R9m Boost to Big Data Research Flagship Project

R9m Boost to Big Data Research Flagship Project
Principal Investigators on the Flagship project (from left) Professor Kavilan Moodley, Professor Maheshvari Naidu and Professor Onisimo Mutanga.

UKZN has invested just over R9 million to kickstart the Big Data for Science and Society (BDSS) Flagship Project – one of three such projects to receive financial backing from the programme.

The Research Flagship Programme concentrates on four broad areas: Social Cohesion, African Health, Big Data and Informatics, and African Cities of the Future.

UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Deresh Ramjugernath emphasised the purpose of the Flagship Programme was to ‘promote research that has socio-economic impact and relevance to society and UKZN stakeholders, with the emphasis being on projects which are impactful, implementable and spur economic growth and social upliftment.’

The BDSS Project will support this mission through multi-disciplinary, cross-flagship, and cross-college collaboration in big data research that will have a significant scientific and social impact. The benefits of the cross-disciplinary approach include leveraging big data expertise to advance University-wide big data research projects in disciplines where large datasets currently exist, but are not being fully exploited.

Three Principal Investigators (PIs) will lead the flagship project. They are Professor Kavilan Moodley – Astrophysics; Professor Maheshvari Naidu - Geospatial Humanities, and Professor Onisimo Mutanga – Earth Observation. In addition, the project has a number of Co-Investigators (Co-Is) from the fields of computer science and computer engineering, physics, statistics, psychology, management and information systems, and information and communication services.

The BDSS team comprises members from three Colleges: the College of Law and Management Studies, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, and the College of Humanities.

The project will deploy interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary data driven techniques that will blur the boundaries between disciplines resulting in scientific and societal benefits spanning a wide variety of topics ranging from dark energy, to climate change and urbanisation, to mobility and migration.

Professor in Anthropology, Academic Leader of Research in the School of Social Sciences at UKZN and PI on the BDSS project, Professor Maheshvari Naidu, highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the BDSS Flagship project. ‘This particular Flagship Project cements meaningful collaboration among a wide spectrum of disciplines. It’s particularly exciting for aspects of what can be described as computational social sciences,’ said Naidu.

‘One of the initiatives will be to work with colleagues from Physics and Computer Science to explore machine learning (ML) tools in the context of social science narrative data. The aim is to work towards a model that is adapted to heterogeneous and unstructured social science textual data. This kind of work will in turn, allow social scientists to probe social science issues on a scale not imaginable in the past in the context of ML, Geographic Information System (GIS) and data mining,’ she said.

Innovative research in the BDSS flagship project will include:

? Utilisation of big data from key Astrophysics telescope projects, such as the Hydrogen Intensity and Real Time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, and the Meer - Karoo Array telescope (MeerKAT) to develop big data pipelines, which will allow scientists to perform cutting-edge science in the topics of dark energy and fast radio bursts

? Extraction and analysis of big data from Earth Observation sources to conduct invasive species mapping in the context of climate change for better understanding of the ecological impacts of invasive species and the overall impacts of climate change

? Curation and analysis of big data from Geo-Spatial Humanities to map spatial patterns and human mobility through GIS

? Utilisation of large datasets from Twitter to develop new and expand on existing ML sentiment algorithms that will provide insights into social enactments, raced, and gendered relations

? Development of domain-specific ML and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques and algorithms that are tailor-made to discover patterns in data sets, intelligent data mining, and quantum computing techniques for big data analysis

? Utilisation of statistical clustering and data mining techniques for big data analysis including spatial clustering and data mining methods that will create a cohesive ‘picture’ that can be used to investigate selected social science phenomenon

Associate Professor in Astrophysics at UKZN, HIRAX PI and PI on the project, Professor Kavilan Moodley, extolled the benefits of this substantial project. ‘The BDSS flagship project will support big data research in a number of high-profile astronomy projects that seek to uncover the secrets of the universe. New techniques developed for these projects will also be applied to big datasets in other disciplines, resulting in important scientific and societal advances,’ said Moodley.

The scientific and socio-economic impact of this research will be magnified through collaboration with a strategic group of partners who will enable project sustainability and broaden the impact of programme outputs. These partnerships and key links include national government organisations such as the National Research Foundation, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and South African National Parks. These organisations will support big data research in a multitude of topics and disciplines such as radio astronomy, biodiversity, land use planning and management, and wildlife management.

There will also be partnerships with local government through shared collaborative centres that will promote human capital development through big data innovations and technology spin-offs into industry. BDSS will also work with a number of multi-disciplinary research centres including the Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research, the Astrophysics Research Centre, and the UKZN-based Andrew Mellon funded Spatial Humanities Project. These research centres provide data processing, ML, and AI expertise and linkages with governments and end users.

Finally, the project boasts a growing number of international partners that currently span nine institutions in six different countries.

Professor in Ecological Remote Sensing and GIS at UKZN, the SA Research Chairs’ Initiative Chair in Land use Planning and Management and project PI, Professor Onisimo Mutanga, said: ‘The 4th industrial revolution big data research direction opens up avenues to integrating remote sensing data, advanced climate information, crop/agro hydrological models and machine learning tools for early warning systems on environmental perturbations. This makes informed decisions on climate risk and adaptive land use management.’

In addition to the societal and scientific impacts resulting from the research itself, the flagship’s projects are also geared at developing local staff and students. BDSS will focus on equity and gender transformation of students, postdoctoral fellows and senior researchers, and support the funding of additional postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to work together across disciplines and with the project’s many external partners. This cross-disciplinary co-supervision and collaboration model will promote skills development in both big data techniques and their application across disciplines. The training of transdisciplinary PhD-level students and postdoctoral fellows will have a long-term impact on society by boosting student entrepreneurship, increasing job growth and raising the local and national gross domestic product.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer and Carolyn Crichton

Photographs: Supplied

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Criminology Lecturer Appointed Editor of CRIMSA Newsletter

Criminology Lecturer Appointed Editor of CRIMSA Newsletter
Ms Vuyelwa Maweni, Criminology lecturer who has been appointed CRIMSA Newsletter Editor.

Criminology lecturer Ms Vuyelwa Maweni of the School of Applied Human Sciences has been appointed Editor of the Criminological Society of South Africa (CRIMSA) Newsletter.

The publication provides members with the latest research findings, professional issues and statistical information in the field of criminal justice.

Maweni says the appointment is both a humbling and significant milestone in her academic journey. ‘I would like to express immense gratitude to the entire CRIMSA organisation for entrusting me with this magnificent position. Getting to work with CRIMSA’s seasoned and emerging academics will surely be an exciting and motivating experience in my life. I am very enthusiastic and cannot wait to get the ball rolling,’ she said.

