Dance Lecturer Receives Award from French Government

Dance Lecturer Receives Award from French Government
Ms Lliane Loots (left) with the eThekwini Municipality’s Deputy Mayor, Ms Fawzia Peer.

Drama and Performance Studies lecturer at UKZN’s School of Arts, Ms Lliane Loots, received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government during a presentation at Alliance Française in Durban.

Loots, who said it was an honour to be recognised for her hard work, accepted the award on behalf of all the people she has worked with.

‘It felt good to be recognised. It was like I was accepting this award on behalf of a lifetime of working with wonderful students, professional dancers and community based programmes, all of whom have helped by participating with their blood, sweat and tears. So, in many ways, this medal of recognition is shared by all of us,’ said Loots.

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is a medal of honour in recognition of significant contributions to the Arts and the propagation of the Arts.  The award is considered a knighthood by the French government, given to those who have, through their on-going work, supported the partnership with French and Francophone African artists. Only three such medals have been awarded in South Africa this year.

Loots believes that contemporary dance continues to be the most controversial and most cutting-edge art form in South Africa. The body politics engaged by dance makers is at the forefront of the decolonising movement and the Art form’s ability to viscerally express the underbelly of our society. 

‘The power of self-expression through dance in a proclaimed democracy should never be underestimated,’ she said.

‘I love watching how first-year students begin to open their minds, bodies and hearts to the possibility of dance and then participate in their personal growth so that by third year or honours, they are dedicated adults who understand the power of theatre, dance and performance.’

Apart from her UKZN teaching and research, Loots has been running the FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY for 22 years. Her work with FLATFOOT – in the arena of African dance pedagogy and dance performance and choreography - is the subject of her on-going PhD research.

She is also the Artistic Director for UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.

For the upcoming 19th edition of JOMBA! in August, Loots is currently partnering with a Dutch dance company. ‘I am working on a collaboration with INTRODANS who are jointly working with intellectually and physically impaired Durban dancers in a new work that will premiere at the CCA’s 19th edition of JOMBA!,’ added Loots.

Nomcebo Mncube

author : .
author email : .

Controls Necessary at Europe’s Borders – German Finance Minister

Controls Necessary at Europe’s Borders – German Finance Minister
Germany’s Minister of Finance, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble recently delivered a public lecture at UKZN.

There is a need to control borders in Europe and distribute refugees fairly, says Germany’s Minister of Finance, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble.

Schäuble was delivering a public lecture at UKZN’s Westville campus on “The Future of Europe and Implications for the Global Economy”.

The lecture, held at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s auditorium, examined three broad areas which Schäuble said required the immediate attention of the European Union (EU) - migration, security and foreign policy, and economic and monetary policy.

Schäuble serves as a Member of the Board of Governors at the European Investment Bank, which is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

He is a strong supporter of EU integration and has taken a tough stance against the United Kingdom on issues of tax breaks and exit costs stemming from Brexit.

In the area of migration, Schäuble said there was a need to control borders and find a solution to distribute refugees within Europe in a way that was fair and politically acceptable.

Regarding security and foreign policy, he said Europe needed to make a bigger contribution to global security and to stabilising neighbouring regions.

On economic and monetary policy, Schäuble said in order for Europe to remain competitive, its member states had to continue working together. ‘There’s still a lot of economic potential in the EU, we just have to harness it.’

He said the EU remained the world’s most advanced model to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

‘Africa has tremendous growth potential but this has been held back by, among other things, its massive under investment including its infrastructure. We are seeking ways to address this.’

He encouraged young people not to shy away from civil and political engagement, to keep the spirit of dialogue and debate alive, to take an active role in creating the society they want to see, and to help make the future a better place, as the future belonged to them.

Discussions during the question and answer session focused on Brexit, mechanisms that will be put in place to ensure growth in investment in Africa, and free trade and open travel in Europe. 

Sithembile Shabangu

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Academic Wins Prize at World Conference of Nephrology in Mexico

UKZN Academic Wins Prize at  World Conference of Nephrology in Mexico
Dr John Feehally and Professor Rajendra Bhimma.

Paediatric Nephrologist Professor Rajendra Bhimma won second prize for his poster presentation in the Clinical Research category at the 2017 World Congress of Nephrology (WCN) in Mexico.

The 11th WCN Satellite Symposium focused on Kidney Disease in Disadvantaged Populations.

‘The programme was designed to extensively explore a variety of scientific and clinical aspects of kidney disease throughout an individual’s lifespan,’ said Bhimma.  

Bhimma won the prize in the ISN Programmes Poster Session for his presentation titled: “The Role of APOL 1 Variants in the Development of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis in South African Children with Idiopathic and HIV-related Nephropathy”.

