UKZN Among Top 400 Universities in the World

UKZN Among Top 400 Universities in the World
UKZN has ranked fourth in South Africa in the latest Times Higher Education rankings.Click here for isiZulu version

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has for the first time ever been ranked among the top 400 best performing universities in the world according to the latest 2020/2021 Times Higher Education (THE) rankings.

UKZN was placed in the 351-400 band, a significant improvement from its previous ranking in the top 500 (401 – 500) in the 2019/2020 cycle.

This achievement places UKZN in fourth position among South African universities.

More than 1 400 universities in 92 countries were assessed in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020/2021 for research-led universities. THE uses 13 calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance which include teaching, research, citations, industry funding and international outlook. UKZN scored at the top of the comparable scale for research and citations. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath said it was exceptionally gratifying to note the upward success trajectory and collective achievements by the University to date. Three months ago, the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) positioned UKZN in the top 2.4% of universities in the world, placing it 477th out of 20 000 universities globally.

Ramjugernath says the rankings are the result of the efforts and dedication of UKZN staff and students in the area of scholarly and scientific work, which reaffirms the University’s excellent standing as a research-intensive institution of international standing. ‘These are difficult times for universities throughout the world but we will work through them with the same resolve and strengths which have delivered the outstanding ranking results.’

Meanwhile, UKZN also made it into this year's annual Sunday Times Gen Next Awards, taking the fifth spot in the Coolest Universities 2020 category. The Sunday Times Gen Next survey has established itself as the leading barometer of what South African youths find on-trend and delivers insights that are valued by brand managers, advertising, and marketing professionals. Brands that made it onto this year's list include Capitec, Avon, WhatsApp, Apple, Uzalo, Always, DStv, Engen and Woolworths Food.

For more information on the Times Higher Education rankings, go to: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2020/world-ranking.

Words: Indu Moodley and Ndabaonline

Image: Nomonde Mbhele


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UKZN Alumna Raises Funds for Rural School Extension

UKZN Alumna Raises Funds for Rural School Extension
UKZN alumna and champion fund raiser, Ms Nontu Mgabhi, who announced that extensions have begun at Khiphinkunzi Primary School near Mtubatuba.

Fund raising efforts by UKZN alumna and ultra-distance runner, Ms Nontu Mgabhi, have borne fruit in the form of construction starting on extensions at the Khiphinkunzi Primary School in Dukuduku Village, in rural Mtubatuba.

The project, which involves the addition of five extra classrooms at the school, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Mgabhi made headlines and history recently by running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents to become the first African woman to complete the World Marathon Challenge. Her participation in the gruelling race formed part of her efforts to fundraise to cover the costs of extensions at the school.

Her campaign - Go Beyond for a Child - is all about supporting children’s education in deep rural areas as well as removing systemic inequalities and giving children a fair chance to succeed. ‘It is also about putting the focus on rural schoolchildren who are deserving and more than capable. We cannot afford to leave them behind,’ said Mgabhi.

She was humbled by the amount of support she received. ‘I couldn’t have done this on my own - there would be no Go Beyond for a Child Project without sponsors. There are more than 100 learners in some of the classrooms so I am delighted and relieved knowing their learning experience will improve with the addition of the new classrooms.’

The project’s reach has extended beyond the boundaries of the school and impacted on members of the broader community. ‘It has become a source of hope in Dukuduku Village,’ said Mgabhi. ‘From April to now, through partnership and financial support, I have helped to distribute more than 250 food parcels valued at about R1 000 each and 5 000 cloth masks to assist the community to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

‘The pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that exist. A number of learners from the school depend on food provided for them so when the school closed because of the virus, it meant no main meal. So I started fundraising for food parcels to assist.’

She became aware of the school’s plight in 2018 after running the Karkloof 100 Miler. ‘At the end of the run we were assigned to different underprivileged and underfunded schools to inspire kids through running and sport. I was assigned to Khiphinkunzi Primary School where I connected with the learners and I saw myself in them as a rural village girl who had emerged stronger - regardless of systemic barriers,’ she said.

