ngawo izindodo zabo. U-Gobler wahlomula ndendondo yakhe yokuxhasa ngokunohlonze e-SET  ngakwezokuphatha neminye imisebenzi kule minyaka emihlanu kuya kweyishumi eyedlule. 

Tanja Reinhardt


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UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor Visits PMB Visual Arts Studios

UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor Visits PMB Visual Arts Studios
Professor Donal McCracken; Dr Nicola Jones (Academic Leader of Research: School of Arts); Dr van Jaarsveld; Professor Mbongeni Malaba (Cluster Leader: School of Arts) and Professor Ian Calder of the Centre for Visual Art.

UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor (VC), Dr Albert van Jaarsveld recently visited the Pietermaritzburg Campus’s Media Film Lab, the Digital Art department and the Centre for Visual Art (CVA).

Greeting students and members of the public, including Pietermaritzburg Tatham Art Gallery’s Mrs Kobie Venter along the way, Dr van Jaarsveld commented on how the visual and performing arts in South Africa were moving into the sphere of big business this century. ‘Universities are all about providing a landscape of creative environments,’ he said.

Escorted by Academic Leaders Professor Mbongeni MalabaDr Nicola Jones, the CVA’s Professor Ian Calder, and Acting Dean for the School of Arts Professor Donal McCracken, the VC was taken on a tour of Pietermaritzburg campus’ Jack Heath Art Gallery, the Ceramics, Painting and Printmaking studios, as well as Digital Art’s Computer Lab and the Media Studies’ Film facilities.

Beginning in the CVA’s Ceramics Studio, van Jaarsveld was introduced to the intricacies of ceramics and the technicalities involved in glazing and firing sculptures and pots, before moving to the Jack Heath Gallery.

Treated to the Gallery’s Works in Progress exhibition, the Vice-Chancellor was

enthusiastically welcomed by Visual Arts postgraduates studying Art History, Ceramics, Painting, Printmaking and Drawing, and expressed his appreciation of the artworks produced by staff and postgraduate students that feature prominently in South African art museums and galleries, and in contemporary exhibitions around the globe.

The group was shown Digital Art’s cutting-edge AppleMac studio by Lecturer and Programme Co-ordinator, Mrs Michelle Stewart.  Stewart proceeded to highlight KwaZulu-Natal’s only animation studio with a demonstration of their latest 3-D modelling tools, pointing out that they hoped to begin using 3-D printers to complement their 2-D productions in the near future. 

Van Jaarsveld ended his tour with a look at Media Studies’ postgraduate film studio and a short video produced by its students. The Vice-Chancellor was impressed with the quality of the video, especially in relation to the inter-disciplinary project involving Media Studies and the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering. He suggested that UKZN’s Visual Arts could raise their profiles even more in the future by also becoming an integral part of UKZN’s in-house promotion team, in partnership with UKZN Corporate Relations.

Adding to this, Professor McCracken said: ‘The Creative and Visual Arts as well as Digital Media are poised for change. Increasingly they will be looking to new ways of advancing the various inter-related disciplines and reaching out to find new opportunities in society. We have commenced an investigation into a phased programme of modernisation of equipment and facilities as well as curriculum changes linked to an increase in student admissions.’

Melissa Mungroo


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Works in Progress Exhibition at the Jack Heath Gallery a Hit

Works in Progress Exhibition at the Jack Heath Gallery a Hit
From left: Postgraduate students Ms Jessica Steytler, Mr Rory Klopper, Mr Clive Sithole (well-known ceramist, currently an artist in residence) and Ms Natasha Hawley.

The past week saw the opening of the Works in Progress exhibition at the Jack Heath Gallery at UKZN’s Centre for Visual Arts (CVA) on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The exhibition featured works by Masters and PhD students as well as lecturers of the CVA, with emphasis being on the creative progress that has been made thus far in the academic year. The exhibition was put together by the students whose work is on show.

