Play by MA Drama Student Published

Play by MA Drama Student Published
Mr Kline Smith with his recently published play, Mob Feel.

Mob Feel, a play by a master’s student and creator of UKZN’s tagline Inspiring Greatness, Mr Kline Smith, has been published by Junkets Publishers in the Junkets10 Series.

Smith says Mob Feel hauntingly foresees a reality of life as it is lived today, and reflects the broad canvas of South Africa.

‘When I first came across Can Themba’s masterpiece in 2012, I had no idea I was blowing the dust off such an important South African classic,’ said Smith. ‘I’m honoured to be playing a part in making such a beautiful, painful and poignant story accessible to performers and students both here at home and around the world.

‘The opportunity to have Mob Feel published is also a tremendous honour and I hope that the book will aid some young artist along his journey of theatre directing,’ said Smith.

Mob Feel is set in the summer of 1952 against the backdrop of an extended period of gang violence and ethnic rivalry, fuelled by mob mentality, which devastated the township of Westbury in Johannesburg.

The tragic love story is that of Linga and Mapula, and their attempt to overcome an old ethnic rivalry stained with prejudice, violence and pain. It unfolds through evocative storytelling with no elaborate props, sets, lighting, costumes and frills being used.

‘The play is simply four people with a guitar, a drum, an abundance of energy and a story that is hauntingly reminiscent of the atrocities committed recently in South Africa; most notably, the devastating xenophobic attacks that flared up in parts of the country,’ said Smith.

The book was part of the Junkets Sponsor-a-Playscript drive in which a person can sponsor a play script for R8 000, jointly sponsor a play script with one other sponsor for R4 000 each or sponsor pages of a playscript for R100 each. All sponsorships for Mob Feel are acknowledged on the imprint page of the book.

Smith is keen to run the show early next year together with the book launch, signing and conversation with the cast. ‘I regard myself as a UKZN ambassador and could not have done this play without the generous and consistent support from the University.’

To order Mob Feel email info.junkets@iafrica.com

Melissa Mungroo


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Community Psychology Conference Addressed on Homelessness by UKZN Academic

Community Psychology Conference Addressed on Homelessness by UKZN Academic
From left: Professor Jose Ornelas, Professor Beth Shinn, Professor Geoffrey Nelson, Professor Ernest Khalema, Professor Tim Aubry and Professor Arvin Bhana.

Professor Ernest Khalema, Academic Leader in the Discipline of Community Development in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, recently presented a paper as part of an international panel at the 6th International Conference on Community Psychology at the Durban ICC.

The paper was titled: “The Ethics of Unpacking Mental Health Issues in the Research on Homelessness: Process, Methods, and Observations from a CBPAR Project in Durban, South Africa”.

Hosted by UNISA, the South African Medical Research Council, and the Psychological Society of South Africa, the Conference assembled community psychologists, and other community social scientists from South Africa and around the world along the theme, Global Dialogues on Critical Knowledge Liberation, and Community. 

Khalema was part of an international panel of experts who deliberated on ways of responding to the surge of street and shelter living (homelessness).  The panel reflected on a variety of effective solutions and interventions that have been tried and tested worldwide.

This multi-disciplinary panel included Professor Jose Ornelas of the Instituto de Ciências Pedagógicas in Portugal, Professor Beth Shinn of Vanderbilt University in the United States, Professor Geoffrey Nelson of Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, Professor Tim Aubry of the University of Ottawa in Canada, and Professor Arvin Bhana of the Health Systems Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council.

In another panel session, Khalema with a research team from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) led by Dr Chris Desmond, presented a symposium detailing the findings of Phase 1 (qualitative findings) of the Durban homelessness project, which Khalema led.

Funded by the Safer Cities Unit of the eThekwini Municipality under the leadership of Mr Martin Xaba and Ms Nomusa Shembe, the HSRC collaborative team recently completed Phase 2 - Homelessness Census, and is currently finalising Phase 3 - Community Consultations and Roundtables with stakeholders, to chart a way forward in policy/practice recommendations and action plans to address homelessness in the Durban CBD.

Melissa Mungroo


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Medical Education Partnership Initiative Receives KZN Excellence Award

Medical Education Partnership Initiative Receives KZN Excellence Award
Professors Raziya Bobat, Douglas Wassenaar, Jack Moodley and Dr Sandy Pillay.

Professor Jack Moodley, Professor Raziya Bobat and Professor Douglas Wassenaar received a Service Excellence Award from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, on behalf of the UKZN Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) team.

The award made special mention of MEPI’s contribution to medical training in rural health settings.

The team was pleasantly surprised by the nomination which they said was unexpected.

The three professors, who are not sure who nominated them for the award, said they were privileged to be part of a great MEPI team, initially led by Professor Umesh Lalloo, and later by Dr Sandy Pillay.

Pillay, current Communicating Principal Investigator on MEPI, and Wassenaar received the award on behalf of the UKZN MEPI team at a ceremony at the Durban Exhibition Centre.

‘Other MEPI co-Principal Investigators, Professor Raziya Bobat and Professor Jack Moodley, contributed their own strong abilities and areas of excellence as did the many, many competent UKZN and KZN DoH collaborators and other academics who supported UKZN MEPI,’ said Wassenaar.

Moodley led a component called Essential Steps in the Management of Obstetric Emergencies and Emergency Obstetrics Simulation Training (ESMOE-EOST- modular training and ‘fire drills’) into the UKZN MEPI programme. This type of training for undergraduates and postgraduates, interns, professional nurses and nursing lecturers was promoted and supported by Dhlomo, Lalloo and Dr Neil Moran, the KZN Provincial Director of Obstetric Services.

ESMOE-EOST demonstrates a constructive and effective collaboration between health services and educational institutions to improve the quality of care provided to pregnant women and their infants.

Wassenaar emphasised that the UKZN MEPI initiative was fortunate to have excellent support staff in Dr Nisha Nadesan-Reddy, Ms Nivedhna Singh, Ms Aruna Sevakram, and Mr Prem Ramnarain, who anchored the complex project and drove the deliverables.

‘The funders, the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health, also gave UKZN MEPI strong support through very difficult times experienced at UKZN due to the change to the College model,’ said Wassenaar.

