Owayefunda e-UKZN Ubhala Incwadi Nesichazamazwi SesiZulu-isiShayina

Owayefunda e-UKZN Ubhala Incwadi Nesichazamazwi SesiZulu-isiShayina
UMnu Mthuli Buthelezi, owayengumfundi e-UKZN.Click here for English version

Owayengumfundi waseNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natal, uMnu Mthuli Buthelezi, ubhala incwadi yohlelo lolimi nesichazamazwi sesiZulu-isiShayina ukubhalela i-Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Le nyuvesi yase-China inohlelo lwezifundo zesiZulu ezisiza abafundi bakulelo zwe ukuthi bafunde lolu limi lwaseNingizimu Afrika ukuqinisa ubudlelwane phakathi kwala mazwe womabili.

UMthuli Buthelezi uthe: ‘IsiZulu asinayo imibhalo ekhona yokusifundisa nokusifunda. Ukubhalwa kwencwadi nesichazamagama kwesiZulu kokuqala kuzokwandisa izincwadi zesiZulu kanti lokhu kuzothuthukisa isiZulu.’

Le ncwadi nalesi sichazamagama kwenzelwe abafundi abangamaShayina abahlose ukufunda isiZulu. Zombili lezi zincwadi zingasetshenziswa ngabantu abafuna ukufunda isiShayina.

Le ncwadi inezahluko ngolimi, amagama, nezinkulumo. Izinkulumo zivela uma kulandwa noma kuxoxwa. Isahluko samagama siwuhla lwamagama, izigaba zamabizo nezincazelo zamagama. 

‘Izingxoxo zibhalwe kusetshenziswa “ulimi olulula” kanti zimele izigaba zazo zonke izahluko zencwadi. Kusetshenziswa izimpawu zolimi, kucashunwe olimini lwesiZulu ukuchaza amanye amagama,’ kusho uButhelezi.

Isichazamazwi sibhalwe ngesiZulu, isiNgisi, nesi-Mandarin. Amagama esiZulu nezincazelo zawo kuvela nezincazelo zesiShayina eceleni. Lapha kucashunwe amagama kuzichazamazwi zesiZulu ezivele zikhona.

Ngokuka Buthelezi, izichazamazwi zesiZulu eziningi zindala. ‘Lapho kwenzekile khona, amagama nezincazelo zesiZulu kunikwe izincazelo zesimanjemanje. Isichazamazwi sesiZulu nesiShayina sigcwele amagama nezincazelo okusha. Kwamanye amagama, kusetshenziswe ulimi ukuveza incazelo yawo. Ngaphezu kwezincazelo zawo, amagama abekwe aba ngamaqoqo nezigaba zamabizo,’ kusho yena.

UButhelezi uthi ukudlondlobala kwesiZulu e-China yingqophamlando. ‘Le ntuthuko iyindlela yokulondolozwa kolimi futhi kuqinisa ubudlelwane bezombusazwe. Ukuxhumana nokwabelana ngolimi kuwukwabelana ngamasiko nemfundo. Ukwabelana ngolimi ngeke kuthuthukise isiZulu kuphela kepha futhi kuzokwakha ubudlelwano obuhle phakathi kwe-China neNingizimu Afrika,’ kusho yena.

Amagama nesithombe: ngu-Melissa Mungroo

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Medical Student Awarded Prestigious Changemaker Scholarship

Medical Student Awarded Prestigious Changemaker Scholarship
Mr Kapil Narain, recipient of the inaugural Changemaker Scholarship, with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Mr Kapil Narain, a fifth-year Medical student at UKZN, is a recipient of the inaugural Changemaker Scholarship made possible by the World Health Organization (WHO) Alliance for Health Systems and Policy. Narain was one of four students selected globally for the scholarship. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity enabled him to attend the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) and the IFMSA Youth Pre World Health Assembly workshop (PreWHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Narain, who is passionate about HIV research and is a Centre for the AIDS Programme of South Africa (CAPRISA) fellow, was thrilled to attend the year’s most important global health event and to benefit from extensive global health advocacy training while connecting with other young people from around the world.

‘As an inaugural Changemaker Scholarship recipient, I am truly grateful to the Alliance at WHO for providing funding and support which enabled me to attend this assembly - which is the world’s highest health policy setting body and decision making body of WHO, attended by 194 member states of the United Nations. This opportunity allowed me to interact with world leaders in health, some of whom have inspired me to significantly contribute towards improving healthcare in our society.’

Narain said that meeting Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO was a highlight. ‘Meeting the most senior official at WHO and perhaps the greatest authority on health on the globe, at the Palais des Nations (the United Nations Office in Geneva) was an ethereal experience,’ he reflected.

Tedros is the first African Director General of the WHO and previously served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health in Ethiopia. ‘It was phenomenal having a brief discussion with Tedros on the HIV epidemic and the Ebola crisis. I will always remember his words of encouragement to me, as a passionate youth, to pursue academia and make a meaningful contribution towards improving health in society,’ said Narain.

The Changemaker Scholarship Programme is funded by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at WHO. The Alliance works to improve the health of those in low- and middle-income countries by supporting the generation and use of evidence that strengthens health systems. By bringing decision-makers and researchers together, it aims to identify research priorities that are responsive to countries’ needs.

Narain is keen to share his experience with fellow South African students by seeking support from the National Department of Health (NDOH). He said, ‘I hope to work with the NDOH in creating policy so a space is available for youth delegates to participate at the WHA to enable us to be cognisant, as future doctors and health professionals, of the major decisions and actions taken at an international level as well as how to navigate the labyrinthine geopolitical arena in global health. Moreover, I would like to work towards establishing policy with the NDOH so that youth voices are represented and heard at national and local meetings.’

Words: MaryAnn Francis

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The Sanitation Revolution and the Depths of Waste as a Resource

The Sanitation Revolution and the Depths of Waste as a Resource
Dr Konstantina Velkushanova, one of the “Wonder Women” from the School of Engineering.

To commemorate National Science Week and National Women’s Month, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science is honouring its female scientists through a Wonder Women In Science campaign.

These women are passionate, pioneering and persistent heroines who are advancing science in their diverse fields. One of these “Wonder Women” from the School of Engineering is Dr Konstantina Velkushanova, an Environmental Engineer who is not afraid to get her hands dirty in her work with UKZN’s pioneering Pollution Research Group (PRG).

The field of Water and Sanitation (WASH) and Sanitary Engineering is growing rapidly and Dr Velkushanova says that soon, the human excreta the PRG is spending its time finding management solutions for will be a resource worth its weight in gold.

