UKZN Law Professor’s “Mandela Jacket” Impresses Queen of England!

UKZN Law Professor’s “Mandela Jacket” Impresses Queen of England!
Professor David McQuoid-Mason shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth II.

Professor David McQuoid-Mason of UKZN’s School of Law wowed the Queen of England with his colourful “Mandela jacket” when he met her in London.

McQuoid-Mason met and shook hands with the Queen at a Reception for Heads of Commonwealth Organisations held at St James Palace prior to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta.

The function was hosted by the Queen to thank Commonwealth organisations for supporting her and the Commonwealth.

McQuoid-Mason was invited to the Reception in his capacity as President of the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) which represents more than 2 000 Law Schools around the Commonwealth. (The Law School at UKZN hosted the CLEA Conference in 2013.)

For the regal occasion, McQuoid-Mason wore what he calls his “Mandela jacket”, designed by Lindiwe Khuzwayo of Durban, which was in colourful contrast to the dark suits worn by other men at the function.

He mentioned to the Queen that he was wearing the garment in honour of President Nelson Mandela, whose son had been a student of his at UKZN.

The Queen remarked that it was ‘very colourful’ and chatted again to McQuoid-Mason shortly before leaving the reception room where Prince Charles was at the Queen’s side to welcome guests.

McQuoid-Mason used the opportunity to mention to Prince Charles that his (Charles’s) grandfather, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was Admiral of the Fleet, and McQuoid-Mason’s Irish-Jamaican grandfather, who was a Captain in the Royal Navy, had once played polo together in Malta.

In his ‘Thank You’ note to the Queen, McQuoid-Mason gave her a short description of CLEA’s activities and mentioned that her father, King George VI, had probably saved his father’s life during World War 2 by inviting him to Buckingham Palace to receive his Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for bravery at the time that McQuoid-Mason’s father’s motor gun boat was blown up by a mine off Norway killing all but two of the crew.


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Chemical Engineering PhD Student Discovers Innovative Solutions to Poultry Waste

Chemical Engineering PhD Student Discovers Innovative Solutions to Poultry Waste
Mr Tamrat Tesfaye in the lab.

A PhD candidate in UKZN’s School of Engineering and a Lecturer at the Ethiopian Institute of Textile and Fashion Technology at Bahir Dar University (EiTEX/BDU) in Ethiopia, Mr Tamrat Tesfaye, is researching innovative ways to turn billions of tons of feather waste from the poultry industry into useful products through the extraction of keratin.

Chicken feathers discarded during the production of poultry for human consumption is a big problem, since chicken feathers can pose hazards to human and environmental health as they often contain viruses and bacteria.

There is little demand for waste chicken feathers and most poultry producers dispose of more than five billion tons of feathers produced annually worldwide by burying or burning the feathers, or grinding them up for addition to livestock feed. Burning is the most common disposal technique, and can result in the release of 50 times more carbon dioxide than the coal industry.

Tesfaye, realising that feathers are a rich source of amino acids and keratin proteins, decided there had to be a better, more effective way of valorising these by-products.

He explained that proteins could be extracted from the feathers through a process involving (1) organic and inorganic chemical pre-treatment techniques to decontaminate the feathers, (2) extraction and characterisation of the keratin proteins, and (3) regeneration of keratin polymer for the production of valuable products using nanotechnology.

‘We plan to transform chicken feathers into valuable products to be used in the automobile and aeroplane industries, textile and clothing industries, cosmetics, biomedical engineering applications, construction, plastics and packaging, geotextiles, biofuels and hydrogen storage,’ said Tesfaye.

Keratin extracted from the feathers could be used as an ingredient in hair products due to its moisturising properties as well as being the source of synthetic fibres for the production of textiles, a more sustainable alternative to petroleum-based synthetic fibres.

According to Tesfaye, some textile fibres, like wool, are manufactured predominantly from keratin, making this use highly feasible.

‘In the near future, we might find ourselves wearing clothes made from regenerated chicken feather fibres, or driving cars made from chicken feathers,’ said Tesfaye.

He says scientists are also looking for lightweight, cheap and strong materials for use in the construction of the body and interior parts of automobiles and aeroplanes, to reduce energy consumption.

