Political Parties Battle it Out at Town Hall Debate

Political Parties Battle it Out at Town Hall Debate
UKZN’s Westville campus was the battleground for votes in the run-up to the national elections at eNCA’s Town Hall debate.

Political parties went head-to-head at a pre-election Town Hall debate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus yesterday (Wednesday, 27 March 2019).

Hosted by eNCA’s Shahan Ramkissoon, the debate served as an opportunity for parties to pin their colours to the mast while pitting themselves against the province’s leading political parties as well as those still on the rise.

The ANC, DA, NFP, IFP and EFF were ably represented on stage and by their supporters in the crowd.

UKZN students - many of whom will be voting for the first time- were also present. Civil society organisations including Right2Know and the Treatment Action Campaign were also at the debate to keep parties in check and refute political spiel by representatives.

Service delivery, corruption, crime, #FeesMustFall, unemployment and racial and political tensions were recurring themes raised by members of the audience and panelists at the session.

Speakers and audience members also paid tribute to Princess Irene Buthelezi, who passed away recently. Princess Irene is the late wife of IFP leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi. 

To make up your mind on where to mark your cross on the ballot paper on 8 May, visit eNCA’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3WFw-6N-JU

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photograph: Albert Hirasen

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Ground-breaking Research Gets to the Root of Permanent Hair Loss Amongst African Women

Ground-breaking Research Gets to the Root of Permanent Hair Loss Amongst African Women
From left is Professor Ncoza Dlova with some of her groundbreaking research collaborators: Professor Amy McMichael, Professor Eli Sprecher and Dr Ofer Sarig.

Professor Ncoza Dlova, the Dean of UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine and internationally renowned Dermatologist, through her global collaborative work with a number of scientists; have identified a new gene that is a major cause of permanent hair loss amongst women of African descent. They discovered the root cause of Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), one of the most common causes of primary scarring alopecia amongst African women. This ground-breaking study, titled: Variant PAD13 in Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia, was published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the highest impact journals in medical science.

A team of investigators from the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Dermatology from Israel’s Tel-Aviv University consisting of Professor Eli Sprecher, Dr Liron Malki, Dr Ofer Sarig; Professor Amy McMichael from the Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, USA; as well as other colleagues from the Institute of Human Genetics, University of Bonn in Germany; UDEAR; and Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Université Paul Sabatier in France performed the genetic sequencing and coding as well clinical aspects of the research.

CCCA was first described in 1968 as “hot comb alopecia” in a series of African American women who straightened their hair with a hot comb. It is defined as hair loss or spot balding that starts from the central (crown) part of the scalp and radiates outward in a circular pattern. CCCA causes destruction of the hair follicles leading to scarring or permanent hair loss. It is very common amongst women of African descent between the ages of 30 and 60 years, and has a prevalence of 2, 7% - 5, 6%. The root cause of this condition has always been elusive and was attributed to the use of damaging chemical products on the hair, as well as the application of heat brushes, hot combs or straighteners. It has also often been confused with female pattern hair loss or common baldness - a completely different entity. The condition predominantly has no symptoms and maybe picked up co-incidentally by hairstylists, with very few individuals presenting with painful pimple like lesions on the scalp. It occurs rarely in African men, probably due to less hair manipulation.

Patients with CCCA were recruited from Durban, South Africa, from 2013 through to 2016 and in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from 2014 through 2017.

This study found that the peptidylarginine deiminase 3 (PAD13) gene - which mediates posttranslational modification of proteins essential for proper hair shaft formation - was mutated in the majority of affected patients, suggesting that the disease is genetically heterogeneous.

The scientists also found that the distinct variants in PADI3 in each of the disorders may account for the difference in clinical outcomes.

These research findings suggest that PADI3 mutations predispose individuals to CCCA and clinical presentation or worsening of CCCA may be triggered by environmental factors such as damaging hair grooming practices including the use of hair chemicals, traction, heat, braids and weaves. This implies that in affected families, hair grooming practices as above, must be totally discouraged. Larger studies are still needed in order to justify genotyping of asymptomatic women.

‘Congratulations to Ncoza C Dlova whose very exciting work with her associates was published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, titled: Variant PAD13 in Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia. CCCA is the most common cause of Cicatricial alopecia in people of African descent. This ground breaking work is the first to establish a genetic basis for this vexing cause of alopecia. Kudos Prof!’ said Dr Umar Sumer, the Los Angeles Hair Transplant Group Leader.

Dr Sarina Drusinsky, Dermatology Society of South Africa Secretary, said: ‘Congratulations from myself and the DSSA on your wonderful achievement and the publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. I personally am in awe of how you manage to do everything that you do and always do it so outstandingly. As my children say, “you rock”. Once again a heartfelt congratulations to you Ncoza’.

African Women’s Dermatology Society (AWDS) executive members Dr Dagmar Whitaker, Professor Anisa Mosam and Secretary, Dr Nokubonga Khoza, also sent through congratulatory remarks; ‘We are bursting with pride for Prof Dlova and her associate’s ground-breaking work. You can consider yourself amongst the best in the field to have made such a finding which is going to change how we manage this challenging condition. What a time to be alive.’

Commenting on this exciting finding, Dlova said, ‘This is probably the biggest breakthrough in South African dermatology. This discovery is a first in the world, and it followed links to an earlier publication of 2013 in which we reported for the first time a familial association in a cluster of Black South African families with CCCA. We have been following the 15 families for five years and seven years later, a gene has been identified. This has huge implications on early diagnosis, prevention and possible future targeted therapy of CCCA. None of this would have been possible without the families and our patients who showed the will to participate in our research endeavours. We are indeed grateful to them. I am also grateful to my local and international colleagues for working with me. This is indeed testimony to the power of diversity and working together in research,’ said Dlova, adding: ‘Thanks also to my supportive family in the Department of Dermatology fondly known as “DOD”, UKZN, as well as my heroes, my husband Dr Themba Mabaso, son Wakithi Mabaso and my family.’ I also thank Prof Dedee Murrell from Australia, for introducing me to Prof Eli Sprecher, a real geneticist genius indeed.

‘We are also eternally grateful to all our sponsors. The Ram Family Foundation, the German–Israeli Foundation, L’Oreal African Hair and Skin Research grant, the Skin of Color Society, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft–funded Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation as well as Dr Nokubonga Khoza for assisting with patient recruitment.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis 

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Alumna Makes Apolito’s Most Influential People List

Alumna Makes Apolito’s Most Influential People List
Professor Debra Roberts, UKZN alumna and Honourary Professor, who has been named one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019.

