Life in Outer Space Topic of ex-NASA Director’s Presentation

Life in Outer Space Topic of ex-NASA Director’s Presentation
Dr Simon Pete Worden.

The search for life in outer space was discussed by the former Director of NASA’s Ames Research, Dr S. Pete Worden, during a presentation at UKZN.

Worden, in South Africa to attend an astronomy conference, was hosted by the University’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit.

Worden is the current Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and Executive Director of the foundation’s Breakthrough Initiatives.

The Foundation rewards vital new developments in the fields of physics, life sciences and mathematics and includes Mark Zuckerberg as one of its founders.

The Breakthrough Initiatives programme, launched by Physicist and entrepreneur Yuri Milner, and Stephen Hawking, with Worden as its head, searches for life and habitable frontiers in outer space.

Prior to joining the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, Worden was also Research Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He is a recognised expert on space and science issues and has been a leader in building partnerships between governments and the private sector internationally.

He has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers in astrophysics and space sciences, and served as a scientific co-investigator for three NASA space science missions – most recently the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph launched in 2013 to study the sun.

Worden received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for the 1994 Clementine Mission to the moon, was named the 2009 Federal Laboratory Consortium Laboratory Director of the Year, and received the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Innovator’s Award.

 Strini Rajgopaul


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Mathematics Academic Selected for Fulbright Scholarship and INSPIRE Programme

Mathematics Academic Selected for Fulbright Scholarship and INSPIRE Programme
Professor Bernardo Rodrigues.

Professor Bernardo Rodrigues of the Discipline of Mathematics in UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for the 2016/17 period as well as being selected by the INSPIRE Erasmus Mundus project to undertake an Academic Staff mobility visit to Ghent University in Belgium.

‘Both of these awards are highly competitive and attract interest from the most accomplished scholars,’ said Dean and Head of SMSCS, Professor Delia North. ‘May his work earn the School more academic honours in future.’

Rodrigues arrives in Ghent in mid-June and spends just over a month working with a world renowned group of colleagues at Ghent University’s Mathematics Department. He plans to take up his Fulbright Scholarship in early 2017.

For Rodrigues, being awarded these honours demonstrates recognition of his dedication to hard work and excellence in his field.  He hopes the opportunities will increase exposure to innovative work in Mathematics, and produce new collaborative endeavours, and possibly future staff and student exchanges. He aims to further the frontiers of his research and enhance knowledge in his own institution.

‘I have a desire to appeal to high levels of understanding in mathematics, and also to congregate knowledge, and to pass it on to others in a readily comprehensible form,’ said Rodrigues.

‘I am honoured for this and thank my colleagues and peers, and my family for supporting me throughout. My students past and present are also a source of renewed energy and growth, and their questions have contributed immensely to my intellectual growth as well as my ability to ask questions.’

Originally from Angola, Rodrigues, has been at the University since 1996 and has been an Associated Professor of Mathematics since 2010.

He says his passion for Mathematics was inspired by his older brother and also by a high school Mathematics teacher; the latter noted his early inclination for problem-solving and aptitude for posing questions related to mathematical objects.

His educators encouraged extra reading, and were a source of motivation, caring for his development and well-being.

Rodrigues’ work in mathematics is in the fields of abstract algebra and error-correcting codes at the interface between computer science and electrical engineering in a branch of the Discipline known as Algebraic Coding Theory.

Christine Cuénod


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UKZN Academics Launch Book on Lewis Nkosi

UKZN Academics Launch Book on Lewis Nkosi
Professor Lindy Stiebel and Professor Michael Chapman with their recently launched book Writing Home.

English Studies academics Emeritus Professor Lindy Stiebel and Emeritus Professor Michael Chapman launched their book titled: Writing Home at Ikes Books and Collectables in Durban.

The book examines South African writer, Drum magazine journalist, academic and literary critic Lewis Nkosi’s insights into South African literature, culture and society which first appeared in the 1950s, when the “new” urban African Drum magazine mockingly opposed Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd’s Bantu retribalisation policies.

Before his death in 2010, Nkosi focused on the literary-cultural challenges of post-Mandela times.

Stiebel said Nkosi lived in exile for 40 years before returning intermittently to South Africa, after bannings were lifted in 1990. ‘His critical eye, however, never for long left the home scene. Hence, the title of this selection of his articles, essays and reviews,’ she said.

At the launch, Stiebel shared her memories of working with Nkosi and the family friendship she enjoyed with him delighting the audience with details from e-mails and highly entertaining and insightful anecdotes.

Chapman read some extracts from the book and included details of meeting with Lewis in South Africa and abroad.

Writing Home is a book in which, with wit, irony and moral toughness, Nkosi assesses a range of leading writers, including Herman Charles Bosman, Breyten Breytenbach, JM Coetzee, Athol Fugard, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Alex la Guma, Es’kia Mphahlele, Nat Nakasa, Alan Paton and Can Themba,’ said Chapman.

Combining the journalist’s penchant for the human interest story with astute analysis, Nkosi’s observations are as fresh today as when he began his 60-year-long career as a writer and critic.

