Spotlight on Alumni

Spotlight on Alumni
Mr Oregan Hoskins.

The President of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and an alumnus of UKZN, Mr Oregan Hoskins, was interviewed by UKZNdabaOnline journalist, Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer for the NdabaOnline series, Spotlight on Alumni:

Q: You’ve been President of SARU for a decade. What are you most proud of during this time?

A: Several things including that I became President, that South Africa won Rugby World Cups at senior and junior levels as well as being champions at the Sevens World Series and the Commonwealth Games. We’ve kept the flag flying for South Africa and adhered to good corporate governance.

Q: You’ve overcome adversity and have a slew of qualifications under your belt. What motivates and drives you?

A: I lost my way in 1976 and became a school dropout. Deep down I always knew that my destiny was to pursue education even though I had failed myself. I wanted to be an inspiration for people who doubt themselves because others doubt them. Young people are my forte. I appeal to them and I relate to them. If I can make it like this, then so can others. The biggest challenge for us as human beings is to put our pride behind us and pursue our goals and dreams. Failure is only failure if we stop trying.

I played rugby for enjoyment with my friends – we were never exposed to the game to the extent other more fortunate young people were. My achievements are thanks to everyone including my school and club mates who played with me and against me. I learned from them and became a leader because of them. 

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring young rugby players?

A: There are no longer any legal barriers to playing at the highest level of the game. Players can make it with hard work and determination. Even the shortcomings caused by an unequal society that negatively impact on disadvantaged individuals can be overcome with sheer determination and belief.

Most importantly, everybody must pursue education like we fought racial prejudice. Without education and training we are as good as living under the yoke of apartheid.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: The next chapter in my life is on the horizon. My term in rugby is fast coming to an end and I am exploring possibilities for the future. I have not decided yet what it will be. I believe in destiny and fate.

* Hoskins, who grew up in Woodlands in Pietermaritzburg, holds a BA, HDE and LLB from the former University of Natal. He read for an MBA at the University of Cape Town and has a certificate in leadership from the University of Oxford in England.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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MoU Signed between UKZN and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal

MoU Signed between UKZN and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal
Seated: CEO, Trade and Investment KZN, Mr Zamo Gwala and Professor Salim Abdool Karim. Standing from left: Ms Ina Cronje; Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu; Professor Renuka Vithal, and UKZN's Professor Deresh Ramjugernath.

UKZN and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the formation of a new partnership to progress a number of initiatives.These include the design and offering of academic and related programmes in trade and investment promotion; research collaboration into aligned subject areas including economics and development finance of national importance to the country’s economic development and growth agenda. The partnership will also provide support for innovation and entrepreneurial activities, the development of new business ventures with a focus on commercialisation of new knowledge and technology transfer, and job creation.  

KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Economic Development, Trade and Environmental Affairs, Mr Michael Mabuyakhulu, said the partnership could not have been formed with a better more ‘reliable and committed’ institution than UKZN which the provincial government already shared a good relationship with through the successful launch of the Local Economic Development (LED) programme, with the Graduate School of Business and Leadership.

Mabuyakhulu said that the partnership would help ‘enrich the province with skillful professionals who can stand against the world’. 

UKZN’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, thanked Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal for approaching UKZN about the partnership, and stressed the importance of producing intellectuals who will ‘create jobs and not take jobs’. 

Chairperson of the TIKZN Board, Ms Ina Cronje, said they were delighted to partner with UKZN to ‘develop our country and foster economic growth’, whilst Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, commented: ‘UKZN is committed to serving the community through continued high level research’ and was delighted that “history is being made’ with the announcement of this strategic partnership. 

Shakila Thakurpersad

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UKZN Wins Gold at Royal Show

UKZN Wins Gold at Royal Show
With the enthusiastic input of College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science postgraduate students, a Gold medal and Trophy for Best Customer Service was in the bag for the UKZN stand at the Royal Agricultural Show.

UKZN’s stand at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg - which highlighted research done within the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Life Sciences at the Ukulinga Research Farm - won a Gold medal and the trophy for Best Customer Care. 

The UKZN stand is always a feature at the show having won Gold on several previous occasions.

‘Our success is without doubt due to the enthusiasm and impressive knowledge of our postgraduate students who manned the stand and went out of their way to share their expertise with the general public,’ said Public Relations Manager for the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Dr Sally Frost.  

Said Royal Show Manager, Mr Terry Strachan: ‘While UKZN rated highly in all categories, we were particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and extra effort put in by the students and staff who manned the UKZN stand – they went the extra mile.’

Run in conjunction with the recent Ukulinga Howard Davis Symposium, the stand showcased research done at Ukulinga in the fields of animal, crop, food, grassland and soil science, as well as related disciplines such as plant pathology, hydrology, agrometeorology, agricultural engineering and food security. 

Attractions included specially designed ‘khukhu khayas’ (chick homes), fish, baby tendrecs (similar to hedgehogs), tarantulas, hissing cockroaches and mealworms that feed on polystyrene as well as work done by UKZN’s Farmer Support Group with small-scale farmers.

The stand was situated directly opposite the main entrance, and with UKZN Science Centre’s ‘Dr T’ on hand with her magical science show, there was always a fascinated crowd around the exhibit.

The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science has exhibited at the show for many years, consistently winning prizes for its displays. 

The Show, now in its 162nd consecutive year, is the premier agricultural and lifestyle event in the province, attracting about 180 000 people during its 10-day run.


