UKZN “Sassy Catwalk” Graduate Stars in TV Advert

UKZN “Sassy Catwalk” Graduate Stars in TV Advert
Ms Chrysantha Alicia Palan whose "sassy catwalk" on the UKZN graduation stage catapulted her to social media fame. Seen below is a still from the TV advert in which she features.

UKZN Honours graduate, Ms Chrysantha Alicia Palan, who shot to social media fame with her sassy graduation catwalk now features in an advert for one of the top banks in South Africa.

The flamboyant Palan is in the “Get the Start you Deserve” advert on all social media platforms and television. In the advert, Palan walks off the graduation stage after being capped by UKZN Chancellor, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, and straight into a new vehicle, financed by the bank.

‘After my video got over a million views online, I was getting calls and messages from different people who were very excited and wishing me well. I got an e-mail from an advertising agency and they told me they liked my charisma and they wanted to do this advert with me which is a finance campaign for new graduates. It sounded like a very good deal and I was in,’ said Palan.

She is currently an editorial intern at Independent Media where she ‘moonlighted’ as one of the Sunday Tribune newspaper’s fashion police at this year’s Vodacom Durban July.

Palan, who is currently doing her Master of Arts degree, said although her life had been a bit hectic this year, she had learned to take things step-by-step.

She plans to do her PhD in the future, adding, ‘I want to merge creativity with academia.’

Palan cannot wait for her next graduation and she hopes to serve as an inspiration. ‘Good things don’t just come on a silver platter. You have to work for them,’ she said.

The advert can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4r0r5vra9E

 Words: Nkululeko Mbatha

Photographs: Supplied


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Uthisha Wezenhlalakahle Ukhethwe NjengeSekela-Mongameli we-Cape Mental Health

Uthisha Wezenhlalakahle Ukhethwe NjengeSekela-Mongameli we-Cape Mental Health
uSolwazi Johannes John-Langba, ISekela-Mongameli we-Cape Mental Health. Click here for English Version

Uthisha Wezenhlalakahle, uSolwazi Johannes John-Langba, ukhethwe njengeSekela-Mongameli we-Cape Mental Health (i-CMH), okuyinhlangano endala emphakathini yabaphila ngokwengqondo eNingizimu Afrika.

I-CMH ithuthukisa ukuphila ngokwengqondo nezinhlelo eziningi zezinhlangano kanye namaphrojekthi asiza abantu ukuba bakwazi ukulungisa ukukhubazeka kwabo, bajwayele indlela yokuphila emndenini nasemphakathini, bakwazi nokuthola amakhono abawadingayo okubhekana nesimo ukuze bafinyelele ezingeni elikhulu lokuzimela.

‘Lolu khetho lisho kukhulu kumina njengoSonhlalakahle, uthisha kanye nomcwaningi wezinsizakalo zokuphila ngokwengqondo. Ngiyakholwa kube ngenxa yokuqaphela, ukuzinikela kwami ku-CMH njengelunga lebhodi nenxusa lokuphila ngokwengqondo, kanye nokuzinikela kwami ekuthuthukiseni okuphila ngokwengqondo kuzwekazi lase Afrika emnyakeni engaphezulu kweyishumi,’ kusho uJohn-Langba owakhethwa ngesikhathi inhlangano ibambe Umhlangano Jikelele Wonyaka we-105.

UJohn-Langba wazibandakanya ne-CMH ngenxa yothando lwakhe kwezempilo yengqondo yabantu, yemindeni nemiphakathi empofu kanye nelimele. NjengeSekela-Mongameli, uzonikeza ubuholi kwezobuchwepheshe namasu kuMqondisi Olawulayo wenhlangano kanye nebhodi labaqondisi be-CMH, kanye nokuba iphini aphinde asekele uMongameli wenhlangano.

‘Indima yami njenge Sekela-Mongameli kanye neNxusa Lokuphila Ngokwengqondo le-CMH kuhlangana kahle kakhulu nesikhundla sami njengo Mholi Wothisha Kusifundo Sezenhlalakahle eSikoleni Sezifundo Ngenhlalosintu Elandelwayo e-UKZN. Lihambisana nempokophelo yeSikolo yokuthuthukisa imfundo yezakhamuzi, ucwaningo olusha kanye nokusebenza Kwezenhlalakahle eNingizimu Afrika ekufuneni ukuthuthukisa ukusebenza kwengqondo kanye nokuthuthukisa abantu, imindeni, amaqembu, izinhlangano kanye nemiphakathi ukuze kuqinisekiswe ukuthula, amalungelo abantu, ubulungiswa kwezenhlalo kanye nokulingana kwabobonke abantu abasezingeni endaweni, kusifunda, kuzwelonke kanye nakumazwe ngamazwe,’ esho.    

UJohn-Langba une-PhD (Kwezenhlalakahle) kanye neziqu zeMastazi Kwezempilo Yomphakathi (Ukuziphatha kanye Nokuphila Komphakathi) eNyuvesi yase-Pittsburgh (e-United States) kanye neziqu ze-Mastazi Kwezenhlalakahle eNyuvesi i-Howard (e-United States). Usevakashiswe kaningi wathola nemiklomelo eminingi.

UJohn-Langba usanda kuba Uthisha Ovakashile we-Erasmus Mundus eNyuvesi i-Erasmus e-Netherlands. Uthando lwakhe kwezocwaningo lufaka ukusebenza ngokuphila ngokwengqondo.

