Chemistry Lecturer to Attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Chemistry Lecturer to Attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Dr Nolwazi Nombona.

A lecturer in the School of Chemistry and Physics, Dr Nolwazi Nombona, will attend the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany in June.

Nombona, selected for the trip by the African Academy of Science (AAS), joins fellow UKZN representative Dr Mark Williams-Wynn, who is being sent by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

The annual Lindau meeting - this year dedicated to the field of chemistry - is a forum where about 30 Nobel Laureates meet the next generation of leading scientists, comprising close to 500 undergraduates, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world. The meetings foster interaction among scientists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines.

More than 200 renowned science and research institutions worldwide identify the participants.

Nombona, who received her PhD from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, has been at UKZN since 2014 and is involved in research concerning the integration of inorganic molecules with nanomaterials for the development of electrochemical sensors which detect pathogens and carcinogens in the environment.

Nombona’s interest in the field was sparked by the realisation that scientists can use relatively cheap materials for the development of sensors that could radically improve people’s lives.  She hopes to contribute to the generation of new knowledge that will support the fabrication of efficient on-site sensor devices.

Excited ahead of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of travelling to Lindau to meet the Laureates, Nombona thanked AAS for the opportunity. She is eagerly anticipating potential collaborations that could arise after meeting with other young scientists as well as being exposed to networks unlike any she has encountered at other conferences she has attended.

Christine Cuénod

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Cum Laude Masters Graduate Encourages Students to Persevere through Disadvantage

<em>Cum Laude</em> Masters Graduate Encourages Students to Persevere through Disadvantage
Mr Sabelo Shezi.

Mr Sabelo Shezi of the Discipline of Bioresources Engineering has received his Master’s Degree cum laude in Bioresources Systems - an achievement made all the more significant because of the challenges he had to overcome.

Shezi is originally from the rural KwaHlathi area near Ladysmith where subsistence farming is a widespread practice. With agriculture so dominant in his youth - his mother taught him to value what came out of the ground - he was inspired to study in the field of Agriculture.

Shezi did not meet the entry requirements for a BSc degree in Crop and Horticultural Sciences when he applied at UKZN so he did a BSc4 Foundation programme with the Centre for Science Access (CSA) with financial aid provided by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Shezi found that being from a background with very limited resources, the BSc4 Foundation helped him move from a situation of being disadvantaged to one he considered as privileged.

Shezi pushed hard to succeed, completing his undergraduate studies and going on to honours, during which time he received the Greytown Parish Lionel Ashfield Prize, awarded to the best and most practically oriented third or fourth year student in the Discipline of Horticultural Sciences.

His experience in Horticultural Sciences sparked an interest in post-harvest technology, leading him on to a master’s degree on the topic of the effects of the supply chain routes and pre-storage treatments on the post-harvest quality of stored Nemo-netta tomatoes. Supervised by Professor Tilahun Workneh, Shezi’s research was part of work on tomatoes linking ZZ2 to small-scale farmers in Limpopo. He said that the Bioresources Engineering staff and postgraduate Energy, Food and Water Engineering Research Group provided important constructive criticism for his study.

Shezi was inspired to undertake research that feeds directly into the industry and has practical implications. He is now registered for his PhD in Horticultural Sciences.

Shezi thanked Workneh for his invaluable support, and also lecturers Professor Isa Bertling and Dr Samson Tesfay for their belief in him and their support. He hopes that by sharing his experience, he will encourage students from similar backgrounds to persevere with their studies.

Christine Cuénod

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UKZN Alumnus Selected to Serve on University Council

UKZN Alumnus Selected to Serve on University Council
UKZN Council member and entrepreneur, Mr Sammy Mashita.

Philanthropist, marathon road runner, successful entrepreneur and UKZN alumnus Mr Sammy Mashita has been appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training Mr Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande to serve on the University’s Council until 2020.

Mashita, who previously served on the Council as a Convocation Executive representative, has been actively engaged with the University since his student days, which he believes will stand him in good stead in his new appointment. ‘I earned my governance experience back in the days during my student government activism and later as a senior government bureaucrat. I now serve on various boards, including UKZN’s Council.’

He read for a BSoc degree in Politics and Economics and completed his Honours degree in Government Business and Ethics at the University a decade ago.

Mashita has fond memories of ‘repositioning’ the Pietermaritzburg campus which he says had been an underdog campus at the former University of Natal. ‘When I arrived, we were starting with the merger process.’

He served as a student leader as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson of SASCO. ‘The PMB campus became the centre of the University and went on to produce the highest number of Central SRC Presidents.’

Owner of the Be Sure Group, which he has modelled around Bidvest, his business includes 10 companies ranging from Be Sure Events to Be Sure Energy and Water and many others. While he is focused on building the brand, he has also developed the Be Sure Foundation which includes a Youth Development Programme.

He has made sizeable donations to the UKZN Alumni Bursary Fund to assist students who - similar to Mashita when he was a student - are financially needy. 

Mashita is quietly confidant the University will grow stronger, in the wake of the ‘Executive Management Committee constraints and the Medical School saga. I’m always optimistic about the capability of brand UKZN to stand the test of time.’

He says the secret to maintaining a good work/life balance is being ‘a great planner with a very understanding wife!’