Aside from solving a considerable disposal problem, Tesfaye’s research could generate additional income for the poultry industry alone. This process could also open up new opportunities for entrepreneurs to process the raw product into these valuable components.

Tesfaye’s research is being undertaken with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and is being supervised by Dr Bruce Sithole of the CSIR and Professor Deresh Ramjugernath of Chemical Engineering at UKZN.

 Christine Cuénod

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UKZN Biokineticist Promotes Exercise for Diabetes Management

UKZN Biokineticist Promotes Exercise for Diabetes Management
Dr Jeanne Grace.

Senior Lecturer in Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences at UKZN, Dr Jeanne Grace, says exercise and movement are essential components in the management of diabetes alongside diet and weight control.

Grace made the statement on World Diabetes Day 2015 on 14 November.

She said being diagnosed with diabetes was no reason to stop exercising – rather it was a wake-up call for sufferers to start if they had been physically inactive.

‘A diagnosis of diabetes is also no reason for an elite athlete to give up, regardless of their sport. A person who has been diagnosed with diabetes can do anything their non-diabetic peers can do, provided they are able to manage their condition effectively. A biokineticist can play a key role in this.’

Grace emphasised that dealing with diabetes effectively required a multidisciplinary approach and she advised anyone with raised glucose levels to be checked by a GP, physician or health nurse for other diabetes-related risk factors.

‘Once you know what your glucose level is and whether you have any of the diabetes-related risk factors, the biokineticist will prescribe an exercise or movement programme that is designed to reduce your glucose level and fat mass, while taking account of your state of health.

‘The exercise programme prescribed by the biokineticist has to be combined with an appropriate individualised eating programme, which should be formulated by a registered dietician. Should you have any of the side-effects of diabetes, they will be taken into account by the biokineticist and dietician when formulating appropriate exercise and eating programmes,’ said Grace.

Grace, who is also Director of Health Promotion at the Biokinetics Association of South Africa (BASA), urged the 3.5 million South Africans – about six percent of the population - who have been diagnosed with the disease to consult a biokineticist for advice on the most appropriate exercise programme.

With a further five million South Africans estimated to be pre-diabetic, BASA advises everyone to have their glucose levels tested.

‘The longer diabetes goes undiagnosed and unmanaged, the more damage it can cause to your cardiovascular system, nerves, kidneys, eyes and feet. It can also increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, and affect your hearing and even your skin,’ said Grace.

The benefits of an exercise programme to diabetics are:

·  improved glucose control and improved insulin sensitivity

·  a reduction in medication required

·  a decrease in body fat and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases

·  the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Hypoglycaemia - low blood glucose or low blood sugar - is a serious problem for diabetes mellitus sufferers who exercise and mainly affects those taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic medications that increase insulin secretion.

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital for good health because it’s an important source of energy for cells building muscles and tissues. It’s also the brain’s main source of fuel.

* Diabetics have an excess of glucose in their blood and this can lead to serious health problems including cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, a stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis), Alzheimer’s disease, hearing impairment and skin conditions.

MaryAnn Francis

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TAP Gents - The Inside Story of their Musical Journey

TAP Gents - The Inside Story of their Musical Journey
Tap Gents (from left) Ayanda Dlamini, Treasure Mtetwa, Phakamani Nxumalo, Hilton Ngubo and Philani Thabethe.

In 2014, a group of young students met at UKZN’s Howard College campus and formed the Afro Pop group, TAP Gents.

Since then they have developed a following at the University and often perform at Howard College, treating their fans to Afro Pop plus a bit of Gospel music. While the five members are all students, their first love is music.

‘We want to inspire the youth of South Africa with our music. For many of us, music is a career, and we would love to uplift our families and communities with our music,’ said Philani Thabethe.

A singer, dancer and actor, Thabethe, from Mbazwana in Zululand, performed with the Star Choir in Europe from 2010 until 2013.

The second-year UKZN Music and Drama student got involved in art while at high school, where he met another band member, Phakamani Nxumalo. 