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Ukulinga Howard Davis Memorial Symposium

Ukulinga Howard Davis Memorial Symposium
Gogo Thusini (from a rural farming community) speaks at the Ukulinga Howard Davis Memorial Symposium.

UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) hosted the Ukulinga Howard Davis Memorial Symposium at the Institution’s Ukulinga Research Farm in Pietermaritzburg.

The multi-level research and information-sharing Symposium highlighted agriculture for life and the future, exploring sustainability through research, agribusiness and community outreach.

The Symposium is an initiative of the Howard Davis Farm Trust and the UKZN Foundation to continue the relationship between the Trust in Jersey and UKZN. The Trust was founded by Durban-based British businessman TB Davis whose son Howard was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 during World War 1.

Honouring the memory of Howard Davis, the Ukulinga Howard Davis Memorial Symposium links the Ukulinga Research Farm to the Howard Davis Farm in Jersey bought by TB Davis in 1927.

Mr Roderick Stevens of the Howard Davis Farm Trust said that then as now, agriculture was under stress. The Trust was created to benefit those who needed it most, and those who were the custodians of the world’s food security.

In his opening address, UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, said the symposium set out to explore the way science engaged with society.

‘There’s nothing better in science than someone discovering something astonishing, and I hope something astonishing will come of this event,’ said van Jaarsveld.

A major theme was that of climate and agriculture, with keynote speakers including eminent Hydrologist and Climate Expert, Professor Emeritus Roland Schulze of UKZN, and Professor Richard Eckard, Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre in Australia.

US Consul General Ms Frances Chisholm gave an optimistic keynote presentation focusing on the development of the relationship in agriculture between the United States and South Africa.

‘South Africa has a wonderful future, with considerable support from the US,’ said Chisholm.

Presentations ranged from perspectives on how to respond to climate change in the agricultural sector, to history about Ukulinga’s world-class research in various disciplines. Talks were also given on biofuel crops, maize breeding projects, sustainable agriculture, and catchment management.

There were presentations from Kwanalu’s CEO Ms Sandy la Marque, Ms Janet Lee of the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute (KZNPI), and Biowatch South Africa managers.

Field demonstrations included UKZN’s Animal Science Steer Project, and a demonstration of a tiller from Stihl.

Participants were from various sectors. More than 90 small-scale farmers working with UKZN’s Farmer Support Group attended and engaged with academics, students and industry.

Postgraduate presenter Ms Nomali Ngobese said she felt honoured to be included in the Symposium and excited about scientific advances reaching those they were intended for.

In closing, Acting Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, said for scientific research to advance, new knowledge needed to be generated in the kinds of forums the Symposium was offering.

Christine Cuénod

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MACE Lab Gets Behind Novel River Cleaning System

MACE Lab Gets Behind Novel River Cleaning System
Members of the School of Life Science’s MACE Lab (Marine Biology, Aquaculture, Conservation Education and Ecophysiology).

Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson of UKZN’s MACE Lab - Marine Biology, Aquaculture, Conservation Education and Ecophysiology - is working hard at implementing a project that will collect plastic and other debris from oceans and rivers.

MACE, situated in the School of Life Sciences on the Westville campus, has teamed up with the Dusi Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) and the innovative environmental awareness and fundraiser team, Paddle for the Planet, to introduce the ground-breaking Booms, Bins and Bags project to help clean up the Umgeni River.

‘I did a presentation at uShaka Marine World recently about the impact of microplastics on the environment and the word spread that I was looking into developing a bin that we could use in order to catch plastic and all other debris,’ said Robertson-Andersson.

‘We were approached by Paddle for the Planet and along with DUCT we thought that it was a perfect fit in terms of all of us moving in the same direction trying to clean up our rivers and oceans.’

MACE and DUCT have been working closely with Paddle for the Planet in working out the regions in which they will set up these bins and Robertson-Andersson’s hope is that they will be able to withstand all varying weather conditions.

‘We do not receive all-year rainfall so we are going to have to monitor the bins closely in order to make sure they perform,’ she explained.

Monitoring the amounts of plastic and other pollutants is key to the project for Robertson-Andersson and her team so keeping a close eye on them and taking frequent recordings will be paramount to their research.

‘We will probably try and monitor the bins for about a year at first taking readings and checking them on a monthly basis.

‘This is going to also be part of a greater Community engagement project because it is important that the local people understand the threat that pollution in our rivers has on the wildlife of the region,’ she said.

It is hoped that the MACE and DUCT collaboration will serve as a pilot project for wider implementation of the Booms, Bins and Bags programme.

Nick Tatham

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Mech Eng Students Best Egg Guardians

Mech Eng Students Best Egg Guardians
No eggheads these! Mechanical Engineering students - proud winners of the egg transportation competition!

Howard College campus residents may recently have caught sight of groups of excited-looking students and some weird little vehicles – carrying eggs!

The Engineering first years didn’t have a screw loose – they were in fact tightening different screws in their efforts to optimise an egg transportation vehicle!

UKZN’s Technical Communication for Engineers students had been allocated a task - to research, design, evaluate, construct and test a vehicle to transport an egg.  The winners would be the team transporting their egg unbroken over the furthest distance. 

There were three rules: the vehicle had to use a single elastic band to transport the vehicle the furthest; the vehicle was not allowed to have any machined parts in it that had specially been made; and the vehicle had to be constructed from recycled materials.

The students spent the semester building the vehicles in groups of between four and six members. This allowed them to understand the design process involved.

Every team had their own concept to implement.  On the day of the competition they could compare their vehicles to ascertain what factors made the different vehicles perform differently. ‘Each team could learn from one other - it is critical in the design process to know what works and what doesn’t,’ said Mechanical Engineer, Professor Riaan Stopforth.