Mashita will wear Team UKZN gear when he tackles this year’s Comrades Marathon. ‘I am running under the theme: “It takes all of you – Zinikele”,’ he said.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Association of Muslim Accountants and Lawyers-Student Chapter Launch


The Association of Muslim Accountants and Lawyers - Student Chapter (AMAL-SC) was officially launched at UKZN during an event on the Howard College campus.

AMAL, a non-governmental organisation established in 1984, is a non-exclusive, multiracial and dynamic student body that seeks to enable legal as well as Accounting students to further their career paths by empowering them and facilitating access to vacation work, community service, articles and seminars, among other benefits.

The launch involved a meet-and-greet interaction between the executive team and all in attendance.  Invitations had been extended to all viable campus societies with many attending including representatives from the Student Representative Council, Students for Law and Social Justice, Black Lawyers Association and Muslim Students Association as well as several lecturers from the School of Law.

Zaahirah Bassa

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Centre for Visual Arts Hosts “Work In Progress” Exhibition

Centre for Visual Arts Hosts “Work In Progress” Exhibition
Artworks on show at the “Work In Progress” exhibition.

The Centre for Visual Arts (CVA) within the School of Arts hosted an art exhibition titled “Work In Progress” at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

Arts lecturer Dr Jessica Draper said: ‘The Jack Heath Gallery has a long history of providing an interface between the public and the Centre for Visual Arts.  It is a space that allows us as a department to showcase the richness of the work of our student body but it also provides a platform for engagement with the broader community in which we work.’

Work in Progress aimed to reinvigorate the Jack Heath Gallery by using it as an experimental space in which visitors are invited to participate in the process of ‘meaning-making’. 

‘It is hoped that the energy generated in the spaces between the artworks goes some way towards recharging the walls, and sparks interesting conversations between students, staff and the community,’ said Draper.  ‘The works on display are formative and still largely under construction.’

CVA Director Dr Louise Hall exhibited one of her artworks titled Landscape I, 2016 (mixed media on canvas) that speaks of subterranean, historical layers. It is an imaginary cross-section of land forms suggesting evidence of archaeological and engineering disruption and excavation.

‘Much of my work is about drawing and mark making,’ said Hall. ‘Recent work including this piece, explores the combination of the syntax of painting with that of drawing. Landscape I, 2016 includes an amalgam of drawing and paint media - pencil, watercolour and oil paint – each lending relative and peculiar qualities of transparency and opacity to the pictorial structure. This work does not offer a logical pictorial space - the image is simultaneously flat, transparent and spatial.’

Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: supplied by Anda Dodo and Kathy Arbuckle

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Academic Successes of UKZN Student Leaders Celebrated

Academic Successes of UKZN Student Leaders Celebrated
UKZN celebrates student leaders who graduated recently.

UKZN celebrated the academic successes of student leaders at a gala dinner on the Westville campus.

Former SRC President on the Pietermaritzburg campus and former Head of Ministry at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture, Mr Thokozani Magwaza, commended the students on their achievements.

Magwaza, who holds a BSocSci in Human Resources and Psychology and a postgraduate diploma from UKZN, congratulated the leaders going on to advise them about how to be good, effective leaders. ‘Leadership is a calling. Good leaders are chosen, they don’t choose themselves,’ said Magwaza.

He advised the students to maintain confidentiality when students confide in them with problems as well as encouraging them to be decisive and to embrace transparency. He cautioned against the abuse of resources, particularly UKZN vehicles.

Magwaza was pleased that student leaders were excelling academically. ‘We have overcome the challenge of student leaders who do not want to pass.’

Executive Director: Student Services, Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula, applauded the students for graduating and also serving the University’s student community.

She commended the Student Services staff for being there for the students on their long journey and congratulated the young leaders on their successes: ‘Halala! You have done very well and have made us proud!’  

Central SRC President, Ms Noxolo Bhengu, encouraged students to ‘be there for one another’ in their studies and wished them well in their future endeavours.

Bhengu suggested students leaders receive counselling as the ‘things we see and the things we go through are not normal for people our age’.

Giving the closing remarks, Central SRC Finance and Projects Officer Mr Lwandile Mtsolo thanked all those who had contributed to the success of the event. He echoed the sentiments of other speakers by thanking Mrs Priscilla Cele of Student Services for the role she plays at the University.

Student Governance, Leadership & Development Officer, Mr Muzomuhle Mhlongo, was the Programme Director while the evening’s entertainment was provided by Ms Minenhle Ntuli and Mr Prince Gumede.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photograph by Wiseman Khumalo

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UKZN Signs Agreement with International Business School

UKZN Signs Agreement with International Business School
From left: Ms Tasmeera Singh, Dr Dhananjay Keskar, Professor Brian McArthur and Dr Upasana Singh.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UKZN and an international education institution based in Mauritius, Amity Business School, has been finalised.

The MoU was signed earlier this year and the Director of the School in Mauritius, Dr Dhananjay Keskar, visited UKZN to discuss and complete the agreement.

UKZN’s Dr Upasana Singh was the driver and orchestrator of the MoU.

At the meeting to finalise the arrangement were the Head of UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Professor Brian McArthur; Principal International Advisor from the International Relations Department, Ms Tasmeera Singh, and UKZN academics Dr Muhammad Hoque and Professor Stephen Migiro of the  Graduate School of Business and Leadership.