Maweni has been a CRIMSA member for several years and is part of the Editorial Team on the DHET accredited journal ACTA Criminologica. ‘The previous Newsletter Editor first nominated me and thereafter I was unanimously elected by the CRIMSA EXCO and Council Members,’ said Maweni.

Currently a PhD candidate in the Discipline of Criminology and Forensic Studies at UKZN, her research interests include police culture, African victimology and corrections.

‘I partake in a variety of community engagement projects focused on giving back mostly to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups,’ she added.

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo 

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Umcwaningi Osemusha Ubhekise Amabombo eCambridge University

Umcwaningi Osemusha Ubhekise Amabombo eCambridge University
uNksz Sinenhlanhla Zondo oyokwenza izifundo zonyaka ze-MPhil Kwezempilo Yomphakathi e-Cambridge University.Click here for English version

Umcwaningi osemusha we-Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme (i-MLCCP) Yasekolisi Yesayensi Yezempilo eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali, uNksz Sinenhlanhla Zondo, ubabele e-Cambridge University, eNgilandi, ukuyokwenza izifundo zonyaka ze-MPhil Kwezempilo Yomphakathi.

Umkhakha uyinhlanganisela yezifundo Zezempilo Yomphakathi neze-Epidemiology.

UZondo wenza izifundo zokucubungula imininingwane ngokomgomo womsebenzi we-MLCCP ohlose ukuphucula izindlela zomphakathi zokuhlola nokwelapha umdlavuza wamaphaphu. Kumanje ulungiselela ukushicilela izahluko ezizophuma encwadini yezocwaningo.

Uthe: ‘Ukuthola ithuba lokuyofunda e-Cambridge University kungikhombise ukuthi ungazuza noma yini uma uzimisele. Amanyuvesi aphesheya, ikakhulu i-Cambridge, abekude kakhulu kunami kodwa manje ngimatasa ngilungiselela ukuyoqala isahluko esikhulu empilweni yami.

‘Ngokomqondo ngizilungiselela uhambo lokwenza iziqu ezinzima ze-Master of Philosophy enyuvesi ehlonishwayo emhlabeni. Ukuzibona ngiphakathi kwabafundi abavelele emhlabeni kungikhuthaza ukuthi ngiphokophelele ukuba negalelo kwezemfundo. Nginexhala ngalolu hambo njengoba ngisalindele ukwenza inhlolokhono yokuthola umfundaze enhlanganweni i-Gates,’ kusho yena.

UZondo ukholwa wukuthi ukuthola iziqu kuzomhlomisa ngamakhono awadingayo ukuthi akwazi ukufeza iphupho lakhe lokushiya umsizila emkhakheni wezempilo eNingizimu Afrika.

Kumanje ubhala ucwaningo lweMastazi kweZokwelapha ebhekwe ngeso lokhozi wuDkt Khumbulani Hlongwana noDkt Themba Ginindza baseSikolweni Sezobuhlengikazi kanye Nezempilo Yomphakathi.

UNZondo, owazalelwa wakhulela eMgungundlovu, uzalwa emndeni wabathathu onhloko yawo wumame. ‘Ngisakhula ngangithanda imfundo nezemidlalo, okwangiwinisa izindondo eziningi, phakathi kwazo okukhona nomklomelo engiziqhenyayo ngawo: ukukhethwa njengeNhloko yamaNtombazane kuMatikuletsheni esikoleni ngo-2009,’ kusho u Zondo.

Umlandeli wakhe omkhulu wumnewabo uBongumusa ongumhleli we-inthanethiwe-Aquavisions, inkampani yezemikhiqizo esebenzisana ne-Animal Planet ne-National Geographic.

‘Ukukhuliswa wumuntu wesifazane engimthatha njengomuntu wesifazane onamava kungifundise izinto ezizongithwala impilo yami yonke njengomuntu wesifazane onsundu.’

Amagama: ngu-Nombuso Dlamini 

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NRF B-rating for Quantum Physicist

NRF B-rating for Quantum Physicist
Professor Thomas Konrad who has been awarded a B-rating by the NRF, recognising him as an internationally acclaimed researcher in his field.

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has awarded Professor Thomas Konrad of the School of Chemistry and Physics a B-rating, recognising him as an internationally acclaimed researcher in his field.

The rating system benchmarks the quality of South African researchers, contributing to the enhancement of a globally competitive science system in the country and encouraging the production of high quality outputs in high impact journals and the training of the next generation of researchers.

The rating, which includes evaluation by local and international peers, is based on the quality and impact of their research outputs over the past eight years.

Originally from Germany, Konrad has been at UKZN for 12 years and says he has ‘fallen in love with South Africa’.

He said among the highlights of his early career was the opportunity while doing research for his master’s degree to work under the supervision of Professor Victor Brumberg of St Petersburg in Russia - the famed celestial mechanic who developed a new theory to calculate highly eccentric satellite orbits which Konrad was able to apply for the Mars 96 mission.

Konrad works in quantum physics with his interest recently branching out into the field of optics. Together with Professor Hermann Uys of the University of Stellenbosch he has discovered a scheme to control quantum systems that uses the peculiar property of atoms to be in different places at once.

‘It is a bit like a car that could drive with different power outputs from the engine simultaneously and cruise control just selects the right power output for uphill and downhill without changing gears, meaning less delay and overshoot in the control of the atoms than there would be for classical systems,’ he explained.

Konrad says the control of atoms and molecules is important for nanotechnology, quantum information processing and communication.

In addition to this work, he is investigating a new scheme for quantum teleportation that can transfer an optical image between two points without the image actually travelling the distance between both points – similar to sending a document by fax without a fax line. This kind of teleportation is necessary to transfer data securely within a telecommunication network while preventing eaves-dropping.

Another major achievement for Konrad was the development - in partnership with a masters student - of a simple formula to describe the decay of correlations in quantum channels, which was published by the Nature Physics journal to great acclaim. Konrad was also involved in finding a mechanism that allows the monitoring of quantum systems.

Konrad hopes to see many more researchers and students attracted to the exciting fields of quantum physics and optics in South Africa where he says there is much still to discover.

He acknowledged the teachers and students from whom he learned a great deal during his career, and gave credit to his late PhD supervisor, Professor Jürgen Audretsch, who taught Konrad ‘to think like a physicist’.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Supplied by Thomas Konrad

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UKZN Plasma Physicist Gets NRF B-rated

UKZN Plasma Physicist Gets NRF B-rated
Professor Richard Mace who has been awarded a B-rating from the NRF, recognising him as an internationally acclaimed researcher in his field.