She goes on to explain that a third of the world’s population lacks access to improved sanitation facilities, the majority of which are in the developing world. “Clean water and sanitation is one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals set to be achieved by 2030, so we need to focus our efforts towards achieving these goals,” said Dr Velkushanova.

Investigating the value of human excreta (such as faeces and urine) may not seem appealing, but this is exactly where Dr Velkushanova’s expertise lies.

‘The daily urine we produce might be sufficient to, firstly, produce enough electricity to charge our cell phones, and secondly, grow our own crops and vegetables, without the need for fertiliser,’ said Dr Velkushanova.

For the past seven years, she has been working with the PRG on a wide variety of projects on the topic of WASH in developing countries, focusing on non-sewered sanitation solutions, improved faecal sludge management (FSM) and the development and evaluation of innovative sanitation technologies. These projects have a vast footprint, including collaboration with organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), South Africa’s Water Research Commission (WRC) and eThekwini Municipality’s Water and Sanitation division (EWS). One of the projects she is currently leading is a BMGF-funded grant to develop a standardised approach to faecal sludge analysis worldwide, with partners from EAWAG in Switzerland, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in The Netherlands and the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.

Dr Velkushanova’s path to this career began with an early fascination with how and why we exist on our planet and in the universe. Her passion has always been driven by the need to protect our planet and resources and for this reason she chose her career path in Environmental Engineering.

‘Science always fascinated me and it has never stopped being the number one reason why I chose my career path with 100% no regrets,’ she said. ‘Science is always fun and versatile so that everyone can find their niche.’

Her earliest memories of scientific exploration are of examining amoeba and onion cells under a microscope in Grade 4, and it has only become more interesting.

Dr Velkushanova is the Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the FSM Alliance and a Deputy Chair of the newly formed Non-Sewered Sanitation Specialist Group (NSS SG) of the International Water Association (IWA).

Her long list of accomplishments includes being a co-founder and planning committee member of the Women in Water and Sanitation Network, and a committee participant and South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) representative on several international committees and working groups.

Dr Velkushanova has also been a principal investigator for several projects related to FSM and NSS, has organised conferences and symposia in South Africa and abroad, and has guest lectured at several institutions. Her PhD was completed at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom thanks to a scholarship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and she received awards for the academic results she attained in her MSc research in environmental protection and sustainable development in Bulgaria.

She acknowledges that her field has been male-dominated, although this is changing fast, with more women receiving recognition.

‘I feel that we need to do more to encourage young women to undertake the same career paths as us and we need to ensure that there is access to school education for all young people,’ she said. She cited initiatives like the Department of Science and Technology’s Women in Science Awards as being one way to achieve this and to continue raising the standard of women in science.

She believes that women in science can strike a balance between firm leadership and caring, with the challenge being to apply each aspect when needed and in good measure.

‘We need to be continuously aware of the way we present ourselves and our ideas, and we always look for different inspiration to reinvent ourselves, all of which works to our advantage,’ said Dr Velkushanova, who says her source of inspiration lies in overcoming the daily challenges she faces.

‘Gender is not a factor to define our professional and personal achievements,’ said Dr Velkushanova. ‘Women are easily adaptable in different environments and naturally curious to learn new things, and we have natural intuition that contributes to our work.’

All of this comes with hard work and perseverance and she encourages up and coming female scientists to believe in themselves and to never give up.

‘You can contribute to the world and the sciences as much as anyone else,’ she said. ‘Keep going – hard work always pays off, and remember it is alright to make mistakes – they always teach us valuable lessons and help us grow!’

Dr Velkushanova added that there is much to be encouraged about when it comes to the state of science in South Africa, particularly developments that followed the publication of the White Paper on Science and Technology in 1996. Despite the considerable need to provide WASH services in South Africa that fulfil basic human needs, confer dignity and save lives. Dr Velkushanova cited the impressive work of the WRC in capacity building and the generation and dissemination of high quality knowledge and applied research.

Dr Velkushanova is keen for her contribution to include effective communication of scientific findings to the various stakeholders and groups it affects most. She values the open sharing of knowledge and experience that characterises the collaborative scientific process.

When she is not working on innovative WASH solutions, Dr Velkushanova applies her teaching skills to instructing Afro-Latin dance at Durban Red Salsa, and is also a keen runner and sportswoman, which she says keeps her sane. She has lent this skill to open-air salsa events, festivals and wellness days.

All of our Wonder Women in Science could easily be undercover superheroes, so here is some inside info on the kind of superhero we’ve found in Velkushanova:

Q. What would your super power be and why?
Teleportation – because I travel a lot for work-related activities and this will save me a lot of time and effort. And hopefully I will be able to do more.

Also …

Healing Ability – this is related to what we are trying to achieve through our work in the field of water and sanitation – to provide a safer and healthier environment for everyone and save more lives, particularly among children and other vulnerable groups in communities, including women.

Q. What would be your theme song?
I love Queen’s songs – somewhere between We are the Champions and Don’t stop me now.

Q. What would your superhero gadget be and why?
Of course, Wonder Woman’s invisible jet and bracelets of submission. (I always wanted to be a Wonder woman!)

I need them to perform my daily operations smoothly and to help me keep the balance in my life (although sometimes I feel I already have modified versions of these gadgets).

Q. Who would be in your “all-star team” to take on the world?
My PRG research team and my local and international WASH superhero-colleagues.

Q. Where would your secret lair/ hide out be?
In a remote hut, somewhere high in the mountains.

Q. What is your kryptonite (weakness)?
I need to sleep every night.

For other inspirational Wonder Women In Science stories, visit: wwis.ukzn.ac.za

Words: Sashlin Girraj

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“I-Big Data in Astronomy” Icabele Owe-Honours Indlela

“I-Big Data in Astronomy” Icabele Owe-Honours Indlela
Isitshudeni se-Onazi ku-Computer Science, uNks Lisa Dayaram.Click here for English version

UNks Lisa Dayaram ongumfundi we-Onazi ku-Computer Science ekhempasini i-Westville, ubefunda isonto lonke e-Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (i-ETH Zurich) ngoNhlangulana. Uhambo lwakhe beluxhaswe ngokwesivumelwano se-Switzerland neNingizimu Afrika.

Inhloso enkulu yohambo lwakhe bekuwukuyokhuluma ngesihloko esithi ‘Big Data in Astronomy’, ikakhulukazi izinselelo ze-big data emsebenzini we-HIRAX radio telescope. Phakathi kwezikhungo ebezihlanganyele lapha bekukhona i-ETH Zurich, i-University of Geneva, neqoqo lamanyuvesi aseNingizimu Afrika eholwa yi-Nyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natal (i-UKZN).

