UKZN Students Contribute to Mental Health Walk Success

UKZN Students Contribute to Mental Health Walk Success
Psychology students who volunteered at the annual Mental Health Advocacy Walk in Durban.

UKZN Psychology students were the main volunteers at the annual Advocacy Walk organised by the KwaZulu-Natal Mental Health Advocacy Group to raise awareness about the neglected issues of mental illnesses and substance abuse and their impact on wellbeing.

More than 700 people participated in the walk which started at the amphitheatre on Durban’s North Beach.

President of the Student Society of Psychology at UKZN Ms Shwetha Singaram said volunteering for the walk was a fulfilling experience.

‘At such a beautiful location, I not only felt Durban’s warm atmosphere but the warmth of its people,’ said Singaram. ‘It was so encouraging to see people from all walks and colours of life coming together to send an important message. I am grateful to the Mental Health Advocacy Group for organising this significant event.’

A specialist psychiatrist and academic leader at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, Dr Suvira Ramlall, said mental illness was a topic shrouded in misconceptions even though ‘it is not unlike other medical disorders and has recognised and effective treatments, such as medication and psychosocial therapies.

‘Mental health is everybody’s business, from the home, schools to tertiary institutions and the workplace, mental health and illness have far reaching and serious implications for the health, economy and success of a nation,’ said Ramlall, who helped initiate this event.

This year’s global theme for World Mental Health Day on October 10 centred on young people in a changing world. A clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Advocacy Group, Mr Suntosh Pillay, said the youth were especially vulnerable to mental health problems in a country like South Africa.

‘Incidents of suicide and depression are increasing among young people, with the situation worsened by poverty, inequality and unemployment. Our larger socio-political situation has direct effects on psychosocial wellbeing and mental health, so it’s our moral duty to be activists in an area that is largely fragmented and consistently side-lined by local, provincial and national government,’ said Pillay.

During the walk to uShaka and back, patients, families, professionals, and the public spread messages of hope carrying placards that called for an end to stigma and silence around mental health, with some urging that vacant public sector posts be filled. The morning included free health screenings, HIV testing, aerobics classes by Virgin Active, and free advice from local organisations, such as Alzheimer’s KZN, Nurture, Alcoholics Anonymous, Advice Desk for the Abused, the Mental Health Review Board, Ikhewzi Welfare Organisation, HIV Addiction Technology Transfer Centre, and the Mum’s Support Network.

Staff from various government hospitals - including Ekuhlengeni, Townhill, RK Khan and King Dinuzulu – were also present.

Lynn Norton, the manager of Durban’s new SADAG office, said the response was inspiring. ‘The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) KZN was a proud partner in this event, and we had almost 100 people sign up at our stall to become volunteers, showing the great interest and need for open dialogue about mental health,’ said Norton.

UKZN alumnus Mr Livashlin Naidoo, who participated in the Walk, said he was ‘proud’ to be there. ‘It was a well co-ordinated and commendable event. I will definitely be there to support any future endeavours to help raise awareness for mental health,’ said Naidoo.

Pillay urged all mental health stakeholders to unite. ‘Once again, this event shows the urgent need for collective action and collaboration. Done entirely on donations and sponsorships, a wide range of corporate and non-profit partners came on board to help out. Together we can do more.’

To get involved, partner, donate, or volunteer, email:

Words: Mental Health Advocacy Group

Photographs supplied

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Humanities Academic Presents Paper at Evolving Minds Conference

Humanities Academic Presents Paper at Evolving Minds Conference
Professor David Spurrett (right) and Professor Daniel Dennett.

Dean and Head of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics Professor David Spurrett presented a paper at the Evolving Minds conference in Darwin, Australia.

The conference was organised to celebrate the work of Philosopher Professor Daniel Dennett who was this year’s recipient of the Charles Darwin Scholar award from the Charles Darwin University. Dennett is the author of influential works including The Intentional Stance (1987), Consciousness Explained (1991), Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1997). His most recent book is titled: From Bacteria to Bach and Back (2017).

The conference focused on themes central to Dennett’s work, including human consciousness and evolutionary biology as well as wider applications of evolutionary thinking to phenomena of mind and culture.

Spurrett’s well-received paper, titled: Affording Affordances, was about how the need to efficiently solve problems of action selection was a constraint on the evolution of minds, especially in organisms with moderately complex bodies.

‘A striking feature of the latest version of Dennett’s “big picture” of the evolution of life and mind is the way that cognition is understood in terms of “affordances”,’ said Spurrett. ‘An affordance is, roughly, a possibility for action given a creature and an environment. Many combinations of creatures and environments will provide more than one simultaneous affordance. In such cases, a reasonable question is: What will the creature actually do?’

A short version of the paper, accompanied by a positive commentary from Dennett, has recently been published in a symposium on Dennett’s new book in the Spanish journal Teorema.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Supplied

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Biological Parents’ Involvement in Informal Kinship Care Examined

Biological Parents’ Involvement in Informal Kinship Care Examined
Visiting American social work academic, Dr Tyreasa Washington, with UKZN staff.

Examining Maternal and Paternal Involvement as Promotive Factors of Competence in African American Children in Informal Kinship Care, was the topic of a lecture presented at UKZN by a social work academic from the University of North Carolina in the United States, Dr Tyreasa Washington.