Masters student Ms Anda Dodo also took on the major task of lead curator of the exhibition. ‘As a postgrad student I was honoured that my colleagues trusted me to create a visual dialogue with works that were not complete. There is always a vulnerability with showcasing new art works to a crowd and not knowing how they will appreciate them.’

Dodo believes that being able to find visual connections in incomplete works shows that there is a harmony in the department and in the way that people work in their different mediums.

‘Putting the show together was something I really enjoyed as I would like to curate other shows in the future. The postgrads and staff involved were very helpful and because of them everything worked out well. It was a challenge that helped me realise so much about myself and because of the success of the show I am hoping to get another one up soon,’ she said.

Artist and Educator, Mr Moray Comrie, opened the event with a short but powerful speech. He pointed out to his audience that the arts and humanities are under threat in universities worldwide, and that a university that does not offer a full spectrum of arts and humanities’ courses is not a true university.

‘The Works in Progress exhibition demonstrates to me that the Arts at UKZN are vibrant and strong and show UKZN to be a true university,’ he said.

Comrie described the works on display as powerful, dynamic, technically strong and intellectually challenging, highlighting that both staff and students exhibiting together ‘is the product of collegial spirit.’

He further added that the ‘work in progress’ of the CVA today is the result of a rich heritage created by former staff members and that this heritage should not be squandered.

Having also seen the display of First Year work in the undergraduate studio, he noted that there is rich potential coming into the CVA, and that this, too, should not be squandered. ‘All art-making is a work in progress, we must keep going onwards and upwards,’ said Comrie.

One of the students who exhibited her work Ms Joanna Smart said: ‘Being a part of this exhibition was a great privilege and I was very pleased to see the great variety of styles and techniques available.’  Smart’s work comprises of two projects: where she examines the buildings of Durban and the other, entails the superimposition of fabrics (Indian, African and Persian) over these buildings that create a translucent layer, where the buildings can be seen beneath the textiles and ornaments.

Another student Ms Caroline Birch added, ‘It is exciting to be a part of this staff/ postgrad show. It is also challenging to choose and exhibit unfinished work. My work is about continuity of space, as solid matter is not really solid. This expands into the metaphor of space representing the presence of consciousness everywhere.’

Student Ms Natasha Hawley is currently dealing with concepts involving gathered material collections and their residual meaning once the owner has passed on. ‘I feel so privileged to be exhibiting alongside my friends and Lecturers, many known both locally and internationally for their work in ceramics. Our department has a valuable history and present legacy and I’m proud to be part of that and the art community around Pietermaritzburg.’

Speaking about her work that is on exhibit, Ms Kristin Yang said: "Always together, forever apart". My idea came from a Chinese song “Flying bird and fish”. A flying bird in love with a fish underwater. In this installation work, I tried to explore and provide understanding of life and hope to balance the pain.’ 

Melissa Mungroo and Jessica Steytler


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Education Academic motivates Learners at eNgonyameni Careers Day

Education Academic motivates Learners at eNgonyameni Careers Day
Dr Makhosazane Nkosi motivates learners from Mhawu High School in Engonyameni.

Dr Makhosazane Nkosi from UKZN’s School of Education gave a motivational talk to learners from Mhawu High School in eNgonyameni near Umbumbulu at their Careers’ Day event recently.

She based her talk on her own personal experiences, which included her early education at a deep rural school in a remote area. Her mother was illiterate and she grew up as an orphan. She also had to evade bride abduction. Nkosi identified with the learners and spoke to them about how she overcame the challenges of poverty to get to where she is today - an academic and lecturer at UKZN.

‘I was the first out of 10 of my siblings to complete matric and go on to university. Despite all barriers, my sense of purpose prevailed. I had a vision and a desire to pursue my goals. Had it not been for the support, advice and motivation of my teachers, I would not be who I am today.’

She also talked to the learners about the issues that they are dealing with in their schools and communities such as teenage pregnancies, the patriarchal norms and values still entrenched in the community, poverty and violence against women.