UDayaram kumanje uphezu kokuqedela umsebenzi wakhe wocwaningo lweziqu ze-Onazi ngokufundisisa ngomumo we-radio telescope, okuxilonga ngokusebenza kwezindlela ezihlukanisa uphawu lwezasemhlabeni nezibhidi ngokubuka ngeso lama- 21cm.

Njengoba e-UKZN kugcizelelwa ucwaningo olufaka imikhakha eminingi, sesisikhulu isidingo sokwenziwa kwezindlela zokufundisa ngemishini kanti i-HIRAX ikhuphule umdlandla wokucwaninga ngezinto zasemkhathini nokufundisisa. Ukuhlanganyela ocwaningweni phakathi kwezasemkhathini noma ezezinkanyezi ne-computer science kugxile ekusebenziseni indlela yokufundisisa endimeni yezasemkhathini.

UDayaram ukuthakasele ukuba kulesiya sikhungo nempilo yedolobha lakhona, kanti uhambo lwakhe lumnike ithuba elihle lokuhlanganyela nabanye abacwaningi endimeni yezasemkhathini neye-computer science. Ubonge abamsiza ngokumcebisa ngocwaningo lwakhe oDkt Devin Crichton no-Anban Pillay; uNks Khanyisile Gwamanda; noSolwazi Alexandre Refregier no-Kavilan Moodley.

Amagama: ngu-Anban Pillay

Isithombe: Sithunyelwe

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Kudingidwe Ngekusasa le-Periodic Table Esifundweni Se-Royal Society

Kudingidwe Ngekusasa le-Periodic Table Esifundweni Se-Royal Society
OSolwazi Francesco Petruccione noJohn Douglas Hey.Click here for English version

Umlando nekusasa le-Periodic Table belisezithebeni esifundweni sikawonkewonke seRoyal Society of South Africa esethulwe nguSolwazi John Douglas Hey, ongusolwazi osathatha umhlalaphansi kodwa osaqhubeka nokuba ngusolwazi we-Physics noMcwaningi oMkhulu e-UKZN. Lesi sifundo siqondane nomkhosi weminyaka eyi-150 wokugubha ukusungulwa kwe-Periodic Table yashicilelwa wu-Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, uSolwazi wezamaKhemikhali wase-St Petersburg e-Russia.

U-Hey uthe i-Periodic Table njengamanje imele imisebenzi yamakhulu eminyaka kanye yezifundiswa ezehlukene zasemazweni amaningi – okubalwa kuzo amavukana nezinkakha zosayensi, abantu abasebenza bodwa, kanye namathimba abacwaningi abaxhaswe ngezizumbulu zemali, zahlala phansi zajula.

'I-Periodic Table yokuqala yayiveza ulwazi oludidiyelwe lwangaleso sikhathi lwama-elements ezinto zonke,’ kusho u-Hey. ‘Isisekelo eyakhelwe kusona yizithelo zomsebenzi wezinkulungwane zeminyaka wabacwaningi abaningi, kusukela kucatshangwa ukuthi kune-atom yinjululwazi yomGrikhi u-Democritus, kuye kumsebenzi wama-alchemist okuqala, kuye kosokhemisi abanjengo-Antoine Lavoisier no-John Dalton ngekhulunyaka le-18 nelama-20.’

Uchaze wathi kusukela ngonyaka wama-1869, i-Periodic Table isithuthukile isuka kuma-elements angama-55 noku“qagela” okuwu-11, yafinyelela kwezingama-118 kwengezwa i-Oganesson kuzona.

‘Empeleni lokhu kuhlukaniswa ngendlela kwama-elements ngokwezinga lamakhemikhali nangokomumo wawo kusho ukuchazwa kwempicabadala futhi kuwubufakazi bezithelo zokubambisana phakathi kososayensi, hhayi abadumile kuphela kepha nalabo abangadumile, bamazwe amaningi omsebenzi wabo wokuzinikela wenza lo msebenzi waba yimpumelelo,’ kusho u-Hey.

‘Impela, bonke ubuchwepheshe besimanjemanje kwezikagesi, ezokuhluza ulwazi, ucwaningo lwezemibani nezomkhathi luncike olwazini lwethu lwala ma-element. Amandla ethu okuxazulula izinkinga esibhekene nazo, nezinselelo ezinkulu, emhlabeni okuthinta ukuncipha kwezinto ezikhiqizwa wumhlaba, ukulimala kwemvelo kanye nocwaningo ngezasemkhathini kuncike ekusebenziseni ulwazi oluqukethwe ku-Periodic Table,’ kusho yena.

U-Hey uthe umbuzo omkhulu namuhla uthi njengoba umsebenzi wabantu usunyuse isibalo sama-element sisuka kuma-94 (emvelo) saze safinyelela kwali-118, ingabe kufanele silindele ukwandiswa kwe-Periodic Table esikhathini esizayo.

‘Yikuphi ukwanda kwama-element amasha esingakulindela?’ kubuza yena. Ngemuva kokuveza izinto ezinhle ezenzekile ohambweni lwe-Periodic Table kuze kube manje, u-Hey uvale isifundo ngombuzo othi: ‘Ngabe abayosilandela bayophumelela yini ukufinyelela kulokho okuthiwa “yi-Island of Stability” yama-element amasha, aqinile nangasetshenziswa ukwakha izinto ezintsha ezingaziwa manje?’

U-Hey uthe ngokolwazi esinalo nokuqonda esinako kumanje kwe-atomic physics ne-quantum mechanics, i-nuclear structure nemicikilisho ye-quantum field theory, ayikacaci impendulo yalo mbuzo.

U-Hey wafundisa e-University of Cape Town kusukela ngonyaka we-1974 kuya kowe-1990. Waba yi-Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow e-Ruhr University, e-West Germany, kusukela ngowe-1988 kuya kowe-1989, wasebenza e-Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter e-Institut fuer Plasmaphysik, e-Forschungszentrum Juelich, eJalimane, kusukela ngowezi-1991 kuya kowe-1995. Wafika ngowezi-1995 e-UKZN ezoba ngusolwazi we-Physics kwaze kwaba ngowezi-2009. Manje usenguThisha ovakashile e-Sikoleni seKhemistri neFiziksi.

Amagama: ngu-Sally Frost

Isithombe: ngu-Bheki Mthembu

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PhD Candidate Represents UKZN at the Smart Cities Forum

PhD Candidate Represents UKZN at the Smart Cities Forum
Mr Vicent Mbonye delivered a presentation at the Smart Cities Forum in Johannesburg.

Doctoral candidate in Information Systems and Technology Mr Vicent Mbonye delivered a presentation titled: Tackling the imminent cyber security challenges in African smart cities, at the Smart Cities Forum in Johannesburg.

