National Budget Discussed in Address at UKZN

National Budget Discussed in Address at UKZN
Mr Dondo Mogajane engaging with the public at the National Budget discussion.

Deputy-Director General of Public Finance in the National Treasury, Mr Dondo Mogajane, on Friday 4 March addressed a UKZN audience of students and staff on the decision-making processes behind the 2016 National Budget.

The discussion, facilitated by the School’s Academic Leader for Higher Degrees and Research, Dr Harold Ngalawa, aimed to give students insights into factors the Treasury takes into account when drafting the National Budget with the aim of broadening their knowledge of the county’s economy and to make a connection between theory and practice.

Under the theme: “A Resilient South Africa - Making Hard Choices in Difficult Times”, Mr Mogajane spoke on how the Budget emphasises both public and private-sector contributions to development and how over the period ahead, government would step up its partnerships with business, labour and civil society to realise the vision of the National Development Plan, and to carry out the reforms needed to transform the economy.

‘The times we live in locally and globally make it difficult to put together the Budget. We had to stabilise our public debt as it has been rising; electricity remains a constant constraint; and the rand is not doing well. The key challenge is ensuring that inclusive growth happens,’ he said.

Mr Mogajane also spoke on lower global growth prospects, weaker commodity prices, heightened financial market volatility, and concerns around the country’s low economic growth. He highlighted that the Budget prioritised Higher Education, stressing that those calling for free education should ask themselves whether this is affordable, taking into account the state of the economy.

‘When I was a student here at UKZN we used to demonstrate peacefully against the unjust system; and we never burned buildings. We need students to write proposals on how we can grow the economy because we do not know it all - we need your input and ideas,’ he said.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session with issues and topics raised concerning SARS, the Treasury, the sugar tax, entrepreneurship for economy growth and the government continuously bailing out SAA.

Mr Mogojane responded to these questions, highlighting factors the Treasury takes into account when making financial decisions on the budget and the role that the domestic and global economic situations play in these decisions. 

Thandiwe Jumo


author : .
author email : .

High Honour for UKZN Academic

High Honour for UKZN Academic
Chemistry academic, Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda, who has been elected a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

UKZN Chemistry academic, Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda, has been elected to the Fellowship of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) after a rigorous review and evaluation by independent reviewers followed by a vote by Fellows of the Academy.

The C2-rated researcher, who is also a Fellow of UKZN and of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI), joins a handful of South African academics who are Fellows of the AAS, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) Director, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

Jonnalagadda will receive his Certificate of Fellowship at the next General Assembly Meeting of the AAS in June.

The AAS seeks to honour African scientists who have won international renown for their work, and to encourage the development of research and technology across the continent. Fellows of the AAS work closely with the Academy in achieving these goals as they support and mobilise the science communities around them, disseminate knowledge through publications and teaching, and develop capacity-building, research and policies in science and technology.

Jonnalagadda’s recognition by the Academy comes as a result of decades of productivity and excellence in his field - he has consistently been rated among the Top 30 Published Researchers at UKZN with over 235 publications to his name over the course of his career. During the past 35 years, much of his work has also focused on capacity-building.

His expertise lies in water chemistry and the treatment of non-biodegradable toxic substances using advanced oxidation processes, involving ozone and reusable novel mixed oxide catalysts.

Jonnalagadda has participated in more than 110 research conferences in over 40 different countries.

Jonnalagadda, who began his career as Professor of Chemistry at the then-University of Durban-Westville in 1995, said the merger with the former University of Natal gave a welcome boost to the production of quality research at the new University. His career has been classified by ambition to achieve the best he can while maintaining a grounded approach, evidenced by the credit he gives his postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in his success.

Jonnalagadda described his election as an honour, saying it gave him the opportunity to interact with peers in his field and with accomplished luminaries from other disciplines, paving the way for new research projects and openings for young researchers.

‘I intend to contribute positively to the AAS by increasing awareness of science and promoting vital issues related to water and sanitation and climate change, which are my strengths,’ said Jonnalagadda. ‘Our research group is also active in research linked to food security through assessing the nutritional status and quality of various indigenous fruits and vegetation.’

 Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

Top UKZN Physics Students to Attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Top UKZN Physics Students to Attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Dr Adriana Marais and Mr Sphume Ndlovu.