Nkosi received an honorary doctorate from UKZN in 2012 so it is fitting, therefore, that in what would have been his 80th birthday year, UKZNPress has republished his long out of print essays.

Said Stiebel: ‘Nkosi’s life trajectory was far more dramatic than my own as it turned out, but my privilege was to have been afforded a glimpse into his private thoughts over a decade and that we counted each other as good friends.’

Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN Big Band Launched at Jazz Centre

UKZN Big Band Launched at Jazz Centre
The UKZN Big Band performs at the Jazz Centre.

The Brass Showcase/UKZN Big Band has been launched at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

The band is directed by Lecturer, Mr Burton Naidoo, and includes top jazz students from the Music Discipline in the School of Arts.

Director for the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music and Jazz Lecturer, Mr Neil Gonsalves, said: ‘The Music Discipline at UKZN is particularly excited to be in a position to once again field a Big Band after an absence of three or four years because of an insufficient number of horn players in the jazz programme. We are hopeful that the resurgence in numbers we have enjoyed is a sign of things to come, and we thank the young musicians from the Durban Music School for their participation.’

First year BA Music student, Ms Simone van Niekerk, described being a part of the Band as ‘a great way to connect with other musicians, while alto saxophonist Mr Phumlani Mtiti, who is completing his final year at UKZN, said the ‘UKZN Big Band allows students to showcase their talents to the masses, making them better performers and artists’.

The UKZN Big Band repertoire includes standards such as Moten Swing, Take the A train, Fly Me to the Moon, Harlem Air Shaft and the South African classics, Mra and Kwela Kong. The set at the Jazz Centre also featured the big band arrangements of On Green Dolphin Street and Caravan by BMus composition majors, Nicholas Chinnamunian and Riley Giandhari respectively.

The other band members are pianists Abigail Giddings and Mandy Cobbing; bassist Llewelyn Chetty; drummer Riley Giandhari; trumpeters Siyanda Zulu, Sanele Qwabe, Phuti Mofokeng, and Talente Mhlongo; guitarist Kaylin Naidoo; clarinettist Snothile Mkhize; alto saxophonists Nwabisa Kheswa, Simone van Niekerk, Tim Lewis and Phumlani Mtiti; tenor saxophonist Bonginkosi Mkhize; trombonists Thembinkosi Khumalo and Mokgethisi Nkotsi; flautist Tseleng Makhatla; and special guests Professor Salim Washington and Professor Mike Rossi of UCT’s College of Music on tenor saxophones; Mr George Mari on trumpet, and vocalist Debbie Mari.

Melissa Mungroo


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UKZN’s Centre for Visual Art Unveils Refurbished Printing Press

UKZN’s Centre for Visual Art Unveils Refurbished Printing Press
Professor Cheryl Potgieter unveils the restored antique Albion printing press at UKZN’s Centre for Visual Art.

DVC and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Cheryl Potgieter recently unveiled the restored Albion printing press at the Centre for Visual Art (CVA) in Pietermaritzburg.

Through special funding made available by the College, the Centre received new equipment, such as kilns for ceramic and glass pieces as well as 20 new potters’ wheels. The grant also allowed for existing Printmaking presses and equipment to be refurbished.

After a tour of the CVA, Potgieter said, ‘I am delighted to see the output and the interest in the creative arts. The work of the CVA clearly shows that they have entered the debate on transformation, decolonisation and gender and sexuality.’

She commended the work of the CVA staff and students for their engagement with Indigenous Knowledge Systems, further encouraging them to work closely with other clusters and disciplines in collaborative engagements. 

The Albion at the CVA was lovingly refurbished by Chris Morewood, who has not only got it working perfectly, but also decorated it in original period style, using dark green paint with gold trim. CVA Lecturer Dr Kathy Arbuckle noted that ‘Albion Presses are massively heavy and virtually indestructible, and the CVA’s looks very grand in the entrance to the CVA studios.’

According to CVA Director Dr Louise Hall, the Albion press provides many generations of visual arts students with the means to create their first ever linocut or woodcut relief prints. 

‘It has already been used in the first semester by Level One students to produce their first prints, and senior third years, postgraduate students and staff are also enjoying putting it through its paces. Having access to equipment like this exposes CVA students to a broad range of techniques, from traditional printmaking to 3D printing technology in digital arts,’ she said.

Honours student Mr Eloff Pretorius added, ‘It was incredibly exciting and rewarding to work with the Albion Press. As students we were amazed to see our work being printed on the Albion. It’s also great that the CVA was given funding because it contributes to the production of excellent artwork and recharges the interest in the CVA and Art again.’

Speaking about the Albion Press, Hall explained, ‘The Albion press is more than a century old dating to 1902, although it is thought to have been acquired by the University in the 1970s. Albion presses were manufactured between about 1820 and 1930, and were for mainly book-printing. The printing method is known as “letterpress”, essentially the same process as that was used in the Gutenberg Press, the famous press that made the first printed copies of the Bible available to ordinary people. 

