Abafundi Bonyaka Wesine Weziqu Kwezokwelapha Ngokwelula Bathokozele i-DCTP eMadadeni

Abafundi Bonyaka Wesine Weziqu Kwezokwelapha Ngokwelula Bathokozele i-DCTP  eMadadeni
Abafundi bezokwelapha ngokwelula neziguli eklinikhi eMadadeni.

Click here for the English Version

Iqembu labafundi beziqu zokwelapha ngokwelula bathokoze kakhulu kulandela abakuzuzile ngesikhathi beqeqeqshwa njengengxenye yohlelo i-Decentralised Clinical Training eMadadeni, budebuduze ne-Newcastle.

Abafundi; uNkz Shanice Basdeo, uMnu Zainub Mudhoo noNkz Londiwe Ndlovu bamatasa nokuqedela ukuqeqeshwa kwabo kwasemphakathini esibhedlela saseMadadeni, futhi bayingxenye yeqoqo lokuqala labafundi bezokwelapha ngokwelula ababambe iqhaza ohlelweni lwe-DCT.

‘Ngesikhathi sokuqeqeshwa kwethu kwasemphakathini senze ucwaningo olunzulu lokuhlonza izinkinga zezempilo emphakathini. Manje sizama ukusebenzisa ulwazi lwethu namakhono ukuze sibhekane nalezi zinselelo’, kusho u-Basdeo obethokoze kakhulu.

Abafundi bebegxile kakhulu ekugqugquzelweni kweViki Lezokwelapha Ngokwelulwa Kweqolo njengoba bebesebenza emphakathini amasonto amahlanu, ukuhlonza nokugqugquzela ezokwelapha ngokwelula emaphandleni nasemiphakathini jikelele kanye nokwenza umsebenzi wokulekelela abantu abakhubazekile emphakathini ukuze kwenziwe ngcono izinga labo lempilo.

‘Ukuze sigqugquzele lezi zinselelo sahlela umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi esikoleni sabakhubazekile iBoma Sizwa lapho sasifundisa othisha, abasizi bothisha nabanakekela isikole ngokubaluleka kokunakekelwa kweqolo, ukuma komzimba ngendlela efanele nokuphakamisa izinto ngendlela efanele lokhu sasikwenza ngokusebenzisa izinsiza ezibonakalayo njengezithombe, amapheshana, nokukhombisa ngokwenza,’ kuchaza uMudhoo.

Leli qembu laba nelinye ithuba lokuxhumana nezethameli eziningi ngokuba semsakazweni womphakathi i-Newcastle Community Radio, lapho babekhuluma ngokunakekelwa kweqolo, uhlangothi/isithrokhi, ukuzivocavoca nokubaluleka kokunyakazisa umzimba.

‘Siphinde sagxila kakhulu ezisebenzini zasesibhedlela nonompilo ngokusungula inkambu yezokuzivocavoca lapho abahlengikazi, odokotela, abaphathi njll. bamenywa kanye ngesonto emnyangweni wezokwelapha ngokwelula ukuzobabamba iqhaza emakilasini okuzivocavoca ukuze benze ngcono isimo sabo sezempilo nesomzimba,’ kusho uNdlovu.

‘Ekuqaleni kwabukeka sengathi siphoswe emajukujukwini kungacangwanga ngokulungela kwethu ukwenza umsebenzi nokuzethemba ukuthi sizophumelela emsebenzini, akekho owayazi ukuthi lokhu kuzoba umsebenzi omkhulukazi esake sawenza ezimpilweni zethu,’ kuqhuba uNdlovu.

UBasdeo uthe, ‘Yize noma ezokwelapha ngokwelula kuwumsebenzi owenziwa ngqo, ukubaluleka kokugwema ngokuhlumelelisa kunomthelela omkhulu ikakhulukazi kulabo abasemiphakathini yasemaphandleni. Sibonga kakhulu ngokuba abafundi bokuqala ukuza emiphakathini efana nalona sizokwelekelela ngesiqeqeshwe ngakho njengoba sesifike esiphethweni sokuqeqeshwa kwethu.’

UMudhoo uthe, ‘Eminyakeni engiyithathile ukuze ngiphothule izifundo zami ngingasho ngokuzethemba ukuthi akukho esengike ngakwenza okufana nalokhu ngokwendlela engikuthokozele ngayo ukuba sesibhedlela eMadadeni.’

‘Umsebenzi we-DCT ngiwubone njengento ezoba umqansa ngenxo yokuthi ngishiye umndeni wami nendawo engiyijwayele kodwa kuthe uma ngifika endaweni ebesizosebenzela kuyo ngasibona isidingo samakhono namava ethu.’

Amagama: nguNombuso Dlamini


author : .
author email : .

Students Challenged to Think Entrepreneurially at IBS Awards

Students Challenged to Think Entrepreneurially at IBS Awards
IBS presentation participants and award winning group.

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance recently hosted the annual Integrated Business Studies (IBS) presentation and awards ceremony for first year Business Science students.

The event provided students with a platform to present their business ideas in front of panellist judges, namely: Teaching and Learning Academic Leader Ms Shelley Donnelley and event sponsors, Business Partners, an organisation which provides funding for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Donnelley welcomed the students and Business Partners’ Regional Consulting Manager Mr Jay Soma and National Asset Manager Mr Avinash Sanichur. She emphasised the importance of IBS as a module and how it will benefit the students in the long run.

‘IBS is the capstone module for the business science programme. No other students on this campus does this module. I am sure you’ve been thinking it’s such a lot of hard work but I assure you once you get to the end of your qualification, you are going to look back and thank goodness you did it, because it is going to stand you in such good step with all the writing and critical thinking you are going to be doing in the three years of your university career,’ said Donnelley.

The two groups who presented on the day were proficient and showcased their ability to transfer the theoretical knowledge they learnt in class into practical exercises.

The winning group Goganic, had presented a business idea of a mobile fast food business that promotes healthy eating at a reasonable price. The individual prize winners included:

To conclude the day, Soma gave the two groups feedback on how to improve their business ideas within the main business functions namely; finance, human resources, marketing, research and development and operations management.

IBS lecturer and event co-ordinator Mr Kenneth Ngwenya said the module focuses on introducing students to the business environment through participative teaching and learning.

‘The class of 2017 has excelled in all the key assessment variables, they have mastered the ability to present their ideas confidently and above all to respond to any academic assessment. The event was indeed a success as all the students were adequately prepared,’ he said.

Words: Sibonelo Shinga


author : .
author email : .

Students Turn their Residence Rooms into Art Studios

Students Turn their Residence Rooms into Art Studios
AyoNotic Artistry pictured with Dr Albert van Jaarsveld and their works of art.

A Valentine’s day portrait commissioned in 2015 for the princely sum of R50 was the first piece of art sold by a group of intrepid, self-taught artists at UKZN. AyoNotic Artistry has come a long way since then – celebrities including Cassper Nyovest; Expresso Show’s Zoë Brown and South African rapper Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado have commissioned works of art and their paintings grace the walls at the University.

