Coastal Conservation the Best Option - UK Beach Erosion Expert

Coastal Conservation the Best Option - UK Beach Erosion Expert
Together at UKZN were (from left) Professor Mike Perrin, Ms Bronwyn Goble, Dr Luciana Esteves and Professor Trevor Hill.

“No Beaches for our Children? How to Adapt to the Future”, was the title of a presentation delivered at UKZN by Dr Luciana Esteves of the University of Bournemouth in the United Kingdom.

In the country as a guest of the Royal Society of South Africa, Esteves is principal academic in Physical Geography at her institution and a leading expert in coastal management, particularly coastal erosion and flood risk management.

Her recent work concerns the long-term sustainability of managed realignment and other adaptation alternatives to reduce flooding and erosion risk to people, property and the economy.

According to Esteves, increased development of coastal areas to support a burgeoning population’s recreational and socio-economic activities, coupled with extreme weather events and climate change projections, present great risks to people living in coastal areas because flooding and erosion events are increasing.

Her visit to KwaZulu-Natal was hosted by the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) and the Royal Society of South Africa (RSSA), while Professor Trevor Hill of the Discipline of Geography facilitated the Royal Society Lecture at UKZN.

The lecture was well-attended by staff and students, who responded enthusiastically to the presentation. Her visit to South Africa was funded through the National Research Foundation’s (NRF) UK / South Africa Researcher Links Grant.

Esteves said custodians of coastlines should avoid taking decisions that increase the vulnerability of the areas instead of promoting resilience.

‘Conservation or restoration of natural assets is the best management option. To not do so is to incur huge risk, not just in the future, but now.’

Esteve’s visit included meeting officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in Durban to discuss the state of Durban’s beaches and how to ensure their sustainability. She also went on a flight up the KwaZulu-Natal coast to observe the coastline and its conservation and development.

Christine Cuénod

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Music Lecturer Shares Book, Creative and Digital Award

Music Lecturer Shares Book, Creative and Digital Award
Dr Sazi Dlamini (third left) with winners and representatives of the NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital Awards.

UKZN Music Lecturer Dr Sazi Dlamini was a member of a five-man team which won the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) Book, Creative and Digital Award.

Other members of the team were Mr Neo Muyanga, Mr Sumangala Damodaran, Professor Jürgen Bräuninger and Professor Ari Sitas.

They received the award valued at R60 000 for their work titled “Insurrections in the category Best Musical Composition/Arrangement”.

Insurrections is a collection of 12 compositions and is the product of a poetry-music collaboration about the relationship between word, voice, expression and sound around shared social and political concerns between India and South Africa.

The awards honour and celebrate outstanding, innovative and socially responsive scholarship and creative and digital contributions that advance the humanities and social sciences fields.

CEO of NIHSS, Dr Sarah Mosoetsa, said: ‘The awards are a platform to laud outstanding contributions to the humanities and social sciences through scholarly and creative work.’

Said Dlamini: ‘I am pleased my team and I have been recognised for our work. Getting this award also showcases the importance of creative Humanities collaborations. I hope that this will generate further collaboration opportunities and follow-ups to advance humanities and social sciences fields.’

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities at UKZN, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said: ‘As Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am proud of the work of Dr Sazi Dlamini and Prof Jürgen Bräuninger. We also recognise their ongoing commitment to nurturing emerging young talent and in so doing contributing to UKZN’s ongoing project of re-imagining and decolonising the humanities and the social sciences.’

Acting Dean and Head of the School of Arts, Professor Donal McCracken, added: ‘The announcement that Sazi Dlamini and Jurgen Brauninger have won the NIHSS award in the Best Musical Composition/Arrangement category is excellent news and very well timed, coming as it does when we have just appointed a new head of Music at UKZN and are embarking on a major recurriculation exercise. Music has a long tradition of excellence at the University and the award reaffirms that the Discipline is moving forward successfully.’

The Insurrections project, which began in 2010 as a conversation between South African poet Sitas and Indian singer Damodaran, first involved the creation of an interactive, collective poetry text between Sitas and Pitika Ntuli from South Africa and Sabitha TP and Vivek Narayanan from India.

The music happened in three remarkable sessions. An encounter in Delhi early in 2011 between Damodaran, Muyanga, Dlamini and Susmit Sen, provided the first soundscapes in Susmit’s studio.

This was followed up in Durban between Bräuninger and Dlamini, in Delhi by Sumangala Damodaran, Tapan Mullick and Pritam Ghosal, and in Cape Town by Malika Ndlovu, Tina Schouw, Brydon Bolton and Ari Sitas. There was also a Durban encounter which involved all the South African participants and Damodaran.

They also featured at various Poetry Africa Festivals, hosted by the College of Humanities’ Centre for Creative Arts.

Melissa Mungroo and CCA

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UKZN Academics Participate in Southern African Cities Studies Conference

UKZN Academics Participate in Southern African Cities Studies Conference
UKZN academics and students who presented at the Southern African Cities Studies Conference.