Debra Roberts, Honorary UKZN Professor, Head of the Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit at the eThekwini Municipality and South Africa’s first Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group, has been named one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019 by the public servants’ networking group, Apolitical.

The list celebrates and supports people driving tangible policy change.

This inaugural list was compiled from nominations from governments, international organisations and academia, including the United Nations Development Programme, Harvard and Oxford universities, and Bloomberg. The final selection was informed by additional research and expert review.

The list features inspirational politicians, advocates, youth activists, academics and diplomats from all over the world and includes luminaries and leaders in climate action globally, including Sir David Attenborough, Pope Francis and Greta Thunberg.

Roberts was included in a segment recognising international and non-governmental organisations, and is one of only two IPCC officials on the list, the other being IPCC Chair Dr Hoesung Lee.

Roberts, a UKZN alumna, said this recognition was an important reflection onthe University and the kind of broad-ranging educational opportunities it had provided over many decades. Roberts’ PhD research at UKZN fell into both the science and policy sectors and drew her into the policy/practitioner environment.

The Westville campus is the site of the Durban office of the IPCC Working Group II (WGII) Technical Support Unit (TSU), which together with an office in Bremen, Germany, supports Roberts and Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner of Germany, who oversee the WGII contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report.

Roberts’ experience and role in both the practitioner and science spaces provided the motivation for the establishment of this office, with a goal of helping to ensure that the voices of practitioners and African scientists are strengthened in this assessment cycle.

Roberts was elected to her role in the IPCC in 2015, marking the first time a local government practitioner was elected as a Working Group co-chair. Her recognition by Apolitical was a credit to the IPCC for recognising the value of people who can bridge various knowledge communities and ensure better integration between the priorities of both.

Roberts hoped that this recognition would encourage UKZN to train and nurture people capable of crossing boundaries and operating in transdisciplinary areas, adding tremendous value and influence by doing so. She also hoped it would inspire her colleagues in the Municipality, who she encouraged to use their knowledge to influence the global debate on climate policy.

Speaking from her experience at both local practice and global science levels, Roberts said the big message in climate policy now was that no-one could sit this one out.

‘You cannot delegate responsibility for climate action to your councillor, local government or a national department; everyone needs to be involved and we are either all in, and acting according to our various resources and abilities, or we don’t solve this particular problem.

‘Science is an absolutely essential part of the toolbox in dealing with the climate change challenge,’ said Roberts, ‘and there is real pressure on science to make itself more accessible, where producers of scientific knowledge ensure practitioners can access and use it to make decisions.’

The Durban Office of the WGII TSU is facing its busiest year in the current cycle with three special reports coming out, and those on land and on the oceans and cryosphere particularly involving the Durban Office. The Office is also actively planning its outreach activities in Africa to increase awareness of the IPCC and its products, and to take science to where it is needed.

The Office is supported by the Government of South Africa, represented by the Department of Environmental Affairs, with financial support from the governments of Norway, Germany and New Zealand.

UKZN, as host, provides infrastructure and financial support for related postdoctoral research.

Words: Christine Cuenod 

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UKZN Puts Transformation Under Microscope

UKZN Puts Transformation Under Microscope
Panellists and UKZN staff at the Dialogue on Transformation hosted at the Westville campus.

UKZN hosted an instalment of its Dialogue series titled: Unpacking UKZN’s Perspectives of Transformation in the 25th Year of Democracy: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going? The debate was hosted on the University’s Westville campus in the run up to Human Rights Day.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Busi Ncama, said transformation aimed to “eradicate the legacy of apartheid”, reminding the audience that lack of access for rural students was of particular importance for universities in South Africa.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Professor Sandile Songca, examined the Curriculum Perspective during the robust debate, saying a key mandate of universities was to ensure talented students became ‘impactful members of society.’ Songca emphasised the need to produce job creators rather than job seekers and advocated life-long learning.

Representing the labour perspective, Chairperson of the staff union UKSU Mr Raymond Parkies said the culture of the University needed to be ‘fostered as per the Transformation Charter.’ Parkies said transformation would be achieved ‘if we all work together.’

Law lecturer Ms Lindiwe Maqutu cautioned against an ideology that ‘propagates white supremacy.’ She emphasised the importance of remembering that modern South Africa was founded on racism and suggested that historical context was taken into consideration when examining transformation.

PhD intern at UKZN’s Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit and well-known social and political analyst, Mr Lukhona Mnguni, critiqued transformation charters which he said were often generic and ‘don’t even do the bare minimum that they promise.’

UKZN academic Dr Lubna Nadvi examined the political and gender perspective, reflecting on roles the founding universities of UKZN - the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville - played in the emancipation of the country.

Nadvi asked: ‘Where are the Bikos and the Rick Turners of today – do they even exist?’

She also discussed toxic masculinity and said the University needed to create a platform for staff and students to engage on matters relating to gender-based violence.

Co-ordinator at UKZN’s Aerotropolis Institute Africa Dr Rudi Kimmie explored transformation and the economic perspective, saying ‘transformation doesn’t live in a democracy, transformation lives inside of you.’ He encouraged those present to pursue excellence and to fully use the 86 400 seconds we are all given every day.

The dialogue was hosted by UKZN’s Corporate Relations division as part of the University’s efforts in advancing transformation and the REACHt principles.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

Photograph: Albert Hirasen

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Ucwaningo Luthole Ukuthi Kunesidingo Sokwandisa Ukuphepha Ekubeletheni Ngomthungo e-Afrika

Ucwaningo Luthole Ukuthi Kunesidingo Sokwandisa Ukuphepha Ekubeletheni Ngomthungo e-Afrika
uDkt David Bishop osanda kwenza ucwaningo oluqhakambise isidingo sokwandiswa kokuphepha ngesikhathi sokubeletha ngomthungo.Click here for English version

Imiphumela yocwaningo luqhakambise isidingo sokwandiswa kokuphepha ngesikhathi sokubeletha ngomthungo.

U-Dkt David Bishop, oyi-Honorary Clinical Associate eMnyangweni WezokuBulala imiZwa Yomuntu Okwesikhashana, uwumbhali wocwaningo oluthi Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes after Caesarean Delivery in the African Surgical Outcomes Study: a 7-day Prospective Observational Cohort Study, olusanda kushicilelwa emqulwini ohlonishwayo wezesayensi i-The Lancet Global Health.

Imiphumela yalolu cwaningo iqhakambisa isidingo sokwandisa kokuphepha ngesikhathi sokubeletha ngomthungo, phecelezi i-Caesarean section, ikakhulu ngenxa yokuthi lokhu kuhlinza kuvamile e-Afrika.