Nxumalo, also from Mbazwana, is doing IT Management at Rosebank College’s Durban campus. His love for music was sparked when he sang in his primary school choir. He has performed with the community choir, Mbazwana New Generation, and Star for Life who he toured with in Sweden, France, Denmark and Italy last year.

Another group member, Hilton Ngubo of Inanda, started singing in church and became a member of the Inanda Mass Choir while in high school. The third-year UKZN Bachelor of Arts student, who is majoring in Psychology, has performed all over the country including Gauteng, Cape Town and Bloemfontein.

The fourth member of TAP Gents is Ayanda Dlamini of Umlazi who played soccer for Ajax Cape Town FC, but his love for music eventually drew him to register for a degree in African Music and Dance at UKZN. Dlamini has performed in the United States, France and Germany as a member of Thokoza Choir. 

The fifth member, Treasure Mtetwa, is from KwaMashu and his love for music also started while he was at school. He has performed with the DUT Choir and South African Singers in Dubai and in the United States.

Mtetwa met the other members of the group after registering at UKZN last year.

The group’s name was created out of the first letters of the names Treasure, Ayanda and Philani – the founding members of the group. Ngubo and Nxumalo joined after a few performances but they stuck with the original name as they had already started building their brand, and ‘it sounded good’.

‘Our thanks go to our families who support our vision, but mostly to God who blessed us with our voices - we couldn’t be more grateful,’ they said.

Follow TAP Gents on Facebook:

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Umfundi wase-UKZN uwine ngokulingana emncintiswaneni wokwakhiwa kwezindlu ezakhelwa ezihlahleni

Umfundi wase-UKZN uwine ngokulingana emncintiswaneni wokwakhiwa kwezindlu ezakhelwa ezihlahleni
Umfundi weziqu ze-Masters KwezemiDwebozakhiwo, uNkz Ayla Harvey.

Click here for English version

Umfundi weziqu ze-Masters kwezemiDwebozakhiwo uNkz Ayla Harvey uphume indawo yokuqala ngokulingana emncintiswaneni i-TREEHOUSING International Wood Design Competition, lapho ebambane ne-Koura Studios and ARUP Seattle yase-United States.

Imisebenzi eyevile kwengama-200 evela emazweni angama-60 ebingenele lo mncintiswano – ohlelwe yinhlangano ezinze e-Canada i-Design and Build Research School and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Umncintiswano bewuphosele abadwebi inselelo yokuthi badwebe imidwebo ekhombisa ubuchule nezokwazi ukuhlala isikhathi eside ezosiza imiphakathi ekhulayo yase-Afrika nangaphandle kwayo. Abadwebi bekufanele basebenzise okuwukhuni njengengxenye enkulu yemidwebo yezakhiwo zabo.

UHarvey uklonyeliswe ngenxa yomdwebo wakhe owuhlobo lwe-Jungle Gym ngenkathi kunomhlangano i-World Forestry Congress eThekwini. Umdwebo wakhe webhilidi elide ubuyisakhiwo esingandlalekile futhi esakhiwe ngendlela efanayo yonke indawo esingasetshenziswa ngezindlela eziningi futhi esivumela ukunyakaza okunhlobonhlobo nokubambisana. Sigqugquzela indlela yokuphila yemvelo, enomqondo ovulekile futhi nokulingana.

Abahluleli abebehlanganise uMnu Michael Green wase-Canada, uMnu Andrew Waugh waseBrithani, noMnu Richard Stretton waseNingizimu Afrika bathe umdwebo ka-Harvey ukhombise ngokuguquguquka kwempilo yasedolobheni.

Abahluleli bawuthandil lo mdwebo ngendlela okhuthaza ngayo inhlalo yomphakathi ngaphakathi esakhiweni namathuba okusisebenzisa nanoma ngayiphi indlela ngokuqhubeka kwesikhathi. Baphawule bathi:'Umdwebo usezingeni elifanele, ukalwe kahle futhi ukhombisa nokubhekelelwa kwesimo sezulu. Isakhiwo sokhuni sikhombisa ubuchule nokuguquguquka kwempilo yasedolobheni.'

