African Union IsiZulu Commission Meets UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor

African Union IsiZulu Commission Meets UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor
Professor Nana Poku (fourth right), Professor Langa Khumalo (fourth left) and Corporate Relations Executive Director, Mr Ashton Bodrick (back row, far right) with members of the IsiZulu Commission.Click here for isiZulu version

Through its secretariat: the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), the African Union (AU) has created an IsiZulu Commission to develop and advance isiZulu as a language of trade and commerce throughout Africa.

The global commission was formally presented to UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Nana Poku on 7 October.

Chaired by Professor Langa Khumalo, Director of the University Language Planning and Development Office, the IsiZulu Commission was formed in December 2018 and includes members from UKZN, the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Zululand, University of South Africa and Sol Plaatje University.

Poku welcomed the members and highlighted that the Commission needs to build its capacity within UKZN by developing a centre of excellence. ‘The University has the pressing responsibility of ensuring that the heritage and language of this region (KwaZulu-Natal) is not only celebrated but integrated in everything that the University does. As a University, we need to ensure that isiZulu is embedded in all our key platforms of delivery,’ he said.

Poku added that the Commission needs to identify ways to preserve African oral traditions going into the fourth and fifth Industrial Revolutions and to be the entry point to engage with communities on matters of Gender-Based Violence (GBV). ‘We need to understand through the lens of tradition using our languages, some of the challenges of violence that face us today and I want this Commission to lead that.’ He assured the Commission of UKZN’s support and urged them to identify the legacy they would like to leave and work towards it. ‘Do your work well, do it without fear and do it with the knowledge that I am fully behind you,’ he said.

Khumalo noted that the Commission was established on the back of advances made by UKZN, which created the largest corpus for African Languages and was the first to create a working spell check for isiZulu. ‘We want to keep improving not only what we have but also build the academic aspect of isiZulu and link it to research in all the spheres that we work in, projecting isiZulu as a language of science,’ he said. He reflected on the importance of curating a local and international programme strategy for the Commission, with the local programme focused on addressing the issue of violence using isiZulu. He thanked the Vice-Chancellor for providing an operational budget for the Commission to function at UKZN and for his support.

Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela

Photograph: Itumeleng Masa


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Ucwaningo lwe-Master’s Ngomdanso Seluyincwadi

Ucwaningo lwe-Master’s Ngomdanso Seluyincwadi
Ikhava yencwadi enesithombe sikaVasugi Devar Singh esemncane egqoke izingubo ze-Bharathanatyam.Click here for English version

Ngemuva kweminyaka engama-19 uNks Vasugi Devar Singh aphothula iziqu ze-Master’s kwezeshashalazi e-University of Durban-Westville endala, ucwaningo lwakhe uselwenze incwadi yomlando emnandi.

Le ncwadi icwaninga umdanso waseNingizimu Ndiya i-Bharathanatyam, nokungenisa kwawo eNingizimu Afrika.

U-Singh ngenkathi enza ucwaningo wayelulekwa ngoSolwazi Suria Govender noKriben Pillay, ababefundisa ezeshashalazi ngaleyo nkathi.

‘Le ncwadi iyisifinyezo sephepha locwaningo lwe-Master’s olude kanti ibheka iminyaka engamakhulu ezinguquko emdansweni eNingizimu Afrika. Iwumlando onothile, ikakhulu nge-Bharathanatyam, okungumdanso waseNingizimu Ndiya oneminyaka eyevile ezinkulungwaneni ezimbili. UVasugi uchaza ngomlando walolu hlobo lomdanso, akhombise nokuthi wachuma kanjani eNingizimu Afrika ngokufaka ulimi lwase-Afrika nolweshashalazi nemidanso yaseYurophu neyesimanjemanje,’ kusho uGovender.

UPillay wengeze ngokuthi: ‘Ukubukeka kahle kwencwadi, ikhava yayo, nezithombe nako kwandisa ubuhle nokujula komdanso i-Bharathanatyam.’

U-Singh, osathatha umhlalaphansi ekufundiseni ezobuciko nasekubeni wumphathi kwezobuciko, uthe: ‘Le ncwadi ibe yimpumelelo enkulu ngokwemukelwa ngabantu nangokuthengwa. Mhlawumbe ngizophinde ngenze ushicilelo lwesibili, ngenxa yabathandi bomdanso abangesekile.’

Encwadini kunezincomo zezifundiswa nezintatheli ezihlonishwayo nesandulelo sikaDkt Anita Ratnam, ohlonishwayo ngokuba wungoti womdanso waseNdiya.

Kumanje u-Singh uyiPhini likaMengameli we-South African Hindu Maha Sabha, inhlangano emele amasiko amaHindu aseNingizimu Africa.

Amagama: Kriben Pillay

Isithombe: Sithunyelwe


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Commemorating Biko 50 Years Later

Commemorating Biko 50 Years Later
Highlights from the 2019 Steve Biko Memorial Lecture.

UKZN and the UMTAPO Centre co-hosted a memorial lecture in honour of Steve Biko themed: Biko: 50 Years Later - South Africa and the Psychology of Violence.

President of the Pan-African Psychology Union, Professor Saths Cooper highlighted the alarming violence statistics in South Africa and reflected on how the country had grown accustomed to reading and hearing about violence in the media. Cooper said, ‘The colossal indifference of leaders to meet the needs of the public had bred a self-centred society.’

He raised epistemic issues of othering, racism, ethnicity, sexism, bigotry, chauvinism, xenophobia and demonising that had not been dealt with after apartheid. He called for the sense of self and integrity that Biko had lived by 50 years ago to be restored, explaining where this quest needed to start. ‘Our quest of restoring humanity needs to start at pre-school level - we need to develop that and start treating our kids like gold. Pigs eat their young, have we degenerated to that level?’ asked Cooper.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, reflected on Biko as a UKZN student whose political missions blossomed while still at the Institution and remembered him for his courage and being a “vanguard of change”. Mkhize defined Biko’s first name Bantu - as ‘people endowed with an everlasting spirit connecting all of us’ - and encouraged the audience to remember and live by the phrase umuntu ngumuntu ngabanye abantu - we are who we are because of others. Mkhize noted that the University and UMTAPO had worked closely together for 13 years.

Ms Asha Moodley, a political activist and wife of the late Strini Moodley, who had been a founding member of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa, remarked on the relevance of the lecture at a pivotal time when violence was so rife in the country. Moodley, an UMTAPO board member, attributed the rise of violent attacks to a lack of humanity and urged individuals to be more accepting of each other’s differences. ‘A lot of discourse is placed on the government, but what are we doing as individuals? We need to look at ourselves and how we pass on violence because if we want to change the world, it starts with us.’

UMTAPO Centre members Ms Pumzile Yika and Ms Arun Naicker called for the spirit of Bantu Biko to continue living and urged individuals to look at themselves, and ask who they were and what they wanted to contribute to the legacy of Biko.

Learners from the St Lawrence Primary School, which is a member of the UMTAPO Peace Club, performed a poetry rendition highlighting women and child abuse, as well as xenophobia.

Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela

Photographs: Albert Hirasen


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SARChI Chair Contributes to International Publication on Women Leaders in Engineering

SARChI Chair Contributes to International Publication on Women Leaders in Engineering
Professor Cristina Trois, South African Research Chair in Waste and Climate Change.

Professor Cristina Trois, South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Waste and Climate Change at UKZN, contributed a chapter to the recently published book Rising to the Top – Global Women Engineering Leaders Share Their Journeys to Success. She is one of only two South Africans among the 32 contributors who share their journeys to leadership in the field of Engineering.

The book, published by the Global Engineering Deans’ Council and the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, features the stories of women in positions of leadership in Engineering from almost 20 countries including the United States, Sudan, Brazil, Australia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, India and more.

Trois joins South Africa’s Ms Naadiya Moosajee, a co-founder of WomEng, in describing her career advancement in the South African milieu.

Trois’ chapter is titled, From Commitment to Impact and touches on her academic career in Environmental Engineering, the mentors who inspired her, how she arrived in South Africa from her native Sardinia more than 20 years ago, the challenges of being a female Engineer in South Africa, and her approach to research and teaching. She also details her career trajectory to become UKZN’s first female Dean of the School of Engineering against the backdrop of an intense period of transformation in South Africa and at UKZN.

‘It is a self-reflection and a candid analysis of my academic career so far, and I hope it will be of guidance, or at least of interest, to other women scientists and engineers in the academic profession,’ said Trois.

In her chapter, Trois advises young female academics to focus on understanding their profession, their career choice, and the explicit and implicit “rules” governing their profession. She discusses her success in strengthening research collaborations locally and internationally with various institutions.

Trois also details her research-led approach to teaching and learning, and her belief in transformative curriculum development that is context-specific, and in applied research that is innovative and solution driven. She emphasises her passion for shaping young engineers who can act as “vehicles of social cohesion” and contribute to their country and profession.

Trois was awarded the National Research Foundation (NRF) / Council for Scientific and Industrial Research SARChI Chair in Waste and Climate Change earlier this year. Throughout her career, she has pioneered initiatives to encourage young women to pursue Science and Engineering. She received the highest honour from her home country this year when she was, made a knight of the Italian Republic in recognition of her contributions to her field.

Trois has made significant contributions to a number of projects including South Africa’s first leachate treatment plant, the first African landfill-gas-to-electricity project, UKZN’s Centre for Research in Environmental, Coastal and Hydrological Engineering and a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory for environmental engineering research. Among many groups, societies, councils and institutes, she is part of the International Waste Working Group - Southern Africa Regional Branch, and holds a C1 research rating from the NRF. She developed the first Coursework Masters in Waste and Climate Change in South Africa, currently supervises over 30 postgraduate students and researchers, and has graduated more than 50 postgraduate students. Trois’ international activities include serving as editor and reviewer for numerous journals and institutions and collaborating with experts in Italy, the UK, India, Germany, France and Switzerland.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied


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Udle Umhlanganiso Oweziqu Zobudokotela kwi-SASTA Congress

Udle Umhlanganiso Oweziqu Zobudokotela kwi-SASTA Congress
UNks Wadzanai Mafunga ethula iphepha locwaningo kwi-SASTA Congress.Click here for English version

UNks Wadzanai Mafunga, owenza iziqu zobudokotela kwezomnotho wezolimo e-UKZN, udle umhlanganiso ngemva kokukhuluma emcimbini waminyaka yonke we-South African Sugar Technologists’ Association (i-SASTA) Congress.

Imiklomelo yethulwe eMhlanganweni wamiNyaka yoNke ye-SASTA e-Mount Edgecombe ngoMfumfu.

Esigabeni sezobunjiniyela nesezomnotho wolimo eNgqungqutheleni eyayingoNhlangulana, uMafunga ukhulume ngesihloko esithinta ukutshalwa nokukhula kwezinhlobo zomoba ezifundeni ezintathu endaweni yomoba yase-Eston nokuzwela kwabalimi ngezinqumo zomkhiqizo ngenxa yoshintsho emananini esiFundeni esiseNkabeni ye-Eston.

Enkulumweni yokuqala, uMafunga uhlabane ngendondo i-Kynoch Award ngenxa yephepha elivelele locwaningo engqungqutheleni, waklonyeliswa nge-SASTA Student Award for Agriculture. Usethubeni lokuhlabana nge-Jubilee Award (kwezoLimo) ezotholwa ngobhale iphepha elivelele locwaningo ezingqungqutheleni ze-SASTA zowezi-2019, 2020 nowezi-2021. Onqobile uzoxhaswa ngokuya eNgqungqutheleni ye-International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists e-Hyderabad, eNdiya, ngoZibandlela wezi-2022.

Amajaji aphawule ngephepha lokuqala ancoma ukuhambisana kahle kocwaningo nokuxhumana nabalimi, athi leli phepha belixukuza ugebhezi, lishaya khona, futhi lithulwe kahle. Aqhube athi leli phepha liwumkhombandlela wokuthi ucwaningo lwangomuso olufuze lolu lungenziwa kanjani.

Iphepha lesibili libe yisisekelo sephepha locwaningo olushicilelwe ephephabhukwini uShukela oshicilelweni lwangoNhlangulana, olwanikwa izithunywa ezingama-500 engqungqutheleni obelulandisa ngokuthi abalimi bangazivikela kanjani emananini aphezulu okunyuka kwezindleko zokukhiqiza umoba.

La maphepha asuselwa ocwaningweni uMafunga alwenzela izifundo zakhe zobudokotela, olubheka umphumela wokushintsha kwezigayo zikashukela zibe yizindawo zomkhiqizo owongayo nongacekeli phansi imvelo. Usebenza ngaphansi kweso elibukhali likaDkt Stuart Ferrer kwezoMnotho wezoLimo nele-Sugar Milling Research Institute/National Research Foundation SARChI Research Chair in Sugarcane Biorefining.

UMafunga, owenza unyaka wokugcina ezifundweni zobudokotela, uthe izigayo eziningi kule mboni ethwele kanzima sezikhiqiza ushukela nama-molasses, kanti abalimi sebehlomula ngalo mkhiqizo kuphela. Ucwaninga indaba yokushintshela kwezigayo kwezinye izinto ukuzama ukuphucula isimo senzuzo eyehlayo nokuthi loku kusho ukuthini emapulazini nasezigayweni.

UMafunga wenza iziqu ze-master's ezindleleni zokwenza umkhiqizo ngezinto ezongayo nezingacekeli imvelo phansi ngaphambi kokudlulela ezifundweni zobudokotela e-School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Uneziqu i-Master's in Business Administration zase-National University of Science and Technology, eZimbabwe, ngemva kokuthola iziqu zokuqala ne-Honours kwezoMnotho wezoLimo zase-University of Zimbabwe.

UMafunga uncelisa amawele phakathi kokunakekela umndeni wakhe nezifundo zakhe njengoba lo mama wendodakazi eneminyaka eyishumi namawele aneminyaka emine azalwa ngenkathi esafunda, esebenza nomyeni wakhe, uMnu Collin Yobe, naye owenza iziqu zobudokotela kwezoMnotho wezoLimo e-UKZN.

