UKZN to Develop Aerotropolis Institute

UKZN to Develop Aerotropolis Institute
Schematic of an aerotropolis by Dr Kasarda.

UKZN is to create an Institute – the first of its kind in Africa – to assist in the development of an aerotroplis close to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.

An aerotropolis is an economic hub developed for the benefit of a region.

The KZN Aerotropolis Institute, to be housed within UKZN’s innovation and commercialisation unit, UKZN InQubate, will bring together various organisations including ACSA, eThekwini Municipality, and the Durban Chamber of Commerce to leverage funding from Government.

The KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism will inject about R10 million to create the first phase of the Institute.

UKZN would also establish a sustainability model to look at how to further fund the Institute.

The Institute will play a major role in developing the aerotropolis by drawing on the University’s academics and developing a large national and international consortium.

UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Jonathan Blackledge said: ‘An aerotropolis is a bit like a metropolis, but it’s centred around a honeypot of an airport.’

Blackledge likened the development of an aerotropolis to how countries have developed ports and harbours for the past 300 years. ‘Wherever you get a port, you get business. In this way, wherever you get an airport, you get business.’

Dubai, Heathrow and JFK in New York are examples of the world’s leading aerotropoli.

The KZN aerotropolis is expected to be located in the precinct around King Shaka International Airport, anywhere from 50 to 100km around the airport.

UKZN’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, explained the role UKZN would play in the mammoth project. ‘What we are proposing is an aerotropolis institute which studies everything there is to know about the whole aerotropoli concept.

‘At the moment, there are limited resources to train flight traffic controllers in Africa. We’ll be creating a site at which training can take place for air traffic controllers.’

Ramjugernath said the Institute would be the first of its kind in Africa.

‘It’s about developing economic and commercial opportunities that are related to the infrastructure that you would normally find around an airport.

‘When people think about InQubate or when they think about innovation, they think purely about enterprise opportunities. But this is an opportunity where the University is going to be working in partnership with provincial government, the city and various other stakeholders in impacting the society and the economy of a region.’

Ramjugernath said InQubate was looking for opportunities where the University could play an integral part, not just in education, but in the development of the province and the nation. ‘There’s tremendous potential, not just for our graduates but for creating job opportunities in the region.’

According to Blackledge, the Institute plans on developing partnerships with other Higher Education Institutions, including Mangosuthu University of Technology, the Durban University of Technology and the University of Zululand.

A major partner in developing and submitting the bid has been TSE Consulting, a team made up of South African experts on aerotropoli and an expert from the United States regarded as the father of aerotropoli, Professor John Kasarda, who pioneered the aerotropolis concept in the late 1990s.

Ramjugernath and Blackledge are also exploring the use of helium airships in KZN’s ecotourism sector.

       Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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The UKZN Griot. Of Externalling and Surviving

The UKZN Griot. Of Externalling and Surviving

The stories I could tell!  The stories I could sell.  Here are a few.  

African universities take exams very seriously.  Woe betide students who can’t spell or write good grammatical English or who write messily.  Exams are assessed as much on form as they are on content. 

African universities invest very heavily in external examiners.  International examiners are often flown into the places where the campuses are located.  On entering  the hotel rooms one is faced with scripts stacked from floor to ceiling, the assessment of which  would consume a week of poorly paid utter torture in badly lit and seriously uncomfortable surroundings, often being buzzed by malaria carrying mosquitoes. I won’t even discuss the food at the dodgier hotels, though when at a Swazi Southern Sun, the chefs know when underpaid academics have arrived, as they tend to spirit both lunch and supper in vast quantities from the breakfast room. 

One year the University of Swaziland spread its many examiners across a number of hotels.  To my relief, I was allocated to the Mountain Inn, a delightful garden venue with good food and a good view.  At the end of the week we were all rounded up and taken to the bank to get paid, where we compared accommodations and argued with bank officials whose stock response was that they didn’t have sufficient cash reserves to pay anyone.  But always, after some phone calls to the examination officer, the cash miraculously arrived, though in Ethiopia the Reserve Bank once claimed that its vault was empty, could I return the following day? One group in Swaziland had been once put up at the roadside Happy Valley Motel, where the eating place was across the parking lot from the rooms. Outside the rooms the prostitutes hovered, day and night, pouncing on the male examiners whenever they left their rooms. That hotel was subsequently taken off the list of approved establishments. 