It focused on the genetic predisposition of children with HIV-1 infection to develop kidney disease, ‘It is hoped that with ongoing research, individuals with HIV-1 infection will be identified early for their predisposition to develop kidney disease, thus making it possible for early and effective therapy to be instituted,’ he said.

Attended by over 4 000 delegates from 115 countries, the Conference focused on diabetes and kidney disease, with a closer look at the wide spectrum of disorders affecting the kidney.

‘Uniquely placed as a truly global meeting, WCN 2017 provided access to international medical expertise in renal treatment, research and care, from bench to bedside,’ said Bhimma.

‘Particular attention was paid to diseases affecting individuals in low and low-middle income countries. Maintaining sustainable kidney health on a global scale through education and training is the main mission for each congress.’

Nombuso Dlamini

author : .
author email : .

New Smartcane Option for the Blind Demonstrated

New Smartcane Option for the Blind Demonstrated
Students with disabilities along with staff from the UKZN Disability Support Unit pictured with the developer and distributor of the Smartcane.

UKZN’s Disability Support Services Unit recently hosted a demonstration of the New SmartCane which offers blind persons the added benefit of using technology to assist in their accessibility and mobility on and off-campus. 

The SmartCaneTM device, a mobility aid for people with visual impairments, fits onto a standard white cane and enhances its capabilities. The device allows for the detection of above-knee height obstacles that cannot usually be detected by use of the standard white cane alone. It uses ultrasonic sensors for detection and provides information on distance to users through distinctive vibratory patterns. The device is capable of detecting obstacles within three metres in long range mode (outdoors) and 1.8 meters in short range mode (indoors).

The pre-warning about the presence of the obstacles allows for easier avoidance of obstacles and path finding. Overall, the effective usage of SmartCaneTM device supports the greater independence and safety of visually impaired persons.

UKZN currently has 256 visually-impaired students of which 37 are totally blind and make use of the white Cane to navigate around the University.   The Disability Support Unit at UKZN currently supports a significant number of 709 students with diverse disabilities at the institution. These students benefit from specialised services that attempt to equalise access for all students with disabilities. 

The SmartCane technology was demonstrated by co-inventor of the device, Mr Piyush Chanana, who works as a Senior Research Scientist at Assistech Technologies Lab, IIT Delhi. He has significant experience in research, development and dissemination of assistive technology solutions for visually-disabled persons. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the field of travel aids for persons with visual disabilities. Piyush and his research team work on a number of innovative assistive technologies that support access and social inclusion of visually-impaired persons.

The SmartCane is widely used in India and across Asia. Disability Management Services has undertaken to introduce and distribute the SmartCane in South Africa and Africa.

The demonstration was attended by blind students at UKZN and staff from the Disability Support Unit  at UKZN.

Nevil Balakrishna

author : .
author email : .

Abafundi BezoMthetho baklomele ngemifundaze yeMandela Rhodes

Abafundi BezoMthetho baklomele ngemifundaze yeMandela Rhodes
UNkz Shamila Mpinga noNkz Simone Gray baklomeliswe ngemifundaze yeMandela Rhodes Scholarship.

Click here for the English version

Abafundi ababili baseKolishi Lezifundo ZoMthetho Nezokuphatha e-UKZN oNkz Shamila Mpinga benoNkz Simone Gray, baphumelele ngamalengiso baphinde baklomeliswa ngomfundaze i-Mandela Rhodes Scholarship.

UMpinga uthole iziqu ze-LLB lapho ephumele ngo-summa cum laude kanti u-Gray uphothule eze-LLM ngo-cum laude.

UMpinga uthe impumelelo yakhe ayimethusanga neze ngoba wayevele ehlelile ukuthi uzophumelela ngamalengiso kusukela ngosuku lokuqala efika enyuvesi.

‘Ngangena enyuvesi ngizibona ngiphuma neziqu ze-LLB ngo- summa cum laude. Kungumuzwa othokozisa kakhulu ukwazi ukuthi ngikufezile engangikuhlelile okuyimpokophelo yami.’

Uthe ukusebenza kanzima, ukuzinikela kanye nenhlonipho yizona zinsika ezinqala empumelelweni yakhe. Akusiyo into entsha kuye ukuthola imifundaze, waklonyeliswa ngomfundaze kaSekelaShansela onyakeni wesibili wezifundo zakhe.