The US MEPI funds foreign institutions in sub-Saharan African countries that receive PEPFAR support and their partners to develop or expand and enhance models of medical education. 

MEPI aimed to advance PEPFAR’s goal of increasing the number of new health care workers by 140 000, strengthen in-country medical education systems, and build clinical and research capacity in Africa as part of a retention strategy for faculty of medical schools and clinical professors.

The Initiative supports African institutions in a dozen countries, forming a network including more than 30 regional partners, country health and education ministries, and more than 20 US and foreign collaborators.

Working with bright young minds who want to make a difference to South Africa through locally relevant excellent research for evidence-based health practice, keeps Wassenaar going. ‘In health there are always new challenges and more questions than answers - new healthcare challenges keep emerging, demanding competent research and intervention.’

Nombuso Dlamini


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Nursing Students tell Youngsters about Dangers of Substance Abuse

Nursing Students tell Youngsters about Dangers of Substance Abuse
Second-year Nursing students at various community interventions.

Second-year Nursing students gave a talk to more than 200 Grade 7 to Grade 9 learners from Assegai Primary in Austerville and Mayville Secondary School at Cato Crest in Durban.

The students, who presented the programmes as part of their community engagement programme, spoke about how alcohol and drug abuse could lead to risky behaviours, influencing and affecting their studies and their lives.

Students performed plays for learners with the aim of educating them about the consequences of teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV and AIDS, intergenerational relationships, pollution and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Led by Ms Nomcebo Dlamini, students spoke to about 113 Grade 7 learners in Austerville about the pressures of being new in high school, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse.

They also discussed school dropout due to substance abuse and pregnancy. A local policeman, Warrant Ballad Reddy, gave an address on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. He also gave the children the police’s emergency number, 10111, and told them about the importance of knowing it.

Learners mentioned several street drugs available in their area, including whoonga, cocaine, tic and dagga.  ‘About 80% of people who started with cigarettes are on heroin now in this area. Cigarettes are the gateway to other drugs,’ said Reddy.

Meanwhile, in Cato Crest a group of students led by Mr Siyabonga Mkhize spoke to 150 Grade 8 and Grade 9 learners about the consequences of teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and pollution.

Colleague Ms Sthabile Mathebula told learners that teenage pregnancy increased the cycle of poverty. ‘It affects the community by causing overcrowding,’ she said.

Learners could prevent teen pregnancy by abstinence or having sex using condoms.

Students donated six drums to prevent littering on the school premises to curb the problem of pollution which is an environmental and health hazard. They also donated cleaning pads and cleaning detergents.

The students have been working in their respective communities with their facilitator, Dr Mbali Mhlongo, since January.  They started by doing community assessments in order to identify community needs and implement community intervention projects.

Educators from both schools agreed with the students’ discovery that alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy were prevalent among children aged 13 to 16.

Nombuso Dlamini


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Video Slams Attacks on Healthcare Workers in War Ravaged Areas

Video Slams Attacks on Healthcare Workers in War Ravaged Areas
UKZN Medical students who are members of the #NotATarget campaign.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) students, all members of UKZN’s Friends of Médecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) (FoMSF), have produced a video highlighting attacks on health care workers in war-torn countries.

The video, flighted on Facebook, forms part of the students’ national campaign, #NotATarget, where various activities are being carried out by FoMSF organisations at universities around South Africa.

UKZN FoMSF Vice-Chairperson Ms Jayde Walton said: ‘We started a trend where people would post a photo with various signs saying #NotATarget or other statuses around the issue. We also urged others to stand in solidarity with MSF in spreading the message to a wider audience.’ 

The #NotATarget campaign was initially started by the MSF. ‘The campaign is an attempt to raise awareness about air strikes in Syria and the Central African Republic where many health care facilities have been bombed.

According to UKZN FoMSF members, the attacks have killed and injured patients, doctors, nurses and other health workers caring for those in war-torn areas.

Nombuso Dlamini


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DRILL for Research Excellence

DRILL for Research Excellence
It is in our hands, UKZN with the KZN DoH teams.

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) met with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (DoH) recently to discuss collaboration on the University’s Developing Research Innovation, Localisation and Leadership (DRILL) project.

DRILL is a flagship project for the CHS, a D43 US National Institutes of Health (NIH) International Research Training Award 2015-2020.

UKZN’s Department of Rural Health HOD, Dr Mosa Moshabela, said the project aimed to develop local health solutions for local problems and still be part of the competitive global knowledge society through developing advanced researchers.

‘CHS will implement the five-year multidisciplinary international research training programme for “junior faculty” members, under the following scientific areas: Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), Mental Health, Health Professions’ Education and Health Systems Strengthening and Research Ethics,’ said Moshabela.

The project’s goal is to produce 20 high quality scientists in five years, sufficiently skilled to lead socially valuable, locally relevant and culturally sensitive research programmes designed around the health challenges facing South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal.

DRILL hopes to benefit health professionals including nurses. ‘The programme will develop innovative researchers who can become leaders in their fields,’ said Moshabela.

He said it was important to destigmatise research. ‘Research is not only for academics. It needs to include nurses and all health workers. We need to invest in the human resources available and DRILL is one way we can take a step forward towards knowledge production.’

UKZN and KZN DoH have since 2013 embarked on a joint mission to transform both the healthcare and education systems to better align with each other, with a joint vision to become more socially accountable and responsive.

‘The DRILL training programme is founded on this joint mission of the University and Department in an effort to establish a new generation of faculty members suited to deliver, support and lead reformed health professional training and development located outside of the metropolitan areas in KwaZulu-Natal,’ Moshabela said.

DRILL is a response to the challenges of low research capacity in African universities. It aims to improve the environment for research as well as a deliberate strategy to develop both individual and institutional research capacity.

DoH HOD, Dr Sifiso Mtshali, said the Department appreciated the invitation to be part of the project and said he would love to discuss his Department’s involvement.

Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, who was visibly excited about the project encouraged his HOD Dr Mtshali to showcase the project to the Cabinet. He commended UKZN’s Medical School for being actively involved with the Department of Health. ‘UKZN has the only Medical School ready to accept students from Cuba,’ said Dhlomo.