In Maseno and Eldoret in Kenya, I was placed in great hotels well past their respective primes.  The Sunset on Lake Victoria had to carry hot water for my baths up eight flights of stairs, and had but one working telephone in the manager’s office.  The decaying hotel in Eldoret failed to live up to its once architectural splendour in that it had also seen better days, though after a few bottles of Tusker beer, things looked better.  

I was fascinated with the way one of my PhD students, a Lecturer at Moi, had incorporated much of what he had learned at UKZN into his department’s curriculum.  This quantitative scholar had also become a critical theorist – a fusion that is rare in cultural studies. In the streets, everyone reads newspapers that can be hired from Eldoret street vendors, and traffic pays no attention at all to ‘keep left’.  Even the jobless in Kenya keep themselves informed. 

In Zambia I once shared university residential quarters with David McQuoid Mason, while some members of the Zambian soccer team got up to all kinds of hijinks more suitable for a Happy Valley kind of venue. 

In all cases, I was astounded at the industriousness of the lecturers and students:  designing lighting grids for non-existent studios, writing scripts for films for which they had no equipment to make, and actively doing development communication in their own communities. At Addis Ababa University MA journalism students – drawn from the profession - delivered top class treatises that applied statistics to the third decimal point, while forging Ethiopian communication studies.  Their critiques of Ethiopian politics were uncompromising and challenging as they were original – notwithstanding the context in which they were both working and studying.   

Once engaged in the daunting task of external examining in these countries, I began to actually enjoy the work, though for much of the time one is on auto-pilot as one waded through thousands of scripts.  By being taken-to the scripts rather than the scripts being sent to examiners, one is isolated from endless distractions caused by  deans, auditors, students, cell phones, TV and family, student protests, burning tires and campus closures.  It’s a liminal and peaceful existence requiring that the job be done in the time allocated. 

In contrasting this African experience with my PhD externalling for European universities, and their externalling for us, one realises the stark differences between North and South.  Where African universities encourage in-depth, almost scopic, research, Anglo-Saxon universities prefer lucid brevity.  Northern academics often complain about the length of theses from Africa, even though paid in dollars, whereas the locals just get peanuts, while we are engaged in bartering arrangements:  ‘I’ll external your students if you do mine’.  Otherwise nothing would get done. 

Also, as an examiner I have noted that the European oral/viva – what they call a ‘defence’ - is basically ritualistic. Once, when I had just gotten into my stride, in came a trumpeter wearing a medieval  costume trumpeting his ancient horn.  I was cut off mid-sentence, and everyone was vigorously marched out of the venue to drinks.   Sometimes the defences can become a battle  of wits, but the student will have been passed already, irrespective of the technical corrections that should have been done or the critique unanswered at the oral presentation.  The thesis, published a book – whether corrected or not - is in some cases already ready for distributed at the ritualised defence.  

Where in Europe the PhD student is treated as a person – despite whatever flaws of the assessment process – in South Africa the student is present only in the text/thesis and the examiners are usually unknown to the author.  It’s a socially alienating process conducted by administrators and couriers.  In Europe, students sometimes get to choose their examiners, whereas in South Africa the process is usually anonymised under a cloud of confidentiality and fear of legal action.  I do tell the European (and Australian) students who have nominated me as examiner that I am a tough nut and that they should be prepared for a conceptually rough ride.  And, happily, they do rise to the occasion.  We all learn in the process. 

We need to rise more to the occasion here.  The African emphasis on form (i.e. spelling, grammar, structure) would go well with the UKZN emphasis on argument, wrapped up in a more humanistic process.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.

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Public Employment Programmes Discussed at Seminar

Public Employment Programmes Discussed at Seminar
Professor Oliver Mtapuri.

A paper titled: “Public Employment Programmes: A Comparative Analysis of their Impact on Socio-Economic Welfare of Households and Individuals in Argentina, India and South Africa”, was presented by an Associate Professor in the School of Built Environment and Development StudiesProfessor Oliver Mtapuri, as part of the School’s seminar series. 

Mtapuri addressed the discourse on development and how it has morphed over time with a shift away from the era of the ‘Lewisian path’. He argued that capital accumulation and growth which rely solely on technology had been unable to ensure sustainable livelihoods for marginalised people resulting in a shift towards targeted interventions to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality. 

‘This shift has seen a concomitant shift by international agencies to advocate for active government intervention to assist the marginalised with targeted interventions in the name of “inclusive growth” - growth which reduces economic, political and social inequalities. The overarching aim of this project is to contribute to broader international academic and policy discussions on whether public employment programmes provide a basis for inclusive growth,’ he explained. 