UMpinga uthe uthokoze kakhulu ngomfundaze wonyaka wezi-2017 iMandela Rhodes Scholarship. ‘Ngajabula kakhulu ukuzwa ukuthi name ngiqokwe neqoqo langonyaka wezi-2017.  Ngizizwa ngihloniphekile ngokuba umfundi weMandela. Kuze kube yimanje, konke kusahamba kahle kakhulu.’ 

U-Gray uthe uphelelwe amazwi ngoba nangaphambilini waphasa ngamalengiso ephothula iziqu zakhe ze-LLB.

‘Ngizizwa ngithokozile futhi ngithobekile ngokuphasa ngalendlela kuzona zombili iziqu zami. Bekuwuhambo oluhle kakhulu e-UKZN futhi ngizizwa ngihloniphekile ngokusebenzisana nabasebenzi abagqugquzelana ngalolu hlobo.’

Uthe umfundaze umethusile ngoba ubengawulindele neze yize noma ebezazi ukuthi usebenze kanzima kakhulu. Ubonge kakhulu ngoba ubona ukuthi lo mfundaze uzomnika ithuba lokuhlangana nabaholi abasha kuzodingidwa izindaba ezisematheni. 

Kubaluleke kakhulu ukunikezwa leli thuba eliyingqayizivele lokuzithuthukisa nokuzikhulisa. Ngithokoze kakhulu ngethuba lokuqhuba izifundo zami emunxeni wezamalungelo abantu nokukhula njengomuntu nomholi.’

Abafundi bobabili benza izifundo zabo eNyuvesi yaseKapa. UMpinga wenza iziqu zeMastazi kwezoMthetho weziMbiwa kanti ulindeleke ukuqala umsebenzi wama-athikili kwa-Bowmans uma ephothula iziqu zakhe, kanti u-Gray wenza iziqu ze-LLM kwezoMthetho Wamalungelo Abantu.

‘Bengingeke ngikufeze konke lokhu ngingedwa. Ngibonga umndeni wami, abangani nothisha bas-UKZN. Ngizizwa ngithobekile futhi ngiyabonga ngokwesekwa engikutholile,’ kusho uMpinga.

UGray uthe ubonga umndeni wakhe, ikakhulukazi umama wakhe, abangani bakhe ngokumeseka, abasebenzi base-UKZN eMgungundlovu emnyangweni wezoMThetho ngokumgqugquzela ngempela, nomeluleki wakhe uNkz Suhafya Bhamjee ngokumkhuthukaza kanye noNkz Robynne Louw wasesikhungweni sabaneziqu.

Reatlehile Karabo Moeti

author : .
author email : .

Transformation of SA Judicial System Debated by Student Chapter of Black Lawyers Association

Transformation of SA Judicial System Debated by Student Chapter of Black Lawyers Association
UKZN’s Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter (BLAsc) members with guest speakers Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama and Mr Sifiso Msomi.

“The Journey Towards Transformation at the Bench” was the title of the recent panel discussion hosted by UKZN’s Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter (BLAsc).

The panel discussion at the School of Law on the Howard College campus examined challenges faced by Black African and women lawyers in the country.

A member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Mr Sifiso Msomi, spoke on what constitutes transformation and highlighted three elements - the change in demographics (diversity of the Bench); the change in attitude of the judiciary, and the element of accountability.

A member and former Deputy Chairman of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA), Msomi said although the JSC was packed with politicians, when he sat on the commission he found it balanced, candidates were robustly interviewed and he never got the impression there were positions reserved for certain candidates. He added that discussions always centred on what was best for the country.

However, looking at the challenges that Black African lawyers faced with a special focus on the number of attorneys in KwaZulu-Natal, he said no attorney should be starving but that was not the reality.

Msomi said there was a total of 3 325 lawyers in KwaZulu-Natal servicing a population of eight to nine million people. Of those lawyers 722 were Black African (210 women and 512 men); 40 Coloured (18 women and 22 men); 1 363 Indian (742 women and 621 men); and 1 025 White (404 women and 621 men).

He said 90% of the work was done by 10% of the advocates. ‘Black lawyers do not get decent legal work.’

UKZN academic, a Commissioner in the Judicial Services Commission and an Acting Judge of the High Court, Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama, spoke on gender equality in the past and the current representation of Black African women in the judiciary.

She added that in the past White women were also discriminated against in their own context and the few Black men who got positions were those that could speak English.

However, she said national statistics were indicative of the challenge faced by the judiciary to transform but it was unwise to point fingers about the lack of transformation. She said some policies still hindered the process.

Giving hope to BLAsc, Ntlama assured them that there was progress. ‘The time is now to broaden your thinking and not flow with your imagination because a lawyer stands and reasons.’ Regarding gender equality and transformation, she added that diversity was needed on the Bench. 