The presentation was part of Mbonye’s study supervised by Drs Indira Padayachee and Rontala Prabhakar which focuses on securing smart cities in line with the UKZN research flagship of African Cities of the Future - Most Liveable Cities.

‘My presentation looked at the role of governance in implementing security guidelines, standards and regulations in smart cities. I applied to participate in the forum following guidance from my supervisors to present some thoughts on cyber security in smart cities to the organisers of the smart city summit and I was selected to share some aspects of my research,’ said Mbonye.

He added that the presentation highlighted the nature of the extensive interconnectivity of smart cities that leads to large scale cyber-attacks that cut across borders.

‘Various attacks like the Maria bot attack on IoT devices that are core to implementing smart cities make it a challenge to carry out digital forensics after a cyber-security breach, especially without well-aligned cyber security regulations and converged standards. This was seen as one of the challenges that African smart cities must take into consideration. While a citizen centric approach is undertaken to create smart cities, there is great need to address the challenges caused by a huge digital divide among city inhabitants,’ said Mbonye.

Speakers at the forum highlighted the need to create knowledge and new models that could be applied from an African perspective.

‘One major challenge in smart cities is ensuring inter-operability among the different technologies that are core to implementing such cities. Addressing cyber security concerns could make interoperability a reality. Going forward I plan to work with my supervisors to create such a model for South Africa,’ said Mbonye.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied

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Data@breakfast Ventures Off-World

Data@breakfast Ventures Off-World
Professor Francesco Petruccione and Dr Adriana Marais.

July’s data@breakfast – the information-sharing platform of UKZN’s Big Data and Informatics Research Flagship – was addressed by alumnus and founder of Proudly Human, Dr Adriana Marais, who explored the intriguing topic of, Off-World: Above and Beyond.

‘We are living at a unique point in the history of life on Earth,’ Marais explained. ‘Developments in engineering and science are taking place at an unprecedented rate, and the expansion of our society beyond this planet is within reach.’

According to Marais, human settlement on the Moon and Mars in the coming decades is increasingly realistic. At the same time, the industry required for this development is having an impact on our planet’s climate, and unprecedented and extreme weather conditions are predicted to increase.

‘The future survival of humanity, whether living off-world or battling the elements on Earth, will depend on technology,’ said Marais. ‘But most importantly, survival will depend on society itself, and how successful communities are at working together in extreme and resource-constrained environments.

‘Towards off-world settlement as well as sustainability on Earth, we plan to demonstrate successful community living in some of the harshest environments on our planet,’ she said. ‘The Off-World Tech Hub and associated experiments will promote companies developing technology for sustainability, facilitate skills development, and boost research, innovation and technology towards off-grid functionality, as well as provide a vision for young people of achieving successful communities in extreme and resource-constrained environments through grit, imagination, science and technology.’

In December 2020, Marais and her team will depart for an overwinter, off-world settlement simulation experiment in Antarctica to demonstrate community living and off-grid capabilities from life-support to communication systems, in the harshest and most isolated environment on Earth.

The expedition is an initiative of #ProudlyHuman: pioneering new frontiers in research and technology for a sustainable future on Earth, above and beyond.

Besides being the founder of #ProudlyHuman, Marais is Director at the Foundation for Space Development, a member of the South African government advisory task team on the 4th Industrial Revolution, faculty at the Singularity University and Duke Corporate Education, and an astronaut candidate with the Mars One Project.

Marais was Head of Innovation at SAP Africa between 2017 and 2019. Her career began in academia, largely at the Centre for Quantum Technology at UKZN. She holds an MSc (summa cum laude) in quantum cryptography and a PhD in quantum biology. Her postdoctoral research focused on quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself.

Marais is currently pursuing a second PhD in economics in resource-constrained environments at the University of Cape Town.

See www.proudlyhuman.com for more details.

Words: Sally Frost

Photograph: Bheki Mthembu

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UKZN Co-Hosts Pan African Conference on Restoring African Dignity Through African Ideas

UKZN Co-Hosts Pan African Conference on Restoring African Dignity Through African Ideas
Scenes from the Pan African Conference on #AfricanDignity.

"Our history did not begin with colonisation. It did not even begin with the history of the infamous slave trade which lasted for over 400 years. Africa’s history has a glorious stance as the cradle of mankind".

These were the words of former President of Ghana, John Mahama, when he delivered the keynote address at the Pan-African Conference on Restoring and Reviving African Dignity for the Africa we want through Advancing the History of African Ideas.

The two-day conference from 24 to 25 July at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban was co-hosted by the Department of Science and Technology - National Research Foundation Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS); UKZN; the Forum for Former Heads of State and Government, Africa Programme; UN University for Peace, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the Mandela Institute of Development Studies; eThekwini Municipality, and the Africa Forum.

Mahama reminded delegates of the continent’s varied contributions to the global pool of knowledge. ‘Africa has a history that we all can be proud of based on resisting oppression, of learning centres such as Timbuktu, Carthage, Alexandria, etc, to which others from across the globe, came to acquire knowledge of art, science and technology and all its complexities. The pyramids of Egypt, the Kente cloth of Ghana, the astronomy of the Dogon people of Mali, the paintings in the caves of Great Zimbabwe, the writings of Somalia, the terracotta, iron, bronze, gold, silver intricate artwork found all over Africa are the story of a once flourishing civilisation,’ he said.

Mahama posed the question: ‘Have we as a people finally shaken off the shackles of Western European control and influence?’ 

‘We must be our own historians and boldly challenge the misconception that knowledge emanates solely from the West,’ he said. ‘We must go back to the time when we owned our voices. The time when we recognised that we as Africans have not only contributed to Western civilisation, we have led the way. We have blazed the trail for the rest of the world in the area of writing, in science and technology, in education, in agriculture, in governance, in medicine, and in the arts and culture amongst others.’

Agenda 2063 was adopted to mark 50 years of the African Union (AU) and develop the continent into a global powerhouse in the coming five decades. South African Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and former Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was the architect of Agenda 2063, made a special call to learners from schools across KwaZulu-Natal who attended the conference: ‘As young people, you must fashion and build the future that you want to inherit.’ She also emphasised the importance of continental free trade, manufacturing and innovation.

Poet Laureate Professor Wally Serote, who convened the panel discussion on African Liberation Movements and Lessons for the Africa we Want said ‘corruption is the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger problem.’

He added that, while threats can emanate from outside the movement, they can come from ‘within executed by enemy agents who have been infiltrated by apartheid security and intelligence forces.’