Lolu cwaningo, olubandakanye omame abayizi-3 500, lwenziwe ezibhedlela ezingama-183 emazweni angama-22 ase-Afrika. Kulinganiselwa kumaphesenti angama-40 izibhedlela zaseNingizimu Afrika, kuthi kuzo zibe yi-14 eziKwaZulu-Natali ezibhekiwe kulolu cwaningo.

Ucwaningo luveze ukuthi owesifazane oyedwa kwabayisithupha uba nenkinga ngemuva kokubeletha, okuyisibalo esiphindwe kathathu kwesabesifazane baseMelika ababa nezinkinga zokubeletha ngomthungo. Kutholakale ukuthi ukopha ngesikhathi kuhlinzwa noma ngemuva kokuhlinzwa yinkinga evamile e-Afrika. 

Ephawula ngemiphumela yocwaningo lwakhe, u-Bishop uthe: ‘Ukuphucula imiphumela yokubeletha ngomthungo kungasiza ukunciphisa izinga lokushona komama nabantwana, okungenza isimo sibe ngcono kwezempilo emhlabeni. Ucwaningo lwethu lungaba wusizo ekuphuculeni izinga lokuphepha ekubeletheni ngomuthungo kukamama nosana. Ezindaweni okudingeka kugxilwe kuzo kubalwa ukusheshe kubonakale ingozi (njengokopha), ukunciphisa isikali somjovo wokubulala imizwa yomuntu ikakhulu lapho lilincane igazi, ukuphucula isimo sokutholakala kwegazi nemikhiqizo yegazi ehlala isikhathi eside, nezindlela ezintsha zokuqeqesha abantu abajova abangebona odokotela kanye nosizo olutholakala kwi-internet noluphathekayo.’

Lolu cwaningo luyingxenye yomsebenzi omkhulu owaziwa ngokuthi yi-African Surgical Outcomes Study (i-ASOS) obheka imiphumela yokuhlinzwa kuzo zonke iziguli esikhathini esiyisonto ezibhedlela ezingama-247 emazweni angama-25 ase-Afrika. Inhloso yalolu cwaningo olubanzi lwase-Afrika wukuqhamuka nekhambi lokwehlisa izinga lokushona kwabantu e-Afrika yonkana. Kulolu cwaningo, kutholakale ukuthi ukubeletha ngomthungo wokuhlinza kuvame kakhulu kunezinye izindlela zokuhlinzwa.

Lolu cwaningo luveze ukuthi ukuhlinzwa okuningi wukubeletha ngomthungo lapho abantu besifazane besuke sebevele besengcupheni yokuba nezinkinga zokuhlinzwa. Abacwaningi bathole ukuthi kunesidingo sokuphucula indlela yokuhlinza, nempatho yongoti nendlela yokuhlinzwa ephephile yokuhlinza abantu besifazane ngenkathi bebeletha ngomthungo.

Eminye imiphumela yocwaningo iveze ukuthi kunokuntuleka kokunakekelwa ongoti, lapho kunongoti owu-0.7 obheke abantu abayi-100 000. Izibhedlela ezibhekiwe bezinongoti abathathu bezifo zabantu besifazane, odokotela abahlinzayo abathathu, nodokotela ababulala imizwa yomuntu ababili vo. Cishe uyedwa kwabane umuntu wesifazane ojovwa wumuntu ongesiye ungoti wokujova, kanti njengoba ukushona okungamaphesenti ali-10 kwenzeka ngenkathi abantu bejovelwa ukubeletha ngomthungo, abacwaningi baqhakambise isidingo sokuhlinza okuphephile kubantu besifazane ababeletha ngomthungo.

‘Okuxakayo wukuthi njengoba amazwe amaningi ehlose ukunciphisa izinga lokubeletha ngomthungo kodwa e-Afrika ukubeletha ngomthungo kusahamba phambili. E-sub-Saharan Africa ukubeletha ngomthungo kumile kumaphesenti awu-3.5 nakuba leli zinga lehla emhlabeni. Ukuphucula indlela yokuthola usizo lokuhlinzwa ingasiza iziguli ukuthi zigweme ukugula ngemuva kokuhlinzwa, kugwemeke nokufa kodwa kumqoka ukuthi lobu bungcono buhambisane nezinhlelo ezihlose ukuphucula ukuphepha kwabantu ababeletha ngomthungo, ’ kusho uSolwazi Bruce Biccard, obehola ithimba labacwaningi.

U-Biccard wayeyi-Associate Professor e-UKZN eMnyangweni wezokubulala imizwa uma kuhlinzwa kanti manje usese-University of Cape Town emnyangweni ofanayo.

U-Bishop, owungoti wezokujova uma kuhlinzwa oyi-District Clinical Specialist eMgungundlovu District eKwaZulu-Natali, uyi-Honorary Clinical Associate eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali. Ugxile ekuhlinzeni abantu besifazane, ukujova abashile nabakhubazeke imizwa. Uwumhloli we-NCCEMD wesifundazwe nomengameli we-Obstetric Anaesthesia Special Interest Society. Usanda kwenza ucwaningo lweziqu zobudokotela ngezindlela zokuhlinza umgogodla ezimweni lapho kuntuleka izinsizakusebenza. 

Amagama: ngu-MaryAnn Francis no-Dkt David Bishop

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Abafundi base-UKZN Badle Ubhedu Emncintiswaneni Wokuphathwa Kwendle

Abafundi base-UKZN Badle Ubhedu Emncintiswaneni Wokuphathwa Kwendle
Akade bekwi-University Challenge benza into yabo ngamabhulashi okuhlanza indlu encane emzuliswaneni wokuqala.Click here for English version

Abafundi ababili be-Pollution Research Group (i-PRG) bebesemathimbeni aphume phambili naphume isibili kwi-University Challenge engqungutheleni yesihlanu ye-Faecal Sludge Management (i-FSM5) e-Cape Town.

Umfundi weziqu zeMastazi, uMnu Martin Mawejje nomfudi weziqu zobuDokotela, uNks Danica Naidoo, bebeqhudelana namathimba abantu abathathu ngalinye bakwamanye amazwe.

Emqhudelwaneni bekungenele amanyuvesi ayishumi abafundi baseNingizimu Afrika, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Indonesia, eJalimane, nase-United Kingdom, eMelika nase-Brazil. Emiklomelweni kukhona ukuya ezingqungqutheleni zaphesheya eminyakeni emibili ezayo, izincwadi, amathikithi okuthenga izincwadi mahhala nezinye izimpahla.

Umqhudelwano ubenezigaba ezimbili; esokuqala kuyimibuzo okukhethwayo kuyo ngokuphathwa kodaka lwendle (i-FSM) nesigaba sezimo ezihlukene ngezimo ezithinta i-FSM okukhona kuyo okobuchwepheshe, okwezomnotho, okwezamasiko, nezenhlalo.