Addressing social work staff and students, Washington said: ‘Grandparents or other relatives are raising over 2.7 million children in the United States and research suggests that the birth parents of these children maintain varying levels of involvement with them and their relative caregivers. However, the impact of birth parental involvement on children’s developmental outcomes remains largely unexplored.’

She discussed the role of maternal and paternal involvement - each birth parent’s contact with the caregiver, contact with the child, friendliness to the caregiver, and quality of relationship with the child - on competence levels of African American children in informal kinship care. ‘Exploring these relationships is pivotal, especially given the various psychosocial benefits associated with social and academic competence,’ said Washington.

She suggested that paternal involvement in informal kinship care was a significant predictor of competence among African American children, adding: ‘When fathers have more contact with children and caregivers and when the fathers’ relationships with children and caregivers are more positive, then on average children’s competence levels are higher.’

Washington noted that the quality of mothers’ relationship with children was also associated with the children’s increased competence levels.

‘Some kinship caregivers hesitate to involve birth parents with the raising of children due to past negative experiences, such as family conflict or birth parents not showing up for visitation, which subsequently disappoints children,’ explained Washington.

Informal kinship care arrangements normally had no legal restrictions preventing parental involvement. ‘Even when kinship caregivers have private guardianship of the child, parents retain the rights to their children and the right to have contact with their children in most cases,’ says Washington.

Given the inability of most caregivers to restrict all interactions between parents and children, Washington suggests the importance of paternal involvement and the quality of the mother-child relationship on children’s competence. ‘It is clear that social work practitioners should work with informal kinship care families to help facilitate positive interactions among biological parents, caregivers, and children to foster children’s competence,’ she said.

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo 


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Umfundi Ovakashile Osanda Kuthola Iziqu Zobudokotela Uhlabane Ngendondo ye-Rare Diamond Advocacy

Umfundi Ovakashile Osanda Kuthola Iziqu Zobudokotela Uhlabane Ngendondo ye-Rare Diamond Advocacy
UDkt Helen Malherbe, onguchwepheshe emkhakheni wezifo ezingajwayelekile.Click here for English version

Umfundi ovakashile osanda kuthola iziqu zobudokotela eSikoleni SezoKwelapha e-UKZN, uDkt Helen Malherbe, ungowokuqala ngqa ukuwina i-Rare Diamond Award for Advocacy yokufundisa ngezifo ezingajwayelekile eNingizimu Afrika.

U-Malherbe uklonyeliswe ngendondo yakhe umsunguli noMphathi Omkhulu wenhlangano i-Rare Diseases South Africa, uNkk Kelly du Plessis.

Umcimbi wezindondo i-The Rare Diamond Awards wasungulwa ukuze kuhlonishwe ubunyoninco ekuthuthukisweni kwezokunakekelwa ngokwezempilo jikelele, ukwelashwa kanye nokwesekwa okuhlinzekwa yilabo abasebenza futhi abanomthelela omuhle emphakathini wabanezifo ezingajwayelekile eNingizimu Afrika. Kuze kube manje, ayikho indondo efana nalena emkhakheni wezokunakekela ngokwezempilo. Iziphakamiso ziqale ukwamukelwa ziqhamuka ezigulini ezinhlobonhlobo, abanakekeli, osozimboni abakulomkhakha kanye nabanakekeli ngokwezempilo ezigabeni eziyisithupha ezihlukene.

Isigaba se-Rare Diamond in Advocacy sihlonipha abantu abakhombisa ukuzinikela okukhulu ekuqinisekiseni ukuthi izidingo zeziguli ezinezifo ezingajwayelekile zihlala ziseqhulwini kanye futhi nokusebenzela ukwakhiwa kwezinqubomgomo ezisabalalisa ukunakekelwa ngokwezempilo ukuze kulekelele iziguli, okuphetha kuyizwi leziguli.

U-Malherbe uthole indondo ehlonipha ukuzinikela kwakhe ngokusebenzisana ne-NPO i-Genetic Alliance South Africa okusekelwe ucwaningo lwakhe lweziqu zesibili zobudokotela e-UKZN. Ucwaningo lwakhe lugxile ophenyweni olubheke isidingo sosizo lokunakekela nokuvikela izifo ezingama-congenital disorders (CDs) eNingizimu Afrika. Izihloko ezibalulekile zethesisi yakhe yeziqu ze-PhD, eyamukelwa ngo elethu abavivinyi ngaphandle kokulungiswa, zihlanganisa i-epidemiological transition, uhlaka olusebenzayo lwezidingo zolibofuzo, nomthelela wama-CD ekushoneni kwezingane neqhaza labahlengikazi.

Imininingo ehleliwe yakhiqizwa eNingizimu Afrika kusetshenziswa inqolobanemininingo i-Modell Global Database of Birth Defects ukuze kuqagulwe futhi kuklanywe umthamo wezwe wabanama-CDs – futhi lo msebenzi uyaqhubeka njengengxenye yezifundo zeziqu zakhe zesibili zobudokotela lapho esebenzisana ne-University College e-London.