The conference included panel discussions on the Decolonisation of African Education Systems through Historical and Contemporary African Political and Social Thought; Harnessing the Contribution of History of African Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship in the Global Knowledge Economy; and the Role of African Literature and Indigenous Languages in Reviving and Restoring African Dignity for the Africa we want through Advancing the History of African Ideas.

Conference convener and the Director of CIKS Professor Hassan Kaya said the aim of the intergenerational dialogue was to revive African dignity through the history of our own ideas.

The importance of including the youth was a major theme running through the conference. Learners that attended posed thoughtful questions ranging from the history they are taught at school to how they can get involved in Agenda 2063.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Albert Hirasen

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UKZN Student Attends Africa’s Biggest Entrepreneurship Forum

UKZN Student Attends Africa’s Biggest Entrepreneurship Forum
Mr Jabulani Nyembe who attended the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Nigeria.

Business Science student, Mr Jabulani Nyembe, was not only one of more than 5 000 entrepreneurs to attend the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Abuja, Nigeria, but he was also awarded $5 000 seed investment and mentoring.

The second-year student was selected from more than 200 000 applicants to take part in the forum. He is the founder and Managing Director of a start-up called Clinalytics which aims to create software for medical doctors to record and store patients’ medical records.

‘The forum included panel discussions with internationally acclaimed persons and masterclasses around entrepreneurship which are directly applicable within my business,’ said Nyembe.

‘I learnt a lot from these sessions and being in a space with other entrepreneurs where I have now found collaborators with whom I will work. I am also benefitting from establishing networks and contacts which I will share with some of my classmates and colleagues within the University community in different clubs and societies. I am grateful to the Student Governance and Leadership Development department that ensured my trip to the forum was a success.’ he added.

The forum was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be addressed by African heads of state such as the presidents of Rwanda, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo and other dignitaries. Engaging in discussions with policy?makers, development leaders, and entrepreneurs on how an enabling environment can be created for?entrepreneurship across Africa has given him a better, practical understanding of the concepts he has been learning in class.

‘I now have a better understanding of the concepts we learn in class, such as medium and long-term financing for a business and working capital management. I am currently working on finalising the development of my software and will start alpha and beta testing by the end of the year. Hopefully, by mid-2020, the company will be able to publicly launch the software to all medical doctors in the private sector. I will be finishing my degree with honours in 2021 and from there I will focus on scaling up the services of my company nationally,’ he said.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied

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Advocacy Group hosts Fifth Mental Health Symposium

Advocacy Group hosts Fifth Mental Health Symposium
Speakers and some attendees of the fifth Mental Health Symposium held recently.

The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Mental Health Advocacy Group hosted its Fifth annual mental health symposium on 3 July at UKZN’s UNITE Building.

Six speakers discussed the theme of "Making mental health everybody’s business". Two hundred delegates from across the province attended.

Ms Chantelle Booysen shared her experiences of living with bipolar mood disorder and said that it was ‘an honour to attend this important event on the KwaZulu-Natal calendar.

‘Sharing the podium with speakers who covered so many aspects of how to tackle mental ill-health, is incredibly inspiring. I cannot help but feel hopeful about the collective effort to prioritise mental health in South Africa.’

Booysen is an activist and youth leader for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and currently works part-time as a project manager for the newly established KZN office of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) that co-hosted the event.

Alumnus, Dr Goodman Sibeko broke the ice by taking a “selfie” with the audience, saying, ‘I’d always wanted to do this!’ He serves as the Head of Addiction Psychiatry at the University of Cape Town and Co-Director of the South Africa HIV Addiction Technology Transfer Centre (ATTC). He discussed the possibility of using non-specialist workers in the management of severe mental illness and developing task sharing models for the treatment of harmful substance use, mental health and HIV.

Professor Arvin Bhana, a senior specialist scientist at the Medical Research Council, spoke about mental health screening as a health system intervention, and his team’s work in validating brief screening tools for mental health. Mrs Winnie Cele, a Nursing lecturer at UKZN, shared her PhD research findings, which analysed the implementation of the National Mental Health Policy Framework in terms of the integration of mental health into HIV services in selected primary health care settings in KwaZulu-Natal. The study found that knowledge and attitudes around the policy leave much to be desired, and that a more concerted effort is required to make it a reality.

Dr Lotty Labys, an American-licensed psychologist, presented her research on refugees in Durban. In March, she and two colleagues founded the Centre for Living in Durban, a non-profit organisation for refugee wellbeing and social services, to tackle, amongst other issues, depression and trauma amongst refugees.

In the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration, Ms Desiree Govender, a physiotherapist at GJ Crookes Hospital, was invited to speak about her profession’s often overlooked role in mental health. Her PhD aims to address the problems and needs arising from teenage pregnancies and parenting among adolescent mothers by establishing a healthcare community of practice model that will offer a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach towards their care.

Since its launch at the King Dinuzulu Hospital Complex in 2015, the Advocacy Group has spearheaded various activities to destigmatise mental illness and promote mental health. This includes the annual CPD-accredited symposium to commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Month every July, and the annual Walk and Wellness Fair every October, to celebrate World Mental Health Day. This year the walk takes place on 6 October.

Bargain Books at Westwood Mall and the Professional Provident Society (PPS) assisted with sponsorships for the symposium, and students from UKZN’s Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) Student Division volunteered on the day.

To join the mailing list for events, email kznsadag@anxiety.org.za

Words: Lihle Sosibo

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Centre for Visual Arts Hosts Undergraduate Mid-Year Showcase

Centre for Visual Arts Hosts Undergraduate Mid-Year Showcase
Artwork by students Ms Ayanda Shabalala and Mr Ntokozo Shozi.

The Centre for Visual Arts (CVA) on the Pietermaritzburg campus recently exhibited its undergraduate students’ artwork at the Jack Heath Gallery.

The exhibition was opened by third-year Fine Arts students, Ms Ayanda Shabalala and Ms Tina Vellem.

The undergraduate mid-year exhibition aimed to showcase the students’ progress and grasp of different styles and techniques.

‘These techniques will enable us to explore further and to push ourselves as young artists,’ said Shabalala. ‘Working in various mediums has allowed us as undergraduate students to gain confidence and be comfortable in exploring and discovering our own unique style whether it is print making, oil painting, digital art or the art of ceramics.’

Shabalala’s work explored the concept of sunglasses as an object and as a wearable item. She developed her concept by painting women wearing sunglasses. ‘My move from sunglasses as an item on their own to portraits of beautiful dark skinned women was interesting as I explored not only sunglasses but skin pigmentation and working with a vast range of oils,’ she said.

