American African European Summer School Hosted at UKZN

American African European Summer School Hosted at UKZN
The College of Law and Management Studies hosted a successful AAE Summer School.

UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies hosted the 2018 American African European (AAE) Summer School at which Professor Betty Mubangizi, former Dean and Head of the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance officially welcomed students, staff members, and guests.

The theme was on Responsible and Sustainable Management of Innovation in Urban and Global Contexts.

The AAE Summer School, launched in 2006, takes place annually at locations of contributing universities.

Between 2012 and 2016 the operations of the Summer Schools were led by Professor Henry Wissink of UKZN and Professor Stefan Heusig of the Chemnitz University of Technology (CUT) in Germany after which UKZN’s Professor Brian McArthur and Mubangizi took over the leadership.

The goals were to intensify cross-institutional relations and set up joint research projects on intercultural and cross-boundary issues.

The AAE Summer School aims to attract students pursuing their bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees who then participate in the Summer School which involves universities such as UKZN, the University of the Witwatersrand and the ICN Business School in Nancy, France.

For students, it is an educational journey offering a wide range of diverse and interesting activities including lectures, workshops, case studies, games, site visits, and social events.

Various topics and themes were explored during the programme in Durban, such as Corporate Digital Responsibility presented by Professor Dagmar Gesmann-Nuissi; Innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution presented by Professor Manoj Maharaj: Microsoft Learning as a Service presented by Professor Zelda Tintinger, who is the senior Solution Specialist Education for Microsoft, and Artisans of Technological Innovation and Sustainability by Professor Stefan Hüsig.

The effective partnerships and dedication of the AAE Summer School team comprising Dr Indira Padayachee (Chair), Mr Taahir Vajeth, Mr Karunagaran Naidoo, Professor Debbie Ellis and Ms Malindi Kunene, smoothed the way for UKZN to advance its internationisation goals.

Words: Sibusiso Hlongwa 

Photograph: Albert Hirasen


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New Vision for SARChI Chair in Land Use Planning and Management

New Vision for SARChI Chair in Land Use Planning and Management
Professor Onisimo Mutanga who was recently appointed as the South African Research Chair in Land Use Planning and Management.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has appointed UKZN’s Professor Onisimo Mutanga as the South African Research Chair in Land Use Planning and Management.

The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), established in 2006 by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the NRF, is designed to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at South African public universities.

The work of this Chair focuses on protection and enhancement of environmental assets and natural resources through studying trends in land-use/cover patterns as well as productivity of natural systems over a large spatial extent.

Mutanga has been part of the Discipline of Geography in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) since 2005, and served as Acting Dean and Head of SAEES. In 2017, Mutanga was named among the best scientific contributors in Africa. He holds an NRF B-rating, has more than 120 publications to his name, and has supervised more than 16 PhD and 28 master’s students.

Mutanga is an expert in ecosystem pattern and condition analysis in the face of global and land-use change using remote sensing. He integrates ecology, biodiversity conservation and remote sensing to model the impact of anthropogenic and physical factors on the environment.

Mutanga’s research has included the development of innovative remote sensing approaches for providing timely and up to date information for improved proactive intervention measures in managing resources. His research focus has grown towards the automation and operationalisation of remotely sensed data in forestry, agriculture and rangeland monitoring.

In his new role, Mutanga will draw on expertise from various disciplines and institutions. His work will prioritise enhancing synergy between academia, government, councils and the private sector so that research produced is useful for decision-making.

He explained that, in the context of the rapid degradation of ecosystem services due to climate change resulting in significant ecological, social and economic consequences and obstruction of sustainable developments, the work of the Chair was increasingly important. Using a systems-based approach and employing a wide range of analytical approaches, the research will provide an evidence-based systematic assessment of land potential, with an appraisal of alternatives in the face of global change.

‘The ultimate goal is to develop integrated land-use planning approaches for sustainable utilisation of resources in order to strike a balance between conservation and societal benefit at various spatial scales,’ said Mutanga.

His work will contribute to a better understanding of ecosystem services, threats and resilience of natural systems and ecological thresholds, and ensure viable and alternative land use planning and management approaches. He will also investigate economic, social and environmental benefits of restoration activities and hopes this research will contribute to implementation of natural resources management informed by high quality science.

The research within this Chair is an extension of the national global change grand challenge on developing technologies and innovations to respond to global changes as well as strengthening the science-policy-practice interface.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod


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Inhlangano yase-UKZN Iklomelise Abafundi abayi-10 Ngemifundaze

Inhlangano yase-UKZN Iklomelise Abafundi abayi-10 Ngemifundaze
Umcimbi wemiklomelo ye-Mandela Month Bursary ekhempasini i-Westville.Click here for English version

Inhlangano yase-UKZN iklomelise abafundi abayi-10 ngemifundaze njengengxenye yohlelo lwe Mandela Month Bursary.

Izihambeli kulo mcimbi wemiklomelo, obubanjwe uPhiko lweNhlangano, lufake iSekelashansela, uDkt Albert Van Jaarsveld; Umqondisi Jikelele we-East Coast Radio, uNkz Boni Mchunu; Isikhulu Esilawulayo e-Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, uNkz Palesa Phili; uNkz Surina Ramchhander wase PriceWaterhouseCoopers; kanye nabaklonyeliswe ngemifundaze nemindeni yabo.