Professor Richard Mace of the School of Chemistry and Physics has been awarded a B-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF), recognising him as an internationally acclaimed researcher in his field.

The rating system benchmarks the quality of South African researchers, contributing to the enhancement of a globally competitive science system in the country and encouraging the production of high quality outputs in high impact journals and the training of the next generation of researchers. The rating, which includes evaluation by local and international peers, is based on the quality and impact of research outputs over the past eight years.

Mace, who completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the then-University of Natal followed by postdoctoral research in the United States, said he was honoured to have received the news of a B-rating from the NRF.

‘It is pleasing and rewarding to receive recognition for the quality of my research, and the fact that it is internationally recognised.’

Mace has been at UKZN since 2005, having previously worked as a senior lecturer at the former University of Durban-Westville and at the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory (now the South African National Space Agency). He has authored or co-authored 57 articles in peer-reviewed, international journals, 46 articles in conference proceedings, and has supervised or co-supervised six masters students and four PhD students.

Currently, Mace is focusing his research on the kinetic theory of waves and instabilities in space plasmas, work which is premised on the idea that in situ spacecraft observations of charged particle velocity distributions are better interpreted in terms of out-of-equilibrium metastable states, rather than states near thermal equilibrium (the usual paradigm).

With his collaborators, Mace has used the kappa distribution as an out-of-equilibrium generalisation of the Maxwellian to undertake many analytical and numerical studies of waves and instabilities in space plasmas. They have made significant contributions to the development of mathematical methods and tools necessary for a kinetic theory of waves in plasmas modelled with kappa distributions.

Mace was previously recognised for the quality of his research with a Vice-Chancellor's Research Award in 2005 and a National Research Council Research Associateship Award to undertake postdoctoral research at the then Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in 1992.

He is also the recipient of an award for the best oral presentation in Applied Statistical Physics at the International Conference on Statistical Physics in Corfu, Greece in July 2017.

While the mathematical nature of plasma physics theory has not been appealing to many students, Mace hopes to see more students take up an interest in the field.

Mace gave credit to those who have inspired his own career, including his PhD supervisor, Professor Emeritus Manfred Hellberg for his support, encouragement and for many fruitful collaborations. He also thanked his collaborators and students, for unselfishly sharing their ideas, for their constructive criticisms and for the suggestions that enhanced the quality of the body of work produced.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Supplied by Richard Mace

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Innovative Book on Research Launched

Innovative Book on Research Launched
Professor Keyan Tomaselli at the book launch at Ike’s in Durban.

Making Sense of Research, a book written by a selection of academics and edited by UKZN Fellow and Emeritus Professor Keyan Tomaselli, was launched at Ike’s Books and Collectables in Durban.

Speaking at the event, Tomaselli highlighted changes in the Higher Education landscape and society. ‘In today’s classroom, virtual or concrete, the lecturer is competing with texting, social media, smart phones, video games, augmented reality, short concentration spans, celebrity lust, substance abuse and other distractions,’ said Tomaselli.

‘Our volume, hopefully, offers stiff competition to these diversions.’ 

Tomaselli, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Johannesburg, said ‘research should be a task that students want to do, rather than something that they have to do’.

‘Our book acknowledges the mysteries and the frustrations of both academics and students when trying to make sense of a very opaque institution – the academy,’ he said.

Making Sense of Research includes chapters on academic architecture which unpacks, ‘strange rituals, mysterious administrative systems, inefficiency, and the history and philosophy of these. It examines the benefits of a Humanities degree, “Do not fear, a job is near”.’

The book looks at doing research in the digital age and also gets to the heart of academic issues facing students.

Topics explored include mediagraphy, autoethnography, semiotics and visual methodology, reception and discourse analysis, action research, content analysis, and so on. 

Finally, the authors offer the ‘nuts and bolts of doing’ and the ‘how to’ dimension of reading, researching, writing, being supervised, doing supervision, negotiating administrative systems and of learning what works for supervisors and examiners.

Former Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Free State Professor Jonathan Jansen describes the book as unique in that no similar book has previously been published anywhere.

Jansen said: ‘The book gets behind the ahistorical and de-contextualised taken-for-granted techniques and procedures that are presented in conventional textbooks by adding layers offering critical perspectives on research, method, theory and practice.’

Director of the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli said the book was ‘not just a text-book, it’s an honest reflection of practice – how the authors approach their areas of expertise.’

CCMS’s Professor Donal McCracken remarked on Tomaselli’s ability to get books published. He commended Tomaselli who also pens UKZN’s online Griot column, for his ‘intellectual integrity’ and ‘old time scholarship and radicalism.’

UKZN academic Professor Nicola Jones referred to Making Sense of Research as one of life’s ‘aha’ moments, saying the book reminded her that research ‘ought to be fun.’

The launch was sponsored by UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences and hosted by the doyen of Durban’s book world, Cedric Sissing of Adams Bookshop, who invited academics to enjoy the facilities at Ikes.

Making Sense of Research is available at Adams Bookstore on UKZN’s Howard College campus.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

Photograph: Marion Alina

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Umkhosi wezi-2019 we-Time of the Writer Uyaqala mhla ziyi-13 kuNdasa

Umkhosi wezi-2019 we-Time of the Writer Uyaqala mhla ziyi-13 kuNdasa
Umkhosi we-Time of the Writer wezi-2019 uqala mhla ziyi-13 kuNdasa.Click here for English version

I-Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) yase-UKZN engaphansi kweKolishi LezeSintu yethula Umkhosi wama-22 we-Time of the Writer kusukela mhla ziyi-12 kuNdasa kuze kube mhla ziyi-16 ngaphansi kwesiqubulo esithi Centering the Indigenous.

'Kulo mkhosi wezi-2019 kumenywe ababhali baseNingizimu Afrika kuphela njengoba sizigodlela leli thuba eliyigugu ukuze sikhulume ngendlela amagama, ukubhala kanye nemibhalo yobuciko esibumba ngayo njengesizukulwane samanje saseNingizimu Afrika kulesi sikhathi esibucayi emlandweni wezwe lethu,' kusho uMqondisi oyibamba le-CCA, uNksz Lliane Loots.

