Internationally Renowned Dermatologist Reaches the Apex of her Academic Career

Internationally Renowned Dermatologist Reaches the Apex of her Academic Career
Professor Ncoza Dlova continues to inspire greatness.Click here for isiZulu version

Dean and Head of UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Ncoza Dlova has risen up the ranks of academia to be promoted to the illustrious position of full professor. Dlova is one of the few Black African full professors in South Africa that make up only 14% of the total number. She is also the first African female full professor in the 71-year history of the Medical School.

On hearing of her promotion, Dlova’s son, Dr Wakithi Mabaso said, ‘My mother is the most remarkable woman I know. She is an academic trailblazer, a compassionate leader, a discerning thinker, a transformative game-changer, an approachable and humble role model and an adaptive innovator. What an honour and a privilege to be constantly learning from her unmatched example!’

Dlova’s colleague, Professor Anisa Mosam commented, ‘Professor Dlova is one of three full professors of Dermatology in South Africa and the first in KwaZulu-Natal. She is also one of five African full professors at UKZN.

‘She transcends boundaries in her pursuit of excellence, and encourages, motivates and opens doors for those around her. She has put UKZN and South African dermatology on the map and is recognised globally as a dermatologist of distinction. Professor Dlova continues to break the glass ceiling, creating opportunities for others within and outside the field of dermatology as well as on the continent at large. Her promotion is significant in that it motivates others and underlines the importance of persistence and perseverance to achieve excellence. She is also an exceptional leader in her current position as the first African female Dean at the School of Clinical Medicine, with several awards to her name.’

Dlova was born in the small village of Mtyolo, outside King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape. She graduated with an MBChB degree from the University of Natal’s Medical School in 1989. Following her internship in 1990 at Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, she moved to Durban to specialise in Dermatology, qualifying as a Fellow of the College of Dermatologists of South Africa in 1998. She was the first African Dermatologist to qualify from UKZN and the second African female in the country.

She served as Acting Head of the Department of Dermatology for three years, and in 2013 received recognition from the KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Health for creating a Centre of Excellence and Leadership. She was awarded a PhD in Dermatology by UKZN in 2015 and took up the permanent position of Head of Dermatology. In 2017, the American Dermatology Association (ADA), recognised Dlova for her contribution and commitment to education in Africa, by nominating her as a member of their prestigious association.

Dlova was appointed the first African Head of the School of Clinical Medicine in 2018 and assumed office as Dean of the Medical School. In 2019, she made a significant contribution to science when she and her international collaborators discovered the root cause of Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA), one of the most common causes of scarring alopecia amongst African women. She received national and widespread international acclaim for this ground-breaking study; including the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health’s Annual Research Excellence Award; first prize in the Leadership Excellence section at the South African Health Excellence Awards and runner-up for the Global Excellence Award; the Mail & Guardian Recognition for Women Leaders in Health Science; Professional of the Year from the Durban Chamber of Commerce; Presidential Research Excellence Award from Bio Africa and the prestigious International Society of Dermatology Maria Duran Award for Excellence in Dermatology.

Dlova has published extensively with more than 85 peer-reviewed articles in the field of Dermatology, and is the author of two dermatology books and a contributing author to other dermatological textbooks.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied


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Inaugural Lecture Delves into South African Achievement in Marine Geoscience

Inaugural Lecture Delves into South African Achievement in Marine Geoscience
Professor Andrew Green.

The inaugural lecture of Professor Andrew Green, Head of the Marine Geology Research Unit in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) comprised a fascinating exploration of the development and current state of South Africa’s place in global marine geoscience.

Titled: From Coelacanths to Crocodiles: Renewing South Africa’s Place in Marine Geoscience, the lecture set the scene of marine geology in South Africa, including the rediscovery in submarine canyons off Sodwana Bay of the coelacanth, thought to be extinct, that launched South African research into marine geology in the early 2000s.

Welcoming guests, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Professor Albert Modi said inaugural lectures - which represent official recognition of promotion to full professor - present an opportunity to showcase the exciting and ground-breaking research and teaching being carried out by professors at UKZN to a wide audience.

‘[Green] has established a growing team of postgraduate students that have cemented UKZN as a key contact point for marine geology in Africa,’ said Dean and Head of SAEES Professor Fhatuwani Mudau.

Green traced his career, UKZN’s growing influence in marine geology through its pioneering research, including improved understanding of the continental shelf and seabed, and the self-sufficiency of its capabilities in terms of having secured a comprehensive suite of marine geophysical equipment.

‘Globally, marine geology is recognised as the fundamental basis around which we construct our knowledge of marine biology or oceanography, but unfortunately in South Africa this is not the case. We are hoping to change that.’