Ngosuku luka Mandela, Inhlangano yabambisana ne East Coast Radio ukugubha ikhulu leminyaka kwazalwa isishoshovu somzabalazo kanye neminyaka engama-67 silwela ubulungiswa. Kwanxuswa abantu baKwaZulu-Natal ukuba baxhase ngemali esukela kuma-R67. Inhlangano yahlanganisa ama-R366 840.

USolwazi Anesh Singh, Umqondisi Olawulayo kuNhlangano yase-UKZN, ubonge abanikelile futhi basabela uma inhlangano icela uxhaso elingama-R67 lo mkhankaso wenyanga kaMandela, uthe umusa wabo wenze bakwazi ukuklomelisa ngemifundaze eyi-10 kubafundi ‘abamaphakathi’ okungabafundi ababonakala becebe kakhulu ukuthi bangathola uxhaso lukahulumeni, kodwa futhi abampofu ukuthi bangakwazi ukukhokha imali yokufunda.

Abanikezwe imifundaze uMnu Thabani Ngwane, uNkz Shalini Naidoo, uNkz Asanda Khuzwayo, uNkz Thabile Dladla, uNkz Ashmin Unruth kanye noMnu Sithembiso Ntuli.

UMchunu, obonge Inhlangano ngokubambisana ne East Coast Radio, uthe uyithanda kakhulu imfundo njengoba inamandla okuguqula impilo ejwayelekile iyenze engajwayelekile. ‘Njengomsakazo, siyakholwa ukuba imfundo iwukhiye ongaletha ushinstho eNingizimu Afrika,’ kusho uMchunu.

UPhili uthe i-Durban Chamber banxuse izikhulu eziphezulu kanye nezinhloko zezinhlangano ukuba baseke imisebenzi efanelekile.

UVan Jaarsveld uthe uthemba ukuthi lesi isinyathelo sokuqala sokusondela kulo budlelwano obuzohlala isikhathi eside.

UDlamini, umfundi wonyaka wesibili kuzifundo ze-LLB, uthe wajabula kakhulu ngesikhathi bemazisa ukuthi uzothola umfundaze. ‘Benginganaso isiqiniseko sokuthi ngizokwazi yini ukuqhubeka kulonyaka ngenxa yezimali. Kukhona nezingane zakwethu nazo ezifundayo. Abazali bami bathwele kanzima njengoba sonke sifunda ngesikhathi esisodwa. Lo mfundaze uzolekelela kakhulu,’ kusho uDlamini.

UKhuzwayo, umfundi owenza unyaka wesithathu weZifundo Ngenhlalo Yomphakathi, uthe ujabule kakhulu ukuthola umfundaze. ‘Bekuwunyaka onzima. Angeke ngisamfakela ubaba incindezi yokukhokhela izifundo,’ esho.

UDladla, umfundi owenza unyaka wesithathu weZifundo NgeNhlalo Yomphakathi, uthe umfundaze uzolekelela ngokunciphisa incindezi kumama wakhe ozimele. ‘Ngihlele ukufunda i-honours ngonyaka ozayo futhi bengingazi ngizozikhokhela kanjani izifundo zami,’ esho.


Amagama: uTaschica Pillay

Isithombe: Albert Hirasen


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Kukhunjulwa uSteve Biko

Kukhunjulwa uSteve Biko
I-UKZN kanye Umtapo bahloniphe isishoshovu esasilwa nobandlululo esingasekho emhlabeni, uSteve Biko, ekhempasini yeNyuvesi i-Westville.Click here for English version

I-UKZN ibambisene neSikhungo Umtapo babambe Inkulumo Yesikhumbuzo sika Steve Biko enesihloko: SA: The Unfinished Revolution ekhempasini i-Westville zingama-41st kukhunjulwa ukufa kwesishoshovu esasilwa nobandlululo.

UNkz Sibongile Mkhabela, u-CEO we-Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, okhulume: Ngokuhlukunyezwa Kwabesifazane neZingane e-SA: Isidingo Sokuvuselela Indlela Yokuziphatha, wakhumbula ukuthi wayekuphi ngesikhathi ethola izindaba zokufa kukaBiko. UMkhabela, umamukeli we-National Order of Luthuli (Isiliva), owayesesitokisini e-John Vorster Square e-Johannesburg uchaze wacacisa ubuhlungu abuzwa. ‘USteve akasekho,’ kwaba imicabango egijima emuqondweni wakhe ezama ukuqondisisa izindaba zokuthi umholi we-Black Consciousness Movement wabulawa Uphiko Lwezokuphepha eboshiwe.

‘Kuqonde ukuthi eneminyaka engama-30, uSteve Bantu Biko wabulawa ngesihluku uhulumeni olalunesihluku,’ kusho uMkhabela. ‘Imibono nezenzo zabantu abasha abafundile ababenempokophelo yenza kwasongelwa uhulumeni owawunamandla futhi owawunganyakaziseki, ngisho ususatshiswa ngempi. Laba ababesabisa ngempi babeyinkinga kodwa laba ababenemibono engaletha intuthuko babeyinkinga enkulu yingakho ke wayengeke aphile uSteve Biko,’ kusho owayengumholi wabafundi kanye sesishoshovu.