'Umkhosi we-Time of the Writer wezi-2019 uzibophezele ekunikezeni amaphimbo aseNingizimu Afrika ithuba lokuhlonishwa kulo nyaka njengoba sisondela kuyona ingqikithi yekhono lethu lokubhala, futhi sizibhalele elinye ikusasa lethu. Lo mkhosi uzithathela ithuba lokuhlanganyela nabantu baseNingizimu Afrika abaya ngokuya banda kanjalo - nabase-Afrika yonkana - abangasathokozile ngezindlela eseziphelelwe yisikhathi zokukhuluma iqiniso kwabaphethe.'

Umkhosi uzoqhutshwa e-Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, KZNSA Gallery, Auditorium Hall (i-Sizakala Centre, eZazi Road, Clermont)imitapo yolwazi yase-Grosvenor, eNchanga naseNanda. Ukungena kuyo yonke imicimbi kumahhala.

Ababambiqhaza abayi-13 balo mkhosi kuzobe kungo: Dudu Busani Dube, Mandla KaNozulu, Cyril James, Siya Khumalo, Angela Makholwa, Slungile Mavuso, Shalo Mbatha, Walter Mncube, Lerato Mogoatlhe, Rosie Motene, Sihle Mthembu, Sifiso Mzobe no-Sue Nyathi.

 UMhlongo uzohlanganyela namaphaneli ahlukene kanye nezingxoxiswano eziningi ukuze abelane ngomsebenzi wakhe.

Kuzoba nezincwadi eziningi ezizokwethulwa kulezi zinsuku ezine zomkhosi futhi, ngenxa yobambiswano olungakaze lube khona kanye nemitapoyolwazi yase-Thekwini. Kuzoba nemihlangano yokucobelelana ulwazi kanjalo nezingxoxiswano nemitapo yolwazi eyahlukahlukene lapho ababhali bezokwabelana ngamazwi kanye nemibono yabo.

Okuthakazelisayo kakhulu yisiThangami Sezokushicilela ngoMgqibelo mhla ziyi-16 kuNdasa e-KZNSA Gallery lapho iphaneli izoba nezingxoxo ezivulelekile mayelana nesimo sokushicilela izincwadi eNingizimu Afrika. Izihloko zizobandakanya ukuthi umsebenzi onjani oshicilelwayo, ushicilelwa kuphi futhi ushicilelwa kanjani. Udaba lokuzishicilelela wena umsebenzi wakho nalo luzodingidwa futhi sizwe nezimvo zabashicileli abaphambili e-KZN.

Iphaneli izovulwa ngehora le-10 ekuseni kuze kube ngele-12 lapho kuzobe kudayiswa izincwadi eziningana kule ndawo.

Mhla ziyi-16 kuNdasa ngehora le-10 ekuseni, uMkhosi uzohlonipha abafundi abasebancane embuthanweni wakhona okhethekile e-KZNSA Gallery. Lesi sigaba sizohlinzeka ngokuxoxwa kwezindaba zaseAfrika nokufunda kwezindaba zaseNingizimu Afrika ezibhalelwe izethameli ezisencane.

Umkhosi uzoqala e-Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre ngoLwesithathu mhla ziyi-13 kuNdasa ngehora lesi-7 kusihlwa. Amathikithi wamahhala ayotholwa ngabafike kuqala.

Uhlelo oluphelele lomkhosi we-Time of the Writer luyatholakala ku-inthanethi lapha: https://medium.com/time-of-the-writer-festival.

Amagama: ngu-Melissa Mungroo

 Isithombe: Sihlinzekiwe

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Law Students Pledge Allegiance to their Profession

Law Students Pledge Allegiance to their Profession
Scenes from UKZN’s 2019 Pledge Ceremony where 250 students were formally inducted into the Law School.

‘Our mission as a Law School is to produce graduates with the skills, knowledge and values needed to perform successfully in the profession and become leaders and visionaries in broader society.’

These were the words of Dr Vishal Surbun who opened proceedings at UKZN’s 2019 Pledge Ceremony involving 250 students who were formally inducted into the Law School. Students took an oath to conduct themselves with decorum, to respect fellow students and staff and to act with integrity.

Keynote speaker, Consumer Law specialist Professor Tanya Woker, encouraged students to make their mark and work hard in order to become change-making professionals and to uphold the values set out in the Constitution.

‘I challenge you to read about and emulate the many great and successful law professionals who preceded you in this school, such as UKZN’S Chancellor, the Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng Mogoeng,’ said Woker. The oath taking was presided over by the Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, with students signing the pledge to place on record their commitment to the profession after which they each received a copy of the South African Constitution.

Surbun said receiving a copy of the Constitution was a symbolic gesture to encourage students to fulfill their mission to teach Law as well as to become earnest and diligent students of the law.

Student Ms Lerato Pule said it had been an eye-opening and inspirational event. ‘Having made a solemn vow to uphold the core values of the constitution as well as those of the legal profession is an indication that the journey begins now and not after graduation or upon admission as an attorney.

‘Going forward I will soldier on through the degree and legal career being mindful of the pledge I’ve made and honour it,’ said Pule.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga 

Photograph: Albert Hirasen

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School of Nursing and Public Health Inducts Masters and PhD Students

School of Nursing and Public Health Inducts Masters and PhD Students
Staff and new students attending the first induction day for Research Masters and PhD programme in the School of Nursing and Public Health.

More than 30 new School of Nursing and Public Health Research Master's and PhD students attended an induction day aimed at helping them ease into life as research students as well as introducing them to key personnel in the School.

The programme consisted of several sessions designed to ensure a positive start to a research degree and to provide them with information to help individuals become effective and responsible research candidates.

Dean and Head of School Professor Mosa Moshabela welcomed the students emphasising the need for improving quality of their outputs. The day was held in response to the postgraduate students’ needs and challenges expressed at the 2017 Academic Monitoring and Support Symposium.

Academic Monitoring and Student Support Services (SSS) counsellor Mrs Wullie Thaver began the day with activities to build team cohesion and help students to get to know each other. She also gave a brief background on what SSS offers in the College.

Postgraduate Office Administrator Mrs Carol Dhanraj briefed students about postgraduate processes, procedures, rules, regulations and guidelines.

Academic Leader Research Dr Tivani Mashamba-Thompson gave guidance to students on ways to avoid supervision challenges and methods of handling unavoidable challenges, while Ms Thembelihle Dlungwane gave an overview of the research masters and PhD programme in the School.

Dr Khumbulani Hlungwane shared his PhD journey from the angle of being an employed student, Dr Delarise Mulqueeny shared hers from the point of view of a full-time student while Dr Yemisi Oyegbile spoke from the perspective of an international student.

Principal Programme Officer Ms Benina Mkhonto took the students through the REACHprinciples while the School’s librarian, Ms Nokulunga Faith Ziqubu, informed students about library services available to them. She stressed her willingness to assist and to do one-on-one consultations.