The overall winners of all the first year students, including the Access programme, were the Mechanical Engineering team, named Guardians of the Egg, whose egg was transported a grand total of 18.5 meters.

With the results they obtained, the students had to write reports and give oral presentations on their design concepts.  ‘This analysis is essential for professional technical communication in the engineering environment,’ said Stopforth.

The Professional Provident Society (PPS) donated prizes that were allocated to the winners of each discipline within Engineering. ‘The School of Engineering is very grateful for these prizes to the students,’ said Stopforth.

‘Last but not least, the different tutors and co-ordinators for the groups need to be thanked for all the effort and work they put in to prepare the students in the course, and to run the competitions, which were often happening on different locations on campus at the same time,’ he said.

Riaan Stopforth

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Moodle Gets Thumbs Up from Students

Moodle Gets Thumbs Up from Students
Ms Fiona Walters preparing for a Moodle demonstration.

Moodle (Learn@UKZN) is a helpful online platform – that’s the consensus of students interviewed in a recent survey by the College of Health Sciences (CHS).

Moodle is the official eLearning management system used at UKZN to communicate with students by uploading lecture notes, library resources, study tips and other educational resources on the site.

The CHS students, who say they would recommend the eLearning system to other higher learning institutions, generally agreed that they found Moodle to be very helpful as they accessed it almost every day for most of their modules.

One of the challenges mentioned was that accessing Moodle required data or wi-fi which was not always available off campus.

Moodle allows registered students and academics to view and upload lecture notes and to submit assignments as well as access library resources. Students are exposed to links that help with preparing for examinations, including exam and study tips.

‘You can access it anywhere, you just need a computer, internet access - no software is required,’ said Ms Fiona Walters, a Senior Technician in the CHS.

‘It allows management of student learning. We are able to administer online tutorials, quizzes and give online assistance. I actually prefer using the website as a means of communication to students thus making anatomy part of “open learning” similar to what occurs at Harvard,’ said Anatomy academic, Ms Pamela Pillay.

Said Professor Fatima Suleman of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences who has been using Moodle since 2010: ‘It enables me to reach students in other parts of the country and the world and therefore there is a richer sharing of experiences. It also allows for discussion beyond the allocated in-class timetabled slot.’

Dr Jane Kerr of the Discipline of Nursing agreed saying: ‘It is a good place to store resources and roll them over into subsequent years. I upload student presentations for access to all students in the module. I mark online and have used an online tests/quizzes which makes marking easy. I upload PowerPoint presentations with my voice over for students to hear the lecture later.  Video clips from YouTube are also uploaded when needed.’

Sinenhlanhla Ngubane

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UKZN Students host Health Day

UKZN Students host Health Day
CHS students at the Health Day.

First to fifth year Medical students together with final year Dentistry colleagues held their annual Health Day Screening Community Outreach Initiative at the Wiggins Secondary School in Cato Manor, Durban.

The students, all volunteers for UKZN Friends of Médecins Sans Frontieres (FoMSF), provided free health screening and health education to 300 adult and paediatric patients.

Chairperson of the UKZN FoMSF (Doctors Without Borders), Ms Lisha Jeena said adult patients were screened for symptoms of tuberculosis, body mass index, blood glucose, blood pressure and dental health while the children were offered a separate rotation which included an assessment of their nutritional status, the presence of symptoms of tuberculosis and their dental health.

Referrals were made to the Cato Manor clinic for further management and HIV testing was available to adult patients on a voluntary basis.

Jeena said the initiative was done in collaboration with the NGO iThembaLethu, the People’s Hope Clinic, iThembalabantu, and the Dentistry Discipline on UKZN’s Westville campus.

Jeena said the initiative serviced three times the number of patients than the inaugural event in 2015. ‘We greatly appreciate the collaboration with the organisations and Dentistry students.’

All patients were provided with a meal by the NGO Food for Life and a UKZN FoMSF health pack which consisted of a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.

The Health Day also boasted a children’s entertainment area where the young ones could colour in and draw. In addition, one of the students provided face-painting.

The team acknowledged its sponsors: the South African Medical Association, the Cato Manor Clinic, the Departments of Dentistry at RK Khan Hospital and King Dinuzulu Hospital, and the UKZN HIV/AIDS Programme.

Said Jeena: ‘It was a great day, not only of service to the community, but of learning between students from Medical School and the Dentistry Department. We are truly grateful for a successful team effort.’

The students plan to have a similar event next semester. UKZN FoMSF hopes for collaboration with more UKZN faculties in order to grow the initiative and improve on the holistic service offered to patients in Cato Manor and other communities.

Nombuso Dlamini

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The Journeymen the Opening Night Film at DIFF 2016

<em>The Journeymen</em> the Opening Night Film at DIFF 2016
The Journeymen has its world premiere at DIFF 2016.

The opening night film of The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), hosted by UKZN’s College of Humanities, is the world premiere of the South African documentary, The Journeymen, the latest instalment in the Twenty Journey project.

The documentary is directed by Sean Metelerkamp and produced by Jolynn Minnaar, whose film, Unearthed, was one of the big hits at DIFF 2014.

The Journeymen chronicles the experiences of three young photographers - Wikus de Wet, Sipho Mpongo and Sean Metelerkamp - as they travel 24 000km throughout South Africa in a motorhome, with GoPro cameras strapped to their chests, to explore the mood and feel the pulse of the country.