Engeza, uMkhabela uthe, ‘Ngempela sesiyilahlile iphrojekthi yenkululeko. Sithathe indlela ethathelayo kanti futhi siyahluleka njengezwe ukuthola indlela ekufanele siyithathe,’ esho, efanisa iNingizimu Afrika ‘njengezwe elisempini’ uma kubhekwa ukuhlukunyezwa kwabantu besifazane.

Ekhuluma emhlanganweni, Umsebenzi Wezokuthuthukiswa Komphakathi kanye nesishoshovu sezepolitiki uMnu Pandelani Nefolovhodwe uthe ngesikhathi Umthethosisekelo waseNingizimu Afrika ubonwa ngabanye njengo ‘Mthethosisekelo omuhle kakhulu’ emhlabeni jikelele, ‘uhlulelekile ukuthuthukisa abantu abansundu’. ‘Abantu bethu abadli umthethosisekelo; kanti futhi abawugqoki ukuze bazivikele kulaba ababandlululayo kanye nobandlululo labamhlophe,’ kusho uNefolovhodwe, owengeze ngokuthi uyakuqinisekisa ukuba ‘i-SA esiphila kuyona akusiyona i-SA uBiko wayeyicabanga’. ‘Ukubakhona kobuntu kuncike enkululekweni yomphakathi,’ esho. ‘Akukho ukubuyisana okanye ukubambisana.’

Enkulumeni yakhe, uDkt James Marsh, Usihlalo Womtapo, uthe iNingizimu Afrika ‘ayiphokophele enkingeni, ikuyona inkinga’. ‘Siphokophele ezikhathini ezinzima,’ esho.

Umqondisi obambile e-University Relations e-UKZN, uDkt Sally Frost, ukhulume ngo-Biko ‘njengomunye wezishoshovu ezinkulu ezake zaphila kulelizwe’.

Inkondlo Inyonyama Yamagama yeNhlangano yeZinkondlo zaBafundi base Westville yethule umucu othinta inhliziyo ngokukhululwa kwemiqondo.

Amagama: uRaylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Isithombe: Itumeleng Masa


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Launch of IPCC Technical Support Unit Office at UKZN

Launch of IPCC Technical Support Unit Office at UKZN
Guests at the launch of IPCC Technical Support Unit Office.

The launch of the Durban office of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II Technical Support Unit (WGII TSU) at the Smart Grid Research Centre on UKZN’s Westville campus attracted more than 60 guests drawn from a broad spectrum of academia, and representatives from local and national government and the media.

The Durban Office of the IPCC WGII TSU, hosted by UKZN’s School of Life Sciences, was established to support South Africa’s first IPCC Co-Chair, Professor Debra Roberts, who was elected together with Professor Hans Otto-Pörtner of Germany to oversee the WGII contribution to the IPCC sixth assessment cycle.

The Office is supported by the Government of South Africa (represented by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), with financial support from the governments of Norway, Germany and New Zealand. UKZN, as host, provides infrastructure and financial support for related postdoctoral research while the office is staffed by two science officers (in natural and social sciences), one administrative officer and two postdoctoral researchers.

UKZN Vice-Chancellor Dr Albert van Jaarsveld welcomed the distinguished guests saying the University was particularly proud of Roberts as the first South African and first woman from the global South to co-chair one of the three IPCC working groups.

‘The launch of this Office and collaboration between the city, UKZN and the IPCC governance structure is an important engagement for the University,’ said van Jaarsveld. ‘It creates a platform to showcase how we can contribute as a university to the IPCC and means that as a country we’re stepping up and saying we take climate change issues seriously.’

Dr Tsakani Ngomane, Deputy Director-General for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, DEA, attended the TSU launch on behalf of Minster of the DEA, Dr Edna Molewa.

Ngomane conveyed the Minister’s hope for the continued contribution of those present and her gratitude to UKZN for hosting the TSU Office as a demonstration of commitment to climate change science on the African continent. She acknowledged the valued contributions of the funding governments and emphasised continued South African government support for the Durban Office of the TSU.

‘South Africa values the role of science in policy decision making and believes in science and rules-based decision-making in international climate change negotiations,’ said Ngomane.

Councillor Nkosenhle Madlala, speaking on behalf of the Mayor of eThekwini, said that ‘strong, effective intergovernmental relations will enable us to share resources and ensure that all available resources for our work to combat the negative impacts of climate change are maximised.’

‘Climate change is a challenge that humanity has no choice but to rise to meet, and it requires sustained coalition building on a global scale,’ said Mike Burrell, High Commissioner for New Zealand. ‘South Africa and New Zealand have large leadership roles to play in their regions and we are proud to be one of the large contributors to this office.’

Roberts described the activities of the Durban Office of the TSU, explaining the IPCC’s structure and its work with leading scientists.

‘The IPCC is one of the largest global opportunities for co-design and co-production between science and policy,’ said Roberts as she highlighted the importance of the roles of governments.

She outlined the past and future activities of the office, the latter including the first lead author meeting of WGII to take place in Durban and a planned African roadshow about the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and progress on climate change work related to cities. She gave special thanks to Mr Maesela Kekana, UKZN’s Professor Rob Slotow, the TSU team and staff in eThekwini Municipality’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD).