Various elements of the MoU were discussed such as student exchange programmes which would enable UKZN students at undergraduate level to register with the institution for their studies on a full-time basis for one semester and vice-versa.

Also explored were the possibility of conducting faculty research seminars and workshops via Skype sessions, a staff exchange programme and a joint degree and curriculum development programme.

Reatlehile Karabo Moeti

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Enactus UKZN is Back on its Feet

Enactus UKZN is Back on its Feet
The FIFA Bosses.

Enactus UKZN, after being dormant in 2016, has swung back into action this year with a variety of fund-raising events.

Members organised the sale of muffins and also raffle tickets among other activities to raise money to fund Enactus team members when they go out into the field on projects.

Enactus on the Westville campus held a soccer event early in May which was well supported. All games were tough and hectic with players giving their all in search of victory.

Two players that made it to the finals were Ms Wanda Phili, a first-year BCom Accounting student and Mr Jonathan Ojong, a second year BSc Computer Science student.

Phili played for the Barcelona team and Ojong for the Chelsea side.  It was a tight game, eventually won 7-3 by Chelsea, with spectators kept on the edge of their seats throughout the match. Ojong won a R150 prize for his contribution and Phili R50 for her part.

The Westville Enactus team thanked UKZN for its support in providing a venue for the game and also thanked all the students who made the event a success and helped raise funds for future Enactus activities.

Said Enactus UKZN Deputy-President Yanelisa Jokweni: ‘We are very passionate about seeking new perspectives and challenging long-standing assumptions because we know effective leadership requires continuous learning. In the country’s current economic situation finances are very tight but funds are required to keep our organisation running and financing various projects Enactus UKZN will engage in to benefit the society.’

•   Enactus is an international organisation that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to enable progress around the world. Guided by faculty advisors and business experts, participating students form teams on their campuses to create and implement community projects that empower people to improve their quality of life. The experience, not only transform lives, it helps students develop the kind of talent and perspective essential in becoming effective, value-driven leaders.

Nomqhele Dube

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UJ Honours Pioneering HIV/AIDS Expert, Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim with an Honorary Degree

UJ Honours Pioneering HIV/AIDS Expert, Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim with an Honorary Degree
Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim.

One of the world’s leading HIV and AIDS researchers, with pioneering contributions in understanding the evolving HIV epidemic, while also fighting for the rights of those affected by HIV and AIDS, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is to be honoured with an honorary doctoral degree - Doctor Litterarum et Philosophiae (honoris causa) - by the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

The honorary doctoral degree will be awarded to Abdool Karim, during the University’s second graduation series at the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 5pm.

‘With extensive research contributions that spans over 25 years, Abdool Karim’s commitment to create a deeper understanding on the growing HIV epidemic in South Africa and the factors influencing acquisition of HIV infection in adolescent girls, is evident with worldwide acknowledgements of her work,’ says Professor Andre Swart, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at UJ.

‘Professor Abdool Karim is the embodiment of a true South African ambassador, in the context of both traditional and modern Africa. Her work has had a profound impact on HIV treatment and prevention policies at a national and global level. The conferral of the honorary doctoral degree is in recognition of her work that has contributed greatly towards improving the quality of life of women in Africa,’ says Professor Swart.

Abdool Karim holds a professorship in Clinical Epidemiology from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, USA, and is also an honorary professor in Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is also a visiting scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and visiting lecturer at Harvard University. Since 1998 Abdool Karim has continually played a central role in building the science base in Southern Africa through the Columbia University-Southern African Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Programme that has trained over 600 scientists in the region. She was the principal investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 Tenofovir Gel trial, which provided proof of concept for Microbicides, highlighted by Science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2010. Abdool Karim has published extensively and has authored several books and book chapters, and is a NRF A-rated researcher.

‘I am deeply humbled and honoured to receive an honorary degree from the University of Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s leading and respected public universities,’ said Abdool Karim. ‘I accept the honorary doctorate on behalf of women in Africa who are unwavering in their hope that HIV will be controlled and eradicated through innovative research and the development of effective medical technologies and who are contributing to knowledge generation either by leading research teams, participating in research and advocating for the betterment of women’s lives. They continue to inspire me to persist with my scientific endeavours. While some progress has been made, much more remains to be done to ensure a non-sexist and just society,’she said.

For her contributions to the domain of HIV prevention and treatment, Abdool Karim was also awarded the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Award, naming her as one of five “exceptional laureates” for her remarkable activities and contributions related to HIV in South Africa and the African continent. For this award, nominations were received from 2 600 leading scientists across the globe. President of the Jury and Nobel Laureate, Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, in congratulating the winners, stated that ‘2016’s laureates bring an extraordinary vision and immediate solutions to major health issues. All their careers are exceptional, their discoveries truly new and they epitomise top-level research.’

Luyanda Ndaba

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UKZN Helps Organise High-Level Leadership Symposium in Ethiopia

UKZN Helps Organise High-Level Leadership Symposium in Ethiopia
From left: Professor Damtew Teferra, Dr Beatrice Njenga, Associate Professor Wondwossen Tamrat, Dr Samuel Kifle, Dr Eva Egron-Polak and Dr Mahama Ouedraogo.