Umeluleki wakhe, uSolwazi Colleen Aldous, uphawule wathi: ‘U-Helen uhole ukwethulwa kabusha kwe-Genetic Alliance South Africa (GA-SA) kuNcwaba 2015 ngenhloso yokuhlanganisa umkhakha wezifo ezingajwayelekile – okuthe noma kunezinhlobonhlobo zezifo - ezibhekana nezinselelo ezifanayo ekufinyeleleni ezinsizeni ezidingekayo nokuzama ukuzuzela amalungu okufanayo. Ukwabelana ngalo mbono, onesisekelo sendlelakwenza enamandla esuselwe ebufakazini, kulekelela lo mphakathi okhishwa inyumbazana ukuthi usebenzisane futhi uthole nokwesekwa okungcono. Intshisekelo ka-Helen mayelana nalezi zifo yaqala emva kokushona kuka-Madeleine, owashona ngenxa ye-Trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome),’ kusho u-Aldous.

U-Malherbe ubethokoze kakhulu ngokuzuza indondo, ‘Ukusebenza kulo mphakathi kube nomthelela omkhulu empilweni yami. Ngokuhlanganisa izifundo zami neqhaza lami le- GA-SA kakhulu ngomuso, ngithemba ukuthi lo msebenzi uzoqhubeka ufinyelele ezingeni elilandelayo. Ngakho ke, ikusasa lisiphathele umsebenzi omningi, onzima!’

Amagama: ngu-MaryAnn Francis 

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Alumnus Donates 13th Cheque Towards Groceries for Deserving Student

Alumnus Donates 13th Cheque Towards Groceries for Deserving Student
Ms Jennifer Sheokarah (third from left) hands over groceries to Mr Simosabo Ntuli, in the presence of her family and DSRA official, Mr Julian King (right).

A UKZN alumnus Ms Jennifer Sheokarah used her first 13th cheque from the school where she is now a teacher to buy groceries for a deserving student in residence.

The fortunate student is Mr Simosabo Ntuli, who is studying for his Bachelor of Education degree on the Edgewood campus. Said Ntuli: ‘This humbles me and I promise to work very hard to complete my degree.'

Sheokarah said campus life had not been easy for her as she received no financial aid or a place in a UKZN residence. A res spot eventually became available and she occupied it for six consecutive years during which time she completed her undergraduate, honours and master’s degrees.

She then moved to Richards Bay to teach English at a secondary school.

There had been huge financial strain on her family at first to keep her at university but her academic excellence paved the way for numerous scholarships over the years which resulted in her further pursuing her studies.

With this background, Sheokarah decided to approach the Department of Student Residence Affairs, where she had worked for a year during her honours degree while tutoring in order to lessen the financial strain on her family, to assist a deserving student with groceries. ‘I strongly believe that one should appreciate and forever remember the challenges especially when one reaches points of success,’ said Sheokarah. ‘It is due to my background and academic and residence experience as a whole that I use my first 13th cheque to buy a student groceries. It is something I just needed to do.'

Mr Julian King of DSRA commended Sheokarah for her generous gesture.

Words: Ndabaonline 

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Nanotechnology at the Core of UKZN’s Research Flagships

Nanotechnology at the Core of UKZN’s Research Flagships
Delegates at the fourth UKZN Nanotechnology Platform Symposium.

Nanotechnology is core to UKZN’s strategic vision as it bridges all four Research Flagships, says Pro Vice-Chancellor for Big Data and Analytics at UKZN, Professor Francesco Petruccione.

Petruccione was speaking at the launch of UKZN’s fourth Nanotechnology Platform Symposium on the Westville campus where his sentiments were echoed by UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath.

Addressing the more than 200 delegates, Ramjugernath said: ‘This Nanotechnology Symposium is core to what we are trying to do with research at UKZN. The pillars of the nanotechnology platform are inter-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary. In adopting this approach it addresses the new strategy of the University, which is to break down traditional discipline research silos.

‘To meet the challenges outlined in our National Development Plan, we need to produce applied research and exploit the intellectual property we produce that leads to commercialisation. This symposium is ahead of its time in terms of the way it has looked at the relevance of its research and the stakeholders who need to be involved,’ said Ramjugernath.

‘I am glad to see we have such a critical mass of interdisciplinary research in nanotechnology at UKZN.’

UKZN’s Nanotechnology Platform Symposium is an annual event that brings together academics and postgraduate students from across the University’s campuses, colleges and disciplines. It provides a platform for researchers to interact on the latest advances and imminent trends in the nanotechnology field. Topics discussed ranged from fundamental nanoscience principles and research, to cutting-edge applications and development of nanotechnologies in various crucial areas such as energy, water, health, environment and advanced communication. 

Two keynote addresses were presented at the symposium. Manager of the Advanced Drug Delivery Platform and Head of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Witwatersrand, Professor Yahya Choonara, spoke on the development of novel nano-archetypes for ovarian cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, and showed how his studies demonstrated that the two nanosystems developed were stable and versatile and could be used separately for the diagnosis (via pH-triggered super-fluorophores) and treatment (via anti-MUC 16 targeting) of ovarian cancer or other cancers associated with a similar tumour microenvironment or aberrant mucin (MUC 16) expression.

Fellow keynote speaker, Dr Kaviyarasu Kasinathan, who is a UNESCO-UNISA Academic Fellow and a member of the Materials Research Group at the iThemba LABS-NRF in Cape Town, presented on current research and future challenges in nanostructured thermoelectric materials, a potentially transformative power generation technology.

