UKZN Academic Visits World’s Largest Single-Dish Telescope in China

UKZN Academic Visits World’s Largest Single-Dish Telescope in China
UKZN’s Dr Yin-Zhe Ma (front) with the South African delegation at the FAST facility in China, - the world’s largest single-dish telescope.

A Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry and Physics at UKZN and a member of the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), Dr Yin-Zhe Ma, visited the world’s largest single-dish telescope, the Five Hundred Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), while in China as a member of a South African delegation to the second South Africa-China bilateral workshop.

The South African delegation was led by acting Managing Director of Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO), Professor Ludwig Combrinck.

Ma delivered a presentation at the workshop titled: “How Much Cosmological Information can be Measured?”

Ma’s presentation involved querying, in the context of an era of big data coming from telescopes, whether there is an infinite amount of cosmic information that can be measured and whether the fundamental parameters of the universe that can be measured are infinitely precise. His answer involved demonstrating that the total amount of measureable information from the entire universe is finite and bounded by the structure of space-time, and that in the distant future, the microwave background radiation from the very early Universe will be lost in the thermal radiation predicted by Stephen Hawking in 1977.

The first South Africa-China Bilateral Workshop was organised in Durban in November 2016 by Ma and Professor Xuelei Chen of the National Astronomical Observatory in China (NAOC).

Ma had previously presented at a preliminary China-South Africa bilateral collaboration in astronomy meeting at the NAOC in 2016 about South Africa’s history of astronomy projects and prospects for bilateral collaboration.

The latest workshop was held in June in PingTang County in the GuiZhou province of China. The meeting venue was only 20 minutes from the FAST, which comprises a fixed 500m diameter dish constructed in a natural depression in the landscape. The FAST’s five-year construction - completed in September 2016 - is currently undergoing testing and commissioning.

‘The telescope has a novel design, using an active surface for pointing and focusing, rather than only correcting residual errors, and suspending the receiver on a computer-controlled winch system without any rigid connection to the primary,’ said Ma. ‘Its observations are made at wavelengths of 10 cm to 4.3 metres.’

The Joint Centre for Computational Astrophysics, launched in December 2016 by UKZN and NAOC, has been bringing Astrophysicists from the two countries together to work on the cutting-edge of modern astrophysics through use of new observational facilities such as FAST and South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

UKZN Astrophysicists will be able to use the data obtained by the FAST telescope to do their research and to probe the nature of the Universe.

Words by: Christine Cuénod

Photograph supplied by Dr Ma

author : .
author email : .

Centre for Visual Art hosts Amazwi Ethu: Speaking Back! Photography Exhibition

Centre for Visual Art hosts <em>Amazwi Ethu: Speaking Back!</em> Photography Exhibition
Photography artworks displayed during the Amazwi Ethu: Speaking Back! exhibition.

The Centre for Visual Art (CVA) within the School of Arts hosted a photography exhibition titled: Amazwi Ethu: Speaking Back! at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

The event was hosted in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

Photovoice methodology was used in the project to work with vulnerable youths from Sweetwaters, a semi-rural community on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, to gain insights into the challenges and risks faced by the community, especially as young men and women experience them.

This exhibition aimed to prioritise the voice of the youth in the Sweetwaters community in the hopes of empowering them to fulfil the potential of such projects to “ignite social change”.

Pictures were chosen with a view to providing a balanced representation of the body as a whole, allowing viewers a glimpse into the harsh realities faced by these young men and women on a daily basis. Space was left to show the prominence of hope and aspiration, with an emphasis on the display of a profound resilience.

Dr Louise Hall of the CVA said: ‘The CVA will also showcase student work at the KZNSA in October.  We have a number of student exhibitions scheduled for this semester, including the work of individual Master of Fine Arts students for examination.’

Words by: Melissa Mungroo

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Students in Durban International Film Festival Media Lab

UKZN Students in Durban International Film Festival Media Lab
The Media Lab team at the Durban International Film Festival.

Students from UKZN’s Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) were members of a media lab team at the recent 2017 Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).  

Their participation in the project gave them real world journalism experience, helping to build their portfolio for work applications while submerging them in the fields of TV, film and video.

Participating students were trained in journalism, film reviews, communication management, events management and organisational communication. A team of experienced CCMS-based sub-editors and senior film students supported qualifying reviewers.

In partnership with the City Press newspaper, the newsroom of selected students wrote reviews on the Festival, featuring the films, cast, panels, directors and actors. Their stories were submitted for publication to several newspapers and the CCMS magazine, SUBtext, while they were also put on the African Cinema and TV page on the CCMS website. IsiZulu-speaking students were encouraged to write for the Isolezwe newspaper. 

CCMS student Ms Thabisa Ngcobo said: ‘The experience was phenomenal because we got a chance to rub shoulders with great directors and producers. We were also able to do a meet and greet and ask questions.’