‘Kuyathokozisa kakhulu ukuphumelela emncintiswaneni ofana nalona,’ kusho u-Harvey. ‘Kuyinto ebalulekile kakhulu kimi ngoba bewusezingeni lomhlaba. Njengomdwebizakhiwo osakhula, kunginikeze ithuba lokuxhumana nabanye abadwebi nokubuka lo mkhakha ngeso elihlukile.’

Ululeke nabanye abafundi bezemidwebozakhiwo ukuba bangenele imincintiswano eminingi ukuze bakhe iqoqo lemidwebo futhi bazakhele igama njengabadwebizakhiwo abasakhula.

nguMelissa Mungroo

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Academic Invited to Attend Literary Festival in Ireland

Academic Invited to Attend Literary Festival in Ireland
Poet, playwright and UKZN academic, Dr Kobus Moolman.

Poet, playwright and UKZN academic Dr Kobus Moolman has been invited to attend the Winter Warmer Poetry Festival in Cork, Ireland, from this Friday to Sunday. 

The Festival is hosted by the Ó Bhéal organisation which has also arranged readings for Moolman in Dublin, Skibbereen and in Schull.

‘I am honoured to be invited to this Festival,’ said Moolman. ‘This is a significant Irish festival for poetry. For me it is heartening because it indicates that South African poetry can travel beyond the borders of our country, and be accessible to foreign audiences. This is particularly important because my work at the moment is very deeply rooted in specifics of time and place, in a conscious and tangible sense of South Africanness.

‘However, in my own research and reading I have discovered some kind of truism: the more specific a writer makes their work the more an audience - any audience - is able to experience it; the more general a writer tries to make their work, the less an audience is able to experience it,’ said Moolman.

With Ireland boasting a history filled with strong writers, and a society in which the place of the writer is taken seriously - whether in political, social or artistic circles, Moolman sees the invitation as an opportunity to meet and share ideas and interact with some of the country’s leading contemporary poets.

‘Such festivals are very significant barometers of the state of writing within a particular society, both from the point of view of the writer - the type of writing being done, and from the point of view of the audience - how society in general is responding to its own writers.

‘These festivals also allow for a deeper discussion of literary influences, new ideas and developments.  They allow the community of writers to meet in person and to hear each other read. Poetry is in its roots an oral art form, and the oral dimension to poetry is becoming very important not just in South Africa but also globally. So hearing poetry being read is a particular treat,’ said Moolman.

Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN and Drake University Collaborate on Service-Learning

UKZN and Drake University Collaborate on Service-Learning
Participants at the Service-Learning collaborative workshop.

Dr Angela James of UKZN’s School of Education and Professor Sally Beisser of Drake University in the United States are training teacher education students to reach out to community members and organisations in need through Service-Learning.

Among others, the academics are targetting crèches, drop in-centres, retirement and old age homes, schools, and environmental projects in the community.

‘Our teams work in these areas or contexts with various participants,’ said James. ‘We are interested in developing the partnership between the two universities, and extending the work that we do to other staff within our respective universities by sharing knowledge of the field, conducting research in the projects that we work in and publishing results in SAPSE accredited journals.

‘In terms of extending knowledge and conducting research, staff exchange visits and ultimately student exchange visits are planned,’ said James.

Beisser received funding from Drake University to visit UKZN and interact with Biological Science for Educators 420 Research and Service-Learning students and to present a talk at a workshop with students and staff from UKZN and the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

Supported by staff and students from UKZN, James, Dr Frances O’Brien, Ms Nompumelelo Thabethe, Reverend Dr Delysia Timm and Ms Heleen Grobelaar presented a talk on Service-Learning, the Policy, Practice and Research at their respective universities. The UKZN Biological Science for Educators 420 students presented details on their research on service learning projects they had completed at various placement sites.

One of the participants, Ms Jenny Lamb said: ‘The workshop was a great platform to share and learn from the experiences of the speakers as well as colleagues and students.’

Ms Ilana Moodley said: ‘I saw how others conduct active service learning opportunities for their students and how students actively engage in their projects and reflect on their experiences. It would be good if we can do collaborative work where students from various disciplines work together on a project.’ 

A variety of suggestions were made about a way forward for service learning at UKZN. A report has been compiled and will be presented to the University management.