Amagama: uMelissa Mungroo

Isithombe: uNkululeko Walter Mbatha

 


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Moot Court Competition Winner Pleasantly Surprised by Victory

Moot Court Competition Winner Pleasantly Surprised by Victory
Ms Sanelisiwe Shangase (bottom picture), winner of the 47th Ellie Newman Memorial Moot Court Competition. Also pictured are finalists and judges of the KZN High Court Division.

Ms Sanelisiwe Shangase, winner of the 47th Ellie Newman Memorial Moot Court Competition, was pleasantly surprised to be the victor of the competition.

This is a flagship moot court competition of the School of Law that is aimed at familiarising LLB students with various aspects of litigation and courtroom procedure. Four finalists Mr Aston Gevers, Mr Neville Naidoo, Ms Preshanta Poonan and Ms Sanelisiwe Shangase argued two cases before three judges of the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court namely the Honourable Mr Justice Gregory Kruger and the Honourable Madam Justices Yvonne Mbatha and Jacqueline Henriques.

On her achievement, Shangase said: ‘When I was presented with the case as a finalist, it was overwhelming but I made sure I researched everything thoroughly.’ Shangase plans to combine her Law degree with Commerce because she believes there is a gap in this field. ‘It is my dream to have a business consultation company,’ she said.

Commenting on the quality of the presentation by the four finalists the Honourable Mr Justice Kruger commended UKZN Law academics for sharpening the students’ research and advocacy skills which are essential skills for individuals who are on the verge of joining the legal fraternity.

Other UKZN Law students have participated in various Moot Competitions including the 27th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition which was held in Ghana and the 9th Annual Child Law Moot Court Competition of the Centre for Child Law hosted by the University of Pretoria.

The Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, said the Moot Court procedure was an important part of legal education and thanked the Moot Competition Advisory committee and Functions committee for their inputs towards making the event a success.

Words: Norma Jele and Hazel Langa 


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Uthisha Uthola Umklomelo Wokuzinikela Kwezokuphepha Zobuchwepheshe

Uthisha Uthola Umklomelo Wokuzinikela Kwezokuphepha Zobuchwepheshe
uDkt Brett van Niekerk.Click here for English version

UDkt Brett van Niekerk, uthisha weSikole Sezibalo, Izibalomidanti Nezifundo Zekhompyutha (i-SMSCS), uthole umklomelo ngomsebenzi wakhe kwezokuphepha kwezobuchwepheshe kuzikhungo zaseNingizimu Afrika ze-Information Systems Audit and Control Association (i-ISACA).

I-ISACA inhlangano yochwepheshe bamazwe ngamazwe engenzi inzuzo egxile ekuhloleni ezobuchwepheshe; ukulawulwa kwezobuchwepheshe, ingozi nokuvumelana; ukuphepha kolwazi kanye nokuphepha kwezobuchwepheshe. Le nhlangano enamalungu angaphezulu kwama-140 000 emazweni angama-180, ihola iphinde ilawule izinye izindlela zokuqinisekisa ubuchwepheshe okufaka Umphathi Wezokuphepha koLwazi Oqinisekisiwe, Umhloli Oqinisekisiwe Ohlola eZobuchwepheshe kanye Nomsebenzi Wezokuphepha Kwezobuchwepheshe.

Isikhungo saseNingizimu Africa, esikhulu kunazo zonke e-Africa esinamalungu angaphezu kwezi-2200, saqalisa uhlelo lemiklomelo ukubonga amalungu abo ngokuzimisela kanye nokusebenza kwabo. Imiklomelo ifaka:

U-van Niekerk uthole Umklomelo Wokuzinikela wonyaka wezi-2018 ngomsebenzi wakhe kwezokuphepha kwezobuchwepheshe okufaka ucwaningo lwakhe kanye nokuzibandakanya nokuthuthukiswa kwamazinga kumazwe ngamazwe; ukusebenza kwakhe njengelunga lezinhlangano zasekhaya kanye nezakwamanye amazwe; nokuba umhleli omukhulu ohlanganyele ku-International Journal of Cyber Warfare and Terrorism, kanye nokuphumelela ngesikhathi esasebenza embonini. Ugunyaziwe ngokwe-CISM, wathola imaki lesithathu elikhulu eNingizimu Afrika kusivivinyo sangoZibandlela ngonyaka wezi-2014.

‘Kuyinjabulo ukuthola lo mklomelo. Kuqinisekisa ucwaningo kanye nomsebenzi engangikade ngiwenza eminyakeni edlule futhi kuqinisekisa ukubakhona kwemfundiso enhle emphakathi wezobuchwepheshe,’ esho.

U-van Niekerk wayeHlonishwa njengoMcwaningi Ovakashile e-UKZN kusukela kuNtulikazi wangonyaka wezi-2014 kuya kusikhathi aba yingxenye yeSayensi Yezobuchwepheshe ngokugcwele kuZibandlela wangonyaka wezi-2017. Okwamanje ufundisa ngezokuphepha kohleloxhumana kwasebeneziqu ze-Honours kanye nezifundo zonyaka wokuqala kanye nowesibili.

Amagama: i-Ndabaonline

Isithombe: Kubongwa i-ISACA South Africa


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Master’s Student Publishes Anthology of Award Winning Poems

Master’s Student Publishes Anthology of Award Winning Poems
Windows of a Woman’s Mind: a collection of award-winning poetry.

Award-winning author and UKZN Master’s student, Ms Fiona Khan, has published a “proudly and unapologetically feminine” anthology of her award-winning poems.