Nombuso Dlamini


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Africa Centre Fun Run Draws more than 200 Entrants

Africa Centre Fun Run Draws more than 200 Entrants
Participants in the Africa Centre’s fun run.

The Africa Centre for Population Health in northern KwaZulu-Natal held its annual community fun run to commemorate Youth Month, attracting more than 200 entrants.

Themed “A Healthy Body, A Healthy Mind”, the run was held in KwaSomkhele, near Mtubatuba. 

The Africa Centre is based in Somkhele where it conducts community-based health and population research.

The Centre believes that the fun run, which has been held annually for the past six years, not only entertains the community but promotes the importance of leading healthy lifestyles.

Welcoming guests at the event, the Deputy Director of the Africa Centre, Dr Kobus Herbst, said: ‘It is important for people to participate and keep active as this helps eliminate some of the illnesses we find in our communities. These ailments can be significantly reduced with physical activity.’ 

The race, over 6km and 12km, was also an opportunity to educate and create awareness around HIV and other health related topics. 

Sponsors of the event were Jock Morrison-Mtubatuba, Bidvest Waltons, Calefra Printing, Pick n’ Pay in Mtubatuba, Bidvest First for Food-CCW, and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports and Recreation’s uMkhanyakude District Office.

Lihle Sosibo


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Kwenziwa Imizamo Yokuthuthukisa Izinga Lemiphumela Yabafundi Abamnyama Abenza Iziqu ze-Onazi Ku-B Com Accounting

Kwenziwa Imizamo Yokuthuthukisa Izinga Lemiphumela Yabafundi Abamnyama Abenza Iziqu ze-Onazi Ku-B Com Accounting
Abebebambe iqhaza ezifundweni zezokuhlelwa kwamabhuku ezimali.

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Isikole Sezokuhlelwa Kwamabhuku Ezimali, EzoMnotho, NezeziMali ibambisene ne-Advancement of Black Accountants of South Africa (ABASA), ne-South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) bahlele izifundo ezihlose ukuthuthukisa izinga lokusebenza kwabafundi beziqu ze-Onazi ku-B Com Accounting.

Lolu hlelo olusukela zingama-23 kuya kuma-30 kuNhlangulana beluhlanganise abafundi abangama-71 abavela emiphakathini entulayo lapho behlomule ngokuthola izifundo ezengeziwe kwezokuhlelwa kwamabhuku ezimali okusezingeni eliphakeme, ukuhlolwa kwamabhuku ezimali okusezingeni eliphakeme, ezokulawulwa kokuhlelwa kwamabhuku ezimali nezokulawulwa kwezezimali kanye nezentela ukuze kuqinisekiswe ukuthi bakulungele ukubhala isivivinyo se-SAICA ITC okuyisinyathelo sokuqala ekubeni yi-CA.

‘Izifundo ze-ABASA/SAICA/UKZN Winter School zifike ngesikhathi esibaluleke kakhulu kubafundi nasezweni jikelele. Lolu hlelo lufike ngesikhathi izwe liphezu kohlelo lokuletha uguquko; nokuqinisekisa ukuthi intsha ihlinzekwa ngamakhono abalulekile kakhulu emkhakheni yezokuhlelwa kwamabhuku ezimali. Ukubonakala kobungxube kubafundi ababuya emiphakathini entulayo okwenziwe yi-ABASA ne-SAICA kumele kushayelwe ihlombe futhi kusetshenziswe njengesisekelo semikhankaso ezayo. Ukungenelela ngaloluhlobo kunesiqiniseko semiphumela emihle,’kusho oyibamba leDini yesikole, uDkt Mabutho Sibanda.

Omele i-ABASA uMnu Mbusiswa Ngcobo uthe: ‘Inhloso enkulu ye-ABASA ibambisene nabanye ababambe iqhaza  abambandakanya ne-SAICA, sithemba ukuthi ngalolu hlelo, ukukhuphuka kwezinga lokuphumelela  kubafundi abamnyama nabangamakhaladi ezifundweni ze-CTA e-UKZN kuzoba nomthelela omuhle emkhakheni wezokuhlelwa kwamabhuku ezimali esifundeni sethu ukuze sihambelane nomphakathi esiphila kuwo.’

Onguthisha e-SAEF futhi ongumxhumanisi wohlelo i-Thuthuka uDkt Msizi Mkhize uthe lo mkhankaso uhlose ukuthuthukusa amakhono okuqondisisa abafundi.

‘Abaqeqeshi bebegxile emaswini asebenza uma kunokuhlolwa kanye namakhono okufunda. Abafundi bebeqeqeshwa ngezindlela zokulawula isikhathi nokuthola amamaki aphezulu lapho abaqeqeshi bebegcizelela ukubaluleka kokufunda imibuzo kuqala ngaphambi kokubheka izinsiza abazinikeziwe. Le ndlela iqinisekisa ukuthi abafundi bagxila ezimpendulweni ezifanele.' 

Umfundi weziqu ze-Onazi uThembeka Bobo uthe ufunde lukhulu kulolu hlelo. ‘Engikuthakasele kakhulu ngalezi zifundo ukuthi sibhala nezivivinyo ukuze sihlole ukuthi siqonda kangakanani esikufundayo,’ kusho uBobo. ‘Lokhu kusinika ithuba lokukala ukuthi sesifunde kangakanani nokuthi kumele siqinise kephi ngoba uma sisuke silalele ofundisayo echaza ekilasini lokho akusho ukuthi siqonda konke okushiwoyo. Ulwazi engiluzuzile selungenze ngazethemba ukuthi ngizophumelela ezifundweni zami,’ usho kanje.

NguThandiwe Jumo


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SA Political Spoof Enthralls DIFF Audiences

SA Political Spoof Enthralls DIFF Audiences
Wonder Boy for President cast members Lara Lipschitz and Kagiso Lediga.

Wonder Boy for President, a political satire which looks at the ‘not so serious side’ of the South African political landscape, opens in South African cinemas in July.

The film, which featured at this year’s Durban Film Festival (DIFF), follows two political “fixers”, Brutus (Tony Miyumbo) and Shakes (Ntosh Maadlingozi), who call the shots and “pull  strings” at the ANC’s headquarters in Braamfontein.