From urban sprawls to dusty rural roads, the trio are driven by the question: ‘Has Mandela’s vision of equality in a rainbow nation been achieved?’ The film answers this with a kaleidoscopic set of responses that are disturbing, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Acting Festival Director Mr Peter Machen said: ‘It is highly appropriate that this intersectional portrait of our strange and beautiful country will screen on the 40th anniversary of the June 16 uprising. The film is a portrait of a nation that was forever changed by the actions of the youth of Soweto, and screening it on this day will act as a tribute to the bravery of the tens of thousands of unnamed young people who helped build the road to our liberation.

‘The film shows the underlying demons of our troubled national soul but also its deep and profound beauty,’ said Machen. ‘Made with technology that is widely accessible, the film is also a vibrant call to arms for new modes of film making and fresh approaches to narrative. We are very happy to be screening the world premiere of The Journeymen on the opening night of the 37th edition of DIFF.’

Director Metelerkamp added: ‘While we never set out to make a feature length documentary, looking back, through embracing new technology, we were able to capture our promising, contentious and confusing country as we went about exploring our respective photographic themes.

‘We hope that this collaboration - between three guys from different cultural and racial backgrounds, united simply by a duty to set out and discover truly authentic South African stories - kickstarts conversations and interactions. As luck would have it, our film features a chance encounter with Sam Nzima, who photographed Hector Pietersen. We can’t think of a better way to honour Youth Day than to share our film with the country.’

The Twenty Project was made possible by many generous Kickstarter sponsors. The documentary is executive-produced by Dylan Voogt and made possible through the support of Stage 5 Films, Priest Post Production, 744 Digital and Mothership Studio.

The Festival, which runs from 16-26 June, includes nearly 200 theatrical screenings as well as the Wavescape Film Festival and various industry initiatives, including the 9th Talents Durban programme in co-operation with the Berlin Talent Campus and the 7th Durban FilmMart co-production market in partnership with the Durban Film Office.

For more information go to #DIFF2016  @DIFFest

Melissa Mungroo

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Education Student Successful in Music and Fashion Worlds

Education Student Successful in Music and Fashion Worlds
Mr Thabiso Ntshangase.

Education student Mr Thabiso Ntshangase recently launched his own clothing line and founded his own entertainment company: No Limits Entertainment.

Ntshangase, who uses the stage name T-boe, is excited his dreams are finally coming true.

Still determined to be a teacher, Ntshangase, is also a hip-hop artist and producer, releasing his first mixtape usazogcwala in 2015. Now his new singles WOLA and BHENGA are climbing the South African hip-hop charts.

‘As a teacher you are seen as a leader, a creator, a critical thinker, knowledgeable, a mediator, a planner, a role model and as a person who is patient, who can endure and take on any situation in a classroom. I feel that the qualities of an educator are the same as being in business,’ he said.

From a young age, Ntshangase displayed a love for both music and fashion. ‘I loved listening to the radio especially when they played kwaito music which is the genre I fell in love with because of its different and moving sound,’ said Ntshangase. ‘I listened to Zola, Mzekezeke and even Brown Dash. They are the artists who inspired me to create my own music. I began doing music as a hobby but as time went on, I connected with hip-hop because it was similar to kwaito and now I blend the two genres to create my own songs.

‘I plan to grow my company and to release more good music.’

He is currently working with fashion retailers to distribute his clothing line in stores and is busy designing a unisex winter fashion range.

His clothing brand is available by order through Facebook (T-boe SA & Thabiso T-boe Ntshangase), on Instagram and twitter @t-boesa, and email:

Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Academic Co-Edits Book on Teacher Education in Mauritius

UKZN Academic Co-Edits Book on Teacher Education in Mauritius
From left: Professor Michael Samuel; Director of the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), Professor Om Varma; Mrs Irena Andrews of the University of Brighton in England, and Dr Hyleen Mariaye.

UKZN School of Education academic Professor Michael Anthony Samuel has co-edited the book Continuity, Complexity and Change: Teacher Education in Mauritius with Dr Hyleen Mariaye of the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE).

The book emanates from a 2011 Memorandum of Understanding between MIE and the School.

Said Samuel: ‘Whilst the research project originally attempted to construct an institutional biography of the only teacher education institution in Mauritius, over time it explored methodological and theoretical challenges and the potential of narrative and life history research. The intersection between the personal, the institutional and the political forces characterises the textured biographies of partnerships with national and international partners within the state, the wider community and the academic research community.

‘The book extends debates around researching Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the kinds of comparative research implications it might have for reframing our conceptions of international Higher Education collaborations,’ said Samuel.

The book draws on the narratives of participants involved as pioneers, managers and foot soldiers of the 40-year history of the MIE, showing the processes of navigating their professional journeys. The book provides insights into how academics as institutional researchers generate from their experience critical questions about themselves in the face of the multiple challenges which have come to characterise the world of Higher Education.

At the heart of this work sits a desire for a re-articulation of the nature of what it means to teach teachers, for self-understanding, and for the reclaiming of agency institutionally, individually and internationally.

According to Samuel, as states and Higher Education Institutions increasingly capitulate to the agenda of corporate managerialism, this book paints a complex canvas of voices emerging from the past, the present, and the future, offering possibilities for collective and creative reconstruction in Higher Education.

‘We have coined the term activating “a third generation studies of SIDS to expand beyond previously deficient or parochial understandings of comparative SIDS research. The book speaks beyond the island context to an international audience interested in Higher Education and teacher education studies. This is why we chose an international publisher: the small opens possibilities for the big,’ explained Samuel.