The artists, who have created impromptu studios out of their rooms at UKZN Residences, include 21-year-old BSC Computer Engineering student Cebelihle Njabulo Mbatha; BSC Applied Chemistry student Ayanda Matomane; Computer Science student Sinothi Mbambo; and Siphelele Mkhwanazi, who is doing his BCom Accounting.

AyoNotic Artistry honed their skills by watching YouTube videos; and are grateful for their God-given talent. ‘We didn’t discover that we were artistic, we were born artistic. We were all talented, a gift from the universe which we’ve collaborated on,’ said Mbatha.

While they love producing art, their talent also pays the bills and their “varsity fees”. ‘We learnt to think beyond our imagination when we saw students dropping out because of funds and decided to make a living using whatever talents we have,’ said Mbatha.

Friends since they attended Brookdale High School in Phoenix, they all play different roles in the company ranging from production to finance and human resources. ‘Starting a business together was not a difficult thing to do because we already knew one another’s strengths and weaknesses,’ he said.

The artists used social media to parlay a favour for a friend into a successful company. ‘When we saw that people liked the Valentine’s day portrait we drew for a friend, we decided to advertise ourselves so that people can know about us. Luckily we had social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instragram to facilitate our mission, we simply use what we have,’ said Mbatha.

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso, AyoNotic Artistry works in a variety of mediums, ranging from pencil and ink sketches, paintings and charcoal drawings.

Their favourite piece art that they have produced is titled “Piece of Africa”. ‘This was our own way of appreciating our own continent, its people and our own culture and the colour of our skin. We wished that we could all be united and stop all the xenophobic attacks happening in South Africa, because at the end of the day we come from one continent and we don’t know when we might need each other.’

UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld is a fan of their work. Their art has also recently been installed in the office of UKZN’s Executive Director of Institutional and Regional Planning, Dr Duma Malaza.

If you would like to own a piece of original South African art, born and bred at UKZN … look them up on Facebook (AyoNotic Artistry) and Instagram (@ayonotic_artistry) or contact them via ayonotic@gmail.com or 074 331 2958.

They’d also like to encourage any artists at the University and further afield to collaborate with them.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: AyoNotic Artistry


author : .
author email : .

IsiZulu and UKhozi FM take Centre Stage at UKZN

IsiZulu and UKhozi FM take Centre Stage at UKZN
Participants pictured at the ULPDO/UKhozi FM Workshop at UKZN’s Howard College campus.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal hosted a workshop for Ukhozi FM on the standard use of isiZulu on the radio. The workshop was held at UKZN’s Howard College campus on 11 October.

Hosted by the University Language Planning and Development Office (ULPDO), the purpose of the workshop was to strengthen the collaboration that currently exists between ULPDO and Ukhozi FM, and to a large extent the synergies that exist between the University and the SABC.

Director of ULPDO, Dr Langa Khumalo, emphasised the importance of using language scientifically. ‘When using language to address a particular subject it is useful to use appropriate and necessary terminology that is central to the subject,’ said Khumalo.

‘Sadly most African languages do not have this capacity, not because they are inherently deficient, but because of the evil system of apartheid and colonialism that deliberately relegated them to village dialects hence denied their use in education and science. UKZN has embarked on a language programme to intellectualise isiZulu so that it develops capacity to carry the rigors of science and technology.

Khumalo, who holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Oslo (Norway), said ‘the role of a radio station such as Ukhozi FM is significant not just to the people in KwaZulu-Natal, but to the nation at large’.

‘The way the language is used on air is viewed by and large as the standard. It is instructive to the broad listenership of the station. Hence the challenge is for the staff and broadcasters to demonstrate an appropriate level of use of the language in which they are broadcasting in.’

Khumalo reinforced the importance of Ukhozi FM using isiZulu appropriately, and following the standard form. ‘It means that the language should be used without codeswitching and codemixing. The latter is an immense challenge to a live broadcaster who has to find appropriate terminology in isiZulu while on full throttle,’ he said.

The one-day workshop focused on strategies for translanguaging, codemixing and codeswitching, and the use of standardised terminology for various specialised disciplines in isiZulu that are now available through a mobile compatible application developed by ULPDO for ease of access to end-users.

Acknowledged for its dedication to language policy, UKZN is in a prime position to address linguistic issues in the province. ‘Both institutions [UKZN and Ukhozi FM] work with language, and particularly isiZulu, which is the primary language at Ukhozi FM. The ULPDO has led the development of isiZulu and has the capacity to address complex linguistic phenomena,’ said Khumalo.

‘It is as a result of the progress that the University has made in the advancement of isiZulu that Ukhozi FM sought to partner with us in order to workshop their staff in News and Current Affairs division on the appropriate use of isiZulu across a plethora of general and specialised subjects that they broadcast on.’

The workshop has set the scene for future collaborations between the University and Ukhozi FM, one of the largest radio stations in Africa. ‘We certainly hope that this workshop is only the beginning of a series of such workshops. The imperative to develop isiZulu as a language capable of discussing a whole gamut of issues from mundane to most complex scientific knowledge is there,’ said Khumalo.

Words and photographs: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 


author : .
author email : .

SHS Research Day Showcases Profound Student Research

SHS Research Day Showcases Profound Student Research
Young scientists with their lecturers.

A total of 10 research presentations by final-year students from each of the School of Health Sciences disciplines were heard by adjudicators at this year’s Young Health Scientists Research Symposium on the Westville campus.

The symposium was opened by the Dean and Head of School, Professor Mahmoud Soliman, and was led by School’s Academic Leader for Research, Professor Johan van Heerden, assisted by three chairs, Dr M Nlooto, Dr S Singh and Professor Mershen Pillay.

The winning presentation in the laboratory-based research category - titled: Sensitive Electrochemical Sensor Based on Gold Nanoparticles Decorated Graphene Oxide/Poly-cystamine Composite for the Determination of an Antimalarial Drug - was delivered by a group of honours students from the Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry Research Group (SMCRG), Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, UKZN.

The study aimed to develop a chemical sensor for the quality control and quality assurance (QAQC) of antimalarial drug (Amodiaquine). This was achieved by modification of the glassy carbon electrode with gold nanoparticle decorated graphene oxide/poly-cystamine composite.

It was found that, the fabricated sensor exhibited an enhanced voltammetric response, which was attributed to the excellent conductivity and high surface area of the novel nanocomposite material.

According to the group, Ms TP Vilakazi, W Zulu, AS Ngubane, K Mohanlal and NZ Dlamini, the study has demonstrated a promising technique for the determination of quality control of pharmaceutical drugs. The modified electrode exhibited excellent stability, reproducibility, selectivity over common interferents and was approximately 300 times more efficient than the reported techniques. A manuscript has been drafted and will be communicated to a peer reviwed international journal of high impact. The nanocomposite material is further being exploited in developing a biosensor for the early detection of malaria.

A group of five Audiology students; C Charles, A Mkhulisi, N Mkhwanazi, H Moustache and N Naidoo scooped the prize for clinically-based research in a descriptive study that aimed to determine infection prevention and control (IPC) measures implemented by Audiologists/Speech therapists and Audiologists (A/STAs) in public healthcare facilities in KwaZulu-Natal. 