Amagama: wu-Christine Cuénod

Isithombe: Sithunyelwe


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Umsebenzi Wobuciko Ususemaphethelweni eSivandeni Sase-Westville

Umsebenzi Wobuciko Ususemaphethelweni eSivandeni Sase-Westville
Imisebenzi yobuciko kaNks Coral Bijoux wase-UKZN eyenziwe ngocwazi.Click here for English version

Umfundi owenza iziqu ze-Honours eziFundweni zezoBulili, uNks Coral Bijoux, umatasa uhlanganisa umsebenzi wobuciko ozofakwa esivandeni sezitshalo ophikweni lwase-Westville.

UNks Bijoux uyiciko nomuntu owenza imisebenzi yobuciko.

Umsebenzi wakhe omusha: i-Dreams as R-evolution, uzothatha izinyanga eziyisishiyagalolunye ukuwenza, uze uvulwe ngoNdasa wangowezi-2020.

‘Lo msebenzi uthinta imigomo yezinto zomhlaba ezinezimpawu zabantu besifazane (isibonelo nje isikhathi sokuzithwala esiyizinyanga eziyisishiyagalolunye), ukufukamela, amandla nokuphokophela ukulungisa umhlaba ungagcini nje ngokulawulwa yizinto ezithinta ubukoloni kodwa ube yilowo oqhakambisa labo “abangenazwi”, uveze ithuba lokushintsha izinto nokugxilisa umbono omusha ngenhloso yokushaya ngonyawo olusha ngezindlela ezihlonipha ezinye izindlela zolwazi, ubulili, amasiko neminye imibono, nathi sizihlole ngokwethu. Wumsebenzi wobuciko obungafani neminye imisebenzi yobuciko, okuvame ukuthi kube ngeyabakhethiweyo,’ kusho uBijoux.

Lo msebenzi wobuciko uqondakala kalula emazingeni amaningi ehlukene. Ngokuka-Bijoux, ukufakwa komsebenzi wobuciko i-Dreams as R-evolution kuzokhombisa (kube kuphikisa) ‘ukuthi siyakwazi yini ukwakha isizwe sethu kabusha. Nakuba lo msebenzi wobuciko wenziwe ngezinto zocwazi ezivuselelwe zikade zilahliwe, kodwa awugxilile kucwazi noma ukusebenzisa izinto ezilahliwe esezivuselelwe’.

Umbhidlango wokufaka lo msebenzi wobuciko wumsebenzi wocwaningo ojulile ngokwemifanekiso yamasiko. Ubonakala ngezinto eziqoshiwe, ezidwetshiwe, nezipendiwe, ezixoxwayo nopopayi. UBijoux uthe umnyombo wokubona izinto ngeso elisha yindaba yobuntu, ‘ubuntu obenza ukuthi sithathe izinqumo ezingasizi thina noma ubuntu obungenamsebenzi nobuntu bethu noma ukuzicabangela thina, singaze sigcine sesikwazi ukuzicabangela’.

Lo msebenzi uthinta nendaba yezikhulu nomphumela (wokwenza nokungenzi) nendlela esibuka izinto ngayo. UBijoux uthe ukuzimela kuyagqama emsebenzini wakhe wobuciko. Uthi: ‘Ukwazi ukuthi ungubani kuqala ngokuba nombono ngempilo yakho ngethemba lokuthi kuzoba nomthelela omuhle kubangani bakho, emndenini nasezihlotsheni, kugcine sekuyinto enkulu ngendaba yoshintsho noma ukushintsha noma ukukhula.

Kwenziwa ngamabomu ukuthi indawo yokwenzela ubuciko ingabi wuluhoho omhlophe onezikhala kodwa kube yindawo enezinto zemvelo njengomoya, imvula, ilanga, izitshalo, izilwane, izinambuzane nazo ezikhona. Kumanje amagalelo alo msebenzi wobuciko aseyazwakala ngenxa yezinkulumo esezikhona emazingeni ehlukene emphakathini nasesivandeni, ezisebenzini, kubantwana namanye amaciko, osonkondlo nababhali ezindaweni eziningi ezweni abalandela lolu hambo lobuciko ‘endaweni engajwayelekile’.

Lo msebenzi uxhaswe yi-National Arts Council kanti uzohambisana nencwadi yobuciko exhaswe yi-National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Phakathi kwababhali abakhona kwi-Dreams as R-evolution kungabalwa uSolwazi wase-UKZN, u-Rozena Maart; usonkondlo, umbhali nomlingisi, uNks Malika Ndlovu; umbhali wezincwadi zabantwana, uNks Tracey-lee Easthorpe; usosayensi nombhali, uMnu Andre Croucamp; iciko lezesimanje, uNks Usha Seejarim; nomfundi owenza iziqu zobudokotela e-University of Western Cape nongumbhali, uNks Pralini Naidoo. 

UBijoux ubonge umNyango wezeNgqalasizinda, ezokuHlela nezemiSebenzi ngemvume yokusebenzisa isivande nomQondisi uMnu William Smith; ungoti wezokutshala, uNks Gugu Khanyeza; nemenenja yesivande, uMnu Vicky Singh noMnu Chappie Nzadla osebenza khona.

Leli ciko liyabonakala njalo ekuseni lenza into yalo ngoLwezihlanu phakathi kwehora lesi-9 nele-11 ekuseni noma uma kuhleliwe. Zikhona izinkulumo kanye njalo ngenyanga.

 Amagama: wu-Melissa Mungroo

Isithombe: wu-Itumeleng Masa


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Student Bags Golden Key Membership Award

Student Bags Golden Key Membership Award
Mr Ryan Nkosi received the Golden Key Award.

‘One of the most basic emotional needs for any person is recognition of a job well done,’ said UKZN’s Discipline of Dentistry Administrator, Mr Ryan Nkosi after he received his Golden Key Membership Award.

‘To be recognised in this regard is great and it’s only because of the people who stand up for what we are trying to do within our community,’ he added.

Nkosi was recognised for being among the top 15% academic achievers in his course.

The Golden Key International Society is a non-profit academic organisation that was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States by graduate students in 1977. Its mission is to enable members to realise their potential by connecting individual achievement with service and lifelong opportunities.

Golden Key establishes a network among talented university students from diverse academic backgrounds. Involvement in the Society reinforces students’ interaction with university leaders and with corporate partners. It also aims to encourage academic achievement by promoting the value of education, not only to individuals, but the broader community.

‘Being a member of Golden Key International Honour Society means that there is power within the community to bring voices together to effect change; talk to the gatekeepers who can lead you to more in-depth information; reconnect with extraordinary people and meet with new people; and participate in networking events with people with similar interests and a shared commitment to academic achievement, leadership and service,’ explained Nkosi.

Golden Key Southern Africa Director, Dr Elmie Castleman commended Nkosi on his achievement, ‘Your commitment to outstanding academic performance and achievements, proven leadership, involvement in extracurricular activities and participation in community service, demonstrate that you are a worthy recipient.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini 

Photograph: Supplied


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High Achieving Students Recognised

High Achieving Students Recognised
Highlights from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies’ Student Excellence Awards.