Mgabhi thanked everyone who has supported developments at the school including main sponsors UKZN, Richards Bay Coal Terminal, Powerpoint Lifestyles, Baloyi Attorneys and Bidvest Tank Terminals.

Executive Director (Acting) of UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division Ms Normah Zondo was delighted with the project’s success and applauded Mgabhi for ‘flying the UKZN flag high and for staying true to our purpose of inspiring greatness!’ Zondo wished Mgabhi well on her future philanthropic efforts.

Some sponsors were forced to withdraw their support because of financial difficulties experienced during COVID-19. ‘I had to thus rationalise the project and build five classrooms,’ she said. ‘With R1.2 million raised, there is a shortfall of R400 000 as the total cost of building the five classes is R 1.6 million. I invite sponsors keen to support this cause to contact me at nontu.mgabhi@icloud.com,’ she added.

To get involved and contribute to this worthy project, visit: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/khiphinkunzi-primary

To find out more about Nontu’s journey, visit:

https://www.iol.co.za/ios/sport/go-fourth-nontu-mgabhi-tale-of-7-days-7-marathons-7-continents-43196595

http://ndabaonline.ukzn.ac.za/UkzndabaStory/Vol8-Issue4/UKZN%20Alumna%20Takes%20Inspiring%20Greatness%20to%20Another%20Level/

https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=269582270675286

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer 

Photographs: Supplied


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Tricia Naicker Flies the UKZN Flag High… Once Again!

Tricia Naicker Flies the UKZN Flag High… Once Again!
Professor Tricia Naicker, Associate Professor at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences.Click here for isiZulu version

The youngest Associate Professor at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, Professor Tricia Naicker, has been awarded the 2020 Raikes Medal by the South African Chemical Institute.

The medal acknowledges a member of the Institute, under the age of 40, whose original chemical research performed in South Africa shows outstanding promise, as displayed in articles they have had published in reputable journals.

Naicker is only one of three researchers - and the first woman - from UKZN to win the Raikes Medal since its inception in 1961.

‘I feel really honoured to have won in this category and am thankful to my nominator and long-time mentor Professor Gert Kruger,’ said an elated Naicker. 

To add to her accolades, Naicker is also the winner of the prestigious UKZN Vice-Chancellor’s 2019 Award valued at R150 000. The award is presented annually to a pre-eminent researcher at UKZN in recognition of outstanding research achievements and the international reputation acquired. 

Her most recent and remarkable milestone was reaching her 100th publication in 2020.

‘I hope my success encourages other emerging academics and students to pursue their goals in whichever subject they are passionate about,’ she said.

Naicker, part of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences since 2013, is consistently rated in the Top 10 young researchers at UKZN. She holds various other national awards from the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation.

She specialises in method development within the synthesis of biologically important intermediates/drugs within the field of antibacterials.

Naicker thanked her hardworking students, dedicated mentors and collaborators at the Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit whilst not forgetting the support of her family.

The College of Health Sciences’ Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Busi Ncama congratulated Naicker on her achievement. ‘I am very proud of Professor Tricia Naicker being an academic in our College. I am not surprised that she received this award - she is an outstanding researcher, very dedicated and very humble.’

She said the University community was equally proud of Naicker and encouraged her to continue flying the UKZN flag high.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied


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Young UKZN Alumna Excelling in the Optometry World

Young UKZN Alumna Excelling in the Optometry World
UKZN alumna, Ms Duduzile Sibisi.Click here for isiZulu version

Bachelor of Optometry alumna, Ms Duduzile Sibisi, owns two optometry practices at the tender age of 25… and plans to open more!

Sibisi, who grew up in the rural KwaZulu-Natal town of Dannhauser, completed her studies on the Westville campus in 2016.