The insightful yet funny take on South African politics is directed by South African award-winning film maker, John Barker.

It took five years to complete and was described by Barker as a “labour of love”.

‘We made it with a lot of love - thank you for choosing it for DIFF 2016,’ said Barker. 

It tells the story of Wonder Boy (Kagiso Lediga), a charismatic young man from the Eastern Cape, who is convinced to run for president by Shakes and Brutus.

Their aim is to mould him into a great politician and manufacture his downfall at the right time, for the right price.

The film also features South African starlet, Thishiwe Ziqubu, as Wonder Boy’s love interest.

Barker uses some well-known politicians, who played themselves, including President Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, Julius Malema, Cyril Ramaphosa, Zwelinzima Vavi among others.

‘The film used available footage from various news sources and we spliced it into (in) appropriate places to add to the laughs,’ said Barker.

Added Miyumbo: ‘We made this film with no money and each person on the cast contributed their time and talent.’

Other cast members include: John Vlismas as Emeric ‘the dodgy dude with a gun’, Akin Omotoso as ‘a Nigerian on the street’, Loyiso Gola as himself and Barker as a ‘dodgy construction guy’.

It also features the talents of David Kibuuka, Zabalaza Mchunu, Lara Lipschitz, Bryan Van Niekerk, Christopher Steenkamp, Camilo Saloojee, Daniel Friedman, Ntokozo Majozi, Tshepo Mogale, Lazola Gola, Robbie Collins, Mary Twala and Mojack.

The 37th Durban International Film Festival was hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts in UKZN’s College of Humanities. For more information visit www.durbanfilmfestival.co.za Twitter: #DIFF2016   @DIFFest

Slindile Mkhize and DIFF Film Fest


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Documentary at DIFF Highlights Realities of Modern Day SA

Documentary at DIFF Highlights Realities of Modern Day SA
Noma premiered at this year’s Durban International Film Festival.

A documentary at DIFF, Noma featured a young woman in her mid-twenties, Nomaliphathwe Gwele, also known as Noma. She is a single mother of two, the youngest being semi-paraplegic and blind.

Noma is a backyard ‘shack-dweller’ who rents and shares a make-shift home with four other people. A stark reality of what many South Africans face today.

This documentary, directed by Pablo Pinedo Boveda, follows Noma and highlights the struggle of impoverished living in dire conditions.

Tired of the high cost of rent, the young woman joins a land occupation action movement with other residents to forcefully set up structures and occupy vacant land that is used as a dumping site, thus risking violent eviction.

Noma, with the help of her younger brother and friends, sets up her shack but the Law Enforcement Unit and Anti-Land Invasion Unit swoop and demolish the structure. ‘Where is your court interdict?’, an official demolishing the shack is asked. ‘We don’t need it here, it does not work like that,’ responds the official.

The film also gives insight into the role that police play during violent service delivery protests.

The last eviction sees police using live ammunition against residents which is followed by Noma’s echoing voice in the background: ‘We will resist. Enough is enough.’

The resistance eventually sees the residents permanently occupying the land and Noma moving out of the rented shack to build herself and her sons a ‘real home’.

Boveda says while filming the documentary, he wanted to be ‘a human shield for residents’ and use the media presence to redefine law enforcement repression.

‘Apartheid still remains in some people’s psyche, and through this film I aim to bring deeply and closer to the audience a social situation that could seem very far away for some of them as well as how desperation leads people to commit this type of action.’

The 37th Durban International Film Festival was hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts in UKZN’s College of Humanities. For more information visit www.durbanfilmfestival.co.za Twitter: #DIFF2016   @DIFFest

 Karabo Moeti and Diff Film Fest


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UKZN Celebrates World Fish Migration Day

UKZN Celebrates World Fish Migration Day
Two members of the Aquatic Ecosystems Research group don fish heads at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg to the amusement of high school pupils.

The Aquatic Ecosystems Research (AER) Group in the School of Life Sciences held several events to celebrate World Fish Migration Day (WFMD), including a networking function at uShaka Marine World in Durban to launch the WFMD poster, and a field day at the Umgeni River at Fountainhill Estate in Wartburg.

At UKZN’s stand at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg, postgraduate students and researchers donned fish head costumes to raise awareness about South Africa’s migratory fish, whose routes are often cut off by dams, pollution and disturbance to wildlife impacts.

Vital fish migration sees them moving tremendous distances with South Africa’s Sardine Run in July/August being the largest migrating shoal of fish on earth. In other instances, Sharks have entered the Kruger National Park via Mozambique, and yellowfish (an indicator animal of ecosystem health, dubbed ‘living gold’) once migrated in large numbers along the Thukela River, making the river appear like running gold.

Fish migrations, said AER lead researcher Dr Gordon O’Brien, are essential as the fish’s ability to complete their migration is part of a much larger ecosystem.

‘Ultimately, it’s not just about fish, but about people - understanding ecosystem processes demonstrates what environment does for us for free,’ said O’Brien. ‘Unfortunately, we realise these things only once they are gone or when we have to pay for services the environment once provided.’

O’Brien highlighted that the drought had placed additional stress on ecosystems already affected by excessive use.

Migratory fish, which people depend on for food, rely on human support for survival. O’Brien emphasised the need to realise the value of fish, systems and processes, and then act.

In 2015, more barriers to migrating fish were removed in North America than were built, freeing up migratory paths. Local and international scientists are working with the AER to design and build tools like ‘fishways’ and fish-friendly turbines. The group is investigating what habitats and environmental conditions fish need and how to provide these.

The group hopes to increase awareness and education about sustainable use and protection of water resources, and focus efforts with UKZN and its partners to address fisheries management, water resources management, ecological risk, behavioural ecology of fish, river and estuary health, and aquaculture.

Initiated in 2015, the AER group was officially formed in March this year boasting a membership of 13 postgraduate students. The group has developed regional scale environmental flow frameworks and an assessment tool called PROBFLO for the Nile Basin soon to be tested in the Mekong, Zambezi and Colorado River Basins

The group collaborates with colleagues from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, and looks to grow, potentially establishing research facilities at Ukulinga Research Farm.