The study found that despite training and availability of policies, some participants displayed poor IPC practices in terms of universal precautions, personal protective equipment, handwashing and disinfecting/ sterilisation. It is recommended that further appropriate education, training and awareness related to effective and affordable IPC measures is effected to reduce the potential for cross-contamination and/or transmission of infection in clinical settings given the expanding scope of audiology practice in view of the quadruple burden of disease in South Africa.

A presentation investigating the healthcare experiences of adults with Down syndrome and their caregivers in KwaZulu-Natal won two Speech-Language Therapy students; Ms S Govender and Ms F Haffejjee an award in the community-based research category.  Their study revealed that adults with Down syndrome accessed both public and private healthcare services for various medical conditions.  Previous negative incidents included incorrect administration of medication and a request to divulge personal information.

The communication profile of the participants influenced their ability to communicate effectively with health care professionals, thus shaping their healthcare experiences to be positive. All caregivers acted as health care advocates for the adult with Down syndrome and to create awareness of Down syndrome, facilitate positive health experiences and prevent a communication breakdown during clinical interaction. Implications for maintaining and improving positive healthcare experiences for individuals with Down syndrome, implications for speech-language therapy and limitations of the study were presented.

On the panel of independent adjudicators, which included SHS’ Academics; Professor Kitty Uys, Dr Hamilton Pharaoh and Dr Rajshekhar Katpoormath, was member of Faculty at Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) and a Professor of International Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Professor Alison Grant.

Grant’s main research interest is improving care for HIV-positive people in resource-limited settings, and preventing tuberculosis (TB). She delivered an insightful presentation on a new TB diagnostic test replacing smear microscopy.

In his message, College Dean of Research, Professor Moses Chimbari described the Young Health Scientists’ Research Symposium as a forum which provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to showcase their studies and to gain the experience of public critique annually.

Adjudicators encouraged all the presenters to stay on and pursue postgraduate studies in the College upon completing their final year at UKZN.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini


author : .
author email : .

Dr Mphahlele puts UKZN on the Map with Cystic Fibrosis Study

Dr Mphahlele puts UKZN on the Map with Cystic Fibrosis Study
From left: Dr Heather Zar, Head Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town; Dr Reratilwe Mphahlele; Dr Amaka Enemuo, Top 5 Presentation Awardee and Dr Adnan Custovic, President, CIPP XVI.

The School of Clinical Medicine’s Paediatrics and Child Health Junior Lecturer, Dr Reratilwe Mphahlele’s poster presentation on Cystic Fibrosis (CF) in South Africa, made the top five at the 16th International Congress on Paediatric Pulmonology (CIPPXVI) held recently in Lisbon, Portugal.

According to its website, CIPP attracts over 500 delegates from around the world and is the only global meeting that is fully devoted to Pediatric Pulmonology. 

Dr Mphahlele was competing with over 150 poster presentations from 60 international countries including UK, Singapore, China, India and Switzerland.

I am so excited about the prize,’ said Dr Mphahlele about her work titled: Genetic Mutations and Presentations in a Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Clinic in a Low/Middle Income Country. 

Supervised by UKZN’s HOD: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Refiloe Masekela, the poster on Cystic Fibrosis in South Africa highlighted the problem of missing the genetic disorder in Black African children and ideas on how this can be solved. 

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that causes malnutrition and lung problems. It is common in populations of European descent and has had increasing prevalence in other populations worldwide, including in Black Africans. 

‘Black African children with CF commonly present with nutritional and growth abnormalities similarly caused by Malnutrition, HIV, and Tuberculosis. For this reason among others, recognition of CF in Black Africans in a South African context is difficult,’ said Mphahlele.   

Her study describes the clinical, molecular, laboratory and spirometry findings in children attending the CF Clinic in Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital.   

The study found that recognition of CF in Black African patients is difficult, and even when available, commercial genetic testing misses some mutations, leading to late diagnosis and consequent detrimental effects on their nutrition and lung function.

‘Through collaborative efforts with the European Cystic Fibrosis Diagnostic Network Working Group, gene sequencing provided a definitive diagnosis to all the patients in the study whose mutations had been missed.  The study highlighted that gene sequencing in CF can identify new and unique mutations in Africa and provide country-specific CF data on indigenous populations. This approach is costly, but can be improved with collaborative work,’ explained Mphahlele.

She sees her achievement supported by her supervisor and collaborators as inspiration to further research in this field and encourages other young investigators to put UKZN on the map with critical research. 

Words: Nombuso Dlamini


author : .
author email : .

Law Professor Trains Turkish Academics on Clinical Law and Street Law Programmes

Law Professor Trains Turkish Academics on Clinical Law and Street Law Programmes
Professor David Mcquoid-Mason with Turkish Law teachers at the training.

Professor David McQuoid-Mason, the Acting Director, UKZN Centre for Socio-Legal Studies conducted a four day Clinical Law and Street Law Teaching Programme for Turkish Law teachers from five universities in Ankara, Turkey from 12 to 15 October 2017. He was assisted by two Turkish Law teachers whom he had previously trained and who had been hosted by him in South Africa as part of a visiting academic delegation.

During the first three days the training programme covered the following that were taught interactively: (a) an introduction to clinical legal education; (b) different models of clinical legal education; (c) demonstrations of interactive teaching methods used in live client clinic and Street law programmes; (d) the elements of a good interactive clinical law lesson; and (e) how to prepare a lesson plan.  Thereafter the Law teachers were divided into small groups and required to prepare and teach a 30 minute segment of a live client or Street law lesson. The lessons were then double-debriefed, first by the participants and then the instructors, to give the presenters feedback.

The last day was spent guiding the Law teachers on how to design a Clinical Law programme for their universities. The groups presented the syllabi outlines for their clinical law programmes and were again given feedback by the other participants and the instructors.

The programme was very well received by all the participants. It is hoped that in future a training programme will be presented to assist Turkish academics in developing materials for their clinical law programmes. McQuoid-Mason’s experiences in establishing the UKZN Campus Law Clinic in 1973, and the Street Law programme in 1985, on the then University of Natal Durban Campus during the Apartheid era, resonated strongly with the Turkish Law teachers.

Words: Ndabaonline


author : .
author email : .

29th Annual Jazz Jol at UKZN

29th Annual Jazz Jol at UKZN
Artists to perform at the 29th Annual Jazz Jol.

UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) will host its highly anticipated 29th annual Jazz Jol on 27 October at the CJPM. This year’s popular music event features a variety of talented musicians including Sweet Concept (a UKZN Alumni Band), UKZN Vocal Group and UKZN’s Big Band along with a selection of students taking to the stage in an evening tailor-made for lovers of jazz and popular music.

Jazz lecturer Mr Neil Gonsalves said, ‘The Jazz Jol was not only started, all those years ago, as an event for music-lovers but also in an endeavour to raise funds for the Ronnie Mandonsela Scholarship. The Scholarship provides bursaries for deserving UKZN Music students from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as helps to fund students’ travel visas for overseas trips, and national travel and accommodation to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and other educational festivals, workshops and conferences.’