Angela James

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UKZN BCom-4 Student Crowned Regional Winner in Entrepreneurship Competition

UKZN BCom-4 Student Crowned Regional Winner in Entrepreneurship Competition
Mr Terry Knott-Craig (left) and Mr Sabelo Ntuli (right) of Business Partners Ltd with competition winner Ms Nombuyiselo Mkhize.

The Zithathe Hub Incubation Programme of third-year BCom-4 student, Ms Nombuyiselo Mkhize, which is aimed at helping to reduce unemployment among the youth, earned her the regional first prize in the 2015 Business Partners Limited / SME Toolkit SA Global Entrepreneurship Week’s Business Plan Competition for aspiring young entrepreneurs.

The annual competition encourages young entrepreneurs to come up with innovate ideas that can be launched as start-up businesses. Entrants attend a one-day business workshop in their respective regions where winners are selected to go forward to compete for the national title.

Being the winner of the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape region, Mkhize says she is excited about the doors her regional title will open for her.

‘Getting this far in the competition means I now have a starting point for the birth of my project and my degree will assist me to be able to take this on,’ said Mkhize. ‘It has given me the opportunity to make people aware of my project and hopefully I will get the financial and non-financial support I need to turn my idea into a reality and help people help themselves and others.’

Zinhle’s winning concept is designed for unemployed youth who have no formal tertiary education and those who are high school drop-outs.

‘Believing that entrepreneurs are made and not necessarily born, this incubation programme aims to equip young people with the necessary non-financial and financial resources to assist them to start and operate their own businesses that are founded upon what they are passionate about,’ explained Mkhize.

Mkhize says she focused on this element because there are limited employment opportunities available for young would-be entrepreneurs as they do not possess the educational qualifications nor the skills required by most employers.

‘This programme will not only help these individuals improve their lives but it will also create more employment opportunities for the people in the communities in which they live and thereby contribute to the overall economic growth in South Africa,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Top UKZN Student Pianist Plays Final Recital for BMus Degree

Top UKZN Student Pianist Plays Final Recital for BMus Degree
Ms Rashalia Pather.

Talented pianist Ms Rashalia Pather recently performed her final Bachelor of Music recital at the Howard College Theatre.

Pather, who boasts a record number of accolades and achievements and is one of the top students in the 40-year history of the School of Arts, is studying under Lecturer Mr Andrew Warburton and pianist Dr Liezl-Marét Jacobs.

She is the current recipient of the Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship in recognition of being ranked the single highest undergraduate achiever at UKZN. She also received the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and Townley Williams Scholarship.

‘Music has been my passion since childhood and I have always dreamed of becoming a professional pianist,’ said Pather.

At the recital, she performed the Piano Sonata no. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 (“Tempest”) L van Beethoven; Papillons, Op. 2, R Schumann and L’isle Joyeuse, C Debussy.

‘The works I chose encompass the full spectrum of human emotion, from the stormy angst of Beethoven’s “Tempest” to the innocence and romance embedded in “Papillons” and the infectious glee of “L’isle Joyeuse”, I’d like to think that every audience member found some personal meaning in these pieces. All three of the composers featured in this recital challenged the musical traditions of their times in their search for true self-expression.

‘I believe that, in a world littered with restrictive stereotypes that seek to define and constrain us, embracing your individuality is of paramount importance. The bravery shown by these composers in expressing their unique identities through music greatly inspires me, and I wanted to share this with my audience through my performance,’ she said.

Pather prepared for the recital by working on a range of topics, including technical exercises, theoretical analysis and issues of musical interpretation while also having private “mock recitals” in preparation for the real event. 

Asked about being the top student in the Music Discipline and in the School of Arts, she said: ‘It is wonderful to receive acknowledgement for the hard work and passion I have invested in my degree, and I feel truly honoured. However, this achievement does not reflect the dedication and commitment of just one person – without the care, wisdom, and support of my family, piano teachers, lecturers, and friends, I would not be where I am today, and for this I am sincerely grateful.’   

Melissa Mungroo

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Travel Grant for PhD Student to Attend Conference in Vienna

Travel Grant for PhD Student to Attend Conference in Vienna
Ms Quraisha Dawood.