‘Do not perpetuate the vicious cycle of poverty, make something of yourself. Get up off your feet and do not use apartheid as an excuse. Utilise resources, research career prospects and funding opportunities to enable you to attend university. Apply early to university and work hard and consistently in your studies. You can be whatever you want to be. Your circumstances should not stop you.’

As a former Subject Advisor for Life Orientation (LO) in the Pinetown District, Nkosi lamented at the lack of career guidance by teachers at the School. Addressing the teachers, she said: ‘You need to provide support and motivate learners. Connect with them. Life Orientation might not be your area of specialisation and you might be battling with the content. If you are able to seek assistance from the relevant people and establish a relationship to ensure curriculum delivery. Make a positive impact on learners’ lives.’

Nkosi also focused on the community and how their social issues - practice of bride abduction, drug abuse, and polygamy etc – is impacting on learners. ‘The social issues emanating from the community are impacting negatively on the teaching and learning process in classrooms. You need to deal with these issues at the community level.’

By addressing these issues with the community, Nkosi hopes that she has raised the necessary awareness to conscientise them.

Ms Busisiwe Mdletshe from the BusiM Foundation was grateful to the School of Education and Nkosi for their involvement in the Careers Day event. ‘She actively interacted with the learners. Nkosi managed to keep everyone intrigued by her speech as she touched on the critical issues. Learners had heard about different careers from other speakers, but the challenge she raised was dealing with learners, who are demotivated because of societal issues.’

‘She presented a beautiful speech that was wrapping up all other speakers speeches. She gave the learners hope, talking about breaking poverty, and the gist was “Yes You Can”. Not only were learners inspired by her speech, but the community and other speakers as well.’

Mdletshe plans on building a partnership with the School of Education that will add value to their annual careers’ day and provide inspiration and motivation to the learners.

Community Leader, Mr Nombela and Mhawu High School Principal, Mr Msizi Mbhele hope to meet with Nkosi in the future as they believe that she would be an asset to their community and schools.

Nkosi is continuing to target schools in deep rural areas in an effort to motivate learners to achieve success in their lives.

Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Professor among Experts at Consortium on Antimicrobial Resistance in Africa

UKZN Professor among Experts at Consortium on Antimicrobial Resistance in Africa
Delegates at the meeting in Congo-Brazzaville.

The Head of UKZN’s Antimicrobial Research Unit and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sabiha Essack, served as an expert in Congo-Brazzaville where the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa recently hosted a Consultative Experts’ Meeting on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in the African Region.

The meeting addressed the emerging threat of drug resistance (AMR) and its devastating consequences on the continent.

Essack said: ‘The pandemic is a public health threat with extensive health, economic and societal implications because infections caused by resistant bacteria result in a longer duration of illness, higher mortality rates and increased costs associated with alternative treatment.’

AMR was said to be a key obstacle in the successful management of infectious diseases in Africa, where the burden of infectious diseases is high and access to diagnostic services and second-line treatment is scarce.

Essack, who is the College of Health Sciences Dean of Teaching and Learning at UKZN, addressed WHO member states on the nature and extent of the implementation of the WHO Policy Package to Combat AMR in the African region.

According to Essack, African member states have a long way to go in combating AMR. While South Africa had developed a national strategy to address AMR such initiatives were in their infancy in the vast majority of other African countries. ‘It is a given that governments must assume the responsibility for AMR,’ said Essack. ‘Noting that African countries are in disparate stages of readiness, it is important that an independent overarching body like the WHO-Africa Region take leadership in assisting African member states to implement the Policy Package as well as the Global Action Plan.’

There were, she said, models in place. Essack highlighted recent developments in the on-going five-year project between UKZN, Mozambique’s Instituto Superior de Ciencias de Saude, the University of Malawi and the University of Tromso in Norway entitled: “Antimicrobial Stewardship and Conservancy in Africa”. Funded to the amount of 18 000 000 Norwegian Krone by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation’s Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) Programme, the project, under the leadership of Essack as principle investigator. The project has an overarching aim of using human capital and research capacity development as a global health priority towards the optimal management of infections in the context of antimicrobial stewardship and conservancy.