‘[UKZN is] the cornerstone for the growth of African marine geology, and hopefully across the oceans to our neighbours in Australia and South America,’ said Green. ‘Our research is not just centred on South Africa … a good indicator of the health of the science that is coming out of our Unit.

‘What we’re interested in are the rocks and sediment of the seabed and how they document critical things such as sea-level change, climate change, and oceanographic change, from the short-term all the way through, to many millions of years, [as well as] how the deposits left behind make their way into the ancient rock record,’ he said.

‘If we can look at the past and understand how things like coastlines responded to major changes in sea level, we can perhaps infer how things may respond in the future, something particularly important in the context of anthropogenic climate change.’

UKZN is taking marine geological research beyond the academic realm; a partnership with Namdeb Diamond Corporation involves examination of changes in sea level while factoring in economics, since the sea level history of the area influences the economic grades of diamonds found there. Working alongside industry provides exposure and opportunities for graduates.

Other partnerships include one with International Mining and Dredging Holdings, which is also applying marine geophysics and local knowledge of sea-level changes to the search for diamonds off the shores of South Africa and Namibia.

Green’s geological work includes examining the fate and evolution of ecologically significant water bodies like Lake St Lucia, and mapping submarine canyons like Mzumbe canyon - the only other location where a live coelacanth was spotted outside of Sodwana Bay.

Green holds a B2 rating from the National Research Foundation, placing him amongst the top 30 researchers in geosciences in South Africa, and the top in marine geology. He started working at UKZN, his alma mater, in 2010, and has focused his research on the morphology and sedimentary building blocks of coastal and shelf systems.

With 87 publications to his name, and six PhD and 13 master’s students graduated, Green is actively contributing to furthering the field of marine geology, in which South Africa lacked academic expertise when he began his research career. His productive research unit is the only one of its kind in the country and it attracts students and collaborations from across the continent and the world.

Green participated in the Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar Program to the United States in 2018, and in 2019 was awarded the Africa Award for Research Excellence in Ocean Sciences by the American Geophysical Union. He is an advisory board member for the International Union for Quaternary Research and the Atlantic/Indian Ocean representative for the Nippon Foundation/GEBCO Seabed2030 project. He was until recently the editor in chief of the international journal Geo-Marine Letters, and remains an associate editor of the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology, and a review editor for Frontiers in Marine Geosciences.

Green acknowledged mentors Dr Peter Ramsay, and Professors Andrew Cooper, Joe Kelly, Burg Flemming, Edward Anthony and Steve McCourt, and extended special thanks to his parents, wife and son, finally thanking his postgraduate students and colleagues for their excellent contributions to all aspects of the work of his Unit.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied


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Law Webinar Series Explores the Rule of Law in Unprecedented Times

Law Webinar Series Explores the Rule of Law in Unprecedented Times
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC delivering his address on the rule of law in times of crisis following the July unrest.

A webinar delivered by Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC was the first of a two-part webinar on the theme of Things Fall Apart? The Rule of Law in Unprecedented Times hosted by UKZN’s School of Law under the auspices of the Navi Pillay Research Group (NPRG). It aims to stimulate debate on incitement to violence, public disorder, vigilantism, racism and social cohesion. Associate Professor at UKZN’s School of Law, Professor Aifheli Tshivhase moderated the session.

In her welcome address on behalf of the Dean of the School of Law Professor Managay Reddi, Law academic Ms Willene Holness said that over the past few months, members of the NPRG in the School have debated how to start working towards building respect for the rule of law and the legitimacy of the state.

‘We aim to address divisions including in the police prosecutorial services and the criminal justice system as well as intelligence areas. We seek to promote accountability and justice for incidents of incitement to violence, vigilantism and racism. We are deeply aware of the socio-economic context in South Africa, which is extremely unequal, as well as the pressured political context of our times.’

Ngcukaitobi focused on the rule of law in times of crisis and how judges and the rule of law can respond to political pressure.

‘This is a tremendously important topic and an intimidating one to tackle. In July 2021, our judges and the rule of law were put to the test. The case was the Zondo Commission versus Zuma. Intimidation and threats of violence were directed at individual judges. The rule of law, held sway and the order of the Constitutional Court was carried out. State institutions performed their job,’ said Ngcukaitobi.

Turning to the question of why the rule of law would attract controversy especially in political circles, Ngcukaitobi said that political conflict involving judges may not in itself be reflective of crisis but perhaps reflective of symptoms of crisis. He highlighted that critical analysis is required to understand the structural constraints facing the rule of law and the process of adjudication. He also pointed out that one of the reasons the rule of law attracts so much controversy in political circles at times is that judgments have an impact on political choices.

‘We should examine how judges ought to respond to these for the rule of law to thrive. What is the rule of law? How might it unleash the emancipatory forces of politics and what are its constraints?’