Retired CVA Printmaking Lecturer Ms Bronwen Heath said, ‘Pietermaritzburg’s local newspaper, The Natal Witness, was a ‘letterpress’ newspaper, using the mechanised “linotype” process, before it changed to photo-lithography.’ She adds that the Kelmscott Press, the famous press of William Morris, used an Albion. This style of press is still used by private presses internationally to produce exceptional limited edition books, particularly books illustrated with wood-engravings.

The staff of the CVA, led by Senior Lecturer Dr Louise Hall, thanked the College of Humanities for recognising the importance of the visual arts at UKZN and investing in its future.  

Melissa Mungroo and Kathy Arbuckle


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Ilebhu yase-UKZN Ye-MACE Ibiyingxenye yohlelo lukamabonakude lwe-SABC i-50/50

Ilebhu yase-UKZN Ye-MACE Ibiyingxenye yohlelo lukamabonakude lwe-SABC i-50/50
Ilebhu yase-UKZN ye-MACE ihlose ukugcina imvelo yasolwandle ihlanzekile.

Click here for English version

UDkt Deborah Robertson-Andersson noMnu Gan Moodley kanye nabafundi babo baselebhu ye-MACE bebeyingxenye yohlelo lwe-SABC i-50/50 esiqeshini ebesihambelana nosuku lomhlaba i-Earth Day ngaphansi kwesihloko esithi Ubhubhane Locwazi: KZN.

Le lebhu ye-MACE – Marine Biology, Aquaculture, Conservation Education and Ecophysiology – izinze ekhempasini i-Westville eSikoleni Sezifundo Ngokuphilayo.

Ngokwe-Plastics Europe (2013), zinganiselwa etriliyonini elilodwa izikhwama zamapulasitiki ezisetshenziswayo bese zilahlwa emhlabeni jikelele ngonkaya, ezingaphansi kwe-1 % ezibuye zisetshenziswe kabusha; kusetshenziswa izigidi ezi-5 zamabhodlela epulasitiki okuphuza emizuzwini emihlanu eMelika, e-California kunamathani angama-38 opulasitiki otholakala emikhiqizweni efaka umuthi wokuxubha neminye imikhiqizo yezinto zokuhlanza alahlwa khona njalo ngonyaka.

‘Amathani angama-252 opulasititki akhiqizwa emhlabeni jikelele njalo ngonyaka (plastics Europe, 2013) ngeshwa lamapulasitiki awapheleli ezindaweni zokulahla imfucuza kodwa aphelela emifuleni. Imifula yona iphelelaphi? Njengayo yonke imifula- iphelela olwadle,’ kusho u-Robertson-Andersson.  

‘Eqinisweni amapulasitiki angama-80% atholakala olwandle asuka emhlabeni ngqo. Akusiwo upulasitiki obonakalayo kuphela oyinkinga, njengoba lezi zinto zigayeka zigcina seziyizinhlayiya ezingamaphethrokhemikhali anobuthi obuyingozi ezingababulali abangabonakali ezidunga imifula nezilwandle.’ 

Iphepha elisanda kushicilelwa abacwaningi base-UKZN uDkt David Glassom no T Naidoo liveze ukuthi esizalweni somfula eThekwini kunezinhlayiya zamapulasitiki (opulasitiki abangaphansi kwama-5 mm) elitheni elilodwa. Ethekwini uma kuqhathaniswa neNingizimu Afrika yonke, kunesibalo esiphezulu semifula okusho ukuthi isibalo samapulasitiki angena olwandle siphezulu kunesasezweni lonke.

Ilebhu ye-MACE ibiyingxenye yohlelo i-50/50 ukuze kuqhakambiswe umsebenzi ewenzayo ekuhloleni umthelela wezinhlayiya zamapulasitiki amancane emvelweni yasolwandle eThekwini.

‘Esampuleni elithathiwe, inhlanzi eyodwa kwezinhlanu ezitholakale kumsinga i-Agulhas zinopulasitiki,’ kusho Robertson-Andersson.  ‘budebuduze nosebe eziyisikhombisa kweziyishumi (izinhlanzi zokuyenga noma izinhlanzi ezikhiqizwayo) zinopulasitiki.’

Ucwaningo olwenziwe umfundi weziqu ze-Msc uMnu Mathew Coote luthole ukuthi izinhlayiya ze-micro-fibre zithatha isikhathi esiphindwe kathathu kwesejwayelekile ukuze zidlule esiswini senhlanzi uma ziqhathaniswa nokudla okujwayelekile. Uzakwabo uNkz Gemma Gerber uthole ukuthi izimbaza zona azikwazi ukuhlukanisa phakathi kwamapulasitiki ayizinhlayiya ekudleni futhi zizodla la mapulasitiki amaningi njengoba kukhula isibalo sawo emanzini

Umfundi weziqu ze-Onazi uMnu Thembani Mkhize wathola ukuthi izingungumbane zasolwandle ezineqhaza elibalulekile ekukhinjiniyelweni kwempilwenindawonye kanye nomthombo wokudla, - zinemigudu emibili yokungenwa yizinhlayiya zepulasitiki – ukudla ezikudlayo nomgudu wazo wamanzi.