A high-level symposium sponsored by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education in association with several partners and sponsors, including UKZN’s Higher Education Training and Development Unit (HETD), was held in Addis Ababa.

The symposium, which attracted about 150 delegates, featured Dr Eva Egron-Polak, the Executive Director, International Universities Bureau, and Secretary General of the International Association of Universities in France; and  Professor  N V Varghese, formerly Director, UNESCO-IIEP, now Director, Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education, India, one of the leading authorities in Higher Education leadership and governance in the world.

This symposium also brought together the international and continental partners of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa.

The group took the opportunity to hold an initial meeting with partners of a new project involving  the University of Tampere (Finland), the University of Makerere, UKZN, the Uganda Management Institute, and the three Ethiopian Universities - Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar and Mekelle. The grouping won a major grant from the Finnish government to advance leadership and management in Higher Education in Africa. This is the third time the Finnish government has committed such a major grant to support such initiatives.

The new initiative, which is anticipated to start soon, is expected to benefit PhD students and academics at UKZN, as has been the case in the past.

Dignitaries included the Ethiopian State Minister of Education, senior government officials, and officials from the Education and Science and Technology departments of the African Union Commission.

The effort was a manifestation of the 10-Year Continental Education Strategy for Africa, which UKZN’s Professor Damtew Teferra helped develop along with four leading authorities in education.

Teferra was also instrumental in organising and intellectually leading the symposium.


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Occupational Therapy Discipline Celebrates Record Number of Master’s Graduates


Eight students in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy at UKZN have received their master’s degrees – this is the highest ever number of master’s graduates in the Discipline in a single year.

And to add to that significant achievement, nearly all of them completed their studies within the minimum period of a year.

The graduates are clinicians working in both the public and private sectors.

They are Ms Kesree Sagadavan, Ms Dominique de Klerk, Ms Jacqueline Boyd, Ms Lenise Clothier, Ms Kreshnee Govender, Ms Claire-Lynn Moller, Ms Jessica Taylor and Ms Ginette Potgieter.

This increase in postgraduate throughputs is in response to and aligned with UKZN’s strategic imperative to become the leading research-led university in South Africa. Members of the Discipline conducted road shows to recruit potential candidates and adopted a pilot cohort model with other disciplines in the School of Health Sciences and it proved to be successful. Traditionally, the Discipline has a low number of postgraduate students due to a lack of incentives in obtaining postgraduate qualifications for clinicians.

Sagadavan, de Klerk, Boyd and Clothier completed their studies in the field of paediatrics, covering issues around the multidisciplinary team management of HIV encephalopathies; the management of children with cerebral palsy accessing public healthcare; appreciating the occupational performance and challenges of a child with autism spectrum disorder in a rural context, and in determining management of children diagnosed with learning disabilities presenting to the public health system.

Govender and Moller completed studies in the field of vocational rehabilitation covering the experience of patients who sustained a traumatic brain injury in returning to work and the role of the occupational therapist in case management in the insurance industry. Taylor and Potgieter completed studies in the field of mental health, ie the experience of acquired brain injury survivors living with mood symptoms and perceptions of clinical staff towards psychosocial rehabilitation towards development of guidelines for an acute mental healthcare facility. 

The commitment and dedication of staff members, most of whom are still credentialing and carrying a large undergraduate workload, were commended.

The Discipline is confident that the collaboration across disciplines will continue towards collective growth within the School of Health Sciences. This bodes well for the overall development and success of the Discipline in contributing to knowledge production in the field of occupational therapy and related fields.

Pragashnie Govender

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UKZN hosts Successful 2017 Open Days

UKZN hosts Successful 2017 Open Days
Prospective students at the recent UKZN Open Days.

The 2017 UKZN Information Open Days held on the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses attracted large numbers of prospective students anxious to learn more about degrees and programmes on offer at the University.

Some of the learners were with their parents and teachers, eager to make an informed decision about future academic career choices.

Braving the rain and cold, mother and daughter Kelsey and Wendy Padayachee of Durban were on the Westville campus and made a beeline for the College of Humanities information stands. ‘I am really interested in pursuing a career in the Built Environment,’ said Kelsey of Queensburgh Girls’ High. ‘Being here and being able to get as much information as possible about my future career choice is really helpful.’

Ms Amanda Lushozi of Umlazi Comtech High School described Open Day as useful and informative. ‘I plan on studying towards a Drama and Performance degree and UKZN was my first choice. I have managed to get all the necessary information in order to apply to study here. I cannot wait.’

Pupils and parents who visited the College of Law and Management Studies information stands at both the Pietermaritzburg and Durban Open Days heard about why a career in marketing, information technology, business, management, accounting, economics and finance were all excellent options for a successful future.

In Durban, hundreds of prospective students and parents enjoyed a maths presentation in which numbers whizz Dr Msizi Mkhize amazed everyone with how it is possible to “speak maths” and how maths is also part of the Bible!  There was also a presentation by School of Accounting, Economics and Finance academic Ms Shelley Donnelley who drew comparisons between a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Business Science degree. School of Law academic Mr Steven Mnyandu shared insights on why Law is not just for lawyers.

‘I want to be a Chartered Accountant and help my family with school fees for my two younger brothers and also help my mom financially to thank her for putting me through school,’ said Grade 12 learner, Nolwazi Dlamini.