Two high-achieving UKZN physics students will attend one of the world’s most prestigious scientific gatherings, the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, at the end of June.

 Post-doctoral researcher Dr Adriana Marais and doctoral candidate Mr Sphumelele Ndlovu are among six South Africans who have been afforded the honour.

This year’s meeting, dedicated to the field of physics, has attracted 400 young scientists from all over the world to interact and exchange knowledge and ideas with 31 Nobel Laureates.

The meeting encourages dialogue and knowledge exchange between academics in the three natural science Nobel Prize disciplines - physiology and medicine; physics, and chemistry, with the focus alternating every year.

 The programme features lectures, panel discussions and master classes.

Ndlovu, who began his academic career in UKZN’s Science Foundation Programme (SFP), is excelling in his work at the National Research Foundation’s Space Geodesy Programme at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO).

 He is currently working on a project unique to both Africa and the southern hemisphere, centred on the measurement of the earth-moon distance. He has also been involved in developing a mathematical tool to optimise efficiency and estimate the signal path parameter of a Lunar Laser Ranger (LLR) system at HartRAO.

Marais, well-known in South Africa for her selection among the top 100 candidates for a journey to Mars, is undertaking research on quantum effects in energy transfer in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself through UKZN’s Centre for Quantum Technology.

The young scientist has received numerous accolades for her scientific work, including the Royal Society of South Africa’s (RSSAf) Meiring Naudé Medal, a Department of Science and Technology (DST) Fellowship Award in 2010, a L’Oreal-UNESCO Regional Fellowship for Women in Science in Sub-Saharan Africa, and a L’Oreal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Grant for Women in Science in 2015.

‘What an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to interact with some of the best minds of our time,’ said Marais of her selection. ‘I'm so excited to be attending the meeting. Among the Nobel Laureates who will be there is theoretical physicist Professor Gerard 't Hooft, an ambassador for the Mars One Project. I am over the moon! It will be a long wait until the meeting starts in June.’

Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

Dietetics Professor Contributes to Capacity Building for Nutrition in the DRC

Dietetics Professor Contributes to Capacity Building for Nutrition in the DRC
From left: student Mr Jules Mpula Mbel; research assistant, Mr Andre du Toit; UKZN’s Professor Frederick Veldman, and student Mr Johnny Mpoyi Lukasu.

Professor Frederick Veldman of Dietetics and Human Nutrition in UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently as part of the five-year GROWNUT project with the University of Bergen’s Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) and the University of Kinshasa (UniKin).

GROWNUT began in 2013 to build capacity in UniKin’s School of Public Health through masters and PhD programmes in nutritional epidemiology, to train staff members, and to conduct research.

Veldman, who helps develop curricula and teaching materials, and teaches and supervises students, travelled to the DRC together with Professor Anne Hatløy of NORHED, Professor Mala Mapatano of UniKin, and research assistant, Mr Andre du Toit, to lend moral support, supervise interns, lecture, and introduce FoodFinder3 dietary intake analysis software sponsored by the SA Medical Research Council. The visit included meeting the DRC’s Director of the National Institute of Nutrition (PRONANUT), Professor J.P. Banea.

Veldman visited UniKin and interacted with medical students doing their three-month internship in the impoverished rural town of Popokabaka 450km outside Kinshasa. Assessments are focused on vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women. Malnutrition is widespread - almost half of those observed suffer from growth stunting and almost 1 in 10 show signs of wasting. Obesity is rare.

‘There is a shortage of health data for Popokabaka, which will hopefully be improved through GROWNUT,’ said Veldman.

Living quarters have no running water or electricity, with limited solar power. Subsistence farming and fishing yield a diet dominated by green leaves, cassava, amadumbe-like sweet potatoes and the maize staple, fufu. There is little meat so food choices remain conservative.

Veldman said there was potential for more diverse cultivation.

 Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

Top Honours for Civil Engineering Student

Top Honours for Civil Engineering Student
Prize-winning Engineering student, Ms Iksha Singh, with her supervisor, Dr Elena Friedrich.

Representing the Programme of Civil Engineering at UKZNstudent Ms Iksha Singh was awarded first prize in a SA Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) research and investigation competition.

Her entry was titled: “The Carbon Footprint Analysis of Various Construction Materials and Implications for Building Design: A Comparative Study on Hotel Verde”.

Singh’s research was supervised by Dr Elena Friedrich.