Said student Ms Shannon-Leigh Landers: ‘The experience was invaluable. Not only did we get the opportunity to review amazing films; we had opportunities to network with some of the best professionals in the film industry. It was a great platform for aspiring reviewers and bloggers.’

Words by: Nomcebo Mncube

author : .
author email : .

Conundrum of Transformation in SA Universities

Conundrum of Transformation in SA Universities
From left: Executive Director of NAAAS, Dr Lemuel Berry Jnr; Dr Gaydelle Lang of the Texas Southern University, and UKZN’s Professor Stephen Mutula.

The National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates (NAAAS) in the United States of America, in partnership with UKZN’s College of Humanities, hosted an international research congress in Durban on humanities, education, business, sciences and exploratory studies.

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UKZN’s College of Humanities, Professor Stephen Mutula, delivered a keynote address on: “The Conundrum of Transformation in South African Universities”.

Mutula unravelled the concept of transformation based on the 1955 Freedom Charter, the post-1994 Constitution and the Employment Equity Act, 1998. He noted that the spirit of these documents has not largely been realised because racial inequality, corruption, unemployment, racism and the high cost of living remain of great concern for the people of South Africa. Mutula said - citing some of the achievements the University had made in this area - that UKZN was considered a leader in transformation among South African universities.

Mutula acknowledged the Executive Director of NAAAS, Dr Lemuel Berry, Jnr, a founding member of the organisation, for ‘bringing together delegates from different parts of the world’ to the Congress in Durban.  He encouraged NAAAS affiliates to forge partnerships with UKZN in research, teaching and learning and engagement.

The Conference was co-hosted by UKZN, NAAAS, the Management College of Southern Africa, Regent Business School, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, the Maritime Centre of Excellence and Mangosuthu University of Technology.

*NAAAS is a resource for scholars in the field who desire information and support for research related to the African and African American, Hispanic, Latino (a) and Chicano (a), Native American and Asian experiences. An overarching goal of the organisation is providing faculties and students opportunities to engage in scholarly endeavours.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

author : .
author email : .

Umhlangano Wokucobelelana Ngolwazi ULekelele Ekucijeni Othisha Ngamakhono Okweluleka Abafundi

Umhlangano Wokucobelelana Ngolwazi ULekelele Ekucijeni Othisha Ngamakhono Okweluleka Abafundi
Abaluleki besebenza emhlanganweni wokucobelelana ngolwazi i-Research Wheel.

Click here for the English version

Umkhakha weZokunyakazakomzimba, Ezokuzivocavoca Nokuqeda Isizungu eSikoleni Sezifundo ZezeMpilo ubambe umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi weqembu labaluleki babafundo kwezocwaningo obuhlose ukuthuthukisa amakhono okululeka abafundi nokuba yingosi lapho ababambe iqhaza becobelelana khona ngolwazi nasebedlule kukho.

Kulo mhlangano wesibili obubanjelwe ekhempasini yase-Westville futhi obuhanjelwe othisha baseSikoleni Sezifundo ZezeMpilo, uSolwazi Michael Samuel womkhakha Wezifundo zokuthuthukiswa KoThisha eSikoleni SezeMfundo ukhulume ngaseke wahlangabezana nakho futhi wacaphuna nasethuluzini lakhe lezocwaningo elibizwe nge-The Research Wheel. Leli thuluzi lathuthukiswa ukuze lilekelele abaluleka abafundi nabafundi uqobo uma benza umsebenzi wabo bawenze ngendlela ehambelanayo futhi enokucophelela ekuphathweni kwezifundo.

U-Samuel usesebenze njengomdwebi wohluzifundo lwamaqoqo eziqu zeMastazi nezobuDokotela lapha ekhaya naphesheya kwezilwandle. Ubeyilungu leKomidi LikaNgqongqoshe Lezokufunda KoThisha elekelela ekwakhiweni kwenqubomgomo yezokuqeqeshwa kothisha eNingizimu Afrika futhi useke wasebenza njengeDini yezeMfundo e-UKZN. 

Ucwaningo lwakhe lugxile kakhulu ekuthuthukisweni kothisha, Imfundo Ephakeme, umlando ngempilo nohlaziyozindaba.

Incwadi yakhe ethi: Life History Research: Epistemology, Methodology and Representation, isigqugquzele ucwaningo olubheka ezokuthuthukiswa kwabasebenzi bezemfundo nezifundo zezempilo. 

Enaba ngezinhloso zeqembu labaluleki onguMholi Wezokufunda uDkt Rowena Naidoo uthe uqale ukwakha leli qembu ngenhloso yokuhlinzeka abaluleki ngokuzobasiza bathuthukise ikhono labo futhi bacobelelane ngolwazi. ‘Leli qembu lasungulelwa ukuba libe yingosi lapho abasebenzi bebeka khona izinselelo ababhekana nazo uma beluleka abafundi nokuphuma nezisombululo zalezo zinselelo.