The crowd also took the opportunity to engage with the College’s academic and support staff who explained in detail requirements and possible benefits of studying within the disciplines offered by the College of Law and Management Studies.

Not to be outdone, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science pulled out all the stops to entice learners to study for a career through the College.

Academics and postgraduate students had exciting and interactive stands.  Flashing and fluorescent chemicals bubbled, balls balanced in mid-air, flames shot skywards, hovercraft hovered, robots ran around, rain gauges dripped, plants were dissected, and anything from fruit, fish and geological formations were examined under microscopes.

The College’s scientific magicians wowed the crowds with regular science shows explaining the wonders of fire and other chemical mysteries. 

Formal presentations by registered students on programmes offered by the College of Health Sciences gave visiting learners, parents and teachers an opportunity to engage and ask questions related to the College. Student funding was discussed and learners were informed about funding options available. The Decentralised Clinical Training platform was explained with emphasis given to why the platform is of benefit to clinical students and the community at large.

Students from the College of Health Sciences offered basic health screening where audiences got an opportunity to get tested for blood pressure, glucose, fitness levels, and body mass index. There was a variety of demonstrations on clinical and anatomy issues, dental therapy, biokinetics, as well as CPR demonstrations and microscope viewing, among others.


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Umqeqeshi Wase-UKZN Ulekelele Ontwezayo Ukuba Anqobe Indondo Yegolide

Umqeqeshi Wase-UKZN Ulekelele Ontwezayo Ukuba Anqobe Indondo Yegolide
Mr Siyabonga Shezi, uqeqeshe umhlengi wase-Scottburgh uMnu Jonathan Rorke.

Click here for the English version

Umfundi weziqu zeMastazi KwezeSayensi YokuVocavoca Umzimba Nokungcebeleka  uMnu Siyabonga Shezi uqeqeshe ongumhlengi wababhukudi wase-Scottburgh uMnu Jonathan Rorke lapho enqobe khona wahlabana ngendondo yegolide emqhudelwaneni i- General Tyre South African Lifesaving Championships.

U-Rorke, ongumfundi e-Mangosuthu University of Technology, ugijime amamitha angama-90 esihlabathini solwandle ngesikhathi esiyimizuzwana eyi-10:55 ukuze ahlabane ngendondo yegolide ngaleyondlela wabekwa njengenqgwele yaseNingizimu Afrika, lapho ephule irekhodi ebeselihlale iminyaka ecishe ibe eyishumi.

UShezi ubambe iqhaza elikhulu ekunqobeni kuka-Rorke. ‘USiyabonga ungisize kakhulu. Uthuthukise uhlelo lwami lokuziqeqesha ngokugcizelela ukubaluleka kokuziqeqeshela ukugijima ngesivinini esiphezulu,’ kusho u-Rorke.

Ongumholi Kwezokufunda we-BELS, uDkt Rowena Naidoo, uthe uShezi ungomunye wabafundi abaphambili emkhakheni, ‘USiya waphumelela eziqwini zakhe ze-Onazi KwezeZayensi Yokuvocavocwa Komzimba ngamalengiso kanti manje wenza iziqu zeMastazi kwezeSayensi Yezemidlalo.’

Uyilungu lohlelo lweNyuvesi Lokuthuthukiswa Kwabafundi asebeneziqu, sibonga umfundaze we-Talent Equity and Excellence Scholarship. Lo mfundaze uqoka futhi uxhasa abafundi abathembisayo kulolu hlelo ngoba kucatshangwa ukuthi bangasebenza emkhakheni wokufundisa.’ Siyaziqhenya ngempumelelo kaSiya ekilasini nakwezemidlalo,’ kusho uNaidoo.

UShezi uthe ubudlelwane bakhe noRorke obukhethekile obuphakathi komqeqeshi nomsubathi busukela ebunganini babo besikhathi eside. ‘Uthando luka-Jonathan lwezeSayensi Yezemidlalo luyangigqugquzela ukuze ngifunde kakhulu futhi ngiqhubekele phambili e-UKZN ngoba sengibonile ukuthi ulwazi olutholakala kulo mkhakha lungakwazi ukugqugquzela imiphakathi nabantu ukuze baphumelele futhi basebenze ngokuzimela, kusho uShezi.

UShezi umatasa usebenzisana no-Rorke ekumlekeleleni ukuze aqokelwe eqenjini lesizwe elizongenela umqhudelwano i-World Lifesaving Championships e-Australia ngonyaka ozayo.

nguNombuso Dlamini

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UKZN Promotes Employee Wellness

UKZN Promotes Employee Wellness
Staff at the Employee Wellness Day on the Westville campus with Ms Busisiwe Ramabodu of the Human Resources Division and Ms Philippa Hempson of UKZN’s Medical Aid Scheme.

UKZN Wellness Days were once again held at all campuses to promote the holistic wellbeing of employees.

The days were organised by the Human Resources division in partnership with the UKZN Medical Aid Scheme.

Discovery Health nurses were on hand to check cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index and glucose levels of all UKZN staff.

Human Resources representatives Ms Busisiwe Ramabodu and Mr Russel Mnguni and Principal Officer of the UKZN Medical Scheme Ms Philippa Hempson encouraged staff to spend time investing in their health and cultivating healthy habits.