Christine Cuénod


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China-SA Bilateral Collaboration in Astronomy on the Cards

China-SA Bilateral Collaboration in Astronomy on the Cards
Delegates at the China/South Africa bilateral collaboration in astronomy meeting held in Beijing.

A China/South Africa bilateral collaboration in astronomy meeting was held at the National Astronomical Observatory in China (NAOC) at which UKZN’s Dr Yin-Zhe Ma of the School of Chemistry and Physics was invited to do a presentation on: “South Africa: Astronomy Projects, Prospects for Bilateral Collaboration, and a Brief History and Travel Guide”. 

Delegates at the meeting included professional Astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of China; Peking University; Tsinghua University, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute of High Energy Physics.  Chinese colleagues actively discussed the possibility of collaboration with South Africa’s astronomy community after Ma’s talk.

‘China and South Africa are BRICS countries who share a lot of common interests in astronomy and astrophysics,’ explained Ma. ‘UKZN is involved in the SKA, MeerKAT, CHIME, SALT, Planck, HIRAX, BINGO, HERA and PAPER collaborations, which all provide significant contributions to the world’s astronomy development.’

Delegates expressed their strong interest in establishing bilateral collaboration with South Africa, especially UKZN, on cosmology and low-frequency radio astronomy.

Planning for a UKZN-NAOC Joint Centre for Computational Astrophysics is now underway. In addition, an NRF bilateral workshop, titled “Cosmology with Large Surveys”, is planned in Durban in November.

‘We hope that this Centre will move UKZN’s astronomy forward and also lead to much broader collaboration with China,’ said Ma.

UKZNDabaOnline


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Academic gets Drone Flying Licence

Academic gets Drone Flying Licence
Professor Riaan Stopforth has become the first academic in South Africa to obtain a licence to fly drones.

Mechatronics’ Associate Professor Riaan Stopforth has become the first Academic Engineer to obtain a Remote Pilot Licence from ProWings, which will allow him to fly drones up to 400 feet high.

South Africa is the first country in the world to issue ICAO approved remote pilot licences through the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Stopforth; the CEO of ProWings, Mr Ian Melamed, and ProWings Chief Flight Instructor, Mr Michael Muller are some of the few in South Africa to hold the licence.

The course from ProWings focuses on all the laws, aviation mechanics and procedures required when flying a Remote Pilot Aircraft system (a drone).

‘Recently, a drone nearly collided with British Airways craft while the plane was landing in Heathrow,’ said Stopforth.  ‘This opened up a conversation on how drones can and should be regulated so as to avoid such incidents.’

The incident shed light on some of the problems that unmonitored drones can cause. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) argued that aeronautics institutions should introduce programmes to help regulate drones.

ProWings introduced the Remote Pilot Licence, becoming the first licence of its sort in South Africa to be approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Currently, Stopforth holds a multi-rotor rating licence and he’s pursuing the fixed wing and instructors rating, which will ultimately allow him to teach students the mechanics and laws behind flying a drone up to 400 feet. The training and research will be conducted in the Stopforth Mechatronics, Robotics and Research Lab. 

Stopforth is also running a national project with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles prototyping and developing the initiative in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Stopforth said that UKZN had officially approved a postgraduate programme in Mechatronics, which will focus on drones and how they can be used in search and rescue missions.

Basetsana Mogashoa


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Black Lives Matter Premieres at DIFF

<em>Black Lives Matter</em> Premieres at DIFF
Black Lives Matter, a documentary about the mining industry in the Limpopo province, premiered at this year’s Durban International Film Festival.

Black Lives Matter, a documentary exploring tensions between the community of Mokopane in Limpopo, mining companies, and traditional leaders, premiered at this year’s Durban International Film Festival.

This film, directed by Joseph Oesi, takes the audience on a journey through three rural communities; the Mogales, the Kekanas, and the Mapelas.  What they have in common is that the richest platinum bearing reef in the world runs beneath their land resulting in international mining companies making dubious deals with traditional leaders whose legitimacy is questioned by the communities they supposedly serve.

The film’s opening scene takes the audience back to the Marikana Massacre in which police killed 34 mineworkers. It digs into the history of the mining sector as well as the political background that led up to the tragedy, and powerfully demonstrates that even after this defining event, nothing much has changed for most miners in South Africa.

In the film, artist Ayanda Mabulu, describes mining companies as ‘mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, extracting blood out of our pores, leaving us dry, shrinking and emaciated like dying cows in a desert. They have been looting here and Africa is nothing else but a skeleton ready to fall.’

The film also documents the damage left behind in communities by mining companies such as air and water pollution and the dire living conditions surrounding the mines.

The film examines the stark realities that many communities face today and poses critical questions about economic freedom, inequality, racism and oppression.

The 37th Durban International Film Festival was hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts in UKZN’s College of Humanities.

For more information visit www.durbanfilmfestival.co.za Twitter: #DIFF2016   @DIFFest

 Nomcebo Mncube and Durban Film Fest

Image courtesy of http://blacklives.co.za/


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LGBTI Event at Medical School

LGBTI Event at Medical School
UKZN Peer Educators – LGBTI Forum.

UKZN’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Forum, under the HIV and AIDS Programme, partnered with the Thobeka Madiba-Zuma Foundation, the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and the Durban Gay and Lesbian Centre to host an event at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in celebration of Freedom Day.

About 350 people attended the gathering which was themed: “Diversity is the Essence of Life”.

There were stimulating discussions around the protection of human rights and sexual diversity during which people were encouraged to be sensitive towards one another and to feel comfortable discussing issues around sexual diversity.

Programme Directors, Transformation and Academic Officer, Mr Sazi Nzama, and the Medical School LGBTI Chairperson, Mr Sibusisiwe Mbuqe, steered events in a direction that inspired the audience to openly discuss their concerns.

Ms Siphesihle Ngubo, the former UKZN LGBTI MSM/WSW (Men who have sex with men/Women who have sex with women) Co-ordinator, spoke on sensitisation training, stressing the importance of understanding the distinction between sex, gender, sexual orientation and the sex act.

She further encouraged LGBTI students to highlight society’s injustices caused mainly by homophobia.