‘Umfundi weziqu ze-PhD uMnu Travis Kunnen usethuthukise indlela entsha yokubala amabhakthiriya nezinhla yiya zamapulasitiki eyonga isikhathi sokukala izinhlayiya zamapulasitiki esampuleni,’ kusho u- Robertson-Andersson. 

‘Siyaziqhenya ngomsenbenzi wabafundi bethu njengoba ubuyingxenye yemisebenzi eqavile kathathu ezingqungqutheleni zonyaka odlule,’ usho kanje.

URobertson-Andersson ugcizelele ukuthi noma kungaba nemiphumela engathokozisi, abantu basawenza umehluko. Umkhankaso wokukhuculula i-Vetch’s Pier obunabantu abangama-39 ukhuculule imfucuza engama-89 kg kwathi umkhankaso olandelile wona wakhuculula imfucuza engama-400 kg olwandle nasmtsheni asolwandle.

‘Yebo, lokhu kuncane okwamanje kodwa sicabanga ukuthi sesiqalile futhi ithemba lethu ukuthi lomsebenzi udlondlobale ukuze zonke izakhamizi zibambe iqhaza ekuhlanzweni kwemvelo yethu ukuze kusizakale nezizukulwane, ‘esho enezezela.  

Ngu-Deborah Robertson-Andersson


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Final Year Social Work Students Take Oath

Final Year Social Work Students Take Oath
Social Work lecturers and final year students.

Final year Social Work students in the School of Applied Human Sciences recently took part in an oath taking ceremony in which they made a solemn declaration before their peers and lecturers to honour the social work profession and always adhere to the ethical code of the profession as contained in the Social Service Professions Act.

Speaking at the ceremony, attorney Ms Phumla Mbuqe, who specialises in the social work field, explored the various challenges faced by social workers and also focused on the conduct and ethics of social work such as confidentiality and dress code. ‘It is important as a social worker to safeguard information and documents as well as to respect client confidentiality.’

Social Work Academic Leader, Dr Tanusha Raniga, addressed students on the requirements and expectations of social work, reminding them that ethical awareness and ethical practice was a fundamental part of a social worker’s professional life.

Social work manager at King Edward Hospital, Mr Bheki Zondi spoke about the experiences and challenges he encountered as a social worker. He told the students that social work is ‘a profession, a science and an art’.

Zondi encouraged the students to be highly ethical in all their dealings.

Dean and Head of School, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, encouraged students to further their studies up to master’s and doctorate levels.

‘Do not stop here. Go to the community, find out what the challenges are, define the research agenda in terms of the issues and come back to complete your master’s and PhD at UKZN,’ he said.

On behalf of all students, Mr Mduduzi Mahlaba thanked the speakers for their words of encouragement.  

Nomcebo Mncube


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College of Health Services Striving for Excellence through Team Building

College of Health Services Striving for Excellence through Team Building
A united team moving the College of Health Sciences forward.

Staff of the College of Health Science’s office recently visited Tala Game Reserve as part of a very successful team building activity to enhance social relations and develop a shared understanding.

Under a warm African sun, great lessons in communication were learned and hidden management styles uncovered.

The team consisted of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor Rob Slotow, the Director of Professional Services, Professor Fanie Botha, and all College managers and their staff.

Interactive Hospitality Unlimited, under the leadership of Mr Adrian Garrett, facilitated a range of activities to enhance communication skills among the teams.

The day’s activities included “baton pass”, which required excellent planning, communication and co-ordination skills, and the “gordian knot”, which revealed management styles and improved communication skills.

Winners in this exercise were the Green Machines team who also destroyed the Blue Impalas in the marble slide activity, while Purple Rain crushed the Yellow Nation in the Gordian Knot activity and the Network web.

The team that became infamous for cheating in most activities was the Yellow Nation!

Animal, bird and tree spotting followed with team members required to collect samples of animal droppings. The overall winning team of the day in that exercise was Purple Rain, who also won the prize for the loudest team.

After a day of great fun and social interaction, the teams recouped and completed a survey sent out by the Public Relations Unit to gauge feedback on the day from staff.

Staff member Mrs Fazila Padayachee, noted: ‘The activities were appropriate and allowed us to communicate a lot with members within our team. We had good team spirit. We showed respect for one another and most of all we worked together to make sure our team succeeded.

Commented Human Resources staff member, Ms Sunitha Mani, ‘The activities indicated that when there is a break in communication it has a ripple effect on the entire Unit. We had good team spirit and guided each other well. We treated each other with respect and gave everyone a chance to contribute their view. I feel that if one member is not fully engaged with the team or intimidates the team it can put a damper on the team spirit and as a result the team will not be able to give of their best.’

Said Accountant Mr Andile Nduku: ‘I got to know colleagues I usually only speak to on the phone and this is good for relationships at work. It was a very good thing to see Professor Slotow and Professor Botha attending. I would have been very worried if they didn’t show up. It shows they are taking us and work very seriously and they care about our wellbeing because it has a direct impact on productivity. Thanks to the team for such a wonderful event, keep it up.’

Student counsellor Mrs Wulganathi Thaver commented: ‘Well done to the CHS. You certainly have shown us that the team is valued. This gesture goes a long way in boosting staff morale. I am proudly a CHS staff member and appreciate the extra mile that management has gone to ensure that staff is heard and appreciated. Thank you.’