President of BLAsc Ms Pearl Biyela spoke on the idea of transformation on the Bench and how it related to BLAsc. She said it was paramount that the Bench transformed not only in how it appeared but also in what it fostered, so as to speak to the transformation agenda.

She said there was also a need to transform the education system and the legal education system.  This included increasing the number of Black African researchers, judges, lecturers and also the decolonisation of the content being taught to students. 

* BLAsc’s aim is to empower fresh minds in the legal field with the extensive knowledge that will help to empower them in the future through a series of educational activities during the course of the year. The student chapter promotes transformation and transparency.

Sithembile Shabangu

author : .
author email : .

Success of Black Students in SA Higher Education Institutions Discussed at Seminar

Success of Black Students in SA Higher Education Institutions Discussed at Seminar
Dr Zamambo Mkhize and Dr Monica Otu

“Understanding Black Students’ Access to and Success in South African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)” was the topic of a seminar hosted at UKZN by the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri).

The seminar, funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training, was presented by post-doctoral Fellows on the Education and Emancipation Project, Dr Zamambo Mkhize and Dr Monica Otu.

The researchers said the success of Black students had been an area of major concern for the Higher Education sector since the demise of apartheid in 1994.

Said Mkhize: ‘Informed by the agenda of transformation and redress, post-apartheid Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have developed a number of strategies to enhance access, participation and success of African students. These strategies fall in line with constitutional and ministerial provisions (Soudien Report 2008) to establish a new political order in post-apartheid South Africa’s Higher Education.

‘In terms of access, there has been an extensive deracialisation of the overall student body at many HEIs, as the enrolment of Black students has increased in the past few years. Yet, studies have continued to report that while the numbers of Black students who have accessed HEIs have burgeoned, completion and success rates remain problematic among this racial group,’ she said.

The presentation focused on the findings from a systematic review of literature on the progress the sector has made, and the persisting bottlenecks in Black students’ access to and success in HEIs. Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of cultural reproduction, Bean’s model of student attrition and Tinto’s theory of student integration, their review critically analyses factors that influence student access to and success in South African HEIs.

The researchers used these theoretical frameworks to explain the complicated set of factors that interact to influence Black students’ access, participation and success in South African HEIs.

Said Otu: ‘While there have been consistent efforts within the policy framework to improve the access, participation and success of Black students both at the national and institutional levels, studies show that throughput rates remain low especially among African students.’

Their findings revealed that social and academic integration played a significant role to enhance or constrain student success and that the principal reason why many Black students failed to reach their full potential in South African HEIs was because they were not academically and socially integrated.

‘Affecting Black students’ academic and social integration are issues such as articulation gaps, pedagogic/curricular factors, staff attitude, institutional culture, socio-cultural factors, funding, peer interactions and experiences with diversity,’ said Otu. 

The researchers note that while a lot has been said concerning Black students in relation to the discourse of access, participation and success, this has most often been presented in an uncritical manner.

Otu and Mkhize therefore suggest the need for further research that focuses on innovative methodological and theoretical frameworks that would provide a more critical, nuanced understanding of the factors that influence Black student success within the South African context.

In terms of informing policy, they made several recommendations that included ‘nurturing a culture of belonging that embraces both the academic and social communities of students. Student capacity to engage and belong needs to be encouraged through clear expectations, purpose and values’.

They further expressed the need for the development of skills to engage and provide opportunities for interaction, engagement, and collaborating with staff and students to review data and experience about student belonging and integration.

Melissa Mungroo

author : .
author email : .

Honours Students Present Criminology Research

Honours Students Present Criminology Research
Criminology Honours students with lecturer Dr Nirmala Gopal.

Honours students from the Discipline of Criminology recently presented their research in the Howard College Theatre with topics ranging from developing a treatment programme for juvenile boys based on the psychological theories on juvenile delinquency, to women and crime and using conflict criminology to critically discuss whether student protests in South Africa are justified.

One of the groups presented on Women and Crime, examining the reasons behind the sudden increase in women offenders and what such women have in common. Their research revealed that many of the women had histories of physical and sexual abuse in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. They also found that women in prison experienced abuse.

Offering preventative measures for abuse in prisons, students suggested awareness programmes being implemented for correctional officers and wardens and disciplinary action against those who abuse women prisoners.

Another group, led by Ms Harsha Maharaj focused on student protests in South Africa (#feesmustfall) discussing their history, students versus media and students versus students.

Debating students versus media, the group said there was a conflict of interest between these two groups. The media was accused of distorting the narrative about student protests that have happened over the last two years.