‘Bonke abasebenzi bavulelekile ukubamba iqhaza emihlanganweni yeqembu,’ kusho u-Naidoo.

Words by: Lihle Sosibo

author : .
author email : .

Music Student Graduates through Erasmus Mundus Programme

Music Student Graduates through Erasmus Mundus Programme
UKZN Music student Ms Thabile Buthelezi with her grandmother, Ms Zoliwe Buthelezi.

UKZN Music student Ms Thabile Buthelezi has graduated with her International Master’s degree in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage from the Roehampton University in London.

Buthelezi graduated through the prestigious Choreomundus Scholarship, an Erasmus Mundus programme that investigates dance and other movement systems - such as ritual practices, martial arts, games and physical theatre - as intangible cultural heritage. The scholarship is offered by a consortium of four universities in Norway, France and Hungary.

Buthelezi is excited about the future of Arts and Culture in South Africa. ‘I have learned a lot under the programme about the importance of preserving our intangible cultural heritage - most importantly on the methodologies and measures that could ensure the safeguarding of such heritage.

‘I am honoured and grateful for being the first South African graduate. I will take my expertise and experience, and disseminate them to the creative economy of South Africa,’ she said.

Buthelezi aims to contribute towards the Arts industry and be an agent of change. ‘I can do something rather than sit back and wish for development and progress. I can actually partake in overcoming the challenges in place.’

One of the major highlights of the programme was carrying out fieldwork in Hungary on folk dance festivals. ‘This to me was important because one of my goals is to plan, develop and carry out a folk dance festival in South Africa.’

Her advice to other performing arts students is: ‘Know that if you can dream something, it means that you can achieve it. Your future is in your own hands. Remember that delayed dreams are not dreams denied ... if you believe that it will happen. Work on the goal and see that it happens regardless of the current situation.

Buthelezi is in South Africa to carry out fieldwork as part of her masters thesis under the programme.

* Buthelezi, who has been performing for more than 10 years, started her career at the KwaMashu Community Advancement Project (K-CAP) in 2000. She travelled abroad as part of international cultural exchange programmes and is involved in various activities in the performing arts sector.

Words by: Melissa Mungroo

author : .
author email : .

Para Table Tennis Player Ms Sthabile Mnyandu one of UKZN’s Phenomenal Women!

Para Table Tennis Player Ms Sthabile Mnyandu one of UKZN’s Phenomenal Women!
Ms Sthabile Mnyandu at the Taichung Para Table Tennis Open in Taiwan.

This Women’s Month, NdabaOnline is profiling some of the University’s phenomenal women. Twenty-one-year-old UKZN student Ms Sthabile Mnyandu is ranked number one in South Africa for women’s para table tennis. Mnyandu of eNdwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal was just six years old when she was burnt in a grass fire near her home.

Sthabile spent nine months in a coma after the incident and has undergone several procedures, including skin grafts on her feet and right hand.  She credits her family for their loving support through the painful surgery and therapy. 

‘I also had a tissue expander for my scalp to stretch so that I can have more hair. I missed a lot of schooling but it has not affected me,’ said Mnyandu.

‘Whenever I feel depressed or looking back at what I have been through, I just call upon God because he is the reason I have made it thus far and he always protects and guides me.

‘I never feel negative about myself because I am what I am and nothing is ever gonna change that,’ she said.

Para table tennis, a growing sport in South Africa, was included in the first paralympic games in 1960. Mnyandu started playing the game in 2010 as an extra-mural activity. ‘It was just a try out and I never thought it would take me this far. I have represented South Africa twice and KwaZulu-Natal in countless tournaments.’

Highlights include playing for South Africa in Taiwan at the Taichung Table Tennis Open in July this year and getting bronze in the championships in Morocco in 2015. ‘Representing your country is the best feeling one can ever have!’

Sthabile believes that Women’s Month is about being thankful: ‘To me Women’s Month means a lot, but what is most important is remembering to honour the women who have paved the way, while not forgetting there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done in South Africa,’ she said.

She draws inspiration from a fellow para table tennis player from Bonteheuwel in Cape Town, Theo Cogill, who won gold in Taiwan and is ranked number 17 worldwide. ‘My plans for the future are to represent South Africa in as many tournaments as possible and obtain gold medals, just like Theo,’ she said.

She gets in about three training sessions a week and hopes to find table tennis partners to practice further with.

Mnyandu is also looking for a coach to help hone her skills and hopes to find a sponsor so she can participate in more tournaments.

Doing her first year of studies as part of the University’s Access Programme, she plans to specialise in architecture next year, while improving her table tennis skills and seeing the world!

Words by: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

author : .
author email : .