Academics from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) participated in the 3rd Southern African Cities Studies Conference, hosted at the Urban Futures Centre (UFC) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

The Conference brought together scholars to engage and discuss their work under themes of alternate experiments and visions in urban planning and design, through the lens of the everyday, responses to urban insecurity, the challenge of working across disciplines, and the significance of infrastructure.

The UKZN panel comprised both students and academics - Professor Matthew Dayomi, Dr Koyi Mchunu, Dr Lovemore Chipungu and Mr Emmanuel Letebele - with Dr Hope Magidimisha chairing the session. The panel spoke under the topic of “Revisiting Town Planning Practice in the Phase of Migration”.

The panellists prompted academics, researchers, policy makers, planners and practitioners to rethink fundamental questions about the limits and potential of planning and to imagine new ways to create more inclusive, diverse and adaptive communities for the betterment of the population as a whole.

They noted that the increasing number of migrants arriving in cities was a challenge which went beyond the mere understanding of migration patterns. There was need to craft intervention measures responsive to multicultural cities emerging out of this migration.

According to the panellists, most academics and practitioners acknowledge that multi-culturalism and multi-racialism are harsh realities that urban planners are grappling with in production and maintenance of urban space.

They further highlighted that what is not clear is how planners can formulate strategies to address these challenges which are the result of the burgeoning number of migrants on the urban land scape rendering some traditional planning theories and practices unresponsive and therefore redundant in addressing current and future problems.

The panellists concluded that if planners are to meet these challenges they need to develop new tools, policies, methods and programmes. They said the resurgence in immigration should not only be perceived from a negative perspective but also as an opportunity to restructure urban space.

Other UKZN academics who participated in the Conference were Professor Bill Freund, Mr Glen Robbins, Mrs Catherine Sutherland, Professor Diane Scott, Mrs Bridget Horner, Dr Miranda Young-Jahangeer and Professor Lindy Stiebel.

Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN AIDS Researcher Named as the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for Africa and the Arab States

UKZN AIDS Researcher Named as the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for Africa and the Arab States
Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim with her award at the 18th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science awards ceremony held in Paris.

UKZN’s Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim was among five leading women scientists across five world regions and 15 promising young researchers who were honoured at the 18th edition of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Ceremony at the Maison de la Mutualité in Paris.

In front of an audience which included Nobel Laureates, previous recipients of L’Oreal-UNESCO Laureate Awards, and some of the brightest scientific minds globally, Abdool Karim received the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science award for Africa and the Arab States region.

According to the international jury, the award was in recognition of her ‘remarkable contribution to the prevention and treatment of HIV and associated infections and greatly improving the quality of life of women in Africa’.

Abdool Karim was the co-Principal Investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial which provided proof-of-concept that an antiretroviral microbicide can safely prevent HIV infections with consistent use of the product. The study was named by the journal Science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2010. The study also provided the first evidence that an antiretroviral microbicide can prevent the risk of acquiring HSV-2 infection.

Her scientific and research contributions in understanding the evolving HIV epidemic span over 25 years and have made a profound impact on HIV treatment and prevention policies at a global level.

Nominated by more than 2 600 leading scientists, 2016’s five L’Oreal-UNESCO laureates were selected by an independent and international jury of 13 prominent scientists in the international scientific community. A statement from the organisation said: ‘The Jury has recognised the tenacity, the creativity and the intelligence of the five eminent women scientists who bring their transformative sciences to change the world. Each scientist has had a unique career path combining exceptional talent, a deep commitment to her profession and remarkable courage in a field still largely dominated by men.’

The President of the Jury, Nobel Laureate Professor Elizabeth H. Blackburn, is the first woman to hold this position in the history of the awards. She was the 2008 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate and the 2009 joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.   Blackburn congratulated the winners and said: ‘2016’s laureates bring an extraordinary vision and immediate solutions to major human health issues… all their careers are exceptional, their discoveries truly new and they epitomise top-level research.’

The awards were presented by Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal and Chairman of the L’Oréal Foundation who also officially launched the Manifesto For Women in Science  to draw attention to the under-representation of women in the sciences.

An advocate for social justice of adolescent girls and young women in Africa, Abdool Karim said she was deeply honoured and privileged to be recognised as a L’Oréal-UNESCO laureate. ‘I hope that this award inspires young women in Africa and the Middle East to pursue careers in science and technology as the world needs more women in science.  Our region needs more scientists addressing the many challenges that face us locally including ways to prevent HIV infection in adolescent girls and young women who continue to bear a disproportionate burden of HIV infection in the region.’

 Smita Maharaj

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How Games can Hook Students with Short Attention Spans

How Games can Hook Students with Short Attention Spans
Don’t dismiss “playing games” as a waste of time - they can be a powerful tool for learning. Image by Shutterstock

Craig Blewett, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Ebrahim Adam, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Modern human beings have a shorter attention span than goldfish: ours is, on average, below eight seconds while the little fish can focus for nine seconds.