The competition was open to all South African universities with accredited civil engineering programmes in which investigative projects, in the form of dissertations, are part of the national curriculum for final year Civil Engineering undergraduate students. 

This year six universities - UKZN, the University of Cape Town, the University of Pretoria, the University of Witwatersrand, the University of Johannesburg and Stellenbosch University - sent their best final year students from the class of 2015 to present their projects to a panel of judges, comprising both selected industry leaders and non-engineers.

Most of the universities were represented by teams of two students and in some institutions dissertation research is scheduled over the entire year (two semesters). At UKZN these projects are individual and scheduled over a single semester.

Sally Frost


author : .
author email : .

Enhancing Teaching and Learning at UKZN

Enhancing Teaching and Learning at UKZN
2016 TAU Fellows.

Three UKZN academics are playing a significant role in enhancing teaching and learning through the Teaching Advancement at Universities (TAU) programme.

They are TAU Fellows Professor Suzanne Francis of the College of Humanities and Professor Fatima Suleman of the College of Health Sciences, and UKZN’s Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr Rubby Dhunpath, who is an advisor and mentor on the programme.

TAU, which seeks to promote collaboration across universities and disciplines, is guided by the TAU principles of reflective teaching, and self-directed and authentic collaborative learning.

Said Dhunpath: ‘The content of the programme is managed in terms of three core themes: excellent teachers, change agents, and scholars of teaching and learning.  In the current period of discussions around transformation and decolonising the curriculum, having such a programme is crucial in developing academics as intellectuals with a transformative agenda.’

TAU participants, many of whom are experienced senior academics, are positioned to take on the roles of scholars, leaders and mentors in teaching and learning in their institutions or disciplinary fields, and to contribute towards the definition of what teaching excellence means in varied institutional settings.

TAU is funded through the Department of Higher Education and Training and endorsed by Higher Education Teaching and Learning South Africa.

Twenty-two South African universities have nominated participants in the programme, which in January 2016 ran its second residential week in Cape Town.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Students and Staff take a stand against Sexual Violence on Campus

UKZN Students and Staff take a stand against Sexual Violence on Campus
Students and speakers engaging on issues of sexual violence.

“Stand Up and Speak Out Against Sexual Violence on Campus!” was the call made at the recent Sexual Violence Awareness Campaign hosted by the College of Law and Management Studies Student Support Services at the Westville campus.

This campaign was initiated by Paulette Naidoo, who, through her therapeutic contact with clients, recognised the need for greater awareness about sexual violence on campus. The informative event saw the University community being empowered with knowledge on how to protect themselves from being victims of sexual abuse as well as what to do and where to go to get help if they do become victims of sexual and domestic violence.

The audience was addressed by guest speakers, Sergeant Bongiwe Zondo from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Ms Yonwaba Mncedane from the Thuthuzela Care Centre.

Zondo’s address titled: “The Role of SAPS in the Management of Sexual Violence: Reporting Procedures and Interventions” detailed what constitutes a criminal act in sexual violence.

‘Most of the sexual violence cases reported from campus involve alcohol and ex-boyfriends. The rape occurs after a night of partying or when the victim let her ex-boyfriend into her room despite the fact that the relationship has ended. My advice is please keep yourself safe, especially after consuming alcohol as these cases are the hardest to investigate and to always seek help and counselling,’ she said.

“The Role of Thuthuzela Care Centres in the Management of Sexual Violence in the Community” was the topic of Mncedane’s talk which encapsulated her experiences as a Victims Assistant Officer and emphasised why victims should have faith in the justice system no matter how challenging the process for justice is.

Members from UKZN’s Risk Management Services (RMS), Campus Health and Student Support Services were also on hand to respond to issues raised by the audience. These included the fear of reporting a sexual offense to the police due to the perpetrator having connections within SAPS; RMS’s jurisdiction when it comes to protecting victims and witnesses of a crime on campus and gathering the courage to reporting a sexual violence crime and overcoming the traumatic experience.

Student Support Service is planning on extending the reach of this campaign by hosting it at other campuses.

Thandiwe Jumo


author : .
author email : .