Professor Fanie Botha, who encouraged everyone to bring the team spirit back to the office, said: ‘Communication is key to ensuring successful teams. The lesson we learned from all these activities today is to clearly communicate the message and to listen carefully to your team mates. I’m also encouraged by the full participation of everyone here and look forward to further interactions.’

MaryAnn Francis


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UKZN Academic at the Coal Face of Marine Conservation

UKZN Academic at the Coal Face of Marine Conservation
Project members celebrate the rewards of their fundraising efforts.

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academic, Dr Thea van der Westhuizen, is a member of the marine conservation initiative, Paddle for the Planet, which has raised R60 000 to introduce a project - involving booms, bins and bags - to help clean up the Umgeni River.

As the champion of the project, van der Westhuizen teamed up with UKZN’s MACE Labs (Marine Biology, Aquaculture, Conservation Education and Ecophysiology) Director, Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, and the Dusi Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) to implement the environmental conservation initiative to remove plastic and other debris polluting rivers and the sea in South Africa.

‘Paddle for the Planet is a movement that was born in Dubai in 2011 where some paddling friends decided there was a need to create change,’ said van der Westhuizen. ‘Since then we have run numerous projects to make a difference to our marine conservation, rivers and estuaries and this is one of them. Last year, the organisation celebrated its five-year anniversary and we are looking forward to doing more for our planet.’

Robertson-Andersson, who recently delivered a presentation on the impact of microplastics on the environment, said the project could not have come at a better time as keeping our oceans and rivers clean was a priority.

‘This will 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,’ said Robertson-Andersson.

‘It is great to partner with people like DUCT and Paddle for the Planet because we are all thinking along the same lines in that we are trying to protect both our fresh water and its animal life as well as the sea and the creatures that inhabit its waters.’

Durban members of Paddle for the Planet recently participated in a 25km surf ski race to show their support for the project.

Thandiwe Jumo


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Digital Arts Students Display Work at Jack Heath Gallery

Digital Arts Students Display Work at Jack Heath Gallery
A selection of works designed by UKZN Digital Arts students.

Senior and honours Digital Arts students exhibited their 3D work and comic books at the Jack Heath Gallery at UKZN’s Centre for Visual Art (CVA).

The material on show was printed on the new 3D and 2D printers bought from funds given to the Digital Arts Programme by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities Professor Cheryl Potgieter

The exhibition introduced Potgieter to the current work being done by Digital Arts and gave her the opportunity to engage with students on their studies, leading to a discussion on the future development of the Digital Arts programme.

‘The work being done by the students is excellent and indicative of what is being produced by the next generation of artists,’ said Potgieter.

Potgieter was presented with a model of one of the students’ designs.

Digital Arts Lecturer Ms Michelle Stewart, who was both proud and excited to spearhead the exhibit, said: ‘The work of the students is of international standard and has a South African feel to it. The graphic stories and motion comics are done in a sophisticated way while highlighting the personal voice of the artist.’

Student Ms Charmane Mbambo’s work was inspired by anime, manga and Victorian and futuristic aesthetic from architecture to fashion.  The display gave her the opportunity to put all her interests together in a steampunk/cyberpunk anime inspired comic.

‘It’s an honour to exhibit with my peers because I know the amount of work that went into each of our pieces. I’m also happy about digital art being recognised as a legitimate art form because that allows us to be proud of our work,’ said Mbambo.

Honours student Mr Njabulo Dladla’s work is a short illustrated film themed on the depiction of dreams in movies and delving deeper into the subconscious battle versus the conscious and the unconscious and the surrealist, cubistic and abstract nature of such dreams. Dladla’s piece, Psychotherapy House, is a psychotherapy session which tells the narrative of the illustrated film between the protagonist and the psychotherapist.

The Distorted Bedroom is an example of how the dream world can be projected, as the perspective is distorted and reality and logic are questioned, while Door to Door is another example of the distortion in reality and the bizarre nature of dreams.

Ms Kimara Moodley’s exhibit was a post-media artwork that involved bringing together the art and skills of graphic drawing, motion graphics and film. ‘The subject of the short illustrated film is my life - the truth in animation and graphic drawing of the ways in which I have had more love and death than one would normally know. I wish for this piece of art to not only hold the experiential truth of what love and death hold, but to also show that the events of life - though difficult at times - always give us something beautiful,’ she explained.

Student Ms Tess Galbraith said: ‘I feel privileged to be part of this exhibition as it allows my work to be seen by a larger audience than usual. The Digital Arts programme is growing with more and more external interest which makes me happy as it is my passion and I hope to pursue a career in developing and enlightening people about the art form.

‘This exhibition is a great opportunity for the University to see what we as arts students are capable of and how our work is useful in many fields other than purely art/aesthetics. Being a Digital Art student takes a lot of patience and time while learning new programmes and coming up with diverse ways to portray our ideas. So being a part of this exhibition makes me feel like I have accomplished something. I feel proud and honoured.’