Social Sciences PhD student, Ms Quraisha Dawood, is one of only four students from around the world to receive a travel grant to attend the 2016 International Sociological Association (ISA) Conference in Vienna, Austria, from 10-14 July.

The only South African student to get the grant, Dawood was chosen after a rigorous peer-review process by the ISA Research Committee on Sociology of Professional Groups. She will also be presented with a formal certificate at the Conference and present a chapter from her PhD research. 

Spurred on by encouragement from her supervisor, Professor Debby Bonnin, Dawood submitted an extensive abstract in September and was overjoyed when told she had won the grant.

‘This grant means so much to me. I’m in the final stages of my thesis at the moment and this recognition really gives my hard work such validation, showing that even though my research was carried out in South Africa, there is definitely an international interest in it. My supervisor’s relentless faith and encouragement pushed me to spread my wings.

‘I must thank UKZN (doctoral scholarship) and NRF (DAAD free standing scholarship) who have funded me generously since the beginning of my PhD. Without their investment, I would not have been able to complete my research nationally,’ she said.

Dawood’s study focuses on how new professions emerge and find legitimacy in the context of South Africa, specifically in the emerging profession of mechatronic engineering - an integrative approach to engineering which combines mechanical engineering, electronic engineering and control systems to create smart machines.

‘I have travelled around the country, collecting data and understanding how our labour market adapts to new professions, the role tertiary institutions play in such a dynamic and how race, gender and age intersect in the emergence of a new profession. A study of this kind is lacking in South Africa, and we really need more insight into how technology is shaping the labour market,’ she added.

Dawood is grateful for the chance to take her research to an international platform. ‘I plan to discuss ideas and meet influential theorists who I admire. I intend to make the most of this opportunity, and I cannot wait to see Vienna!’

Melissa Mungroo

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Public Lecture Discusses Challenges in Treating Multilingual Communities

Public Lecture Discusses Challenges in Treating Multilingual Communities
Academics engage with Professor Alejandro Brice and his wife, Dr Roanne Brice, at the public lecture.

The challenge for South African and United States health care academics of training graduates to provide health care to multilingual societies, was debated at a recent UKZN public lecture.

According to academics in the discussion, the main challenge was that while the healthcare curriculum did produce competent graduates for healthcare intervention, there were often communication barriers when treating patients who spoke foreign languages.

There was a focus on Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) which is a healthcare profession concerned with the field of communication. It serves to rehabilitate people with disorders of communication as well as to prevent communication disorders.

Audiology Academic Leader, Dr Neethie Joseph, said even with their focus on communication and considering that with 11 official languages it was expected that South African SLPs would face immense challenges when treating patients, UKZN was a step ahead as its curriculum includes a compulsory course in isiZulu as well as a semester of learning sign language.

The lecture was delivered by US SLP couple, Professor Alejandro Brice and his wife, Dr Roanne Brice, who said their graduates often needed bilingual skills to address either Latin, French or Spanish-speaking populations.

Brice said with the immigration patterns worldwide, there were people with different languages, cultures and value systems. The problem therefore extended not only to language but cultural barriers when SLPs treated patients.

The public lecture was titled: “Multilingualism from a US perspective. Society, Education, and Healthcare”.

Brice, whose mother tongue is Spanish, spoke about the challenges he faced having to adjust to being taught in English when his family moved to the US. Beyond this, Americans spoke a variety of languages and it occurred to him that health care curricula needed to produce graduates who could conquer communication barriers in the future.

The public lecture was an opportunity for academics to discuss possible ways forward in health sciences education especially in health care communication.

Academic Leader for Research in the School of Health Sciences at UKZN, Professor Mershen Pillay, thanked the Brices for illuminating why all healthcare workers needed to be skilled at negotiating cultural and linguistic factors.

‘Importantly, they highlighted how people with communication disorders because of acquired illnesses due to, for example, cerebral vascular accidents (strokes) or developmental delays, are especially vulnerable when you consider that health care workers need to negotiate not only language difference  but also their patients’ ability to understand others or even to express themselves,’ Pillay said. 

