Youth Entrepreneurial Foundation Workshop - an Initiative of Four UKZN Students

Youth Entrepreneurial Foundation Workshop - an Initiative of Four UKZN Students
The Youth Entrepreneurial Foundation Workshop held on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The Youth Entrepreneurial Foundation workshop aimed at helping create a world of innovative entrepreneurs using the power of networking to bring about future solutions was hosted by the UKZN Nazareth Tertiary Students Association (NATESA) on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

An initiative of four students - Mr Scelo Sithole, Ms Ayanda Biyela, Ms Sinenhlanhla Nduli and Ms Zamanguni Khuzwayo - the workshop hoped to help bridge the gap between university students, entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurship.

Guest speakers included Dr Simo Mthethwa, Ms Ncedolwethu Shange, Mr Thembelani Ndaba, Mr Lungelo Mnyandu and Mr Bonginkosi Khumalo who all delivered informative and insightful presentations.

Speaking on behalf of her colleagues Nduli said: ‘After countless failed attempts to break into the entrepreneurial world ourselves and knowing a few individuals on the University premises who are entrepreneurs, we decided to create a platform to impart proper mentorship and guidance towards having or bringing about ideas to create change and solve societal problems.’

She said the organisation wanted to build a world full of innovative entrepreneurs using students but this could only be done by connecting the experienced with the inexperienced. ‘We also want to make networking a new norm - instead of competence we will embrace connecting and networking among students and entrepreneurs.

‘Our foundational workshop was aimed at not only those who already have businesses or business ideas but also those keen to launch their own start-ups but don’t know where to start,’ said Nduli.

Students with ideas and who wanted to become entrepreneurs were encouraged to keep their visions alive and aim for start-ups.

‘As the Youth Entrepreneurial Foundation, we hope to contribute to the reduction of the country’s high unemployment rate, particularly among university graduates. We want to assist students develop business ideas they can use to create jobs for themselves and other members of the community,’ she said.

‘The types of businesses we want to foster are those that can affect economic change and growth. We also hope to provide mentorship, build a community of entrepreneurs, and create value chains through the Youth Entrepreneurial Foundation. In this way, we hope to see entrepreneurs identify gaps, provide solutions, solve problems and grow together,’ said Nduli.

She said the workshop - attended by more than 70 students - had been a success. She said their aim going forward was to create a networking space for students to connect with entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs to connect with other entrepreneurs.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu

Photographs: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

International Gold Medal for UKZN Athlete

International Gold Medal for UKZN Athlete
Ms Snethemba Ngema earned a gold medal at the Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association (UCSA) Games in Malawi.

Third-year UKZN Sports Science student Ms Snethemba Ngema earned her first ever international gold medal at the recent Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sports Association (UCSA) Games in Malawi where she was part of the South African University Athletics national team.

Born and raised in Montclair, Durban, Ngema took part in the 100m and 200m running events as well as being a member of the 100m SA relay team.

This was Ngema’s first call to the national team. ‘I feel I ran well and it was a good competition for me. I won a gold medal in the relay, which I am extremely happy about.’

Ngema started running in primary school and was encouraged by her teachers to take up the sport seriously - she started professional training with a coach when she was just 14! ‘After I started training daily and growing in the sport, the love and passion simply just grew,’ she said.

She is currently coached and guided by Wade Fraser.

Ngema said balancing her studies and sports had been hard as both were equally important and part of her daily life, however, she says she is grateful for the guidance of her coach. ‘I understand I am a student before an athlete and in order to succeed I have to balance both. It really is just about making a routine for yourself and setting out time for both,’ said Ngema.

Currently training and preparing for the 2023 season, she hopes to also have a season in Europe but that is dependent on whether she is able to secure sponsors to travel for the indoor and outdoor competitions.

‘My ultimate running dream is to make it to the major championships that all athletes dream of, the Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games. My dream is definitely to be a sponsored athlete on the international stage, performing at podium level,’ she added.

Ngema said her mother was her biggest supporter being there for her through good and bad days.

She thanked UKZN for sponsoring her travel throughout the season and ensuring that she had everything necessary for the University Sports South Africa (USSA) and CUCSA games.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu

Photographs: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

Monkeypox Epidemiology the Focus at Webinar

Monkeypox Epidemiology the Focus at Webinar
Esteemed epidemiologist, Dr Anil Mangla.

UKZN’s College of Health Sciences hosted a webinar on Monkeypox Epidemiology: Clinical Characteristics, Preparedness and Response, presented by alumnus Dr Anil Mangla, who is the State Epidemiologist for Washington DC in the United States (US).

The Monkeypox Virus (MPV) was first discovered in the 1950s in monkeys with lesions. Initially, there were clades discovered in West Africa and the Congo Basin with the Congo group having more fatalities.

The World Health Organization announced a global outbreak of MPV in May 2022. The initial cluster of cases was found in the United Kingdom, where the ­first case surfaced on 6 May, 2022 in an individual with travel links to Nigeria where the disease is endemic. It was the first MPV case recorded outside Central and West Africa.

According to Mangla, MPV is spread from animals to humans who eat contaminated meat, by MPV- infected pregnant women to the foetus through the placenta, and from person-to-person contact. The virus that is spread between people is primarily spread through close (skin-to-skin) contact. It can also be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, but does not spread through the air over longer distances.

There are a range of symptoms including fever, headaches and swollen lymph nodes, followed by a rash that can appear anywhere on the body. Mangla says it was important to note that a person is considered infectious from the day the rash starts until a scab falls off and new skin grows. The illness usually lasts from two to four weeks. Most of the hospitalisation cases seen in the US are due to severe pain being experienced by the patient. Thus far, there have been no fatalities in the US. (13/09/2022)

Said Mangla: ‘In the US we currently have 22 000 cases while there are 58 000 globally. In Washington DC, we are managing 461 cases and another 842 people who had close contact with an infected person. Currently, data suggests that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases in the current MPV outbreak. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with a monkeypox sufferer is at risk. Further, it is important to note that MPV is not a sexually transmitted virus but is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact.’