These decreasing attention levels are driven by people’s constant use of technology. One study found that people’s dependence on digital stimulation has become so high that 67% of men and 25% of women would prefer to experience an electric shock rather than doing nothing for 15 minutes.

Children are no different. They occupy a hyper stimulating world and find it difficult to sit through a 40 minute lesson or focus on a single task. Many schools and universities are now turning to the very technology that can be such a distraction. One of the avenues they are exploring is gamification - integrating games and their principles into learning.

Our research has shown that gamification has the potential to boost student learning and motivation.

The game is changing

Gaming has become a huge industry and is now even more valuable than the movie industry. A recent study found that teens spend an average of nine hours each day on their devices, with nearly four of these hours spent playing games.

But schools are starting to realise that merely putting devices in pupils' hands won’t magically restore their attention during lessons. Children need new teaching methods to accompany these new devices. To this end, some schools are turning to gamification.

Gamification normally involves game-like elements such as leaderboards, levels and badges. These are underpinned by storylines and delivered using creative and appealing aesthetics. Leaderboards rank participants, while levels typically give the player additional benefits. Badges are symbols of achievement.

In a sense this is how education has always worked. Individual examinations are challenges, passed across a number of years - or levels. Pupils then earn a certificate, or badge. But a qualification is not a gamified experience because it doesn’t adequately fulfil the key principles of a well designed game: clearly defined goals, a transparent scoring mechanism, frequent feedback, a personal choice of approach and consistent coaching.

Gamification of the classroom

Gamification is slowly proving its classroom mettle. Some research suggests that, if it’s properly applied, gamification can improve attendance, enhance understanding of content, encourage engagement and ultimately improve academic performance.

We decided to integrate gamification into an existing fourth year course at a South African university. Traditionally, the course is delivered to students through social media platforms. This time around we built in an additional game layer. This created a scenario that saw students pursuing a corporate career and competing for executive positions at a large company. Throughout the course, corporate aesthetics and a corporate style of communication and feedback were adopted.

Gamified course page with corporate aesthetics.

Students were recognised for meeting learning objectives, displaying academic progress, collaborating around activities and socialising with peers. They were awarded badges and points, which opened up opportunities for real-world benefits: marks, privileges like choosing their own project teams, and even letters of recommendation. They constantly competed to appear in the top 10 leaderboard.

Badges each carrying a point weighting.

Our research found that students were highly motivated by gamification. They worked hard to try and master the content, as well as engaging with their peers about it. Since the game was based on rewarding learning outcomes and sharing their knowledge, students found gamification relevant and beneficial to their learning.

Crashing the game

There were challenges alongside the benefits. For starters, students had to invest more time in the course than they might ordinarily. To stay ahead of the game, they had to keep up with their peers. Those who simply couldn’t keep up fell out of the game, which made it harder to re-engage them. Some students also gave up because they weren’t receiving rewards frequently enough for their liking.

Teachers, too, must invest a lot of time in running the game - never mind the demands of the traditional course. Gamifying a classroom requires a significant investment in time and sometimes money.

We also found that there was a need to ensure a balance between competition - something gamified courses encourage - and helping develop socially cohesive students. This requires care from the teachers, who must ensure that collaborative tasks and social skills like empathy and mutual respect are rewarded within the game.

Levelling up

Despite the challenges, our research suggests that gamification techniques can provide interesting avenues to motivate student learning.

There are several free tools available to help teachers implement gamification in the classroom. Kahoot!, for instance allows teachers to run gamified quizzes where students participate with their own devices and are placed on a leaderboard that the whole classroom can see.

Open badge platforms like Credly allow teachers to issue their students with badges, while platforms like Classcraft allow teachers to use role play scenarios in their lessons.

Gamification could, quite literally, be a game changer in the classroom if implemented correctly. As a teacher who recently tried gamification for the first time told one of the authors:

The students rush to class even though it is Maths. They often tell me it is the highlight of their day.

The Conversation

Craig Blewett, Senior Lecturer in Education & Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal and Ebrahim Adam, Lecturer in Information Systems & Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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UKZN Academic Elected to the American Dermatological Association

UKZN Academic Elected to the American Dermatological Association
Dr Ncoza Dlova receiving her PhD degree at UKZN’s 2015 Graduation ceremony.

The Head of UKZN’s Department of Dermatology, Professor Ncoza Dlova, has been elected as an international honorary member of the American Dermatological Association (ADA) after being nominated by distinguished colleagues based in the United States and the Philippines.

According to ADA Executive Manager, Miss Julie Odessky: ‘Those elected for honorary international membership are dermatologists of distinction residing outside the United States, its possessions, and Canada, who are individuals of exceptional stature in their own country and in international dermatology.’

Dlova has always been fascinated by skin and hair disorders, particularly those prevalent in ethnic skin. After treating many African and Indian patients with irreversible damaged skin caused by illegal skin-lightening creams, she started researching the ingredients in these products and has published widely in this area.

In partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and the private sector, Dlova is currently leading an Anti-Skin Lightening campaign in KwaZulu-Natal which will highlight the dangers of this common practice especially seen in the African and Indian communities.

2015 was a year of achievements for Dlova as she graduated with a PhD degree in Dermatology from UKZN, was identified as one of the Woman Achievers and Leaders in Dermatology by the American Women’s Dermatology Society, was appointed as Head of UKZN’s Department of Dermatology, is the inaugural President of the newly formed South African Women’s Dermatological Society and her Department received special recognition for service excellence through outstanding innovation and best practices in the public sector from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Currently Dlova is driving an initiative to teach basic dermatology to the primary health care practitioners in UKZN in an effort to address the shortage of Dermatologists in the country. Currently there are about 230 qualified Dermatologists in South Africa serving a population of more than 50 million.  Empowering primary health care givers to recognise and treat common and basic skin conditions will prevent unnecessary referrals and travel for rural patients. R1 million  has been secured from Direct Relief (USA based NGO) in partnership with Unilever USA for a week’s outreach programme which will take place in the Durban Metro, ILembe and PMB districts.

Dlova has 18 years of experience as a Dermatologist and has plans to advance scholarship in her Department and the Medical School at large. Initially when she qualified as a Dermatologist, there were only two African dermatologists in the country and none in KwaZulu-Natal. Currently, there are 20 UKZN graduated Dermatologists working in both the public and academic sectors.

Dlova was born in Mtyolo, in the Mount Coke area next to King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape. She enjoys reading, cycling, travelling and especially experiencing different cultures. 

‘I’m humbled by this international recognition and eternally grateful to all my colleagues and nursing staff in the Department for their support, commitment and for embracing change.  This would not have been possible without the amazing team spirit and interest to embark on new ventures for the sake of the Department and patients,’ said Dlova.

       MaryAnn Francis

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Zulu Bird Names Project 2013-2016

Zulu Bird Names Project 2013-2016
Professor Noleen Turner celebrating the conclusion of the third successful Zulu Bird Naming Workshop in Mkhuze with the participating Bird Guides.

Latin-based scientific names for birds such as Lanius collaris and Bucorvis leadbeateri are not commonly used by the average person who would usually prefer to refer to them as the Fiscal Shrike and the Ground Hornbill, or the Fiskaallaksman and the Bromvoël if they are Afrikaans-speaking.

Names such as Jackie Hangman, Jan Fiskaal, and Turkey Buzzard are also commonly used for these birds.

Fiscal Shrike and Bromvoël are “common names” or “vernacular names”, and unlike scientific nomenclature, are not used universally but are specific to a particular language.

Fortunately, for the non-academic and non-professional birdwatcher and amateur ornithologist, all the South African bird guides that we are aware of record both the scientific names and the common names. And even more fortunately, the work done by committees and interest groups such as the BirdLife South Africa List Committee and the Afrikaanse Voëlnaamgroep has led to there being distinct English and Afrikaans common names for every single species of bird found in South Africa.

This has not, however, been the case for bird names in the South African vernacular languages from the Bantu language group. A quick glance at any bird guide that records the names of birds in isiZulu, Xhosa, Tswana and other South African languages will show a similar pattern:

  1. Many birds have more than one name. In isiZulu, the Black-headed Oriole has the three names umqoqongoumbhicongo and ungongolozi.
  2. Many birds share the same name. In the 5th edition of Roberts (Maclean 1984), the Zulu name ukhozi is assigned to the Black Eagle, the Tawny Eagle, the Martial Eagle, the Crowned Eagle, and the Blackbreasted Snake Eagle.
  3. A considerable number of birds have no African vernacular name at all recorded.

Professor Noleen Turner of UKZN’s School of isiZulu Studies first became interested in the problems in the Zulu avian nomenclatural system in 2004 when she received a limited amount of funding to investigate indigenous bird names in KwaZulu-Natal.

A chance meeting with Clint Jardine at Phinda Game Reserve in 2013 revived her interest in Zulu bird names, and she enlisted the help of Adrian Koopman, a retired professor of isiZulu Studies at UKZN. Koopman had worked with Gordon Maclean on the Zulu names in Roberts V, and had previously published on different aspects of Zulu bird names.

In 2013, Turner sourced a group of Zulu mother-tongue bird guides to take part in a ‘bird naming workshop’ to address the three problems outlined above. Their work was to try to select only one commonly used name for birds when two or more names existed, to distinguish between various species having the same name, and (perhaps most importantly) to coin new names where none had existed before.

Space does not allow us to give full details of the methods used to achieve the objectives, but by the end of the third such ‘naming workshop’ in November last year, Turner and Koopman felt they had achieved what they had set out to do. (At the end of this article examples are given of 10 species of birds which had naming issues.)

Their task now is to collate all the results of the 2013, 2014 and 2015 workshops and to publish their results in a variety of academic journals, ornithological as well as linguistic.

Turner and Koopman are also working on a book on isiZulu bird names and bird lore in which the results of the naming workshops will play a prominent part.