The fourth UKZN Nanotechnology Platform Symposium departed from previous years to include a number of postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellow presentations. ‘This symposium is a wonderful opportunity for students to present their findings, gain new perspectives from others, establish new collaborations and exchange ideas and insights,’ said the Head of UKZN’s Nanotechnology Platform, Professor Vincent Nyamori. He encouraged the young scientists present: ‘If you ever think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito or had a small pebble in your shoe!’

Moving forward, Nyamori said the vision was to establish UKZN’s Nanotechnology Platform as a virtual Centre so as to increase collaboration and mentorship.

Words and photograph: Sally Frost 

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Ubusuku Bokufundisa Ngesifo Sengqondo Enyuvesi Yezobudokotela

Ubusuku Bokufundisa Ngesifo Sengqondo Enyuvesi Yezobudokotela
Izitshudeni zase-UKZN Ngobusuku Bokufundisa Ngezifo Zengqondo obebubanjelwe ekhempasini Yekolishi Lezobudokotela.

Click here for the English version

Ukunqoba Isifo Sokhwantalala kwakuyisiqubulo sobusuku Bokufundisa Ngokuphila Ngokwengqondo obebusekhempasini i-Medical School.

Lo mcimbi ubuhanjelwe abamele izinhlangano ezihlukahlukene okuhlanganisa noMkhandlu Wabafundi BaseSikoleni SezokweLapha (MSRC), i-Nazareth Tertiary Student Association, i-Twelve Apostles Student Association, i-Twelve Apostle Church In Christ (TTACCSO), izitshudeni nababeyizitshudeni zasenyuvesi.

Obhekelele Ezokuthuthukiswa Kwabafundi ku-MSRC, uMnu Zimkhitha Ntozakhe, uthe lo umcimbi wenzelwa ukukhuthaza ukufundiswa kwabafundi ngezifo zengqondo kubafundi base-UKZN, ikakhulukazi ingcindezi yengqondo. Kwethenjwa ukuthi ukufundisa okufana nalokhu kungasiza izitshudeni zikwazi ukubhekana kangcono nalokhu okwaziwa njengezingcindezi zekhulunyaka lama-21, phecelezi “stresses of the 21st century”.

USihlalo we-TTACCSO eSikoleni SezokweLapha, uMnu Vusi Shabalala, uqhakambise ukuthi enye yezinto ezibangele ingcindezi ukuzikhipha inyumbazane, yingakho-ke ukuhlangana kwezitshudeni kunganciphisa umthwalo ngendlela ethize.

OwayenguMongameli we-MSRC, uMnu Ahmed Raja, uncome i-TTACCSO ngalo mkhankaso wathi: ‘Kuyancomeka kakhulu ukuba i-TTACCSO ihambe phambili kulo mkhankaso – ngikubona lokhu njengesinyathelo sokuqala esibheke endaweni efanele.’

Umcimbi waqala ngegiya eliphezulu njengoba kwakunezinhlobonhlobo zemidlalo eyayenziwa ngabantu bonke.

Amagama: NguLihle Sosibo

Umfanekiso: Uhlinzekiwe

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Umfundi Weziqu ze-Mastazi Wethula Inkulumo Mayelana Nodlame Ezikoleni Zase-Wentworth Engqungqutheleni EbiseNtaliyane

Umfundi Weziqu ze-Mastazi Wethula Inkulumo Mayelana Nodlame Ezikoleni Zase-Wentworth Engqungqutheleni EbiseNtaliyane
Isitshudeni sase-UKZN, uNksz Xolile Kunene, obekhuluma kunkomfa yomhlaba eNtaliyane.

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Umfundi weziqu zobudokotela Esikoleni Sezesayensi Yokuphila Komphakathi eKolishi Lakwa-Humanities eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali, u-Nksz Xolile Kunene, wethule inkulumo mayelana nodlame ezikoleni zase-Wentworth, eThekwini, ngesikhathi kunenkomfa eNtaliyane.

Ingqungquthela i-International Journal of Arts and Sciences (IJAS) Academic Conference, ebibanjelwe e-British School, e-Rome, neyenzeka njalo ngonyaka eYurophu noma eMelika, inikeze izifundiswa amathuba okwabelana ngocwaningo lwazo ngokusebenzisa izindlela ezihlinzekwa yingqungquthela nokushicilelwa yi-IJAS okuyimibhalo esekwa abomkhakha.

Izifundiswa lezi ziyakwazi ukuthola imibono yabantu ngezingxoxo ezinzulu, ngaleyo ndlela zikwazi ukuthola ukuxhumana nabantu abaqeqeshiwe bakwamanye amazwe nezikhungo. Iphinde yethule izifundiswa ezindaweni zezemfundo ezifanele ukufunda emazweni aphesheya kulezi zinhlelo zokushintshisana ngezitshudeni.

Iphepha likaKunene lisuselwe kuthesisi yakhe yeziqu zemastazi elalinesihloko esithi: Udlame  Ezikoleni Zamabanga  Aphakathi e-Wentworth.

UKunene uthi kwakubalulekile ukuba abelane nezinye izingcithabuchopho mayelana nodlame ezikoleni zaseNingizimu Afrika.

‘Udlame ludinga ukubikwa njengoba luyisehlakalo esiletha imiphumela emibi hhayi kuphela kumuntu oyedwa kepha emphakathini wonke futhi ekugcineni kuthikamezeke izwe lonke. Ngenxa yalokho, isikole ngasinye kufanele sibe nemigudu efanele nezinhlelo ezisebenzayo ezisiza izisulu zikwazi ukubika futhi zizwakalise imibono yazo mayelana nalesi sihlava,’ kusho yena.