Mtapuri spoke about the Universal Child Allowance (AUH) of Argentina, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) of India and the Expanded Public Works Programme of South Africa project which analyses trends in social spending for poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, and strengthening of human capital and investigates opportunities for the establishment of new employment and livelihood strategies in these countries. 

He believes that Public works can span various social and economic sectors. ‘The benefits of public works include asset creation, an income, reduction in the intensity of poverty, participation in the labour market, transforming women’s unpaid labour into paid employment, community participation, political expediency and so forth.  The impacts of public works are diminished by the short duration of the interventions and the limited employment opportunities so created. Paucity of micro-finance militates against the formation of small enterprises.’

 Melissa Mungroo

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Isifundiswa sase-UKZN sethule inkulumo emhlanganweni wezokufundisa nge-HIV/AIDS obubanjelwe e-Port Elizabeth

Isifundiswa sase-UKZN sethule inkulumo emhlanganweni wezokufundisa nge-HIV/AIDS obubanjelwe e-Port Elizabeth
.uDkt Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan (kwesokudla) namalungu ekomidi elilawulayo le-Community of Practice, oSolwazi noSolwazi Claudia Mitchell.

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Ongumfundisi omkhulu eSikoleni SezeMfundo, uDkt Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan, ubeyisikhulumi sosuku  emhlanganweni i-7th Annual HIV and AIDS Education Community of Practice (CoP) obubanjelwe eNyuvesi i-Nelson Mandela Metropolitan e-Port Elizabeth.

U-Pithouse-Morgan ubemenywe uSihlalo WeKomidi EliLawulayo, uSolwazi Naydene deLange, ukuzokwethula inkulumo emhlanganweni.

Uhlelo i- Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS  (HEAIDS) Community of Practice (CoP) lwasungulwa ngenxa yesidingo  sokuxhumanisa izinhlelo zezemfundo ephakeme nezokufundisa nge-HIV/AIDS kuzwelonke eNingizimu Afrika.

I-HEAIDS CoP iyakubona ukubaluleka kweqhaza elibanjwe ezemfundo ekuhlonzeni amathuba okuthola i-HIV ne-AIDS, lokhu kungavimbela imithelela ye-HIV ne-AIDS enhlobonhlobo futhi elimazayo kuphinde kuqinise izinga lokulwisana nalesifo.

I-CoP ihlanganisa izifundiswa ezisebenza ngokufundisa nge-HIV ne-AIDS emkhakheni wezemfundo ephakeme eNingizimu Afrika lapho kunamanyuvesi angama-23 nezikhungo zokuqeqesha kwezobuchwepheshe ezingama-50. Imihlangano yaminyaka yonke ye-CoP ihlinzeka izifundiswa ngamathuba okusebenzisana, ukuxhumana, ukwabelana ngolwazi,nokuqhamuka neziphakamiso ngokubambisana ezindabeni eziphathelene ne-HIV ne-AIDS kwezokufunda nokufundisa kanye nezocwaningo.  

Enkulumweni yakhe yosuku ebinesihloko esithi : Ukufundisa Ngandlelaningi Kukathisha Ngengculaza ,u- Pithouse-Morgan ukhulume ngezinkondlo njengenye yezindlela zokufunda nokufundisa kanye nokucwaninga nge-HIV and AIDS.

‘Imibhalo yocwaningo ekhakheni we-HIV ne-AIDS ibhalwe ngendlela esebenzisa ulimi oluqondile,’ usho kanje. ‘.  ‘Ulimi oluqondile lungathathwa njengolimi olubhalwa ngendlela yeprozi(alubhalwa ngendlela enobunkondlo). Futhi luthathwa njengolimi olusetshenziswa ngezindlela eziqondile, ezingenamizwa, ezingenamcabango futhi ezingahehi. Uma uqhathanisa, ulimi lobunkondlo luyaheha, lukhombisa ukucabanga futhi luyagqugquzela.’

Inkulumo yakhe ikhombise ukuthi izinkondlo zinconwa njalo abacwaningi nabafundisi njengendlela yokufinyelela nokwethula isimo sempilo ngokuchaza ngemizwa, izinkolelo, amaphupho, amathemba, nokwesaba. Inkulumo iphinde yagcizelela iqhaza elingabanjwa yizinkondlo ekuletheni ubuciko nobuliminingi kwezokufunda nokufundisa kwezemfundo ephakeme.