First-year MMedSci student and Senior Manager Health Information Systems at eThekwini Municipality Mr Thokozani Khubone said: ‘The induction was well organised covering many aspects required by both masters and PHD students. Before the Induction I was not really sure what was expected of me but I am now wiser and more informed thanks to the induction. Experiences shared by former students encouraged me enormously. I am now familiar with different resources at my disposal to enhance my research project. The way I will approach my work in future will be different and improved.’

The induction was followed by a seven-day proposal-writing workshop to help students wanting to start their research proposals early in the year as well as to improve the quality of their proposals. Most students found both the induction and the proposal writing very helpful.

On the last day of the workshop students presented an outline of their proposals.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini 

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Business School Hosts Two Dynamic Guest Lecturers in MBA Programme

Business School Hosts Two Dynamic Guest Lecturers in MBA Programme
Ms Vani Moodley and Dr Augusta Dorning- two high profile guest lecturers who brought their thinking as highly-skilled practitioners into the MBA leadership module.

The guest lectureship initiative in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) got off to a resounding start when two high profile guest lecturers brought their thinking as highly-skilled practitioners into the MBA leadership module.

The guests were Ms Vani Moodley of Vani Moodley & Associates and Dr Augusta Dorning, who is the Head for Africa Business for Lenmed Health.

Moodley, whose background in global entrepreneurship and leadership training, coaching and development spans working in “26 different countries and three islands in the world”, gave an in-depth presentation entitled: Beyond the MBA…a Focus on Women.

Speaking to the MBA cohort, Moodley discussed challenges for women in leadership and gave cogent examples from the beginnings of her working life as a packer in a supermarket to where she is today.

Commenting on the fact that she entered academia relatively late in her career and was thus able to apply the theory to her lived experiences, Moodley shared leadership concepts that informed her practice which the audience found very useful.

Moodley appears in the recently published book by GSB&L’s Professor Kriben Pillay: The Survivalists: Visionary Leadership for South Africa’s Marginalised Entrepreneurs – the story of the Independent Business Enrichment Centre (IBEC), which Moodley acknowledges as being pivotal in skilling her as a training and development practitioner.

Dorning is an internationally published author, academic and philanthropist with a string of accolades to her name as a leader in business.

In her presentation on developing inner and outer leadership skills, she engaged the students with stimulating experiential exercises, while being openly mindful of the fact that different individuals learn differently, and appropriately provided a multi-modal experience for the audience.

The students were particularly impressed with the insights into the practical aspects of leadership, with real-life lessons drawn from Dorning’s intimate knowledge of the corporate environment. However, having also worked in the government sector for 20 years, Dorning was also able to address questions that arose about leadership in the public versus the private sectors.

Professor Cecile Gerwel Proches, the co-ordinator for the MBA leadership module, summed up the experience of having Moodley and Dorning with these words: ‘It’s a powerful illustration of the value in bringing together academia and industry. The guest lecturers brought theory to life, illustrating how leadership is something that is lived and not only visible in a title or formal position of authority. The presentations highlighted how leadership is impacted by perceptions, values, personality and mental models, and how leaders also need to be mindful of their followers. Students were also able to understand that leadership starts with oneself and that an honest assessment of the leader’s strengths and weaknesses will go far in effectively leading and inspiring followers to achieve shared purpose and outcomes.’

Proches’ sentiments were endorsed by the lead lecturer on the module, Dr Emmanuel Mutamabara, who added that the guest lecturer initiative added immense value for the students through giving additional depth and breadth to the module’s content.

Words: Ndabaonline

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Ukufunda Okungakahleleki Kusho Ikusasa Eliqhakazile

Ukufunda Okungakahleleki Kusho Ikusasa Eliqhakazile
UDokotela Wezesayensi, uJoseph Rudigi Rukema (ophakathi), ekanye namalungu “kasosesheni wabakhi Basemijondolo”.Click here for English version

Ukufunda okungakahleleki kungaba yithuluzi elinamandla ekusizeni ukuvala igebe elikhona kwezamakhono kanjalo nokusungula imisebenzi.

Lokhu kuyizincomo ezivele ocwaningweni obeluqhutshwa ngumfundisi ophezulu eSikoleni Sezifundo Ngenhlalo Yomphakathi uDkt Joseph Rudigi Rukema phakathi komakhenikha, abacwali bezinwele, nabasebenzi bezokwakha ezindaweni zasemijondolo.

URukema uthi imiphumela yocwaningo lwakhe ikhombisa ukuthi ababambiqhaza abangama-90% bafunde amakhono ngokufunda okungahlelekile, ebanganini babo ezihlotsheni noma emabhizinisini nezinhlangano ezisebenzayo.

'Ucwaningo luphinde luveze ukuthi iningi lalabo bayazisebenza besebenzisa amakhono abawathole ngokufunda okungakahleleki. Ngokusho kwemiphumela yocwaningo lwami, nakuba ukufunda okungakahleleki kubonakale kulivala ngempumelelo igebe lolwazi nokudala amathuba emisebenzi, kuye kwacaca ukuthi iningi lababambiqhaza linamakhono akhawulekile ekuphathweni kwamaphrojekthi, ukugcinwa kwezincwadi zezimali, ubuhlakani kwezezimali kanye nezokukhangisa okuphazamisa impumelelo yamabhizinisi abo. Kwaphinde kwaba sobala ukuthi iningi lababambiqhaza abanawo amakhono okubhala ngolimi lwabo lwebele noma abakwazi ukukhuluma noma ukubhala kahle isiNgisi,' kusho uRukema.

'Ngokusekelwe kulokhu okushiwo ngenhla nalokho engihlangabezane nakho futhi nangokukhulumisana nomphakathi, ngikholwa ukuthi kufanelekile ukuqala nokugqugquzela ukufunda okungahlelekile kanye nokuhweba emkhakheni njengendlela yokwakha imisebenzi kubantu abasha.'

URukema umeme bonke labo abanentshisekelo yokuba yingxenye yephrojekthi enjalo ukuba bavolontiye ukuhlinzeka ukuqeqesha kwezokuphathwa kwamaphrojekthi, amakhono ezezimali, ukugcinwa kwamabhuku ezimali nezokukhangisa ukuze kuzuze labo abaswele. Usiza nabakhi emijondolo ukuba basungule usosesheni wabakhi basemijondolo futhi unxusa noma ngubani noma-ke noma yiliphi ibhizinisi lokwakha elinenkontileka yokwakha ukuba like licabange ngokusebenzisa “Usosesheni Wabakhi Basemijondolo”.