Uthole kule nkomfa ukuthi lena akuyona inkinga ebhekene neNingizimu Afrika kuphela njengoba namanye amazwe ebhekene nezinselelo ezifanayo.

‘Sidinga nje ukufunda komunye nomunye mayelana nezinqubo eziphambili ezingasetshenziswa bese sihlinzeka ngezisombululo ezifanele kulezi zinselelo zethu. Asikuthakasele lokho esinakho nesikwazi ukukusebenzisa futhi sikusebenzise ngakho konke okunokwenzeka kungakhathalekile ukuthi kuncane noma kukhulu kangakanani,’ kusho uKunene.

UKunene- ofundela iziqu zakhe ze-PhD- uyi-Principal Programmes Officer  ZesiKole SezeSayensi Yezempilo e-UKZN.

Amagama: NguLihle Sosibo

Umfanekiso: Uhlinzekiwe

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And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are…
From left: Dr Sally Frost, College PR Manager; Ms Sumeshenee Chetty; Ms Nevanya Nydoo and Dr Rudi Kimmie.

Afrihub hosted its second annual Snap @YOUKZN photo competition prize-giving event at the Smart Grid seminar room on the Westville campus.

This competition hoped to stimulate creative perception among UKZN students to develop not only a critical perspective of technology but to also see its aesthetic value. The competition was previously known as Snap@engineering as initially it only targeted Engineering students.

Afrihub Manager Dr Rudi Kimmie said the theme this year was Snap@YOUKZN and the play on the word “YOU” was to align the students with aspirational activities at UKZN and to capture these through photography.

‘Success in the modern world does not only require skills competencies, it also demands creativity, hence the use of the photographic medium,’ said Kimmie. ‘One of the best ways to learn creative skills is through the arts - not to become an artist but to acquire novel ways of thinking, perceiving and doing.’

About 60 students entered with the eventual winners being Ms Hannah Fokkens, Ms Sumeshenee Chetty and Ms Nevanya Nydoo.

Kimmie said future plans were to continue with the aim of using the accessible mobile phone camera as a means to sharpening observation skills and to nurture creativity.

‘The competition was an elementary form to develop perception and creative skills. These are critical skills needed in a world of rapid and complex transformation,’ he added.

Words and photograph: Manqoba Hadebe 

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I-UKZN Ibambe Isifundo SikaMafika Gwala

I-UKZN Ibambe Isifundo SikaMafika Gwala
Amazwibela esifundo saminyaka yonke sikaMafika Gwala.Click here for English version

Umbhali ohlonishwayo oyisifundiswa sase-UKZN esesithathe umhlalaphansi, uDkt Betty Govinden, wethule isifundo saminyaka yonke sesine sikaMafika Gwala ekhempasini i-Howard.

Lesi sifundo ebesihlelwe yiKolishi LezesiNtu libambisene nenhlangano i-South African History Online (SAHO) kanye ne-National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), sibanjwe ngesikhathi esifanayo nesikhumbuzo sonyaka wesine emva kokushona kukaGwala futhi besiyingxenye yohlelo locwaningo oluholwa yi-SAHO oluhlola kabanzi iqhaza lezobuCiko emzabalazweni wokulwisana nobandlululo.

Ngesikhathi sesifundo, uGovinden uhlaziye izinkondlo zikaGwala, ezibeka kokwamaqoqo ngokwendawo, ubuwena, ukuqedwa kwengcindezelo, umlando neqhaza lezinkondlo kanye nezobuCiko bezomzabalazo. Ukuqaphele ukuthi umsebenzi kaGwala uthinta izindawo ezifana nase-Mlaza, Verulam, Sophiatown, District Six nase-Sharpeville.

‘Ngalezi zindawo nezikumele, siyakwazi ukuzimbandakanya nokwakwenzeka empilweni yakulezi zindawo ngenxa yokufana kokwakwenzeka ezindaweni zabamnyama', kusho u-Govinden. ‘Zinemifanekiso enhlobonhlobo enamandla – kungaba ekhombisa ukuhlala ngokuhlukana ngenxa yobandlululo, noma ukubalula izenzo ezihlasimulisa umzimba noma ezobulungiswa zomhlaba,'  kusho u-Govindeni. ‘UGwala ubheka lezi zindawo ngezindlela ezihlukene, uzibeka zicace ngokokuhluka nokuqhudelana kwazo emicabangweni yethu – ezingqondweni zethu, uzibalula ngenxa yezikumele emlandweni wethu, ekhaya naphesheya.’

Enkondlweni ethi Identity, u-Govinden ubeka iphuzu lokuthi uGwala wayeqikelela ukugcizelela ukuthi umuntu akumele alibale ubuntu. ‘Ukubhala kuyindlela yokuveza nokunqaba ukuphika ubuwena. Ukubhala lokhu kukaGwala akukhona ukubukela phansi, "okokunika izwi abangenazwi, noma ukukhulumela abavalwe imilomo". Uyisidlulisimyalezo,’ usho kanje.