Medical Student Experiences Harsh Realities of Healthcare Work in Rural Community

Medical Student Experiences Harsh Realities of Healthcare Work in Rural Community
Mr Mxolisi “Brilliant” Molefe with the Mseleni Ward’s Primary Healthcare Outreach Team in uMhlabuyalingana in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

A young man made a commitment several years ago to his grandmother who was dying from cancer that he would study to become an Oncologist and work hard to help find a cure for the dread disease.

Today, 24-year old Mr Mxolisi “Brilliant” Molefe is close to qualifying as a medical doctor after studying through UKZN’s Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine.

‘I always wanted to become a doctor but what reinforced my passion was the oath I took at the bedside of my dying grandma. I made a promise to her that one day I would qualify as an oncologist and perhaps find a cure for cancer.’

Molefe has been at Mseleni Hospital, a government facility situated about 60km from the border with Mozambique in northern KwaZulu-Natal.  The hospital provides primary healthcare to around 90 000 rural people.

‘I have been at the Mseleni Hospital for the past six weeks as part of the “homestay project” which is a programme that places Medical students at homes close to the hospital,’ said Molefe. ‘It’s in an area called uMhlabuyalingana and I am enjoying the warm hospitality of the Mbonambi family. It is an honour to be hosted by the community “Induna” who is a well-respected spokesperson for the people.

‘My homestay project enabled me to be part of the community thus making me more conscious of the psychological and socioeconomic dynamics shaping morbidity and mortality in the community. I was keen to explore these dynamics further in the whole of the uMkhanyakude District in the company of the Ward Based Primary Health Care Outreach Team (WBOT).

‘The Mseleni Hospital WBOT serves the entire community of uMkhanyakude District and I volunteered to join the team every Friday,’ said Molefe.

The primary responsibility of the programme is to provide promotive, preventative, curative, rehabilitative and palliative services in collaboration with facility-based health services, government departments, NGOs and community-based structures.

Molefe says they visited patients from poverty-stricken households, where maintaining good sanitation and hygiene is almost impossible.

‘One can never begin to imagine a patient’s socioeconomic status, so you don’t really know your patients until you visit their homes.

‘My plea to health care practitioners is to be grateful for the warm life you live but never forget those who are less privileged.’

Molefe said he was highly distressed by conditions he saw at homes in the area and one experience left him depressed for days. ‘I have made a personal pledge to return and do my community service at Mseleni Hospital and make a difference, no matter how small my contribution is.’

He says the area is beset by hardships and difficulties made worse by issues such as a lack of home-based nursing resources and  food parcel supplies, and poor roads often making vehicle access to the houses of patients impossible.

‘However,  the team works extremely hard  to reach every part of uMkhanyakude District as  they work in partnership with community care givers and multidisciplinary team structures like occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians, and social workers.

‘I would like to thank the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Family Medicine for giving us the opportunity to experience rural medicine. So far it’s been an absolutely humbling experience and reminds us that we have a lot to be grateful for,’ said Molefe.

‘Thank you to the WBOT and the entire staff of Mseleni Hospital for your warm hospitality.’

Lihle Sosibo

author : .
author email : .

SRC Central President Ms Noxolo Bhengu – one of UKZN’s Phenomenal Women!

SRC Central President Ms Noxolo Bhengu – one of UKZN’s Phenomenal Women!
SRC Central President 23-year-old Ms Noxolo “Knoxy” Bhengu.

It’s Women’s Month giving UKZNdabaOnline an opportunity to highlight some of the many phenomenal women at our University.

First in the spotlight is SRC Central President 23-year-old Ms Noxolo "Knoxy" Bhengu who is in the 5th year of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree at UKZN’s Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine.

Hailing from KwaSwayimane, a rural area in Pietermaritzburg, Bhengu’s leadership journey started at a very young age while she was a class prefect and representative in primary and high school. ‘When I got to Medical School I was already very vocal about students issues, this brought me closer to the SRC,’ said Bhengu.

She is inspired by her mom, Mrs Thembekile Bhengu, a single mother with no formal qualification or permanent job who raised Noxolo and her four siblings, ensuring they all received a university education. ‘She might not be educated but providing the means for an education for her children has always been her number one priority.’

Bhengu paid tribute to her mother’s strong sense of community and Ubuntu: ‘Through the little we had, I have seen my mother feeding the community and raising children we were not even related to. I live each day to be at least half the woman she is. From her I have learned the true meaning of love and resilience,’ said Bhengu.

Bhengu joined the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League of South Africa and the South African Students Congress (SASCO) in 2012 and went on to lead these structures at branch, regional and provincial level. ‘Together under the Progressive Youth Alliance banner, those organisations have contributed immensely to my political growth and taught me the true meaning of serving.’

‘In such a male dominated sphere as politics, I am among those known to challenge the status quo and I am very vocal about the continuous suppression of females,’ said Bhengu. ‘This has made me unpopular among some which for me is no issue. Women’s struggles are very close to my heart and I shall continue until there are equal opportunities for all.’