Umhlangano Wokucobelelana Ngolwazi Ugqugquzela Imithetho Yezempilo Nokuphepha Kubasebenzi Basemalebhu

Umhlangano Wokucobelelana Ngolwazi Ugqugquzela Imithetho Yezempilo Nokuphepha Kubasebenzi Basemalebhu
Izingxoxo emhlanganweni wokucobelelana ngolwazi ngezimiso zezempilo nokuphepha elebhu.

Click here for English version

Ezempilo nokuphepha kwazo zonke izisebenzi zaseNyuvesi kuyilungelo elibalulekile kakhulu, ngokusho konguMphathi Wezokusebenza eKolishi LezeSayensi YezeMpilo uNkz Metse Serumula.

USerumula ubehlele umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi lokuPhathwa Kwemfucuza Enobungozi obuhanjelwe ochwepheshe basemalebhu abangama-30 kanye nonompilo baseSikoleni i-Nelson R Mandela lapho bekudingidwa ngokufanele nokungafanele ukwenziwa emalebhu.

Izinhloso yomhlangano bekuwukugcizelela ukubaluleka kwezimiso zezempilo nokuphepha ekumele zilandelwe uma kusetshenzwa ngezinhlobonhlobo zemfucuza enobungozi (engamakhemikhali noma ephilayo). Uphinde wagcizelela ukubaluleka ngokuqashelwa kwabafundi nezisebenzi ngamakhamera uma besebenzisa lamalebhu.

Kudingidwe imithetho esebenza uma kusetshenziswa, kugcinwa noma kulahlwa amakhemikhali anobungozi ngoba nayo iyingxenye yezempilo nokuphepha kwazo zonke izisebenzi.

USerumula uthe : ‘Gwema ukuthatha ubuthi ubuyise ekhaya ngokugeza izandla, umzimba nokushintsha okugqokile ngaphambi kokuya ekhaya. Uma kungenzeka, izimpahla zokusebenza mazihlanzwe eceleni zingahlanganiswa nezasekhaya, hlinzekela nokuphathwa kokuchikile elebhu, hlukanisa amakhemikhali angahlangani, gcina amakhemikhali endaweni engezansi kokubuka kweso ngobude futhi qikelela ukuthi kuhlale kusesimweni esifanele sokusebenza.’

Ingena kanjani ikhemikhali emzimbeni? Ingena ngesikhumba, amaphaphu nangesinye isikhathi ngomgudu wokudla, ngokusho kwabaqeqeshi ngezemfucuza engamakhemikhali nabebephethe umhlangano,’ kusho uNkk Laura Taylor.

UTaylor ukhumbuze abasebenzi ukuthi kunesikhathi esinqunyiwe sokusebenza ngezinto ezinobungozi uma usebenza elebhu.

UDkt Sean Cheevers onguNgoti wezokweLapha Emsebenzini uthe:’Sinomthetho omuhle kwezokuqapha ezempilo eNingizimu Afrika kodwa awunakiwe. Kubalulekile ukuba nekhophi yezimiso etafuleni lakho uma usebenza elebhu.’

UNkz  Favourite Chonco wakwa-Compass Waste Services wethule inkulumo ngeminxa ehlukene ngokunakekelewa kobungcuphe kwezempilo nobungozi nokusetshenziswa kokuqukatha imfucuza okuhlinzekwa yinkampani yabo.

Umhlangano ubuye wadingida nezinqubo zokuqapha kanye nezesimo esibucayi.

Abebebambe iqhaza baseThekwini, eMgungundlovu ngisho naseMtubatuba bathe bazuze lukhulu kulesi sifundo sosuku.

nguLunga Memela


author : .
author email : .

Research Helps Improve Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

Research Helps Improve Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus
Dr Ataul Islam of the University of Pretoria (right) and UKZN’s Professor Mahmoud Soliman.

UKZN and University of Pretoria scientists have discovered how inherited mutations in the insulin gene lead to defective binding to the insulin receptor thereby resulting in diabetes mellitus.

The study, a world first, paves the way for a better understanding and treatment of this lifestyle disease, otherwise known as a “silent killer”. The paper was recently published in the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics.

Insulin plays a central role in the regulation of human metabolism. There are three inherited mutations in the insulin gene referred to as insulins Wakayama, Los Angeles and Chicago after the cities in which they were discovered. These inherited mutations in the insulin gene lead to defective binding to the insulin receptor thereby resulting in diabetes mellitus.

The study aimed to indicate, at the molecular level, how the mutations affect the contact points in the receptor much like the way a defective key can fail to open a lock.