Recently launched by Mongwadi Publishers, the collection titled: Windows for Woman’s Mind, is reflective of Khan’s catharsis and encourages women, men and children to reflect on women’s multifaceted roles, talents, emotions, senses and feelings. She says the anthology is a great banner for the #MeToo and #StandUp campaigns. These campaigns are platforms for raising awareness on gender based violence and domestic violence. The #MeToo and TotalShutDown campaigns were lauded worldwide for raising the alarm on sexual harassment and intimidation in the workplace and the abuse of sexual favors to further women’s careers. South African women recently held rallies in various provinces to raise awareness against gender based violence, domestic violence, child abuse and femicide.

Khan is an internationally published, award-winning author and poet. She has written many children’s books, a novel and short stories printed in literary magazines globally. She has also worked in curriculum development. Notably, the first HIV/AIDS book for children - fully illustrated and inclusive of emotional intelligence published for the first time in South Africa - was written by Khan. It was launched by the UKZN School of Nursing in 2001. Her achievements and accolades are numerous. Her contribution to literature and literacy in South Africa is unprecedented. She is the founder and Director of the Global Forum 4 Literacy which for the first time, and as the only project for Durban as the UNESCO City of Literature, was presented at the UNESCO World Conference in Poland. The Global Forum 4 Literacy and the Traveling Books Project provides digital and mobile literacies and digital downloads for free in as many languages as possible. 

Words: Ndabaonline 


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End the Horrific Scourge of Human Trafficking Now!

End the Horrific Scourge of Human Trafficking Now!
UKZN’s College of Health Sciences recently spoke out against human trafficking by hosting a discussion on the scourge.

‘Slavery is a reality in our lifetime. Let us join hands to ensure this crime ends!’

This was the sentiment of Mr Thami Ntimbane, Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre’s (UCEC) Youth Co-ordinator, who was invited to educate staff and students at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences.

Ntimbane who said 27 million people were victims of human trafficking, with 13 million of those being children. These statistics only reflect reported cases.

Hidden in plain sight, human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. Shocking crimes include and involve child abductions, forced prostitution, forced labour, forced marriages, organ theft, the selling of babies, forced child beggars as well as boat trafficking. The scourge is so vast that well-coordinated syndicates - including senior members of societies, members of the police force, religious figures, executives and many others of high stature - exist globally.

‘Prior to 2015, there were no laws against human trafficking. Thankfully, we now have laws in place but the incidents continue to increase,’ said UCEC’s Ms Lynne Peters. Peters said the dark web - a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that exist on an encrypted network and cannot be found by using traditional search engines or visited by using traditional browsers - is the platform used for the trade of humans. ‘Children are groomed to have sex through the dark web. There was a case of a six-year-old who became famous on the dark web after being groomed by his own parents,’ said Peters.

Ntimbane said in South Africa, laws made it illegal to open a child’s coffin that is flown from one city to another as often bodies of babies are slit, organs removed and drugs are placed inside the cadaver. Babies are also used as drug mules.

The audience was horrified to hear that a girl can be sold as many as 20 times a day for sexual purposes. When she gets older, she is sold as a maid before parts of her body are sold and she is finally killed often by groups who practice human sacrifice.

‘The unfortunate aspect of human trafficking is that often the victim forms a bond with the kidnappers. A sick sense of belonging and bonding occurs after you are raped, abused, loved then raped, abused and loved again and so the cycle continues until they break your mind,’ said Peters. She told the audience about houses in Johannesburg that are referred to as “Lolly” houses where girls from the age of eight are kept naked. The girls eventually believe that to remain naked and be raped is the norm. Visitors to these houses are often senior members of society.

South Africa is one of the most vulnerable countries for human trafficking. Other areas where the practice is a problem are South Asia, Central America, Africa, Mexico, China and Vietnam. The former Soviet Union is the largest source of trafficking for prostitution and the sex industry. ‘In South Africa, a common target is a “yellow bone”,’ said Ntimbane. A “yellow bone” is a slang term used to describe someone who is light skinned. ‘There is a huge market involving people with a specific taste for “yellow bone” children,’ added Ntimbane.

Unfortunately, there is only a 67% rehabilitation rate for victims. UCEC called for more awareness on the scourge as well as keeping an eye on young people. ‘Have a safe password that you share with your children so they can alert you when in a crisis. Support organisations that fight human trafficking, address the poverty factor that motivates trafficking in the first place and keep this number available 080 0222 777,’ said the organisation.

The College of Health Sciences encourages everyone to support the Human Trafficking walk scheduled for Saturday, 6 October at 8h30 at the Blue Lagoon on Durban’s beachfront. (www.ucec.org.za)

Words: MaryAnn Francis 


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Five-Day Course Increases Excellence in Biostatistics Capacity in SA

Five-Day Course Increases Excellence in Biostatistics Capacity in SA
Participants at the Quantitative Monitoring and Evaluation of Health Trials short course on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The Discipline of Statistics in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) hosted a five-day biostatistics short course on the Pietermaritzburg campus on the topic: Quantitative Monitoring and Evaluation of Health Trials.

Organisers of the event were the SMSCS; Department of Biostatistics and McGoldrick Professional Development Program in Public Health at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health (HSPH); Africa Academy for Public HealthDeveloping Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science Africa (DELTAS) as well as the sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics (SSACAB) training programme.

The workshop fell under the Africa Research Implementation Science and Education (ARISE) Network, a capacity building initiative comprising eight African countries in which HSPH is a supervisory organising partner.