He said there were currently two vaccines available in the US for pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis. ‘The JYNNEOS vaccine has been prioritised for people who have been exposed or who are at high risk of being exposed to MPV. It is administered intra dermally as a two-dose series, 28 days apart. The ACAM2000 vaccine is an alternative to JYNNEOS. It is also approved to help protect against smallpox and monkeypox. Further we’ve been using the Tecovirimat (also known as TPOXX or ST-246) antiviral as a treatment for the cases, which is well tolerated and facilitates pain management.’

Mangla has served in numerous leadership positions at the state, city, and county levels over the past 20 years. He completed his undergraduate degree at the former University of Durban-Westville and continued his education in the US, serving an internship with congresswoman Betty McCollum and also as a public health advisor for Colette von Hanna.

He also served as an Associate Professor and Director of Public Health at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Medicine and as the chief scientific officer at TOXYScreen.

Mangla has received numerous accolades for his public health, policy development, and social justice leadership. A strong campaigner for human rights, he was active during the apartheid era and the riots in South Africa in the 1980s.

Mangla is the first Asian American to be State Epidemiologist for Washington DC.

Click here to view the webinar.

Words: MaryAnn Francis

Photograph: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

World Award for UKZN Professor

World Award for UKZN Professor
Professor Claudia Mitchell. Click here for isiZulu version

Honorary Professor Claudia Mitchell of the School of Education has been awarded the 2022 José Vasconcelos World Award of Education by the World Cultural Council (WCC).

The award honours educators who have had a significantly positive influence on the quality and reach of teaching and learning in our society.

Judges comprised members of the Council’s Interdisciplinary Committee and a group of distinguished educators.

‘I am so honoured to receive this prestigious award and its recognition of the significance of the participation of young people, especially girls and young women, as central to social change,’ said Mitchell. ‘I would like to acknowledge the creativity of my amazing doctoral students in the Participatory Cultures Lab at McGill University in Canada, along with the support of colleagues in the Faculty of Education. I continue to be inspired by my exceptional colleagues at the Centre for Visual Methodologies at the University of the KwaZulu-Natal and their commitment to engaging rural communities.’

The prize is in recognition of Mitchell’s life commitment to education as an inspiring teacher and passionate advocate for the youth, especially transforming lives of thousands of young people from marginalised backgrounds.

Much of Mitchell’s work has focused on the development of schools, colleges, universities and communities in rural settings. In addition to furthering capacity building in education in general, she has paid special attention to the prevention of HIV and gender-based violence, working mainly in South Africa, but also in Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Russia, among other countries.

Mitchell established the Centre for Visual Methodologies for Social Change at UKZN.

Sir Fraser Stoddart, President of the World Cultural Council, said: ‘Prof Mitchell is known for her generosity and patience as a mentor and supervisor, including students in large-scale projects, creating communities of scholars and weaving networks of collaboration both nationally and internationally. She encourages those around her to be both caring and engaged while also staying critical and seeking to advance the conditions for social change.’

The award ceremony is at the University of Coimbra in Portugal on November 30.

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photograph: Owen Egan

author : .
author email : .

Exciting Line-Up for UKZN’s Poetry Africa Festival

Exciting Line-Up for UKZN’s Poetry Africa Festival
26th Poetry Africa International Festival runs from 6 to 16 October.Click here for isiZulu version

The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) hosts the 26th Poetry Africa International Festival in Durban and Johannesburg from 6 to 16 October, with some of the sessions taking place virtually.

With the theme: Poetic (In)Justice: Voices That Breathe, Move and Transform, the festival is an ode to the depth of perspective that poetry allows in seeing and articulating (in)justice.

In partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Arts & Culture Department, the CCA will hold a three-day (6 October to 8 October) live set taking the festival “on tour” to Johannesburg for the first time.

‘We hope that this instalment of the festival will afford poets, who are doing the unsung labour of nurturing poetic practices and reach in their respective locales, the opportunity to plug into the thriving and enabling ecosystem that has formed around this unprecedented platform for poetry on the continent,’ said Art Coordinator at the University of Johannesburg Mr Quaz Roodt.

Diana Ferrus will deliver the keynote address during the online event titled: We’re Not Ghosting You, on 10 October at 3pm, while the winner of the Poetry Africa Slam Jam 2021, Xabiso Vili will appear in Johannesburg, Durban and during the online sessions.

‘Diana Ferrus and Xabiso Vili facilitated workshops at poetry residency for Poetry Africa in Riebeeck Valley. Their passion, commitment and ability to engage with audiences across all demographics make them ideal candidates for this recognition,’ said CCA Director, Dr Ismail Mahomed.

Among the line-up of poets from South Africa during the Durban segment of the festival from 10-16 October are Lebo Mashile, Phillippa Yaa De Villiers and Siphokazi Jonas. From the rest of the world are Paul Gausch (Catalan), Nachla Libre (Sweden), Lydol (Cameroon) and Philip Meersman (Belgium).

During a Local is Lekker event, the festival will spotlight established and upcoming Durban-based poets such as Smart Black Mampondo, Thando Fuze, Luleka Mhlanzi, Mazwi Shazi, Nqobile Gcaba and Sanele Mhlongo.

Poetry Africa also hosts an extensive outreach programme at a variety of schools and five community venues: Luthuli Museum in Groutville, Denis Hurley Centre in Durban Central, K-Cap Ekhaya Arts Centre in KwaMashu, Ubuntu Arts in Umgeni Municipality and Wushwini Arts Centre in Inanda.

Many of the performers in the community and main programmes are emerging poets who are being given an opportunity to share the stage with established poets.

The festival will honour the legacy of esteemed poets and present the learnings and visions of poets who have passed on.

The festival hosts three lectures: the Mazisi Kunene lecture at UKZN, the Keorapetse Kgositsile lecture at the University of Johannesburg and the Mafika Gwala lecture (UKZN) held online.

The festival will close with a Poetry Picnic in the Park on 16 October at Botanical Gardens in Durban from noon. The event is free, and many of the poets participating in the festival throughout the week will perform.