‘AMR prevention and containment requires co-ordinated, multi-pronged, multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary interventions between public and private sectors underpinned by unequivocal national, regional and international policy frameworks that suspend sectoral interests for public good in the One Health context,’ Essack advised.

The meeting concluded with recommendations listed to both the member states as well as the WHO.

Participants agreed and committed themselves to brief Ministers of Health and other senior officials on the outcomes of the Expert consultations on AMR; ensure appropriate communication for global, regional and national initiatives on AMR to elicit buy in; initiate discussions with ministries and partners to develop and review the national plan on AMR; and to establish collaboration co-ordination mechanism.

Lunga Memela

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Excellence Honoured at UKZN - SAICA Students’ Awards Ceremony

Excellence Honoured at UKZN - SAICA Students’ Awards Ceremony
Bright spark: The nights overall top achiever, Ms Justine Lindsay pictured with her father John and her boyfriend, Timothy Freese.

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance recently hosted an awards ceremony in partnership with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to celebrate its top achievers.

The annual event, held on the Westville campus, recognises and rewards outstanding students within the accounting discipline and also provides an opportunity for accounting firms to interact with students to discuss employment opportunities.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor John Mubangizi described the ceremony as a celebration of excellence, which would not be possible without the students’ hard work and the support of the parents and staff who have been at their side every step of the way. He encouraged the students to go out there and not only be ambassadors for UKZN but show the world the outstanding quality of education that they have received from the Schools SAICA approved Accounting programmes.

The Dean and Head of the School, Professor Anesh Singh, gave an inspirational talk about the power of positive thinking and encouraged students to be prepared to face life’s challenges head on.

The Co-ordinator of the Accounting Programmes, UKZN academic Professor Philip Stegen, applauded the students and staff on their hard work, which saw aspirant Chartered Accountants from UKZN achieve an outstanding 87% pass rate at the SAICA Initial Test of Competence (ITC) examination surpassing the national pass rate of 76% and putting them in a tie for fifth place out of 14 universities. 

Stegen attributed the achievement to dedicated staff and students and the success of various interventions which have been adopted to improve the throughputs.

The implementation of various interventions in earlier years resulted in the pass rate in final year going up by 20% in 2014 and improving in nine of the 12 modules offered by Accounting. The present final year class of 2015 are the first class to benefit from the introduction  of Auditing 200 and MAF 200 and the various interventions that we have adopted to improve throughputs, so we are looking forward to even a bigger improvement in 2015,’ he said.

Speaking on behalf of the SAICA, Eastern Region, and the President Mr Bradley van Dyk congratulated the students, staff and parents on their achievement. He reinforced SAICA’s commitment to ensuring that its partnership with UKZN results in them reaching their goal of achieving a level one ranking for the University’s accounting programmes.

The most outstanding achievement for the night was accounting student and summa cum laude graduate, Ms Justine Lindsay who is the first student to receive the top overall awards for all four modules. Lindsay who celebrated the achievement with her father, John said she owes it all to hard work and the support of those around her.

‘I feel very honoured to have received such awards and these awards have motivated me even further to continue with the hard work and dedication during my honours year. Whilst the achievements highlight the dedication to my studies, I do however need to acknowledge the amazing support I have received from my dad and family as well as the lecture staff who assisted me to persevere and maintain a high standard throughout my studies,’ she said.

Prizes were sponsored by SAICA and accounting firms Grant Thornton, PWC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY. ABSA which sponsored the event utilised the awards ceremony to engage with students on employment opportunities. Farida Lavengee and Carol Ahern organised the event.