She now owns Sibisi Optometrists at Tugela Ferry and co-owns Central Medical Centre in Pietermaritzburg which, was established last year.

‘I work in partnership with Mr Sthembiso Bhengu at the Central Medical Centre, where he is the resident optometrist while I fill that role at the Tugela Ferry practice,’ Sibisi said.

She began her career working at Torga Optical in East London as a resident optometrist later applying for a personal loan to start her own business.

‘I did a little research on how much it would cost me to open an optometry practice and completed a rough business plan - I have never looked back since then,’ she said. ‘I opened my Tugela Ferry practice in November 2017.’

Sibisi said when she started studying optometry she did not know much about the profession - and had never even had an eye test! ‘Because it seemed an interesting career at the time I took it on. Being self-driven and hard-working I fell in-love with optometry and the rest is history.’

At the beginning of last year, she went into partnership with two medical practitioners Dr Sanele Mdluli and Dr Saziso Mthembu, opening the Central Medical Centre in Pietermaritzburg.

Apart from her business, the Centre’s rooms are occupied by an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist, a social worker, a dietician and a clinical psychologist.

‘Being a young entrepreneur is not easy - it comes with a lot of responsibilities. I have survived because of what I think are my good leadership and communication skills.’

She is motivated by being able to make it in the world of work on her own. ‘I am ambitious and a risk taker - that is what drives me. My mother and her family are my biggest fans and my greatest support system.’

Her future goals are to open more practices in rural towns as a way of giving back to communities there.

Sibisi also hopes to pursue her masters and PhD degrees, and ultimately become an academic. ‘Sharing knowledge and teaching are among my passions.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied


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Sociologist Publishes Book on Status of Science in Africa

Sociologist Publishes Book on Status of Science in Africa
Social Sciences academic, Professor Radhamany Sooryamoorthy.

UKZN Social Sciences academic, Professor Radhamany Sooryamoorthy has published a book titled: Science, Policy and Development in Africa (Cambridge University Press).

The book provides a comprehensive study of science in both colonial and post-colonial Africa and provides an in-depth understanding of the connection between the production of science and the development of society. Cutting across disciplines in science and social sciences, this multidisciplinary work highlights the potential and challenges for Africa in science, technology, policy and development.

‘We know very little about the state of science and the current modes of the production of knowledge in Africa,’ said Soorymoorthy. ‘Generally and historically, sociological studies of the sciences have been focused on North American and European countries, largely due to their contributions to science. There are studies on science in various African countries but not in Africa as a whole. They are individual and independent studies, mostly written in the form of reports, collected and compiled by agencies or scholars. They concentrate on only a few countries and for a specific period, and thus do not provide a comprehensive account of the science that is being generated and used in Africa.’

Sooryamoorthy highlights the connections between science, policy and development in African nations, focusing on understanding the widening gap in science and the technology between developed and developing regions as well as the integration (or lack of) with national development strategies.

In a review of the book, UKZN’s Professor Ruth Teer-Tomaselli said: ‘Sooryamoorthy’s style is fluid and engaging. He has mastered the art of translating high-end technological advances into an accessible and meaningful narrative, providing a broad sweep covering the production of scientific knowledge and its relationship to the development, economic growth and sovereignty of the African continent. A great read!’

The book is available for purchase online from Cambridge University Press and all major online bookstores such as Amazon, Google Books and Barnes and Noble. http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2020/09/playing-with-science-studying-africa.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied


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East Coast Radio Bursaries for UKZN Students

East Coast Radio Bursaries for UKZN Students
Student bursary winners (from left) Ms Nonhlanhla Majola, Ms Nqobile Khanyile, Ms Zama Ngcobo, and Ms Zinhle Nhlumayo.

Nine students from the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) in the School of Applied Human Sciences (SAHS) received full tuition bursaries from East Coast Radio (ECR), KwaZulu-Natal’s leading commercial radio station.