The entire programme is available on

The 26th Poetry Africa festival is made possible with the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports, Arts and Culture; the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture; the French Institute of South Africa, Total Energies and the University of Johannesburg.

It takes place at a variety of venues and online.

To stay updated, follow @PoetryAfrica on Twitter and Instagram or like the festival on Facebook at

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Image: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

Fulbright Fellowship Sharpens Plant Pathology Professor’s Gene Editing Skills

Fulbright Fellowship Sharpens Plant Pathology Professor’s Gene Editing Skills
Professor Augustine Gubba has spent his Fulbright Fellowship at Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Center and the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s US Vegetable Laboratory in South Carolina.

Professor Augustine Gubba of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) has spent a nine-month sabbatical at institutions in the United States (US) where he is strengthening research collaborations that will contribute the latest advances in gene-editing technologies to his research into developing plant virus resistance.

Gubba was awarded the Fellowship in 2019, however delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prevented travel and meant he was only able to start the visit in March this year.

He has spent his time as a Fulbright Research Fellow with Professor Matthew Cuttule of Clemson University’s Coastal Research and Education Center (REC) and Dr Kaishu Ling of the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) at the US Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina.

Despite a gradual start as the world slowly emerged from the grips of the pandemic, his work has gathered pace and Gubba has engaged fully with research projects with both facilities, also enjoying being based at the Clemson Farm - a facility not dissimilar to UKZN’s Ukulinga Research Farm - for agricultural trials.

At the REC, Gubba and Cuttule carried out surveys to identify weed species that act as reservoirs of viruses infecting vegetable crops grown in South Carolina.

This exercise demonstrated the differences in farming practices in the US and South Africa. Strategies and techniques in the US involve farmers and growers planting a variety of crops, no matter the size of their land, and complementing this crop diversity with the use of technology to enhance farming activities.

Gubba’s interaction with growers presented the chance to share how farming is done in South Africa, and he was able to disseminate findings from the survey during a Clemson University field day and at a meeting of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences in Chicago. While there, Gubba took the opportunity to become acquainted with the iconic city’s renowned architecture and vistas.

With Ling, Gubba is focusing on harnessing the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to develop plants with resistance to virus infection.

‘This technology has emerged in the last 10 years and is finding utility in many disciplines that seek to manipulate different traits in a number of crops to enhance productivity,’ said Gubba.

‘With the regulatory challenges faced by genetically modified organisms (GMO), gene-edited plants could fill in the technological gap created by the lack of progress associated with GMO plants.’

With the USDA-ARS, Gubba is conducting laboratory, tissue culture and greenhouse work, all of which will help him apply CRISPR-Cas9 technology to his research at UKZN and open opportunities to work with colleagues interested in harnessing this powerful technology.

He has also gained insight into the USDA’s use of Controlled Environment Agriculture to cultivate crops in disused shipping containers under LED lights with nutrients provided solely through enriched water. This low-maintenance technology reduces water usage by 95% when compared to outdoor crops, a promising benefit in the face of water scarcity and recurring droughts. The use of such technology in South Africa might be hampered by the electricity challenges the country is facing.

Gubba is originally from Zimbabwe where he completed his undergraduate and honours studies at the University of Zimbabwe before reading for a master’s degree at the University of London’s Wye College. His PhD research at Cornell University in the US was focused on plant virology under the supervision of some of the leading researchers on the topic. He joined UKZN in 2000 where he has expanded his knowledge on GMO and gene editing using CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

His expertise has led to him being appointed a GMO Officer for the South African government, reviewing applications for GMO product registrations and research facility registrations. He is also a technical specialist for the South African National Accreditation System assessing laboratories seeking accreditation for various techniques in molecular biology research.

Gubba, the African representative on the scientific committee of the International Committee for Plant Virus Epidemiology, has made the most of his time in the marshy environment of South Carolina, practicing his swing on the state’s pristine golf courses and visiting its beautiful beaches at the weekends in between honing his academic and research skills.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

Hollywood Blockbuster The Woman King Cast Visits UKZN for a Meet and Greet

Hollywood Blockbuster <em>The Woman King</em> Cast Visits UKZN for a Meet and Greet
Highlights of Ms Thuso Mbedu and co-star Mr John Boyega visiting UKZN for a promotional tour of The Woman King.

Pietermaritzburg-born actress Ms Thuso Mbedu and co-star Mr John Boyega visited UKZN as part of the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission (KZNFC) The Woman King Activation Tour to meet and greet media and film studies students from the College of Humanities’ School of Arts.

Made possible by the KZNFC and lecturers of the Media and Cultural Studies discipline, Ms Luthando Ngema and Ms Abulele Njisane, the event saw over a hundred UKZN students attend to show their love and support to KZN’s very own talented powerhouse Mbedu.

The film is based on the real-life all-female army called the Agojie, who protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey, and centres on Mbedu’s Nawi, a young woman who hopes to join the Agojie, under the leadership of the fearless General Nanisca (Oscar Winner Viola Davis).

‘This is a great opportunity and learning point for film students to understand the value chain of film productions. This particular event emphasises the marketing and distribution process,’ said Ngema.

Welcoming the films’ cast and crew, Dean and Head of the School of Arts, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa said this was a very special moment not only for the College but for KZN and South Africa. ‘We are truly honored to host the beautiful and talented Thuso Mbedu. Thank you to everyone who played a role to make this possible.’ She also thanked Mbedu on flying the KZN flag high and being an inspiration to young, aspiring creatives who one day hope to get to that level.

Mbedu and Boyega talked briefly about the process of preparing for and making the film from dialect coaching, to combat training and diet, and even doing their own stunt work. A question-and-answer session followed with many excited students asking questions related to the movie and the film industry at large.

Mbedu said she did not realise the impact the film had on her and for others. For her, it was part of the job. ‘I am honored and humbled be a part of something this big.’ She hoped that her visit inspired other students to follow in her footsteps and carve a name for themselves in the industry.

Bachelor of Arts Honours in Drama student, Mr Kwanele Nyembe, said this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him. After years of following Mbedu’s career trajectory, he finally had a chance to meet her and engage on her process of delivering such great work.