‘The media is the main source of information about #feesmustfall,’ said Maharaj. ‘If there is shoddy journalism, it results in the public being misinformed about the protest and the reasoning behind it, possibly causing the protest to be delegitimised with a loss in public support and sympathy for the students. The media often concentrates on the violence.’

Discussing students versus student issues, Ms Belinda Majola said instilling fear, and using tear gas and verbal abuse were methods employed to recruit students for larger protest groups.

‘Conflict criminology claims that crime is inevitable in a capitalist society, thereby creating an imbalance in power and authority. The group with less power will engage in activities to restore balance,’ she said.

Melissa Mungroo

author : .
author email : .

Association Between Sjambok Injuries and Renal Dysfunction Examined in PhD Research

Association Between Sjambok Injuries and Renal Dysfunction Examined in PhD Research
Dr David Skinner.

The relationship between injuries caused by being hit with a sjambok and renal dysfunction was examined in a paper by University of KwaZulu-Natal doctoral candidate, Dr David Skinner.

The paper titled: “Validating the Utilisation of Venous Bicarbonate as a Predictor of Acute Kidney Injury in Crush Syndrome from Sjambok Injuries”, has been published in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ).

Skinner from UKZN’s Discipline of Anaesthesiology works in the Intensive Care Unit at King Edward Hospital in Durban looking after medical, surgical and obstetric patients who are critically ill and require life support.

Research by Skinner and his team who worked with 310 patients in their study, revealed that utilisation of the low cost biochemical test venous bicarbonate strongly correlated with the need for dialysis thus allowing practitioners to use the presenting venous bicarbonate to risk stratify sjambok patients on admission. This guided resuscitation and monitoring if patients were at high risk of developing renal failure enabling them to be referred early for dialysis, which can be a life-saving intervention.

Skinner said he had worked closely with Professor David Muckart at UKZN’s Department of Surgery who had done a lot of work on sjambok injuries in South Africa in the 1990s.

‘Professor Muckart, who was my mentor, inspired me to look more closely at this phenomenon and explore the relationships between community assault/sjambok injuries and renal dysfunction.’

Skinner also worked closely with colleague Dr Grant Laing, who encouraged him to explore and validate the initial studies done by Muckart in risk stratification of patients presenting with sjambok injuries. The analysis was retrospective and classified the patients according to modern acute kidney injury risk stratification classifications and compared that to their presentation biochemistry and outcomes of renal dysfunction/failure, dialysis and mortality.

Although this is not the first study of its kind, it validates Muckart’s findings from his original study, with a large cohort of patients. It is unique in that it describes one of the largest series of patients with crush syndrome from sjambok/assault injuries.

Skinner aims to publicise the validated risk stratification model proposed in the paper.  He says the model can be used by clinicians in emergency medicine, surgery and other medical disciplines where patients with these injuries are encountered. Early recognition of the severity of such injuries would hopefully decrease mortality and the complication of renal dysfunction in the patients.

Skinner, who is being supervised by Professor Bruce Biccard, said the paper was his first towards his PhD project: “Acute Kidney Injury and Crush Syndrome: Epidemiology, Renal Replacement Therapy and Outcomes Among Surgical and Critically Ill Patients in a Resource Constrained Setting”.

Skinner studied for his undergraduate degree at the former University of Natal, and his postgraduate MMed degree through UKZN before going on to obtain his specialist and sub-specialist qualifications at the College of Medicines (South Africa).

‘I believe that research should be used to benefit society as a whole and that the work we are doing can have a positive impact on South African healthcare,’ he said.

Lihle Sosibo

author : .
author email : .

Candidate Elected GreenMatter Fellow

Candidate Elected GreenMatter Fellow
Mr Adesegun Quam Popoola.

Masters candidate in Agrometeorology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) Mr Adesegun Quam Popoola is one of 10 young professionals in South Africa selected as a recipient of a 2016/17 GreenMatter Fellowship Award.

The award, which aims to drive transformation in graduate level skills in biodiversity, is sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Lewis Foundation, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Nedbank, and other partners.

Popoola, under the supervision of Professor Mike Savage, is conducting research on the use of agrometeorological data to equip local farmers for sustainable food production in the Swayimane community in KwaZulu-Natal.

‘My interest in this work emerged from being exposed to rural communities’ dependency on natural resources which produced a desire to learn and create information that will be useful to strengthen and empower rural communities to respond better to current extreme climatic conditions,’ said Popoola.

He hopes that his research will contribute to the communities’ ability to improve their socio-economic conditions and lead to prosperous lives through sustainable use of natural resources.

The Fellowship is aimed at developing the skills and resources required to combat the threats posed by phenomena such as climate change, ecosystem degradation and resource constraints against South Africa’s rich natural and wildlife resources, and to safeguard this precious natural capital.