Diabetes SA, ER24, Discovery Health nurses, Revitalise Day Spa, a Chiropractor and UKZN Medical Scheme Help Desk were all on hand providing information and advice to staff. Biokinetics and Optometry students also provided free eye screening tests and physical fitness advice.

Diabetes SA advised staff to use small plates when eating a meal, with half the plate filled with fruit and vegetables, a quarter with starch and the remaining quarter with protein. Further, the idea was to steam, grill and bake food and to limit salt intake. There was also a warning about hidden sugars in juice with staff encouraged to drink lots of water and to exercise regularly. A tip was to dilute fruit juice by adding water.

Dietician Ms Michelle Tolmay offered these tips:

·        Cut out sugar

·        Watch the types of fat you eat

·        Portion control

·        Eat fruit and vegetables daily

·        Avoid alcohol

·        Watch salt intake

·        Cut out junk and convenience food

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s Professor Ana Martins said the Wellness Day was very useful and suggested hepatitis screenings, AIDS tests and mammograms be added to next year’s programme.

Representatives from Alcoholics Anonymous were available to provide information for those needing help to recover from alcoholism. Visit for more information.

Paramedics from ER24 reminded UKZN Medical Scheme members to dial 082 124 in an emergency for ‘real help, real fast’.

Virgin Active’s Mr Andile Najola advised staff about facilities and specials available at his organisation.

Participating staff were given ice packs, water bottles, stress balls and Kauai smoothies.

Visit for more information on improving your health.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Albert Hirasen

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Global Decline in Deaths Among Children and Adolescents - Study Finding

Global Decline in Deaths Among Children and Adolescents - Study Finding
Professor Benn Sartorius.

UKZN’s Professor Benn Sartorius is a co-author of a study describing levels and trends for mortality and non-fatal health outcomes in children and adolescents aged 19 years and younger in 195 countries from 1990 to 2015.

The study, titled: “Global Decline in Deaths Among Children, Adolescents but Progress Uneven”, aims to provide evidence for policy discussion.

This study, led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation as part of its Global Burden of Disease 2015 project, suggests that mortality of adolescents and children decreased at a global aggregate level from 14.2 million deaths in 1990 to 7.2 million deaths in 2015 as a result of gains made in the fight against infectious, neo-natal and nutritional disorders.

However, the research found that this global progress had been uneven by region and country. Countries with lower socio-demographic index (SDI) values experienced a greater share of deaths in 2015 compared to previous years. For example in 2015, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa experienced the highest number of deaths.

The research found that the leading causes of death were lower respiratory tract infections, congenital anomalies, birth complications, neonatal sepsis, HIV and AIDS, meningitis and malaria. In many settings this is coupled with an ongoing epidemiologic transition to the increased non-communicable diseases burden.

Moreover, it was noted that the burden of disability in adolescents and children increased to 4.3% from 1990 to 2015. This acceleration was due to ‘population growth and improved survival of children and adolescents to older ages. However, apart from this, numerous causes of disabilities are linked to long term sequelae of conditions that exist at birth such as congenital birth defects, hemoglobinopathie and neonatal disorders’.

Said Sartorius: ‘The results also suggest that reproductive and maternal health remain key instigators of the disease burden in female adolescents, especially those living in lower-SDI countries. In these countries mortality remains the most pressing outcome of health loss in this segmented group. In contrast however, in higher SDI locations, disability is the most prominent factor.

‘In the past, consistent and intentional international research and investments have led to long lasting improvements in the elimination of the causes of health loss that affect many children and adolescents in divergent countries, even though distribution of help/progress has been unequal.

‘The persistence of infectious diseases in some countries, coupled with ongoing epidemiologic transition leading to increasing burden of injury and non-communicable disease burden, requires all countries to carefully evaluate and implement appropriate strategies to maximise the health of their children and adolescents. UKZN through active collaboration is one step closer to achieving this mandate,’ he said.

Ziphezinhle Silindile Biyela

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Acclaimed Photographer Gives “A Life Less Ordinary” Presentation at UKZN

Acclaimed Photographer Gives “A Life Less Ordinary” Presentation at UKZN
A collection of Matthew Willman’s photographs.

Members of UKZN’s Durban Alumni Association were treated to a peek behind the lens of one of South Africa’s foremost photographers Matthew Willman during a talk and presentation he gave at the University.

Willman has photographed global icons including President Nelson Mandela, United States Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, singer Annie Lennox, several Nobel laureates as well as musicians and artists.

A documentary photographer, Willman has captured the lives of ordinary people in places such as Eritrea, South Sudan and northern Kenya.  ‘It is a privilege to be living and working in these environments because this is where humanity meets itself,’ said Willman.

‘My normal is your abnormal. My normal is sitting out in some of the most horrendous places in the world, and I’m absolutely loving it,’ he said.

Willman captivated the audience with his experiences of chatting to Mandela over breakfast and his work as a commissioned photographer to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Having spent over a decade documenting Mandela’s life, he has published five best-selling books on South Africa’s first democratically elected President. At present, he is curating Mandela’s life at the Freedom Centre in the United States.

His passion extends to making a difference to individuals and communities and in 2011 he founded the Matthew Willman Arts Trust which has given tertiary level scholarships and financial grants to young up-and-coming artists.