Amathimba abephathiswe amabhulashi okuhlanza indlini encane ukuthi awaphakamise uma eseyitholile impendulo esigabeni sokuqala.

USolwazi Chris Buckley wase-PRG, noSolwazi Juliet Willetts wase-University of Technology e-Sydney, e-Australia, kade bengamajaji.

UNks Sarah Hennessy, omunye wabahleli bomncintiswano, uthe unethemba lokuthi lo mcimbi uzosiza abafundi bahlangane nabalingani babo ezingqungqutheleni zalo mkhakha, kuthi ngaleyo ndlela kwande abantu abazana nabo emkhakheni wabo.

UNaidoo wenza iziqu zobuDokotela kwi-Chemical Engineering, lapho egxile khona emkhakheni wamanzi nokukhucululwa kwendle. Njengomuntu owungoti ezilwaneni ezincela igazi lezilwane eziphila kuzo, ucwaningo lwakhe lugxile emagciwaneni atholakala enhlabathini okudala izifo ezitholakala emanzini nasemanzini endle.

‘Izikelemu zasenhlabathini yizikelemu ezitholakala ngamaqanda amancane akhula, achamisele, azalane kumuntu ngaphakathi kanti ngezinye zezilwane ezinamandla ezitholakala odakeni lwendle,’ kusho yena.

UNaidoo wenza ucwaningo ngamathuba obuchwepheshe obushisayo obungabulala lezi zikelemu bese ehlola le ndlela yokubala nokukala amaqanda ezikelemu odakeni lwendle ukuze enze izincomo ngendlela ehambisana neyamanye amazwe ye-International Organisation for Standardisation.

UNaidoo wethule uqwembe ngocwaningo lwakhe, wabamba iqhaza esithangamini ngesikhathi sengqungquthela.

UMawejje wenza i-Mastazi kwi-Chemical Engineering, lapho ecwaninga khona amandla esivinini, namandla okomisa ngelanga udaka lwendle. Uhlose ukufafaza ukusetshenziswa kwendlela yokomisa udaka lwendle ngendlela kagesi welanga okuyindlela yokonga imvelo.

Ucwaningo luka Mawejje luzosiza emkhankasweni womhlaba wokuqinisekisa izindlela zokukhuculula indle eziphephile nezonga imvelo emazweni asathuthuka njengeNingizimu Afrika, lapho khona izindlela ezijwayelekile zingawenzi ngendlela umsebenzi lapho kudlange khona ukufudukela emadolobheni kwabantu okwandisa le nkinga ngokwanda kwemijondolo.

Amagama: ngu-Christine Cuénod

Isithombe: Sithunyelwe wu-Danica Naidoo

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Indlela Entsha “egqugquzelayo” Yokufundisa

Indlela Entsha “egqugquzelayo” Yokufundisa
Abanye abafundisayo abasanda kuphothula izifundo ze-ACT Blended Learning.Click here for English version

‘Ukugqugquzela ngendlela emangalisayo’, ‘encomekayo’, ‘ekhuthazayo’ ngamanye amagama okungavamile ukuthi ayamaniswe nokufunda nokufundisa. 

Ngenkathi lapho isibalo sabafundi sehlile nabafundisa enyuvesi bebhekene nezimo ezinzima ngenxa yokuphazamiseka kwezifundo, kulula ukuphosa ithawula. Kepha la magama angenhla ngamanye amagama asetshenziswa abafundisayo uma bechaza ngokuqeda kwabo izifundo ze-ACT Blended Learning kwi-internet ngonyaka odlule.

Ngesigamu sesibili sonyaka wokufunda ngonyaka wezi-2018, iKolishi LeziFundo ZezoMthetho kanye neHhovisi Lenyuvesi LezokuFunda NokuFundisa (UTLO) baqale umkhankaso wokukhuthaza abafundisayo ukuthi babheke izindlela ezintsha zokufundisa besebenzisa ubuchwepheshe. Ngemuva kokuya esithangamini esicija ngendlela entsha yokufundisa ngobuchwepheshe, izisebenzi zaseNyuvesi ziye kwi-MOOC (okuyizifundo nge-internet) ezibacije ngokuthi kufundiswa kanjani kusetshenziswa ubuchwepheshe ngendlela esebenza ngendlela efanele.

Abanye babafundisayo bexoxa ngokuthi bekunjani bathe:

‘I-ACT MOOC ibiyisifundo esimnandi. Ibingemnandi kuphela kodwa futhi ibithinta izinto eziphathelene nesikhathi samanje ibuye ikhulume ngezinto ezibonakalayo! Umsebenzi wesikole ube wusizo olukhulu osiza ngokuthi izinto ezisencwadini zibonakale. Impela ngiyayincoma,’ kusho uDkt Kerry McCullough wase-School of Accounting.

‘Lesi sifundo simnandi isibili! Senza ngibe magange ukufundisa kanti angingabazi ukuthi abafundi bami bazothakasa ukulandela indlela ye-ACT ezifundweni zabo,’ kusho uDkt Dalene Vosloo wase-School of Life Sciences.

‘I-ACT MOOC nge-Blended Learning ihlanganisa ukuhola ngendlela ekhuthazayo, ukuthuthukisa ikhono nomuntu uqobo kusetshenziswa ubuchwepheshe ukwenza imfundo ibe mnandi. Le ndlela entsha igcwele ubumnandi ibe ishintsha indlela yokufundisa ngobuchwepheshe,’ kusho uSolwazi Brian McArthur, iBamba lePhini likaShansela eKolishi LezeziFundo ZezoMthetho NokuPhatha.

Akubanga yisifundo ‘esimnandi’, 'nesikhuthazayo’ kuphela kodwa okunye okuhle kube wumphumela esibe nawo endleleni yokufundisa. Ofundisa izifundo zomthetho uphefumule wathi: ‘Ikilasi lonke beliphelele kulezi zifundo. Kube yinto emangazayo, abantu behleli phansi phambili kwegumbi lokufundela. Angikholwanga.’

Omunye ofundisayo, ekhuluma ngabafundi bakhe uthe ‘bavele baphaphama isidumo’. Bathakase kakhulu ngokushesha, kanti omunye ofundisayo uxoxe nge-email ebiphuma kumfundi emva kokuzama le ndlela yokufunda okokuqala. Ibithi: ‘Isifundo sanamuhla besenza umuntu abambe iqhaza, simnandi ngendlela engachazeki. Angikaze ngibe sesifundweni esimnandi kanje yonke le minyaka emine ngilapha enyuvesi.’