Melissa Mungroo


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Articles by UKZN Authors Highly Rated in SA Medical Journal

Articles by UKZN Authors Highly Rated in SA Medical Journal
Professor Colleen Aldous and Dr Somasundram Pillay.

UKZN School of Clinical Medicine authors Dr Somasundram Pillay and Professor Colleen Aldous currently occupy the top three places for frequently read articles in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ).

The top article, titled, “The Burden of Diabetes Mellitus in KwaZulu-Natal’s Public Sector: A Five-Year perspective”, has 2 233 views for its abstract while the full text has 888 views.

The study aims to describe the burden of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) in the public sector in KwaZulu-Natal. It found that there was a decline in the number of patients initiated on treatment per 100 000 population from 2010 to 2014 inclusive (265.9 v. 197.5 v. 200.7 v. 133.4 v. 148.7).

Defaulter rates for 2013 compared with 2014 were 3.31% v. 1.75%, respectively and amputation rates were 0.09% v. 0.05% for 2013 and 2014, respectively. There was a strong proportional relationship observed between the number of defaulters and number of diabetes-related amputations (r=0.801; p=0.000) (Pearson correlation). A notable percentage of DM patients ranging between 63% and 80% started pharmacological therapy at their local clinics rather than at hospitals in the province.

Second is the study titled: “Introducing a Multifaceted Approach to the Management of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) in Resource-Limited Settings”. It describes the introduction of a multifaceted approach to the management of DM in a resource-limited clinic at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. The article has 1 826 abstract views and 527 full text views.

Third is the article titled: “A Deadly Combination - HIV and Diabetes Mellitus: Where Are We Now?” Co-authored with Dr Fazleh Mahomed, it has 1 823 abstract and 394 full text views.

The study aims to establish if there is a difference in blood pressure, lipid and glycaemic control and complications between HIV-infected and uninfected diabetic patients; and to compare characteristics among HIV-infected diabetic patients between those with optimal and sub-optimal glycaemic control.

The authors concluded that, HIV-infected diabetic patients had significantly poorer blood sugar control and a higher incidence of neuropathy and nephropathy (when defined by overt proteinuria). There was a non-significant difference noted between the HIV-infected and uninfected diabetic patients with regard to blood pressure and lipid control. The majority of HIV-infected patients on ARVs failed to achieve target glycaemic control. Obesity remains a global challenge, as noted in both the HIV-infected and uninfected diabetic patients. 

‘Seeing Somasundrum’s papers in the top most read articles gives me joy,’ said Aldous. ‘The recognition is well deserved as his motives are altruistic. He wants his patients to feel better and have better quality of life.’

Aldous is attached to UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine while Pillay is based at the Department of Internal Medicine at Edendale Hospital.

Mahomed was Head of Internal Medicine at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg but is now at the University of the Free State’s Universitas Hospital.

Nombuso Dlamini


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Three UKZN Accounting Students in Top 12 of International Competition

Three UKZN Accounting Students in Top 12 of International Competition
The winning team: Mr Rudi Wies, Mr Steffen Wies and Mr Mahomed Osman.

A UKZN team of three third year Accounting students has finished in the Top 12 of an international business management case study competition and will now compete for a place in the semi-finals.

The students are Mr Steffen and Rudolph Wies who are twins and Mr Mahomed Osman.

This year’s competition attracted 1 278 entrants from 53 universities in 25 countries throughout the world.

The competition is organised by the CharterQuest Institute and CharterCapital Advisory TeamSA - a committee of CIMA & ACCA students at the Institute with global case study competition experience - and South Africa’s Barclays-sponsored CIMA2015 Global Business Challenge Champions (GBC).

In its efforts to inspire the next generation of Chief Financial Officers and Global Business Leaders, the competition challenges competitors to showcase their business acumen and leadership and presentation skills by solving a set of real life complex finance, managerial and strategic problems affecting a hypothetical African company.

Steffen is the team leader, Osman is the co-ordinator identifying the strengths of each team member and Rudolph is the evaluator keeping the team rooted and focused.

‘We entered the competition to challenge ourselves in a practical manner,’ said Steffen. ‘We wanted to broaden our horizons by using the knowledge gained at UKZN to tackle issues experienced by a large company.

‘We feel very honoured that our report was selected as one of the top 12. We believe that we have been given a fantastic opportunity to be able to move forward in the competition as we are now competing against top business students from around the world.’

The group’s report that won them a spot in the top 12 analysed the scenario of a fictional company whose issues are based on those experienced by MTN and other telecommunication organisations and advised the company’s directors using a variety of management, finance and accounting models.

For a position in the semi-finals, the team is required to deliver a 15 minute video presentation reporting on their recommendations to a judging panel. With the mentorship of Financial Lecturer, Ms Salma Vanker, the team is confident of doing well.

‘Winning the competition would be a fantastic achievement for us and show we have the ability to compete internationally,’ said Steffen. ‘We are also looking forward to our future career prospects as we all having training contracts with large firms.’

School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s Acting Dean, Dr Mabutho Sibanda wished the trio all the best in the competition.