An alumnus of the Durban University of Technology, Willman started an MA at UKZN but left to spend time pursuing his dream of documenting Mandela’s life.

He has received many accolades for his work in the visual arts. Tutu said the following: ‘Matthew is a remarkably talented young man and I am thrilled to see the quality of the work he is producing. We have been enriched by many cultures, languages and faiths, it is a heritage in South Africa to be shared, experienced and celebrated as is the diversity of our landscapes, our wildlife, our villages and towns. Thank you Matthew for mediating these to us through your camera.’

Visit Willman’s website for a glimpse into his life behind the lens:

*The Durban Alumni Association co-ordinates about four presentations a year and organises tours to places of interest in KZN. Membership of the Association is open to all UKZN graduates and to affiliated members who are not graduates. Graduates are encouraged to participate in the events which are advertised on the various UKZN alumni social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Matthew Willman

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UKZN Christian Students Donate Blankets to Babies Home

UKZN Christian Students Donate Blankets to Babies Home
Students from TTACCSO at the Edith Benson Babies Home in Sherwood, Durban.

Students from the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ Students Organisation (TTACCSO) on the Westville campus donated blankets, duvet covers, pillows and sheets to the Edith Benson Babies Home in Sherwood, Durban.

About 30 students who visited the Home to hand over the items also spent an afternoon cleaning the garden, painting the walls and playing with the children. 

The Home caters for orphaned, abused and abandoned children up to five years old.

The organisation’s Westville campus Chairperson, Ms Lindelani Mantengu, says TTACCSO arranges fundraising initiatives once or twice a year. 

The initiatives aim to help uplift the community and teach the youth within the organisation to give back to those who helped raise them.

‘In today’s society where money, fame, and social media are the main things on our minds, we tend to forget about the less fortunate who are deprived of the many opportunities some of us have,’ said Mantengu.

The fundraising initiative was made possible with contributions from the Department of Student Housing on the Westville campus and the Corporate Relations Division.

Mantengu said the visit to the home inspired TTACCSO members to do more. ‘We are now planning similar visits to other homes. We urge everyone who can assist us with donations to come forward and help.’

TACCSO, a recognised religious students’ organisation at UKZN, is an offshoot of the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ (TACC). It was established in 2007 to spread the teachings and doctrines of Christianity to students in tertiary institutions.

For more information on TTACCSO or to help with its endeavours contact Ms Lindelani Mantengu on 082 691 5079 or Ms Xoliswa Gumede on 072 476 1056.

Sejal Desai

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UKZN Vehicles Steal the Show at Cars in the Park Exhibition

UKZN Vehicles Steal the Show at Cars in the Park Exhibition
Students and staff from the School of Mechanical Engineering exhibit their projects at the Cars in the Park event.

The six vehicles students and staff of UKZN’s School of Mechanical Engineering exhibited at the annual Cars in the Park event in Pietermaritzburg were all massive crowd pullers!

The innovative vehicles - which stood out at the annual exhibition of vintage and classic cars, trucks, vans and motorbikes - are among the School’s most prized design-projects.

UKZN vehicles on display were the Wing-In-Ground Effect (WIG) Flying Hovercraft; the Hulamin Solar Car; the Mamba Electric Vehicle; the Human Operated Recumbent – Electric Trike (THOR-ET); the Smart Technology Pedal Bus, and the much admired 1926 Model T Ford, named Tin Lizzie.

They are all ongoing projects developed over the years with the help of industry contributions.

Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Glen Bright, said the vehicles told a story of the evolution of engineering design and transportation.

‘With the exception of the Model T Ford, which was refurbished, these amazing transport innovations were designed and developed from scratch by students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. We are proud to showcase this exceptional work to the public.’

Crowds were entertained with demonstrations of both the WIG Flying Hovercraft and the Mamba Electric Vehicle.

And folks who wanted to experience the vehicles in motion were treated to a test drive of both the Pedal Bus and the THOR-ET.

To read more about the Cars in the Park event visit

•   he Mamba Electric Vehicle is a full-size electric sports car which goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just under five seconds and has a range of up to 200km on a single charge. Students built this high-performing vehicle on a relatively small budget.

•   Typhoon, the Wing-In-Ground Effect (WIG) Flying Hovercraft, is a full-scale prototype of a land vehicle that has the ability to fly over terrain such as rivers, rocky outcrops and small valleys. The vehicle is designed and manufactured with a hovercraft base for amphibious surface operation and uses the ground effect phenomenon for low altitude flight. 

•   The Hulamin Solar Car exhibits the cutting-edge of solar power and electric vehicle technology. The car has silicon solar panels to harvest energy from the sun which is then stored in lithium ion batteries providing power for the car to travel long distances with speeds of up to 126km/h.The car, developed by UKZN Engineering students with funding from Hulamin, was entered in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and finished in 13th position, ahead of teams from other renowned international tertiary institutions, including Cambridge University. 

•   The Smart Technology Pedal Bus represents a mode of transport that responds to needs for more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. The bus is propelled by people – the driver sits at the front, controlling the steering, braking and power assistance, while rows of people sit on bike seats and pedal power it forward. An electric motor, which uses solar technology, assists power the vehicle. A team of developers is working to further automate the vehicle so that it becomes a driverless bus with the ability to travel pre-programmed routes around a city centre, picking up and dropping off passengers at bus stops.