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies’ (BEDS) annual awards ceremony at the Howard College Theatre recognised top performing undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Students from the Disciplines of Architecture, Community Development, Development Studies, Housing, Population Studies and Town and Regional Planning were rewarded for their hard work and dedication.

Dean and Head of the School Professor Ernest Khalema said, ‘We are proud of our students and celebrate their accomplishments. Technological and bilingual enhanced learning drives our School and we plan to continue to upgrade the infrastructure for our students to continue to excel.’

College Dean of Research Professor Pholoho Morojele commented, ‘Humanities students are exceeding expectations, showing that hard work pays off. As UKZN ambassadors, they should continue to make us proud. Their lecturers should also be recognised for creating a context of success.’

Student Representative Council (SRC) member, Mr Nhlanhla Mazibuko congratulated the students, saying, ‘Knowledge is power…use that power to change societal discourses and injustices. Use your degree to empower communities, be impactful and influential.’

Architecture student Ms Parishka Pillay said, ‘It’s a great honour to be recognised by the University for my work. Recognition and acknowledgment of hard work should never be the sole reason for success but it is a very powerful motivator! In my moments of self-doubt, such awards provide a tangible means of validating myself. Hard work is worthwhile.’

Master of Population Studies student Mr Sachin Sewpersad remarked, ‘This award marks a point in my studies where I feel as though I reached my full academic potential. I advise other students to choose something they love doing, and never lose sight of their goal. Be resilient, optimistic, and work hard.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Albert Hirasen


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Healthcare Training in Gender Diversity

Healthcare Training in Gender Diversity
Scenes from the Gender Affirming Healthcare Training Day at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

Gender affirming for trans and gender diverse people consists of different domains that can affect one from a psychological, medical, social and legal perspective.

In partnership with Same Love Toti and TransHope, UKZN’s College of Health Sciences hosted a Gender Affirming Healthcare Training Day at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

The training aimed to provide an opportunity for trans and gender diverse people, their family members and health professionals (social workers, nurses, psychologists, speech therapists and doctors) to learn more. Dr Christine McLachlan, a clinical psychologist based at Edendale Hospital noted that a recent research study indicated that three million South Africans present themselves in gender non-conforming ways. Despite this, gender different individuals need to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria (the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and the sex assigned at birth) in order to access healthcare.

Being gender fluid refers to non-binary gender which is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine?. These identities are outside the gender binary since most non-binary people identify with a gender that’s different from their assigned sex. Within this classification are a number of other genders including bi-gender, trans-gender, cross-sexed, trans man, trans women, cisgender, androgyne, etc.

Ms Sazi (Sassie) Jali, founder and Director of TransHope, an organisation dedicated to increasing knowledge about gender identity and sexual orientation and providing a safe environment for gender diverse individuals, recounted her journey of transitioning. Sazi was born male but at a very early age, her mother, Mrs Tamara Jali, realised that Sazi was different. ‘He would always cry for dolls and not want to play with toy cars or footballs,’ she said.

In 2016, Sazi, who grew up in Umlazi, began her transition by seeking help from a psychologist at a public hospital. Six months after her sessions, she started on hormone therapy. ‘In 2017 I started advocating for the rights of transgender people. After I had thoroughly done my research and found out what the law said about changing my gender marker, I immediately applied to change it. The process took two months due to the knowledge I had gathered and by actively assisting Home Affairs officials.’ Sazi is the first transgender person on the African continent to graduate and receive her qualification in shipping logistics, under her new and correct assigned gender marker.

South Africa’s Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act (Act No. 49 of 2003) provides for individuals to change their gender marker. It states that, ‘Gender reassignment means a process which is undertaken for the purpose of reassigning a person’s sex by changing physiological or other sexual characteristics, and includes any part of such a process.’ In order to change one’s gender marker or name, one does not need to have had surgery. Gender reassignment is seen as a process of transitioning.

Professor Mershen Pillay from the Discipline of Speech Language Therapy presented a speech therapists’ skills base to help develop Transvoice and communication. He noted that it is vital to match one’s voice to enact one’s gender. This would include working on one’s tone, pitch, resonance and rate. Non-verbal communication and articulation are also key. ‘How your voice is helping you express yourself is part of your identity. Hence, voice training is essential,’ said Pillay

Hormone therapy (HT) is a major part of transitioning. Dr Elma de Vries from the University of Cape Town’s Division of Family Medicine presented on gender affirming surgery and hormone therapy. ‘Prior to starting on HT, it is important to note that the effects are irreversible and future reproductive options must be considered. Medical doctors must also take note of any family history of risk factors including cancer, liver disease, heart conditions, high cholesterol, HIV, syphilis, and others,’ said de Vries.

The hormones usually used include oestrogen and anti-androgens. De Vries and others are advocating for the hormone Estrofem to be added to the Essential Medicines list, making it easily accessible. HT also has many side effects including Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism, stroke, headaches, depression, hypertension, and amenorrhea and others.

As part of her doctoral study, Dr Zamasomi Luvuno from the Discipline of Public Health is looking at re-engineering primary healthcare and the care of transgender people. ‘Transgender people have unique health risks and needs. It is important to look at the establishment of transgender friendly primary healthcare clinics and to educate nursing staff and other healthcare professionals,’ said Luvuno. She added that, it is important to note that, in hospitals and clinics, physical examinations and treatment will be provided to the anatomy that is present.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photographs: Supplied


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Accounting Student a Finalist at SAICA Competition

Accounting Student a Finalist at SAICA Competition
Ms Griskha Naicker (first left) with other finalists at Ikakeng Itireleng AIDS Ministry where they met founder, Ms Carol Dyanti (third left).

Second-year BCom Accounting student, Ms Griskha Naicker was selected as a finalist at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA’s) Student Leadership Summit (SLS) competition in Johannesburg.

The SLS is a thought leadership competition in which students studying towards a BCom CA-stream qualification at SAICA-accredited institutions are tasked with devising solutions to problems that confront South Africa and the world at large.

Entrants were challenged to put together a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) focused business case that illustrated how they would empower and improve the country through a community-based project that works towards achieving one or more of the United Nations’ SDGs. They presented the case to a panel of esteemed business leaders.

Naicker’s business case, Community Fridge - a feeding scheme for students using surplus fruits, vegetables and other non-perishable foods that are safe for human consumption addressed Goal 2 - Zero hunger and Goal 3 - Good health and well-being.

‘I entered the competition as I believe that hunger and nutrition insecurity has a great impact on student performance. By meeting other contestants and attending leadership workshops, I realised the importance of our community-based projects in helping the accounting profession to work towards solutions for a better tomorrow. I was shown how we as students can play a role as future business leaders of South Africa,’ said Naicker.

‘This experience has showed me that, to be a future business leader, I need to focus on sustainability before anything else as early in my career as possible. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet business leaders and gain advice on how to succeed in my career,’ she added.

At the summit, she received business mentoring and leadership coaching and visited community-based projects already in play to assist her in starting her own project.