U-Govinden uthe u-Gwala wayebhala ephikisana nezokubhalwa kwezinkondlo okwakuyikho okubusayo lapho izinkondlo ezimayelana nokucweba, zikhuthaza, zingakhulumi ngezinkinga ezinkulu zempilo. ‘U-Gwala uthinta ukuqonda okuhlukile ngezinkondlo – izinkondlo zomzabalazo, izinkondlo zokulwa, izinkondlo zokungcolo, zenhlupheko nokuntuleka kobulungiswa okusizungezile,' usho kanje.

U-Govinden ukhuthaze ukwenziwa kocwaningo nokushicilelwa nokwaziswa kwabantu ngoGwala njengombhali waseThekwini, eKZN, eNingizimu Afrika, nasezwenikazi lase-Afrika. ‘Ngifisa ukugqugquzela ukufundwa kwezinkondlo nokubanjwa kwemihlangano yokucobelelana ngolwazi ngemibhalo yakhe. Lokhu kumele kube okwabafundi nothisha banoma yimiphi imikhakha. Sidinga ukusabalalisa ukuqonda kwethu ukuthi ukufunda nokufundisa emakhempasini ethu kuchaza ukuthini,’ kusho u-Govinden.

Amagama: ngu-Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Simon Gazu

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Meet UKZN's New Enactus Exco

Meet UKZN's New Enactus Exco
Enactus UKZN Executive members during their leadership training with Enactus South Africa.

The 2018/19 executive committee of UKZN’s Enactus team was appointed recently.

Enactus is the world’s largest experiential learning platform dedicated to creating a better world while developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. The Enactus network is made of students, academic leaders and business leaders who use entrepreneurship as a tool to empower communities.

Members of the new Enactus UKZN executive are:

•   Siphesihle Sekeleni - Executive President

•   Cecil Luthuli - General Secretary

•   Siphephelo Mdluli - Head of Finance

•   Muhle Ndwalane - Head of Publicity and Marketing

•   Hlengiwe Mabaso - Head of Research and Development

•   Mpendulo Mbambo - Deputy President: Edgewood Campus

•   Lusanda Sokhela - Deputy President: Howard College Campus

•   Nolwazi Mbuyazi - Deputy President: Pietermaritzburg Campus

•   Nomqhele JD Dube - Deputy President: Westville Campus

Exco members, whose term of office expires on 31 August next year, attended an intensive two-day executive leadership training workshop, hosted by Enactus South Africa, sponsored by Harmony Gold, Rich’s and Pick ’n Pay.

Since the UKZN team relaunched last year it has made significant progress and crafted a Vision 2021 Strategic approach which promotes a forward-thinking mindset within the team. The current leadership is fully committed on taking the team forward.

 For more info visit: | |

You can like and follow Enactus on social media: Facebook: Enactus-UKZN | Twitter: @EnactusUKZN | Instagram: @enactusukzn

* The Enactus programme operates in 36 countries at more than 1 730 universities with over 72 000 active students, dedicating 7.3 million hours and impacting over 1.3 million people each year.

Words: Muhle Ndwalane 

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SA Health Below World Benchmark, Says Renowned UKZN Scientist

SA Health Below World Benchmark, Says Renowned UKZN Scientist
Professor Salim Abdool Karim delivered a lecture on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus on health in South Africa.

South Africa’s health outcomes are still well below the international benchmark despite good policies and a relatively high health expenditure, says renowned clinical infectious diseases Epidemiologist and Director of CAPRISA, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

Delivering a public lecture on Health in South Africa, Abdool Karim - also the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University - examined the trends, challenges and opportunities in South Africa.

He cited the high burden of disease, the quadruple colliding epidemics (maternal, new-born and child health), HIV/AIDS and TCV, non-communicable diseases, violence and injury, and a failure to deliver as contributing factors to the health challenges in the country. Challenges also included racial disparities and the inequitable distribution of healthcare provision to the haves and the have-nots.

Giving an example of how some of these problems can be solved, Abdool Karim outlined achievements South Africa was making in the fields of HIV/AIDS and TB.

CAPRISA is currently working on making broadly neutralising antibodies from a South African woman and trials will be done next year to see whether this antibody can protect young women ‘because young women bear the brunt of the HIV infection in South Africa. This could change the way the epidemic is spread in Africa,’ he said.

Abdool Karim, who also serves as CAPRISA’s Professor of Global Health at Columbia University in the United States, said UKZN was best placed to tackle the challenges and to make an impact on healthcare in South Africa.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

Photograph by Albert Hirasen


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Business Leaders Urged to Gear-up for Fourth Industrial Revolution

Business Leaders Urged to Gear-up for Fourth Industrial Revolution
Nedbank Managing Executive, Mr David Schwegmann (second left), with GSB&L and Nedbank staff.

What are leaders doing now to equip themselves with skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

That was the question posed by banking industry expert Dr David Schwegmann at the recent business lecture hosted by the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) in partnership with Nedbank.

The lecture themed: Harnessing Leadership Competencies to Ride the Wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution was part of an annual series facilitated by GSB&L’s Adjunct lecturer Dr Abdulla Kader and delivered by Schwegmann, who is a UKZN alumnus and now Managing Executive of Nedbank’s retail branch network in South Africa.

This collaboration between the business school and industry is part of the GSB&L’s ongoing strategy of ensuring that its staff and students have insights into business challenges, processes, best practices and other similar critical issues.