•   THOR-ET - the Human Operated Recumbent – Electric Trike - is a three-wheeled vehicle propelled by a single electric hub motor, with the addition of human pedal power for assistance up steep inclinations.

•   Model T Ford Tin Lizzie is a showpiece representing innovation and technology that was cutting-edge in its time. The vehicle was bought by UKZN and refurbished for use in teaching students the history of engineering in transport.

Sejal Desai

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Student Wins First Prize in Corobrik Architectural Awards

Student Wins First Prize in Corobrik Architectural Awards
Mr Jean-Pierre Desvaux de Marigny - Corobrik Architect Student of the Year.

UKZN Architecture student Mr Jean-Pierre Desvaux de Marigny has won the R50 000 first prize in the Corobrik Architectural Awards competition.

De Marigny, who described winning as ‘a great feeling’, says he is delighted his work was recognised and achieved first place.

‘It was truly an amazing experience and I feel honoured to have brought home this national award, especially after UKZN hasn’t won it for 22 years! Having the status of the best architectural student in South Africa is by far the most prestigious accolade to receive at masters level and I am proud of the achievement on my journey towards becoming an architect,’ he said.

The Corobrik competition, held annually for the past three decades, has seen considerable changes in how young professionals in the architectural profession approach the built environment.

De Marigny was awarded the prize for his innovation with a view to lightening the built environment’s environmental footprint together with an innate understanding of social and cultural imperatives within South Africa.

He was one of eight regional winners from the country’s major universities who were chosen last year. Each winner became a finalist competing for the national title announced at a recent function in Johannesburg.  

His award-winning research and proposed intervention focused on the lower uMgeni River, viewing it as one of Durban’s major life sources, currently in desperate need of ecological support as it runs past many communities lacking clean water and unable to use the watercourse because it is so heavily polluted.

De Marigny believes the unhealthy state of the river is causing knock on effects such as lack of nutrition and food, increasing mortality of aquatic species and birds as well as a lack of tourism and investment interest in the watercourse areas.

As a result, his research proposed an architectural solution located downstream of the Springfield Industrial Park area that aimed to draw an analogy between the machine-dominated environment that exists and the natural ecosystems found within the uMgeni river.

Conceptually the design took the stance of ‘viewing architecture as similar to that of a mechanical prosthetic device, so that the architecture (industrial machine) could begin to act as rather a natural life support system in the context in which it exists (ecology)’, evolving into a multi-programmed hydrological awareness and water research facility that straddles the affected watercourse.

Attaching to an existing 440m long pedestrian walkway bridge spanning the width of the river, the facility hosts  a minimal ecological footprint, in addition to providing direct access to the water body to ecologically filter both surface (plastic, rubber and geo-polymers matter) as well as subsurface (human, industrial and agricultural matter ) water pollutants as they pass below.

According to De Marigny, this is achieved through using both applied technological solutions as well as integrated ecological living processes that take advantage of renewable energies for power as well as supporting indigenous aquarian species, able to purify water that is clean enough for consumption and rehabilitative purposes.

‘Overall the architecture aims to exist as merely a self-sustainable framework that actively expresses how the built environment is able to support the natural in a rather systematic and cyclical manner.

‘It further seeks to transform the idea of “waste” (physical and metaphysical) into “nutrients” for regenerative growth, in addition to enabling a space for continued water research, the facility is able to provide fresh fish, fertilisers, biogas, plants, vegetables and clean water, all of which are by-products of so called “waste”.’

De Marigny’s advice to other architecture students is to be passionate about whatever they are doing. ‘In architecture the journey one has to endure to get to where you want to be is not easy. Always trust the path that leads you, work hard at it and you are bound to succeed.’

Melissa Mungroo

Photograph supplied by Corobrik

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Student Support Services Host Careers Day

Student Support Services Host Careers Day
Students interacting with representatives of various companies at the annual Careers Day.

Student Support Services within the College of Humanities held its annual Careers Day on the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses.

Students were given the opportunity to put career questions to representatives of a variety of different companies and organisations, including the Department of Labour and Allan Gray investments.

Department of Labour representative, Ms Tholeka Dukada, said: ‘Being part of UKZN’s Careers Day gives us the opportunity to interact with students and give them information they need regarding career opportunities and the employment services programme we offer.’

Said Allan Gray’s Ms Tasheen Shaikh: ‘The event gives us the chance to tell students about our company and career opportunities. We are definitely coming back next year to meet more future employees.’

Bachelor of Social Sciences student Ms Sembatho Mbatha said the event was helpful. ‘I benefited a lot from the day. For next year’s event, Student Support Services should invite more companies.’

Development Studies student, Mr Sandile Zondi, said: ‘I spoke to different companies about career opportunities and learned a lot.’

Manager of Student Support Services, Ms Angeline Stephens, said: ‘Networking is an essential and important component of graduate marketability and career pathing. The annual Humanities Careers exhibitions on the Howard College and PMB campuses provide students with the opportunity to meet and interact with potential employers from various sectors. It is an exciting and an important calendar event for all stakeholders and I am glad that students found the event beneficial.’

Nomcebo Mncube

Photographs: Zinhle Precious Zungu

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