‘I remember once in class we had to choose a creative to present on and I chose her. To actually witness this moment in her career and to be in the same space with actors of such high-calibre is a great opportunity and memorable,’ he said.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photographs: Ntsika Nduli

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Student Pedal Powers to Victory

UKZN Student Pedal Powers to Victory
Mr Brent Yelland in action at the Tour Durban Mountain Bike event.Click here for isiZulu version

Third-year Mechanical Engineering student Mr Brent Yelland won the 40km aQuellé Tour Durban Mountain Bike event - which started and ended at the Cornubia Mall in Umhlanga - in a record time of 1hr 23min.

Commenting on his win, Yelland, second in last year’s race, said: ‘It feels great. Getting a win proves I can win big races. It was an extreme confidence booster for me.’

Yelland, who has been cycling for more than five years, said his mom and dad inspired him and encouraged his interest in the sport. ‘They were avid cyclists and got back into cycling about 5 years ago after taking a break from the sport. We then started going to cycling races and mountain biking trips on the weekends as a family.’

Yelland (20) took part in the 106km Tour Durban Road cycling event the day after his Mountain Bike win describing it as ‘a lot of fun’. Placing 20th overall and eighth in his age group he said: ‘I tried to attack and form a break many, many times but couldn’t get away, so I just finished in the front bunch.’

His other achievements in cycling include: winning the Wartburg and Eston Mountain Bike races as a junior; finishing second as a junior and an Under-23 cyclist in the KwaZulu-Natal Road Cycling Championships; and winning a local criterium road race this year.

A UKZN Prestigious Sports Scholarship recipient, Yelland said his academic plans include completing his Mechanical Engineering degree next year and going on to do postgraduate studies. ‘I’m looking to improve and focus on my training to reach my potential as an athlete. I can definitely see myself getting on the podium in some national-level races in the next few years.’

UKZN Manager for Student Health and Sport Mr Mark Bashe was excited about Yelland’s achievement. ‘We are very happy and proud to see Brent cycling his way to the top and flying the UKZN flag high while inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. We are extremely proud of him as our only high-performance cyclist and look forward to seeing him competing in other races,’ added Bashe.

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Photograph: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

HEARD Researcher Attends WHO Meeting in Geneva

HEARD Researcher Attends WHO Meeting in Geneva
Technical Advisory Group members with WHO representatives Director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminatha.

Professor Gavin George of the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at UKZN participated in the first in-person meeting of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Technical Advisory Group (the TAG) which focused on Behavioural Insights (BI) and Sciences for Health since the COVID-19 pandemic.

George said the meeting held in Geneva was timely given that the two-year initial term of the TAG was extended with a new Chair, Professor Susan Michie of University College London, and Co-Chair Dr Fadi Makki, founder of Nudge Lebanon.

Michie and Makki assumed leadership from Professor Cass R Sunstein of Harvard University in the United States from July this year.

This TAG meeting presented an opportunity to develop a shared perspective of the scope of BI in global public health and a consensus approach to future interaction to optimise the value that the TAG provides to WHO and its member states. The meeting also focused on Behavioural Insights strategies and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in low- and middle-income countries, with the aim of behavioural science underpinning NCD programmes.

George has been a member of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on BI and Sciences for Health since 2020.

The TAG acts as an advisory body informing the WHO’s behavioural insights initiative. To date this has included leading the development of a road map for WHO to systematically include behavioural perspectives in its work across the organisation. In the last two years, the TAG has provided technical assistance on incorporating behavioural insights and science into national health policies and programme planning.

The participation of George in the TAG is strategic towards the realisation of HEARD’s mandate to work with research and advocacy groups to generate innovative ideas and ensure these translate into practical policies to help overcome the burden of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Words: NdabaOnline

Photograph: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

Mapping Flood Vulnerability in Informal Settlement Focus of PhD Research

Mapping Flood Vulnerability in Informal Settlement Focus of PhD Research
Dr Garikai Membele.

Research into integrating local indigenous knowledge and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in mapping flood vulnerability in an informal settlement was the subject of a doctoral study.

Graduate Dr Garikai Membele said: ‘My research will benefit society because it shows that informal settlement dwellers are not “helpless” victims of floods, rather they can use their experiential knowledge to reduce flood impacts on their settlements.’

‘The study will also benefit society by showing the position of households with high and low flood vulnerability in the Quarry Road West informal settlement in the Palmiet River Catchment area in Durban,’ said Membele. ‘This helps decision-makers to formulate appropriate policy and strategic plans for reducing the threat of flooding.

‘I chose the topic because I am passionate about the co-production of knowledge, especially with marginalised communities. I am also enthusiastic about making technology such as Geographical Information Systems accessible and usable by people who are not technical experts in finding solutions to spatial problems,’ he said.

The findings of this research study showed that the proximity of houses to the Palmiet River and the main roads, the nature of the soil and the type of materials being used to build houses contributed significantly to the incidence of floods in the informal settlement. It also found that flood vulnerability in the study area was a result of socio-economic, physical and institutional challenges.

Membele says his academic journey has been a tough one, especially with the pandemic, but is happy and proud to have completed it.

‘I was adversely affected by COVID-19 which caused problems in collecting the qualitative data needed for this research during lockdown. At the same time, the pandemic inspired innovative ways of collecting the data which made the study even more unique and interesting, ending with me being on eNCA to share my research findings.’

Membele thanked his supervisors, Professor Maheshvari Naidu and Professor Onisimo Mutanga, family, friends, and especially his wife for their support.

He plans to publish two further articles from his research.

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

Westville Campus Colour Run

Westville Campus Colour Run
Fun-filled Colour Run hosted for residence students.

More than 500 students participated in a “Colour Run” and other entertainment held at UKZN’s Westville campus to encourage interaction between students through sport and fun games which was not possible during the pandemic.

Students were enthusiastic not only about the main men’s and women’s races race but also other offerings such as the indigenous board games magalopha/mgusha and dikelo; three tins; skipping; 30 seconds; morabaraba, and snakes and ladders.