Academic Leader for Community Engagement in the SAHS and the CCMS Professor Lauren Dyll said ECR’s generosity was well timed. ‘In the context of constrained public funds for the University system, it’s a challenge for many students to pay their fees. Not only is this a cause of stress during their studies, but for many it’s still a burden years after they graduate,’ said Dyll. ‘For this reason, I was delighted when ECR contacted me about this opportunity.

‘It is fitting these young women received their bursaries in Women’s Month. Releasing them from the financial strain will assist them to focus on their studies and help unlock their full potential to make a positive impact in their own lives, the media industry and wider society.’

Said ECR’s General Manager Ms Boni Mchunu: ‘We are delighted to be able to contribute towards development of the youth in KwaZulu-Natal. We are also proud to partner with a prestigious institution like UKZN where the students are assured of the highest quality education.’

Mchunu challenged ‘other corporates to support education initiatives in addressing the challenges faced in South Africa’.

Having previously worked with the ECR team in 2018 on the R67 for Mandela Day campaign, UKZN Foundation Executive Director Professor Anesh Singh added: ‘Donations of this nature are based on interpersonal relationships. I am grateful to Boni and her team for staying true to her passion - education.’

CCMS honours student Ms Nqobile Khanyile said: ‘It feels like a dream come true. It is as if East Coast Radio knew how much I needed this support. I could not afford to pay for my fees and in turn would not have been able to receive my certificate. Thank you ECR!’

Student Ms Nomthandazo Ndlovu also thanked ECR for ‘giving me a second chance. Thank you for your generosity that has further motivated me to pull-up my socks. This bursary has allowed me to fully focus on my studies without worrying about my tuition fees’.

Words: Melissa Mungroo and Lauren Dyll

Photographs: Supplied


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Wonder Women in Science Virtual Event a Resounding Success

Wonder Women in Science Virtual Event a Resounding Success
Wonder Women in Science 2020: Dr Bongiwe Mshengu, Professor Suna Kassier, Dr Joy Adu, Dr Lorika Beukes, and Dr Hloniphile Sithole Mthethwa are joined by emcee Mr Katlego Maboe, performer Lira, Dr T and scholars from the WWIS webinar.

About 600 people registered for this year’s Wonder Women in Science (WWIS) webinar, which celebrated achievements of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s (CAES) five “Wonder Women”.

The individuals - one from each of the College’s Schools - shared their stories of entering and achieving in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Held every year since 2015, the WWIS campaign is usually accompanied by a breakfast event but was substituted this year by an online celebration because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The August event celebrates National Science Week and National Women’s Month by honouring female scientists in the CAES who are pioneering innovative research and development, demonstrating passion for their fields, and mentoring up-and-coming young scientists.

The bumper programme included performances by South African singing sensation Lira, with television presenter Mr Katlego Maboe facilitating proceedings.

Groups of learners from the Umkhumbane Secondary School in Chesterville and the Ikusasalentsha Secondary School in Inanda were on the webinar (social distancing regulations were carefully observed) and received goodie bags from Amazon Web Services.

Eden College in Durban hosted their own tea party as part of the webinar and participants received goodie bags from UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division. Several schools live-streamed the event in their classrooms but did not appear on the broadcast, including Nomavimbla High, Usethubenu Youth School, Solvista Secondary and AD Lazarus Secondary.

Participants watched presentations by the 2020 WWIS candidates on their journeys into their respective fields of science.

‘Today, UKZN celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics on behalf of women who succeed in these endeavours and these disciplines,’ said Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the CAES Professor Albert Modi in an address for the event. ‘These are the women who will be part of the solutions for this country and the world as we face many challenges, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Dr Bongiwe Mshengu of the School of Chemistry and Physics and a senior tutor in UKZN’s Science Access Programme spoke about her interest in science first being piqued when she was treated by a traditional healer. Mshengu encouraged scholars interested in science to investigate the various career options available, explore their own interests, and to work hard.