She does not believe in standing on the sidelines pointing out what is wrong with society. ‘I play an active role through my activism and my life is thus surrounded by this. Above all, I am a feminist and my only wish is through this term of office in the SRC presidency that I am able to inspire other female leaders.’

Bhengu is looking forward to graduating with her degree in Medicine and then specialising in cardiac surgery. ‘Politics and serving is what I am mostly passionate about and I shall continue with.’

 Words by: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

author : .
author email : .

Students Discover Countless Career Options at UKZN Exhibition

Students Discover Countless Career Options at UKZN Exhibition
Potential employers and students interacting during the Employers Career Exhibition.

The College of Law and Management Studies, in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, recently hosted the annual Employers’ Career Exhibition on the Pietermaritzburg, Westville and Howard College campuses.

The event aimed to create a platform for students to engage with prospective employers about opportunities for personal development, full time and vacation employment, training contracts, learnerships, international work-placement and bursary opportunities. 

Exhibitors included Vodacom, Standard Bank, RCL Foods, KPMG, and Deloitte.

Students came out in numbers to network and interact with potential employers. Some students discovered new companies they did not know were in existence.

Third year Bachelor of Commerce students Ms Kanya Gegana and Ms Nobuhle Mbatha - who have attended the Employers Career Exhibition since their first year in university - say every time they arrive, they discover new companies they were unaware of previously. They said every year was a game changer for them because more companies exhibit which means opportunities for employment become endless.

Second year Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting student Ms Tasneem Adham enjoyed the experience. ‘The event gives us direction as to what we want to do and where we would like to be once we have completed our studies,’ she said.

Words and photograph by: Reatlehile Moeti

author : .
author email : .

Students Encouraged to Explore Entrepreneurship as a Career

Students Encouraged to Explore Entrepreneurship as a Career
From Left: Dr Xolisa Melamane (TIA), Ms Nomandla Ngcoya (Entrepreneur), Ms Bathabile Mpofu (Entrepreneur) and Dr Brenda Moodley (Lecturer).

As part of Student Entrepreneurship Week 2017, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) in collaboration with UKZN InQubate and the College of Law and Management Studies, hosted a Workshop on: “Exploring Entrepreneurship as a Career”.

The workshop, which targeted mainly CAES postgraduate students, was co-ordinated by Dr Brenda Moodley of the School of Chemistry and Physics with the ultimate goal being to inspire students to look at entrepreneurship as an opportunity to create jobs.

The first two speakers - Ms Bathabile Mpofu and Ms Nomandla Ngcoya - are alumni of the School of Chemistry and Physics and successful entrepreneurs in their own right.

Mpofu, a UKZN Chemistry graduate and former technician from the College who founded Nkazimulo Applied Sciences (NAS) a couple of years ago with her husband, Roderick, gave a brief description of her business and the reasons for starting the company.

Mpofu, whose business is at a Power Centre in New Germany, told students her journey had been full of struggles but she pursued her dream and never gave up, emphasising that there were many funding platforms entrepreneurs could access and that students needed to start early with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Ngcoya, a UKZN Chemistry graduate who is also pursuing her PhD, founded the 100% Black-owned, Pinetown-based Dlamini Chemicals in July 2016 with Ms Lindiwe Nxele and Ms Nontobeko Dlamini.  Ngcoya spoke about creating a business that could manufacture affordable detergents to improve sanitation in townships and rural areas.

Ngcoya said starting a company required hard work, perseverance and patience. Her final words of encouragement to UKZN students were: ‘Graduates need to be risk takers and seize opportunities.’

Another speaker, Mr Deven Reddy of UKZN InQubate, gave a brief background of the services InQubate offers to both students and academics, highlighting the various projects and workshops on innovation and entrepreneurship they had hosted.

Dr Xolisa Melamane, a Portfolio Manager in the Agricultural Strategic Area at Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), told students about the various programmes TIA hosts to promote and support innovation, entrepreneurship and commericalisation. TIA is a national public entity that serves to bridge the gap between research, development and commercialisation at universities, science councils, public entities and the private sector.

The final speaker was the Manager of the Hub for the African City of the Future in the School of Engineering, Dr Rudi Kimmie, who founded the Business Organisational and Leadership Development (BOLD) organisation and the Student Entrepreneurship and Upliftment Projects (StepUp) at UKZN. He encouraged students to seize the opportunity now and not “waste time”.

Kimmie gave a member of the audience a copy of his book: MoneyWise-Essential Money Skills for Young Minds’.

‘The workshop was well attended and proved valuable as it gave students varying perspectives on entrepreneurship. We need more of these workshops for our students,’ said Kimmie.

‘I was impressed with UKZN’s initiative of promoting entrepreneurship through innovation to its postgraduate students,’ said Melamane. ‘Based on my experience at TIA, my wish is that the entrepreneurship through innovation programmes be extended to all students.