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UKZN Academic Wins Seven Medals at National Lifesaving Championships

UKZN Academic Wins Seven Medals at National Lifesaving Championships
UKZN’s Thea van der Westhuizen and her team after their big win at the national lifesaving championships.

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academic, Ms Thea van der Westhuizen, won four gold, two silver and a bronze medal as a member of the Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club at the 2016 LSA Surf National Championships in Port Elizabeth. 

The championships involve qualified lifesavers competing in various ocean-based sports including surfsking, surf swimming and beach sprints, among others. 

Participants need to have successfully completed a Surf Lifesaving Proficiency Course through Lifesaving South Africa. 

Van der Westhuizen, who completed the three-month National Certificate course last year, said its theory, accumulation and first aid skills as well as proficiency to swim in the ocean and in flatwater contributed immensely to her success in the Championships. 

‘I competed in the surfski, board, surf swim, beach flags, beach sprints, long beach run and iron lady events which require all round ocean skills and fitness. As I was new to Durban after spending almost 10 years living in the Middle East, I thought it would be an exciting challenge to learn more about the ocean and improve my ocean safety skills. Completing the SPA course as well as training sessions in the ocean enabled me to read the ocean better and become better in the surf,’ she said. 

To prepare for the event, van der Westhuizen and her team - which included UKZN alumni, Mr Philip Marree, Mr Gary Wakeling, Mr Shane Misdorp and Mr Charles Khumalo - trained three times a week from 5:45am and on weekends. 

‘Our team won a total of 27 individual medals,’ said van der Westhuizen. ‘As academics our minds and thoughts are usually intensely occupied. I believe we need similar physical intensity in order to maintain a healthy life balance.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Research by UKZN Law Academics Cited in High Court Judgement

Research by UKZN Law Academics Cited in High Court Judgement
Professor Marita Carnelley (left) and Ms Sheetal Soni.

A paper by School of Law academic, Ms Sheetal Soni, and College of Law and Management Studies Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley, has been cited in a High Court judgement in the case of AB & the Surrogacy Advisory Group vs the Minister of Social Development and the Centre for Child Law as Amicus Curiae.   

The paper, titled: “A Tale of Two Mummies. Providing a Womb in South Africa: Surrogacy and the Legal Rights of the Parents within the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. A Brief Comparative Study with the United Kingdom (2008) 22 Speculum Juris 42)”, discusses the provisions of Chapter 19 of the Children’s Act of 2005 which regulates surrogate motherhood agreements. It also includes a comparison of the Act’s provisions and the legal provisions which apply in the United Kingdom. 

Speaking on the achievement, Soni and Carnelley said contributing to the country’s jurisprudence was what academics aspired to. 

‘It is incredibly humbling to see our work make an impact in a judgement in a field which is still very new in the South African law system. So far the Act has equipped us with the rules and concepts but these have never been tested properly in a court before, and it is very fulfilling to see our work has assisted in the interpretation of the Act,’ said Soni. 

‘At the time of writing the article, we had already questioned the constitutional validity of Section 294 and had deduced that it could be regarded as unfair discrimination for a number of reasons, so it’s great to see that conclusion confirmed by a court of law,’ said Soni. 

Carnelley said the achievement ‘gives real meaning to what we do as academics – to impact the actual discourse where it matters most’. 

Soni is currently working towards her PhD which focusses on developing a legal framework in the field of assisted reproductive technologies - specifically on the preimplantation testing of embryos used in in vitro fertilisation.

Carnelley, who is focusing on the upcoming graduation and the process to get as many students as possible to ‘degree complete’, aims to complete an article on the ranking of law journals. 

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Academics help Strengthen Traditional Leadership in Umgungundlovu District

UKZN Academics help Strengthen Traditional Leadership in Umgungundlovu District
EMpumuza’s Inkosi Nsikayezwe Zondi listening to presentations at the workshop.

A research interest in dispute resolution led to Discipline of Public Governance academic, Ms Ntokozo Makoba, partnering with fellow academics, Mr Sakhile Zondi and Mr Nkosinathi Nkwanyana, to facilitate a Conflict Resolution at Local Government Workshop for Traditional Councils (TC) in KwaZulu-Natal’s Umgungundlovu District. 

The goal of the training workshop was to share conflict resolution strategies with the TCs and to inform them about what is expected of them in Traditional Leadership as well as the requirements of the Governance Framework Amendment Act of 2003 and ultimately the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership and Governance Bill of 2013. 