Professor Suna Kassier of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences spoke about what inspired her interest in science, her academic journey, and her work in various specialities of dietetics that led her to realise her passion lay in teaching and motivating young people. Kassier encouraged those viewing the webinar to pursue lifelong learning and to not be daunted by failure, saying accomplishment is achieved through adaptability and humility.

Dr Joy Adu of the School of Engineering spoke on challenges of coming from a humble background and being told what women could and could not do when she was a child. Adu also recalled the determination of her grandmother which motivated her to pursue her passion for civil engineering, a problem-solving field which she says presents endless possibilities for shaping the world.

Microscopist and microbiologist Dr Lorika Beukes of the School of Life Sciences described the passion for science she cultivated from a young age that gave her the boost to persevere in her studies through UKZN’s Science Access Programme. Beukes said young people should realise that no matter their background, age, gender or race, they could succeed in the sciences through hard work and focus.

Dr Hloniphile Sithole Mthethwa of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science described how mathematics drew her in from an early age saying it was like a language everyone used daily and could be fluent in with enough practice. Mthethwa said to encourage young people to pursue mathematics it was necessary to increase the amount of information and guidance available and to debunk the stigma of mathematics being too difficult. She advised young women to be inspired by female leaders in STEM, and concluded by drawing attention to the urgent need to combat the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.

Each WWIS candidate received an award certificate from the CAES, and gifts from Umgeni Water and Amazon Web Services.

Dr Tanja Reinhardt (“Dr T”) of the Science and Technology Education Centre at UKZN performed two fun science experiments to demonstrate the surface tension of water, and a catalytic reaction that forms a foamy substance known as “Elephant’s Toothpaste”. Assisted by UKZN staff on site, learners at Umkhumbane Secondary and Ikusasalentsha Secondary performed the experiments live under Dr T’s guidance.

The programme included lucky draws for the schools joining live and online, and also for online participants, with prizes sponsored by Elsevier, Umgeni Water, 2CANA Solutions, and UKZN’s Information and Communication Services (ICS).

Event initiator and co-ordinator Mr Sashlin Girraj of UKZN closed the event with a vote of thanks for the work and support of the University and the CAES Public Relations Divisions, the ICS, the CAES Deputy Vice-Chancellor and administrative division, event sponsors, Dr T, Maboe and Lira and their teams, and the schools and guests who took part.

The webinar will be available on the WWIS website.

Visit our website to see a gallery of images from the event: https://wwis.ukzn.ac.za/2020-wwis-webinar-gallery/

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photographs: Sashlin Girraj


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Chemistry Lecturer Represents Africa on International Chemical Biology Society Committee

Chemistry Lecturer Represents Africa on International Chemical Biology Society Committee
Dr Clinton Veale of the School of Chemistry and Physics.Click here for isiZulu version

Dr Clinton Veale of the School of Chemistry and Physics has been appointed to serve as the African regional co-coordinator for the membership outreach and services committee of the International Chemical Biology Society (ICBS) - a role that will see him contribute to growing the society’s footprint on the continent.

Veale - a senior lecturer and researcher in organic chemistry who joined UKZN in 2018 after completing his MSc in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh and his PhD in Chemistry at Rhodes University - focuses on the application of synthetic organic and biophysical chemistry methods for the design of biologically active compounds.

His research recently won him recognition when he received a Fellowship from the Future Leaders – African Independent Research (FLAIR) programme to support his work in developing mass spectrometry based models of key Protein-Protein Interactions as novel targets for neglected diseases. The research forms part of a UKZN flagship project working in collaboration with the KZN Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), Rhodes University and the University of Edinburgh.

Nominated for the African regional co-ordinator post by a colleague, Veale’s new role with the ICBS during his three-year term will contribute to the society’s goal of growing the science of chemical biology in a globally unifying way.

‘The society aims to develop cross disciplinary relationships between scientists in chemistry, biochemistry and related fields who work in academia, non-profit organisations, industry and government in order to help advance human health,’ said Veale.