‘The intervention by UKZN is commendable as both in South Africa and globally we are faced with shrinking economies and thus shrinking job markets. Therefore, it is important that citizens or students do not only depend on getting a job but they should look at ways to grow our economy,’ said Melamane.

Professor Neil Koorbanally of the School of Chemistry and Physics said: ‘The workshop was great.  It was good to see some of our own students involved in entrepreneurship.  Having seen what our University can produce, I am sure the graduates who attended would be inspired to start their own businesses.’

Feedback from students was also positive. Said Ms Bongiwe Mdluli: ‘Speakers at the workshop gave me a variety of options in connection with starting up a business.’  Fellow student, Ms Nyameka Vuyokazi Diko, added:  ‘It was interesting to see young women who are successful entrepreneurs.’

Words by: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Picture supplied by Bheki Mthembu


Necessity the Mother of Invention for Young Entrepreneur


When times were tough and his back was to the wall who did UKZN alumnus Mr Malusi Mkhize turn to? Not Ghostbusters but rather his own initiative and an urgent need to ensure his well-being and survival.Mkhize began his professional career studying through UKZN for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree specialising in Chemical Engineering, graduating in 2008, and staying on to pursue his Masters in Engineering in Chemical Engineering… Read more


UKZN Alumnus gives Poultry Business Wings!


UKZN alumnus Mr Alistair Moores-Pitt has spent the past three and a half years hatching his free-range poultry business which is now flying under the banner of Moores-Pitt Premium Poultry (MPPP) based in Pietermaritzburg and Eston… Read more


Making Science Fun for Everyone


UKZN Chemistry graduate and former technician Ms Bathabile Mpofu and her husband Mr Roderick Mpofu are in the business of making science fun for young learners and students. Two years ago the couple founded Nkazimulo Applied Sciences (NAS), a business that performs science experiments at schools and provides them with ChemStart kits. Their aim is to introduce learners to the wonders of science and dispel any fears about the subject… Read more


Debonairs Pizza – Born in the USA!


During a gap year in the United States, UKZN alumnus Mr Craig Mackenzie came up with the idea of establishing a pizza empire in South Africa… and so the concept for Debonairs Pizza was born!

A co-founder of the well-known South African pizza business, MacKenzie grew up on a dairy farm in Ixopo, going on to complete his high school education at Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg… Read more


A Passion for Engineering - How UKZN Graduate Grew His Company


A visit to an engineering business in Johannesburg sparked a young Durban man’s interest in the profession as a career leading to him eventually forming his own company and later ironically merging with the very organisation he had visited as a youngster.

Mr Trueman Tandabantu Goba, a former member of the National Planning Commission and the Executive Chairman and founder of Goba (Pty) Ltd Consulting Engineers and Project Managers, grew up in Durban’s townships during the apartheid era… Read more


Lack of Affordable Detergents Provides Business Opportunity for Doctoral Candidate


Behind the new, 100% Black-owned start-up company, Dlamini Chemicals, is trail-blazing Ms Nomandla Ngcoya, who was named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in Science and Technology last year.

The UKZN PhD candidate, who completed a BSc degree in Chemistry and Chemical Technology, is currently researching the synthesis, biological evaluation and molecular docking of coumarin-curcumin hybrids as well as running her business… Read more

author : .
author email : .

UKZN hosts Annual 90 90 90 Strategy Fun Run

UKZN hosts Annual 90 90 90 Strategy Fun Run
UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme hosted the annual 90 90 90 Fun Run on the Howard College campus.

The HIV and AIDS Programme held a fun run/walk for staff and students as well as members of surrounding communities and their families on the Howard College campus as part of the 90 90 90 UNAIDS Strategy which is an approach to ending AIDS as a public health threat by the year 2030. 

The event, which featured a 5km run/walk, was part of an annual event aimed at increasing awareness around the UNAIDS 90 90 90 targets which seeks to end the AIDS epidemic or significantly reduce the spread of HIV through behavioural change by encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and care and support for those living with HIV.

In her welcome address, Executive Director: Student Services Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula encouraged members of the audience to take care of themselves and their loved ones and/or associates, who may be infected or affected by HIV. She stressed that the disease affected everyone and to achieve the 90- 90 -90 Strategy, people needed to care for each other.

The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme, in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality, has committed to supporting this initiative by raising awareness, developing strategies and offering services to assist in reaching these targets.

According to the UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme, the 90-90-90 target will involve municipalities in ensuring that, by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% living with HIV are on treatment and 90% on treatment have a suppressed viral load.

The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Co-ordinator Ms Nomonde Magantolo said: ‘Young people are at the receiving end of the HIV burden, and new infections within the age group of 15-25 are alarming, hence we are doubling our efforts in prevention awareness programmes. We urge everyone in society to promote healthy and responsible lifestyle behaviour.’