Ubumnandi bebungalele ekufundiseni kuphela. Kunomfundi obhale wathi: ‘Ngibhala le ncwadi ukuthi ngibonge (futhi). Lapha kukhona nomsebenzi wami wesikole wesithathu kanti ngijabule kakhulu ngaso. Ngimagange kabi ukubona kuthi kuzolandelani. Kade kwagcina ukuthi kube nesasasa elingaka ngezivivinyo! Umphumela ongahlosiwe kodwa omnandi. Abungatshazwa ubuhle balokho okwenziwa lapha. Kube yindlela emnandi yokusonga isonto.’

Yiloku kanye okwenza umsebenzi wothu thisha ube mnandi, uthi cosololo.

Uma ufisa ukukhuthazeka, bheka ividiyo emfishane ku: http://bit.do/incrediblyinsane.

Izindaba ezimnandi zithi kunezinye izifundo ze-ACT Blended Learning MOOC eziqala ngoMbasa mhla wesi-8 kuya kumhla wesi-2 kuNhlangulana. Lezo zifundo ziyoqala ngesithangami sokucijwa mhla wesi-8 kuMbasa, bese kuthi isigaba esilandelayo sokufunda senzeke kwi-internet. Inkokhelo ye-Blended Learning MOOC iphuma kwi-UTLO okuyithuba eliyingqayizivele kubafundi nabafundisi abambalwa base-UKZN.

Uma ufisa ukufaka isicelo sokwenza lezi zifundo, gcwalisa ifomu emfishane ku: http://bit.do/ukznmooc ngaphambi komhla wama-29 kuNdasa. Izikhala ziyotholakala ngokulandelana kokufaka isicelo. Niyokwaziswa masisha ngezicelo zenu.

Ngeminye imininingwane, thumela i-email kuDkt Craig Blewett ku blewett@ukzn.ac.za

Amagama: ngu-Craig Blewett 

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The UKZN Griot. Stress, Illness and Early Retirement

The UKZN Griot. Stress, Illness and Early Retirement
The last offering of The UKZN Griot in UKZNdaba Online as the publication prepares for a new column set to feature various voices within UKZN.

Academic work has a rapidly increasing half-life while the half-life of academics is becoming a serious problem. Unless this is arrested there will be none of us left. 

But the madness – what I diagnose as academentia - continues. Here is a letter from the Editor of the journal Visual Anthropology, a retiree, to his editorial board:

Dear Colleagues,

… Universities are expecting people to perform or perish … Denmark, for example, declared that 1 book = 2.5 articles, and that edited volumes and reviews don’t count for anything … What it means for reviewing is that you Editors might get your best results by pursuing senior or retired experts who are no longer concerned with chalking up points; alternatively, you may have some luck with graduate students, who also may be very up to date on the literatures.’

Globally, academics are wilting under stress: 60-80 hour working weeks, and not surprisingly, dying prematurely, falling ill and taking early retirement, with B&Bs being the preferred option. Ex-UKZN Professor Gregory Kamwendo was assassinated at UniZulu, allegedly for exposing a campus-based syndicate issuing fraudulent PhDs [1].

Campus massacres are common in the United States. On February 12, 2010, an assistant professor of Biology at the University of Alabama shot six colleagues at a routine departmental meeting. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website debated the larger, often unspoken context of stressful academic work culture.[2a] [2b] [2c] Anonymous Academic, published in The Guardian in March 2014 describes the funeral of ‘J’ a British PhD student who committed suicide. The blogger wondered if the stress of doctoral work had caused his colleague’s suicide. The blog attracted a massive response.[3]

We all know colleagues who have died too young. We all know that academia actually does make one ill. Just ask any health service provider in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Just consult the articles listed below. No, they are not peer reviewed. They are cries from the heart.

Why not peer-reviewed? Because few - other than retired academics - are available to do peer reviews any more. It’s only the published article that counts. Doing peer reviews detracts from actually writing, submitting and arguing with editors who want an appropriate review. And, when reviewers take a year to assess a single submission, we know we are in trouble. The epidemic of recent article retractions – especially in the sciences - is indicative of the managerial push to publish and perish. This is not fake science but potentially good science managed badly.

Thank God for the Academy of Science for South Africa and the Department of Higher Education and Training that do not stipulate minimums nor offer equivalence ratios between formats. Quality, not quantity; increased research capacity, not depletion through exhaustion, and global competitiveness, not parochial myopia, should be driving criteria. But who is listening? The Danish degrading of books and edited anthologies serves no-one and ramps up intolerable pressure on journals.

Let’s not again mention the predators opportunistically servicing this insanity. Soon those of us who are voluntary editors will balk as we who are the unpaid cash cows enabling our authors to feed the publication subsidy millions into universities while we work on shoestrings, with little or no recognition from the institutions that employ us.[4] Even our authors think of us just as cogs in a machine. ‘Write, you fool,’ might be the auditor’s instruction; do not edit, do not peer review, do not engage your peers through commentary, book reviews or interventions - the exemplar resisting this instrumentalism is the South African Journal of Science. Only production-line products - ‘accredited’ of course - will count and be counted. And so academentia takes its toll.

Some manager somewhere will decide that machines can be programmed to conduct peer reviews. Since they will not be human, but post human, they will assess articles without fear or favour, immediately and thus will Elon Musk’s warnings about artificial intelligence come to pass. Soon, as with the predators, academics will be paying machines to write their articles also, and cybernetics will be king. And so, academics will be supplanted as the machines read other machines. 

To conclude with Chisolm’s Third Law, Corollary 4: No matter how long or how many times you explain, no-one is listening.

That’s how I feel. Academics, administrators and support staff always comment (reflectively) on my columns, management hardly ever!

The Griot column terminates today. It has been running for 10 years and all good things must come to an end. Back copies will soon be compiled into a single table and made available on the SAHS web page.

The column generated many hundreds of responses, was syndicated and re-reported on other websites, cited by various scholars; and a number of the columns have been revised into chapters, articles and a book that will be published later in the year. 

During the same period as the Griot was published I noticed a similar trend amongst my colleagues internationally where academics from a variety of disciplines increasingly are resorting to satire to characterise academentia, that is now a global pandemic. A cure must be found.

My thanks to UKZN Corporate Relations for facilitating the column, for its support and its managing of a very important institutional public sphere through a very difficult period of transition. And, what is most remarkable is that Corporate Relations kept the presses turning even through the arson attack on its offices some years ago, having to relocate, reorganise and regroup.

Now that’s real commitment and professionalism. The value of UKZNdabaOnline cannot be over-estimated.