‘With the assistance of established organisations such as the African Academy of Sciences, my goal is to help develop and expand these cross disciplinary relationships within Africa.’

The ICBS is an independent, non-profit organisation that promotes research and educational opportunities at the interface of chemistry and biology, providing an international forum to bring together scientists working in various disciplines within academia, non-profit organisations, government and industry to communicate new research and help translate the power of chemical biology to advance human health.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied


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UKZN Webinar on how Durban Helped the Homeless during Lockdown

UKZN Webinar on how Durban Helped the Homeless during Lockdown
Webinar organisers, Ms Normah Zondo and Mr Raymond Perrier.

UKZN’s Alumni Relations office hosted a webinar titled: How Durban Led the Country in Helping Homeless People during Lockdown.

Facilitated by UKZN’s Corporate Relations Acting Executive Director, Ms Normah Zondo and presented by the Director of the Denis Hurley Centre and UKZN’s PhD student, Mr Raymond Perrier, the webinar examined Durban’s swift response in providing emergency shelters for the homeless.

As the Chair for the eThekwini Task Team on Homelessness, Perrier explained how the city had been able to respond quickly. ‘When the President initiated the lockdown in March 2020 and stipulated that cities were required to provide shelter for the homeless, Durban was at an advantage because our task team had already secured various organisations which could provide emergency refuge,’ Perrier said.

With 2 000 homeless people in Durban, the emergency havens were divided into three sections; a women’s shelter, a shelter for sick women and men at the Denis Hurley Centre and park tents for men provided by the municipality. 

The shelters provided food, healthcare and support for those struggling with drug addiction, giving the homeless a reason to stay indoors without being forced too.

Acknowledging the work UKZN has done with the Denis Hurley Centre - known as a place of care for the homeless, Perrier thanked student volunteers in the Social Work, Psychology, Law and Drama Departments for lending a helping hand. He encouraged more students in specialist fields such as social work and psychology to take part and provide counselling for the homeless in their home languages.

Perrier thanked the interfaith organisations for providing daily meals, Metro Health Support for delivering medical services, the South African Police Service for its continued support, the eThekwini Municipality, and other NGOs for providing funding and services for the homeless.

Identifying lack of employment as the main reason for homelessness, Perrier highlighted how the centre is focused on teaching skills to the homeless. He mentioned the bookselling programme which helps provide employment and urged people to buy second-hand books from the centre.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions, the homeless are no longer required to be indoors during the day so the shelters have been transformed into sleeping havens for the homeless used at night.

Calling on the homeless to be treated with dignity and respect, Perrier said it was important for the centre to provide a safe and happy environment for the homeless.

Pledging the University`s continued support for the Centre, Zondo said: ‘It’s not always about money - offering services is so important and there’s a lot we can do to assist the community in that area.’

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Photographs: Supplied


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UKZN OT Students Online to Assist Those in Need

UKZN OT Students Online to Assist Those in Need
OT student, Ms Jenna Saxby assists a client online.

UKZN Occupational Therapist (OT) students on the Westville campus in co-operation with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) are offering free personalised online individual comfort sessions for those who need help.

The telehealth clinic services include relaxation therapy, stress management, relapse prevention, coping strategies, lifestyle analysis, medication, compliance and occupation-based therapy.

Using a smartphone, tablet or laptop, the service - aimed to assist those having difficulty coping with big or small everyday tasks - is offered on Zoom or WhatsApp.

Occupational therapy assists people to work towards becoming better and more productive individuals. 

Module co-ordinator for the OT Psychosocial Theory and Fieldwork module Ms Julie Lingah said: ‘Due to the pandemic, the Discipline was not able to access mental health facilities for the Level 4 OT students for their fieldwork practice placements so the alternative was the provision of telehealth services. To this end, SADAG was one of the organisations approached for the referral of potential clients for the telehealth clinic on campus.’