Naicker was amongst the top five of the 160 entrants. The overall winner was Mr Bonginkosi Kalipa from the University of Johannesburg who received funding to launch his project.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied


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School of Arts Student to Present Recital

School of Arts Student to Present Recital
Ms Zoliswa Michelle Mchunu.

The School of Arts (Music) will present a performance by Ms Zoliswa Michelle Mchunu, a Bachelor of Arts Honours student in Applied Ethnomusicology and Performance at the Howard College Theatre, on 1 November at 12h30.

She will be starring in her own Final Exam Recital under the supervision of senior lecturer Dr Patricia Opondo.

‘The theme: Sabela, Memeza, Lalela Abaphansi (Respond, Call out, Listen to the Ancestors) is all about me unpacking myself using this concert and performing arts as a tool to communicate who I am and my relationship with my ancestors,’ said Mchunu.

Mchunu is a versatile musician who plays several indigenous instruments, sings and dances. The recital will feature various artists including her mother Wendy who Mchunu sees as her living spirit guide. Her two sisters will also accompany her. Mchunu will be joined onstage by all-female group Izimbewu Zekusasa and Izintombi Zase-UKZN who are talented maidens while artist, Mr Nkosinathi Mdluli will paint a portrait of the entire recital as it unfolds onstage.

Entrance to the recital is free. For more information, contact Ms Zoliswa Mchunu on 065 082 7262 or email Dr Patricia Opondo at opondop@ukzn.ac.za

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied


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School of Education hosts Multi-Grade Teaching Seminar

School of Education hosts Multi-Grade Teaching Seminar
Highlights from the Multi-Grade teaching seminar.

In response to the glaring gap in teacher development for multi-grade teaching, the School of Education hosted a one-day conversation circle on this phenomenon.

The aim was to generate interest in and ideas for practical solutions to support schools and teachers offering multi-grade education.

The key role players who organised the seminar were the academic leaders for teaching and learning, Drs Samu Khumalo, Asheena Singh-Pillay, and Jaya Naidoo and Mrs Mari Van Wyk.

It is hoped that this initiative will facilitate sustained interest in multi-grade teaching to promote deeper understanding; open up conversations about pedagogical issues and methodologies of teaching in a multi-grade classroom; explore the challenges confronted by both teachers and learners in multi-grade classes and identify the implications for Higher Education.

In his opening address, Dean and Head of the School Professor Thabo Msibi said, ‘We plan to prepare our students to teach and cope with multi-grade teaching. We have already developed a module in the Honours class. We hope the type of knowledge generated from the seminar leads to meaningful scholarship and research; improvements in the quality of schooling and a partnership with the Department of Education to design multi-grade courses.’

Lecturer Dr Jabulile Mzimela’s keynote address focused on teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge for teaching in a multi-grade classroom. She explained that multi-grade classes have more than one grade in one classroom, usually those that are close to each other. For instance, the same teacher will teach Grades R and One learners in one class.

‘Teachers need to have a distinctive body of knowledge as they have to be able to blend content for various subjects and identify appropriate methods to teach each subject component. They need to understand how to organise each component of the content and how to deliver it accurately to learners through appropriate methodologies. It is imperative to understand that it is a complex process for teachers to intersect content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge,’ said Mzimela.

She shared some of the potential benefits of multi-grade classrooms, which include the fact that older learners model communication skills, vocabulary, and literacy skills that benefit younger or less experienced learners, while all learners develop connections with classmates across grades and classrooms, promoting Ubuntu.

Mzimela added that teachers’ negative attitudes to multi-grade teaching is aggravated by the lack of support from departmental officials. Furthermore, teaching in a rural area is a challenge on its own that multi-grade teaching exacerbates. 

She recommends that schools with multi-grade classes train teachers and offer refresher courses on how curriculum, learner discipline, classroom organisation and different teaching methods should be administered when teaching.

‘The Department of Education (DoE) should also generate and supply teaching and learning resources that are multi-grade teaching friendly. This could assist teachers to understand the advantages of multi-grade teaching. It is the duty of the Department to transform teachers’ perceptions about multi-grade teaching through networking with different stakeholders, like subject advisors and organisations that promote literacy,’ she said.

Department of Basic Education (DBE) Representative Mr Mazwakhe Mkhulisi said, ‘We understand the plight of multi-grade classrooms and teachers. We endeavour to train our teachers properly to secure a brighter, better future for our learners.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Sethu Dlamini


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UKZN hosts First Interdisciplinary Cultural Blending/Ukuhlanganyela in Africa Colloquium

UKZN hosts First Interdisciplinary Cultural Blending/<em>Ukuhlanganyela</em> in Africa Colloquium
Highlights from the first Interdisciplinary Cultural Blending/ Ukuhlanganyela in Africa Colloquium.

The School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) in the College of Humanities recently hosted the first Interdisciplinary Cultural Blending/ Ukuhlanganyela in Africa Colloquium.

Organised by Professor Johannes A Smit and Dr Sibusiso Masondo, it involved participants from the University of Bayreuth in Germany, UNISA and UKZN.

Professor Ulrich Berner from the Department of Religionswissenschaft/ Science of Religion at the University of Bayreuth delivered the keynote address, titled, Aspects of Syncretism.

He discussed how humans blend culture by either transgressing borders within one cultural system or by cooperating across borders between cultural systems. In terms of the first approach, he noted that the Greek author, Plutarch, introduced the notion of “syncretism” by referring to the inhabitants of Crete who settled their internal strife and cooperated when threatened by a common enemy.

Based on its original meaning, Berner defined one aspect of syncretism as the transgression of borders within a cultural system, when different subsystems are drifting apart and seem to be incompatible, endangering its stability and unity. Another aspect is co-operation that transgresses the boundaries between different cultural systems.

‘In both instances, we have forms of cultural interaction, cooperation, and blending. An example of the first form of cultural blending comes from the conflict between science and religion which occurred several times in European history: the Copernican Revolution in the 16th/17th century and the rise of Darwinism in the 19th/20th century, the latter having been discussed controversially up to the present time,’ explained Berner. 

Starting from Bishop JW Colenso’s First Lessons in Science (1861), Berner overviewed various efforts to resolve this conflict. He drew historical examples from the theological controversies on Copernicanism in early modern Europe, and on Darwinism in 19th century Europe and India. He also showed how the hermeneutics of religious texts played a central role in these controversies.

Turning to co-operation that transgresses the boundaries between different cultural systems, Berner drew on the history of colonialism. He cited examples of intrareligious and intracultural cooperation, highlighting that power relationships can only be maintained if the border between the systems is not transgressed.

He also discussed some counter examples, viz., missionaries who challenged the colonial systems of Spain or England (Pedro de Cordoba, Roger Williams) and defended the rights and the culture, including the religion of the colonised peoples. He then compared these anticolonial discourses from the 16th/17th centuries to the “syncretic“ or blending approaches of missionaries in 19th century South Africa, for instance, Johannes Th. v.d. Kemp (since 1799). Referring to theories on religion and co-operation, Berner also raised the question of how to define and assess the role of those missionaries who deviated from the colonial mainstream.