In his message of support to the event and the University, the Brothers for Life Ambassador, Mr Smiso Msomi, encouraged men to test for HIV and other health issues. Msomi has engaged in the Programme’s new HIV Counselling and Testing campaign which is aimed at mobilising men to overcome their fears about HIV and health issues.

During the awards ceremony, UKZN Comrades Marathon runner Mr Tony Singarum awarded medals to the day’s winners and acknowledged the work the University team does to contribute to fighting this scourge.

Words by: Sithembile Shabangu

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Knitwits Create Blankets for Mandela Month

UKZN Knitwits Create Blankets for Mandela Month
UKZN handed over blankets to 67 Blankets for Mandela Day to ambassadors of the project during a handover held on the Westville campus.

To commemorate Nelson Mandela Month, the UKZN community has been participating in a campaign to produce blankets for the less privileged. This culminated in a handover to ambassadors of the project recently held at Westville campus.

The initiative was part of the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day national drive.

Giving a brief background, Executive Director of Human Resources Ms Avril Williamson said the "Good Wool" drive started at the College of Law and Management Studies in August last year and spread to the rest of the University in May this year through a University-wide campaign.

Williamson said the University community had completed hundreds of squares which were joined together to make warm blankets.   

Together the University community produced 1 780 squares which made 27 complete blankets - 942 of the squares were produced by College of Law and Management Studies representatives.

Staff, students, friends and family - some of whom have never touched a crochet hook before - spent lunch hours and personal time producing the squares.

Ms Thandiwe Jumo of the College of Law and Management Studies said: ‘The idea for the College to contribute to this initiative came out of a casual conversation I had with our Director of Professional Services Dr Kathy Cleland about her teaching me this amazing skill, and how the blankets made from this teaching and learning experience should benefit this worthy cause. Soon, everyone got involved and we were using the crocheting circle to share stories and life experience and made us connect and learn more about each other as a team.’

Jumo added that College staff were so passionate about the initiative that they secured wool donations from their local retailers, got their families to also contribute squares. ‘Cleland gave up most of her free time to put the squares into blankets as each blanket takes six hours to complete.’

Dr Paran Pillay of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, who donated a 140- square blanket, said it had been a most satisfying project and encouraged people to start now to submit next year.

KwaZulu-Natal Ambassador for the 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day initiative Ms Linda Zama, who labelled the UKZN donation a “Big Bang Entrance”, gave a brief background of how the national drive started, saying the project had quickly spread to the rest of the world. They now receive blankets from far and wide, including prisons, corporate companies, and communities. The project has also been launched amongst school learners.

Zama encouraged staff and students to also join the “secret scarves” mission, where South Africans are encouraged to knit items and leave them in public places for those in need.

Williamson thanked the University community for being such passionate champions of this important initiative. ‘We encourage you to continue this work in service of people in need. We are helping to keep them warmer.’

Words by: Sithembile Shabangu

author : .
author email : .

Elevator Pitch Excitement at Student Entrepreneurship Week

Elevator Pitch Excitement at Student Entrepreneurship Week
“Elevator Pitch” prize winners (from left) Mr Sandile Manyathi, Ms Nandisa Ngubelanga and Mr Ndiphiwe Nondabu.

As part of Student Entrepreneurship Week, promoted by UKZN and the Department of Higher Education and Training, UKZN InQubate gave students tips on how to tackle the “Elevator Pitch” – the hard, quick sell of their business idea to prospective investors.

At the event held the Howard College campus, students were chosen to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges, who also provided advice to the young entrepreneurial hopefuls, sharing their own experiences as entrepreneurs and giving tips about the do’s and don’ts of business.  

Among the judges were Ms Palesa Phile of MTN, Mr Deven Reddy of Suryan Leadership and Ms Mbali Bhengu of Mindswitch.

Ten students were selected to pitch their ideas, with each given three minutes to speak before the judges asked questions. 

After much debate the winners were announced: First was Ms Nandisa Ngubelanga who won a Samsung tablet, sponsored by Adams & Adams, for her Ekhaya4U Student Accommodation Portal.

Ngubelanga said she felt excited her Ekhaya4U pitch was chosen as the winning concept.  Her idea is for a website that would act as a portal to finding fast, reliable and hassle free accommodation for students.

‘Just a few days ago, I was that person who thought this was not a good idea, it’s been done before and there is nothing special about,’ she said.  ‘But when I actually started preparing for this competition I realised I needed to take myself seriously because this idea could really work!’

Second was Mr Ndiphiwe Nondabu who won a 1 TB hard drive for his Thata Jolane idea and third was Mr Sandile Manyathi who received a wireless speaker for his Graduate Surety pitch.

Words and photograph by: Manqoba Hadebe

author : .
author email : .