Ngcukaitobi added that people should be skeptical about what is debated in the public arena and what politicians proclaim “in the name of the public”.

‘The judiciary needs public trust, but there is a difference between the judiciary’s reliance on public trust and the judiciary swaying in whatever way public opinion flows in a particular era. If the judiciary cannot function properly because it is distrusted, then the rule of law will die. I believe that we should fight for the rule of law as, without it, the democratic enterprise will crumble and Mandela’s vison will never be achieved,’

The seminar can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSAFQkDTOmc

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied


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Seasoned Nuclear Physician Appointed Head of Nuclear Medicine at UKZN

Seasoned Nuclear Physician Appointed Head of Nuclear Medicine at UKZN
Professor Mariza Vorster.Click here for isiZulu version

Professor Mariza Vorster has been appointed Head of the Discipline of Nuclear Medicine at UKZN. Vorster is also an associate professor at the University and is based at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital’s Department of Nuclear Medicine. She is the President of the Colleges of Nuclear Physicians and serves on the management committee of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa’s (CMSA) Examinations and Credentials Committee.

She qualified as a nuclear medicine physician in 2010 at the University of Pretoria. She obtained her PhD from that university in 2014 for her research on the use of 68Ga-citrate PET in indeterminate lung lesions, making her the first female nuclear physician with a PhD in South Africa. She is an NRF-rated scientist who has authored and co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including several chapters in textbooks.

Vorster is passionate about training well-rounded nuclear medicine physicians who are sought after globally and about improving access to nuclear medicine facilities locally. Internationally, she has collaborated with the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) on several projects and has been involved in the co-ordination of and teaching of various workshops to train radiographers and nuclear physicians from across the African continent.

Her research interests include the use of novel Ga-68 based tracer applications and theranostics that aim to solve important clinical problems.

Vorster aspires to make a meaningful difference by addressing diagnostic challenges that are unique to the South African setting in a cost-effective way. She aims to train fit-for-purpose nuclear medicine physicians, expand nuclear medicine services in KwaZulu-Natal, and develop research on locally relevant health issues.

She believes that these ideals can only be achieved with the support of a strong team and also looks forward to partnering and collaborating with sister departments in other provinces, and strengthening bonds with industry leaders and private practitioners.

‘I am passionate about teaching and research, especially where such research may significantly change management to impact patients’ lives in a meaningful and positive way. I look forward to meeting all my new colleagues at UKZN and hope that we can collaborate on many projects that will ultimately serve our patients better. The opportunity to head a department would have not been possible without the love, support, inspiration and encouragement of so many wonderful people in my life. In particular, I am extremely grateful to my husband and family and to my teacher and mentor, Professor Mike Sathekge,’ said Vorster. 

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied


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Cuppa for CANSA - Celebrating the Lives and Strength of Survivors

Cuppa for CANSA - Celebrating the Lives and Strength of Survivors
Clockwise from left: Ms Loriana Trisolino, Mr Axola May, Ms Bomikazi May, Mr Andrew Oberholzer, Dr Theo Gerdener, Mr Xolani Hlongwane, Ms Ntobeko Zama, and Dr Fikile Vilakazi.

UKZN partnered with DKMS Africa (formerly The Sunflower Foundation) for the fifth-year running to host Cuppa for CANSA. This year’s event was titled: Cuppa for CANSA - Celebrating the lives and strength of survivors and how you can help.

Breast cancer survivor Ms Loriana Trisolino delivered a talk titled: My Journey as a Breast Cancer Survivor. Trisolino’s journey started with extreme pain in her left thigh and hip. After numerous tests and procedures including biopsies, MRIs, mammograms and CTI scans, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. ‘It’s a life changing event - whether we are survivors or are still going through it,’ she said. Trisolino encouraged regular mammograms and having hope and faith. She paid tribute to her family, doctors, friends and her mentor/boss.

She had these words of encouragement for other cancer survivors: ‘The stage of your cancer is not what defines you. It is your mind-set - know that there is hope and there is support. Keep the faith.’

Grade 12 student and cancer warrior Mr Axola May spoke about his journey after being diagnosed with severe aplastic anaemia in early 2021. The matric student experienced nose and gum bleeds, fatigue and pain from September 2020 and started having painful headaches in December while on a trip to Cape Town. ‘I didn’t pay much attention to it, but as time went by, the symptoms became worse and worse,’ he said. After returning home, the 16-year-old went to a clinic and was immediately referred to a doctor.

He went to Greys Hospital where he was given a blood transfusion and then spent about a month at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital before being diagnosed with aplastic anaemia. ‘I was a bit scared and shocked because I didn’t expect that, but as time went by, I was positive that everything would be better, hopefully soon.’ Axola has received blood platelets, more blood transfusions, bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy as part of his treatment regime.