Academic Leader of Research in the SMSCS, Professor Henry Mwambi, opened the workshop and welcomed delegates to the short course.

‘The goal is to be relevant,’ said Mwambi, ‘and this workshop is doing exactly that because you will see the link between the theory of statistics and real application that is trying to evaluate programmes within interventions for disease. It is the ideal programme for enhancing excellence in biostatistics in the region.’

The 34 participants came from a diverse range of institutions across Africa, including CAPRISA, various disciplines within UKZN, Human Sciences Research CouncilAIDS Healthcare FoundationNational University of Science and Technology (NUST) Zimbabwe, Al-Neelain University in Sudan and Stellenbosch University.

Mwambi said this course is important in meeting the SSACAB’s objectives of increasing excellence in biostatistics in South Africa.

Dr Sarah Anoke, Scientific Director of the McGoldrick Professional Development Program, and Ms Jesca Batidzirai, a Statistics lecturer and PhD Fellow at UKZN, delivered the training which comprised course material developed by Professors Marcello Pagano and Bethany Hedt-Gauthier and utilised in HSPH graduate courses. This was the fifth in a series of these courses offered throughout Africa this year by Anoke.

‘We have noticed a real need for this material in applied fields,’ said Anoke, explaining that the value of the course is in participants’ learning of statistical intuition and developing a sense of judgement about how to approach problems.

‘It’s about operationalising goals and having judgement around knowing what to measure and how to measure it to aid decision-making,’ said Anoke. ‘We also focus on the importance of communicating statistical information clearly to laypersons, giving interpretations and explanations.’

The programme was rich in content, enabling participants to cover a considerable amount of material. One outcome is that UKZN will henceforth be able to repeat the material in other short courses.

Six UKZN facilitators assisted Anoke, namely SMSCS lecturers Batidzirai and Ms Danielle Roberts; Statistics PhD candidates Mr Innocent Mboya and Mr Robert Keli; and PhD graduates Dr Elphas Okango and Dr Omololu Aluko.

Participants progressed considerably during the week and expressed interest in integrating the material at their institutions. UKZN and the HSPH aim to continue collaborating to make UKZN a hub for excellence in biostatistics training.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Swastika Maney 


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Durban Hitmaker Takes Up Postgraduate Studies at UKZN

Durban Hitmaker Takes Up Postgraduate Studies at UKZN
UKZN student and afro-house singer, Holly Rey.

Durban afro-house singer Holly Wasserfall - who performs under the name of Holly Rey - is thrilled to be studying at UKZN.

The Deeper hitmaker- who has a BA degree from the University - is doing her Honours at the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS).

Deeper- a house track amplified by uncomplicated vocals which have become her signature style- is currently play-listed on some of the country’s top radio stations.

‘I have been an artist from a very young age,’ said Wasserfall. ‘I signed my first deal when I was only 14 and took my music career seriously after that.’

She says her schedule has become hectic meaning, leading her to juggle between studies and music. ‘I manage my time well and usually get everything scheduled and done.’

Offering advice to young people, Wasserfall said, ‘Nothing beats being authentic, staying true to yourself and to what you believe in.’

Her music is available for download on various online platforms. She can be contacted on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) with the handle Holly Rey.

 Words: Nkululeko Mbatha

Photograph: Supplied


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Overseas PhD Scholarship for Environmental Sciences Graduate

Overseas PhD Scholarship for Environmental Sciences Graduate
Ms Ntombifuthi Nzimande who will conduct her PhD studies in Hungary.

Environmental Sciences Master’s graduate, Ms Ntombifuthi Nzimande, has been awarded a Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship through the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), enabling her to conduct her PhD studies at a Hungarian public university.

A day after graduating with her Master’s degree in September for her study on mapping the spatial distribution of the Yellowwood Tree (Podocarpus Henkelii) in the Weza-Ngele forests using a new generation sensor, Nzimande jetted off to Hungary where she will undertake her PhD studies at the University of Szeged. After completing the coursework component, her PhD research will involve social impact assessment policies in Hungary.

The scholarship programme, arranged between the Hungarian government and DHET, includes fee exemption, medical insurance, accommodation contribution, monthly stipend and allowance for travel expenses.

After a lengthy application process, Nzimande was selected as one of the 100 recipients from a pool of 400 South African applicants and 6 000 international applicants. She said she was honoured to be selected and encouraged other students to actively seek out scholarship opportunities.

‘As a young Black female from South Africa, I hope to gain exposure to research the different environmental management methods that work for Hungary and other European countries which will give me international relations experience and exposure to assist in improving our National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) to achieve optimal results that have both environmental and social benefits,’ she said.

Her interest in environmental management was sparked by her belief that social impact assessments should form a legal component of NEMA so that society’s concerns regarding the economic, social and cultural impacts of developments such as housing projects are reflected.

Nzimande, who completed her Bachelor of Social Sciences and Honours in Geography and Environmental Management at UKZN, says her studies grounded her passion for social issues and their impact on the environment. She enjoyed her time at UKZN, particularly being able to work as a postgraduate student to support herself after relying on her sisters during her undergraduate studies.

While at UKZN, she received a Talent Excellence and Equity Acceleration Scholarship and was involved in the Golden Key International Honour Society, the Campus HIV/AIDS Support Unit, Community Development Association as well as the Black Management Forum. She was also an academic mentor, demonstrator, supplemental instruction leader and residence assistant, and attended the Activate! leadership training for change drivers.

Nzimande plans to enter an academic career in science education, research and teaching where she will apply her enthusiasm and experience for environmental management.