Sister N. Luthuli of the Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital said all Health Workers should be sensitised so that they dealt with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals without discrimination.

Students did skits and dances which helped shape the dialogue.

Thembani Khumalo


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Researcher Promoting Maritime Economy in Academia and Political Arena

Researcher Promoting Maritime Economy in Academia and Political Arena
Mr Ayanda Meyiwa.

A paper contributing to the development of South Africa’s maritime sector has led to School of Accounting, Economics and Finance Development Lecturer Mr Ayanda Meyiwa’s work being accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences.

Meyiwa’s paper titled: “Restructuring Port Governance in South Africa”, was co-authored with Dr Mihalis Chasomeris and explores the important role played by governance in South Africa’s ports.

Meyiwa, who presented this paper at the recent Value2016 biennial Conference hosted by the University of Johannesburg in Limpopo, said as a developing researcher and academic he was grateful for opportunities that contributed to this growth.

‘I was the only person presenting on the maritime field and my content was news to literally everyone at the Conference. One economics professor even confessed to having learned something new,’ said Meyiwa.

‘This made me realise there is still a lot of work to be done in not only researching but also promoting South Africa as a maritime economy in academia and also the political arena. I am thus quite confident of the many exciting opportunities that await me as an emerging researcher and a Graduate School of Business and Leadership PhD candidate,’ he said.

Meyiwa will present a paper at the upcoming Management, Business, Administration and Legal Initiatives (MBALI) 2016 Conference hosted by the University of Zululand in July. The paper is based on his PhD thesis which explores various types of port governance models that can contribute toward South Africa succeeding in becoming an exemplary democratic developmental state. 

Meyiwa graduated with a Master of Commerce Leadership Studies in April. His dissertation supervised by Chasomeris was titled: “Assessing Measures to Improve South Africa’s Port Doctrine: Pricing and Governance Reform”.

‘The opportunities I have with the CLMS, especially the School of Accounting Economics and Finance and the GSB&L, are enviable and the environment in which I find myself is most conducive for my growth as an academic and development as a researcher, contributing handsomely to the University’s research throughput.’

Thandiwe Jumo


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The UKZN Griot: Of Idiots and Roboticisation

The UKZN Griot: Of Idiots and Roboticisation
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Keyan G Tomaselli*

My writing of regular columns for UKZNdabaWits Review and some other publications, started as a way of attracting readers to the back pages of these mags, competing as they are for ever-shortening attention spans, in an environment of information overload, in a contemporary world where madness seems to prevail on scales rarely before experienced. 

I suspect that those who lived through the First and Second World Wars must have thought that the end was nigh.  Those who lived through the Hundred Year War in the 14th Century must have thought that war was the norm. As terrifying as the conditions were, these folks did not have to deal with rapid climate change, or the roboticisation of our individual behaviour and atomisation of our inter-personal socialisation caused by smart phones, social media and electronic insomnia. 

They would not have had CNN with its endless images of Paris, Brussels, and The Don, who is a caricature of himself, terrifying the rest of the world, not to mention the bewildered Republican Party itself, which is usually pretty scary in its own right. Then there is the idiotisation enabled by Twitter as enraged individuals dash off stupid remarks ahead of their ability to think judiciously.  In the case of Dianne (Kohler-Barnard) she-the-messenger who took the hit for he-the-twit.  

Then there was that expatriate non-entity, Penny, who sparrowed forth on Facebook, dripping dark droppings all over our carefully crafted rainbow nation.  Her post was pure drivel, but her rabid revealing ravings got more play than does any current well-composed columnist.  Her silly rantings created a national moral panic.

The Human Rights Commission is being kept very busy trying to adjudicate on “hate speech”, and when and if freedom of speech is subject to censorship.  Why do people waste their time responding to such nonsense, when there are far more important issues facing us? - refugees on massive scales, wars, terrorism, poverty, environmental destruction and new religions that know only how to kill, maim and rape.

As a columnist I am indebted to all these incidents and nutcases as they write my scripts for me.  Just as did the apartheid era parliament for Pieter-Dirk Uys.  Leon Schuster gets his scripts from the public, and the state was captured by Guptanomics, a form of familial Mafioso corruption that makes that other new word, tenderpreneurs, look like the scuzzy bottom-feeding scavengers they really are. 

Mondli Makhanya once wrote about the relationship between scavengers-in-chief and the ‘Indians’ who sustained them.  Where once the great romantic relationships of convenience occurred between boys and girls, men and women (like Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Michael Jackson and Lisa Presley and all those incestuous kings and queens of Europe), now it’s largely an all-male club – Zuma and Shaik; Zuma and head-spinner, Mac; Zuma and the Three Guptas (Zuptas); and Zuma and Zuma’s ex-wife, now vying for the first family dynasty in the South African Presidency. Man-oh-wo/man!  Is zexit a possibility now that the 3Gs have already zexited?

And so, we now have a whole new politico-economics lexicon:  gupterisation, with corporate and/or state capture, edging out zanufication, while ho-ho, he he, Me-pay, Me-free shower-head-me wallows in Zuptanomics (about which a whole book has been written).  Much work for the linguists, comedians, cartoonists and political economists here.   And, as novelist Imraan Coovadia told us at the launch of the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences a month ago: ‘We have our own Indians, why do we need the Guptas?’

And the beat goes on.  A very reflective Blade (Nzimande), who spoke at the Institute, was concerned about its institutionalisation beyond his ministerial tenure.  Very sensibly so in the current context of fallism.

Never before have so many paintings, sculptures, monuments and buildings, and photographs been defaced, moved, destroyed and hacked, by so many different groups, all at once, some smearing excrement ,with others imposing their ghastly nakedness upon us in vandalising a UCT photographic exhibition.  Even struggle icons were targeted, hammered by the folks so riled up by twitterings about things that must fall.  This kind of stimulous-response behaviour that also typified social media gives new meaning to the significance of Pavlov’s Dog.  Unthinking stimulous-response salivation, even when bottom-up, is the key to electronic mob rule in the digital age. Economics, sociology, media and psychology textbooks need to be rewritten. 