Through a pharmacoinformatics analysis, the study found that due to the small size and less surface area of the replaced amino acids, the binding interactions were reduced and this altered the binding affinity towards the insulin receptor. In order to confirm the possible reason for this, a molecular dynamics (MD) study was also performed.

The MD study observed that the insulin part of native insulin, Chicago and Los Angeles, still maintain the stable interaction with the insulin receptor (IR) but a complete dissociation of the insulin from IR was observed for insulin Wakayama during the MD simulation.

The PC analysis also showed that the highest contribution of the insulin residues to the two distinct conformational variances observed along both PC1 and PC2 was found in the complex of insulin Wakayama and the next significant contribution was observed in the complex with native insulin.

Therefore the trajectories of the MD successfully explained that possible reasons may be the smaller size and variation of the size chains of the amino acids which affects the binding interactions as well as the stability of the complex.

The results of the study are exciting as it indicates how these defective molecules bind to the insulin receptor paving the way to a better understanding and the development of new analogues that can be used to activate the insulin receptor and treat diabetes mellitus.

Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology at the University of Pretoria, Professor Tahir S Pillay, commented on the findings: ‘The study arose out of my longstanding research interest in the insulin receptor signalling pathway.  The insulin receptor is the gateway to the control of glucose metabolism.  We were able to exploit the published crystal structures of normal insulin bound to the insulin receptor to perform the modelling studies. Understanding how these mutant insulins make contact and which parts of the receptor are required for activation by insulin when compared  to normal insulin, will provide a greater understanding how insulin-like analogues could be engineered or small molecule agonists synthesised to mimic the actions of normal insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus.’

Principal Investigator of the study from UKZN, Professor Mahmoud Soliman, said, ‘In this collaborative work with scientists from the University of Pretoria, cutting-edge bioinformatics and molecular modelling tools, which is the main focus of my research at UKZN, are being applied in order to understand the molecular mechanism by which the inherited mutations in the insulin gene can lead to defective binding to the insulin receptor thereby resulting in diabetes mellitus, a phenomena that has been vague in literature for quite a long time. The outcome of the study will definitely help scientists from various research domains understand the mechanism of binding, hence, develop more potent insulin analogues that can treat diabetes mellitus.’

MaryAnn Francis


author : .
author email : .

UKZN to host 19th Time of the Writer Festival

UKZN to host 19th Time of the Writer Festival
The 19th annual Time of the Writer Festival takes place from 14 to 19 March in Durban.

The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), housed within the College of Humanities, will host the 19th Time of the Writer Festival from 14 to 19 March in Durban, under the theme Decolonising the Book.

This theme aims to interrogate the central question of how to go about decolonising literature in South Africa.

In order to provide a platform for conversation and debate on this issue, the Festival will gather the leading voices from literature in the areas of writing, editing, publishing, translation, marketing, bookselling and promotion (including events), to deliberate on the issues of transformation and growth in literature in South Africa. 

Another aspect of the Festival will be the Conversations that Matter event, a daytime programme of roundtable discussions led by experts across the various fields of literature, which provide a space for people to share and contribute towards this vital topic. Nightly evening panels will then feature a summative discussion on the day’s deliberations.

The Festival partners with the eThekwini Municipality Libraries department in whose libraries the day programme will take place. This year’s edition of the Festival features a shift in venue for the evening panels as each day the Festival will take place in a different location across the surrounding areas of Durban. Venues are located in Clermont, Cato Manor, Umlazi, Inanda and KwaMashu.

Festival Manager Ms Tiny Mungwe said: ‘We are very excited about the programme for this year’s Festival, which came about as a result of a growing call from within the literary world and South Africa as a whole for increased diversity, access and inclusiveness. The Centre for Creative Arts would like to acknowledge one of South Africa’s leading writers Thando Mgqolozana who has been very vocal about change in our society and has assisted in the programming of this edition of the festival,’ said Mungwe.

‘The change is very big for us and by breaking from years of tradition we will have another set of operational challenges, but it is something we believe is absolutely crucial for the Festival and for the face of literature in South Africa if we are to effect some kind of shift in our thinking.’

All events are free for library or student cardholders. For members of the public without either card, a nominal fee of R20 will be requested at the door.

For more details about Time of the Writer, visit the Festival web page http://www.cca.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/time-of-the-writer-home  or phone (031) 260 2506.