She thanked staff at UKZN who played an important role in her development, including the cleaning and clinic staff, Risk Management Services and the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, especially Ms Mbali Gumbi, Ms Cynthia Bhebhe, Ms Sibongile Khuzwayo and Ms Tamlyn Skye. She acknowledged the Campus Church for its spiritual support and thanked staff and students in Geography for their assistance and support.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Ntombifuthi Nzimande 


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UKZN Academic Presents Paper at Maritime Economics Conference

UKZN Academic Presents Paper at Maritime Economics Conference
At the Maritime Conference are Dr Mihalis Chasomeris (right) and Mr Bruno Moeremans of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

Dr Mihalis Chasomeris of UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership, presented a paper at the Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) in Mombasa, Kenya.

The paper, which Chasomeris co-authored with Mr Chris Lotter of the Ports Regulator of South Africa, was titled: Valuing Long Term Regulated Port Assets: Proposing a Framework.

Themed: Sustainable Maritime, Port and Logistics Industries in Emerging Economies: Towards a Path of Blue Growth, this was the first time the IAME conference was hosted in Africa. The conference attracted more than 270 participants.

The paper by Chasomeris and Lotter examines three main approaches to port infrastructure asset valuation: Financial Capital Maintenance, the Physical Capital Maintenance and the Economic Capital Maintenance.

The authors propose an asset evaluation framework, making the finding that ‘the inherent long term nature of port infrastructure assets and the low rate of replacement thereof make a strong argument for a methodology based on the principle of Financial Capital Maintenance, but that record keeping and other structural impediments impacting on the accounting records of long lived assets may warrant a more direct approach.’

The Chair of the panel on African Port Development, Dr Alexandre Lavissière, invited Chasomeris to present and discuss port developments in southern Africa. Chasomeris also reviewed papers as a member of the International Scientific Steering Committee.

Next year, the IAME conference will be held in Athens, Greece. Chasomeris encourages all staff and students with an interest in maritime and port studies to consider joining IAME and attend the conference.

For more information, go to: https://www.mar-economists.org/

 Words: Ndabaonline 


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Women Empowerment Workshop a Success

Women Empowerment Workshop a Success
Humanities students at a women empowerment workshop.

Students from the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) on the UKZN Howard College campus attended the first women empowerment workshop supported by the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) grant.

The workshop encouraged students to focus on their studies irrespective of issues related to gender that they might encounter on campus.

The College of Humanities Student Support Services and the Writing Place also participated offering their services to students.

The School’s Academic Development Officer, Mr Nicoshe Ramdhani, said the workshop was held to ‘create awareness and alert students about the support that can be found on campus, especially with regards to gender-based issues.’

Among the speakers were academic, Dr Christina Masondo, who spoke about the power and essence of a woman, while Ms Candice McCain from Student Support Services enlightened students about services they offer such as counselling and career guidance.

Two writing sessions were organised by the Writing Place during which students were assessed on the essays they wrote. This was done to help hone their writing skills.

At the close of the workshop, five speakers shared their success stories to show students that challenges can be overcome, thus leading to success.

The aim of the seminar was to empower students to conquer challenges they were facing.

‘Most of the stories shared were from the heart and it is exciting to see how it impacted on students especially as they are now aware of the support they have. I would like to see this workshop grow every year,’ said Ramdhani.

Words and photograph: Nkululeko Mbatha 


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Swiss/SA Big Data Workshop at UKZN

Swiss/SA Big Data Workshop at UKZN
Professor Kavilan Moodley and Dr Martin Kunz, the Principal Investigators for the Swiss/South African Joint Research Programme.

Scientists and astronomers from Switzerland and South Africa recently discussed Astronomy Big Data were at a bilateral workshop which unpacked how challenging astronomy problems involving Big Data could be solved using Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Big Data refers to the study and applications of data-sets that are so big and complex that traditional data-processing software are rendered ineffective. The key challenge surrounding Big Data is to turn it into information and knowledge that has commercial value, brings scientific and technological advances or has a broader impact on society.

The workshop was a part of the Swiss/South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP), a collaborative platform in astronomy to address the scientific Big Data challenge faced by pathfinder telescopes to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) such as UKZN’s HIRAX (Hydrogen Intensity Mapping and Real-time Analysis Experiment), MeerKAT (Meer Karoo Array Telescope), the BINGO (BAO from Integrated Neutral Gas Observations) telescope, and the DES (Dark Energy Survey) telescope.

The Principal Investigators for the projects in the SSAJRP - Professor Kavilan Moodley of UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research and Dr Martin Kunz of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) - have extensive expertise in the required methods and techniques and are well placed to make significant contributions to the project.

The Swiss-South African collaboration entails scientists developing methodologies and tools to build a framework to solve the challenges they face. Developing this framework and associated methodologies will result in cutting-edge discoveries in fundamental science that will benefit other fields of science using Big Data such as geospatial sciences and climate science as well as a variety of industries.

The workshop comprised two days of information exchange and discussions about the plan for the projects and how they fit into the overall collaborative project. Some of the topics covered by the speakers featured 21cm cosmology, next-generation modelling for connecting HI (atomic hydrogen) to dark matter, data challenges relating to the HIRAX telescope, quantum machine learning and data processing in cosmology using the examples of Planck and Euclid.