The 5km route started at the Main Hall (MH Joosub Hall), runners set-off at 8:30 am went up the road and turned at the Bio Centre, went behind G Block all the way past the Hindu Centre went down the RMS Bridge (got splashed with powder paint), winded down by P Block to the Sport Centre and up to the finish line on the soccer field.

Beside fun, there was also a more serious side to the event. Organised by the Department of Student Residence Affairs (DSRA) in collaboration with Campus HIV and AIDS Support Units (CHASU), the aim was to promote positive living through academic success and health wellness.

Ms Lerato Khoali, Residence Life Coordinator at DSRA said: ‘Residence life is all about the well-being of students. This programme seeks to foster a sense of interconnectedness and belonging for all students in residences.

‘We wanted to assist students relax and be entertained and also promote well-being in collaboration with CHASU,’ said Khoadi.

Commenting on the event, Health Promoter at CHASU Mrs Hlengiwe Ngubane said: ‘The aim was to encourage positive living and make students aware of the need to take care of their bodies. Good health is very important - students cannot study properly if they are unhealthy.’ She encouraged students to go for screenings for blood pressure, HIV, diabetes, and other issues.

The 5km race route symbolised a run around the campus. The men’s race was won by Mr Sphelele Mtambo of the Crystal Valley Residence and the women’s race by Ms Lusanda Luyeleyele of the Millarosa Residence.

Residence Assistant at S Block Ms Phethego Makaleng said: ‘Before COVID we organised these sorts of things quite regularly, so DSRA and CHASU decided to stage the fun to give those who have not experienced the event before because of the virus, a chance to see what it is all about.

‘As a former runner myself I know how it feels to be part of this kind of thing - there’s so much emotions and happiness - there’s too much fun in this thing,’ said Makaleng.

Sponsors included Red Bull, Vodacom and ABSA.

Words: Zama Khoza

Photographs: Albert Hirasen and Sethu Dlamini

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Law Student Spends a Semester in Norway

UKZN Law Student Spends a Semester in Norway
Ms Layyah Kharwa celebrating her birthday with newly-made friends at the Law Faculty of the University of Oslo in Norway and bonding with the sled-huskiesClick here for isiZulu version

Third-year LLB student Ms Layyah Kharwa spent six months at the University of Oslo in Norway which is more than 200 years old and considered one of the leading universities in Europe.

Kharwa (20) believes her time spent in Oslo will stand her in good stead when she joins the legal fraternity. ‘Having taken an Artificial Intelligence and the Law module whilst abroad, and being exposed to a bit of coding, I am quite keen to explore the area of legal technology a lot more,’ she said.

She hopes to spend time at a firm specialising in that field to develop her knowledge from a practical perspective.

Kharwa says she discovered that studying overseas is not just about academic work - it is also an opportunity to explore other cultures and gain an international perspective while earning credits for your degree.

Highlights from her trip include seeing the northern lights - an atmospheric phenomenon of spectacular, dancing waves of light. She also went ‘husky sledding, tried cold plunging into 5degC water, and experienced my first snowfall’.

‘Additionally, I got to travel to Sweden and Denmark and experienced the Holy month of Ramadan in London with my family who I hadn’t seen since the pandemic,’ she said. ‘Eid in Norway was beautiful. My Norwegian-Pakistani friend, Ms Alihah Amin, invited me to spend the night before with her family at their local mosque where we had a lovely meal and applied mendhi,’ said Kharwa. She also enjoyed ‘kitchen party’ hang-outs with fellow exchange students.

One of the things she misses most about the city is Oslo’s local library where she spent many an evening studying. ‘This library was architecturally beautiful, cosy, and had amazing views of the Opera house and fjord. It was also kitted out with top of the range technology such as 3D-printers, laser-cutting machines, and gaming PCs as well as movie booths and musical instruments, all of which were free to use,’ she said.

Communicating was very easy as most Norwegians speak English fluently, but she did rely on a bit of Afrikaans and Google Translate when she needed to! ‘Norwegian has a bit of Dutch influence so my school Afrikaans helped a little - at least for the important words like sjokolade! The only time that I was really exposed to the country though was at grocery stores and while perusing restaurant menus where Google Translate really came in handy - although most restaurants have an English menu as well.’

Kharwa was proud to represent the University abroad as her family has a long history with UKZN. ‘Both of my parents are pharmacists graduated from UKZN - my father holds a BPharm and mother has a BPharm and PhD from the University. My uncle and aunts (MBChBs and Bcom), and grandfather (BSc and PhD), are all proud UKZN graduates,’ she said. ‘My grandfather, Professor Ahmed Thandar is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Zoology and was recognised as the University’s longest serving academic,’ she said.

Kharwa, who matriculated from Westville Girls High School in 2019, thanked her parents Mohamed and Yasmeen and two younger brothers, Umar and Husain, for being supportive throughout her studies and travels. 

In her spare time, Kharwa enjoys keeping up with current affairs, reading and watching movies. ‘I have a broad range of interests that seem to be ever changing, however, having travelled extensively through the years, I have developed an interest in both international and local current affairs which has nurtured my belief in fairness, justice, and women’s rights. But like many, I am still a movie fanatic and enjoy a good Colleen Hoover read!’

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Photographs: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Hosts Tourism Symposium

UKZN Hosts Tourism Symposium
Highlights from the Tourism Symposium.Click here for isiZulu version

UKZN’s Culture Cluster in the School of Social Sciences hosted a tourism symposium titled: Rethinking Tourism for the Benefit of Culture and Heritage Students and Graduates.

The event consisted of four sessions with delegates presenting on different tourism topics.

UKZN staff involved were Dr Bhekani Nzimande, Dr Mabuyi Gumede, Dr Balungile Zondi, Acting Dean of the School Dr Gabi Mkhize, and Ms Edista Ngubane as well as former students Ms Nokwethemba Vilakazi and Mr Ayanda Shezi.

Government organisations present included the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA); KZN Amafa and Research Institute; Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA); South African Museums Association (SAMA), and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (KZN-DSAC).