Gonsalves believes that the issue of mobility, of getting around and sharing ideas and networking is key to a musician’s future success. He feels through mobility musicians are able to exchange knowledge and gain important national and international experience.

‘We are particularly pleased to welcome Sweet Concept to this year’s Jazz Jol,’ enthuses Gonsalves. ‘This is a UKZN Alumni Band that features Thabani Gapara (alto sax) who now lives in New Zealand, Siyanda Zulu (trumpet), Siya Mthethwa (keyboard), Bheka Mthethwa (bass) and Sbu Zondi (drums) – all of whom would have been showcased at a Jazz Jol in the past.’

Sweet Concept was formed in 2006 by Siya Mthethwa, Gapara and Zulu. Most of the band started off as backup singers for some of South Africa’s more prominent and illustrious artists including Sazi Dlamini, Siphokazi, Judith Sephuma and Ernie Smith to mention a few. The band won further accolades after competing in the Suncoast Jazz competition, winning prizes in the Best Band and Best Composition categories.

‘The band members have, since 2010, pursued individual music career paths in performance, production and education and occasionally come together to perform, so we are delighted to be hosting them this year,’ says Gonsalves. ‘Recently, Bheka Mthethwa, the group’s bassist released his debut album titled Supernal Sounds, and all of them have a string of credits to their names.’

The band will perform a variety of original music that reflects the variety of rich perspectives each member has collected in the past five years and will provide a true reflection of the sound of South Africa.

UKZN Voices directed by well-known Durban musician and UKZN Jazz Voice lecturer Ms Debbie Mari, features singers from the Jazz and Popular Voice programmes in the School of Arts. Singing mostly close harmony arrangements, the vocal jazz ensemble will perform A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, Java Jive, Almost is Never Enough and Charlie Chaplin’s best loved composition Smile.

The group comprises Andiswa Maduna, Nomthandazo Madiya, Neli Skhosana, Monique Naude (soprano), Nomalanga Khanyile, Amanda Biyela, Wandithanda Makandula (Alto), Busisiwe Hlokoza, Siphelele Mthiyane, Sanele Khubisa (Tenor), Thembelani Mkoka and Thabani Dlamini (Bass).

Said Mari, ‘The Jazz Jol provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent within the Jazz programme at UKZN…and there is a lot of it…but more importantly it is an opportunity for the students to make a contribution towards the Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship Fund which assists many students annually.’

Certainly a major drawcard to the Jazz Jol is the appearance of the UKZN Big Band 2017 directed by Burton Naidoo, and featuring students from UKZN. The band this year focuses on House Music – an unusual approach to electronic music that started taking the world by storm in the 1980s.

House Music, is characterised by its “four to the floor”, groove and minimalistic harmonic and melodic sequences. The UKZN Big Band House Performance will focus more on African House Music such as Micasa, Davido and Black Coffee and the repertoire features arrangements by UKZN Students Phumlani Mtiti, Riley Giandhari, and Sinalo Zulu.

This year’s Jazz Jol is funded by Concerts SA, a joint South African/Norwegian live music development project housed within the SAMRO Foundation.

Tickets will be available at the door at R120, pensioners R80 and students R60.

For more information contact Thulile Zama on 031 260 3385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za

Words: Melissa MungrooThulile Zama 


author : .
author email : .

Students Promote Abstinence from Drugs and Sex

Students Promote Abstinence from Drugs and Sex
UKZN HIV and AIDS celebrates abstinence through culture diversity.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Abstinence Forum, which functions under the HIV and AIDS Programme, recently hosted a celebration of abstinence. The event, which celebrated abstinence from the perspective of different African cultures, was held at the Howard College campus during Heritage month.

The aim of the event was to promote abstinence from risky behaviors (Alcohol and Drug Abuse) as this could lead to one being exposed to HIV and other life-threatening diseases.  Virginity concept of “intombi Nto” and “insizwa nsi” from the Nguni cultures were celebrated through song and dance while different cultural and religious beliefs were narrated before the cheering audience.

The first speakers Ms Senabile Mhlongo and Ms Njabulo Zondi representing the Zulu culture, mesmerised the audience by firstly reciting their clan names.

‘I am proud to be “intomb” yoMzulu (Zulu maiden),’ said Mhlongo. ‘We are here to encourage abstinence and to tell you how Zulu culture praises abstinence as part of our tradition. In our tradition as girls we are expected only to have sex after marriage, the gratitude starts from Umhlonyane, where a girl is appreciated for entering womanhood. The stories about the greatness of staying a virgin, the euphoria of going to the reed dance is expected and done until Umemulo, where the girl is now praised for reaching her 21st as a virgin.’

The second speaker, a proud Nigerian scholar Mr Oluwatobi, taught the audience about the diversity that exists in Nigeria. He also spoke about the diverse communities in Nigeria and how similar these are to the South African cultures, especially the Zulu culture. Oluwatobi also complimented the South African traditional dishes and implored members of the audience to give Nigerian dishes a try. With regards to abstinence Oluwatobi said Nigerian girls and boys are traditionally expected to engage in sexual activities after marriage.

The third speaker speaking on behalf of the Abstinence forum, Ms Phumelele Simelane, surprised the audience with a Swazi traditional dance before going into details on what abstinence meant to the forum. She said the abstinence forum catered for all kinds of abstinence reasons including those that are cultural, circumstantial or religious. She further clarified that abstinence by people who are virgins was similar to that of people doing “secondary abstinence”. This involves people who have had sex before deciding to abstain for some reasons. ‘It is all abstinence,’ said Simelane.

Overall, the event was a huge success as students came out in their numbers to participate. In support of the event students were clad in different African traditional attires.

Words: Thembani Ntobeko Khumalo


author : .
author email : .

Student Excellence Awards Ignite Passion for Success

Student Excellence Awards Ignite Passion for Success
Students being recognised for their sterling work.

In pursuit of innovation and inclusive growth, the School of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal revived the culture of learning through hosting yet another Student Excellence Awards ceremony recently.

Over 450 students were awarded the Dean’s Commendations or Merit certificates or both. The top four performing students were Ms Preshantha Govender, Ms Beliada Athaliah Chetty and Ms Priyodhini Moodley who received the Dean’s special award while Ms Denosha Mungal was the top student for the 2016 academic year.

Other students were recognised for their sterling work in Mathematics and Computer Science, Science and Technology, Education Studies, Social Sciences, Language and Arts. 

Advanced Certificates in Education and National Professional Diplomas in Education (ACE/NPDE), Postgraduate Certificates in Education (Honours and Masters) were also presented.

The Dean and Head of the School of Education, Professor Thabo Msibi was proud of the achievements of the students saying, ‘The awards ceremony recognises the hard work and effort put in by both undergraduate and postgraduate students from the School.’

Proceedings commenced with Ms Marie Van Wyk (Programme Director) greeting the audience, Professor Msibi providing a warm welcome and the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor Stephen Mutula addressing the gallery.

Sounds of angelic music graced the atmosphere as the choir added an extra dose of excitement. The awardees expressed their heartfelt thanks. Govender said, ‘The excellence evening is definitely a highlight as it feels great to be acknowledged for the hard work I’ve put into my studies.’