The proposed workflow that was discussed incorporates a number of different aspects of the Big Data challenge, including a data acquisition layer which is proposed to validate the measured data through calibration and high-end instrument model calibration. The data measurement process also involves pre-processing and sampling of the large pathfinder datasets. These techniques will ensure a high fidelity of data and a model to test for systematic effects in the data measurement process. The data analysis layer involves theoretical modelling that involves mathematical and computational techniques. Machine learning techniques will extract significant value from the large pathfinder datasets and offer the promise of new scientific discoveries.

‘This bilateral project between South Africa and Switzerland represents a great opportunity for both countries to profit from each other in terms of experience, knowledge and access to astronomical data,’ said Kunz. ‘I should add that every visit to South Africa, like on the occasion of this workshop, is a pleasure thanks to the warm and kind hospitality that is unfailingly extended to us.’

‘The workshop was extremely productive and resulted in knowledge sharing and collaborative plans to guide various projects. The Swiss-South African collaboration will create high-impact outcomes that will address astronomy big data challenges,’ added Moodley.

Words: Bavani Naidoo 


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UKZN Hosts Visiting Research Molecular Biologist

UKZN Hosts Visiting Research Molecular Biologist
UKZN students and staff at the Molecular Breeding of Soybean Seminar.

Dr Kristin Bilyeu, a research molecular biologist from the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS) Plant Genetics Research Unit at the University of Missouri specialising in molecular breeding of soybean recently visited UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus to present a seminar on her work.

The seminar - which targeted postgraduate students and staff in Plant Breeding disciplines and programmes - was arranged by the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI). More than 20 master’s and PhD students and staff from the ACCI and the Improved Masters in Cultivar Development in Africa (IMCDA) programme attended the event.

ACCI’s Professor Hussein Shimelis thanked Bilyeu for visiting UKZN and sharing her knowledge and experience with staff and students. He highlighted opportunities for collaboration. ‘The goal is to make plant breeding more efficient so that it can deliver improved varieties of soybean in a short period of time, paying attention to biotic and abiotic stress tolerance and improved quality,’ said Shimelis.

He noted Bilyeu’s valuable field and laboratory research and highlighted that shared aims were to develop improved varieties for increased food supply in the United States and developing countries.

Bilyeu’s presentation involved the production of soybean - a legume domesticated in East Asia and now common worldwide - which is one of the USA’s major crops cultivated for vegetable oil and high protein animal feed production. She spoke about soybean as being part of a food solution since it is high yielding and adapted to many production environments. Her research, she explained, had been focused on creating a more functional soybean oil and improving the energy derived from the meal product. She has also begun to explore the expansion of soybean adaptation for high yield in more environments.

Bilyeu explained her research process and objectives to give delegates insight into how she conducted her work. Examples of her efforts include the discovery of the high oleic acid soybean oil trait, the high-energy meal trait, and the combination of those traits into soybeans adapted to all major US soybean production environments using molecular breeding. ‘I hope I have showed you some of what molecular biology can do; that there’s a way that molecular biology can bridge that gap between basic and applied research. We can respond to challenges. We can create those tools, create the knowledge, create germplasm and assist people to utilise those things so that they can do better at what they need to do, and ultimately, that’s creating a safe and nutritious food supply for everyone,’ she said.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Swastika Maney 


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info4africa Launches eThekwini Civil Society Directory

info4africa Launches eThekwini Civil Society Directory
From left: Mrs Debbie Heustice; eThekwini AIDS Council Civil Society Chairperson, Pastor Siyabonga Nzimande; Mr Eric Aplegren, eThekwini Municipality and iTrump ABM Manager, Mr Hoosen Moolla.

The eThekwini Health and Wellbeing Support Services Directory has been launched by info4africa - a self-funded centre in UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences - in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality.

‘In line with Durban’s vision to be the “warmest and most caring place to be”, the Directory will help increase the visibility of health and wellbeing support services in our City and enable greater connection and collaboration between organisations working in eThekwini,’ said info4africa Director, Mrs Debbie Heustice.

The Directory contains more than 1 300 health, wellbeing and socio-economic development service providers working in the eThekwini Municipality. Contact information is provided for each organisation, details of the services they provide to vulnerable groups and other stakeholders, and a list of suitable shelters providing accommodation to the homeless, street children and unemployed adults in eThekwini’s inner city.

The Directory is funded by the eThekwini Municipality through the iTrump Area Based Management (ABM) Area. Delegates from all sectors attending the Civil Society Summit received a copy of the Directory to aid their ongoing Sector work in the Metro.

Download your copy from the eThekwini website at: http://www.durban.gov.za/Documents/HWDirectory2018.pdf

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Supplied


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UKZN Academic in ICTM Study Group on African Musics

UKZN Academic in ICTM Study Group on African Musics
Highlights from the 2nd International Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on African Musics.

African Music and Dance senior lecturer, Dr Patricia Opondo, attended the 2nd International Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music’s (ICTM) Study Group on African Musics (SGAM) held at the University of Ghana.

ICTM is a scholarly organisation which aims to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music and dance of all countries. 

The theme of this year’s symposium was African Music Scholarship in the 21st Century: Challenges and Directions. Subthemes were African and afro-diasporic collaborations and exchanges; representations on the francophone presence in African music scholarship; music education philosophies, pedagogies of African music; interdisciplinarity and African music historiographies in critical perspective and new analytical approaches to contemporary African art music traditions.

During the symposium, Opondo served several roles as Chair of the Executive Committee; a key member of the Programme Committee; provided a history of the ICTM Study Group on African Musics during the Opening Ceremony; and also chaired the Cross[con]-Currents and Movers of Musical Innovationsymposium panel.