Ten examples of bird names suggested during the three workshops

Steppe Buzzard – isanxa: derived from -sa- ‘something like’ + (i)nxae ‘side’, ‘edge’, this suggested name refers to this bird occurring on the edge of forests (as opposed to the Forest Buzzard, which occurs within the forest).

Gymnogene – ijikanyawo. It is surprising that this large, common and distinctive bird has no Zulu name. It was agreed that its distinctive feature is how it can turn or bend its foot to get into the nests of other birds, hence the suggested name, based on jika ‘turn’ + (u)nyawo ‘foot’.

Blue Waxbill – isicelankobe (lit. ‘that which asks for mealie pips’). This was an existing name in Doke and Vilakazi, glossed as ‘small bird which frequents maize fields’. As this bird does indeed frequent homesteads where it pecks up grain, and it has no recorded name, the match seemed inevitable.

Bronze-backed Mannekin – amadojeyana: (lit. ‘the very little men’): although unrecorded in  print, most of the group knew this name for this little bird. It is in the plural ama- form because this bird always appears in little flocks.

Purple Heron – unoxhongo: this name was in Doke and Vilakazi with the gloss ‘largish water bird’, and as the Purple Heron was one of the herons without a Zulu name, this existing name was assigned to it.

Thick-billed Weaver – unondwezane: this name was in Doke and Vilakazi, glossed as “Smith’s Weaver Bird”. As this reference is no longer known, it was decided to apply the Zulu name to the distinctive Thick-billed Weaver, currently with no recorded Zulu name. Further research in old ornithological data bases may of course identify “Smith’s Weaver Bird” and the assigning of the name unondwezane may have to be changed.

Pink-throated Longclaw – itoyiya; as the group remembered the name onotoyi as being generic for longclaws, and Themba Mthembu remembered especially as a youth the name itoyiya being used for the Pink-throated Longclaw, this name was accepted.

Quail Finch – inxenge: this name, glossed in Doke and Vilakazi as ‘small, finch-like bird’, was assigned to this hitherto un-named finch.

Osprey – inkwazana: there was no hesitation in suggesting this diminutive form of inkwazi (‘Fish Eagle’) for the Osprey.

Squacco Heron – umacutha: This was a new name coined for the Squacco Heron, and is based on the verb cutha ‘stand motionless’.

 Noleen Turner and Adrian Koopman

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UKZN’s info4africa Centre involved in Development of Museum of HIV Memory and Learning

UKZN’s info4africa Centre involved in Development of Museum of HIV Memory and Learning
info4africa Director, Ms Debbie Heustice (back row, sixth right) with organisers and partners for the African Voices - The Museum of HIV Memory and Learning.

info4africa, a self-funded Centre within the School of Applied Human Sciences, eThekwini Municipality and Avacarehealth have joined forces to develop African Voices - A Museum of HIV Memory and Learning, the first museum of its kind in Africa. 

info4africa is developing the content for the Museum through extensive consultation and participation with a wide range of stakeholders.

Providing support are the eThekwini Municipality; the AIDS2016 Local Support Committee and its Legacy Task Team; Avacarehealth, and civil society stakeholders engaged in health and wellbeing services and support throughout Africa.

According to info4africa Director Ms Debbie Heustice, the museum is dedicated to the African story of HIV documenting a critical and defining chapter in the country and Africa’s collective history. ‘It will be a dynamic, creative space for learning, dialogue and reflection on where we have come from as a continent,’ she said.

The African Voices Museum is not a typical museum but rather a growing collection of memories and stories that explore the wide variety of lived human experiences of the African HIV pandemic.

‘It is envisioned as a collection of artifacts as well as artistic, historic and photographic items that will document and pay tribute to those who suffered, succumbed, survived and struggled,’ said Heustice. ‘The Museum will strive to tell the story of HIV in Africa in a manner that is authentic, elegant, sensitive and holistic.’

This African Voices Museum, housed at the KwaMuhle Local History Museum, will be officially opened during the AIDS2016 International Conference in Durban in July and run until July, 2017.

‘This will mark the beginning of a journey that will grow and expand over time as the public participates and contributes their voices to the African Voices Museum Collection,’ said Heustice, who called on the public to donate, loan or share artifacts, artworks, archival material, documentary photography, audio and visual material for inclusion in the collection.

‘We are looking for subject specialists to engage with us on the development of the Museum content and to possibly facilitate a visit to the Museum for an organisation, community group or for a group of learners from an educational institution.’

For further information please contact Heustice on

* The African Voices Museum is a partnership project between Avacarehealth (donor partner), info4africa (implementing partner) and eThekwini Municipality (custodial partner and the host City of the AIDS2016 Conference). The African Voices Museum Project is being co-ordinated by info4africa under the Curatorship of Bren Brophy.

 Melissa Mungroo

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African Music and Dance Third Year Students Perform Entertaining African Culture Concerts

African Music and Dance Third Year Students Perform Entertaining African Culture Concerts
African Music & Dance (AMD) students perform onstage.