Chetty added, ‘To all students be passionate about your career choice. Embrace your challenges because they will push you to become a better person. Find strength in your passions and use that to push yourself when the going gets tough. Keep working towards your goal. When you look back, you’ll be proud of the progress you’ve made. I am confident you will continue to succeed in life. Keep up the good work.’

Moodley said, ‘There have been many highlights in my studies but those that stand out the most is becoming a member of the golden key honour society as well as receiving numerous awards for my academic achievements. Also a great highlight is developing those special relationships with my lecturers and being involved in the many co-curricular activities organised by the wonderful Maths Department.’

Words: Ziphezinhle Silindile Biyela

Photographs: Simon Gazu


author : .
author email : .

MSF Southern Africa Former President Inspire UKZN

MSF Southern Africa Former President Inspire UKZN
Dr Mohamed Dalwai flanked by UKZN SAMSA members and friends of the MSF Southern Africa.

The South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) together with Golden Key International Honour Society recently hosted the renowned international guest speaker and innovator Dr Mohammed Dalwai.

The highly accomplished Dalwai who is also the Chief Operating Officer of the Essential Medicine Guidance addressed students, doctors and healthcare workers about his remarkable life journey at the event held recently at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine.

His address was titled: From war zones to health technology – a typical journey of a South African doctor.

Having served in high conflict zones such as Syria, North Pakistan, Libya, and Afghanistan, Dalwai explored various challenges involved in treatment and the associated dangers. 

Dalwai is a former president of MSF (Doctors Without Borders) Southern Africa.

He joined MSF for both humanitarian and personal reasons; he is highly passionate about rural health and he yearned to travel and work in war zones.

Perceiving the lack of access to guidelines, he became innovative and co-founded EMGuidance –where he strives for technological solutions to healthcare problems.  One of his previous accomplishments has been the Electronic EDL application which assists healthcare practitioners with treatment and management advice.

His organisation champions healthcare by providing access to many treatment guidelines through a mobile application which is free to download. Whilst it runs on Android and Apple, a web based system is currently in development. Future direction includes potentially incorporating graphic scanning technology and artificial intelligence to identify drug regimens by simply taking a picture of patients’ tablets.

Mr Kumeren Govender, the President of the Golden Key Society at Medical School and a final year Medical student applauded Dr Dalwai for his use of technology to improve healthcare.

Chair of the South African Medical Students Association, Kapil Narain said, ‘Dr Dalwai’s story certainly echoes the essence and genuine impetus for medicine – that is to serve humanity. We are truly honoured to have arranged for Dr Dalwai to come down to Durban!’

This auspicious event was graced by colossuses in academia from UKZN, CAPRISA, AHRI, senior subspecialists from Inkosi Albert Luthuli Tertiary Hospital, doctors, Medical students and representatives of civil society formations.

Dr Steven Knight, Principal Specialist in Public Health at UKZN emphasised advocacy as an important trait of every healthcare worker and said Dalwai as an advocate of health who seeks to change healthcare systems for the better. He thanked the organisers and encouraged more students to organise events of this nature.

Professor Breminand Maharaj, from the Medicine Control Council said Dalwai is an inspiration and role-model to all the young people of the world.

Professor Ted Sommerville, an Anaesthetist remarked: ‘It’s a continual source of amazement and delight that medical practice can take one from the realms of providing basic healthcare in constrained circumstances to the development of high-end apps that enable safer and more reliable care in a broad range of environments.’

Lihle Sosibo and Kapil Narain


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Griot. Of Climate Change and Extinction

UKZN Griot.  Of Climate Change and Extinction
.

Dealing with the stupidity of daily life in my commercial transactions I have come to the conclusion that climate change is not really an issue.  Getting anything done, no matter how small, takes 27 phone calls, 47 emails, and the herculean efforts of dealing with duffers at the other end. No-one can spell properly anymore and emails lack addressees.   As Chisholm’s Third Law, Corollary 4 states, “No matter how long or how many times you explain, no one is listening”. The reason is clear as Brown’s Law of Business Success explains: “Our customer’s paperwork is profit. Our own paperwork is loss”. There is always bewilderment from an incompetent supplier when I ask to whom I should address my bill for the time I take to do its work? 

One example after two months of endless one-sided communication between me and my spouse and our house insurer, notwithstanding our helpful listing textbook-style of the insurer’s recurring organisational, customer and technical failures, all we got in return was a “dully (sic) noted”.

Climate change is caused by miscreants who have no idea about what they are doing, or why they are doing it, or whether or not it needs to be done – no matter the cost to the environment or their employers.  They are not even aware that climate change will affect them – personally.  So they continue with their wasteful practices, with conspicuous consumption and in blissful ignorance.  They have no ability to put themselves into the client’s shoes or experiences nor could they care less about the cost of inefficiency to bottom lines.  They know that stupidity, inefficiency and obstruction is the norm.  And stupidity is usually rewarded.  Just ask the failed multimillionaire top dogs of state owned-enterprises in South Africa.  Too many to mention!

Obviously, I am not talking here only about the front-of-house folks, but the invisible managers who operate behind the scenes, leaving the former to clean up their mess while the high end-looters sit in their counting houses oblivious to everything but their bank balances.  But there is always a positive: SABC staffers kept broadcasting no matter Hlaudiness.  SAA keeps flying safely despite the minister, Her Myeniness and the unions who disparage the pilots as “glorified taxi drivers”.  Eskom techies keep “the lights on” despite Molefeness, the Minister and the Eskom board.   OUTA and Corruption Watch are amongst the civic organisations seriously on their trails, their tails and their piggy banks.   And, let’s not even mention rogues Bell Pottinger (BELPer) and KPMG which together enabled the three expatriate bros to capture and bankrupt an entire economy (as in “Zupta monopoly capital”).  The work done by the DA in toppling a global PR (sic) firm through legal means is astonishing, and now KPMG is on the defensive also.  McKinsey, come clean now …. Are these firms working on behalf of Zupta capital not the real representatives of “White monopoly capital”?

Few staff actually go the extra mile any more.  But the Guptas went to Doha.

Back home, when asked a question, the employee stares at a screen, and repeats the mantra ‘It can’t be done’ - or pretends to have suddenly gone deaf, indicated by sullen dikbek reaching down to the counter.    Staff are not “authorized” to be innovative. Glazed-eyed, they then lose the store a sale or alienate customers who know that it can be done.  This nonsense often starts at university – when administrative staff are told by academics that their job is not to think but to do - one of Brenda Gourley’s pet peeves. By the same token, students subjected to mass banking education rarely learn to think. I wonder whether BELPer or KPMG even begin to comprehend the scale of their national looting they enabled from the hard fought-for South African democracy.

Is it any wonder that managers devise software that prevents what could be done by hand previously – like writing a check for staffer who was left off the salaries computer run.  Remember those bizarre days of yore at UKZN?  The practice of “transformation” did not include the value of efficiency or humanism or ubuntu

Often, I have shown clueless retail service staffers how to do their own jobs, after finding out who in the company to speak to.  Surprise is the result, but irritation is their response because this means extra work for them. And, often, the managers I speak to – when they can be tracked down – have little idea of what they are apologising for.  Expensive stupidity reins at every level, from CEOs down.   