Other participants were academics Dr Bandile Mkhize, Professor Thandi Nzama of the University of Zululand, and the Chairperson of the Board for the Aloe Lifestyle Hotel and Conference Centre, Mr Sicelo Xulu.

The symposium celebrated Tourism Month allowing students in attendance to tap into culture, heritage, and museum sectors while accessing useful information to benefit their career paths. ‘Due to lockdown restrictions accompanied by job losses, the tourism sector was the most affected globally by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has contributed to the country’s high unemployment rate; however, this opportunity will assist our final-year students who are seeking employment,’ said Gumede.

Mkhize opened the symposium and welcomed participants, including students and stakeholders. She noted the importance of the symposium in contributing to networking and collaboration for the benefit of the students, graduates, academics, and the School at large.

‘Our speakers and panelists have been specially handpicked to guide us into these conversations and it is hoped that by the end of the symposium, all stakeholders will be better prepared on how to provide curriculum and training for students that will lead to the growth of our economy and reduce youth unemployment,’ said Mkhize.

Government representatives shared information about their respective roles in the tourism sector, including coordination, planning, policy development, service excellence, and capacity building.

Xulu spoke on entrepreneurship highlighting basic requirements when starting a business as well as qualities needed to follow a business plan, offering insight into his business ventures, and encouraging students to start their own businesses. ‘It’s tough out there. It’s important to understand the value chain which could be as simple as providing a company such as a bed and breakfast establishment with lemons,’ he added.

Shezi spoke about his experience as an unemployed graduate and his business, A&B Poultry, which is currently supplying three Spar retail stores across the province with eggs as well as his prestigious award for the Lion’s Den Business competition for entrepreneurial excellence in his business.

Vilakazi detailed how she turned her beadwork talent into a successful business called Indlovukazi Beads, where she offers lessons both online and in person and sells a variety of beaded African accessories.

Keynote speaker Mkhize focused on the role of government in ensuring there are policies and strategies that can be implemented for tourism, which he considers relevant. He pointed out that ‘there hasn’t been much change in the dynamics and the basics of tourism remain the same with the solution being that of government providing the right leadership.’

Ngubane spoke on the role of the College Student Academic Services, and how information is channeled through the University. She urged students to note the communiques sent out by the University as there were often opportunities for them.

‘Familiarise yourselves by visiting our offices. We also provide services such as counseling and psychotherapy; academic support and career planning; graduate recruitment and part-time work; psychosocial workshops, support groups and forums,’ said Ngubane.

Words: Sinoyolo Mahlasela

Photographs: Simon Gazu

author : .
author email : .

Teaching and Learning Symposium Examines the Technological Future of Higher Education

Teaching and Learning Symposium Examines the Technological Future of Higher Education
Top row (from left): Professor Craig Blewett, Professor Sandile Songca, Mr Abdulbaqi Badru, and bottom row: Professor Curtis Bonk and Dr Britta Zawada.

The UKZN Teaching and Learning Office recently hosted the second edition of its virtual e-learning symposium titled: Imagining a Technology Enhanced Higher Education Future, which provided a platform for participants to present their teaching and learning solutions in the contested, ever-changing Higher Education landscape.

Through keynote addresses, a panel discussion and 30 presentations from staff and students, presenters shared their experiences, challenges, successes, failures, and opportunities involved in a blended learning future in Higher Education and beyond.

The Symposium chair, Mr Abdulbaqi Badru, welcomed the audience and appreciated the hard work of the symposium committee and the leadership of the Director of Teaching and Learning, Professor Rubby Dhunpath towards the success of the event. In his welcome address, he indicated the need for a cultural shift and intentional design to fully integrate technology with teaching and learning.

The UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Professor Sandile Songca, opened the event. In his opening address, he welcomed keynote speakers, guests and presenters, saying one of the greatest needs in the journey towards blended learning is the scholarship of teaching and learning. Songca encouraged all delegates to share ideas, make new contacts and collaborations, and commit knowledge to literature.

Keynote speakers included Professor Curtis Bonk of the Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University in the United States and Dr Britta Zawada, who is the Director for Institutional Audits at the Council on Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa.

Bonk, who specialises in the disciplines of psychology and technology and is an award-winning writer and highly published researcher, spoke on Technology Today, Technology Tomorrow: Might Learning Evolutions Lead to Learning Revolutions?

He asserted that while the internet has been around since the early eighties, it was now pervasive and online learning has also undergone evolution. Speaking of the history of the internet and the world-wide-web, he highlighted that schools and universities were in the midst of social change where ‘anyone could learn anything from anyone at any time’. There are now accredited degrees and online learning programmes available free of charge, while online museums were making learning collaborative, customised, open, more synchronous, more global, immediate and shared instantly with the world.

Bonk said for universities to remain sustainable in the world of open access and blended learning, they needed to foster innovation, incubation, creativity and all high-order thinking skills. There is now an urgent need to form partnerships, use continuing education, adapt to what students needed and remember that jobs were also rapidly changing.

Zawada has presented nationally and internationally at conferences, published 16 articles and a book, and supervised both masters and doctoral students in Cognitive Linguistics.

In her talk titled Quality Assurance in a Hybrid University Setting, she highlighted the measures the CHE has put in place to ensure that quality assurance in Higher Education is maintained.

She said South Africa had always provided distance learning through various institutions with the University of South Africa being 100 years old. Quality is transformation and vice-versa, with the two closely related and impossible to divorce from one another.

Zawada spoke on the different aspects of the new quality assurance framework and how institutions could create new Higher Education practice standards, and themes tied to transformation, while institutions could elaborate on how they saw their role in change and transformation and how that aligned with the goals of their institution.

She urged universities to be transparent, know who they were and design what they wanted while not forgetting to involve their students.

An insightful panel discussion titled Lockdown Digital Transformation of Teaching and Learning: Lessons from Today, Principles for Tomorrow was facilitated by UKZN’s Dr Gbolahan Olasina, a senior lecturer in the Discipline of Information Studies in the School of Social Sciences.

Panellists included three UKZN academic leaders of Teaching and Learning, Professor Shenuka Singh of the School of Health Science; Dr Ruwayda Petrus of the School of Applied Human Science; and Dr Desigan Reddy of the School of Chemistry and Physics.