‘As leaders, we more often than not interact with people face to face, but in the fourth industrial revolution and the digital world shift, the interaction will be virtual and that is a skill that cannot be taught,’ said Schwegmann. ‘Leadership competencies for the future require an ability to connect at home, work and in our societies, and to embrace the culture of agile work, hyper collaboration and digital acumen. These are the realities of the digital world that we are moving further into.’

To illustrate his point about practical leadership transformation, Schwegmann drew from the wealth of experience he has accrued from his role which consists of managing a network of 468 Nedbank branches across South Africa. He incorporated insights from case studies consisting of research conducted by the bank when they restructured their retail and relationship banking section and how they implemented John Kotter’s eight steps of change model to normalise the transition.

‘One of the key things leaders require for the fourth Industrial Revolution is to appreciate that interconnectedness is important. This is why I am sharing with you our change story because I believe that of the various leadership competencies, change is going to be the most important leadership trait required if leaders are to survive the fourth industrial revolution,’ said Schwegmann.

During question and answer time MCom Graduate, Mr Sthembiso Mbambo raised the topical question of how forums such as these can be less instructive and more developmental. Instead of answering, Schwegmann challenged Mbambo to be part of the solution by looking at ways of collaboration and engaging with mentorship programmes that will translate theory into practice.

GSB&L’s Associate Professor Kriben Pillay said platforms such as the lecture were critical in driving engagement around the School, providing a relevant curriculum for the world’s future business leaders.

‘Tertiary education institutions all over the world are questioning the curriculum of management education,’ said Pillay. ‘This is a result of a revolution taking place in all domains of life as we struggle with an unravelling that is becoming increasingly complex and tumultuous. As a business school, we are aware of the changes brought about by the digital revolution and are committed to ensuring that our curriculum changes with it.’

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga 

Photograph: Sakhile Fatyi

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Addressing Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights

Addressing Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights
Highlights of the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Seminar.

The Student Services Division of UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme in partnership with the Section 27 Catalyst for Social Justice hosted a Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights seminar on the Medical School campus.

The seminar was themed: Advancing Transformation: Sexual Reproductive Health Rights for All.

Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim delivered the keynote address in which she spoke about HIV in young women in Africa and the recent scientific advances in the fight against the disease.

Abdool Karim examined the roles genital herpes and age disparate relationships play in HIV infections. She said having genital herpes increased the chance of getting HIV/AIDS.

Executive Director of Student Services Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula underscored the importance of respecting the rights of others. She said ‘despite our extensive rights we still, in the way that we interact with others, always violate the rights of others.’

She said it was ‘mind-blowing’ that atrocities were committed and cautioned against a ‘silo mentality’ in tackling issues on campuses. 

The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Co-ordinator, Mx Nomonde Magantolo, emphasised the importance of advocating for primary prevention saying key role players included ‘students themselves, leadership, parents and government.’

Magantolo outlined the services available on campus, including pap smears and ARVs; and requested that anyone wanting to contribute could drop off sanitary towels at the Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit (CHASU).

Highlights from the seminar included a session on menstrual cups by Ms Bongiwe Zulu of DREAMS; a Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) study by CAPRISA researcher Dr Leila Mansoor, and a session on Gender and Sexual dynamics.

Key participants in the seminar included academics, researchers, practitioners, representatives from government departments and civil society, and students.

Words and photographs: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

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Best Paper Award for UKZN Academic

Best Paper Award for UKZN Academic
From left: Professor Theuns Pelser, Dr MacDonald Kanyangale and Dr Bibi Chummun.

Professor Theuns Pelser of UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) won the award for the best paper presented at the 12th International Business Conference in Mauritius.

The conference, co-hosted by several South African business schools, aims to provide an international platform for the presentation, discussion and debate of different academic and professional approaches and research on recent developments in an ever-turbulent business and political arena.

It is also designed to provide an opportunity for academics, practitioners and postgraduate students to have their work validated and benchmarked within the academic and professional community.

The conference received 199 full-length competitive papers and 55 work-in-progress papers. The nominated best papers were adjudicated by external reviewers who included international academics. 

Pelser’s winning paper - one of three he presented at the conference - was titled: An Organisational Alignment Framework to Improve South African Mining Companies.

Said Pelser: ‘It was a real honour and surprise for me to receive the overall winner award. The organisers jokingly said that I must defend my title next year. I will surely take them up on their challenge and hopefully more UKZN academics will participate at this intellectual stimulating conference.

Other UKZN academics at the conference included Dr MacDonald Kanyangale who presented a paper titled: Seven Snags of Research Ethics on the Qualitative Research Voyage.

Kanyangale was also a co-author with GSB&L students Mr Cosmas Anayochukwu Nwankwo and Mrs Nobuhle Dyasi of papers titled: Deconstructing Entrepreneurial Marketing Dimensions in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Nigeria - Literature Analysis and Misaligned Implementation; and A Case of the Municipal Water Services of a District Municipality in South Africa.

GSB&L staff member Dr Bibi Chummun co-authored and presented a paper titled: Factors that Influence Environmental Performance in the Waste Management Industry in KwaZulu-Natal. Her co-author was Mr Kyle Gaffar.

For more information on the conference visit:

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga 

Photographs: Supplied

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UKZN Architecture Students Win at PG Bison Competition

UKZN Architecture Students Win at PG Bison Competition
From left: Mr Oudish Appadoo, Ms Fathima Bibi Mula and Mr Navan Padayachee.