Lingah said for the next block students would offer educational webinars and mini virtual symposiums. These would be advertised in the SADAG newsletter. 

SADAG, a non-profit organisation providing counselling services for those in need of mental healthcare, manages a 16-line counselling-and-referral call centre, and is the voice of patient advocacy, working in urban, peri-urban, and the most rural communities in South Africa. It has a network of more than 200 support groups throughout South Africa. 

The OT students are working as part of a multi-disciplinary team with School Support services (SSS) offering individual sessions for students with social and academic difficulties as well as collaborative educational webinars within the College of Health Sciences.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied


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Humanities Student Finalist in Miss Teenager SA Contest

Humanities Student Finalist in Miss Teenager SA Contest
UKZN Social Sciences student, Ms Nomfundo Mayeza.

Social Sciences student, Ms Nomfundo Mayeza, is a finalist in the upcoming Miss Teenager South Africa 2020 - a pageant which focuses on youth empowerment and making a difference in the lives of others.

Mayeza entered the pageant with the goal of using the platform to be an agent of change in her community and to empower women and the youth.

This year’s theme is “Naledi”*, which is the name of the 2020 crown. ‘This theme encourages young women to believe in themselves, be confidently beautiful in their own skin so that we can reach our full potential as individuals,’ said Mayeza. 

Passionate about community engagement, Mayeza has initiated a social media campaign titled #YoungstersTakingCharge. ‘It is a campaign for the shoot your shot generation,’ she said. ‘So that all young people in the world can start taking charge, make a mark and open the doors to their dreams. I plan to use my non-profit organisation, which I am establishing, to bring about concrete change in the lives of all South Africans.’

She has this advice for students: ‘We are human and bound to make mistakes and experience failure but we should not let that define us or make us deviate from our dreams and capabilities. Do all you can to turn your dreams into reality, without forgetting the importance of your education.’

To vote for Mayeza, use the link: https://pageantvote.es/pageants/2741/contestants/18170

*Naledi is an African (Sesotho) name that means “Star”.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Supplied


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Education Students Tutor Learners during COVID-19 Pandemic

Education Students Tutor Learners during COVID-19 Pandemic
Education student’s work together to produce study guides for Grades 11 and 12.

The Edgewood Extra Tuition Programme (EETP), a non-profit organisation based in the School of Education, are providing tuition to Grades 10, 11 and 12 learners in the Pinetown area.

The EETP was established to address issues that learners in high school encounter in Physical Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Life Sciences, English Home Language, English First Additional Language, Business Studies, Economics, Accounting, and Geography.

EETP, a programme established more than15 years ago, was run independently until the beginning of this year when it was adopted by the Community Engagement Sector in the School of Education under the guidance of Academic Leader Dr Angela James. Third and fourth-year students now serve as tutors in the programme.

Said EETP tutor Mr Sandile Mnyandu: ‘This year started with efficient organisation, recruitment and management of classes, until the University closed due to COVID-19. We were then faced with major challenges such as access to learners, suitable methods to teach them since many did not have access to laptops or other devices. Drastic decisions had to be taken regarding the future of the organisation. After numerous virtual meetings, the EETP team decided that the tutors should work together to develop study guides for the learners.’

These guides have a summary of all work activities with assessments. ‘The focus was directed at Grade 11 and 12 learners as the government had announced that these learners must return to school. The action undertaken was to message parents requesting that they collect study guides, taking the necessary precautions, from the Edgewood campus gate,’ said Mnyandu. ‘The tutors are continuing with tutoring through virtual means using WhatsApp and phone calls and learners submit activities for assessment.’

EETP Head of School Mr Philani Shezi thanked everyone who played a role in the production of the study guides. ‘These are the tutors who developed the study guides and the mentors (discipline specific lecturers) who reviewed them. Also, the programme co-ordinators provided support and guidance throughout the whole process. This was achieved under extreme pressure and in a limited time-frame.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Supplied


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