Student, Mr Ntokozo Shozi, showcased his work, Converse. ‘All-Star shoes are a culture, a tradition and a feeling. This project is about the past, present and the future. We all have some memory linked to All-Star shoes, from the new fresh All-Stars to rusty, old, dirty, torn ones. This project set out to remind us who we are by using the multi-meaning gesture of sticking the tongue out,’ he said.

Vellem commented that having one’s work showcased in a gallery is a celebratory moment, and congratulated the artists on their pieces. ‘As much as the first semester was experimental and artists were finding their own voices, having the work in the gallery is also a learning curve. You get to see your work in a different light. It is no longer a separate piece but one that is part of a larger body of work formulating one big narrative. Having other people experience your work is always a growth point,’ she said.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Supplied

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Law and Management Studies Students Participate in Community Outreach for Mandela Day

Law and Management Studies Students Participate in Community Outreach for Mandela Day
Students with children from Natal Settlers Memorial Homes.

The College of Law and Management Studies’ Teaching and Learning Unit, in collaboration with student association, the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Africa (ABASA) commemorated Mandela Day by donating donating blankets, food, toys and clothing to the Natal Settlers Memorial Homes.

This community outreach initiative is part of the Unit’s First Year Experience Mentorship Programme. The pilot programme aims to bridge the gap between high school and university for first-year students by pairing them with a senior student to mentor them through a series of education, academic support and other events.

Programme co-ordinator, Mr Sthabiso Mkhonza, said that they are proud that they were able to assist the charity and that the University community supported their donation drive.

‘We hosted donation drives at Howard College and the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses where we collected items from clothing to food from students, lecturers, and university employees who gave willingly and gracefully. Natal Settlers was our charity of choice because they take care of children and the elderly living with disabilities and their cause is close to our hearts. Our students also assisted with cleaning the yard and swings, feeding children, washing dishes and also played with the children. We would like to thank all our donors for their contributions and for helping us to bring smiles to the children’s faces as well as keep them warm this winter. We look forward to further support for our donate a pillow or mattress initiative,’ said Mkhonza.

Natal Settler’s Nursing Administrator, Ms Simone Swarts, said that the home is grateful for the donations and the assistance.

‘We are really grateful to the students for choosing our charity and not only helping us keep our children warm but also taking the time to play with them. We hope to see more young people get involved in such initiatives as we can use all the help we can get,’ she said.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied

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Share, Give, Register to Save a Life

Share, Give, Register to Save a Life
The UKZN community responded well to the stem cell donor drive in honour of Mandela Month.

To celebrate Mandela Month, UKZN in partnership with The Sunflower Fund hosted a blood stem cell donor recruitment drive.

Donor recruiter and education specialist for The Sunflower Fund, Mr Xolani Hlongwane, said that stem cells are used to help patients suffering from leukaemia and other blood diseases who are in need of a life-saving stem cell transplant.

To register as a donor involves a basic health screening and a non-invasive cheek swab.

Once registered, a donor remains registered until they are a match for a patient or until the age of 60 – whichever comes first. When a donor is identified as a match for a patient, the process of donating stem cells is similar to donating blood or platelets. Blood is drawn from the donor’s arm and goes through a stem cell separating machine. The stem cells are extracted and the blood is pumped back into the donor’s body via the other arm, so that ‘you don’t lose out on any blood and you can carry on with your daily life after donating.’

Hlongwane got involved with The Sunflower Fund after being diagnosed with cancer three years ago. He has been in remission for a year and eight months.

He said that the University is assisting The Sunflower Fund to grow an ethnically diverse register of donors, which is important as donors are matched on tissue type. More than 80 donors were recruited on three UKZN campuses as part of the registration drive.

First-year Medical Sciences student, Mr Thabang Mlotshwa, registered as he wants to help people in need. ‘I have been donating blood ever since I turned 16 and I haven’t looked back. I also donate because I know that I have an abundance of what others need and I am willing to give it to those looking for help,’ he said.

Mlotshwa believes that being a donor encourages one to be healthy. ‘When donating stem cells or even blood, one has to have a healthy lifestyle. It will force them to keep looking out for themselves because they know that whatever they do wrong could possibly stop them from donating,’ he said.

If you are interested in becoming a donor, visit www.sunflowerfund.org

As part of the initiative, the University community was also called upon to donate a range of toiletries. UKZN's Director of International Relations, Ms Normah Zondo, handed over the items to patients at Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Hospital. 

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Sihle Mthethwa and Supplied

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CCMS Lecturer Elected Co-Chair of International Health Communication Working Group

CCMS Lecturer Elected Co-Chair of International Health Communication Working Group
From left: Dr Lauren Dyll, Dr Eliza Govender and Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli.

Dr Eliza Govender was elected the Co-Chair of the International Health Communication working group at the recent International Association for Media, Communication and Research (IAMCR) conference held in Madrid, Spain.

A senior lecturer at the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) within the School of Applied Human Sciences, Govender is recognised in her field for her work in strategic communication approaches with entertainment education and the use of participatory action research for health promotion with specific applications to HIV prevention strategies.

She will serve as co-chair for four years and during her tenure hopes to ‘increase critical thinking and knowledge sharing that reflect global and localised discourses in health communication, attract emerging scholars with mentorship programmes within the health communication working group, and identify opportunities for international research collaboration, lecturer student exchange and joint publications.’ 

The IAMCR conference took place at the School of Communication at the Complutense University of Madrid. It was also attended by UKZN’s Professors Ruth Teer-Tomaselli and Donal McCracken and Dr Lauren Dyll, who presented papers in the History, and Participatory Communication Research sections, respectively.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied

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Public Health Medicine PhD Students Publish in HSRC Review

Public Health Medicine PhD Students Publish in HSRC Review
Ms Neusa Torres-Tovela and Ms Buyisile Chibi.

PhD students in Public Health Medicine, Ms Buyisile Chibi and Ms Neusa Torres-Tovela’s successful research collaboration has resulted in the publication of three articles on drug diversion and misuse, with further submissions currently under review. Their article on Antibiotic Use and Resistance in South Africa: The Need for Better Data, was recently published in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Review.

The article argues that the “post-antibiotic era”, in which antibiotics become useless, can be avoided. However, this will require comprehensive data on antibiotic use across the world, as well as surveillance systems to track the emergence and spread of drug resistant diseases. Prescription drug diversion and self-medication is currently understudied in resource-limited settings.

Torres-Tovela and Chibi believe that collaboration is a key driver of successful research. This not only enables mutual growth, but produces superior outputs, with significant impact on public health.

Chibi said they ‘initially met during workshops conducted by the Department of Public Health Medicine where students presented their research studies. Since then, we continued sharing knowledge which led to collaboration. Our research focuses on current global public health concerns.’