Three third-year Architecture students, Ms Fathima Bibi Mula, Mr Navan Padayachee and Mr Oudish Appadoo, dominated in the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative in which students across the country were tasked with devising a plan to redevelop the historic Johannesburg Gas Works building.

The students formed part of 10 finalists out of over 110 submissions from 28 local Architecture and Interior Design schools in the country.

Padayachee scooped first place, winning a trip to Milan, Italy, for his design that incorporated the new thinking behind a modern city and converting it into a beacon that encourages community interaction, historic architectural preservation, environmental awareness and healthy living. He is thrilled to have won; earning him his first trip overseas. ‘The initiative gives students more recognition for the good work that they produce. This is a big boost. Not only do students get excited about this competition, they push themselves further when it comes to these projects,’ he said.

The three students are passionate about art and their chosen profession. Said Padayachee, ‘I wanted to be involved in the construction field, yet I also wanted to incorporate my artistic talents and explore this further so I turned to architecture as I felt that this was a combination of both. In this field, I get to turn visions into reality and not many people have this opportunity in their respective fields.’

Speaking about his love for architecture, Mauritian Appadoo said, ‘The most beautiful aspect of architecture as a profession is how the industry embraces the individuality of each person. Of course, designing buildings is in itself a fulfilling creative pursuit but even beyond that, you are allowed, and in fact encouraged, to have a style which can manifest beyond your work.’

Mula, on the hand, added, ‘I’m always fascinated with the way different cultures express themselves in different ways and how that relates to the built form. Art, history - along with architecture, are definitely my go-to before anything else.’

Their lecturer and Academic Leader for Architecture, Mr Lawrence Ogunsanya, is proud of them and the hard work they put in. ‘This win, amongst other winnings from other students in the department, validates the hard work and vision as an academic leader and by academic staff. It shows that the department of Architecture at UKZN is a notable and reputable School with a rich heritage to study architecture because our students have been winning local and international design competitions for the past two years,’ he said.

Words: Melissa Mungroo 

Photographs supplied by PG Bison

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Youth Encouraged to Participate in Agriculture

Youth Encouraged to Participate in Agriculture
Participants at the Reflections Workshop.

The uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) - which UKZN is a partner in - recently hosted the Reflections Workshop for young folk in Swayimane, Wartburg.

The URP is led by the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (uMDM) in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES).

Its goal is to build the resilience of small-scale farmers in the uMDM to climate change.

The workshop was conducted in partnership with the Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) project, which aims to address linkages between agriculture, the environment and health.

It was hoped the workshop would enable the project team and stakeholders to actively engage and reflect in a discussion with the youth on project objectives, to reinstate the role of youths in the project, identify current youth goals and aspirations within the project scope, and develop a way forward so that project activities are more responsive to youth needs.

Mr Manelisi Ndaba of the uMDM welcomed guests and acknowledged the youth for taking initiative in agriculture and being active members of the project.

‘The workshop is a good opportunity for us to get to know the project team and share with them what we want to learn in agriculture,’ said one of the youth group members.

The project offers accredited training in business development and understanding of climate change. Mr Lindokuhle Khanyile of the uMDM, who is responsible for conducting the training sessions under Component 4 of the URP, highlighted the importance of ensuring that community members received training on approaches they could use to deal with the effects of climate change.

Project Co-ordinator Mr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi of SAEES concentrated his discussion on asking the youth to reflect on three questions: how they perceive agriculture, what they think their role in agriculture is, and what they need assistance with?

‘As the project team, our role is to ensure that we provide the necessary support for you to realise your dreams and aspirations within agriculture,’ said Mabhaudhi.

The workshop concluded with a discussion summarising the list of aspirations from the youth groups, the various kinds of training the URP can offer to address their needs, and a plan for encouraging continuous engagement and review of progress.

Words: Wendy Geza 

Photograph supplied by Wendy Geza

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KRISP Preparing Next Generation Scientists

KRISP Preparing Next Generation Scientists
Participants receiving practical training in a state-of-the-art science lab at KRISP.

UKZN’s KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovations and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) in collaboration with Thermofisher Scientific held a one-day Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) training session for Grade 11 pupils and students on basic Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

Participants were briefed on the basics of PCR and also extracted DNA and created thousands of copies of genes using Thermo Scientific™ Direct PCR kits designed to deliver ultimate convenience by allowing PCR directly from crude samples.

 As part of UKZN STEM Education, the training is designed to encourage participants to follow science careers as well as lay a foundation for individuals starting careers in genomics.

The first training session was conducted in July this year and due to the overwhelming response, KRISP conducted the second session earlier this month.

During training learners experienced working in a state-of-the art science laboratory with qualified scientists.

‘I was excited to see the full involvement of these future scientists,’ said Ms Gugu Mkhize, who co-ordinated the training.

Mkhize said they had received the following note from one of the participants, Ms Nikisha Naicker:

‘Dear Gugu, I would like to thank you for letting me be a part of the PCR programme. I learnt a lot and I am more motivated than ever to pursue a career in the molecular biology field. I would love to attend future training programmes as I had a lot of fun learning about PCR and DNA isolation. This training programme has inspired me and has given me a better sense of the different possibilities around me.’

- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a technique used in molecular biology to amplify a segment of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence. Since discovery decades ago, PCR triggered many valuable developments in several medical disciplines for example in disease diagnostics it allows crucial observations for organism detection.

Words and photographs: KRISP

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