To view the team’s profile visit:  http://charterquest.co.za/page/team-ukzn

Thandiwe Jumo


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CHS Allocates R32 Million Towards Bursaries

CHS Allocates R32 Million Towards Bursaries
Mr Bahle Tshoba (front) fourth year Medical student.

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) has allocated R32 million towards postgraduate bursaries this year.

CHS, a multi-professional College spread across four of the five UKZN campuses, is a recognised centre of excellence in health professional education, research, and community programmes.

This College is not only focused on giving students high quality health education, it also assists financially, ensuring that students who come from less privileged backgrounds are given an opportunity to further their education and make something of themselves. All of this is dependent on a student’s progress and an adequate budget.

PhD in Public Health student, Ms Nonzwakazi Ntombela, is one of many CHS scholarship recipients. ‘I heard about the scholarship through Professor Chimbari’s talks and later asked for an application form from my department.’

Fourth year Medical student Mr Bahle Tshoba, whose parents have both died, said: ‘I think medicine chose me because from primary school there’s nothing I ever wanted to do besides medicine.’  Tshoba passed his matric in 2012 with seven distinctions through the Inanda Newtown Comprehensive High School.

‘I never paid school fees; I don’t think my teachers wanted to lose an A- student,’ said Tshoba.

After matric Tshoba was faced with the problem of not being able to pay for his tertiary education.

His neighbour helped him apply for the Gagasi FM tuition award of R8 000, while The Daily News published an article about his heart-breaking situation which led to him receiving a call from former UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, who approached the CHS to award Tshoba funding.

‘I always strive for academic excellence, I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but I do the best I can,’ says Tshoba.

Sinenhlanhla Ngubane


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Female Headed Households a Centre of Discussion at Seminar

Female Headed Households a Centre of Discussion at Seminar
Professor Allison Goebel.

A seminar which explored the challenges facing women-headed households under the topic: “On their Own: Women, Urbanisation, and the Right to the City in South Africa”, was recently held on UKZN’s Howard College campus.

The Seminar, hosted by the international and Public Affairs (IPA) Cluster in collaboration with the Society of Political Science Students (SOPPS), was presented by Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, Professor Allison Goebel.

During her wide spread research, Goebel worked in seven different areas in Pietermaritzburg/Msunduzi Municipality, including informal settlements, newer RDP settlement and older township areas, where she explored the experiences of women post-1994.

Overall, Goebel navigates different layers of urbanisation in South Africa and identifies the ways through which women’s experiences of urbanisation differ from those of men’s, and why these differences matter.

Among her findings, Goebel established that for low income urban Africans in South Africa, female headed households are in the majority and therefore should be considered “the norm”.

Female heads are sometimes grandmothers and great-grandmothers looking after children, but there are also younger women living with their sisters, etc.

The source of income for these households included government pensions, child and foster grants, and fees for looking after AIDS orphans.

Despite the financial challenges, Goebel said the women articulated themselves as ‘leaders’ of the family as they held important positions within those families.

Goebel said owning RDP houses gave them a sense of pride and belonging as they had a place to call home.

Because of the high rate of unemployment, she said sometimes people were forced to rent or sell their RDP houses and move back to informal settlements.

She added that some of the negatives she observed were the location, poor quality sanitation and the lack of access to proper services. Goebel said TB and HIV and AIDS were among compounding factors when it came to health issues, including long-term health problems and a lack of dental health.

Goebel says South Africa is still largely racially segregated and the country will continue to see a reproduction of these groups.

She is the author of Gender and Land Reform: The Zimbabwe Experience and her latest book is titled, On Their Own.

 Sithembile Shabangu


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Help Save Someone’s Life and Celebrate World Blood Donor Month this June

Help Save Someone’s Life and Celebrate World Blood Donor Month this June
From left: Ms Thembale Nkomo; Ms Mahle Myaka; Ms Nangamso Rozani; Ms Amanda Mlomo; Ms Sithabile Mwelane; Ms Mandy Bergsma, Donor Recruitment Specialist,The Sunflowerfund; Ms Lwandile Vilani and Ms Fanele Makhanya.

The theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Month campaign is ‘Blood connects us all’. It focuses on thanking blood donors and highlights the dimension of sharing and connection between blood donors and patients. In addition, the slogan: :Share life, give blood” has been adopted globally, to draw attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and promote community cohesion.

The campaign aims to highlight stories of people whose lives have been saved through blood donation, to motivate regular blood donors to continue giving blood, and encourage people in good health who have never given blood to begin doing so, particularly young people.

June is World Blood Donor Month and the students from UKZN’s Howard College campus, with the support of The Sunflower Fund and the South African National Blood Services (SANBS), are encouraging members of the public to donate blood and register as stem cell donors. By educating healthy, caring and committed people they hope to increase the numbers of potential donors on the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR). For patients with life threatening blood disorders like leukaemia, this offers a greater chance of finding a match and a second chance at life.  By donating a unit of blood, you can help to save three lives.