Popoola, who completed his first degree in Marine Sciences, has a passion for environmental management, specifically global development and sustainability. His research is inspired by the global and local challenge of food insecurity arising due to climate change and global warming, and is pursuing his goal of conducting studies that will have a significant impact for people, especially those in developing nations, affected most severely.

‘These challenges can be overcome through the support provided by young professionals and the academic community to strengthen and empower these communities by understanding their context,’ said Popoola.

Popoola, who had to overcome the challenge of limited funds for his studies which he completed while married with a child to support, worked part-time while studying, putting his belief in hard work, dedication and self-discipline.

He now hopes to gain experience in his field, working to alleviate poverty, reduce climate change effects and promote resilience, and perhaps proceed to PhD studies one day.

Popoola thanked GreenMatter and their partners for providing the platform to learn, grow and network with highly experienced professionals in the biodiversity sector in South Africa. He says the Fellowship motivated him to participate actively in issues regarding the environment and the climate.

He acknowledged the support of his mother, Mrs Morufat Popoola, and siblings as well as his wife and daughter, Sne and Simi Popoola. He also gave credit to his mother-in-law, Ms Emelda Zondi, and GreenMatter Fellow Abulele Qulu and thanked his supervisor and co-supervisor, Professor Mike Savage and Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi.

Christine Cuénod

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Interacts with School Principals and Teachers

UKZN Interacts with School Principals and Teachers
UKZN’s Professor Nyna Amin (top row) and Dr Langa Khumalo (bottom left), and CAO’s Mr George van der Ross (bottom right).

The Division of Corporate Relations (CRD) interacted with school principals and teachers during a Stakeholder Relations Breakfast at the UNITE Building on the Howard College campus.

Acting University Relations Director, Ms Hazel Langa, said UKZN’s goal of Responsible Community Engagement ensured that it contributed ‘through knowledge to the prosperity and sustainability of our province and to nation-building by connecting with and committing ourselves to the communities we serve in a manner that adds value and earns their respect, admiration and trust’.

The discussions at the breakfast were on the role of indigenous languages, leadership and the role educators can play in ensuring the correct applications were made through the Central Applications Office (CAO).

Director of Language Planning and Development at the University, Dr Langa Khumalo, who spoke on The “Role of Language in Teaching, Learning and Innovation”, said a person's language was central to the acquisition of knowledge.

Khumalo said UKZN’s language policy which initiated the compulsory studying of isiZulu for first-year students, did not seek to replace English but to enable learning to be as interactive, robust and inclusive as possible.

Khumalo reminded the audience that language was a sensitive and emotional issue.

‘We know the status of our indigenous languages and their introduction to the knowledge economy must be managed so that they can be used effectively for knowledge acquisition and knowledge dissemination.

‘Whenever there is a switch from a child’s first language to the language of the school, there is always an instructional blackout. For the vast majority of children, the blackout is total and final. The learning process is therefore reduced to verbatim memorisation.’ 

An expert in Curriculum Studies, Associate Professor Nyna Amin, spoke on “Leadership in an Era of Crises”.

Amin said there were inequalities and deficiencies in South Africa’s education system.

She outlined and explained the four areas of leadership: Power, Foreground and Background, High Quality and High Expectations, and Democracy.

She said the view a child had of their future could either be ruined or rescued.  As leaders in their schools, teachers could rescue that foreground for their students leading to advancement and development.

‘So you have to take background in combination to your foreground and use that as your way to the future which then means that as teachers we have to constantly bring about the consciousness of what is possible, not what is impossible.’

CAO Chief Executive Officer, Mr George van der Ross, spoke about the responsibility of teachers and educators in assisting, encouraging and motivating learners when applying for university entry through his office.

Causes of unsuccessful applications included non-provision of identity numbers, incorrect contact details and school address, using the old CAO handbook, applying late, non-payment, and not providing updated Matric results as soon as they became available.

Eden College Principal Mr Chris Marcellin thanked UKZN for enlightening schools about what they needed to do for their learners.

Sithembile Shabangu

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Medical Stalwarts Honoured

UKZN Medical Stalwarts Honoured
Professor YK Seedat and Dr Clive Daniel with Board Director President at CMSA, Professor M M Sathekge.

The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) has named two of its function rooms at its building in Durban after two UKZN academics who are stalwarts in the field of Medicine and have played a major role in the growth of the CMSA in KwaZulu-Natal.

The two are Emeritus Professor YK Seedat, who was Head of Medicine at the former University of Natal Medical School from 1978 to 1994, and Dr Clive Daniel of the Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care at UKZN.