UKZN academic Professor Johannes Smit said that this ‘was the first colloquium in a series that is being planned, focusing on aspects of cultural interaction, blending, development, and related cultural and social aspects.’

The series is interdisciplinary in nature, involving academics, doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, from the three universities as well as programmes in Religion and Social Transformation, Gender and Religion, Media and Cultural Studies, Drama, Ethics Studies, African Theology, Biblical Studies, and the University Language Planning and Development Office (ULPDO), under the Directorship of Professor Langa Khumalo.

The papers will be published in a book, and an abridged version will be published in isiZulu.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Supplied


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TuSEF Care 4 A Colleague Box Launch

TuSEF Care 4 A Colleague Box Launch
TuSEF Care 4 A Colleague Launch.

The Tumelo Seliane Education Fund (TuSEF) hosted the launch of the Care 4 A Colleague Box at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

TuSEF is an initiative of the UKZN Medical Class of 2015, inspired by the late Mr Tumelo Seliane, whose leadership and humility changed many lives at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. Seliane passed away tragically in 2015.

‘The Education Fund seeks to honor his legacy by ensuring that no student, especially in the clinical years of study, is unable to study due to financial constraints. This is important considering that there is a shortage of doctors in South Africa. The fund hopes to follow Tumelo’s example by assisting the needy through individual contributions and fundraising through the UKZN Foundation,’ said Professor Nombulelo Magula, Head of Internal Medicine.

The Care 4 A Colleague Box aims to inspire Medical students to become part of the solution by contributing to tuition funds. Care 4 A Colleague Boxes will be placed in designated places on the Medical School campus for monetary as well as non-perishable contributions such as food parcels, sanitary pads, books and medical equipment required by students. Through this initiative, TuSEF hopes to inspire students to make small regular donations towards the fund.

Medical campus Safety and Health Manager, Mrs Snegugu Tshabalala delivered an inspiring address at the launch on Making a Difference. She traced the history and progress of TuSEF, where after the boxes were showcased and the first contributions were made.

TuSEF extended its heartfelt gratitude to all who attended and invited the general student body, their parents and staff to become a part of this initiative.

Words: Tumelo Lecheko and Amanda Zondo

Photographs: Supplied


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Students Must be Safe on our Campuses

Students Must be Safe on our Campuses
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The University of KwaZulu-Natal hosted a Dialogue on Gender-Based Violence on Monday, 14 October 2019, to decry incidences of GBV in society and in Higher Education. The dialogue was organised in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training. Here, the Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Training, Mr Buti Manamela - who was a panellist - delivers his address https://youtu.be/cftGdf-a4FM. The address was delivered in his personal capacity and as Deputy Minister: Higher Education and Training.


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Law Professor Receives Special Award in Russia

Law Professor Receives Special Award in Russia
Professor David McQuoid-Mason (middle) with delegates from Germany, Poland and Croatia in front of Moscow State University.

Professor David McQuoid-Mason of UKZN’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies has just returned from Moscow. He received a Special Award for his clinical legal education work in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and elsewhere in the world at the 10th nation-wide Conference of Russian Law Clinics hosted by the Law Faculty of Lomonosov, Moscow State University (MSU), the Russian Centre for the Development of Law Clinics and Indiana State University, at MSU.

McQuoid-Mason presented two papers at the Conference – one on Supervision of Law Clinics and another on Overcoming challenges when Establishing and Managing University-based Live Client Clinics – Lessons from South Africa. He also co-presented at a roundtable on How to Organize a Street Law Programme at a University and a training workshop on Role-Playing as an Educational Method, and answered questions on best international practice at a number of the other sessions dealing with live client Law clinics and Street Law programmes.

Three weeks prior to his trip to Russia McQuoid-Mason taught interactive teaching skills classes for postgraduate students in Clinical Law programmes at Edinburgh University, and Strathclyde University in Scotland.

The week before the trip McQuoid-Mason hosted a delegation from Kenya’s Legal Aid Board. He gave the participants a guided tour of Constitutional Hill in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, and then took them on study visits to the provincial Legal Aid Office in Pinetown, the Durban and Verulam Legal Aid Offices, the Law Clinic and Street Law programmes at Howard College, the Centre for Community Justice and Development in Pietermaritzburg, and the Legal Resources Centre in Durban.

‘After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany, I was privileged to participate in a Street Law empowerment programme for 16 former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asian countries.

Together with three American Street Law colleagues I worked with Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Education officials, and with Law teachers and school teachers from Albania, Belarus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, to produce 45 Street Law manuals for use in their schools.

‘This was the beginning of my large-scale international Street Law work that has allowed me to work with a total of 45 countries and my live client law work which I have done with 60 countries. It was for this work that I was rewarded,’ said McQuoid-Mason.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied


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South Africa’s HIRAX Telescope Driving Industry Engagements

South Africa’s HIRAX Telescope Driving Industry Engagements
Professor Kavilan Moodley alongside the newly installed MMS prototype dish at the SARAO Hartebeesthoek site.

The Hydrogen and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX), led from UKZN, has deployed two new prototype telescope dish designs, one aluminium and the other fibreglass, at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) Hartebeesthoek site near Johannesburg.

The fibreglass dish was designed and manufactured by MMS Technology in Pretoria, and the aluminium one through a partnership between NJV Consulting and Rebcon in Durban. Funding for the prototype dishes was provided by UKZN and the Department of Science and Innovation through the National Research Foundation.

This milestone marks the successful completion of months of collaboration between the HIRAX project, and local engineering and manufacturing firms, and brings HIRAX one step closer to the installation of the full 1 024-dish array in a compact configuration on the HIRAX main site in the Karoo. This telescope will enable research on the evolution of dark energy through hydrogen intensity mapping, and on transient radio sources such as fast radio bursts (FRBs) and pulsars. Dark energy is a mysterious force that scientists believe is acting against gravity to cause accelerated expansion of the universe. FRBs are millisecond extragalactic flashes in the sky of unknown origin.

Collaboration on the dish design started at the beginning of 2018 with the aim of defining final dish requirements for the project. The design of these 6-metre dishes has strict tolerances on the shape, surface accuracy, and receiver position. The mechanical design also allows for the manual repointing of the dishes every few months, enabling the instrument to map about a third of the sky over a five-year period while minimising costs by eliminating the need for active drive mechanisms.

HIRAX will instrument and analyse the two new prototype dishes over the next few months to develop the final requirements for an open tender for the first 256 dishes to be installed at the main site in the Karoo. SARAO Managing Director Rob Adam said: ‘After the successful testing at our Hartebeesthoek site we are looking forward to hosting HIRAX at our site in the Karoo. We always had the idea that the SKA site would prove to be an attractor for other leading-edge global astronomy projects and this is turning out to be the case.’

This installation could not have been achieved without the support of the professional staff at the SARAO Hartebeesthoek site. Their experience and domain knowledge have been harnessed to provide support and technical assistance for various aspects of the HIRAX project. All of the current antenna prototyping work is being conducted at the SARAO Hartebeesthoek observatory site, and SARAO staff at the site have assisted with the installation and testing of the dishes, and the execution of the associated civil infrastructure work. 