URukema wathola i-PhD yakhe eziFundweni Zenqubomgomo Yezenhlalakahle e-UKZN emva kwalokho iNyuvesi yabe isimklomelisa nge-Fellowship yeminyaka emithathu emva kweziqu zobudokotela. Njengamanje uyisazi esihambela amanyuvesi amahlanu e-Afrika.

Ngenkathi eqhuba izifundo zakhe zeziqu ze-Honours ku-Public Policy e-UKZN, usebenze njengomqaphi wezimoto walandela ngokuba yi-security guard. Ngenxa yomlando wakhe kwezenhlalakahle nezomnotho, waba nothando lwezamabhizinisi emphakathini kanjalo nomoya wokuthuthukiswa komphakathi nokwamenza waqala amaphrojekthi amaningana emphakathini. URukema uphinde wasungula izindlela ezimbili zokuthuthukiswa: Imodeli yasebhange yokuzisiza komphakathi kanye naleyo Yokuhweba Ngokusebenzisa Ucwaningo - Ukuguqula Ucwaningo Lube ngamaPhrojekthi Omphakathi.

Ukuze uthole ulwazi oluthe xaxa, thumela i-imeyli ku josephr1@ukzn.ac.za noma ushaye ucingo ku (031) 260 2440.

Amagama: Ndabaonline 

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Kucijiswa Abafundi Kwezamabhizinisi

Kucijiswa Abafundi Kwezamabhizinisi
Embukisweni womcimbi wabafundi wamabhizinisi, i Student Entrepreneurship Showcase.Click here for English version

Inhlangano esanda kusungulwa i-Student Entrepreneurship and Innovators Society isanda kuba nomcimbi wokukhangisa ngamakhono abafundi baseNyuvesi YaKwaZulu-Natali abangosomabhizinisi.

Le nhlangano isungulwe onguMphathi Oyibamba Kwezobudlelwano eKolishi Yezifundo zezoMthetho nokuPhatha, uNkk Thandiwe Jumo; ilungu le-Enactus, uMnu Muhle Ndwalane; nelungu le-Deniim Friday, uMnu Rinae Thenga weSikole SezokuPhatha, Ezobuchwepheshe Nokubusa.

Njengoba iholwa yikomidi lase-Management and Entrepreneurship lapho izinze khona, le nhlangano ihlose ukuvumbulula izindlela ezintsha zokufukula imisebenzi yamabhizinisi kubafundi base-UKZN ngaphansi kohlaka oludume ngokuthi yi-CAVE, okuyi-Creative, Accelerator, Vibrant and Entrepreneurial.

UJumo uthe: ‘Inhloso ngokusungulwa kwalolu hlelo wukuthi i-UKZN ibe neqhaza elibonakalayo ekubeni yingxenye yokukhiqiza abantu baseNingizimu Afrika abazi ngebhizinisi. Yingakho sisungule inhlangano esiza abafundi ibahlomise ngolwazi, amakhono nokuqonda ngebhizinisi. Inhloso wukuthi abafundi nabafundisi basenyuvesi basebenzisane kulolu hambo lokufunda nokufundisa ngenhloso yokuthi I-KZN ikhiqize abafundi abazothuthukisa umnotho ngezindlela ezintsha.’

Besebenzisa izindlela ezithi zinandisa kodwa zibe zifundisa ukusungula indawo yohwebo, abafundi basekhempasini yase-Westville kade bedayisa izinto ezehlukene njengezinto zezinwele, imisebenzi yobuciko, izinto ezibhakiwe nesivuno esingacekeli phansi imvelo.

KuNdwalane, lo mbhidlango umqoka kakhulu njengoba njengelungu le-Enactus UKZN. Ubona ezamabhizinisi ziyindlela yokuxazulula izinkinga zezenhlalo nezezomnotho.

Uthe: ‘Njengomfundi owusomabhizinisi ngike ngabhekana nezinkinga eziningi, ikakhulu ngenxa yolwazi olungenele lwebhizinisi. Kukho konke engikufundile, ngibonile ukuthi uhlelo lwebhizinisi nokucijana ngolwazi kuyadingeka e-UKZN, ngangapholisa maseko ukuba yingxenye yalo mbhidlango.’

KuThenga, ukuba yingxenye yombutho wezindaba zenhlalo yabantu nezomnotho i-Deniim Friday kuyisigcawu esihle sokuthi abantu abangamaciko bakwazi ukuhlangana ukuze bazane, bathuthukise amathalente abo, bakwazi ukwazeke ukuze baphumelele kwabakwenzayo.

Ngokwezinhlelo zangomuso, le nhlangano ihlose ukuhlela amakhempu okucija abantu nokuba nezingqungquthela ezithinta uhlelo lokufunda lwamabhizinisi. 

Ngeminye imininingwane ngale nhlangano, vakashela ku https://smitg.ukzn.ac.za/student-entrepreneur-innovator-society/

Amagama: ngu-Lungile Ngubelanga

Isithombe: ngu-Khumbulani Myeni no-Itumeleng Masa


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Academic Delivers Virtual Classrooms Presentation at Conference in Austria

Academic Delivers Virtual Classrooms Presentation at Conference in Austria
Dr Zikifile Phindile Shangase (bottom right) with delegates at the ICT Conference in Austria.

Community Development Lecturer Dr Zifikile Phindile Shangase of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) presented her research on virtual classrooms at an Information Communications Technology (ICT) Conference in Vienna, Austria.

Shangase was invited to present her work by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Strengthening Technology, Research and Innovation Cooperation between Europe and South Africa (ESASTAP 2020) project. She was selected to be part of the delegation via a rigorous selection process facilitated by a team of experts.

The conference was a research and innovation event organised by DG: CONNECT that focused on the European Union’s (EU) priorities in the digital transformation of society and industry. It presented an opportunity for possible research collaboration in this important area between research communities in the EU and South Africa.

DST worked with the EU and the ESASTAP 2020 project in convening the showcase event to promote cooperation and networking between SA and EU researchers in ICT.

Shangase spoke on the virtual classroom project to design a relevant virtual learning model that can be integrated within current curricula in order to enhance quality and effectiveness in Higher Education teaching and learning. ‘This project will improve the learning experience, skills and competencies of students thereby improving learning outcomes, and making education accessible via mobile devices,’ she explained.

Words:Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Supplied

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UKZN Academic Returns from Brussels

UKZN Academic Returns from Brussels
Professor Purshottama Reddy from the School of Management, IT and Governance who recently returned from Brussels where he attended the IIAS Public Governance week.