Looking at UKZN’s response to the need for digital transformation, Singh said all stakeholders were consulted and various mechanisms were put in place to better equip staff and students. She said the challenges, especially with service-based learning, prioritised senior students.

Reddy said platforms like Zoom and Teams provided an opportunity for staff and students to share ideas and experiences with each other. He said the University responded well, highlighting the provision of mobile data to staff and students which ensured continuous learning, and the mock assessments that were undertaken to ensure everything ran smoothly.

Responding to what is needed in the future to ensure that no one is left behind, Petrus said online learning in the past two years had taken place as an emergency response. Some of the solutions needed the involvement of both private and public Higher Education sectors, the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training. She said the institution needed to look at how modules and programmes can be redesigned while putting students at the centre; employing online advisors, and creating a user-friendly portal for both staff and students.

Panellists all agreed that the need for blended learning could not be ignored and there was a need for ongoing communication with staff and students so the University was not caught off-guard.

Breakaway sessions heard 30 presentations from staff and students, while discussions during the question and answer sessions sparked debates and shared best practices moving forward. The best presentation prizes were won by Andrew Ross, Patrick Zimu, Reina Abraham, and Saajida Mahomed.

In closing the event, the symposium chair ran a raffle to reward four lucky people of the over 150 attendees who stayed throughout the event. The lucky winners were Sithembile Shabangu, Ntomfikile Mtshali, Andrew Ross, and Nokuthula Khumalo.

The Chair, Abdulbaqi Badru, appreciated the university leadership, committee members, keynote speakers, presenters, panel members, staff and students for elevating the overall quality of the presentations and engagements. He said: ‘Based on the continued success of the Symposium and its increasing popularity, we will be upscaling the Symposium to a conference in 2023.’

The symposium was a UCDP-funded event.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu

Image: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Staff Member Secures Third Qualification!

UKZN Staff Member Secures Third Qualification!
UKZN staff member, Ms Ntombizethu Gcaba graduates with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration.

Ms Ntombizethu “Zethu” Gcaba, an Assistant International Officer for the International Relations Office, was awarded her third qualification during UKZN’s Spring Graduation ceremonies.

Gcaba, who holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Public Relations Management and a National Diploma in Journalism from the Durban University of Technology, was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L).

Asked about why she changed her fields of study, she said: ‘There is a method to my madness. I originally pursued my diploma in the subject of communications out of my love for literature, but then I was captivated by corporate studies while doing my BTech in Public Relations Management. So, when I was given a chance to join the University of Kwazulu-Natal, a highly regarded Institution, I was persuaded to pursue a Business Administration qualification which gave me the opportunity to learn about a number of business-related issues rather than just one field of study.’

Gcaba said it took a lot of hard work and perseverance to finish her studies while working full time. Reflecting on graduation day, she thanked her great-grandfather and her mother for having attended all three of her graduation ceremonies. She also thanked her family for always supporting and encouraging her: ‘Nothing I have had the honour of having or accomplishing would have been possible without my family who have helped me overcome many barriers placed in my path.’

Also thanking Management at the Corporate Relations Division (CRD) for their help and support, she said: ‘I don’t believe I would have been inspired to continue my studies if I had not been surrounded by the brilliant minds I work with within the University or serve as the Institution’s Assistant International Officer.’

Gcaba said the qualification had allowed her to make better, more informed decisions in her role at the University by giving her the knowledge to understand the operational aspects of a large organisation such as UKZN. Having completed courses such as Organisational Behaviour, Marketing and the Principles of Business, she said her postgraduate diploma would enable her to provide excellent customer service to internal and external stakeholders, in particular prospective and present international students, offering services that will improve the transition, engagement, and overall study experience of the University’s international student community.

Gcaba, who says she is proud to have achieved her qualification at the Premier University of African Scholarship, plans to pursue her studies further.

Corporate Relations Division Executive Director Ms Normah Zondo congratulated Gcaba on her achievement. ‘We are excited and proud to see Zethu graduating. It took a lot of dedication and perseverance to complete her postgraduate studies during a time when the world and South Africa, in particular, faced many challenges. We congratulate you and hope this achievement will encourage others to inspire greatness.’

Words: Hlengiwe Khwela

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini

author : .
author email : .

UKZN Hosts Climate Change Education Certificate Celebration

UKZN Hosts Climate Change Education Certificate Celebration
Highlights from the Keep It Cool-Climate Change certificate celebration.

The School of Education’s Community Engagement and Extended Learning division hosted the Keep it Cool-Climate Change Education (KIC-CCE) certificate celebration on the Edgewood campus.

The programme is endorsed by the South African Council of Education (SACE) and successful candidates receive their certificate of completion, which contributes to their Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) points.

The programme’s partners include the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME), GreenMatter, VVOB, the Flanders government and Fundisa for Change.

Attending were representatives of the KZN Department of Education, and school leaders, teachers and learners from the Pinetown district who were involved in the KIC-CCE project. The national coordinator for the Fundisa for Change programme, Ms Shanu Misser, and the KIC-CCE project coordinator, Ms Kgomotso Thomas, were also there.

UKZN’s Professor Ronicka Mudaly said: ‘The UKZN KIC-CCE programme was planned and implemented between February 2021 and June 2022. The teaching programme entailed online sessions with 40 teachers (20 Natural Sciences and 20 Geography), and UKZN and CASME facilitators. Teachers also engaged in the Professional Learning Communities and Change projects that were coordinated by CASME, and UKZN postgraduate candidates, Dr Aro Sibanda and Mr Sebastian Sanjigadu.

Teachers, as part of the assessment for the programme, submitted Portfolios of Evidence, which were assessed and certification for the programme was provided by UKZN’s Extended Learning division.’

The Academic Leader for Community Engagement at UKZN, Professor Angela James, has been the overall coordinator of the UKZN KIC-CCE since the inception of the programme.

The programme took place at five universities nationally and was coordinated by GreenMatter and VVOB, with funding by the Flanders Government in Belgium. The objective of the project is to recognise and engage the education sector, as a strategic resource in South Africa’s transition towards a more climate resilient society.