The book is available online from Amazon.

Melissa Mungroo

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Academic Shares Personal Account of Hyperapartheid

Academic Shares Personal Account of Hyperapartheid
Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya.

Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya of UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) shared his personal account of hyperapartheid as part of a seminar series at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).

Ngcoya described his presentation as ‘a story of an oppressed and dehumanised people’ and as ‘a dark theoretical musing about the post-liberation period.

‘Many moons ago, Baldwin warned that the Black “is a social, not a personal or human problem – for to think of her is to think of statistics, slums, rapes, injustices, remote violence”. This blanking of the Black reigns supreme in the social sciences,’ said Ngcoya.

‘Our work as scholars is therefore anchored on a dominant professional language and method that privileges certain places and people as authors, and declares as universal particular ways of knowing.’

In his presentation, Ngcoya examined how to expand the generally narrow and exclusionary theoretical coda and include other ways of knowing, the use of narratives, vignettes, and stories to expose and unravel the subterranean scaffolding that keeps apartheid alive.

He ultimately tried to locate the place of personal experience in academic research and writing. 

Through the prism of tourist travel, Ngcoya used autoethnography and the narrative form to interrogate the ‘thingification’ of Black subjects in tourism. ‘Tourism has been touted as South Africa’s post-apartheid peace dividend. Indeed, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has identified tourism as one of the key anchors of its strategies, with contributions to GDP expected to hit R500 billion by 2020. Yet, to many South Africans tourism is illusive and troublesome,’ he said.

Ngcoya recounted his own experiences of tourism beginning with a first encounter on a fateful night in 1993 and his continued struggles with this global phenomenon. He uses all these experiences to illuminate what he terms hyperapartheid.

The paper was published in the Journal of Narrative Politics 2, no. 1 (2015) and is available at:

Melissa Mungroo

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David Maahlamela Appointed Director for Centre for Creative Arts

David Maahlamela Appointed Director for Centre for Creative Arts
Mr David Maahlamela, new Director for the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA).

Mr David Maahlamela has been appointed as the new Director for the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The Centre is located within UKZN’s College of Humanities.

Maahlamela, who holds a Masters Degree in Creative writing (cum laude) from Rhodes University, is an acclaimed, award-winning author. His publications include four books (poetry, a novel and a drama). He is especially proud of the ground-breaking poetry anthology which he edited.  His literary works have appeared in more than 50 literary journals and anthologies.

He brings his skills and experiences as an arts administrator, scholar, leader and manager to the position of Head of the Centre of Creative Arts.

He serves on the board of the National Arts Council and he chairs its Literature Panel and is also a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. Another board that he serves on is the National English Literature Museum and he also chairs the museum’s Finance Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Committee.

David has a history of commitment to extending poetry and literary festivals to communities that have historically not been the recipients.  He founded the RealMenTalk Poetry Project and co-founded the Polokwane Literary Fair.

His experience also extends to the private sector, having spent eight years in the mining sector under De Beers Consolidated Mines and Anglo Platinum.

He is the recipient of, among others, the Musina Mayoral Excellence Award, the Herifest Prize for Poetry, Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award, South African Book Development Council Award, Darlo Prize for Poetry and the PanSALB Multilingualism Award. In 2012, he made it to the prestigious Mail & Guardian 200 Top Young South Africans list as one of the prominent poets in the country.

Maahlamela is also not a stranger to the Centre for Creative Arts as he previously was a participant during Poetry Africa in 2011, and Time of the Writer in 2012.

Asked about his vision for the Centre, Maahlamela added: ‘I  want to link the Centre to academia, thus making it relevant to the University and for the students, especially those in the Creative and performing Arts, to fully participate and utilise the Centre as a platform from which they can evolve their work and careers.’

‘The Centre is part of a research-led university and research, teaching and service should be integrally linked.  I see the potential of guiding the Centre to publish work emanating from the festivals in the form of research documents, critical essays, short story or poetry collections and to publish in literary and other relevant journals.’  

Maahlamela is in the final stages of his PHD and intends to complete before the end of the year.

‘I look forward to forming a close working relationship with the Sneddon and Hexagon theatres that are also attached to the College of Humanities.’

In terms of acting, Maahlamela also has lived experience as he was an actor on the popular SABC 2 drama series, Muvhango.  In addition he also has experience as a radio host.

He is passionate and excited about his new role. ‘I will work hard to bring the Centre closer to communities and the university academic programme and in nurturing existing partnerships and developing new ones.’

He added that he is excited to be joining the Centre the month that the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) takes place, as he will have the opportunity to attend DIFF from his position as the new Centre Director. This he said, will assist in his forward planning for all the Centre’s festivals of which DIFF is one of them.

Xoliswa Zulu and Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Academic Nominated for Prestigious Award

UKZN Academic Nominated for Prestigious Award
Dr Angela James.

UKZN School of Education academic, Dr Angela James, has been short-listed as a finalist in the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Awards in the category: Research or Engineering Capacity Development.

The NSTF is the most representative and long-standing non-profit body of science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation stakeholders in South Africa. The NSTF recognises and celebrates individuals and teams through the NSTF Awards for outstanding contributions in SET and innovation, in partnership with South 32 (previously BHP Billiton) since 2011.

Said James ‘I am really ecstatic about this and grateful for being shortlisted as a finalist.’

For her nomination, she submitted her work on Developing Research and Service-Learning capacity among undergraduate student teachers in the Biological Science for Educators module, in the School of Education.