Lunga Memela

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UKZN co-hosts Workshop with the Competition Commission and CRESSE

UKZN co-hosts Workshop with the Competition Commission and CRESSE
From left: Competition Commission’s Dr Liberty Mncube, UKZN’s Professor Jim Fairburn and University of Pennsylvania’s Professor Joseph Harrington.

On the 10th of November the workshop Lectures on Competition Policy was co-hosted by the Competition Commission, the Athens-based research network CRESSE and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

The workshop preceded the 9th Annual Competition Conference, organised by the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal.  The week ended with the 4th BRICS International Competition Conference which followed on 12-13 November. 

The sequence of events drew to Durban an impressive representation of the national and international policymaking and academic communities in the competition field.  A number of UKZN graduates who now work in the sector also returned to the city.

The workshop was composed of presentations by six of the top international experts in the economics of competition policy - William Kovacic, Joseph Harrington, Tom Ross, Jorge Padilla, Frederic Jenny and Yannis Katsoulacos.  Contemporary developments were reviewed in each of the key areas of policy such as cartels, horizontal mergers, exclusionary conduct and policy enforcement.

The Competition Commission’s Chief Economist and UKZN Alumnus Dr Liberty Mncube and School of Accounting, Economics and Finance academic Professor Jim Fairburn stressed the importance of a partnership between practitioners and academics for the advancement of competition policy internationally.  They were delighted to host so many of the leading contributors to the field and felt that the quality of contributions was outstanding. 

The subsequent Competition Conference also created an opportunity for UKZN’s Masters in Finance student, Ms Damilola Oyetade to present her research titled: “Cross Border Mergers and Acquisitions in BRICS: A long term Performance Approach” under the supervision of Dr Farai Kwenda and Ms Ralitza Dobreva.

Oyatade said she gained a wealth of valuable knowledge from the workshop which will benefit the development of her dissertation.

‘The presentations have given me new perspectives on how I can interpret my statistical data which will be very useful for my research. As BRICS is a group of countries coming together to promote investments amongst them as partners, so there are a lot of interesting things to learn,’ she said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Writing Place awards for College of Humanities Students

Writing Place awards for College of Humanities Students
Tutors from the Writing Place with undergraduate students from the College of Humanities who participated in workshops.

The Writing Place (WP), a unit of Teaching and Learning at UKZN, recently held its end-of-year awards function for students from the College of Humanities who had participated in a series of academic writing workshops over the course of three weeks in the first and second semesters.

According to Writing Place co-ordinator, Ms Jessica Dore, a record number of 75 students from the College who participated in the full rigorous workshop received certificates of participation.

Dore said the Writing Place assisted undergraduate students from the College of Humanities with their academic writing skills through an emphasis on essay/assignment structure and understanding of academic concepts. Tutors consult with students on an individual basis at their Drop-in Centre in the EG Malherbe Library and on a small group basis through their voluntary workshop series.

‘Our trained tutors guided students through a series of interactive workshops designed to assist them understand essay questions, plan their essay structure, and construct a coherent argument, introduction and conclusion. Students were also given tips on academic language, tone and correct referencing.’

Guest speaker at the awards function, Director of the Centre for Women’s Leadership at MANCOSA, Dr Claudine Hingston, congratulated and commended the students for taking the initiative to improve their writing skills. ‘Writing is challenging, especially the transition to academic writing. I applaud you for acknowledging that you need help and for your commitment to improve your academic writing,’ she said.

Hingston also shared some of her tips on further improving writing skills. ‘Attend workshops and seminars and read as much academic writing as possible. Remember that writing is an invaluable skill and never give up. Work hard in all aspects of academia,’ she said.

Social science students Ms Siphenamhla Ngebe and Ms Nosipho Radebe described the workshop as ‘educational, hands-on and interactive.

‘Being a part of the workshop made me realise the importance of writing and being a critical thinker. I am now able to write more and to generate ideas for essay writing,’ said Ngebe.

Radebe added: ‘Since attending the writing workshops, my marks have improved dramatically. The tutors were all helpful and were able to effectively show me how to write properly. I advise all students to attend these workshops - they really make a difference to one’s marks.’

For more information email the Writing Place co-ordinator at or phone 031 260 2943/2413 during office hours.

Melissa Mungroo

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