The CMSA hall was named after Seedat and the boardroom after Daniel.

The College was established in the 1950s when it was known as the College of Physicians, Surgeons and Gynaecologists of South Africa.

Seedat was appointed on to the CMSA Council in 1978.  An Executive on the Council from 1992 until 2002, he initially worked as an examiner in Basic Science before serving as Chairman of the Faculty of Physicians between 1992 and 1995.

Having received a grant, he donated a house in Glastonbury Place in Durban to the CMSA who used it for administration purposes from 1995 to 2016. The building was named after him.

In his speech at the dedication ceremony, Seedat made a plea to the medical profession to safeguard medical institutions through donating to organisational bodies such as the CMSA. He said although the medical profession was well supported by the public, improvements needed to be made concerning its image and reputation.

Daniel, an Anaesthesiologist, holds a MBChB from the University of Cape Town, an MMed (Anes) from the University of Stellenbosch, a Diploma in Anaesthetics from the College of Anaesthetists of South Africa and a Fellowship from the College of Anaesthetists of South Africa.

Previously, he worked as a senior lecturer at UKZN while also serving as Deputy HOD, a member of the Senate of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa and was the secretary of the College of Anaesthetists (CASA).

In his presentation, Daniel spoke about his experiences in navigating the structures of CMSA since 1989 and also remarked on the successful transformation of the building over the years.

Ziphezinhle Silindile Biyela

author : .
author email : .

Lesotho UKZN Alumni Lunch

Lesotho UKZN Alumni Lunch
UKZN staff with the Vice-Chancellor, President of Convocation and Lesotho-based graduates.

The Alumni Relations Office co-ordinated a very successful and well attended get-together in Lesotho.

The event held at the Avani Maseru Hotel in Maseru took the form of a three-course lunch and an informative address by UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, who gave the audience a comprehensive overview of the University, highlighting recent successes, rankings and future plans.

President of the Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi, extended the appreciation of his  Executive and that of UKZN to the group for the excellent attendance at the event, saying this was the first of many more such functions in Lesotho. Sibisi elaborated on various issues and happenings at the University, including the 2017 April Graduations, the newly-elected Convocation Executive and the need to “give-back” to your alma mater.

Participants displayed intense interest in their alma mater with a variety of questions being asked during the session after the addresses by van Jaarsveld and Sibisi. Several graduates were keen to further their studies at the University and requested information on postgraduate studies as well as study opportunities for family members.

Guests expressed an interest in forming an official Lesotho Alumnus Association. The Alumni Relations Office aims to assist the grouping with their planning and the promotion of activities through the recently created Lesotho Facebook site and other social media sites managed by Alumni Relations.

Participants received information packs containing a selection of University publications and a corporate gift.

Finn Christensen

author : .
author email : .

Three Doctors in One Family!

Three Doctors in One Family!
Emeritus Professor Ahmed Thandar and Dr Yasmeen Thandar.

Dr Yasmeen Thandar, the daughter of UKZN alumnus and one of the longest-serving academics at the University, Emeritus Professor Ahmed Thandar, became the third doctor in her family after she was awarded her PhD.

Yasmeen, now holds a B. Pharmacy, M. Med Science (Clinical Pharmacology) and a doctorate from UKZN.

This is a milestone for the University and Professor Ahmed Thandar as all three of his children now hold doctorates from UKZN

Dr Mohammed Thandar and Dr Hasina Thandar graduated with MBChB degrees from the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine. Mohammed now practises as an ENT Surgeon at St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, while Hasina is based in London working in Oncology.

Ahmed, who received his PhD from the former University of Durban-Westville, is still an active researcher and supervises postgraduate students.

‘My wife and I are very proud of all Yasmeen’s achievements to date, especially the PhD. I am really thrilled by the successes of all my children. Besides partly financing their undergraduate studies, my only contribution was to set a good example,’ he said.

Supervised by Professor J Botha of the Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Professor A Mosam of the Department of Dermatology, Yasmeen’s thesis was titled: “An Investigation into the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Atopic Eczema”.

Atopic eczema is the most common inflammatory skin condition because it is long-term and relapsing. Patients often lose hope and try complementary and alternative medicines.

Yasmeen explored knowledge and use of these medicines by patients and healthcare professionals in Durban. She found that, despite being widely used, knowledge of them was limited. A formal systematic review of the global scientific literature revealed that there is, as yet, no proof that these medicines work. Her study contributed significantly to our knowledge of complementary therapies in atopic eczema.

‘I have always had an interest in skin disease and its management, both pharmaceutically and alternatively,’ said Yasmeen, who is currently examining the alternative management of other skin diseases such as lichen planus.