Axola’s aunt and guardian, Ms Bomikazi May shared an inspiring and heartfelt reflection on parenting during difficult times. ‘It’s been a whirlwind of emotions. Psychological and mental adjustments had to be made. You are never ready as a family to get such a diagnosis. You are never ready to be told that your child, your loved one, has a life-threatening disease.

‘Remember that blood disorders and cancer are almost taboo in Black society. As Black people, I feel that we are oblivious to the fact that these diseases exist amongst our society. These kinds of things are not colour based or gender based - it can happen to anyone at any time,’ she said.

She made an impassioned plea to everyone eligible to register as a donor. ‘This is me reaching out to everyone and anyone who can assist Axola to get a donor. He’s a 16-year-old, he is starting off his life, he has dreams, he has a future. I don’t think any 16-year-old is ready to be told or wants to be told that you have this disease, and it’s a life-threatening disease. I just want him to live and experience moments that he probably would not have experienced before.’

May paid tribute to Axola’s positivity and faith in his journey and thanked DKMS for their support in looking for a donor.

Managing Director of the Men’s Health Association and CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of South Africa Mr Andrew Oberholzer delivered a presentation titled What every man needs to know about Prostate Cancer. Oberholzer outlined the risk factors for prostate cancer, ‘The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends screening from age 40 for Black men, men with a history of prostate or breast cancer in a first degree relative and men who have been diagnosed with lower urinary tract infections. For all other men, we recommend that they consider screening from the age of 45.’

Oberholzer explained that there are generally no symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages. ‘Early detection saves lives as with all cancers,’ he said.

Clinical Haematologist Dr Theo Gerdener discussed treatment for blood cancers and the principles and practicalities of stem cell transplantation. Defining cancer, Gerdener said, ‘Cancer is an uncontrolled growth or proliferation of cells that are unresponsive to the regulatory elements in the host environment.

‘Every person has, at any time, some cancer cells circulating their bodies, and it is the job of our immune system to recognise and eliminate these cells before they multiply and become unrestrained in their growth. Cancer is a failure of one’s own immune system to recognise and eradicate abnormal cells before they cannot be stopped anymore.’

He said that treatment principles for haematological malignancies include chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a huge field of biological agents/targeted therapies.

Speaking about stem cell transplantation, Gerdener said: ‘Whereas we have previously said that cancer is a failure of the immune system, a transplant is an effect way of replacing that immune system with a new one that will kill off the cancer.’

DKMS’s Mr Xolani Hlongwane spoke on behalf of the Executive Director of DKMS Africa Ms Alana James, who experienced technical difficulties. Hlongwane emphasised the importance of convincing as many people as possible to join the blood stem cell register. ‘Our greatest challenge is that we are seeing a rise in the number of patients diagnosed with blood diseases, but we are not necessarily seeing the same growth in terms of donors who are registered to help these patients.

‘We’d like to grow a very healthy, ethnically diverse registry to be able to afford all our patients in South Africa a second chance at life,’ he said.

The Regional Coordinator of the Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC) Ms Ntobeko Zama looked at the statistics of children with cancer. Zama said that, while an estimated 1 800 to 2 200 children should be diagnosed with cancer in South Africa annually, only about 50 percent of those children are diagnosed and getting the treatment that they should. ‘Concerns are that the rest of those children are dying undiagnosed,’ she said. ‘In developed countries, the survival rate is 80 to 90 percent. Yet in South Africa, the survival rate is 55 percent. The sad part is that children are dying as a consequence of where they were born.’

Zama outlined the St Siluan’s warning signs of childhood cancer:

S - Seek medical help early for ongoing symptoms

I - White spot in the eye, new squint, sudden blindness or bulging eyeball

L - Lump on the stomach, pelvis, head, arms, legs, testicle or glands

U - Unexplained fever present for over two weeks, weight loss, fatigue, pale appearance, easy bruising and bleeding

A - Aching bones, joints, back and easy fractures

N - Neurological signs, a change in walk, balance or speech, regression, continuous headaches with / without vomiting and enlarged head

Looking at some of the myths surrounding childhood cancer, she emphasised that cancer is not contagious and that Black children are susceptible to cancer.

UKZN event co-ordinator Ms Shakila Thakurpersad, who has organised the UKZN CUPPA for CANSA event annually (even before her diagnosis) is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in April 2018 after a routine mammogram, has beaten cancer and is now cancer free. She stressed the importance of early detection and encouraged women to go for regular screening: ‘Breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. This is why regular breast cancer screening is so important. Cancer CAN be beaten.’