Professor Cynthia Chiang, HIRAX Instrumentation Lead, Professor at McGill University and Fractional Professor at UKZN, said: ‘In order to deliver high-precision science, HIRAX has stringent specifications that require custom-built telescope dishes. The two new dishes from MMS and Rebcon represent a significant milestone toward achieving HIRAX’s goals, and they will be crucial for informing the final instrument design.’ Both MMS and the NJV/Rebcon collaboration worked hand-in-hand with the HIRAX project to produce prototype designs that will inform final dish requirements for the HIRAX project.

The MMS dish was installed in August 2019 by their team led by director Heinrich Bauermeister and consists of a fine aluminium mesh embedded in fibreglass. The MMS dish can tilt in elevation 30 degrees either side of zenith. Bauermeister said: ‘Designing and manufacturing this dish was a serious trade-off between performance and cost. For this reason, the mount was kept as low and simple as possible and the dish itself as thin as possible without compromising too much on performance. The single piece composite material dish does not need any post-manufacturing setup, and the mount is low enough to facilitate easy adjustment of the dish elevation by one person.’

The NJV/Rebcon dish was installed in October 2019 by their team, led by Warren Butler, who indicated that, ‘team input of the design development was dynamic to incorporate practical solutions regarding assembly/disassembly, transportation, ease of installation on site in a remote location and serviceability of the prototype once installed.

‘The design intent was realised by a form of laser-cut profiled aluminium elements which provided the parabolic accuracy the project required. Appropriate skills and collaboration have resulted in a practical buildable and easily erectable structure, that is fully recyclable,’ he added.

The dish is made of aluminium mesh with an aluminium backing structure. Furthermore, it is fixed in azimuth and can tilt in elevation down to the horizon. Linda Ness, Director of NJV Consulting (Pty) Ltd remarked, ‘Collaboration between designer and fabricator on unusual engineering fabrications at conceptual stage is invaluable, and this was one of those great opportunities. Early interaction like this allows cross-over of skills between the two companies, who have worked together for many years. With multiple units in mind, material optimisation, repeat fabrication and erection are key. Detailed structural modelling analyses and finer stress design work could then be downstream from wholly considered upfront thinking, sketching and deliberation together with the scientists.’

The HIRAX team hopes that these partnerships are the first of many to come between the project and South African industry. In addition to collaborating on HIRAX dish hardware, the project hopes to manufacture some of its subsystems in South Africa, work with local technology companies to develop big data analysis tools, and hire local labour for the deployment of the instrument in the Karoo. Principal Investigator of the project, UKZN’s Professor Kavilan Moodley noted, ‘Through these and future collaborations with industry and the scientific community, the project endeavours to build technical capacity nationally as South Africa increases its radio astronomy portfolio through MeerKAT and the development towards the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).’

HIRAX is led by UKZN and hosted as a guest instrument by SARAO, the national facility mandated to support the development and operation of radio astronomy instruments in South Africa. It is managed by a consortium which includes five additional South African institutions: the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Rhodes University, and the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Seventeen international partners currently provide significant financial and in-kind contributions to the project. They include: AIMS-Rwanda, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, ETH-Zurich, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, McGill University, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Oxford University, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of British Columbia, University of Geneva, Universite Paris Diderot - Paris 7, University of Toronto, University of Wisconsin-Madison, West Virginia University and Yale University.

Words: Malishca Perumal

Photograph: Supplied


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Geography Academics Connect with the World at International Geospatial Conference in Iran

Geography Academics Connect with the World at International Geospatial Conference in Iran
Dr John Odindi, Dr Mbulisi Sibanda and Professor Onisimo Mutanga at the International Geospatial Conference in Tehran.

Professor Onisimo Mutanga, and Drs John Odindi and Mbulisi Sibanda travelled to Iran to present at the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) International Geospatial Conference, held at the University of Tehran’s campus of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The conference was sponsored by the Germany Aerospace Centre (DLR), ISPRS and the University of Tehran and attended by more than 400 delegates. Mutanga presented a keynote address and Odindi received the award for the best paper.

The conference themes included geoinformatics for agriculture and natural resources management, earth observation in climate change, natural hazards and disaster management, and green and smart cities.

Mutanga, the South African Research Chair in Land Use Planning and Management, was invited to deliver a keynote address on the topic of Trends in the Remote Sensing of Rangeland Productivity: Lessons from Africa. The presentation tracked developments in the remote sensing landscape to estimate and map the quantity and quality of grazing resources in heterogeneous African landscapes. He explained that this is important because anthropogenic and natural factors, including climate change, have dramatically altered rangeland productivity to the detriment of livestock and wildlife grazing sustainability. Mutanga demonstrated the utility of hyperspectral data, and lessons learnt from the associated technical processing to upscale to cheap and freely available new generation multispectral data to match requirements for poor African countries.

In the session on hyperspectral remote sensing, Odindi, UKZN’s Academic Leader for Geography, presented a paper on the utility of the upcoming Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) sensor in detecting maize Gray Leaf Spot in relation to Sentinel-2 MultiSpectral Instrument (MSI), Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro-Satellite (VENµS) and Landsat 8 OLI spectral band-settings. He highlighted the need for spatially explicit, cost-effective and consistent approaches for monitoring as well as forecasting food crop diseases such as maize Gray Leaf Spot. According to Odindi, this technology could reduce diseases and associated economic losses, and contribute to food security.

In the agriculture session, Sibanda, a researcher in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, presented on the discrimination of tomato plants grown under anaerobic baffled reactor effluent, nitrified urine concentrate and commercial hydroponic fertiliser regimes using multi-source satellite data. He assessed the detection and discriminative strength of three different satellite spectral settings in mapping tomato plants grown under these different nutrient sources. The results showed that spectral settings of HyspIRI sensor could better discriminate tomatoes grown under different fertiliser regimes than Landsat 9 OLI and Sentinel-2 MSI spectral configurations, opening up new opportunities for crop monitoring at farm scale.

Following the conference, the Dean of the University of Tehran’s College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Professor Seyed Hossein Goldandsaz and the College’s Head of International Relations Dr Valiollah Mohammadi invited Mutanga, Odindi and Sibanda to meet and discuss areas for further collaboration between the university and UKZN. They discussed the potential for co-supervision of students, appointments of Adjunct Professors, exchange of faculty members, joint research projects, special short-term academic programmes, exchange of academic materials and more, and plan to explore the establishment of an official memorandum of understanding between the institutions.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied


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SAEF Recognises Staff Excellence

SAEF Recognises Staff Excellence
From left: Professor Mabutho Sibanda, Ms Meena Hoosen and School Operating Manager, Mr Sanjeev Maharaj; Prof Sibanda shaking hands with Dr Patricia Shewell; and Prof Sibanda congratulates Mr Alastair Marais.

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) hosted an event to recognise professional and academic staff for their hard work, dedication and positive impact.

Speaking at the gathering, Dean and Head of the School, Professor Mabutho Sibanda said the awards are tailored in line with the strategic goals of the University to recognise individuals who have excelled in various portfolios within the School.