Opondo has been an active member of ICTM since 1999 and served in leadership positions as Chair of SGAM since 2009. ‘It is wonderful, looking back over the years, and seeing the growth of African Music Scholarship in the world body,’ she said.

In her capacity as Executive Board member, she facilitated UKZN hosting the 40th ICTM World Conference in 2009. In that year, the idea was mooted to create a study group whose focus would be on African Musics. This led to a symposium in 2015 hosted by UKZN.

‘We spread the meetings throughout Africa in order to give local communities an opportunity to engage in the study group. It is wonderful that we were able to take the 2nd Study Group Symposium to Ghana this year. The Symposium attracted leading researchers as well as postgraduate students whose research areas extended over 19 African countries.’

‘As I serve my final term as Chair, I am pleased that ICTM-SGAM provides wonderful networking and a platform for collaborative research on Scholarship in African Music and Dance. I look forward to the next Symposium hosted by the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in 2020. Through this engagement, I hope UKZN’s African Music and Dance programme can establish new linkages that extend through West and East Africa,’ said Opondo.

Opondo plans to continue with her research on African Musics while actively participating in both SGAM and the larger biannual ICTM World Conferences including the 45th ICTM World Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2019.

Participating in the past symposia has given Opondo access to research that ‘doesn’t always make it into publications as well as meeting researchers with whom she now works with in collaborative projects as well as attracting strong postgraduate students to UKZN.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photographs: Supplied


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UKZN Shines at International Coastal Clean-Up Day

UKZN Shines at International Coastal Clean-Up Day
Participants at International Coastal Clean-Up Day at the Durban Harbour.

Life Sciences doctoral candidate and environmental activist, Ms Refilwe Mofokeng, organised a clean-up at the Durban Harbour, with the support of the School of Life Sciences and African Marine Solutions (AMSOL), as part of the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day.

A highlight of the day was the participation of children from Girls and Boys Town (GBT), a residence for vulnerable children.

UKZN postgraduate students in Marine Biology, under the supervision of Dr David Glassom and Professor Ursula Scharler, took part and guided the children in a task that involved them presenting their ideas about how to save and preserve the marine environment. AMSOL provided the children who participated with closed shoes, toys and meals on the day.

The day’s clean-up activities involved separation of waste into plastic, paper and other litter; with the team collecting more than 100 bags. Mofokeng said that as usual, plastic made up the bulk of the litter.

‘Thank you again for this amazing experience,’ said Ms Anna-Marie Horsefield of GBT. ‘We spent some time with the girls and it was wonderful to hear them recap and speak about their plans to make a difference in this world.’

Mofokeng thanked AMSOL for their support and also the UKZN Dean and Head of the School of Life Sciences, Professor Ademola Olaniran, for his support in providing transport for students from the Pietermaritzburg campus to enable them to participate.

The event was preceded by a visit to GBT in Glenwood where Mofokeng and Marine Biology Master’s candidate Ms Amy Shurety gave presentations about environmental health and marine biodiversity and inspired children to think about how threats to the environment such as pollution could be tackled.

Olaniran supported the presentation at GBT by providing stationery and artwork to help in the presentations.

The Natal Sharks Board was also at the presentation to do a shark dissection.

‘It was an excellent presentation and the children were captivated by it all,’ said GBT staff in a statement thanking the presenters.

These are not the first events for Mofokeng and her team this year. In June, the team held a successful recycling awareness drive on the UKZN Westville campus and a Durban Harbour clean up to coincide with World Oceans Day. These events are held under the auspices of the Refilwe Matlotlo non-profit organisation known as Refilwe Matlotlo #GetInvolved established by Mofokeng to help educate people about environmental conservation and litter reduction. The clean-up events also measure the effects of pollution on marine life, assists with school food gardens and gives motivational talks.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photographs: Kaya Ngwenya


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UKZN London Alumni Event a Success

UKZN London Alumni Event a Success
UKZN UK-based alumni gathered in London.

About 100 guests attended the annual function of the UKZN Alumnus Association in Europe at South Africa House in London.

Mr Bruno van Dyk, Chair of the Association, welcomed guests and introduced UKZN alumnus and “body language guru”, Dr Peter Collett; President and Chair of Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi, and UKZN Foundation Executive Director, Professor Anesh Singh who were speakers at the event.

Collett, a London-based psychologist, TV personality and body language expert, spoke on: Mandela and His Smile: How to Read Politicians from their Body Language. He explored Mandela’s personal appeal and examined the vital role that aspects of behaviour such as facial expression, posture, gesture and tone of voice play in domestic and international politics.

Presenting clips from his TV programmes, Collett showed that while some non-verbal signals are deliberate, others are unintentional and therefore more revealing. He said in politicians’ attempts to come across as powerful and approachable, it was often their body language that determined whether they succeeded or failed.

In his address, Sibisi stressed the need for graduates to “give-back” to their alma mater and updated the gathering on recent developments at UKZN.

Singh spoke about the role of the UKZN Foundation and encouraged donations to the University.

South African canapés and drinks were served after the talks. Guests were able to network and interact with fellow graduates.

UKZN’s Acting Executive Director of Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo, and Alumni Relations Manager, Mr Finn Christensen, were on hand to meet guests and answer questions about the University.

A lucky draw was held with winners receiving UKZN specific gifts while packs with the latest University information and mementos were distributed.

 Words: Finn Christensen 


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Celebrating Teaching Excellence

Celebrating Teaching Excellence
From left: Dr Saul Cobbing, Dr Sooraj Baijnath, Professor Sinegugu Duma, Professor Shenuka Singh and Dr Andile Khathi.