Slotow, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the African City of the Future research flagship at UKZN and University Liaison for the IPCC, chaired the event. He said the launch was a culmination of years of activities linking practitioners, government policy makers and academia.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Selvan Pillay


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Rain for Africa AgriCloud App Roll-out Hosted at Ukulinga Research Farm

Rain for Africa AgriCloud App Roll-out Hosted at Ukulinga Research Farm
Participants at the Rain4Africa (R4A) AgriCloud App roll-out.

The Agricultural Research Council – Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-ISCW) launched its Rain4Africa App at Ukulinga Research Farm.

The launch was hosted by the uMngeni Resilience Project (URP), which is also collaborating with the Rain4Africa Team to roll out the app.

The URP is a partnership between the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES). It aims to build the resilience of small-scale farmers in the UMDM to climate change.

An Honorary Research Fellow at UKZN, Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi, welcomed guests to the event on behalf of Professor Albert Modi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. ‘We are honoured to be part of this event,’ said Mabhaudhi. ‘The issue of improving access to climate information and services for small-scale farmers is important for improving on-farm decision making and helping farmers adapt to shifting seasons.’

AgriCloud is a mobile application for Android phones designed to provide guidance to farmers on selection of planting dates for maize and wheat for the specific location of their farm. The app also provides information regarding days on which spraying would be conducive for the subsequent three days in six-hourly intervals. An advantage is delivery of site-specific information, with an intended reach of 125 000 small-scale farmers, 50% of whom are women. The app is still in its early stages and can only provide farmers with information on maize and wheat.

‘The unique feature of the app is that it provides advisories in nine local languages, allowing farmers to get information in their mother tongue,’ said Professor Sue Walker, the Principal Researcher leading the Rain4Africa Team at the ARC-ISCW.

‘We are looking forward to partnering with Rain4Africa in rolling out the app to our farmers on the URP,’ said URP Project Manager Ms Lungi Ndlovu.

Extension officers, researchers, government officials and young farmers in attendance got a chance to download the App and try it out.

The App is available for download from the Google Play Store. Those wanting to may also use the USSD service to download the app by dialling *134*8383# and selecting the information required. Then the information will be available within 24hours, and users can request advisories on a daily basis.

For more information contact:

Professor Sue Walker (Rain4Africa) – WalkerS@arc.agric.za

Ms Lungi Ndlovu (URP) – Nomalungelo.Ndlovu@umdm.gov.za

Words and photograph: Wendy Geza 


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Best Oral Presentation Award for UKZN Student at SA Institute of Physics Conference

Best Oral Presentation Award for UKZN Student at SA Institute of Physics Conference
Mr Bernard Mmame at the SA Institute of Physics Conference.

Mr Bernard Mmame, a Master’s degree candidate in the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) node in the School of Chemistry and Physics (SCP) at UKZN, has received a best oral presentation award at the Space Science division at the 63rd South African Institute of Physics (SAIP) 2018 Conference in Bloemfontein.

Mmame, who attained a BSc in Physics and Maths from the University of Malawi, completed his BSc Honours in Physics in the NASSP UKZN node in 2016. He is now doing a master’s research project investigating ultra-low frequency (ULF) pulsations during tailward reconnection for interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) northward, non-substorm intervals (TRINNI) events. His supervisor is Dr Judy Stephenson, with Professor Dave Walker and Dr Zolile Mtumela co-supervising his project.

‘I enjoyed the conference and learned a lot related to my field of study. I also met so many people doing things I would not even have thought possible,’ said Mmame.

Mmame thanked the NASSP for sponsoring his attendance at the conference.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph supplied


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Hundreds Attend Grade 9 Expo on Edgewood Campus

Hundreds Attend Grade 9 Expo on Edgewood Campus
Learners participating at the Grade 9 Expo.

The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES), in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, hosted a four-day Grade 9 Expo on UKZN’s Edgewood campus.

The Expo highlighted the importance of equipping learners early on in their academic careers with both educational and insightful information regarding career and academic options.

More than 700 learners with their teachers from schools all over greater Durban attended.

Senior Education Specialist from the Department of Education Mr Vassan Singh welcomed everyone to the event and urged them to be open-minded and engage in the presentations and exhibitions.

‘We are very happy with the turn out and that such events are possible,’ said Singh. ‘With such events that seek to interact and provide learners with important information about their career choices, I hope that learners all take the opportunity to listen carefully and ask questions.’

The programme included a talk from an eThekwini Municipality representative and presentations from various representatives of universities, private colleges and TVETs. The programme also included a science show presented by Dr Tanja Reinhardt and Mr Bheki Mthembu, who both wowed the learners with their fascinating scientific displays. The programme closed with a tour of the various companies and education institutions present.

Junior Environmental Officer at eThekwini Municipality, Ms Asphile Mahlangu, said she found the event very informative and of great importance in shaping the future academic and career choices of the learners.

‘The event was informative and encouraged learners to be open about their subject choices and the tertiary institutions they were keen to attend to further their studies,’ said Mahlangu.

A teacher from the Masibambane Secondary School, Mr Mbonginkosi Mkhize, was grateful their students could attend such an event which assisted them in understanding the different career options available, especially in science, maths and engineering.

Grade 9 learner from Wentworth High School, Ms Melissa Graham, found the event an eye-opener in terms of subject choices.

Words: Zolile Duma 

Photographs: Bheki Mthembu


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Career Fair Opens Doors for Students

Career Fair Opens Doors for Students
Students at the Career Fair on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) hosted a Career Fair on the Pietermaritzburg campus for students in science and agriculture introducing them to career options in the presence of representatives from a variety of companies.