The focus of the Research and Service-Learning module is that as future teachers, the student teachers should be engaged in research and service-learning where they can apply the knowledge and skills developed, to their own teaching contexts, to enrich their teaching, learning of the learners and the living experiences of communities.

‘With this interest in research and service-learning, many students have applied for postgraduate studies and generate community projects in their schools as they are enticed and inspired by the work that they do in the undergraduate module,’ said James.

Her work has contributed largely in various communities and organisations. A placement site manager, said: ‘it is not just what they (the students) have done, but it is what they have left behind’.

She designed the Biological Science for Education module for student teachers in which they learn both research and service-learning knowledge and skills.

Said James: ‘The uniqueness is in the combination of research and service-learning as an integrated model for teaching students about and engaging them in the processes.  The module according to students continuously challenged and pushed them to new limits, forcing them to change their perceptions and reasoning. Many students agreed with a statement made by student colleague, Mr Lungani N. Magwaza, that research and service-learning should be a compulsory module for all undergraduate students in Education, in fact, in any profession.  

School of Education Acting Dean, Professor Thabo Msibi, applauded James for her nomination.

‘I’m delighted that Dr James has been nominated for such a prestigious award,’ said Msibi. ‘It is an important acknowledgement of the outstanding work she continues to do in the School and surrounding communities, aimed at strengthening knowledge and understanding in the life sciences.  The nomination is important as science continues to be an area of struggle for many of our students.’

Nomcebo Mncube 

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Promotion Workshop Gives Advice on How to Get Ahead

Promotion Workshop Gives Advice on How to Get Ahead
Professor Rob Slotow engaging with College of Health Sciences staff at the workshop.

Several workshops to assist College of Health Sciences (CHS) staff understand the processes involved in academic promotions were held recently by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the CHS, Professor Rob Slotow.

Although the promotions process could sometimes be long and confusing, participants were nevertheless reassured that through ongoing mentorship and coaching they could achieve “upward trajectory” in their careers.

Academic promotions recognise one’s academic standing and hence all academics are encouraged to apply.

However, the daunting process of demonstrating performance, leadership, scholarship and excellence or strength, accompanied by misinformation and a possible lack of sufficient guidance, were a deterrent to many academics.

Slotow encouraged participants to maintain a balance for what was relevant locally but had global impact. ‘Benchmark yourself against esteemed professors in your discipline who are publishing as a guide for you to determine which are the most suitable journals to publish in.  Discover whose papers are most cited and who is citing them? Try to improve your average impact factor each year,’ he said.

Slotow also encouraged participants to produce their teaching portfolios (TPs) in advance, emphasising that the teaching portfolio ‘is aligned with what we do as academics, and hence it allows an academic to express themselves in line with what is expected. The TP allows one to describe their philosophy of teaching, methods used, assessments which can be formative and summative as well as include feedback both from undergraduate and postgraduate students,’ he said.

‘One can then reflect on success, emphasise areas of strength, and build up areas of weakness, leading to well-rounded and satisfying teaching and learning experiences.’

One of the most important aspects of the promotions assessment criteria is the matching of the candidate’s statement to the evidence provided both in the portfolio and in the curriculum vitae. Slotow’s advice was that academics should produce a balanced portfolio, and credentialing staff should also ensure that their supervisors were consulted for advice and mentorship. ‘Supervisors should be a partner in your development. This relationship doesn’t end with your PhD.’

Enthused participants left the workshop feeling reassured about the process and thankful for the ongoing mentorship and support offered by their DVC.

Mrs Tivani Mashamba-Thompson of the Discipline of Public Health commented: ‘As a Developmental Lecturer who is approaching completion of my PhD and looking forward to promotion, I felt that the promotion workshop was useful. I have learnt about different strategies that one can use to gather evidence needed to put together a teaching portfolio to demonstrate my level of competency during the promotion application.’

MaryAnn Francis

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Research into Western and Traditional Health Care Practice

Research into Western and Traditional Health Care Practice
Dr Mosa Moshabela with Dr Bernhard Gaede.

UKZN’s Rural Health HoD, Dr Mosa Moshabela, conducted a scoping review on the need and challenges of finding common ground between western and traditional health care practice in South Africa.

Moshabela’s study - titled: “Bridging the Gap Between Biomedical and Traditional Health Care Practitioners in South Africa: The Elephant in the Room” – was completed in collaboration with colleagues, Ms Thembelihle Zuma and Dr Bernhard Gaede.

Moshabela spoke about the need, value and challenges of finding common ground between the type of health care practised by doctors and nurses who work in clinics and hospitals, and the type of health care practised by traditional healers or traditional health practitioners (iZangomaiNyanga and aBaThandazi).

The review was based on all research done on the topic emphasising the past 10 years in South Africa. ‘It is now published in the South African Health Review 2016, recently launched at the Health Systems Trust Conference in May.

‘The study summarises the most current evidence on how to bridge the gap between biomedical and traditional health care systems in South Africa,’ said Moshabela.

‘We gathered peer-reviewed literature, unpublished grey literature, policy documents and media reports using a scoping study methodology. The review presents a synthesis of evidence emerging from these sources.’

Biomedical system of health care relates to the work of modern doctors and nurses - those who are trained in medical schools and colleges of health sciences. These are people who are trained according to a Western-based model of health care for diagnosis and treatment of diseases. This system of care puts emphasis on the biological aspects of diseases, and germs found in the body and environment responsible for causing diseases.

Moshabela and his team conducted the study in response to the firm steps now being taken by the Department of Health to institutionalise traditional health practitioners (THPs) in South Africa, as mandated by the Traditional Health Practitioners Act of 2007.