Everyone should be writing for it.

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



[2a]The demoralisation of SA’s Academic Staff, http://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/sas-demoralized-academic-staffby a former UKZN staffer,

[2b]The Travelling Supervisor, The Witness, 8 June 2018, p.8 by a current UKZN staffer;

[2c]and the obedient robots once known as academic staff. http://www.scottishreview.net/JillStephenson118.shtml


[4]See Perverse incentives and the political economy of South African academic journal publishing‘(Click on title) or access via https://www.sajs.co.za/article/view/4341


Further Reading

The demoralisation of SA’s Academic Staff


By a former UKZN staffer.

The Travelling Supervisor, The Witness, 8 June 2018, p.8. By a current UKZN staffer .… and the obedient robots once known as academic staff.


http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2014/mar/06/mental-health-academics-growing-problem-pressure-university?CMP=fb_gu http://www.educationviews.org/dark-thoughts-mental-illness-rise-academia/, by Academics Anonymous, the blog that started this discussion

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Safari Experience for Astronomers

Safari Experience for Astronomers
2019 Cosmology on Safari conference delegates.

Getting leading international Astrophysicists to go on safari together does not happen very often but UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit did just that when they held another installment of their extremely popular Cosmology on Safari conference events.

The conference was attended by local astronomers as well as colleagues from Harvard University in the United States, the University of Cambridge in England, the University of Sydney in Australia, and several other leading institutions who presented their research, discussed problems and - during downtime - went on safari together.

The Anew Hotel Hluhluwe & Safaris near the popular Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal was the venue for the conference held to discuss relevant theories, datasets and the future direction of cosmology - the study of how the universe is expanding.

Scientists debated fascinating topics such as dark matter and dark energy, supernovae, and the large scale structure of the universe.

With the conference bringing together experts in a wide variety of fields, discussions effectively shed more light on these phenomena as well as generating possible solutions for important questions in astronomy.

The conference gave South African postgraduate students an opportunity to interact with distinguished international research leaders in astronomy, in particular students being trained to work on UKZN’s HIRAX telescope who engaged in face-to-face collaborations with international colleagues.

‘A wide variety of topics in cosmology were covered by leading experts. A highlight for me was seeing the latest results from cosmic microwave background experiments searching for the polarised signal due to primordial gravitational waves,’ said UKZN Astrophysicist and member of the local organising committee, Professor Matt Hilton.

Words: Bavani Naidoo 

Photograph: Kabelo Kesebonye

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Latin Heat & Flamenco Show at UKZN

Latin Heat & Flamenco Show at UKZN
Performers in the show Latin Heat & Flamenco at the Jazz Centre.

UKZN Music lecturer, Mr Demi Fernandez, performed alongside his wife, Linda Vargas and son, Ramon, at the UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music for one show only on Saturday, 23 March 2019.

The Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company brought together international and local artists of the highest calibre for the performance titled: Latin Heat & Flamenco.

Flamenco, in its purist form, comprises three elements: dance (baile), singing (cante) and guitar (guitarra).

Ramon, currently making a name for himself dancing in Spain, brought his powerfully inimitable style to the evening, accompanied by the true flamenco singing of the internationally acclaimed Domingo Ortega. 

Music was provided by an impressive line-up of musicians.

Flamenco guitar maestro Fernandez has spent many years living and performing in flamenco Tablaos in Spain and has featured as a leading flamenco guitarist with numerous South African and international Spanish dance companies.

As resident guitarist for the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company, Fernandez was joined by longtime collaborator and UKZN lecturer, Mr Neil Gonsalves, on piano; Bryan Stone (percussion); UKZN student, Riley Giandhari (drums); and Micale Maduray (bass).

With their high level of performance innovation, creativity and professionalism, the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, continue to build a loyal and extensive following in South Africa.

Words: Melissa Mungroo and Wesley Maherry

Photographs: Val Adamson

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Abafundi Bezobuciko Bakhangise kwi-Works in Progress

Abafundi Bezobuciko Bakhangise kwi-Works in Progress
Imisebenzi yobuciko yabafundi embukisweni e-Jack Heath Gallery eMgungundlovu.Click here for isizulu version

I-Centre for Visual Art (i-CVA) yase-UKZN isanda kuba nombukiso i-Works in Progress exhibit e-Jack Heath Gallery eMgungundlovu, lapho khona abafundi abenza iziqu zeMastazi nobuDokotela emikhakheni yabo beqhakambise umsebenzi wobuciko asebewenzile kusukela unyaka uqalile.

Umbukiso ubuhlelwe ngabafundi abebekhangisa ngomsebenzi wabo besizwa ngochwepheshe base-CVA abangoMnu Khulekani Cele (wezokugaya iphepha) noMnu Tsholofelo Moche (wezobumba).

UDkt Jessica Draper ofundisa e-CVA uthe: ‘Sekuthi akube yisiko kubafundi bethu beziqu eziphezulu ukuthi bakhangise ngomsebenzi wabo njalo ekuqaleni kwekota yokuqala yonyaka, kanti lo mbukiso bekungomusha. Unika abafundi ithuba lokuthi bakhangise ngomsebenzi wabo. Umfundi ngamunye uthola ithuba lokusebenza ngomsebenzi asuke ewenza ngaleso sikhathi, kanti ngaleyo ndlela, abafundi bathola ithuba lokuphuma egumbini lobuciko baphumele ngaphandle, bezwe ukuthi abantu bathini ngomsebenzi wabo.’

Umsebenzi womfundi onguNks May Okafor ubheka umsebenzi wobumba ngokwezizigaba zokukhula komuntu. Ubheka indlela umphakathi obuka ngayo ukukhula komuntu. ‘Kulo msebenzi wobuciko, ngibumbe ubumba ngezandla zami ngase ngifaka iminwe yami, okuyisifengqo sendlela abantu abakhula ngayo ngemicimbi yokukhulisa umuntu,’ kusho yena.

Omunye umfundi ongumahluleli eNkantolo yezabaSebenzi yaseNingizimu Afrika, uMnu David Gush, ukhangise ngomsebenzi wakho othiwa yi-WHAAAAAAT. ‘Lo msebenzi ungezinto eziningi eziwumbhedo ezikhulunywa ngabantu ezinkundleni zokuxhumana. Ko “makalabha” ngisebenzisa ubumba oluthile ukuqhathanisa amandla nobuthakathaka,’ kusho yena.

UNks Penny Forder, owenza ucwaningo lweziqu zeMastazi, usebenzise imifanekiso ebheka imizwa engenamagama ukubheka izinto ezithinta amathuba, imizwa nokuba wumuntu wesifazane.