The College of Health Sciences’ (CHS) Teaching and Learning Office held its inaugural Teaching and Learning Symposium set to become an annual event on the College’s academic calendar.

Held under the theme: Implementation of the Graduate Core Competencies Framework for Undergraduate Students Towards Curriculum Transformation in the College of Health Sciences, the symposium assessed best practice in the application of the seven graduate core competencies.

In 2014, the CHS Teaching and Learning Task Team - in collaboration with representatives from the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Health, stakeholders and community representatives - developed the Graduate Core Competencies Framework. The Framework presents seven core competencies that are a common baseline for all graduates from the health sciences programmes in the CHS, namely healthcare practitioner, scholar, professional, health advocate, leader and manager, communicator and collaborator. The competencies are developed in the practice environment ensuring cultural sensitivity, resilience, accessibility, flexibility, resourcefulness, reflectiveness, creativity, reflexivity and integrity.

In her presentation, Professor Busisiwe Ncama, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS, recognised the importance of discourse in teaching. ‘In 2018, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has called for all South Africans to “Be the Legacy”, this means using your talents and skills in a way “that dismantles the unequal structures of power and protects the most vulnerable” wherever you are stationed in life. Let’s take up the baton as CHS academics and health professionals to make South Africa a better country to live in for all her children.’

The Dean of CHS Teaching and Learning, Professor Sinegugu Duma, commented on the reason for introducing the symposium. ‘This day signifies CHS’s commitment to curriculum transformation and the identification of synergies for promotion of inter-professional education and practice in all our undergraduate programmes. It is also a time for us to celebrate excellent teachers in our College through our excellent teacher awards,’ she said.

Staff in the CHS had the opportunity to nominate colleagues for recognition under the following categories:

Professor Shenuka Singh scooped the prize in Category 1, Dr Saul Cobbing in Category 2, and Dr Andile Khathi and Dr Sooraj Baijnath in Category 3.

All four winners received prizes from sponsors of the event including the Durban ICC, Hilton Hotel, Gooderson Leisure, Bidvest Car Rental as well as City Lodge. The University’s Capacity Development programme, which was also the main sponsor of the event, provided R10 000 in prize money.

Words: MaryAnn Francis 


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Life Sciences Career Day Highlights Job Opportunities

Life Sciences Career Day Highlights Job Opportunities
School of Life Sciences final-year and postgraduate students interact with exhibitors at the career fair.

The School of Life Sciences hosted a career day for final-year and postgraduate students on the Pietermaritzburg campus with alumni providing the students with insight into where their careers could take them.

Academic Leader of Biotechnology in Pietermaritzburg, Professor Carola Niesler, welcomed guests to the event, saying that both undergraduate and postgraduate students would find the event useful in planning for their future jobs. More than 260 students attended the event.

Dean and Head of the School, Professor Ademola Olaniran, opened proceedings; giving an overview of the School and acknowledging the presence of staff, invited speakers and students who had made the time to attend.

‘It is an exciting occasion, especially because of the number of students and speakers. The School wants to bring potential employers to you (students) and keep you well-informed. The School is promoting excellence in teaching and learning through this kind of forum and we want to challenge ourselves to produce graduates that contribute by getting industry input,’ said Olaniran.

Students heard from Mr Nthuthuko Mkhize of the Agricultural Research Council; Mr Mcebo Mkhize of Umgeni Water; Mr Yusuf Jugmohan of Lasec; Dr Dawn Stephens of the Technology Innovation Agency; Dr Nick Walker of ONEBIO business accelerator; Ms Kaveesha Naicker of the South African National Biodiversity Institute; Mr Duncan Hay of the Institute of Natural Resources; Mr Zethembe Shazi of the SMME funding vehicle Valigap (Pty) Ltd; Ms Megan Gemmell of Clockwork Brewhouse; and Ms Ayanda Gumede and Ms Varsha Poorun of South African Breweries. Each presenter gave an overview of the opportunities available at their organisations and advised students to be self-motivated, determined and to continue learning throughout their careers.

Dr Charles Hunter, microbiology lecturer and member of the organising committee, said he enjoyed Shazi’s “no-holds barred” presentation, with its take-home message that emotional intelligence is as important as intellect in pursuit of a career.

Master’s candidates in Biochemistry, Mr Andile Langa and Mr Ntethelelo Sibisi, said the event was informative, eye-opening and helpful.

Words: Christine Cuénod 


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Built Environment Students Score in Centenary Building Courtyard Design

Built Environment Students Score in Centenary Building Courtyard Design
Synergies between Built Environment and Engineering bears fruit!

Howard College’s iconic Centenary building will be receiving a much-needed facelift within the next few months.

This, according to Mr Muzi Khumalo, Director: Infrastructure, Planning and Projects, is part of a campus wide initiative to invigorate social and learning spaces.

In a novel approach to tap into University talent and encourage applied learning, Dr Rudi Kimmie, AfriHub Manager, facilitated a learning project within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies whereby students were given the brief to conceptualise a design. The high quality of work produced under guidance of academics, Dr Silvia Bodei and Mr Viloshin Govender, was incorporated into the final design. 

In recognition of the students’ efforts, Khumalo provided a generous R10 000 grant to the School of Built Environment and Development Studies to advance their teaching and learning efforts.

The Centenary Building renovation project will commence in mid-October 2018 and is expected to conclude by February 2019.

Words: Rudi Kimmie 


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