Hundreds of students who attended the event had the opportunity to discuss their studies and careers with the business representatives from companies including NestléKCP software and skills development, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Citrus Academy, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), RCL Foods2CanaOVC Travel, the South African Avocado Growers’ Association, Subtrop, and Timac Agro.

The representatives spent time describing their bursaries, internships and graduate programmes to students during the morning’s programme, and invited questions and further contact from students.

Computer Science graduate Mr Hyacinthe Shisso said he found the interactions with industry very positive, saying it gave him the opportunity to learn what each company does, providing more career options and yielding some interview tips.

Honours student in Information Systems and Technology Mr Nqobane Masukus said he found the event very interesting and was able to speak to UKZN alumni who worked at some of the companies represented.

Ms Pebble Hlubi of KCP said she thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with students and found them to be curious and eager to prepare themselves for the working world. Her company offers a 12-month graduate programme providing participants with important experience in the IT environment.

Ms Nozibusiso Kubheka of SANBI in Pietermaritzburg said she enjoyed meeting educated students and recommended they should receive further exposure to the opportunities and internships in the working world.

Words and photographs:Christine Cuénod 


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New Youth Movement Launched at UKZN

New Youth Movement Launched at UKZN
Students at the New Youth Movement Launch.

The Progressive African Liberation Movement (PALMO) was launched on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus under the theme The Role of the Youth in Civil Society.

Mr Fezile Hlope, founder and interim Deputy-President of the movement, opened proceedings by giving some of the background and history behind the establishment of PALMO.

Hlope said while other solidarity or advocacy groups focused on one pillar of civil society or were orientated on particular individuals such as professionals, there was no other organisation that involved itself in academic excellence, sports and recreation, leadership development, community development and radical political development.

Guest speaker, Dr Omolulu Fagbadebo who is a post-doctoral alumni asked ‘Are enough resources being invested in empowering the youth?’ This led to the concept of “youth” being explored as a way of determining exactly who fell in the youth category with the conclusion being that an individual is categorised as youth if they have a particular perception of the present and project it for the future where they become agents of change in their respective communities. As a result, civil society must create a space for the youth that will be active in governance and hold every political decision to account.

Words: Zama Wanda 


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UKZN Hosts 2018 AAE Summer School

UKZN Hosts 2018 AAE Summer School
The College of Law and Management Studies hosted a successful AAE Summer School.

The UKZN School of Management, IT and Governance hosted the 12th American African European (AAE) Summer School in Durban from 13-25 August 2018. 

The theme was on Responsible and Sustainable Management of Innovation in Urban and Global Contexts.

The AAE Summer School, launched in 2006, takes place annually at locations of contributing universities.

Between 2012 and 2016 the operations of the Summer Schools were led by Professor Henry Wissink of UKZN and Professor Stefan Husig of the Chemnitz University of Technology (CUT) in Germany after which UKZN’s Professor Brian McArthur and Mubangizi took over the leadership.

The goals were to intensify cross-institutional relations and set up joint research projects on intercultural and cross-boundary issues.

The AAE Summer School aims to attract students pursuing their bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees who then participate in the Summer School which involves universities such as UKZN, the Chemnitz University of Technology (CUT), the University of the Witwatersrand and the ICN Business School in Nancy, France.

For students, it is an educational journey offering a wide range of diverse and interesting activities including lectures, workshops, case studies, games, site visits, and social events.

Various topics and themes were explored during the programme in Durban, such as Corporate Digital Responsibility presented by Professor Dagmar Gesmann-Nuissi; Innovation and the 4th Industrial Revolution presented by Professor Manoj Maharaj: Microsoft Learning as a Service presented by Professor Zelda Tintinger, who is the senior Solution Specialist Education for Microsoft, and Artisans of Technological Innovation and Sustainability by Professor Stefan Hüsig.

It is through the effective partnerships with international universities, and dedication from the AAE Summer School team comprising, Dr Indira Padayachee (Chair), Mr Taahir Vajeth, Mr Karunagaran Naidoo, Professor Debbie Ellis and Ms Malindi Kunene, that allows UKZN to advance its internationisation goals.

Words: Sibusiso Hlongwa: hlongwas1@ukzn.ac.za

Photograph: Albert Hirasen


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Council Bids Farewell to a “Calm and Steadfast” Leader

Council Bids Farewell to a “Calm and Steadfast” Leader
Scenes from the UKZN Council dinner during which farewells were said to the University’s outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

‘A humble, calm and steadfast leader,’ was how the UKZN Council described the outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, at a dinner held in his honour in Durban.

The intimate occasion, peppered with discussions about happy memories and light-heated banter, was more of a banquet where old friends rejoiced rather than said sad farewells to a highly respected leader who had earned the admiration and respect of his peers during three years at the helm.

‘Goodbyes are never easy,’ said the Rev Dr Vukile Mehana, UKZN’s Chair of Council. ‘I was just getting to know and understand him better, but there comes a time when you can’t stand in the way of someone’s career.’

Mehana said he had worked well with van Jaarsveld who had better acquainted him with the inner workings of the University.

Van Jaarsveld’s strategic outlook, his focus towards the implementation of the University’s transformation agenda as well as his humble nature were three key components which distinguished his leadership, said Mehana. ‘I always experienced you as a gentleman whatever direction the wind blew in. You were always calm and focused which is important in leadership. Thank you for being a good leader. I can only wish you well,’ he said. 