Entrepreneurship Programme Benefits Youth

Entrepreneurship Programme Benefits Youth
Participants of UKZN’s Student Entrepreneurship Week.

UKZN students were encouraged to make entrepreneurship their career of choice as a solution to unemployment at the recent Student Entrepreneurship Week (SEW) hosted by the University in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

Student Entrepreneurship Week is a national initiative hosted by various universities with the Department aimed at raising awareness about entrepreneurship as a career and providing students and aspiring entrepreneurs with basic entrepreneurship skills training to assist them in becoming employers rather than employees. 

At UKZN, the four day programme championed by the School of Management Studies, Information Technology and Governance academic Ms Lindiwe Kunene who is also the Deputy Chair for the Student Entrepreneurship Community of Practice with Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) saw various programmes being run by the College of Law and Management Studies, the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science and InQubate on the Westville, Howard College and the Pietermaritzburg campuses.

Kunene has always had a passion for entrepreneurial development and believes entrepreneurship should be injected in all of South Africa’s education systems and fields.

‘Firstly, we need to change our basic education from early childhood development in schools to higher institutions of learning and incorporate innovative thinking into the curriculum,’ she said.

She further added, ‘Emphasis of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking should not be regarded as a commerce subject which sits in Management departments at universities but should in fact be a multidisciplinary dimension. Skills required to practice as an entrepreneur should be part of the core outcomes for all who graduate in Higher Education.’

The programme kicked off with a panel discussion that saw panellists Mr Bradley Porter of Flexible Workspace, Mr Siyamcela Ntsevu from advertising agency, AdonAfro, KUMISA’s Mr Thando Nyameni and DHET representative Ms Thando Mnisi sharing their experiences of their highs and lows during their entrepreneurial journeys. The message from the panellists was that entrepreneurship is a viable career as long as one stays motivated, realistic and determined to find solutions to the challenges.

Day two was dedicated to SHAPE (Shifting Hope, Activating Potential Entrepreneurship), spear-headed by entrepreneurship lecturer Dr Thea Van Der Westhuizen. The programme included presentations by youth development entrepreneurs Mr Simo Nzama from Babuse communication and Mr Dene Botha from Pride Factor who challenged students to be entrepreneurs who come up with innovative ideas that will be solutions to the challenges faced by people daily.

Day three saw InQubate encourage aspirant entrepreneurs to put their ideas to the test through an elevator pitch competition. The pitch involved the entrepreneurs promoting their ideas to potential investors in the time the elevator took to reach its destination. First place went to Bachelor of Social Science student Ms Nandisa Ngubelanga of iKhaya4U Student Accommodation Portal.

The weeks’ events concluded with the College of Law and Management Studies and The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science hosting two interesting sessions. The latter showcased presentations from their alumni who are now entrepreneurs at the forefront of innovation, Ms Bathabile Mpofu and Ms Nomandla Ngcoya. The former, event was hosted at the Pietermartizburg campus with Mr Nigel Chiweshe from the Entrepreneurship discipline leading discussions on entrepreneurship.  Guest speakers’ Mr Phakama Nhassego from Vescowisz Property group and Ms Thandeka Ndlovu of Total Serve Facilities, emphasised the importance of financial discipline and the need to always be in touch with one’s community in entrepreneurship.

Speaking on behalf DHET, Mnisi says entrepreneurship has become popular in the world, it has become a response to challenges that affect the youth in South Africa such as graduate unemployment.

‘We as the DHET have created a response to this challenge in the form a project called the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education and Training, which is endorsed by Minister Blade Nzimande. We aim to create entrepreneurial awareness by partnering with universities and getting involved in programmes such as the SEW 2017,’ she said.

An online channel was also launched which will assist anyone who wants information, and wants to learn about entrepreneurship processes. Some of the educational material on the site is provided in isiZulu. You can log on to

Sibonelo Shinga

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Ranked Third in SA by International Rankings Organisation

UKZN Ranked Third in SA by International Rankings Organisation

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been ranked third out of 16 South African universities rated by the respected world body, University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP).

URAP placed UKZN in 369th place among 2 000 Higher Education Institutes (HEI) across the world.

The URAP 2016-2017 world ranking methodology is based on academic performance and determined by the quality and quantity of scholarly publications and international research collaboration performance.

With its weighty focus on academic performance, URAP - when compared with other international ranking bodies - is considered to be a truer representation of the academic standing of a university.

As a research-led university, UKZN is proud of this achievement, more especially as it is the only University in South Africa to have maintained its position in the world rankings and also improved on its scoring since last year.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research at UKZN, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, says the university has a new strategic plan which emphasises the need for conducting more impactful research and increasing international collaboration.

‘We believe that the URAP is a good ranking system when looking at research outputs and international collaborations. It confirms UKZN’s standing as a leading research intensive university in South Africa and on the African continent.’

For more information on URAP visit 

Words by: Sejal Desai

author : .
author email : .