Amagama: ngu-Melissa Mungroo 

Isithombe: Sithunyelwe wu-Paul Hildyard

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UKZN Research in Swayimane Profiled

UKZN Research in Swayimane Profiled
Representatives from UKZN, SALGA and uMDM at Swayime.

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) recently toured sites at Swayimane as part of a visit to profile the uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s (uMDM) uMngeni Resilience Project (URP) which UKZN is involved in.

The URP is a climate change adaptation project led by the uMDM in partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES). The global Adaptation Fund finances the project through SANBI with development targets including the implementation of early warning systems, climate proofing settlements and enabling climate resilient agriculture.

The UMDM faces high climate change risks and the URP aims to reduce vulnerability faced by communities and small-scale farmers in the municipality’s area by building up their resilience to climate change.

The visit by SALGA began with discussions and an overview of SALGA and uMDM programmes at the municipality’s offices in Pietermaritzburg and included an interview with uMDM Mayor Cllr Thobekile Maphumulo.

The SALGA and uMDM teams then went to Swayimane where they were welcomed by UKZN staff and postgraduates working at research sites in the area. At a local high school, they met small-scale farmers and youth who were busy planting green peppers and onions; employing intercropping as a technique to maximise land productivity, soil fertility management as well as to provide protection against pests and disease.

‘We want to encourage organic farming where people don’t have a lot of land or resources and are exploring alternatives to conventional fertilisers, such as using kraal manure and intercropping techniques,’ said UKZN’s Professor Albert Modi, who is project leader for the URP.

URP Co-ordinator Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi explained that project leaders were promoting agriculture that conserved water in the soil, while Modi added that they encouraged year-round planting by investigating crop water use to advise on which crops to plant when, since climate change was producing periods of heavier rainfall as well as periods of drought.

Guests viewed the Agrometeorological Instrumentation Mast (AIM) linked to soybean crop trials, with Modi explaining its usefulness for teaching in the high school and how researchers were acquiring indigenous knowledge in the area.

Mabhaudhi said information from the system warns farmers about the potential for events such as mudslides or conditions including disease pressure. Modi added that the multi-year URP was also enabling researchers to collect data over time to make recommendations.

PhD candidate Ms Maqsooda Mohamed showed visitors the unique lightning warning system installed at Swayimana High School, explaining how it alerts the community in danger areas to the threat posed by lightning.

Visitors also had the opportunity to visit the school’s computer LAN, containing equipment donated by the URP to enhance teaching and learning for scholars.

URP Project Manager Ms Lungi Ndlovu thanked stakeholders for their attendance and UKZN for its interest in the project. SALGA’s Acting Programme Manager for Municipal Infrastructure, Ms Slindile Maphumulo, thanked the uMDM and the community of Swayimane for the opportunity to see the area as well as Mayor Maphumulo for her time.

Swayimana High School Principal Mr Mkhizwana Dlamini expressed his gratitude to the visitors from SALGA, UKZN and the uMDM on behalf of the school and its governing body; saying the school felt empowered by the URP project on its grounds.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod 

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High Level Delegation Visits UKZN

High Level Delegation Visits UKZN
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation delegation with staff from UKZN’s PRG (left); a delegation from CalTech and EconSan (top right); as well as students from Olin College during a visit to UKZN.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Pollution Research Group (PRG) recently hosted a high-level delegation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Alongside this visit, the PRG also hosted delegations from the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and their project partners Yixing Eco-sanitary Manufacturers (EcoSan), the SaniPath research team from Emory University, and students from the Olin College of Engineering.

The visit by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) continues to strengthen the partnership developed initially through an invitation to PRG’s Head, Professor Chris Buckley, in 2008 and 2009 as one of the three experts consulted by the Foundation on the advancement of sanitation solutions for developing countries.

The PRG under the School of Engineering, is globally renowned for its cutting edge innovative research in the management of water resources, waste water reclamation, the impact of effluents on local environments, sanitation systems, faecal sludge management, and other water-related environmental issues. One of the PRGs’ main projects, the Engineering Field Testing Platform (EFT), is linked to the BMGF’s Reinvent the Toilet (RTT) Challenge, a competition launched in 2011 to encourage the development of technological solutions that will bring safe, affordable sanitation to the estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide currently unserved.

This EFT platform allows for the prototypes developed under the RTT challenge to be tested in a real world environment in Durban with the support of the PRG, UKZN Development Studies, the eThekwini Municipality and Khanyisa Projects. A second key project funded by the BMGF is the development of a book on methods for the analysis of faecal sludge which is a collaborative project with Sandec, IHE Delft and the Asian Institute of Technology. The high level team from the BMGF spent time with the PRG to visit the field testing sites and have discussions around the various projects involving the group, UKZN and other external institutions.

The group together with BMGF, CalTech, EcoSan, Emory University and Olin College just returned from the 5th International Faecal Sludge Management (FSM5) and AfricaSan five conference in Cape Town. The FSM5 conference (for which PRG was an organising member), in partnership with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), brought together professionals working in the sector, including utilities, service providers, cities, governments, academics, scientists, consultants, donors and industries, to support the global initiative of disseminating sustainable solutions for faecal sludge management.

‘It made sense that the group would co-organise this joint FSM5 and AfricaSan5 conference as it provided access to a unique synergistic program that combined political will with technical, practical, and academic expertise,’ said Buckley.

Staff and students of the PRG, as well as other project partners showcased their work at the conference in the form of oral presentations or posters and PRG also hosted three workshops on (i)the EFT platform, (ii) drying and dewatering of faecal sludge, and (iii) the methods for the analysis of faecal sludge.

According to Project Manager Susan Mercer, the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) partnered with EcoSan, a private company in China, to develop an ecological sanitation system as part of the BMGF’s RTT Challenge.The system is undergoing testing under the EFT platform by PRG engineers, in a community and school in Durban. The Caltech/EcoSan team came to discuss the future testing plan of the system with the PRG team.

The Emory University SaniPath team of four academics lead by Professor Christine Moe met with water, sanitation and health professionals and academics in Durban in order to undertake preliminary assessments for a detailed study later in 2019. A total of 10 neighbourhoods will be selected in which a detailed assessment of possible faecal E Coli transmission routes will be quantified prior to undertaking a detailed sampling and microbial analysis and risk assessment. In essence the study will answer the question “how much shit does an average person ingest per day under the 100 selected scenarios”. Following the study, the city will be in a far stronger position to plan strategic interventions.