UKZN Central SRC President, Mr Sandile Zondi, said van Jaarsveld resonated with students, helped them and understood the context of the province in which UKZN was situated. ‘We’ve done a lot of bad things to you including causing you to miss your first meeting with the Chancellor but you were never bitter,’ he quipped. ‘You are a man of solutions. You don’t like to deadlock. Other universities are struggling with (students from) quintile 1, 2 and 3 (schools) but we don’t have that problem at UKZN because you helped us deal with it. There was a time when students were struggling with allowances but you never allowed them to go hungry. We thank you Mama van Jaarsveld for lending us your husband. We hope he will in future invest in UKZN once more,’ said Zondi.

Professor Purshottama Reddy, Senior Professor in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, said van Jaarsveld joined the University at a time when staff morale and their participation in the University’s academic and governance structures was low. His ‘open, participatory and democratic leadership style,’ however turned the situation around.

Reddy said among legacies van Jaarsveld was leaving behind was ‘a more contented and motivated staff prepared to take the University to even greater heights'.

‘He is a visionary and there aren’t many vice-chancellors and principals that match his stature, especially in South Africa given the challenges we have in Higher Education. Dr van Jaarsveld placed a very high priority on ensuring a well capacitated and contented staff who deliver on the academic mandate of the University. One of his greatest achievements was unifying the University’s conditions of service and more importantly, ensuring that staff received their performance bonuses and (pay) progression. Staff is disappointed that he’s leaving so soon given the good work he’s done. Nevertheless, we wish him all the best in his career move,’ said Reddy.

Looking back on his tenure at UKZN, van Jaarsveld said he had tried, with his full might, to resuscitate and re-profile the University’s value system, emphasising that shifting the culture of the University had been his chief goal. ‘I tried to be fair in that context and apply it without fear or favour. One thing I’ve learned about the University environment is that academics don’t respond well to a commanding and controlled atmosphere where policies are used as a directive and some sort of decree is declared in terms of what’s required.

‘Academic environments in particular are not like companies,’ said van Jaarsveld. ‘They require a different style, namely engaging with staff by using reason and persuasion. We’ll ensure that we keep the University and academic staff on board if we lean on those weapons going forward. Staff are your biggest asset. Look after them. If you create an environment that's encouraging and nurturing, and allows people to explore and develop their own academic careers, everybody thrives. I have full confidence in my executive team. Everyone is dedicated to their job. Trust in them, believe in them and support them. When you do appoint a VC, I hope you get the best possible candidate who will work in the best interest of this University,’ said van Jaarsveld. 

Words: Sinegugu Ndlovu 

Photographs: Andile Ndlovu


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Masters Research Assistant Hosts Grandparents’ Day at Edendale Home

Masters Research Assistant Hosts Grandparents’ Day at Edendale Home
Ms Mendy Ndlovu at Emuseni Old Age Home delivering care packages and lunch to the residents.

Masters candidate in Agrometeorology and research assistant in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) Ms Mendy Ndlovu celebrated her birthday this year by hosting a grandparents’ day at a local nursing home in Edendale, treating all 60 residents to care packages and a lunch.

Under the auspices of the Mendy-Lisa Foundation she has started, Ndlovu celebrated with the residents of the Emuseni Old Age Home. She says this was made possible by her employment as a research assistant by her supervisors, Dr Alistair Clulow and Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi, which has enabled her to care for her own grandparents as well.

Concerned by high poverty and crime rates in Edendale, and the attendant poor environmental conditions, Ndlovu turned her attention to Emuseni, situated in the middle of this challenging setting. After her first visit as a volunteer with little to give, Ndlovu said the conditions broke her heart, particularly the loneliness of the residents.

‘I knew I had to do something, but when I tried to organise the first grandparents’ day I was broke and was discouraged by people around me,’ said Ndlovu. ‘Not many people care about old people and that saddens me, because I believe that their last days on earth should be really peaceful and stress-free.’

Ndlovu, who was raised by her grandparents and great-grandparents in uMvoti and Mkhambathini, said she grew up with a protective love and concern for older people. She sees herself as a product of her grandparents, and is distressed by societal neglect of the elderly.

Noticing a need for basic toiletries at Emuseni, which is close to where Ndlovu grew up, she established the needs of residents and put together “blessing bags” containing toiletries, as well as socks and scarves to get the residents through winter.

The gifts were met with tears of gratitude. Ndlovu and other volunteers who supported her initiative also served lunch, dessert and drinks, and she said they left the home with a new perspective on life.

‘The old folks there are lonely and always cheer up when there are friendly faces around,’ said Ndlovu, who encouraged younger people to listen to the older generation. ‘They are always waiting to share their life stories with those willing to listen, and it’s amazing.’

Ndlovu aims to make this an annual event and says she believes that in the same way as youth, mothers and fathers are celebrated with dedicated days on the calendar, the elderly should also be granted a “grandparents” day’.

Ndlovu studied Geography for her undergraduate degree and completed her Honours degree in Food Security. Her areas of interest include drought, community resilience and adaptation to climate change, and she aims to balance a career in research with her humanitarian interests.

‘I am aiming for a career that will allow me to help the poor adapt to climate change through strengthening their food (production) systems while protecting the environment.’