Thandiwe Jumo


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UKZN Academics Present Research at Public Administration and Management Conference

UKZN Academics Present Research at Public Administration and Management Conference
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School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academics, Dr Fayth Ruffin, Dr Thokozani Nzimakwe, Ms Nokuthula Makhoba and Dr David Mwesigwa represented UKZN at the South African Association of Public Administration and Management’s (SAAPAM) 15th Annual Conference held at the Ditsong Cultural history museum, Pretoria.

The four-day conference hosted by SAAPAM in conjunction with the Tshwane University of Technology, creates a platform for public administration practitioners to exchange knowledge and present research on various aspects of governance.

The academics presented papers under the conference theme: Half-a-century of disciplinary existence - Antecedents, scholarship, trends, and issues.

Ruffin presented two papers titled: “Network governance of access to justice: The case of Madadeni community advice office” and “The case for African Public Administration: African epistemologies for emancipatory education”.

Makhoba presented on “Organisational and employee performance management in KwaZulu-Natal Provincial departments: A tale of two cities”.

Mwesigwa presented on “The relationship between voters’ behaviour and electoral aggression in Uganda” while Nzimakwe presented on “Intergovernmental relations and cooperative governance: Two sides of the same coin”.

Mwesigwa described the experience as insightful as it provided him with an opportunity that has empowered him with new knowledge.

‘It is great to hear what other scholars and practitioners are doing in the field of public administration and to share your ideas with them as well. The presentations were insightful and the whole experience has given me new ideas for my research,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo


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Humanities Student Lends a Helping Hand to Rural High School

Humanities Student Lends a Helping Hand to Rural High School
At the donation handover are Dr Nirmala Gopal (back row, second left); Criminology student Mr Nathie Hadebe (back row, third left) and Mr Roine Wiklund and his son (back row, fourth left).

Seeing the rise of drug abuse at his former high school, Khabazela High in Hillcrest, Criminology student Mr Nathie Hadebe took it upon himself to get involved in community development and to provide help to the learners.

Through his lectures at the University, Hadebe managed to form the KB Smart Club at the school which focuses on the issues of drug and substance abuse.

Speaking about his involvement in the project Hadebe said, ‘When I was a learner at the school, I saw how drugs affected learners, the consequences they endured because of this, teen pregnancies and poor academic performances. When I attended UKZN, the opportunity arose for community development in the form of Smart Clubs and I grabbed the chance to make a difference in the school.’

The fully fledged club currently has 20 members from grades 8 to 11. Hadebe explained that the club members are informed about drug abuse, thereafter they go to other classes to create awareness about the dangers of drugs and collectively provide the necessary help to the affected learners such as referrals to rehabilitation centres.

The club is currently negotiating a partnership with a rehabilitation centre in the immediate area so learners can get the support and help they need. As the popularity and the success of the club grows, Hadebe is confident that the membership will also increase, leading to an overall improvement of the school in terms of academia and its infrastructure.

Hadebe has also become a role model for the learners, often encouraging the learners to follow their dreams and to make a success of their lives. He hopes that even UKZN students could get involved in giving motivational talks to the learners and develop programmes for them to participate in.

In a positive turn of events, the formation of the KS Smart Club at the school, has led to the establishment of a three-way partnership between UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences, Khabazela High School and Luleå University of Technology (LUT) in Sweden.

As part of the Linnaeus-Palme International Exchange Programme, Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Economics, Technology and Society at LUT Mr Roine Wiklund visited the school with Hadebe and UKZN Criminology Lecturer Dr Nirmala Gopal. Wiklund and saw the dire condition that the school was in, seeing learners trying to learn in classrooms with broken windows, few desks and chairs and dealing with ongoing physical infrastructural problems.

Wiklund saw the need to help as much as he could. He donated R11, 000- that was raised during his exchange duration at UKZN - so that the school could build a library.

‘I am only happy if the donation can be of any help to the students at Khabazela High School. I wish that all children would have the possibility of studying and through that develop their knowledge and become responsible citizens. It is important to lend a helping hand to someone in need, and that is what I did here together with colleagues in both Sweden and South Africa,’ said Wiklund.