The Olin College of Engineering students says Mercer, attended FSM5 and then travelled to Durban to hold a workshop with some of PRG’s students, with particular reference to pit emptying. The Olin students have a conveyance project aimed at improving emptying pit latrines and by combining the brain power of the Olin and PRG students, ideas to develop a cost-effective conveyance system for faecal sludge during pit emptying were identified. The group also benefitted from expanding their networks and the potential for cross-learning and collaboration in the future.

‘There are a number of other exciting projects lined up for 2019 and beyond. Many of these are collaborative projects with other UKZN disciplines such as Crop Science and Development Studies, the Water Research Commission, who are our key partner in many of our projects, as well as international organisations such as Laboratory Alliance and Global Sanitation Graduate School, ETH Zurich, Emory University, Cranfield University, University of West England, University of South Florida, CalTech, Swansea University, Duke University, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE, India), Tüv Süd and Umeå University among others. Plans are moving forward to develop courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level on sanitation and PRG is in the process of applying to become a Research Centre within UKZN,’ said Buckley.

Words and photograph: Christian Ishimwe 

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UKZN Gears up to Host Annual Jazz Jol

UKZN Gears up to Host Annual Jazz Jol
Artists who will perform at the upcoming UKZN Jazz Jol.

Renowned musician Professor Darius Brubeck, who founded the UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music 30 years ago will be at the 31st annual UKZN Jazz Jol on Saturday, 6 April.

Funds generated from the Jol this year will be donated to the Durban chapter of Amnesty International. ‘This is an appropriate way to recognise the support of our local community for our student scholarship over these many years,’ said Jazz lecturer, Mr Neil Gonsalves. ‘It also thanks them with funds going to the newly-established chapters of Amnesty International at the UKZN School of Law, the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, and six local schools to set them on the path in their efforts to fight for human rights.’

Besides a performance by Brubeck, the concert will feature the UKZN Big Band as well as a host of Durban-based alumni, including Melvin Peters, Sazi Dlamini and SKOKIANA, Andile Yenana, Debbie and George Mari, Mfana Mlambo, and Natalie Rungan.

Anchoring proceedings will be bass player, Ildo Nandja who is visiting from the Netherlands where he is currently registered for a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies; and drummers, Riley Giandhari and Bruce Baker.

The Jol starts at 7pm on April 6 with entrance costing R100, reducing to R80 for pensioners and R50 for students with a student card.

Phone Thuli on (031) 260 3385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za for more details.

Melissa Mungroo 

Photograph: Supplied

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Mduduzi Back on Home Soil After Finland Stint

Mduduzi Back on Home Soil After Finland Stint
Mr Mduduzi Khoza (insert) who attended Abo Akademi University as an exchange student. The University is built around the Cathedral (seen in the main photograph), the tallest building in Turku, Finland.

Bachelor of Theology student, Mr Mduduzi Khoza, recently returned from Finland where he spent three months at Abo Akademi University as part of an exchange programme.

Khoza, who holds a BCom degree from UKZN, excelled while at Abo Akademi, receiving five distinctions in subjects he studied as well as learning basic Swedish.

‘Finnish and Swedish are the languages used at the University, so most of the courses for exchange students are self-study,’ said Khoza, who initially battled with the language barrier but soon learned some basic Swedish and was able to ask for directions and how to find places of interest.

He fondly recalls exploring the city of Turku. ‘Seventy percent of the country is covered in forest which I appreciated as I am someone who loves nature. Finland is such a beautiful country - everything is green and the rivers running through Turku are all clean and attractive.’

Khoza said there were only three hours of sunlight a day during winter in Finland! ‘It was amazing to wake up and go to school at 9am in the morning and come back in the dark at 4pm,’ he said. ‘There are no problems with security so walking at night is very safe.’

Originally from Sunduzwayo, a small rural area with a reputation for violent conflict in Umbumbulu in KwaZulu-Natal, Khoza has had to overcome the tragedy of his parents and four of his seven siblings passing away. ‘The only way to survive is through education and then leaving home for better opportunities in the city,’ said Khoza. ‘My family background has always served as motivation for me to educate myself for a better future, despite the challenge of unemployment in South Africa.’

Commenting on interacting with different cultures while in Finland, especially as a South African who was born during the height of apartheid, Khoza said: ‘In South Africa, racial divisions are huge and play a major role. In Umbumbulu, I never had to interact with other racial groups so living among people from different races in Finland was intimidating at the beginning of the semester,’ he said. 

‘I was the only Black person among more than 200 exchange students from different countries. The issue of race became real to me as I had to deal with feeling different among other students. For the first time in my life, I had to make friends with people who were completely different from me.

‘It taught me to forget about my appearance and race and to look at other people as human beings.’

While living in Finland, he missed South African food and learned to survive the cold weather conditions and cultural differences. ‘Coming from a relaxed culture where we shake hands and hug the social situation was a challenge for me…I had to adjust from a communal society to an individualistic society where you have to respect other people’s personal space.’

Khoza plans to be a community leader in religion, business development and clinical pastoral education and to put his theological and business degrees to good use. ‘Studying at a secular university, you get to learn how to apply theology to real life ethical and moral challenges. You also learn to apply your knowledge on contemporary economic and political issues,’ he said.

He is looking forward to making a difference in the communities around him once he completes his degree.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

Photograph: Supplied

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Flying Start for Aerotropolis Institute Africa!

Flying Start for Aerotropolis Institute Africa!
Participants at the Smart Cities and Aerotropolis Masterclass in Durban.

The Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA) - of which UKZN is a knowledge partner - hosted its first knowledge gig for 2019 in the form of an exhilarating, thought provoking and informative Smart Cities and Aerotropolis Masterclass in Durban.

With inputs from industry specialists, the Masterclass was directed at professionals from the aviation and related sectors as well as postgraduate students with interests in urban planning, engineering and infrastructure development. The Masterclass covered topics such as Smart Cities – airport integration, Smart infrastructure, Smart mobility, airport digitisation and big data analytics.

The AIA, sponsored by eThekwini Municipality’s Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), aims to facilitate economic growth and job creation through skills development, research and collaboration between professional entities within the aviation sector.

UKZN, around which the skills development of the AIA pivots, is actively involved in the expansion of short courses, promoting postgraduate research in aerotropolis development and in the longer term, exploring the feasibility of undergraduate degrees in aerotropolis studies. 

Courses for professional development, such as the Masterclass, benefit UKZN in a variety of ways. Besides asserting the University’s value into the fast-paced knowledge economy by aligning the Institution’s academic offerings with growth-oriented sectors such as aviation, it more importantly brings UKZN academics into closer working collaborations with industry specialists.

It is this industry-academic synergy which can play a powerful role in boosting economic growth and ultimately, job creation.

Words: Rudi Kimmie 

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