Professor Purshottama Reddy of the School of Management, IT and Governance has recently returned from Brussels where he attended the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS) Public Governance week.

The event brought together thought leaders and partners to discuss and delve into the latest developments in public governance internationally.

Reddy, who is the IASIA’s Vice-President for Programmes and Project Director of the Working Group on Subnational Governance and Development, participated in the IASIA Board of Management meeting and was part of a panel critiquing the role of research groups.

Thematic areas covered by the panel were internal governance and research groups, publications and projects, collaborations and opportunities for joint action.

The collaboration opportunities included extending the call for publications to other organisations to enable greater communication with leadership of other research groups working on similar themes. It was also agreed that joint sessions with other IIAS groupings would be held as there was a need to reach out to the “younger generation” and PhD graduates through scholarship.

The four-day event featured workshops on the internal and external governance of the IIAS and its entities. There were also roundtable discussions on funding for research, capacity building in public administration worldwide, and financial management of the IIAS and similar organisations, among other topics.

The highlight was a keynote address by Mr Karl-Heinz Lambert, the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and member of the Belgian Senate, representing the German speaking community. His address titled: Multi-Level Governance for the SDGs, stimulated robust debate given that the notion of ‘multi-level’ governance was not entirely a new concept. 

Reddy said the governance week was an opportunity for all the entities involved in IIAS to get to know each other, familiarise themselves with each other’s activities and develop a joint strategy to take the organisations forward.

‘The event benefitted the organisations mutually and inspired them to function more efficiently and effectively so that the impact would be much greater moving forward. It will also enable them to develop organisationally and be more responsive to their members and international partners in terms of addressing public governance challenges globally,’ he added.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied

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UEIP Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

UEIP Celebrates Fifth Anniversary
Participants at the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership Five-Year Anniversary Celebration.

The uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP), a catchment-wide partnership, celebrated five years of existence and the recent signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between its 24 partner organisations with a two-day programme that detailed its progress to date and the way forward for the partnership.

Fifty delegates, representing the organisations which signed the UEIP MoU, gathered to reflect, appreciate and celebrate the partnership’s collaborative and co-ordination efforts over the past five-years. Various speakers shared success stories and challenges and discussed the future for the partnership.

Speakers emphasised how relationships between UEIP partners had strengthened and expanded over the course of the partnership, calling it a ‘learning organisation’ that utilises the expertise and capacities from partner organisations to create solutions to challenges and issues around the protection of various ecological infrastructure (EI) components making up the catchment area.

The UEIP, which is co-ordinated by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), focuses on the role that EI can play to supplement and/or substitute for built infrastructure to address water security challenges in the catchment area. EI can, partners say, ensure that living landscapes deliver good quality water of adequate supply both for ecological benefit and for the economic and social benefit of people living in the catchment.

The uMngeni catchment is severely degraded and boasts some of the most polluted rivers in the country. The UEIP focuses on co-design and co-management among managers to preserve a system at risk of collapse.

The UEIP includes a strong research programme spearheaded by UKZN and the Water Research Commission (WRC). Research produced by UKZN and the WRC has focused on contributing to policy development, emphasising that catchment care and investment in EI are among the key intervention options to address degradation, maintain water supply volumes and improve the water quality of river basins.

Other partner organisations include provincial and local government, academic institutions, research institutions and business and civil society such as the KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Water and Sanitation and of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Umgeni Water, the eThekwini Municipality, uMgungundlovu and Msunduzi municipalities, the Institute of Natural Resources, and the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa.

The MoUs signed in 2013 and again at the end of 2018 formalised the interest of partners in finding ways of protecting and restoring natural water resources in the uMngeni catchment area.

UEIP partner organisations are looking ahead to building relationships with more organisations and developing capacity through the training of young people as well as engaging and partnering with business and industries to improve and manage EI. Partners will also focus on engaging rural and peri-urban communities, creating projects that will benefit communities.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Pearl Gola

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Research Investigations Shared at Food Symposium

Research Investigations Shared at Food Symposium
Participants at the SHEFS Symposium in Durban.

UKZN and representatives from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) hosted a one-day research symposium in Durban for the Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) programme - a large international, interdisciplinary research partnership.

The inter-institutional project - funded by the Wellcome Trust’s Our Planet, Our Health Programme - is focused on the intersection of the environment, food systems and health. Investigations are taking place in South Africa, India and the United Kingdom, and where the team are examining food systems under significant pressure from demographic changes, shifts in dietary patterns, environmental and land use changes, and urbanisation.

Around 40 researchers attended the Symposium, representing the colleges of Law and Management Studies (CLMS), Health Sciences (CHS), Humanities and Agriculture, and Engineering and Science (CAES). Disciplines represented included Nursing and Public Health, Psychology, Animal Sciences, Geography and Environmental Science, Crop Science, Grassland Science, Ecological Sciences, Food Security and Soil Science.

Representatives from the eThekwini Municipality also attended and presented at the Symposium.

The presentations delivered focused on a variety of areas of research, including systems thinking, undernutrition and overweight/obesity, power relations, human behaviour and health, crop and livestock agriculture, satellite remote sensing for rangelands, edible insect diversity, land use patterns, and ecosystem services, among others.

A keynote presentation from Ms Suhayfa Bhamjee from UKZN’s School of Law highlighted food security and human rights from the perspective of public interest litigation and the Constitutional Court.

‘It’s a really important project we’re working on because it is about health and human wellness, and we’re hoping to have a broad impact across South Africa in policy and in communities that we’re working with,’ said Professor Rob Slotow, SHEFS Lead Investigator from UKZN.

‘Part of the objective of the project is to be organic and open; we’re seeing it as a catalyst for a whole new way of doing research that has a very direct, practical, applied outcome that can really influence the way South Africa develops,’ he said.

‘Getting more and more people to join in from different disciplines gives us a whole new perspective when we look at things,’ said Slotow, expressing the objectives of the day as being to explore synergies within the diverse group and connect people to one another through their research.

‘It’s really exciting to see the enormous amount of highly relevant research now being conducted by the UKZN team,’ said Professor Alan Dangour, SHEFS Principal Investigator from LSHTM, who gave a presentation about the work of SHEFS.

‘What we’re doing in SHEFS is central to the quest for planetary health, defined as the health of human civilisation and the state of natural systems on which it depends,’ said Dangour, who went on to explain how SHEFS is producing research evidence that can be used to underpin national and regional policy.