Satire and the absurd have long been known to literary scholars and dramatists, but irony cannot be encoded in 140 characters or easily find a home on Facebook.  And, these frames of analysis are unacceptable in positivist, hard-nosed science that takes a God’s-eye-view of things.  But in our world riven with religious conflicts which, whose, and what kind of God are we talking about?  

Given the ways in which my columns are used, recirculated, cited in august meetings, and responded to by all and sundry, I must be doing something right.   But management simply marches on as if managerialism is God. 

This corporate God is all-knowing, even as I process MA proposals on stakeholder communication, PR, and communication management, all of which argue for bottom-up, rather than top-down management styles.  But the Gods of these democratic approaches lack presence.

Now, back to fiddling with my smartphone while Rome burns, or is it Zandspruit, a campus here or there, a few buses, municipal buildings and the like?

·        Keyan G Tomaselli knows a few Guptas, but not the anointed ones who now have zooted (to Dubai).  He now hangs out at the University of Johannesburg where the fire hydrants are in top condition. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.

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African Trade Union History Examined During Seminar

African Trade Union History Examined During Seminar
Emeritus Professor Bill Freund.

Emeritus Professor Bill Freund of the School of Social Sciences presented details of his research on African Trade Union History at a School of Built Environment and Development Studies seminar series. 

Freund discussed the organisational antecedents of trade unions and the structure of unions along the lines of the formations in industrial societies.  

His research will appear as a chapter in a volume on the history of African Labour commissioned by the International Labour Organisation.  

Freund’s presentation at the seminar indicated that the union movement in Africa had undergone a revolution.  

According to Freund, with organisational ideas brought in through settler communities in colonial times and encouragement from colonial reform regimes, trade unions emerged in Africa and acquired membership and leadership in the African population.   

Freund believes that the late colonial context promoted a mix of ideas that married nationalism, the striving for independence and hostility with racial privilege and more traditional trade union demands.  

‘While the picture is not uniform, independence then brought up a radically altered situation whereby the state, typically the biggest employer of labour, tried to create a different balance, reorganising federations, co-opting militant leaders and serving as patrons to a working class that could benefit from legislation stabilising jobs and conditions,’ he said. 

The results were variable and depended increasingly on the economic situation. ‘Where economic decline was engaged by fierce structural adjustment imprecations, workers were alienated from the nationalist state. They turned against it and, where they could, worked towards making unions more independent.  The call for political democracy played another siren song,’ said Freund.  

He noted that workers who struggled to build up trade unions first bought into the dream of national independence under a party run by indigenous Africans at one time, and, at another, they bought into the dream of democracy. Freund says neither trajectory has been truly successful in creating a better life for members.  

‘Today organised workers in Africa can look back on a rich history with many lessons. They take up the cudgels for their interests willingly and effectively very often but, lacking a more wide-reaching agenda, the arrival of a democratic dispensation has by no means necessarily brought material rewards.  Whether they will search for a new answer remains to be seen,’ said Freund.  

Melissa Mungroo


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Hooray! UK Conference Congratulates UKZN Academic on his Birthday

Hooray! UK Conference Congratulates UKZN Academic on his Birthday
Professor Mark Schofield presents birthday gifts to UKZN’s Professor Kriben Pillay.

It came as a pleasant surprise for UKZN’s Professor Kriben Pillay when the organisers of an education conference he was attending in the United Kingdom congratulated him on his 60th birthday. 

Pillay, who was at the 2016 Solstice eLearning and the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) Conference at England’s Edge Hill University, publicly received good wishes – and gifts - from Conference Director and Dean of Teaching and Learning at the institution, Professor Mark Schofield, during a lunch function.  

Pillay, Dean of Teaching and Learning at UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies, presented one of the three opening workshops at the Conference during which he took delegates through the journey of teaching the Theory U model for social change. 

‘There was a great deal to learn about different perspectives on eTechnology. One of the most interesting was a research project at the University of Greenwich which shows that being proficient in the use of smart phones or tablets for personal purposes does not necessarily equate to any degree of proficiency for academic purposes,’ said Pillay. 

‘I want to fully acquaint myself with this research as it may have valuable lessons for UKZN as we move fully to the Moodle platform and expect all students to have their own laptops.’

UKZNDabaOnline 


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Genetics Honours Programme Meeting need for Scarce Skills

Genetics Honours Programme Meeting need for Scarce Skills
Genetics honours students (from left) Ms Yevette Gounden, Mr Dhireshan Singh, Mr Kiresen Moodley, Ms Jananee Padayachee, Ms Nongcebo Malinga and Ms Ria Rassool.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Genetics Honours programme, established in 2013 in the School of Life Sciences on the Westville campus, fills an important role in the training of geneticists for numerous industries in South Africa. 

Programme Director Dr Meenu Ghai said concepts of genetics were relevant to many scientific and industrial fields including biotechnology, medicine, veterinary science, forensics and agriculture. 

Genetics skills have been highlighted as scarce in the country, leading to the promotion of such skills and genetics research at UKZN. 

The programme, structured to offer both course work and research, is in great demand but can only accept a limited number of students. Course work comprises modules including advanced population and quantitative genetics, advanced human genetics and molecular diagnostics, DNA typing in forensic investigation, and forensic genetics. 

The programme is structured to promote excellence in these and other fields, including human epigenomics and veterinary microbial genetics. Academics in the programme include Ghai, and colleagues Dr Oliver Zishiri and Dr Matthew Adeleke

‘Students are trained to work on a research project in fields of host-pathogen genetics, veterinary microbial genetics, population genetics, parasitology, epigenetics and molecular diagnostics, and they submit a dissertation at the end of the programme,’ said Ghai.

‘State-of-the-art facilities enable advanced molecular genetics research to take place, with available equipment including a genetic analyser, real-time thermal cyclers, and gel analysis systems.’

Many students in the programme go on to pursue master’s and PhD studies, and their sought-after skills result in employment at organisations such as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI), as well as biotechnology industries and medical laboratories.

Christine Cuénod


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UKZN Students in Winning Codefest Programming Challenge Team

UKZN Students in Winning Codefest Programming Challenge Team
The winning Indeterminate Hub team: Mr Kavish Harisanker; Mr Rowan Kallee, Mr Kriyen Padayachee, Mr Sulaiman Patel, Mr Joash Govindsamy, Mr Nhlaka ‘Elvis’ Mbotho and Ms Devaini Pillay.