Acting Director for University Relations Ms Hazel Langa echoed the importance of testing and early detection in fighting cancer - especially as many have skipped medical tests due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. She thanked everyone who contributed to the highly informative session and promised further talks to delve deeper into the topic.

Lecturer in Public Policy and Political Science Dr Fikile Vilakazi served as the programme director.

To view the webinar, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fB3ifCEmjI

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Supplied


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Inaugural Lecture Highlights Game-Changing Events in Long and Successful Career

Inaugural Lecture Highlights Game-Changing Events in Long and Successful Career
Professor Werner Van Zyl.

‘Professor Werner Van Zyl has shown us the importance of collaborations in academic research,’ said Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Albert Modi, on the occasion of the inaugural lecture for UKZN’s latest full professor.

Van Zyl, a Professor of Chemistry, earned his BSc (Chemistry and Geology) and BSc Honours degree (Chemistry), as well as an MSc degree (1992) in synthetic organometallic chemistry working on gold and platinum carbene complexes at the former Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg (UJ)).

Following a stint in the chemical industry from 1992-1994 at Implats as a development chemist, he pursued a PhD degree in Inorganic Chemistry at Texas A&M University, USA, under the supervision of John P Fackler, Jr.

With his PhD in hand, Van Zyl was appointed an NWO Postdoctoral Associate (1999-2003) in the Inorganic Materials Science Group, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. This was followed by a senior lectureship in UJ’s Department of Chemistry in September 2003.

In May 2008, Van Zyl relocated from UJ to UKZN where he is currently a full professor. Van Zyl has graduated 15 PhD students and 14 MSc students to date. He currently supervises four PhD and two MSc students and mentors two postdocs, as the COVID-19 lockdown has restricted normal levels of postgraduate recruitment.

In a career spanning more than 20 years, Van Zyl’s research interests have covered a broad area within molecular and materials chemistry, with a strong focus on, firstly, sulfur-based ligands and ligand design, especially the dithiophosphonates and dithiocarbamates; secondly, the chemistry of the Group 11 metals (Cu, Ag, Au); thirdly, the formation of metal clusters and hydrido clusters of Cu, Ag and Au; and finally, the study of solid-state luminescence of Group 11 metal complexes and materials.

Since 2017, Van Zyl’s research has shifted to three focus areas: firstly, biomass conversion and fabrication, especially of cellulose, new nanocellulose fabrication, lignin and sugarcane products, luminescent paper, and catalysts; secondly, energy, focusing on hydrogen and CO2 generation, capture, and storage, typically making use of molecular copper (hydride) clusters; and thirdly, water, focusing on desalination, especially capacitive deionisation and redox active electrodes. 

‘My vision is to find an efficient answer to the water-energy-food nexus,’ said Van Zyl. ‘That is, to desalinate seawater or brackish water and make it potable. Then to fabricate, for example, a solar battery to drive the desalination process and, finally, to use the water for agriculture, growing greenhouse foods where there is only one season, and the whole process is sustainable and works within the circular economy and avoids fossil fuels. These processes are solar based and rely heavily on the sun, of which South Africa has plenty.’

Van Zyl’s inaugural lecture tracked his academic career from pre-university days to the present, highlighting significant game-changing events.

‘My first encounter with research started with an MSc degree studying gold (and platinum) carbene complexes,’ said Van Zyl. ‘I continued with gold chemistry at Texas A&M University, USA, where I pursued my PhD degree and started to study the 1,1-dichalcogenato type ligand system that I still pursue today.

‘Following my PhD, as a postdoc at the University of Twente I moved out of my comfort zone from molecular to materials science.

‘Then I returned to South Africa and was appointed at my alma mater. From there I relocated to UKZN where I did the same research until 2017.

‘Now, my primary research focus is on biomass remediation, energy and water research for use in food security. 

‘Synthesis remains a major strength in chemistry and materials science that relies on the formation of new molecules and diverse forms of matter,’ explained Van Zyl. ‘My current projects focus on the different synthesis protocols used to form new metal clusters and electrodes.

‘The group 11 metals (Cu, Ag, Au) are a specific focus as they currently predominate large metal cluster investigations and related Au and Ag bulk surface phenomena.

‘This cluster size domain is believed to become increasingly important for a variety of applications as it is positioned at the interface between the molecular and bulk phases, whilst remaining a classic nanomaterial and retaining unique nano-sized properties.’

Van Zyl thanked his colleagues, students, wife and children for their support.

Words: Sally Frost

Photograph: Supplied


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Becoming Men of Virtue Engagement

Becoming Men of Virtue Engagement
Some of UKZN’s Men of Virtue.Click here for isiZulu version

On 2 October, the Residence Life Office in the Department of Student Residence Affairs, in collaboration with the Commission for Gender Equality hosted a panel discussion titled: Becoming Men of Virtue. Under the slogan, Pro Women is Not Anti-Men, Man up! Silence is Violence, the event aimed to eradicate gender-based violence, femicide and gender inequality by educating UKZN men.