Dangour encouraged SHEFS researchers to produce high quality evidence, ensure an understanding of local context, integrate and synthesise their work, engage across disciplines and with communities, and remain open and ready for new opportunities.

Words: Christine Cuénod 

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SAS Industry Unit to Enhance SMSCS Degree Relevance

SAS Industry Unit to Enhance SMSCS Degree Relevance
Professor Delia North.

Professor Delia North, Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS), is driving the establishment of a Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Industry Unit at the School in an effort to further enhance the industry relevance of degrees within the SMSCS by delivering industry-infused Data Analytics training fit for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

North and UKZN’s most research-active applied statistician Professor Temesgen Zewotir have carefully planned the industry unit over many years.

Zewotir has a long record of industry and government projects undertaken with his postgraduate students.

SAS - the world’s leading business analytics and business intelligence advanced analytics software - stores, manages, retrieves and mines data from various sources, performs advanced statistical analysis, and enables creation of reports.

North has established a longstanding relationship with SAS through her work on collaborative national statistics education capacity-building projects while heading up the South African Statistical Association’s Education Committee.

The projects were undertaken with Mr Murray de Villiers, Senior Manager of SAS’s Global Academic Programs – an organisation which oversees SAS Industry Units at universities around the world.

UKZN and SAS have signed a new framework agreement entering into a partnership to establish the planned Industry Unit.

The Data Analytics Industry Unit that North and Zewotir are establishing with SAS will train students through a range of Bachelor of Science degrees in Data Science, at honours and masters level. Students will learn to manage, analyse, predict and classify large and unstructured data emanating from business and industry. A key feature of the initiative will be staff development, with Zewotir at the head of planning workshops and training sessions to ensure that the statistics staff in the department can optimally deliver on the aims of the Industry Unit.

Thanks to international SAS accreditation, the honours cohort of 2018 who passed a particular listing of modules will receive an international SAS accreditation certificate along with their degree in Statistics at the 2019 graduation ceremony, indicating their proficiency in SAS.

‘This inimitable data science centre will deliver top class training and research in data analytics by partnering with business and industry, as well as with the undisputed leading analytics tool developer [SAS],’ said North.

Through the qualifications on offer, statisticians at UKZN aim to provide early career training in data analytics to ensure that graduates are work-ready, innovative and equipped with entrepreneurial skills. The unit will also enhance industry-linked research and postgraduate studies by providing a learning experience that has emanated from the workplace as a base for postgraduate studies and innovative research.

Zewotir together with the Academic Leaders of Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Shaun Ramroop and Professor Serestina Virirri, designed and developed a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science, available from 2019, and a Bachelor of Science Honours in Data Science on offer from 2020. A coursework Masters in Data Science for Industry and a postgraduate Diploma in Data Science for Industry are in the process of receiving final approval. Partnerships with industry and contracts are also in progress.

Housed in the Oliver Tambo Building on the Westville campus, the Industry Unit will, North says, be a wonderful resource for the nurturing of high-level Data Analytics skills for industry, and an opportunity for staff development through the international linkages that come with being part of the SAS Global Team.

words: Christine Cuénod 

Photograph: Supplied

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TIBA Initiative Makes Inroads

TIBA Initiative Makes Inroads
TIBA and community leadership in Ingwavuma, KZN uMkhanyakude District.

Launched a year ago, the College of Health Sciences’ Tackling Infections to Benefit Africa (TIBA) Initiative has made great progress in the community and within the College.

The initiative is part of a multidisciplinary research programme involving nine African countries collaborating with the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom to tackle infectious diseases.

To commemorate the establishment of the initiative, project leaders, Research Professor in Public Health Moses Chimbari and Professor of Parasitology at the School of Life Sciences Samson Mukaratirwawent back to the community to express gratitude and report on progress thus far.

A gathering attended by about 300 people was held at the Makhane Community Hall in Ingwavuma in KwaZulu-Natal’s uMkhanyakude district.

Those who attended included representatives of traditional leadership, the provincial Department of Health, local municipalities, and primary schools, as well as learners, TIBASA project staff, UKZN postgraduate students, College of Health Sciences members and staff, and the community at large.

Chimbari reminded the community of the project’s objectives and thanked them for their support. He also gave them feedback on the progress made with the Rapid Impact Project where the focus is on bilharzia in children under the age of five.

A National Research Foundation-funded community engagement project aimed at interacting with the community on bilharzia monitoring and control activities was launched at the event.

Chimbari announced TIBASA’s plan to expand into other areas in the uMkhanyakude district and throughout KZN.

The project also shared its key outcomes through edutainment provided by the art music group, Ubuciko.

Chimbari and Mukaratirwa thanked the community leaders for their support with Chimbari highlighting some of the project’s successes including the establishment of a strong TIBA Team, the creation of an African Chapter on Ecohealth International, rolling out CB courses, and growing student numbers in the programme.

He commended the leaders for allowing the TIBA team to work with the community and for being part of a project that will assist Africa by providing a better understanding of infectious disease transmission in different endemic areas, improving diagnostic tools and disease management programmes, and strengthening health systems.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini 

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Academic Presents Research Poster at DST Showcase

Academic Presents Research Poster at DST Showcase
Ms Judith Ojo-Aromokudu (right) discussing her poster with an exhibitor from Wits University.

Lecturer Ms Judith Ojo-Aromokudu of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) presented a research poster at the Science Technology Innovation for Sustainable Human Settlements event at the CSIR Commons in Pretoria.

The showcase, titled NEIGHBOURHOOD 4.0 Off-the-Wall Technology Showcase, was organised by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and its partners as part of the process of drafting a Roadmap for Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Human Settlements.

The event provided a platform for entrepreneurs, students, innovators, and emerging and established industries to showcase ideas and technologies which could improve houses and neighbourhoods of the future.

Ojo-Aromokudu’s poster presentation highlighted alternative building materials used by informal settlement dwellers in a settlement in KwaZulu-Natal. It was supported by the drone aerial photo of the Havelock informal settlement take by UKZN lecturer Mr Viloshin Govender.

‘During the two minutes pitching session, I presented the idea that the urban recycled materials used by informal settlement dwellers provide a basis for productive use of urban waste as alternative building materials,’ said Ojo-Aromokudu.

‘The materials include packaging timber from the neighbouring factories and construction waste materials. Other materials used included umhlabathi (mud) and stones which form part of the indigenous building technologies in rural areas,’ she explained.

The presentation represented a section of the findings from Ojo-Aromokudu’s PhD research which were supported by National Research Foundation, the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) and the ongoing research project with ISULabantu (https://www.isulabantu.org/).

Word: Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Supplied

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