Torres-Tovela noted that, ‘Our findings would be of interest to policy-makers, decision makers, designers of health strategies and health providers as well as society at large. It will create awareness of the potential risks of drug misuse and the factors that facilitate this problem.’

Torres-Tovela’s research interests lie in Health Anthropology, health seeking behaviour and drug utilisation. Her PhD focuses on health seeking behaviour through self-medication with antibiotics in Maputo, Mozambique, a country with limited resources that is facing difficulties in controlling the prescription, dispensing and utilisation of antibiotics within the health sector. Despite the fact that, legally, a prescription is required for antibiotics, they are available over-the-counter and at informal markets. Her research will assist stakeholders to address the utilisation of antibiotics at community level.

Chibi’s study explores the factors that contribute to prescription drug diversion, misuse and abuse among people living with HIV in eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied

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UKZN Dance Team Triumphs in the USSA Championship

UKZN Dance Team Triumphs in the USSA Championship
The UKZN Dance team with their trophies.

The UKZN Dance Team is celebrating its outstanding performance at the University Sports South Africa (USSA) national championships in Pretoria.

The team set a new record by being the reigning champions for three consecutive years (2017, 2018 and 2019), proving that UKZN is the best university in Dance Sport in South Africa.

The team brought home six gold medals and one silver in Ballroom and Latin as well as three gold medals in Hip Hop. Furthermore, four couples were selected to be part of the South African team to compete in the World Student Games.

Words: Nkule Majola

Photograph: Supplied

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Microeconomics Researchers Plan for Boosting Durban’s Foreign Direct Investment

Microeconomics Researchers Plan for Boosting Durban’s Foreign Direct Investment
MRU representatives presenting their strategy to the Durban Chamber of Commerce.

The Macroeconomics Research Unit (MRU) in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) has teamed up with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and eThekwini Municipality in a project where the Research Unit will produce the Durban Business Confidence Index (BCI) with initial funding from eThekwini Municipality overseen by DCCI.

‘This is a significant indicator of business conditions and the overall health of the City’s economy. The index will highlight local business confidence levels which can drive business growth and investment, encourage employment opportunities as well as attract talent and tourists to the region. The index will also empower organised business to make more informed decisions by monitoring growth and anticipating turning points in economic activity,’ explained Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Manager of Policy and Advocacy Mr Yolan Nagoor.

The project is building on eThekwini Municipality’s plan of seeking to boost new Foreign Direct Investment into the city over the next five years. An outline of the project was recently presented by MRU’s Research Fellow, Dr Edson Vengesai, at a session that was attended by representatives of the University, eThekwini Municipality, DCCI and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN).

The Unit, which is headed by College of Law and Management’s Acting Dean of Research, Professor Harold Ngalawa, comprises of academics and postgraduate students whose mission is to advance and develop macroeconomics research, also held discussions with TIKZN on the prospects of expanding the project to cover the whole of UKZN.

‘We are proposing a Business Confidence Survey which involves a questionnaire being sent to businesses located in eThekwini municipality. It will contain economic questions aimed at assessing demand; situation on production; commodity prices and production prospects; export orders and quantities of production; employment plans; expectation on prices; and future capital investment plans,’ explained Ngalawa.

He further added that the data collected through the well-designed questionnaire is expected to provide information on future developments on the business conditions in the trade (retail), manufacturing, construction and financial sectors.

Vengasai said the Durban BCI will help policymakers to improve upon their forecasts of relevant variables and hence enhance policy implementation adding that the index describes the degree of sentiments towards risk taking by entrepreneurs.

‘The index outlines the current economic situation, future direction, output growth and expected turning points of economic activities. It is expected that the Business confidence index will help the municipality in forecasting future business growth and trends for the implementation of proper strategies and policies,’ said Vengasai.

MRU Director, Dr Adebayo Kutu explained that the business survey questionnaire contains economic questions on, amongst others, current and expected developments regarding sales, orders, employment, inventories, selling prices and constraints. 

‘The respondents will receive an exclusive, free copy of the summary of the results enabling them to know how fellow executives feel on the current quarter and their expectations for the next one, allowing them to compare their performance against the rest of the sector without having to directly ask competitors for such information,’ said Kutu.

Words and photographs: Thandiwe Jumo

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“Arise Sir Trois” – UKZN Professor Knighted!

“Arise Sir Trois” – UKZN Professor Knighted!
Scenes of UKZN’s Professor Cristina Trois being awarded her knighthood and attendant title of Cavaliere del lavoro by His Excellency, Paolo Cuculi, Ambassador of Italy to South Africa.

Professor Cristina Trois, UKZN based South African Research Chair (SARCHi) in Waste and Climate Change, has been awarded a knighthood and attendant title of Cavaliere del lavoro from the Italian Republic – the highest honour that an Italian citizen can receive from their country.

The honour was conferred on Trois last night (Wednesday, 7 August 2019) in Durban by His Excellency, Paolo Cuculi, Ambassador of Italy to South Africa, during a cocktail dinner on the occasion of the Italy-South Africa joint Research Programme workshop on Waste-Water-Energy as a Resource for a Sustainable Future.

Founded in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, the national chivalric Order of Merit for Labour (Ordine al Merito del Lavoro) recognises citizens who have been “singularly meritorious” in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance. Awarded in the single degree of Knight, the order is open to all Italians living at home and abroad. 

With over 20 years at UKZN, Trois has – in South Africa – made considerable contributions to research and teaching in her field of Environmental Engineering. Her expertise has also led to innovations around waste management and wastewater engineering and treatment in the eThekwini Municipality and to initiatives that encourage the participation of women and girls in Science and Engineering.

Trois has spearheaded initiatives like Engineering is a Girl Thing to encourage young women to pursue Science and Engineering, and was a first runner-up in the 2016 Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Women in Science Awards (WISA). She developed the innovative “cellular method” of landfilling adopted in Durban’s landfill sites as part of her work in waste science, resource recovery and energy from waste; and contributed to the first leachate treatment plant in South Africa and to the first African, World Bank-funded “landfill-gas-to-electricity project” through which the city of Durban produces 10MW of electricity from waste. She is also working on the multi-national research endeavour: the Hub for the African City of the Future.

A C2 National Research Foundation-rated researcher, Trois established the multidisciplinary Centre for Research in Environmental, Coastal and Hydrological Engineering (CRECHE) in 2001 together with two colleagues. She also established a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory for Environmental Engineering research.

Trois develops academic coursework and also currently supervises 20 postgraduate students and researchers, and has graduated 45 postgraduate students. She participates in groups including engineering councils, royal societies, waste management institutes and the United Nations, and is an editor and reviewer for numerous journals and institutions. She has international collaborators in Italy, the UK, India, Germany, France and Switzerland.