Three African Music and Dance (AMD) ensembles from the School of Arts recently performed various music and dance routines depicting African culture as part of their free lunch-hour concerts. The students were decked in traditional attire and wowed the audience with their various song and dance routines.

Over the month of March, the AMD programme presented three lunch hour concerts of original compositions and choreographies from the 10 final year students in the programme.  Each ensemble coined their show’s concept, and presented diverse materials. 

The first group that opened the March AMD concert series embraced the theme ‘Let’s Celebrate our Cultural Activities’ and their show kicked off with passionate isicathamiya renditions by Ms Thulisiwe Mdakane and Mr Sandile Fakude.  The highlight of the first concert was the exhilarating isishameni dance choreographies by Mr Sakhile Mbokazi and Ms Thulisiwe Mdakane, which indeed revitalised Zulu culture and left the audience screaming for more.

The following week the second group, under the theme Soul of Africa, featured Mr Ayanda Dlamini, Ms Philisiwe Fakude and Mr Philani Thabethe who believe that their song and dance performances is representative of many different parts of Africa.

Their concert included original compositions and choreography with a modern twist of classic African rhythms. Audiences experienced the Ghetto dance choreographed by Dlamini and an arrangement of Afro Gospel (Isigqi) by Dlamini; Is’cathamiya music and the Slow Modern uMzansi dance, both composed by Thabethe and percussion pieces by him with a central African flavour. One of the concert highlights was Fakude’s dance Ingoma-Shiyameni.

The final group depicted the theme Articulating our African Culture, featured Ms Thandeka Cele, Mr Syanda Gumede, Ms Zanele Gcwabaza and Ms Thobile Mbanjwa.

Some of their performances included a percussion segment, African Modern Dance and the riveting performance of the umakhweyana bow by Gcwabaza.

Looking back at the concerts, Dr Patricia Opondo said she was proud of how much the students achieved and remarked on the incredible creative talents and professionalism exhibited by the students in putting each of their shows together, including the costuming.  ‘The theatre was packed each week and it was heart-warming to see the large support the AMD concerts get from the audience,’ she said.

Thabethe was overjoyed and remarked, ‘I am grateful for the inspiration I received from my colleagues, and this indeed raised the level of artistry in all our concerts.’

Expressing their gratitude, Mbanjwa said, ‘We thank our co-ordinator and Lecturer Dr Patricia Opondo for giving us this opportunity to showcase our talents and to become better performers. We also thank our AMD students for putting this show together and to all those that continue to support us and our performances.’

Melissa Mungroo

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Putting Residence Life into Perspective

Putting Residence Life into Perspective
Attendees at the 2016 Residence Life programming session.

The Residence Life Office on UKZN’s Edgewood campus recently held its annual programming session to design and implement various programmes aimed at developing residences to be in line with teaching and learning within the University spectrum.

Programmes designed were founded on notions of the various socio-economic, spiritual and academic needs of students, with the aim being to encourage inclusivity.  

Residence Assistants were tasked with developing two residence life programmes to implement at the residences they managed, taking into account the culture, nature and background of students living there.  After intense discussions and articulation of ideas, eight unique programmes were designed for the Edgewood residences, including a poetry tour, a cultural showcase, recycling and a water saving initiative.

Task teams were formed to ensure the programmes would all get off the ground successfully.  

Two new staff members at the Edgewood Residence Department, Assets and Building Officer, Mr Njabulo Mthalane, and Help Desk Support Officer, Ms Thandeka Hlophe, were introduced during the gathering. 

 Julian King 

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International Street Law Best Practices explored at UKZN Law Conference

International Street Law Best Practices explored at UKZN Law Conference
30th anniversary of the first international Street Law programme and UKZN’s Street Law co-founder, the late Ed O’Brien celebrated at the Law conference.

UKZN’s School of Law commemorated the 30th anniversary of the first international Street Law programme established at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1986 by hosting the Ed O’Brien International Street Law Best Practices Conference. The Conference was in honour of the late legal academic and Street law Co-founder in the United States,  Ed O’Brien, who assisted Professor David McQuoid-Mason, Dean of Law at the then University of Natal (now UKZN), to establish the South African Street Law programme.

The Conference recently took place at Howard College and saw Law teachers, Law clinicians and Law educators running Street Law, community outreach and legal literacy programmes from different parts of the world share their best practices, lessons and projects on Street Law. Twenty papers were presented by 24 speakers from 16 countries.

During his address, UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld said the conference plays an important role in building the University’s legacy.

‘We have started a conversation on moral regeneration and our moral campus because every one wonders what happened to the wonderful aspirations we had for this country 22 years ago. As people of the law we want you to be part of that conversation and use the research presented at this conference to impact society,’ he said.

Apart from delivering presentations on various aspects of Street Law such as curriculum development; Street Law and human rights education; using Street Law to teach about commercial and labour law and others, delegates at the Conference also had an opportunity to pay tribute to the late Ed O’Brien by saying a few words on the legal academic’s legacy.