It only takes two test tubes of blood to register as a potential bone marrow stem cell donor on the SABMR but it costs R2 000 to tissue type the blood samples to the required DNA level. The Sunflower Fund, responsible for the recruitment and growth of the SABMR, engages in extensive awareness and fundraising to pay for these costs for potential donors. To donate R20 to this worthy cause, in support of World Blood Donor Month, SMS “SUNFLOWER” to 40555. (SMS charged at R20. Free sms’s do not apply. Revenue paid to the charity is subject to network operator fees and administration fees).

Please contact The Sunflower Fund toll free 0800 12 10 82, weekdays between 08h30 and 16h30 or visit www.sunflowerfund.org.za for more information. To arrange an awareness talk at your organisation, please contact Mandy Bergsma, mandy@sunflowerfund.org.za.

The students are also encouraging the public to join the South African National Blood Service this June in celebrating those who contribute to saving the lives of others. To find out more about World Blood Donor Day and Blood Donor Month visit www.sanbs.org.za or call 0800 11 9031.

About The Sunflower Fund:

The Sunflower Fund, a South African Non-Profit Company (NPC), is dedicated to creating awareness, educating the public and handling the registration process for people to join the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR).

The Sunflower Fund pays for the test cost of people joining the SABMR. This is fundamental to saving the lives of thousands of South Africans each year. The chance of finding a matching donor is 1 in 100 000 – and as ethnic origin plays a significant role in the search for a donor, South Africa’s rainbow nation is at a distinct disadvantage, requiring a large pool of prospective donors.

The aim of The Sunflower Fund is to increase the number of donors on the current registry to at least 400 000.

Should you wish to become a donor, support one of the fundraising projects or make a financial contribution, please contact The Sunflower Fund on toll-free number: 0800 12 10 82. Visit www.sunflowerfund.org.za to learn more or look out for the DONATE button to make a cash donation via the website.

Mandy Bergsma


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Decolonisation and Transformation Explored at UKZN Lecture

Decolonisation and Transformation Explored at UKZN Lecture
From left: Mr Eusebius McKaiser, Professor Renuka Vithal, Mr Lukhona Mnguni and Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

Political analyst, author, commentator and facilitator, Mr Eusebius McKaiser, delivered a lecture at UKZN on: Disrupting Conventional Paradigms – Decolonising the Curriculum, Research and Community Outreach for “True Transformation”.

The event, hosted by the College of Humanities in collaboration with the Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit, was part of the College’s public lecture series on transformation and leadership.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said speakers at the public lecture series were invited based on their ‘contribution to issues that we are engaging with, not only in Higher Education, but in society in general’.

Potgieter said the College of Humanities welcomed ‘different voices’ and would host a colloquium later in the year that addressed the issues being dealt with at the lecture series.

Delivering the keynote address, McKaiser said what needed to be decolonised when it came to the academy in South Africa was the idea of an epistemic hierarchy.

He said there was a need to call the bluff of academics and researchers for ‘keeping at bay pernicious state power and corporate power, and holding back on more humble criticism of the choices that are made.

‘There’s a pretence that academic freedom demands that one does not respond to social critique about what you are researching and teaching. And yet the irony is that all that is being role-modelled in the end is intellectual and academic viciousness. So it’s bad pedagogy to have these exclusionary choices,’ he said.

McKaiser also examined the research and teaching obligations of South African academics. ‘I think we have fallen short of those under the pretext of academic freedom.

‘Freedom is what we fought for when we chose a liberal democratic society in 1994. But we have this weird belief as academics and researchers that the hallmark of academic freedom is that you should be completely unencumbered in the choices you make about what to research and what to teach. I think that is absolute rubbish!’

Holder of a World Master’s Debate title, McKaiser gave his perspective on transformation and juxtaposed it with decolonisation.

‘For me, decolonisation, which we have been gifted by young South Africans, is a term that is preferable to transformation which speaks to a polite politics in which you make incremental changes,’ he said. 

He emphasised that transformation was linked to justice and inclusivity, including in the corporate environment, schools and universities. ‘Transformation has got to aim at inclusivity. That means that spaces in our society that have “exclusionary practices”, that have institutional cultures that are incredibly odious, and don’t speak to the realities and the biographies of all the girls and boys that go to that school, are unjust.’

McKaiser thanked Potgieter and the Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit for inviting him to participate in the discussions.

PhD Candidate and researcher with the Maurice Webb Relations Unit, Mr Lukhona Mnguni, said institutions of higher learning were navigating uncharted waters. ‘Doomsayers have declared the death of universities in South Africa. Overzealous proponents of decoloniality have declared an end to dialogue. Sceptics are of the view that we talk too much – and before we know it, the agitation for decolonisation will lose steam before it has realised its goals,’ said Mnguni.

The SRC President at Howard College, Mr Bandile Majola, said the lecture series had created a platform which allowed students to engage in robust discussion which played an integral role in raising the consciousness of students.

Acting Dean: College Research, Professor Pholoho Morojele, facilitated the question and answer session, while the Director of the Maurice Webb Race Relations Unit, Professor Paulus Zulu, delivered the concluding remarks.

College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa, delivered the vote of thanks, while Potgieter acknowledged the SRC, College PR Manager Ms Xoliswa Zulu, and Mr Lukhona Mnguni for contributing to the success of the lecture.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


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