‘We sought to provide a revised synthesis of the research conducted in South Africa on THPs, and assess developments made to date with regards to efforts to bring THPs closer to the formal health care system,’ said Moshabela.

According to Moshabela, the study will benefit those who conduct social science, humanities and health services research as well as practitioners of biomedical, allopathic, conventional, western or modern medicine.

The study calls for mutual understanding between biomedical and traditional health care systems, and specifies a number of recommendations such as the inclusion of traditional and religious healing practices within the curricula for training of students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and other health sciences.

Nombuso Dlamini

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Uhlelo Lwe-Bua Le Nna Ezindaweni Ezimbili Ezihlala Abafundi E-UKZN

Uhlelo Lwe-Bua Le Nna Ezindaweni Ezimbili Ezihlala Abafundi E-UKZN
uDkt Langa Khumalo, uMqondisi eHhovisi LeNyuvesi LezokuHlelwa NokuThuthukiswa KoLimi nabebebambe iqhaza ohlelweni i-Bua Le Nna.

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Uhlelo lwe-Bua Le Nna, olwaqalwa njengengxenye yombono weBhodi YeziLimi YeNyuvesi wokugqugquzela nokuthuthukisa izilimi zendabuko zaseNingizimu Afrika e-UKZN, lwethulwe ngokusemthethweni ezindaweni ezimbili  zabafundi enyuvesi.

Iningi labafundi abebehambele lo mcimbi bahlala nakwezinye izindawo ezihlala abafundi enyuvesi yize uhlelo lugxile ezindaweni zokuhlala abafundi ezimbili kuphela.

IDini yeSikole SezobuCiko uSolwazi Donald McCracken; uSolwazi Nogwaja Zulu ongumfundisi omkhulu eSikoleni seziLimi zase-Afrika, uSolwazi Sihawu Ngubane onguMholi Weqoqo eSikoleni seziLimi zase-Afrika kanye; uDkt Langa Khumalo onguMqondisi eHhovisi LeNyuvesi LezokuHlelwa NokuThuthukiswa KoLimi  noMnumzane Kgotlaetsela Marumola waseHhovisi LezokuPhathwa Kwabafundi bashiyelane inkundla behalalisela inyuvesi ngalo msebenzi  oqalayo ngqa lapha enyuvesi.

UKhumalo uthe: ‘Enye yezinto ezihloswe yinqubomgomo YoLimi e-UKZN (ebukezwe ngowezi-2014) ukuthi “[…] kulondolozwe futhi kugqugquzelwe ukuhlonishwa nokukhulunywa kwezilimi ezibalulwe kuMthethosisekelo, nezinye izilimi okuhlanganisa nezilimi ezisiza ukuqinisa amaxhama emikhakheni yezamasiko, ezessayensi nezomntotho […]”.

‘Ubuliminingi buyisisekelo senqubomgomo yolimi e-UKZN. Lokhu kubalulekile kakhulu eNyuvesi ngoba umthelela wobuliminingi ukusingatha nokugqugquzela ubumbano kwezenhlalo  emphakathi ni waseNyuvesi,’ usho kanje.

‘Kungenxa yalesi sizathu ukuthi ngonyaka wezi-2014 i-ULPDO yaqala olunye lwezinhlelo zayo i-Bua Le Nna (Let’s Talk).

‘Lolu hlelo lwenziwa ngokubambisana neHhovisi LoMqondisi Omkhulu Kwezabafundi ngokusebenzisa abangabafundi abahlala ezindaweni zabafundi kanye nabasebenzi base-ULPDO. Lolu hlelo luhlose ukufundisa abafundi abahlela ezindaweni  zabafundi abangasikhulumi isiSuthu ulimi lwesiSuthu  e-UKZN. Uhlelo lusaqale ukusebenza e-Ansel May nase-John Bews okuyizindawo ezihlala abafundi.

U-McCracken uthe: ‘Ngithokoze kakhulu ukuzwa ngalolu hlelo ngoba lufike ngesikhathi izilimi zomdabu zisengozini yokushabalala. Kubalulelkile ukuthi sigcine izilimi zase-Afrika ziphila, sizithuthukise, sizikhulume sizisingathe ngezikhathi zonke.’

UZulu ukhulume ngomlando wesiZulu nesiSuthu nokuthakaselwe kakhulu yizethameli. Ubuye wachaza nanokuthi lezi zilimi zingavikelwa kanjani ukuze zingashabalali futhi zibe yifa lezizukulwane ezizayo.

UMarumola uthe kumumangazile ukuthi kunohlelo oluhle kangaka e-UKZN. Ukhulume ngaseke wabhekana nakho ngenkathi esangumfundi lapho wayezizwa ekhishwe inyumbazane ngokolimi nangokwesiko. Uthe ubengakucabangi ukuthi kungaba khona uhlelo olufana nalolu eNyuvesi.

UMarumola uthe ihhovisi liyaseka loluhlelo ngokuphelele futhi ufisa sengathi lungasatshalaliswa ezindaweni zabafundi  eNyuvesi yonke.

Khumbulani Mngadi

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Accounting Academic Runs First Comrades Marathon

Accounting Academic Runs First Comrades Marathon
Ms Salma Vanker at the finish line with her husband Mr Imraan Patel.

UKZN Financial Accounting Lecturer, Ms Salma Vanker, is overjoyed to have completed her first Comrades Marathon – this year’s down run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban - saying it was a humbling experience.