Yasmeen’s three children - Layyah (15), Umar (12) and Husain (11) and her husband, Mohamed - are very proud of her achievements. ‘They are excited whenever I present at conferences and share in the joy of a publication. My husband has been a pillar of support, my biggest cheerleader and go-to person. I am extremely fortunate to have such a supportive family,’ she said.

Nombuso Dlamini

author : .
author email : .

Fun Times at Gala

Fun Times at Gala
Participants at the BELS Swimming Gala.

Academic Leader in the Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences (BELS), Dr Rowena Naidoo, and lecturer, Mr Joe Xaba, were victorious in the fun three-legged race held during the Discipline’s swimming gala on the Westville campus.

The gala and side events were held to raise funds for students within the Discipline who need financial assistance as well as to promote social cohesion among the staff and the students.

Organiser, lecturer Miss Khumbuzile Khumalo, said the event was a huge success, ‘Both students and lecturers were at the fun-filled day. More than 40 students took part, and seemed to enjoy the land-based events the most.’

Said Naidoo: ‘Ms Khumalo has always been actively involved with fund raising activities for our students. We are proud of her and will continue to support her initiatives.

‘BELS plans to host similar events in the future but in collaboration with other disciplines.’

Nombuso Dlamini

author : .
author email : .

Exchange Student Opportunity

Exchange Student Opportunity
Dr Mergan Naidoo.

UKZN’s Family Medicine Specialist, Dr Mergan Naidoo, has invited UKZN Nursing and Medical students to apply for a funded foreign student exchange academic experience through the Global Educational Exchange in Medicine and the Health Profession (GEMx) Project.

‘The opportunity is there for students who want to broaden their educational and cultural experiences and do their electives at various universities outside the country,’ said Naidoo.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) has provided seed funding for the project to help with costs in the hope that the programme will promote regional collaboration between African educational institutions.

‘The project aims to develop a regional exchange network of institutions which seek to improve education by providing students with exchange training opportunities to widen their cultural perspective in order to better serve their intended home communities,’ said Naidoo.

Naidoo developed the funded four-week elective for foreign students after he received funding from GEMx, ‘Other universities also developed similar electives and these can been accessed by logging onto the GEMx website,’ said Naidoo, who is also the GEMx academic co-ordinator and programme manager for GEMx UKZN.

‘The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFRE Health) provides for the continued sustainability of MEPI and NEPI projects in Africa. Various MEPI/NEPI partners were invited to participate in the  Global Educational Exchange in Medicine and the Health Profession (GEMx) project which seeks to foster regional co-operation between African countries and promotes African scholarship,’ said Naidoo.

Students interested in the programme are encouraged to apply by logging onto the electronic platform, filling in an application form and providing supporting documentation.

The programme has already accepted students from Kenya and Uganda who will spend some time at Wentworth Hospital in Durban doing their elective.

The project also aims to:

Students can apply via the GEMx website to any of the partner institutions.

Nombuso Dlamini

author : .
author email : .

Student Crowned 2nd Princess at Miss India South Africa International 2017

Student Crowned 2nd Princess at Miss India South Africa International 2017
Second princess at Miss India South Africa International 2017, Ms Kiara Rampaul.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars - these words encouraged UKZN student Ms Kiara Rampaul to compete in her first pageant.

Rampaul was crowned 2nd princess at the Miss India South Africa International 2017 pageant. She also won the Zee TV Miss India SA International Miss Entrepreneur 2017 competition and the sponsors’ award from Standard Bank.

‘It was the first time I strutted down a ramp and my very first pageant. I am proud of my achievement.’

Rampaul, a second year Bachelor of Social Science in Housing student, says she was inspired by her parents.

The Zee TV Miss India South Africa International Pageant gives young women an opportunity to showcase not only their personality and potential but also helps them make a difference in their communities.

‘Through my studies I am keen to help in the development of formal settlements and create a better South Africa for all of us,’ said Rampaul. ‘Women empowerment is a part of this development process and being part of the Zee TV Miss India SA international Pageant allowed me as an individual to gain awareness and to engage in several social issues. The pageant also allowed young women like myself to express views and opinions on a variety of issues, educate other individuals and bring hope for many women out there,’ she said.

Rampaul thanked Standard Bank and the Zee TV Miss India SA Pageant team for allowing her to be part of this ‘extraordinary journey’.

‘The support I got from my family and friends was amazing. Every time I walked off stage, my fellow contestants asked if they could adopt my family. It meant the world to me just having my family and friends there. A big thank you for all the encouragement, support, advice and love.’

Nomcebo Mncube

author : .
author email : .