*Organised by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, the 19th Time of the Writer is supported by the City of Durban, the National Department of Arts and Culture, the Goethe-Institut and Alliance Française de Durban.  The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at UKZN and is a special project of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

 Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

College of Humanities hosts Public Lecture Honouring Activist Mzala Nxumalo

College of Humanities hosts Public Lecture Honouring Activist Mzala Nxumalo
Participants at the public lecture in honour of Mzala Nxumalo.

The John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education within the College of Humanities and the Mzala Nxumalo Centre for the Study of South African Society held a public lecture on the Pietermaritzburg campus to honour and pay homage to Mzala Nxumalo.

Nxumalo was an ANC and SACP activist, soldier, intellectual and writer who died at the age of 35, just as his intellectual activity was beginning to flourish. The lecture was presented by Nxumalo’s friend, Mr Zakes Nkosi, who focused on Mzala’s legacy and its relevance for contemporary South African society.

Nkosi gave personal and detailed accounts of Nxumalo’s early life from his intellectual prowess at a young age to his insatiable hunger for knowledge. He also touched on instances in Nxumalo’s life such as his stance on racial injustices and his prolific writing career that led to the books: The African Communist, Sechaba, Dawn and Gatsha Buthelezi, Chief with a Double Agenda.

‘Much of his writing focused on the national question and the unfolding revolutionary process in South Africa,’ said Nkosi. ‘Mzala’s life is an inspiration to young academics and intellectuals to address the social injustices in the country. We need more Mzalas to challenge corruption and to engage with national issues for a more transformed country.’

Responding to Nkosi, Dr Vukile Khumalo said: ‘Young people should always remain inquisitive, asking questions and rising above circumstances.

‘If there is anything to learn from Mzala Nxumalo, it should be that ideas are far more important than the individual personalities delivering them. It is the power within ideas that is important. The Mzala Nxumalo Centre shouldn’t only commemorate the legend but should also put his ideas into practice to unlock the energy within communities,’ he said.

Nxumalo’s daughter, Ms Balinde Nxulamo, said, ‘As an African socialist, Mzala was passionate about everything he did and as a family we are proud of him. We are also grateful to UKZN and the Centre for hosting this lecture to commemorate Mzala’s life. It is a huge honour for us.’

Melissa Mungroo and Sibongile H. Moyo


author : .
author email : .

Education Academic Helps Contribute Chapter to Award-Winning Book

Education Academic Helps Contribute Chapter to Award-Winning Book
Professor Claudia Mitchell and Professor Relebohile Moletsane.

Professor Relebohile Moletsane of the School of Education co-authored a chapter of the award-winning book Gender Violence in Poverty Contexts: The Educational Challenge.

The book won the 2016 Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award.

The book looks at understanding the complex ways in which gender violence and poverty impact on young people’s lives, and the potential for education to challenge violence.

Describing a range of innovative research projects, the book also displays what scholarly work can offer to help meet the educational challenge, and to find ways to help young people and those around them to understand, resist and rupture the many faces of violence.

Moletsane, in association with researchers Professor Claudia Mitchell, who is also an honorary professor at UKZN, and Ms Thandi Lewin, produced the chapter on Gender Equity as Policy in South Africa: Privileging the Voices of omen and Girls through Participatory Visual Methods.

Their chapter considers the extensive research-base produced over the last decade in South Africa that documents gender violence and inequalities in and around schools. ‘We seek to contextualise socially and historically the confounding discourses of gender-based violence and the gendered face of HIV and AIDS in relation to South African girlhood in the age of AIDS,’ said Moletsane.

Using a mapping framework according to the various sectors, methods, foci and recommended strategies of the different studies and reports, their chapter explores the progress the country has made in addressing these challenges.

The book is available at Amazon Books and Routledge Publishers. 

Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

Fighting Social Injustice and Racism a Colourful Affair for the School of Law

Fighting Social Injustice and Racism a Colourful Affair for the School of Law
Colour was the name of the game at the Pietermaritzburg School of Law.

The School of Law in Pietermaritzburg recently heeded a call to commitment to non-racism. Under the slogan “The only thing that should be separated by colour is laundry”, students and staff gathered at the Pietermaritzburg campus to partake in a fun activity that saw them splash each other with powdered paint, symbolising the School’s staff and students commitment and re-affirmation to non-racism.