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph supplied


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Siyanqoba UKZN Maths Stars Shine at National Competition

Siyanqoba UKZN Maths Stars Shine at National Competition
UKZN Siyanqoba Maths Team members at the SA Mathematics Foundation Annual Mathematics team competition.

Two senior and two junior UKZN’s Siyanqoba Maths teams competed in the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) annual Mathematics team competition. 

The competition involves top Mathematics high school pupils from across the country.

This year, UKZN’s senior A team finished second and the junior A team fifth. More than 90 teams participated, some from countries outside South Africa.

Since 2011, the Siyanqoba programme, which is an outreach programme of the UKZN School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, has assisted high school students in achieving success in the South African Mathematics Olympiads (SAMO). The programme is managed by UKZN’s Emeritus Professor Poobhalan Pillay, who is also the national academic co-ordinator of the Olympiad training programme. 

SAMF also organises the National Mathematics Olympiads in which about 100 000 learners from across the country participate. Brothers Aaron and Jaedon Naidu, were among the top 10 in the country, in the senior and junior divisions respectively. Both have been with UKZN Siyanqoba for several years.

Pillay thanked the various people involved in making the event a success, including the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, the Actuarial Society of South Africa, Casio, the SAMF and lecturers and coaches from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science who had selflessly given up their Saturday mornings to train the 60 odd learners, representing the cream of high school Mathematics learners in greater Durban.

‘I am always so impressed with the amazing work done by Professor Poobhalan Pillay and his team of helpers, congrats to all,’ said Dean and Head of School, Professor Delia North. ‘Through their selfless and enthusiastic efforts, they have inspired so many children to love Mathematics and study further.’

Words: Poobhalan Pillay 


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Umjikelezo We-Science on the Road Again to Promote Science in KZN

Umjikelezo We-Science on the Road Again to Promote Science in KZN
Mr Keletso Makhetha of STEC@UKZN interacting with children at Ubhedu Primary School.

Umjikelezo We-Science, a science outreach collaboration, held its second four-day roadshow during which it visited four schools in rural parts of KwaZulu-Natal to promote studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Facilitators of the show include a team of 26 representatives from the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME), the Durban Natural Science Museum, the Kitchen Chemistry Outreach Project at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, the KZN Science Centre, the Science and Technology Education Centre (STEC) at UKZN and the Unizulu Science Centre.

The team visited Charles Hlengwa High School in Illovo, Albini High School in Ntshongweni, Ubhedu Primary School in Hammarsdale and Banguni Secondary School in Mdlebeni, interacting with more than 1 200 learners.

Activities kicked off with a Sasol/Umjikelezo We-Science/CASME mobile science van handover - the vehicle was sponsored by Sasol and will be used by CASME between outreach projects.

Each organisation conducted busking activities that enabled learners to engage in a hands-on way, and proceedings included a science show.

On the first day, Sasol provided career information for senior learners and on the final day, Nautilus Engineering joined in to give learners an insight into engineering careers. STEC@UKZN provided additional information on entrance requirements into university.

This outreach has been organised for many communities in South Africa, most notably those in rural areas, which do not receive adequate exposure to and support from the science education community because of science awareness spaces such as museums, science centres and non-governmental organisations being based and operating mainly in or around urban environments.

The project’s name is drawn from the isiZulu word Umjikelezo, meaning circle, which is related to a cultural practice of church groups taking their message on the road to communities.

‘By initiating the Umjikilezo We-Science project, the participating organisations aim to bring the museum or science centre to the community,’ said Dr Tanja Reinhardt of STEC@UKZN. ‘The project seeks to bridge the spatial divide and expose learners to science literacy including career choices in STEM, spark their interest and feed their curiosity.’

The team received enthusiastic receptions from schools they visited - the headmistress of Ubhedu Primary said she was ‘over the moon’ to have the team there and expressed her wish that they visit again. The school suffers from a lack of funding, ruling out visits to museums or science centres.

Parents from the governing body at the school and a representative from the local radio station conducted an interview with Reinhardt and Dr Stephen Ashworth of Kitchen Chemistry.

Words:Christine Cuénod

Photograph:Razia Tawakala 


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PhD Candidate Presents Paper at Conference

PhD Candidate Presents Paper at Conference
Mr Emanuel Matlala.

PhD candidate, Mr Emanuel Matlala, attended and presented a paper at the 9th Annual International Conference on Social Sciences (ICSS) 2018.

The conference was held at Fancourt, Western Cape, under the theme: Advancing Inter-disciplinary and Multi-disciplinary studies on Social Sciences. The conference - which brought together a wide audience of academics, policy makers and practitioners around clearly circumscribed topics - focused on disciplines such as information studies, Economics, Business as well as corporate and public governance. More than 161 presenters and invited speakers from all continents attended the gathering.

The conference began with keynote addresses and continued with interactive panel discussions, presentations and briefings. It concluded with a set of presentations of real-world cases describing new and noteworthy initiatives relevant to the conference theme, specifically on global social welfare.

Matlala presented a paper titled:The Role of the Legal Deposit Library in Bridging Digital Divide: A Case study of Bessie Head (Msunduzi) library in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal under the session of Information Systems Themes. Matlala said the conference provided him with valuable learning exposure. ‘I was very pleased with my conference and I learned new solutions and best practice strategies that can be implemented in the organisations. In addition, I gained valuable experience that couldn’t be obtained anywhere else. The networking experience was very beneficial. I was able to speak with several industry experts who provided tips and useful information for my research and academic activities,’ said Matlala.