Human stupidity and refusal to think laterally will get us before does climate change.  Elon Musk may be the one person who actually gets to Mars before the skittles start falling.  He has a plan.

My real appreciation goes to the consumer journalists who doggedly track stupidity, short-sightedness and myopia on behalf of bewildered customers.  Of course that some customers are not themselves averse to fleecing their service providers – or are not themselves stupid managers.  It’s this cohort that often results in the endistancing between service provider and customer. 

So, my newly inaugurated Fall-on-your-Sword Bell Pottinger Award recognises stupidity as an innate value in much PR practice that the sanitised theory often misses. 

The KMPG Hoist By Your Own Petard Award is a stark reminder that auditing is not necessarily about ensuring financial probity, but about power and which clique is legitimised to wield it.  

With regard to my insurer, get outta my life.   Climate change?  Not to worry, our species will be the most unsuccessful and short-lived ever to inhabit the earth as the well-off knowingly, willingly and with great determination consume the entire planet to extinction.  We will have created our own catastrophe.

Now, gotta finish that paper on consumer culture in order to tick my KPA form. 

Keyan Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor, University of Johannesburg and is a UKZN Professor Emeritus.

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


author : .
author email : .

CAES Top Researchers Contribute to World-Class Research

CAES Top Researchers Contribute to World-Class Research
From left: Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda, Professor Hussein Shimelis, Professor Precious Sibanda, Professor Amir Hossein Mohammadi and Professor Johannes van Staden.

In September, the University of KwaZulu-Natal congratulated its top performing researchers for 2016. Of the 30 researchers honoured, 16 are based in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, where they are conducting important research in the Schools of Chemistry and Physics (SCP), Life Sciences (SLS), Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS), Engineering, and Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES).

Top Published Researcher Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda in the SCP has featured in the top 30 for the past decade, recognised for his work in green chemistry to reduce the environmental impact of chemical enterprises. The prolific author and C2-rated National Research Foundation (NRF) researcher’s work is contributing to the development of methods to ensure safe drinking water for rural communities. Jonnalagadda finds his motivation in the joy his students derive from their achievements. ‘My prime aim is to impart skills and human resource development,’ said Jonnalagadda, who is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, UKZN and the South African Chemical Institute.

Professor Hussein Shimelis, SASRI Chair of Crop Science, Associate Professor and Academic Leader of Research in SAEES and Deputy Director of the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) said he was highly honoured to be included in the list and proud of his achievement.

Shimelis acknowledged academic and research support of UKZN, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and NRF, the Technology Innovation Agency, and the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP). He noted the contributions of postgraduate students and colleagues, and thanked his family for their support.

Shimelis’ collaborative research involves phenotyping, genetics and breeding methodologies of food security crops. The widely-published author has supervised and mentored 86 past and current postgraduate students.

Professor Precious Sibanda of SMSCS pursues research in applied mathematics, specifically theoretical fluid mechanics and numerical analysis. He has over 18 years’ experience and has graduated more than a dozen masters and PhD students.

‘I believe the research productivity is a reflection of the hard work of the many people, including PhD students, that I work with,’ said the C2-rated researcher.

He noted that this recognition reflects and rewards the time he spent mentoring students, reading current research and identifying niche research areas that can yield new ideas and results.

From the School of Engineering, researchers in disciplines like Chemical Engineering are making their mark. Two top researchers, Professors Amir Hossein Mohammadi and Deresh Ramjugernath in the Thermodynamics Research Unit (TRU) are contributing to the research of the TRU, which produces up to 40% of its School’s research output. Ramjugernath is a recipient of the Neale-May gold medal from the SA Institution of Chemical Engineers (SAIChE), and a Fellow of  SAIChE and the African Academy of Sciences. He believes strongly in a collaborative approach to human capacity development and has received many national and institutional awards. Mohammadi is the recipient of numerous certificates of excellence and research awards from institutions in The Netherlands, France, United Kingdom and South Africa, and is known for his work on thermodynamics and phase equilibria, gas hydrates and flow assurance, and petroleum engineering.

In Life Sciences, Professor Johannes van Staden, Director of UKZN’s Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development (RCPGD), has made a name for himself in a career spanning more than 40 years. He credited his RCPGD team for their sterling work and for maintaining a very high output to keep the Centre competitive internationally despite resource constraints, and also acknowledged input from very generous foreign collaborators.

Broad themes emerging from the RCPGD’s research reports and publications include research into the medicinal properties of indigenous plants. Other research includes the effects of smoke on plant growth, the development of natural bio-stimulants instead of chemical fertiliser and pesticides, the pharmacological and phytochemical potential in micro-algae and the potential of seaweed in multiple industries.

Words: Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Ranked the Best for Physical and Chemical Sciences and Engineering

UKZN Ranked the Best for Physical and Chemical Sciences and Engineering
A Chemistry demonstration for high school learners in Pietermaritzburg in 2017.

The University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) for 2016-17 has ranked 16 South African universities amongst 2 500 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) across the world, and placed the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the top of the pile in the Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Chemical Engineering and Engineering field rankings for South Africa.

UKZN retained its same overall position based on previous rankings by URAP, and gained places in the field of Physical Sciences.

URAP is a non-profit organisation that seeks to develop a ranking system for universities worldwide based on academic performance determined by quality and quantity of scholarly publications. Two thousand HEI have been assessed annually since 2010, and are scored based on indicators that include current scientific productivity, research impact, research quality and international acceptance.

The School of Chemistry and Physics (SCP), said Dean and Head of School Professor Ross Robinson, has for several years used various international databases to review its ranking in order to assess how it is doing in terms of research both nationally and internationally. The Discipline of Chemistry, and more recently Physics, has been ranked nationally in the top position of all the tertiary institutions in South Africa, a position reaffirmed by the URAP rankings.

Robinson noted that strong contributions to this ranking have come from within the School of Chemistry and Physics, as well as significant contributions from researchers in other Schools.

Key research groups in the SCP include the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), the Catalysis Research Group, the Centre for Quantum Technology, the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP) node, NanotechnologyAtmospheric Research (ATMRES) and others.

Robinson noted that the SCP boasts an outstandingly wide spectrum of research active staff particularly amongst younger staff members.

These rankings are based on both the quantity as well as the quality of our research, being conducted at UKZN, and as an institution we should be very proud of the achievements by our Staff,’ said Robinson.

Dean and Head of the School of Engineering, Professor Cristina Trois, expressed pleasure and pride at the ranking of Engineering at UKZN as the Top Institution for Engineering in South Africa, and noted that this ranking places UKZN among the top 200 faculties or schools of Engineering in the world.

The School has distinguished itself in a number of fields; it is the only School in the country to offer the Discipline of Bioresources (Agricultural) Engineering, and is home to the Eskom Centre of Excellence (CoE), the Thermodynamics Research Unit (TRU), internationally renowned Mechanical Engineering  projects, the Pollution Research GroupCivil Engineering research on environmental, coastal and hydrological engineering,  and a Land Surveying and Property Development qualification.