Addressing her student’s involvement in such an initiative, Dr Gopal said, ‘We are proud of Nathie for what he has managed to do for the school. He has used his knowledge and ploughed it back into the community.’

Khabazela High School Principal, Mr Philip Jali expressed his gratitude to Hadebe, Wiklund and UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences for their positive involvement in the school.

‘We really appreciate the donation and we cannot wait to see our new library. Our learners are excited that we have the KS Smart Club and it brings such confidence to them and the educators. Through the club, even the academic performance can improve on a daily basis. The learners are motivated to do well and we as staff of the school feel rejuvenated by this kind gesture.’

Jali revealed that the school has elected a new School Governing Body (SGB) to look at getting more sponsors on board to improve the school’s infrastructure and is contacting former learners of the school to assist matrics and provide motivation to them.

Interested person/s who wish to get involved in helping Khabazela High School can contact Mr Nathie Hadebe via nathie4h@gmail.com

Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Going for Gold at Comrades 2015

UKZN Going for Gold at Comrades 2015
UKZN Staff and students at the Comrades.

Braving the wintry cold, UKZN’s staff alongside the Sports Science and Physiotherapy students rose early on Sunday morning to work together in managing their refreshment station at Comrades' 90th celebration of the Ultimate Human Race.

Red and white was unmissable on the day as Team UKZN lined the street shouting and cheering as runners made their way uphill, handing out refreshments and working tirelessly to ensure that runners were rejuvenated and motivated as they made their way towards the finish line.

Sports Science and Physiotherapy students worked tirelessly in providing massages to weary legs and stiff muscles offering reprieve before runners picked up the pace.

Keeping everyone dancing and energised, UKZN’s Mr Tintin Pillay had the Team and Bothas Hill spectators in high spirits. “Once more, we are excited to be part of this year’s Comrades and wish our runners well as they make their way to the finish line. We are behind you!” he said.

Congratulations to UKZN’s Convocation Executive member, Mr Sammy Mashita, who ran in a time of 10:53:47. His sterling performance won him a bronze medal.

Mr Duncan Hay, Honorary Research Fellow at UKZN was also a medal winner, finishing in 11:57:29 with Ms Kerinne Harvey, Research Fellow at School of Life Sciences, completing in 11:51:23. UKZN’s Forensic Investigation Specialist Mr Mzamo Mkhwanazi also finished well in a time of 11:13:55 with fellow colleague Mr Tony Singarum bravely attempting the race despite nursing a nagging calf injury.

UKZN congratulates our first South African female winner in seventeen years, Ms Caroline Wostmann and our other fellow South African Mr Gift Kelehe who won the men’s race, the first South African male and female winner since 1992.

‘Corporate Relations organisers thank all staff and students who worked tirelessly and with dedication to ensure that the day was a resounding success. We also congratulate all who ran the 2015 race and offer our good wishes to those preparing for next year,’ said Mr Lesiba Seshoka, Executive Director: Corporate Relations.

Rakshika Sibran


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Convocation Executive Running for UKZN

Convocation Executive Running for UKZN
Mr Sammy Mashita.

‘This was my first attempt and I’m doing this so that from now on I can raise funds yearly for the UKZN Foundation,’ said UKZN’s Convocation Executive member, Mr Sammy Mashita.

Mashita achieved a bronze medal award with his time of 10:53:47.

Elaborating on his inaugural race, Mashita said, ‘With the Comrades Marathon, know that after you complete 70km, the remaining distance is no longer about your training but mental stability and all other factors of your strength as a human being.’

UKZN congratulates all those who ran the Marathon and wishes them good luck with their training for the 2016 race. Corporate Relations welcomes updates on your training.

See all the highlights of UKZN’s participation Comrades 2015 on UKZN's facebook page.

Rakshika Sibran


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