He thanked his family for making it possible for him to attend the conference by covering all necessary expenses. ‘Also, many thanks should go to my friends for their full support and advice,’ he added.

Words: Motsamayi Mathodi 

Photograph: Supplied


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365 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

365 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
Seminar on 365 days of activism against gender-based violence.

The 365 days of activism against gender-based violence (GBV) seminar took place at the Howard College campus on 30 August 2018.

Professor Suria Govender from the Advice Desk for the Abused was present to direct the proceedings held at the Howard Theatre.

Acting Executive Director of Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo; Dr Gabisile Mkhize from the Advice Desk for the Abused; and Advocate Omashani Naidoo from the National Prosecuting Authority were in attendance.

Zondo paid tribute to late victims of GBV. ‘UKZN condemns all forms of violence against women. Rape and sexual abuse are grave violations of women’s human rights and can never be justified,’ said Zondo. She assured the University community that UKZN will continuously support such gatherings.

Mkhize started her presentation by telling the audience that ‘everyday should be women’s day.’ She encouraged students to utilise the GBV Desk situated on the Westville campus. ‘The GBV Desk is there to provide safe support to students who have been victims. We need everyone in all spheres of life to come together because GBV is not a race, class or sex problem. We are all affected and it is no longer a crisis but an epidemic,’ she said.

Naidoo took the audience on a journey of justice in South Africa. ‘South Africa has one of the best progressive laws that can ensure that justice is served to GBV.’ She further shared information about the Thuthuzela Care Centres; one-stop facilities that have been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy.

For more information about the TCC, go to https://goo.gl/HUy9B4

Words and photographs: Nokubonga Nomasiko Jele 


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UKZN-ASRA Host Mahatma Gandhi Lecture

UKZN-ASRA Host Mahatma Gandhi Lecture
From left: Professor Jannie Smit; Professor Kalpana Hiralal; Profesor Judith Brown; Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize; and Dr Ela Gandhi.

The Association for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa (ASRSA) recently hosted the Gandhi Memorial Lecture at Howard College campus, during its annual congress. It was one of the most informative and intellectually enriching items on their programme for this year.

The Memorial Lecture was delivered by world-renowned Gandhi scholar, Professor Judith M Brown, who is a South Asian History specialist from Oxford University.

Titled, Mahatma Gandhi, 1869 – 1948: Interrogating the Practice of Politics, Brown’s lecture objectified and analysed some of the details of Gandhi’s own interrogation of the politics of his time (early 1890s – 1948). The three main historical contexts or phases of Gandhi’s life; his development of an alternative politics, as well as his alternative political praxis through his notion of satyagraha, through which he put his ideas into practice, were the main focus areas of Brown’s lecture.

Parallel to his critique of the violence and coercive nature of the ‘modern state’, Gandhi opted for a programme to build communities from the ground up through creating ‘small scale self-sustaining and self-determining, rural communities which could resolve their problems through face to face solutions.’

Brown said Gandhi was idiosyncratic, which she said was evident in the ways in which he interrogated the colonising politics in South Africa, and that of late imperial India, throughout his life. It is also evident in the ways in which he creatively constructed relevant political agendas, ideas, ideals, and related actions, events and practices through which he confronted the powers and political challenges of his time.

Not only was he unwavering in his search for truth and his non-violent truth-practices, he was ‘an experimenter with ideas and practices’ as well as ‘a synthesiser willing to learn from anyone whose own ideological struggles spoke to his own concerns.’ Above all, she said, ‘Gandhi was a man with a passionate commitment to understand what truth might be in any given situation and what that truth might demand of him, or her.’

Brown said that, historically, ‘Interrogating the foundations of political thinking and practice among his contemporaries, Gandhi worked to rethink the political enterprise, its goals in India, and the modes of action which would achieve a new society.’

Dr Ela Gandhi, Gandhi Development Trust Founding Chair sincerely thanked Brown for her presentation, especially her analysis of Gandhi Philosophy, of self-reliance, independence, and the promotion of self-sustaining communities founded on agriculture and local small-scale industries. Quoting Brown, she said, that Gandhi’s emphasis on ‘communal unity, removal of untouchability, home industry, prohibition of alcohol and drugs, village health, industry, basic education, gender, and language,’ is indicative of the challenges facing the developing world today, not least South Africa.

In her response, Professor Kalpana Hiralal, UKZN Academic Respondent thanked Brown for her excellent historical analysis of Gandhi’s incisive interrogation of the political formations of his time, both in South Africa, and in India as well as her analysis of his creative engagement of the challenges of his time. She said that it is well-known that Gandhi, like all the South Africans of his time, was still part of the racial and gender historical social formations of his time. Yet, with his satyagraha philosophy, that he developed in South Africa in the 1910s, he paved the way for numerous resistance and liberation movements of the twentieth century, as well as for empowering people for independence, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and self-support.

Mahatma Gandhi’s endeavours served as examples for numerous non-violent activists and movements, such as former President Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr. and the numerous non-violent mass democratic social movements of the twentieth century.

Words: Ndabaonline  

Photograph: Albert Hirasen


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