Sponsors iMaswi and the Ayanda Msweli Foundation ensured that the event was a success and all guests received a gift bag as well as an Umqhele (Crown) that they wore during the event, symbolising men of virtue.

Ms Qhamo Gumede, a student development practitioner who organised the event, welcomed all present, including Professor Albert Modi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science and Interim Executive Director: Student Services, Emeritus Professor Fikile Mazibuko, who participated through YouTube. ‘Our responsibility is to develop students holistically and organise staff development programmes,’ she said. Gumede further said, Men of Virtue was going to be included on the 2022 UKZN Residence Life Curriculum and she encouraged academic staff to follow suit. 

In his address, Modi focused on what is expected from men in society. ‘At the centre of what we want to do as leadership is to eradicate inequality,’ he said. He added, ‘This is the first event of its kind at UKZN since I’ve been at the University. On behalf of the UKZN leadership, I extend our congratulations to Qhamo for organising it.’

Facilitator, lecturer in Economic History and development motivational trainer Dr Maserole Kgari-Masondo began by singing Madoda Lalela, encouraging audience members to join in and getting them involved in fun activities with everyone using their crowns as a metaphor for her message.

Lecturer at the Durban University of Technology and Project Manager for the Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct Mr Mfanozelwe Shozi spoke on what it means to be a man of virtue in the 21st century. He highlighted the need to improve moral standards in society, and the importance of a good upbringing. He also discussed the impact of apartheid and the post-apartheid era, and concluded with a discussion on the benefits of social media.

Founder of the Msweli Foundation and Ukhozi FM presenter Mr Ayanda Msweli spoke on young men’s involvement in gender-based violence and on road safety, drawing on his book, Qapheqolo Njengonwabu: Ingwenya.

UKZN Residence Life Co-ordinator Mr Thabani Chagi presented his views on what virtue is and what it means to practice it as a man. ‘How did we get to this point where we became so morally bankrupt that it became the duty of the law to police us and to shape us as we seem to be fragmented?’ he asked.

Acting HOD: Department of Public Education and Information Mr Rubbuh Raletsemo focused on working with men and boys to promote gender equality and on sexual harassment, bullying and feminism. He noted that ‘ending violence has benefits for both men and women.’

Senior lecturer in Social Work Dr Maud Mthembu took up the issue of healing men from the inside, coping with childhood trauma and deep-seated pain. ‘Many children don’t have access to therapy and counselling to help them cope with their emotions and to develop emotional resilience,’ she said.

A Q&A session followed, with attendees engaging with members of the panel.

Modi closed the event with a candle lighting ceremony, and Acting HOD: Department of Student Residence Affairs Mr Thoba Mthembu presented the vote of thanks. He expressed sincere thanks to Gumede for organising such a successful event and highlighted the difference between being a confident man and an arrogant one.

The link to the YouTube recording is: https://bit.ly/3iDe3Lf

Words: Langelihle Meluleki Mathe

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini


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UKZN Graduate a Runner Up in SAICA’s Trainee Trailblazer Competition

UKZN Graduate a Runner Up in SAICA’s Trainee Trailblazer Competition
Mr Yasheen Jugdawooh.Click here for isiZulu version

Bachelor of Commerce Accounting honours graduate Mr Yasheen Jugdawooh is one of five runners up in the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA) 2021 Trainee Trailblazer Competition.

The competition is open to all trainees currently completing a training contract at a SAICA-accredited training office and recognises candidates whom other trainees look up to when it comes to digital acumen, relationship skills, citizenship, etc.

As an audit senior in his third-year of articles at Deloitte, Jugdawooh says the competition presented a platform to advocate for responsible corporate citizenship.

‘I entered the competition because of my vision of inspiring trainee accountants and students to make a tangible impact in society. I strongly believe that we should all contribute to creating sustainable value for the South African economy and enhancing the lives of citizens,’ he said.

Jugdawooh received a cash prize for himself as well as for a community project/charity of his choice, training in a skill/acumen relevant to SAICA’ CA2025 competency framework and a one-on-one mentorship session with a member of the competition’s selection panel. However, he said that taking part in the competition is the ultimate prize.

‘The experience that I gained from this competition is one that I will value forever! It was inspirational to work with individuals and fellow trailblazers that have been making a positive impact in their communities and the profession. Based on my experience, I am confident that the future of the CA profession has a bright future and will continue to create sustainable value.’

Utilising the technical skills gained from his UKZN qualifications as well as his leadership attributes, Jugdawooh will be assuming the role of audit assistant manager at Deloitte before going on an international secondment with the firm towards the end of the year. He is looking forward to further career growth.