In this year’s Youth Innovation Challenge, the team of UKZN and Durban University of Technology (DUT) representatives - Indeterminate Hub - which won the 24-Hour Codefest programming challenge, was hosted by the Innovate Durban Programme.

Innovate Durban creates a platform for innovation to thrive in eThekwini through enabling citizens to revolutionise their communities and business, fuelling economic growth and job creation.

Innovate Durban was founded in 2014 by the eThekwini Municipality, and this year’s collaborators include the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Oracle, the Durban Chamber of CommerceLife Co. Unltd., and Adams and Adams.

The programme’s Manager, Ms Aurelia Albert, said it was aimed at equipping young people with relevant skills and the opportunity to learn how to become problem-solvers of real life challenges. A total of 100 young people were shortlisted to participate this year.

‘We want the youth to start thinking differently and learn to be innovative; it is a fundamental aspect on their road to being successful young people,’ said Albert.

In the Codefest Challenge which was powered by Oracle, the winning team, Indeterminate Hub, had been asked by Transnet to devise a way to reduce the impact of freight trucks on road traffic.

The team proposed a custom artificial intelligence navigation system to select routes for drivers based on criteria such as up-to-date traffic information, displayed on mobile devices. The device would offer Sanral’s iTraffic site’s live camera feeds showing road conditions, and for safety, be receptive to interactive hands-free gestures. The web-based system would allow Transnet overseers to monitor trucks using the system, and would calculate the environmental impact of the trucks’ journeys.

Transformation Director at Oracle South Africa, Ms Wendy Beetge, said the 24-hour challenge tested the stamina and all-round skills of the teams, who had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to a judging panel immediately following the 24 hours.

Winning teams received funding to take their ideas further.

‘Oracle is very excited to be working with Innovate Durban on this,’ said Beetge. ‘We invest heavily in education and this is particularly relevant to us in South Africa.’

Project leader Mr Kriyen Padayachee said the event facilitated making new friends, learning about new technology and advocating his ideas and business plans to like-minded peers.

‘This is definitely an event I’d love to participate in again,’ said Padayachee.

‘The challenge appealed to me as it provided a unique opportunity to test my technical skills in the rigorous Codefest, and more importantly, allowed me to get involved in improving my city,’ said team leader Mr Sulaiman Patel, a Master’s candidate in Electronic Engineering.

The team of seven UKZN and DUT representatives has been invited to the upcoming Innovation Summit in Durban on 8 July.

Christine Cuénod


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The Violin Player Premieres at Durban Film Festival

<em>The Violin Player</em> Premieres at Durban Film Festival
The Violin Player stars Ritwick Chakraborty (left) and Adil Hussain.

The Violin Player directed by Bauddhayan Mukherji was awarded the Best Feature Film at the 37th Durban International Film Festival.

The film is about a struggling violinist who meets a stranger at a train station in Bombay (now known as Mumbai). 

The jury’s citation said: ‘A seductive and mysterious tale of a violin player’s mundane life and an interesting take on how chance encounters are almost predestined. By successfully weaving offbeat editing, brave cinematography, simple screenplay, honest direction and a lot of surprising elements, the film shows us that art, no matter how unimportant it may seem, can change people’s lives.’

The international premiere of The Violin Player featured before a packed house at Musgrave Shopping Centre in Durban. Mukherji, who was in attendance, said: ‘If humanity has to survive, art has to live.’

This central theme of the film is eloquently captured in a quote from Pablo Picasso: ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’

The film was described by one theatre goer as ‘beautifully bizarre’. Mukherji was hailed as foresighted for telling a pan-Indian story rather than falling into the North-South trap in commercial Indian cinema dominated by Bollywood.

The film uses a symphony of diverse sounds to highlight emotions, create suspense and gain insight into the complexity of the characters.

Director Mukherji (@bauddhayan) tweeted: ‘Thank u Durban! Packed audience at #TheViolinPlayer int premiere, lively Q&A, worth the travel.’

The Violin Player was produced by Monalisa Mukherji, presented by Little Lamb Films, Mumbai, and stars Ritwick Chakraborty, Adil Hussain, Nayani Dixit and Sonam Stobgais.

The 37th Durban International Film Festival is hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts in UKZN’s College of Humanities. For more information visit www.durbanfilmfestival.co.za Twitter: #DIFF2016 @DIFFest

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


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SA and Nigeria have High Levels of Poverty

SA and Nigeria have High Levels of Poverty
Dr Andrew Okem.

South Africa and Nigeria, despite being among countries with the largest economies in Africa, both suffer from high levels of poverty and inequality, says a UKZN researcher.

Dr Andrew Okem, a Senior Researcher with the South African Research Chair Initiative in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), was presenting a paper titled: “A Comparative Analysis of Child Social Protection in Nigeria and South Africa”, at the Conference on Child Poverty and Social Protection in Western and Central Africa at the ECOWAS commission in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Conference was jointly organised by UNICEF WCARO (Western and Central Africa Regional Office), the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Equity for Children.

Okem’s attendance at the conference was made possible through a grant from CROP.

In his presentation, Okem noted that despite being among the largest economies in Africa, Nigeria, and South Africa were both characterised by high levels of poverty and inequality. ‘The burden of poverty in these countries is disproportionately borne by children who have to contend with malnutrition, inadequate health care and other poor socio-economic conditions,’ he said.

Okem’s presentation unpacked the similarities and differences that underpin child social protection in both countries. His presentation noted that although both countries were characterised by high child poverty, South Africa had made more progress in the design and implementation of child-related social protection programmes geared towards alleviating child poverty and improving other socio-economic conditions of children.

The progress in the South African context was linked to several factors, including South Africa’s political history, her rights-based approach to social protection, the adoption of an overarching child-related social protection policy, a higher proportion of GDP spent on social protection (despite having a smaller population size) and a strong administrative framework.

Okem’s presentation resulted in extensive discussion on the rights-based approach to child poverty and social protection.

Melissa Mungroo


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