‘I would like to congratulate the recipients of the 2019 excellence awards, and encourage others to emulate this achievement,’ said Sibanda.

The awards recognised staff for operational, academic, community engagement, teaching and learning, and research excellence.

The following awards were made:

•    Top Professional Services Staff - Ms Meena Hoosen and Ms Varuna Bandu

•    Top Academics - Ms Shelley Donnelly, Dr Bomi Nomlala and Mr Alastair Marais

•    (Distinguished Teacher) Teaching and Learning - Dr Msizi Mkhize

•    Top Academics in Teaching and Learning (per cluster) - Dr Kerry-Ann McCullough (Finance), Dr Jessica Schroenn Goebel (Economics) and Mr Alastair Marais (Accounting)

•    Top Researcher (Top PUs) - Professor Paul Muzindutsi, Professor Harold Ngalawa and Dr Gerry Bokana

•    First Publisher - Ms Navitha Sewparsad

•    Top Reviewer - Dr Patricia Shewell

•    Community Engagement Excellence - Dr Msizi Mkhize, Dr Sanele Gumede and Ms Hlengiwe Ndlela

•    Dean’s Award - Ms Sherry Badernhorst and Mr Yoshin Chetty

Winner of the Top Researcher award, Muzindutsi said, ‘It is encouraging that our School acknowledges staff members’ hard work and excellence. I would like to congratulate my colleagues who received excellence awards in other categories.’

First Publisher Award winner Sewpersadh said, ‘I am extremely grateful to my colleagues Dr Rajendra Rajaram and Professor Anesh Maniraj Singh for affording me the opportunity of co-authoring with them. I felt a sense of relief and excitement when the article was finally published.’ The article, Business rescue: Adapt or die, was published in the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences in October 2018.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photographs: Supplied


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UKZN Celebrates Global Ethics Day

UKZN Celebrates Global Ethics Day
The Institutional Planning and Governance (IPG) division celebrates Global Ethics Day.

UKZN’s Institutional Planning and Governance (IPG) division celebrated Global Ethics Day on 16 October. The day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of integrity and ethics in an increasingly challenging world, and for organisations around the world to examine the role of ethics in their practice.

The IPG division hosted a presentation on Ethics Awareness to highlight UKZN’s commitment to a culture of integrity and its zero-tolerance approach to violence through a poster demonstration.

Reflecting on the importance of Global Ethics Day, certified Ethics Officer, Mr Tony Singarum said, ‘As a University, we do not exist in isolation from other universities both nationally and internationally as we are part of the global community that promotes the Higher Education mandate of building a moral society.’

Words: Hlengiwe Precious Khwela

Photograph: Supplied


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Bell Awards for UKZN Registrars

Bell Awards for UKZN Registrars
MS Bell Awards recipients: Dr Thejini Naidoo and Dr Busisiwe Bhengu.

UKZN Psychiatry Registrars scooped MS Bell Awards at the South African Society of Psychiatrists’ Biological Psychiatry Congress held in Cape Town in September.

The awards are bestowed by the College of Psychiatrists of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.

Dr Thejini Naidoo’s presentation on Burnout, Anxiety and Depression in South African Doctors Working in KwaZulu-Natal Training Hospitals: An eThekwini Perspective, received the award for the best oral presentation.

This study established the prevalence of these three adverse mental health outcomes and their associations with practitioner and work-related factors among medical doctors employed at state hospitals in the eThekwini municipality of KwaZulu-Natal. The results of this research, as well as potential modifiable factors and proposed public health interventions were presented at this congress.

The award for the best poster presentation went to Dr Busisiwe Bhengu for her poster titled, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and HIV Status and Substance Use in Pregnancy at a General Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal.

Head of Psychiatry at UKZN, Professor Bonga Chiliza said, ‘We could not be more proud of our Registrars for sharing inspirational stories. We are so grateful for the village that is raising the next generation of African Academic Psychiatrists.’

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photographs: Supplied


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Fourth Fountainhill Estate Symposium Explores Research Implementation

Fourth Fountainhill Estate Symposium Explores Research Implementation
From left: Mr Konrad Taeuber, Mr Ed Gevers, Dr Roy Mottram, Dr Nontutuzelo Pearl Gola, Professor Trevor Hill, Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, and Dr Jim Taylor at the Symposium.

The fourth annual Fountainhill Estate (FHE) Research Symposium at the estate near Wartburg, KwaZulu-Natal focused on the theme of taking research into operational implementation and featured almost 30 presentations that included a number on work undertaken by UKZN staff and students on the estate.

The two-day symposium, co-hosted by the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership, provided a platform for the presentation of environmental and agricultural research underway at the FHE and in the uMngeni Catchment. The programme encompassed formal academic research, observational studies and surveys as well as citizen science. The event served as a multi-disciplinary milieu that provided opportunity for cross-pollination of ideas and research findings.

Close to 50 delegates attended from academia, civil society, local government, neighbouring farms and estates, environmental agencies and more. The organisers plan to synthesise the contributions to inform further research, promote inter- and intra-disciplinary co-operation and promote and operationalise implementable findings in the broader community.

Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO of the Water Research Commission (WRC), delivered the keynote address on the first day on the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus.

He congratulated the organisers, including the academic partners, for a “demonstration of what is possible”.

Naidoo praised the FHE for its investment in conservation and remarked on UKZN’s leadership in the realm of the WEF nexus. He encouraged the adoption of best practice from and contribution to best practice around the globe, encouraging South African researchers not to remain isolated, and provided snapshots of the WEF sectoral status in Africa, from challenges to responses and innovation. He also noted the need to remain optimistic, saying ‘We need to adjust our outlook, because if we don’t, we will fail to recognise the toolboxes that are already available to us to rapidly transform the world.’

Dr Jim Taylor, Honorary Research Fellow at UKZN, delivered the keynote address on the second day, on research informing pathways to sustainability. He described the strategies required to overcome the disconnect between how the world is managed and the social change that is needed, focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, research, leadership, citizen science, and more.

The presentations covered a wide range of topics, including water quantity and quality monitoring; soil mapping and land use planning; soil erosion investigations; flood forecasting and early warning systems; biodiversity stewardship; adaptive rangeland management; raptor observations; agroforestry; mainstreaming of indigenous crops; wetland rehabilitation; distribution of alien invasive species; and precision agriculture.

Board member Dr Roy Mottram chaired the programme and closed the event by thanking the Taeuber Management Trust (TMT), board member Professor Albert Modi and the rest of the board for their efforts in bringing researchers together at the FHE. He noted the importance of farmers attending such events to inform researchers of the problems they face, and highlighted that the FHE creates a community environment for complementary research like that presented.

Dr Sandi Willows-Munro from the School of Life Sciences received the award for best presentation for her contribution on metabarcoding, comprising DNA barcoding and sequencing, and how this will enable rapid biodiversity assessment.

‘We are pleased with how this symposium has developed and grown in stature, and we have enjoyed the integration between disciplines,’ said Mr Konrad Taeuber of the TMT.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod


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