‘Obtaining my BCom Accounting degree and Honours in Accounting from UKZN positioned me well in the profession. My ultimate vision and mission is to be a valuable business leader who inspires a generation to achieve success and to work for positive change in the country underpinned by ethical conduct,’ he said.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied


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Dr Killie Campbell Lecture Explores the Historical Robustness of the Zulu Royal Succession

Dr Killie Campbell Lecture Explores the Historical Robustness of the Zulu Royal Succession
Ms Shalo Mbatha (left) and Ms Mbalenhle Zulu.

UKZN and the Campbell Collections hosted the 2021 Dr Killie Campbell Annual Lecture in a webinar on The Zulu Royal Succession: The Historical Robustness of the Processes and Systems.

Guest speaker Ms Shalo Mbatha a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Zululand provided background on the first succession murder recorded in 1781 and highlighted that the current dispute in the royal family is not something new.

Mbatha related how, following King Senzangakhona’s passing in 1816, Prince Sigujana was elected king even though he was born from the eighth wife and was the fifth son - points which are all relevant to the current royal succession dispute - which shows that the first-born son does not have automatic claim to the throne.

She highlighted the succession murder of King Shaka who was killed by his half-brother and relatives in 1828; and noted that the first Zulu civil war was caused by the dispute that ensued over the coveted throne between Cetshwayo and his brother Mbuyazi, the sons of King Mpande. According to Mbatha, Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi were the sons of King Shaka.

Mbatha noted that King Dinuzulu was the first Zulu king to appoint his successor, Prince Maphumzana in a will. Following King Maphumzana’s death in 1933, disputes ensued for years about the rightful heir to the throne which resulted in the king’s brother Prince Mshiyeni being appointed.

In 1944, Queen Mathathela - the first wife of former King Maphumzana - produced a will that stated that her first-born son, Prince Bhekuzulu, should be king. Similar to the current situation, the will was contested and the Queen took the matter to court for the royal document to be verified, another first for the Zulu kingdom.

King Bhekuzulu, who appointed his heir as soon as he laid claim to the crown in order to avoid any future conflict, informed his Council that Prince Zwelithini would be crowned king. King Bhekuzulu died when Prince Zwelithini was too young to rule, which resulted in his uncle, Prince Mcwayizeni becoming regent. However, he refused to hand over the throne to the legitimate crown prince when he was ready to rule.

Mbatha noted that disputes over this matter became a topical issue across the nation with Ilanga newspaper and Radio Zulu covering the matter. She added that Prince Zwelithini forcefully reclaimed his throne at the age of 21 and was officially installed on 3 December 1971.

King Zwelithini, who passed away in March this year, left a will entrusting his principal wife Queen Mantfombi with his estate and the appointment of the next king - a decision which was met with court injunctions from some royal family members.

The royal feud made national headlines and was tragically followed by the passing of the Queen 49 days after the king’s demise. History is repeating itself, as Queen Mantfombi stated in her will that her first-born son Prince Misuzulu should be the next king. Clashes between royal family members continue, while Prince Misuzulu carries out his duties as the new king and awaits his coronation date.

In conclusion, Mbatha said that, while controversy has always followed the Zulu throne, colonial laws have always been unfit to preside over royal matters due to the lack of training and understanding of African languages, culture and customs.

Said Mbatha: ‘In finding resolutions, the robust systems of consensus and common ground within the royal family may seem to be quarrels or falling outs but they are in fact a discussion as there is no formula to be followed. As seen in Zulu history, it is not automatic who is crowned and this is to mitigate unforeseen circumstances.

‘Members of the royal family know that even though they may not be king, it doesn’t mean that they are not valued. They remain respected and loved for being aMazinyane eSilo - the king’s children.’

UKZN librarian, Ms Mbalenhle Zulu facilitated the question and answer session.

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Photographs: Supplied


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Paediatric Surgeon Facilitates Camps for Urgent Surgeries

Paediatric Surgeon Facilitates Camps for Urgent Surgeries
Dr Saveshree Govender (left) and the Hypospadias Camp held in May 2021 at IALCH.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine has acknowledged and applauded Specialist Paediatric Surgeon, Dr Saveshree Govender who has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the “Hypospadias Camp” within the Department of Paediatric Surgery at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH).

Children needing elective surgeries have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as their operations were deferred to facilitate emergency or semi-urgent surgeries. Children with hypospadias are among this group. The Hypospadias Camp has helped to decrease waiting times, with staff from Paediatric Surgery and Anaesthesiology volunteering their time and services over a weekend to accommodate the children.

Govender has organised and hosted four camps with sponsorship from Marcus Medical. At the last one held in May 2021, eight patients underwent successful surgery.