Vanker, a qualified Chartered Accountant, said she was inspired by another CA and academic, Ms Caroline Wostmann, who won the women’s race last year and finished second this year.

Vanker’s training for the marathon started last year and comprised about seven to eight hours of road running every week with the fantastic support of her husband who has completed three Comrades marathons.

‘The passion and excitement we shared energized me and kept me motivated. I am bursting with gratitude to my husband who motivated me and held my hand throughout this journey,’ she said.

She still had time for other pursuits outside her demanding career as an academic entering a team of third year Accounting students at UKZN into the CFOCase Study Competition - an international, annual multi-round business management case study contest organised by the CharterQuest Institute.

As a mentor, Vanker is proud of Team UKZN for making it into the top 12 out of 320 teams representing 1 278 aspirants and  53 universities from 25 countries across five continents. The Team is now competing for the six spots at the global semi-finals and grand finale at the Finance Indaba Africa 2016 Expo in Johannesburg later this year. 

Vanker says Comrades day was filled with some incredible moments. ‘The energy at the start line, the sound of the beeps on the start mat of hopeful individuals chasing a single dream. The Chariots of Fire song had me in tears.’

She described the race as a voyage of intense self-discovery. ‘I knew my resilience and tenacity would see me through. I kept pushing harder and digging deeper until I discovered that the person I thought I was, is no match for the one I really am.

‘The first 70km were surreal. I felt strong and invincible.  However, there were tears in my eyes when I ran past disabled kids, as I thanked God for giving me the ability to run. The total support from the crowds and most especially my family along the way, kept me moving towards my goal.’

Vanker crossed the finish line and received a Vic Clapham medal. 

Hazel Langa

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Judge Yacoob Serves as Judge-in-Residence at Law School

Judge Yacoob Serves as Judge-in-Residence at Law School
Judge Zak Yacoob addressing delegates at the Customary Law Seminar and sharing a special moment with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng during one of Law School’s events in April.

UKZN School of Law academics and students had a rare opportunity to work with retired Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob during the month of April when he was serving in his position as the School’s newly appointed Judge-in-Residence.

The Judge-in-Residence initiative was established by the School in 2013 with Justice Malcolm Wallis of the Supreme Court of Appeal as the first appointment.

According to Dean and Head of the School of Law Professor Managay Reddi, the initiative gives law students and academics the opportunity to engage with some of South Africa’s most influential judicial leaders through a series of seminars and lectures. It also encourages judges and academics with shared interests in particular areas of law to learn from one another, and gives students opportunities to gain insights into the working of the courts and the role of South African judges.

Some of the notable engagements Yacoob was involved in during his stay included the delivery of a series of lectures to students on Introduction to Law, Human Rights, Constitutional Law, International Law and Professional Training.

As a constitutional law expert Yacoob contributed as a panelist at the inaugural seminar on Customary Law themed: “Constitutional legitimacy of customary law and common law in judicial reasoning”.

He also participated as a panelist during a discussion on “Socio-economic rights and the meaning of ‘progressive realisation’ in the post-apartheid context” which was hosted by Students for Law and Social Justice.

Law academic Mr Maropeng Mpya acknowledged the invaluable input made by Yacoob and said: ‘The Justice helped with issues ranging from refugee problems, to students who wanted help on their assignments and members of staff with their articles. This has not only been an intellectually enriching period but was a moment of making friends and life-long relationships.’

Yacoob is also the Ombudsman of the University and he has committed himself to serve for two months of the year at the School of Law and he will return before the end of the year.

Hazel Langa

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Ansell May Hall Reunion Honours the “Glorious Years”

Ansell May Hall Reunion Honours the “Glorious Years”
Front from left: Ms Marilyn Pugsley, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, Mrs Nina van Jaarsveld and Mrs Jane Meyerowitz. Back: Mr Tom White, Mrs Kirsty Pratt, Mr Paul Pratt and Mr Nick Meyerowitz.

Close to a year’s planning came together recently when Ansell May Hall held a reunion in Durban with the theme: “The Glorious Years: 1970 – 1980”.

About 70 ex-residents gathered on a Friday night for a “boys only” renewal of friendships and reconnecting. One of the most notable participants was Mr Basil Hageman (83) who, interestingly, was among the first residents of Ansell May Hall when it was completed in 1952.

The early part of Saturday was taken up by golf and numerous small groups of old friends and partners renewing contacts over lunch in venues all over Durban and on the North Coast.

The main event was a Gala Dinner on Saturday night. Guests of honour included UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, and outgoing Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, Mrs Jane Meyerowitz, and their spouses. The 120 guests were entertained by a humorous review of the “Glorious Years” by Master of Ceremonies, Paul Vonk. The formal part of the dinner was completed by van Jaarsveld who provided an overview titled: “UKZN – Achievements and Challenges”.

The dinner also saw the launch of the Ansell May Hall Legacy Bursary Fund which aims to provide a bursary to a final year Ansell May Hall resident. It will be supported by ex- and future residents of Ansell May/David Webster Hall in appreciation of “glorious years spent in residence”. The bursary will recognise the contribution of residence life and the camaraderie of life-long friendships in their development and success, and further honours the memory of deceased friends.

One of the highlights of the reunion activities was the publication of Alfie – 2016.  Alfie was the Ansell May residence magazine of those years. The 2016 edition included many old photographs, extracts from old Alfies, stories and fables about the “glorious years”. It is one-of-a-kind record of some of the best years of student life.

* For more information on the bursary or a copy of Alfie – 2016 contact Tom White at:

Tom White

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