‘This is an incredible achievement for us and  a testimony of the untamed commitment, passion and dedication of all our staff, students and industry partners to the growth of our Discipline and our University,’ said Trois.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

Education Lecturer Makes The Young Independents (TYI) Top 100

Education Lecturer Makes The Young Independents (TYI) Top 100
Ms Nosipho Bele makes the 2017 Top 100 list of The Young Independents (TYI).

Lecturer in the School of Education, Ms Nosipho Bele has made the 2017 Top 100 list of The Young Independents (TYI). Launched in 2015, by the Independent Media Group, TYI captures exciting youth-driven initiatives locally and across the continent. This is a platform created by the youth, for the youth.

Bele made the cut for her project, Mentor Me to Success which focuses on assisting high school learners to increase their chances of getting accepted into university. This is done by finding mentors for the learners. These mentors come from universities and are often young graduates that provide personal attention, assisting with timely tertiary and funding applications, registration of National Benchmark Tests and giving counsel in their desired profession.

‘It is always an honour to be recognised. I started the Mentor Me to Success programme because of a need I saw at Nyanga Township in Cape Town in 2012. I never thought that something I thought was small would receive so much attention. I am really glad.

‘Many of the young South Africans and the initiatives that they run began out of a situation that they saw and wanted to change. The recognition encourages me to keep pushing because starting something can be challenging. So I think it’s important because it reminds us that we are not alone, there are people in South Africa who believe in what we’re doing and what we’re trying to achieve.’

Bele was also recognised for being one of the first South African recipients of the Queen’s Young Leader Award in 2015 for the Mentor Me to Success programme which she hopes to expand into KwaZulu-Natal, where she is one of the youngest lecturers in the School of Education at UKZN.

In the meantime, the 28-year-old is working towards fulfilling another dream – making a positive contribution to curriculum development and working towards a better education system.

‘Education is a powerful tool in the cessation of poverty. My focus is education and its ability to make a positive contribution to curriculum development and working towards a better education in South Africa,’ she said.

Words: Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

21st Poetry Africa Opens to a Packed Sneddon Theatre

21st Poetry Africa Opens to a Packed Sneddon Theatre
Highlights from the 21st Poetry Africa festival at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

Poetry enthusiasts packed the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre for the much anticipated opening night of the 21st edition of Poetry Africa. This landmark festival, organised by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, introduced Festival goers to the poets and the highlights for the week.

Acting Dean and Head of the School of Arts Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa welcomed guests to the Festival while UKZN staff member and Jazz musician Ms Thulile Zama provided musical entertainment for the evening.

Addressing the audience, acting CCA Director Ms Chipo Zhou said, ‘This year, Poetry Africa turns 21, a testament to the commitment of UKZN to the development of the performance arts, not only in KwaZulu-Natal, but internationally. Poetry is a powerful tool, it opens up dialogues about pertinent social issues. This year’s poets have robust intellect to challenge stereotypes and world views.’

Co-curator for the Festival and poet Ms Mandi Vundla added, ‘This year’s line-up of poets is a reflection of the current industry. While the Festival opens up a platform for the poets, partnerships are equally important as it further allows us to expose talent across all spheres of the international Arts spaces.’

South African poet Natalia Molebatsi sees the Festival as an exciting space for a poet to be in as it allows for the exchange of ideas about the spoken word and to address social and world challenges. ‘After a performance, audiences are able to reflect deeply on the sentiments raised in a poem. It is sort of a gift to the audience by the poet as the message and feelings behind the poem stays with them longer. It is a deep introspection.’

Zimbabwean poet Andrew Manyika added, ‘Poetry Africa is the one of the longest, most recognised festivals on the continent and to be part of the line-up is no easy feat.

‘The participating poets touched on various issues and they connect with audiences and that is what poetry is all about. Poetry chronicles history and the lived experiences of the poet. I will continue supporting this festival because of the impact it has on people.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

School of Education hosts Learning Barriers Workshop

School of Education hosts Learning Barriers Workshop
Participants in the Learning Barriers Workshop.

As part of its community engagement portfolio, the School of Education recently hosted the initial learning barriers workshop.  The workshop was the brainchild of Dr Angela James, Dr Linda Jairam and Durban East Primary School Acting Deputy Principal Mrs Nabie Khan.

It was attended by teachers and UKZN student teachers from various schools in the Wentworth, Bluff and Merewent areas. These school districts were selected based on the learner needs that were identified.

The aim of the workshop was to address learning barriers experienced by learners in the classrooms and to find possible ways to overcome these. 

Said Jairam, ‘Some of the barriers that we have identified are physical disabilities, memory concentration, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), communication challenges and even social problems that impact learners’ ability to perform academically. Schools are mandated towards inclusive education, it is hoped that this series of workshops will dovetail into this.’

Grade 2 teacher at Austerville Primary School Ms A Sibisi added, ‘My learners will be benefitting from this workshop. It has equipped me with the necessary skills to address some of the learning barriers they experience. I will be attending the next session because it is of value to me as a teacher.’

On the recent partnership established between the School of Education and Durban East Primary School, Khan said, ‘Our learners come from difficult backgrounds with socio-economic challenges, even doing homework is challenging as parents are unable to assist because for them, it is bread and butter issues that are more important than assisting with homework.’

‘We are excited that UKZN has stepped in to assist our learners by offering hands-on teaching to overcome these barriers. We have more than a 1 000 learners who need assistance and we are looking forward to this co-operation.’

Talking about the advantages of the workshop, UKZN Honours student and teacher at Clareville Primary School, Ms Priyanka Ruthan added, ‘This workshop is important because it allows you to diagnose observable and unobservable learning barriers such as ADHD.

‘The role of the teacher in this is vital because you can identify these learning barriers at an early stage so it doesn’t go undetected and pose a problem at a later adult stage. The series of workshops is a positive way to make a difference in the lives of those we teach.’

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

Academics in the School of Clinical Medicine Tackle Assessment Challenges

Academics in the School of Clinical Medicine Tackle Assessment Challenges
Tackling assessing challenges.

Academic staff from the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal recently gathered at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine to share their experiences around processes and principles of managing learner assessments. The discussion was facilitated by Professor Thifheli Luvhengo, Adjunct Professor at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits).

While sharing his own experience at Wits, Luvhengo said the main assessment challenges faced by academic institutions is the inability by assessors to link assessment with learning outcomes. The second main challenge is the inability by universities in ensuring that anyone involved in training and assessment is continuously trained.

Luvhengo is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Surgery at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and at Wits. 

During his talk, he listed seven recommendations for a smooth assessment process for institutions. These included making adequate attempts to ensure near similar exposure/learning opportunities to students and the participation of at least 10 subject/content experts in all the assessment processes.

Luvhengo stressed that assessment methods should be acceptable, valid, reliable, defensible, cost-effective and recommended the use of multiple assessment methods.

He explained why the cut-off score (pass mark) should not be fixed but be based on standard setting and elaborated that standard setting and vetting of examination questions should not be a once off process done behind a computer, but  should be done before and after the test.   