School of Law Dean and Head, Professor Managay Reddi describe O’Brien as a man with foresight to start something that 30 years on has expanded and grown in ways no one had envisaged. She applauded O’Brien for his role in working with UKZN’s Acting Director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Street Law Founder of Street Law in South Africa, Professor McQuoid-Mason, which has seen McQuoid-Mason travel to over 129 countries, in many of which he has promoted Street Law.

Other speakers included South Africa’s Human Rights Commission Commissioner Mr Mahomed Ameermia, an early Street Law student, who attributed the global success of Street Law to O’Brien.  Mr Bheki Gumede, another former Street Law student and CEO of the Africore Group, on behalf of Mr Mandla Mchunu, Executive Chairman of the Africare Group and UKZN’s first Street Law Co-ordinator, thanked O’Brien and McQuoid-Mason for their vision of Street Law which had a great influence on Mchunu’s career growth and set him apart from his peers.

Ms Margaret Fisher from the Seattle University School of Law said O’Brien had achieved his mission of taking the Street Law to as many people as he could. O’Brien’s widow, Mrs May O’Brien, shared memories of her life with O’Brien and how he was a man who lived to serve the people, and how he would be counting on the Conference participants to carry on with his legacy.

For more information on the conference visit:

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN’s Postgraduate Students Present Research at Harvard

UKZN’s Postgraduate Students Present Research at Harvard
Postgraduate students during their visit to Harvard University in the United States.

Nine postgraduate students from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance represented UKZN at Harvard’s 21st Century Academic Forum.

The forum held in Boston brings together scholars, of global researchers and experts as well as corporate and government executives from a wide range of fields who are interested in education and research issues impacting the 21st century.

In line with the Conference theme: “Impactful Research for Better Lives”, the group, Ms Ethel Abe, Mr Isaac Abe, Mr Ayandibu olatunji Ayansola; Mr Idris Olayiwola Ganiyu; Mr Adisa Olalekan Ismaila; Mr Saidi Adenekan; Mr Olawumi Awolusi; Mr Ibrahim Lawal and Dr Sulaiman Olusegun Atiku; presented papers focusing on governance, human resources and entrepreneurship.

Describing the experience Ethel said: ‘It was enlightening, rich in content, well planned and provided fantastic opportunity for networking. I believe that the constructive feedback from Colleagues will go a long way in improving the articles presented. We were also offered free training on PPT and Academic Writing Skills Workshop. Those of us from UKZN got to know one another better.

“Work-life balance strategies, and work and family stressors at a municipality in the South African public service” was the tittle of Ethel’s paper, while Isaac presented on “Supervisor - Subordinates relationship influence on work performance”.

“Strategy as an improvement tool for small businesses” was the tittle of Ayansola’s paper, while Adenekan presented on “Self-efficacy influence and students' intentions on social entrepreneurship education in Nigerian universities”.

Ganiyu presented on “A conceptual framework to measure work - balance strategies and employees’ performance” while Ismaila presented on Electoral manipulation and transition process in African states: Nigerian 2015 general elections.

“Policy and non-policy factors: what determines foreign direct investments into Africa” was the tittle of Awolusi’s presentation; while Lawal presented on “Conceptualizing strategic management of human capital development on Nigerian university Academic staff” and Atiku presented on “Structural determinants of competitive advantage: influences of entrepreneurial culture and HR development”.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Umbulalazwe Wezithombe zocansi Oluthinta Izingane Ucutshungulwe Emhlanganweni Obuse-UKZN

Umbulalazwe Wezithombe zocansi Oluthinta Izingane Ucutshungulwe Emhlanganweni Obuse-UKZN
Ithimba ebelihola izingxoxo kusukela ngakwesobunxele: Ummeli uDawn Coleman-Malinga, uDkt Monique Emser noNkz Thora Mansfield.

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I-UKZN ibe nomhlangano womphakathi oyingxenye yomkhankaso wokuqwashisa umphakathi mayelana nokusetshenziswa kwezingane kwezocansi nokuphulwa kwamalungelo ezingane njengoba kuyinyanga yamalungela abantu. 

Ithimba ebelihola izinkulumompikiswano belihlanganise oDkt Monique Emser wase-Nyuvesi yase-Free State, Ummeli Dawn-Coleman Malinga we-National Prosecuting Authority noNkz Thora Mansfield wesizinda i-Open Door Crisis Care Centre.

U-Emser ukhulume ngendlela i-inthanethi esiguqule ngayo ukusatshalaliswa kokusetshenziswa kwezingane kwezocansi osekwenze kwaba ubugebengu obusabalele umhlaba wonke.

Uxwayise ngokufakwa kwezithombe zezingane ezinkundleni zokuxhumana ngoba sekuke kwaba namacala lapho izithombe ezimsulwa ezisesizindalwazini sesonto zaguqulwa kwathathwa ubuso bezingane bafakwa ezithombeni zocansi ezivele zikhona.