‘In addition to successful surgeries, the camp has also been beneficial to the registrars and medical officers in the Department who gained experience by performing these complicated surgeries. The Hypospadias Camp was also open to anaesthesiologists and urologists, including those from outside IALCH to foster camaraderie between Paediatric Surgery and these departments,’ said Head of Paediatric Surgery at UKZN, Dr Sheik Gafoor.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photographs: Supplied


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Law Academic Appointed to the Board of the Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing

Law Academic Appointed to the Board of the Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing
Dr Sheetal Soni.

Bioethics, Medical and Reproductive Technology Law expert Dr Sheetal Soni has been appointed to the Board of the Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing (ARRIGE).

The Association, which is based in Paris but has interdisciplinary members from across the world, promotes the responsible use and global governance of genome editing.

Soni will serve for three years. She was appointed following a voting process after a candidacy campaign.

‘A focal point of my candidacy campaign was to represent the Global South and foster relations between the Association and stakeholders in Africa. ARRIGE is one of a few international initiatives in relation to genome editing, and it is important that the interests of the Global South are represented, and that these stakeholders participate in discussions surrounding the regulation of genome editing,’ she said.

Having being part of ARRIGE since its inception in 2018, Soni is excited about her appointment.

‘Election to the Board of ARRIGE is an important step in my career to further nurture networks and provides me with an opportunity to put my research into practice and to conduct further research in the field. I already sit on expert panels of the Academic of Sciences (South Africa) as well as the Network of African Science Academies for the regulation of genome editing. It is an honour to serve on the board and represent South Africa and the Global South,’ she said.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied


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UEL Caring for CROW KZN

UEL Caring for CROW KZN
Ms Nkosingiphile Ntshangase (UEL Marketing Assistant) handing over a cheque to Mr Clint Halkett-Siddall (CROW KZN Operations Director).

UKZN Extended Learning (UEL) took the initiative to support the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife KwaZulu-Natal (CROW KZN) and its mission of wildlife rehabilitation. An amount of R2 000 was raised and previously loved items were donated by UEL staff and members of UKZN’s Innovation Centre.

CROW KZN is involved in action and education to protect, promote and preserve wildlife and their natural habitats.

Taking care of wild animals takes considerable effort. Time, energy, and resources have to be devoted to animals in need of care in order to rehabilitate them to be strong enough to be released into their natural habitat. UEL staff enjoyed a guided tour of the CROW KZN facilities by Mr Clint Halkett-Siddall (Operations Director) and Mr Perfect Mabaso (Marketing Co-ordinator) and saw the different types of birds in their aviary, troops of monkeys, tortoises, and mongooses. CROW KZN also encourages the public to sign up as volunteers to help take care of the animals.

Nature and wildlife conservation are essential as every animal plays a role in ensuring a balanced ecosystem. Increased pollution, global warming and natural disasters are resulting in more species becoming endangered. Wildlife rehabilitation helps to repair the damage caused by ensuring that animals have a fighting chance. Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility.

Let us take care of our tomorrow, today.

Words: Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

Photograph: Sarah Haffenden


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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence
Domestic violence takes many forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, and sexual.

In South Africa, the victims of domestic violence (DV) are overwhelmingly women, although men are also victims. Women tend to experience more severe forms of violence than men but DV is one of the most underreported crimes.

Due to social stigma regarding male victims of DV, men are less likely to report and have an increased likelihood of being overlooked by stakeholders.

Research has established that there is a direct and significant correlation between a country’s level of gender equality and rates of domestic violence, with countries with less gender equality experiencing higher rates of domestic violence.

DV (also referred to as domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting such as in marriage (civil or customary rites) or cohabitation with a partner (whether of the same or opposite sex). In its broadest sense, DV also involves violence against children, persons related to you (parents, siblings, the elderly, in-laws), a person with whom you shared an engagement, customary or dating relationship (including an actual or perceived romantic, intimate or sexual relationship of any duration) or a person with whom you share or have recently shared the same residence.

DV takes multiple forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic (eg, selling shared property), and sexual, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as choking, beating and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death.

DV can also take the form of damage to property, stalking, entering a person’s property without their consent or any other abusive or controlling behaviour where such conduct causes harm or may cause harm to your health, safety, or well-being.

If these forms of abuse are happening to you or to anyone you know, you can apply for a protection order.

A domestic violence protection order is a document issued by the court which, if granted, prevents the abuser from eg, committing an act of domestic violence, entering a shared residence, entering the complainant’s residence, entering the complainant’s place of employment, or committing any other act specified in the protection order.

For more information go to: https://www.justice.gov.za/vg/dv.html

Words: Ndabaonline

Image: Shutterstock


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