The KIC-CCE project was introduced in three provinces - Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal - involving the University of Venda, Rhodes University, the University of Fort Hare, the University of Zululand and UKZN.

Interim CEO at UKZN Extended Learning Mr Mxolisi Miya said: ‘This is a relevant programme that allows teachers and learners to be agents of change and influencers for climate conservation. We are proud to be part of this.’ Ms Busi Thobela of the Department of Basic Education added: ‘The programme enables teachers and learners to do more for the environment - we fully support this endeavour.’

Fundisa for Change National Coordinator Mrs Shanu Misser said: ‘Because of the reality of climate change, we felt there was an urgency to enhance transformative environmental learning through teacher education. This is a unique programme as it is the only national level teacher educator programme available in South Africa which focuses on the environment and sustainability content in the South African curriculum. It is all about developing knowledgeable teachers who can uncover knowledgeable children able to implement real change.’

Natural Sciences teacher at Dr AD Lazarus Secondary School Mr Maduray Pillay said: ‘The most valuable aspect of the course was working with climate change content knowledge as it related to my subject and the wider discourse.’

Words: Melissa Mungroo

Photographs: Albert Hirasen

author : .
author email : .

CIDERU Representatives at Palliative Care Conference in Uganda

CIDERU Representatives at Palliative Care Conference in Uganda
UKZN conference participants (top row - from left): Ms Nolutando Mbeje, Ms Sthabile Mtolo, Mr Nkosinathi Mncwabe, and Ms Phindile Mlaba. (Bottom row): Ms Buhle Lubuzo, Ms Mpho Motlana, Ms Simphiwe Khumalo and Ms Thandekile Khumalo.

Staff from the Cancer and Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Research Unit (CIDERU) within the Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme at UKZN participated in the 7th International African Palliative Care Conference in Uganda.

Filled with enthusiasm, the team did well to contribute to topical discussions held at the plenary meeting.

Those who presented their work were Quality of Life Officer Ms Phindile Mlaba; Cancer Support Group Coordinator Mr Nkosinathi Mncwabe; Cancer Registration and Surveillance Officer Ms Nolutando Mbeje; Patient Navigation Officer Ms Buhle Lubuzo; Palliative Care Officer Ms Mpho Motlana; nurse Ms Simphiwe Khumalo, Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Officer Ms Thandekile Khumalo, and CANSA-MLCCP Coordinator and Social Worker Ms Sthabile Mtolo.

The event was co-hosted by the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, and sponsored by the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network, Global Partners in Care, and Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situation Emergencies.

This year’s theme was Palliative Care in a Pandemic with the theme driving discussions on the African continent’s current state of palliative care support. Participants heard about the experiences of clinical staff in healthcare facilities and patients over the past two years.

Said Mncwabe:‘The conference could not have come at a better time being held in the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. So, I think the conference was necessary as it exposed the gaps in palliative care. The highlights gave us an indication of where different countries are in the area of palliative care. The best part was learning how we can use this amazing knowledge back in South Africa.’

Delegates gave insights on related topics, including assessing the risks of emerging infectious diseases in Africa and beyond.

There was consensus on the need to decolonise palliative care as it was felt it had become very Westernised, and ‘out of place’ when looking at the political situations, social conditions, culture, and economic circumstances in the African context. The conference agreed that this set of circumstances demanded a different perspective when planning and implementing palliative care with an African frame of reference.

Participants left with an understanding that creativity and preparedness are required to ensure that, regardless of what happens, services and systems must exist for all patients regardless of age, gender, geographic location, or socioeconomic status. Nonetheless, patients should continue to receive comprehensive palliative care support.

Said Mlaba: ‘Something I learned from the conference, which I thought was very important, was the changing of the narrative about palliative care. At the moment, the dominant narrative about palliative care is about death and dying. We have to change the narrative to life and living because the negative narrative contributes to unfavourable attitudes towards palliative care. Consequently, this leads to patients having negative attitudes towards being referred for palliative care services. There would be a different feel to it if we promote the narrative of life and living, which in turn would feed the growth of palliative care participation.’

Words: Ziphezinhle Silindile Sibisi

Photographs: Supplied

author : .
author email : .

Making a Difference in the Lives of Patients in Need

Making a Difference in the Lives of Patients in Need
MLCCP patient navigator Ms Sthabile Mdluli and one of the wheelchairs available through the loan service.

The Patient Navigation Team at the Cancer and Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Research Unit (CIDERU) and the Multinational Lung Cancer Control Programme (MLCCP) at UKZN have worked together to establish a wheelchair loan service for their patients.

Three wheelchairs, acquired through sponsorship from the Network of Caring, are currently available for use by those in need with hopes that sponsors will provide more chairs.

Users are not charged a fee or deposit on the condition the chairs are returned when no longer required.

Those involved in the laudable project are patient navigator Ms Sthabile Mdluli; patient navigation project officer Ms Buhle Lubuzo; project driver Mr Wanele Masinga and Co-Principal Investigator at the MLCCP, Mr Siyabonga Dlamini.

They are supported by Project Manager at the Network of Caring, Ms Liza Mosia and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF).

The initiative stemmed from a pressing need to address the lack of post-care support for patients after they leave public health facilities.

Most patients undergoing stage four lung cancer treatment tend to lose their mobility and many are unable to afford a wheelchair, resulting in them often becoming “bed bound” after being discharged from public healthcare facilities.

Said Mdluli: ‘The patient navigation team stepped in to raise awareness about the need to address the many barriers that patients with diseases like cancer face when interacting with the complex public health system. These challenges pose a heavy burden on many health care providers. So, we are trying to ease that by also being a pillar of support to our patients while they undergo treatment as most of them face socio-economic challenges. As the patient navigation team, we wanted to assist by providing psycho-social care on top of the clinical care they receive already at Inkosi Albert Luthuli and Addington hospitals. That is how the wheelchair lending service was born.’

Words: Ziphezinhle Silindile Sibisi

Photographs: Supplied

author : .
author email : .