U-Emser ugqugquzele ukuqiniswa kobumfihlo bokufinyelela ezinkundleni zokuxhumana nokungadaluli lapho ukhona noma ukudalula lapho ufika endaweni ku-facebook.

U-Coleman-Malinga ubalule iminxa exhumene nokukhiqizwa nokusatshalaliswa kwezocansi oluthinta izingane. Uthe wonke umuntu unomsebenzi wokubika konke okuhlobene nocansi oluthinta izingane.

Uphinde wabalula izindlela abaheha ngazo izingane labo abayizigilamkhuba okubandakanya ukunikwa kwezingane izipho eziphambili. Lokhu kuyindlela esetshenziswa yizigilamkhuba futhi ucansi noma ucansi oluthinta izingane luyasetshenziswa,’ usho kanje.

U-Mansfield uthe ‘abantu abatholakala benecala kuba obaba, obhuti, nomalume. Uthe i-Open Door Crisis Care Centre ibhekane nokukhala buthule kwezingane kanye nemindeni esihlakazekile..’

Isizinda silekelela ngokwelapha, ukuvuselela nangendawo yokukhosela ehlala abayizisulu zokuhlukunyezwa nokuthunjwa.

U-Mansfield ukhuthaze labo abanesifiso sokwazi kabanzi ngesizinda nemisebenzi yaso ukuba bavakashele isizindalwazi saso ku- ukuze bacaciseleke kangcono ngomsebenzi owenziwa yisizinda ukulwisana nokuthunjwa nokuhweba ngabantu

Weluleke abazali ukuba baqaphelisise futhi baqaphe omakhalekhukhwini bezingane nokusebenzisa kwazo i-inthanethi okuyikho okusetshenziswa ekuheheni izingane. 

Lo mcimbi obukhombisa nombukiso mayelana nenkulumo enocansi ezinkundleni zokuxhumana ubuhlelwe uMnyango wezobuDlelwano e-UKZN kanti ubuphethwe uUmmeli Victoria Balogun waseSikoleni sezoMthetho.

ngu-Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Seminar Explores Aesthetics in Higher Education

Seminar Explores Aesthetics in Higher Education
Professor Chats Devroop.

The new Academic Leader for the Cluster of Music at UKZN, Professor Chats Devroop, presented a seminar at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music titled: “Sensing’ the Curriculum: The Role of Aesthetics in Higher Education”.

Devroop, who outlined the establishment of universities and the notion of academic freedom, says his views are rooted in developments since the start of the 20th Century, which embrace new media along the lines of Kittler’s text Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. ‘When I look at the field of music, it is clear that music has migrated from the written/published manuscript or book culture to recorded media - the gramophone.

‘In the 21st Century it goes even further with the process of digitisation, and now resides in various digital platforms – the computer being one such example. In order to engage with the challenge of migration and curriculum revision, we need to get a handle on where music and education is located in relation to the media – as Marshall McLuhan espouses “the medium is the message”’ he said.

‘The tension in South African music departments, and I stand to be corrected here,  arises with the academy still being rooted in learning and engaging with music according to the ideals of 19th Century and its media system (the book), whilst students are pressing for demands for relevance and employability in an environment of rapid media shifts. Those few institutions that have  got to the 20th century (let’s not go to the 21st Century), through programmes in Jazz and aspects of Music Technology are yet to acknowledge the media that has brought them to this realisation hence a full realisation of popular music and World Music is still absent in their curricula.’

The 19th Century Kantian university still is the one that determines the course, model and curricula approaches of universities in South Africa despite the progressive alternatives provided through Kittler, McCluhan, Virilio and others. The Aesthetic challenges brought with these visionaries helps remap the course of the 21st Century university.

Devroop acknowledged the University Teaching and Learning Office’s Dr Rubby Dhunpath for encouraging him to hold the seminar in order to open discussion, provoke and set the tone for future engagements on these issues.  

The performance by Devroop on bansuri and Mr Neil Gonsalves on piano over a pop tune by Dusty Springfield illustrated ‘the syncretism of instruments, style and music transmission that have been opened through media intervention which exist outside the realm of book culture yet arise in the recorded media. What this performance highlighted is the impact of media, which traditionally arose out of efforts for the sensorally impaired repositioned in the new media reproduction environment – work that had been pioneered by Glenn Gould.

CEO of the Creative Industries Coalition, Professor Jean-Pierre de la Porte, said he found it ‘refreshing’ that a School of Arts in South Africa had hosted such a discussion and congratulated the University on such a bold and innovative initiative. ‘Perhaps the reform that universities need or the change or the ways of reflecting on themselves, might come from the way the Schools of Arts will continue to involve themselves with media.’

Dean of the School of Arts, Professor Donal McCracken, commended Devroop on his ‘marvelous’ presentation and its factual accuracy, which he went on to add encouraged him to now deliver a lecture to take the discussions further. He further added that it was about time that the School of Arts engaged with such themes within the broader discourse of the university and its relevance and engagement with change.

The seminar was hosted by the University Teaching and Learning Office and the School of Music.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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