Trois is part of the International Waste Working Group (IWWG)-Southern Africa Regional Branch, a sub-regional Secretariat for southern Africa of the International Partnership for Expanding Waste Management Services of Local Authorities, co-ordinated by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development. Working with IWWG’s Developing Countries Task Group, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa and UKZN, the secretariat promotes best practice in waste management and builds the capacity of local authorities and the private sector in Africa and developing countries.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photographs: Albert Hirasen

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UKZN Screens Documentaries on Refugees

UKZN Screens Documentaries on Refugees
The Missing, a movie based on a migrant woman from Zimbabwe and the dangers she faces between borders, was screened at UKZN.

In partnership with the Refugee Social Services (RSS), UKZN hosted a two-part screening of documentaries on refugees which form part of The “Other” Peoples Film Festival.

Screenings were held at the Westville and Howard College campuses to commemorate World Refugee Day.

The documentaries showcase the different experiences of refugees and highlight the reasons they leave their countries of origin as well as the suffering they endure in foreign countries. They also emphasise issues around migrants – as people moving back and forth between borders in search of better economic prospects; asylum seekers and refugees – as people seeking shelter and protection because of civil war in their own countries; and statelessness – children of asylum seekers and refugees born without legal documentation because of their undocumented parents.

Professor Mershen Pillay, from UKZN’s Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, urged other Disciplines within the University to contribute to the improvement of the refugee status in South Africa. ‘The School of Health Sciences already offers facilities such as optometry and dentistry to the Refugee Social Services, but what can other Schools offer this organisation?’ asked Pillay.

In seeking to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers, the Refugee Social Services continues to provide essential services in KwaZulu-Natal, through their Durban and Pietermaritzburg offices.

To volunteer or for more information regarding the Refugee Social Services, please contact them on their website - www.refugeesocialservices.co.za or Facebook page - Refugee Social Services.

Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela

Photograph: Sihle Mthethwa

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UKZN Academic Participates in Commonwealth Local Government Forum

UKZN Academic Participates in Commonwealth Local Government Forum
Professor Purshottama Reddy addressing the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

Towards Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Southern Africa was the theme of a Conference hosted by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) for its Southern Africa Region in Lusaka, Zambia in June.

UKZN Public Governance expert, Professor Purshottama Reddy was a respondent to a background paper titled: Local Government and Local Economic Development in southern Africa: Towards the Localisation of the SDGs.

The CLGF has been active in southern Africa since1995 and aims to support members in localising the SDGs through promoting local economic development and gender equality. It works with the ministries responsible for local government, national local government associations and local governments to implement decentralisation, improve inter-governmental relationships, and build the capacity of local governments to improve governance and service delivery.

Reddy’s response highlighted that it is vital for local government to ensure that the best and most capable staff are recruited to ensure efficient and effective discharge of services to both meet the SDGs and facilitate LED.

He noted with concern that many countries in the southern Africa region have invested in skills and capacity development, but this has not resulted in significant enhancement of capacity and improvement in local government performance. He suggested that political and management will, are required to ensure robust and successful LED and localisation of the SDGs.

Reddy acknowledges that, globally, LED is a driver of poverty reduction, women’s empowerment and inclusive growth. It should thus be prioritised by senior municipal functionaries and possibly be mainstreamed in local administration.

Commenting on the conference, Reddy said: ‘The CLGF has always been active and has shown a visible presence in this part of the world. It is good to see that the drive and momentum to steer local government in the right direction are still there.’

Words: ndabaonline

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UKZN Students Perform at International Council for Traditional Music World Conference

UKZN Students Perform at International Council for Traditional Music World Conference
Highlights from the 45th International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) World Conference.

The Ikusasa Lethu African Music and Dance touring ensemble performed at the 45th International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) World Conference hosted by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

Ikusasa Lethu, which means Our Future was founded by UKZN Senior Lecturer, Dr Patricia Opondo, in 2000 and comprises selected students and staff from the African Music and Dance (AMD) performance programme in the School of Arts. The ensemble has a local, national and international profile and performs and presents workshops at international and local conferences and special events. Opondo serves as Artistic Director and as the curator of the special programmes presented on these occasions.

ICTM is a scholarly organisation which aims to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation, and dissemination of the traditional music and dance of all countries. The conference attracted more than 1 000 delegates from 76 countries. The opening ceremony was attended by the Princess of Thailand and included a performance of Royal Thai music.

The ensemble presented an eclectic and energised performance covering a range of South African music and dance genres: isicathamiya, a South African adaptation of Congolese Kwasa Kwasa street-contemporary dance, Zulu Umakhweyana bow, Zulu amahubo and Zulu umzansi dance. All items were original compositions and choreographies by the ensemble under the artistic direction of Opondo.

‘We also ran a workshop on South African music – isicathamiya, umakhweyana bow, percussion – and integrated an indigenous fashion show where we dressed in South African traditional attire to exemplify the diversity in the country such as attire from the Zulu, Pondo, Ndebele, Venda cultures. The students also had an opportunity to participate in a workshop on Thai Music and Dance led by Dr Paphutsorn Wongratanapitak (Koong),’ said Opondo.

AMD student Ms Zoliswa Mchunu considers performing at the conference as a privilege. Through this international performance, she learnt to persevere. ‘This was my time to shine and I waved the South African flag high and proudly showcased my heritage and culture. I am planning to apply to perform at more international festivals and to be recognised worldwide and teach more people about my culture and heritage,’ she said.

Ikusasa Lethu has now performed at three ICTM World Conferences (2009 – Durban; 2011 – St Johns, Newfoundland-Canada; and 2019 – Bangkok, Thailand).

The ensemble also performed and conducted workshops at the Pan African Society for Musical Arts Education (PASMAE) Southern Africa regional conference on Mahe Island, Seychelles, while Opondo presented a paper on Sustainability vs sustainable of African Musical Arts in Contemporary Contexts. ‘All our presentations, papers, workshops, and concerts were well received and performance invitations have arisen from the trips, to Seychelles and Thailand,’ she said.

Director of University Relations, Ms Normah Zondo, met with the Dean of the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Chulalongkorn University to discuss possible collaboration between the institutions. ‘It was a proud moment to witness such an ecstatic performance by Ikusasa Lethu - they were received with great enthusiasm and excitement. We are really excited about the connections and possibilities of collaborating with other institutions around the globe - sharing the spirit of Africa!’

Funding for the trip to Thailand came from the National Arts Council of South Africa, with additional amounts raised by Ikusasa Lethu through various performances, and support from Corporate Relations and Dean of the School of Arts, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Ezethumedia

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