The colourful demonstration which made front page of The Witness newspaper was motivated by the recent racial violence and racial tensions at institutions of higher learning across the country.

Event organiser and Law academic, Ms Suhayfa Bhamjee said: ‘I’m really proud of our staff and student cohort who signed the ‘Declaration for the commitment to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.’ It was the perfect opportunity to bring together staff and students from all backgrounds and economic and social spheres. There were no barriers, and no inhibitions. We’ve managed to send a strong message on a serious issue in fun way. Certainly a day to remember.’

Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) branch Chairperson, Mr Siyabonga Ngcamu said that as UKZN’s social justice activists and students it is their obligation to ‘ensure the effective realisation of the right to dignity and equality without racial discrimination’.

‘As SLSJ we appreciate this campaign by the School and thank all the participants for their presence. Although we expected a very large crowd, the participants that were present made the campaign valuable. We understand that there is large student apathy in fighting social injustices in our Institution unless there is a political agenda - that is what we need to curb. Students, lecturers and their families had an amazing time together,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo


author : .
author email : .

200th ISI Publication for UKZN Researcher

200th ISI Publication for UKZN Researcher
Professor Thavi Govender.

School of Health Sciences academic, Professor Thavi Govender, has distinguished himself by having 200 Institute of Science Index (ISI) articles and several book chapters published before his 40th birthday.

‘It works out at an average of more than 16 papers a year since his PhD in 2004 and more than 25 papers a year over the past five years,’ said his impressed colleague, Professor Gert Kruger.

Kruger, a Senior Lecturer and Research Professor in Organic Chemistry at the Peptide and Catalysis Research Unit (CPRU) which is headed by Govender, said Govender was one of UKZN’s new generation of young high flyers destined to take research at the Institution to the next level.

In 2012 when Govender (36) celebrated the publication of his 100th paper, the then Vice-Chancellor of UKZN, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, said: ‘This is precisely the type of academic and role model a research-led and research-intensive institution such as UKZN needs. He has all the attributes of a true scholar - qualifications, research productivity with impact factors, post-graduate students, competitive research grants and teaching.’

The Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Mahmoud Soliman said: ‘I salute Professor Govender on his outstanding achievements and research endeavours and wish him well in his future work.’

The ISI publishes a database of highly cited scientific researchers whose publications are most often cited in academic journals over the previous decade.

Analysis of the citation of his research demonstrates that Govender is making a solid and sharp upward international impact in his field of research.  His H-index in the Web of Science citation report is 18 and his research publications have been cited over 1 020 times by peers in the field.

Govender scooped the Tetrahedron Asymmetry journal prize as co-author of the most cited paper from 2006 to 2009, and again in 2010. The paper, Organocatalytic Synthesis of Chiral Benzopyrans, appeared in 2006 and has been cited 93 times to date.  

Other achievements include being among Tetrahedron Asymmetry’s top 25 cited authors in 2010-11 (Tetr. Asym., 2010, 21 (7), 846); among Tetrahedron Asymmetry’s top 25 cited authors in 2010-12 (Tetr. Asym., 2010, 21, 2859), and on the Cover Page of ChemMedChem’s MiniReview - Polycyclic Cages in Neuroactive Drugs, 2012, 7 (3), 375-384.

Govender has taken his research to the next level by specialising and publishing extensively in six disciplines: synthetic chemistry, peptide chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, analytical chemistry and physiology.

His research has focused on Alzheimer’s Disease, Type II Diabetes, Cancer, HIV and TB – all of which resulted in high impact publications. He has since narrowed the scope to concentrate on drug resistant, infectious diseases such as HIV and bacteria, including TB.

‘My passion for research stems from my desire to make a positive change in the world and to the lives of people around me,’ said Govender.

He acknowledged his mentors Professor Kruger, Professor Fernando Albericio, Professor Per Arvidsson and Professor Glenn Maguire; his past and present students; collaborators and team members in CPRU; line managers, Professor Sabiha Essack and Dr Vassie Naidoo; the DVC of Health Sciences, Professor Rob Slotow; the Department of Science and Technology; the National Research Foundation; the Medicinal Research Council; UKZN’s Research Office, the College of Health Sciences and Aspen Pharmacare.

 Lunga Memela 


author : .
author email : .