During discussions, academics discussed worst case scenarios of an assessment process gone wrong like alienation of staff, students losing trust on the assessment process and most importantly the risk of the institution / university opening itself to litigation.

Luvhengo explained the importance of “Investing in staff training, prioritising setting of good questions linked to the curriculum, having a good buy-in from students, understanding of assessment standard setting by academics and repeated vetting of questions”.

Professor Luvhengo’s take home messages to the group were

What assessors need to know:

  1. Avoid short cuts
  2. Although we are in low income setting decisions we make during assessment are perhaps more critical and therefore everything we do should be defensible, and not be a compromise
  3. Only individuals who are involved in training and have been trained as assessors should be involved in assessment
  4. Whichever method is chosen it should be introduced gradually with buy-in from students and staff
  5. No single method is good
  6. Similarly, there should not be a single “I know it all person” as the tendency often is to market personal bias and preference
  7. There should not be fixation on punishment for possible guessing (negative marking) as each question potentially would have both false positives and false negatives

Dr Serela Ramklass, Academic Leader: Teaching and Learning in the School of Clinical Medicine expressed her gratitude to Professor Luvhengo for sharing his wealth of experience and knowledge on assessments in medical education. This meeting provided a valuable platform to begin dialogue on assessments and other curricula issues across South African medical programmes.

Words: Lihle Sosibo


author : .
author email : .

KZN Mental Health Advocacy Group hosts a Healthy Walk

KZN Mental Health Advocacy Group hosts a Healthy Walk
Participants of the Mental Health Walk 2017.

The KwaZulu-Natal Mental Health Advocacy group recently hosted a successful second annual mental health walk.

The aim of the event, held on 15 October, was to destigmatise mental illness by creating a platform where all stakeholders can meet in a relaxed environment and share information. During the event government departments, private organisations and non-profit organisations provided advice on mental illness and substance abuse and also conducted free health screening for participants on the day.

The second aim of the event was to get people physically active - this is commended for mental and physical health.

The walk was held in commemoration of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, and Mental health awareness month. It coincided with the Life Esidimeni hearings to probe the deaths of more than 140 mentally ill patients.  

More than 600 people attended the event and all completed the 5km walk from the Durban amphitheatre to Ushaka Marine World. Walk participants included mental health professionals, psychiatric patients and their family members, service providers, and members of the public.

‘Participants not only had a fun day at the seaside but this was one of our successful advocacy and education initiatives around mental health and substance abuse,’ expressed Dr Suvira Ramlall who is a Clinical Psychologist in the Discipline of Psychiatry in the College of Health Sciences at UKZN.

After the 5km walk on the promenade, many participants then enjoyed a healthy aerobics workout, courtesy of the Provincial Department of Health’s mobile aerobics unit.

The KZN Mental Health Advocacy group is an initiative of Psychiatrist, Dr Suvira Ramlall, and Clinical Psychologist, Mr Suntosh Pillay, who are staff of the Provincial Department of Health as well as of the Discipline of Psychiatry, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Upcoming Mental Health Initiatives

Words: Lihle Sosibo


author : .
author email : .

Student Artists Exhibit at UKZN

Student Artists Exhibit at UKZN
Centre for Visual Arts students celebrate the opening of their undergraduate exhibition at the Jack Heath Gallery.

An exhibition of students’ work, mainly by undergraduates, and curated by the students themselves is currently underway at the Jack Heath Gallery on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus. The fifty pieces on show reflect both the capabilities of these artists and the range of study options at the Centre for Visual Arts (CVA). There are paintings in oils and acrylics, drawings in pencil, pen and mixed media, woodcuts, monotype prints, collages, digital animations and ceramic sculpture.

The title of the exhibition, SELF[i]EXPOSURE, picks up on the “selfie” photographs trend, but points also to the realisation that every piece of art reveals something that is personally significant to, and revealing about, the artist. The self-portraits look beyond a reflection in the mirror, and besides the pieces in this classic genre there are works that explore the artists’ responses to the world about them and their own place in it. The work on show conveys an integrated and dynamic approach to art-making undertaken in a spirit of lively enquiry and exploration. The opening event on Wednesday, 11 October was certainly lively and enjoyed by students, staff, guests and supporters of the CVA.

The Jack Heath Gallery is in the CVA building on the main campus in Pietermaritzburg, in Ridge Road. For more information on the exhibition, contact Dr Jessica Draper on DraperJ@ukzn.ac.za

Words: Kathy Arbuckle


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Friends of MSF Reinforce Health Education in Cato Manor

UKZN Friends of MSF Reinforce Health Education in Cato Manor
FoMSf hosted a successful annual community wellness day in Cato Manor.

The UKZN Friends of Medecins Sans Frontieres (FoMSf) recently hosted an annual community wellness day in Cato Manor, Durban.

FoMSF is a student-run organisation affiliated to Doctors without Borders (MSF). This organisation hosts numerous events throughout the year including an annual Health Day.

This year, the event was at the Cato Crest Community Hall and Masibambisane Community Centre, both of which are well-known “hubs” in Cato Manor. Students from UKZN Medical School, Physiotherapy and Dentistry volunteered to provide health screening and advice to participants in the area.

This event saw approximately 200 patients being screened for TB, blood pressure, blood glucose and HIV. Of those who agreed to be tested, 3.48% had a blood glucose reading over 11mmol/l; 13.21% had systolic pressure greater than 130 bpm and 6.58% had signs indicative of tuberculosis.

All patients consulted with senior students, where specific intervention plans were discussed. Approximately 35 patients were then referred to Cato Manor Clinic for further investigation and management. This upstream screening process identified problems which may have otherwise gone undetected.

‘Each participant received advice from the Dentistry and Physiotherapy students. The latter was particularly helpful to the elderly cohort of the population, many of whom suffered from joint and/or muscle pain. Dental Therapy students again enthralled the children with demonstrations and oral hygiene advice. Not only did the children learn, but they also had fun,’ said Cheshni Jeena who is the UKZN FoMSF Chairperson.

Over 350 children under the age of 12 attended the wellness day. Physiotherapy was the favourite for children this year, with the students from this faculty conducting interactive group exercise routines.

FoMSf would like  extend a hearty gratitude to our collaborators like  iThemba Lethu, our stalwart comrades; Lizzie Mkhize and her team at the Masibambisane Community Centre; UKZN Dentistry and Physiotherapy Departments for their support and donations; VNA Consultants for sponsoring a large portion of our expenses; the South African Medical Association for assisting with the medical equipment and  the event organising team: Kimera Naidoo, Musawenkosi Mthembu and Nqubeko Dzanibe  as well as the rest of the FoMSF Executive Committee and volunteers for investing countless hours into ensuring this event was a success,’ expressed  Jeena.

FoMSf also hosted Code Makers, who aim to expose children to computer programming at an early age as an attempt to expand their career options.

To bring a little more cheer to children, face painting and colouring activities were offered.

Participants were offered health packs containing soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste and adults received additional vegetable packs.

Words: Lihle Sosibo and Cheshni Jeena


author : .
author email : .