Makoba said the workshop stemmed from the data collection stage of her PhD study which she undertook in five rural areas in the Umgungundlovu District, one of those being eMpumuza which is under the leadership of Inkosi Nsikayezwe Zondi. 

‘It was my intention that the community should benefit from the study so when Inkosi Zondi requested training for his Traditional Council in Dispute Resolution it provided an ideal opportunity for me,’ said Makoba. 

She said although the training was aimed at TC members, it also attracted other community members. 

‘The content of the training leant towards the restorative processes as well as the use of indigenous knowledge to resolve disputes and to restore relationships within families and communities. 

‘The training was also attended by community members who were at the eMpumuza Administrative Centre for various reasons.’ 

Zondi said that as academics in the governance field it was imperative for them to share their knowledge to strengthen good governance in the country. 

‘As facilitators, our objective was to present strategies to break down barriers between conflicting groups, and to support collaboration among the groups to help them peacefully resolve their differences and embark on activities that benefit both sides. These shared activities can be the most effective way for community development and to demonstrate the benefits of co-operation,’ said Zondi. 

Nkwanyana, an academic at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, facilitated a training session for entrepreneurs, traditional leaders and members of the local Cooperative businesses who want to open businesses. The session focused on business and participants expressed an interest in more sessions on incubation programmes and sessions that would provide members with computer and financial skills, among others. 

‘The participants said there was a need for more cooperative businesses in the area with Inkosi Zondi recommending the formation of a cooperative that would include all the traditional council members,’ said Nkwanyana. 

‘Overall we all agreed that the status quo has to change and that rural communities have to stop being content with being consumers of finished goods.  It was also generally agreed that locally owned businesses would increase the circulation of money in the area leading ultimately to a reduction in poverty, unemployment and inequality.’

Thandiwe Jumo

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Anthropology Academic Hosted in Seychelles

Anthropology Academic Hosted in Seychelles
UKZN’s Professor Maheshvari Naidu with a fellow delegate.

Professor Maheshvari Naidu, Associate Professor in Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences, was recently hosted by the Secretariat in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Community Development in Seychelles. 

Naidu was invited to add a bolt-on workshop event to the inaugural Social Work Conference held in the archipelago’s capital of Victoria. The conference was a joint venture of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Community Development and the University of Seychelles in collaboration with the US Embassy through the American Corner. 

During the second day of the forum, the speakers presented research, theories and recent practices in Seychelles and internationally. Present was the Minister of Social Development, as well as the Principal Secretary for Social Affairs Linda William Melanie, the Director of Social Affairs Ms Sylvette Gertrude and  around 200 professionals in the social science fields such as researchers, social workers, counsellors and students from the National Institute of Health and Social Studies among others. 

Invited to present a workshop on ‘Victim Empowerment’, Naidu drew from her background in anthropology and a cluster of simulation exercises, as well as narrative, image and text around ‘BodyWork’. 

In this context ‘BodyWork’ is conceptualised around the individual working on their issues of trauma by expressing trauma through narrative, words and drawings. Such work, dealing as it does with potentially deep seated trauma must of course be done by trained counsellors. This was an ideal group to explore such a therapeutic option as the audience comprised accredited social workers, counselors and social work students, she said. 

‘I was honored by the invitation which built on a pre-existing relationship with the University of Seychelles,’ said Naidu. In 2015, she was asked by the Centre for Culture and Education at the university to deliver workshop presentations to staff and lectures to students in the Faculty of Social Sciences. 

Despite being a relatively new institution, the University of Seychelles, has a strong cohort of graduates and many of its courses are accredited by the University of London. It has also strong ties with the community. 

Naidu was recently promoted to Associate Professor in UKZN’s School of Social Sciences. She is also one of the co-ordinators of Community Engagement (Howard College) at the School. 

‘UKZN’s School of Social Sciences under the leadership of Professor Stephen Mutula, is a leading School in the College of Humanities, with many colleagues engaged in high impact projects,’ said Naidu. 

In recent years, many of the top UKZN published researchers have been attached to the School. Naidu was Top Published Woman Researcher in 2014, and third overall at the University. She was also Top Published Woman in Humanities in 2015. 

Naidu won one of the national awards for Research Excellence from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for Women in Science (WISA) in 2013. 

‘It was great interacting with the students from the University of Seychelles again, many of whom are health care practitioners,’ she said. ‘I now look forward to my own students graduating, which includes four masters and a doctoral student.’

Melissa Mungroo

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