Professor Makgoba receives eThekwini Living Legends Award

Professor Makgoba receives eThekwini Living Legends Award
Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba has been awarded the eThekwini Living Legends Award for his critical contribution to the field of medicine. The Awards acknowledge individuals with ‘outstanding achievements, and those who have demonstrated a sustained and extraordinary contribution in various categories of expertise’.

In their sixth year, these awards showcase the best in human endeavor and the spirit of Ubuntu.

Professor Makgoba expressed his gratitude to the eThekwini Municipality for the recognition bestowed on him and was humbled to be named as one of the 2013 Living Legends. “It is a singular honour to receive this extraordinary award from the Municipality where four of the campuses of UKZN are located”.

In his statement eThekwini Mayor Councillor James Nxumalo said, “We are very humbled and proud of our Living Legends who in one way or another have brought honour and pride to our city. It is the passion and integrity of these special citizens that elevate our city to new heights. They are like the gemstones in our crown. Each of our award recipients has gone the extra mile, often unheralded and unsung. They have made a contribution to society, not for their own benefit but to make their communities and the world they live in a better place. We salute them.”

With humble beginnings in rural Sekhukhune, Limpopo Province, Makgoba has become one of South Africa’s Living Legends wrote Liz Clarke adding that as an immunologist, physician, public health advocate and academic, Makgoba shows great dedication to the health sciences and plays an active role in the progression of the field.

The eThekwini Living Legends Awards is an initiative of the Parks, Recreation & Culture Service Unit of eThekwini Municipality to recognise the greatness achieved by past or current residents of eThekwini in various fields of human endeavour, while they are still living.

The eThekwini Living Legends Awards was initiated in 2008, and has taken place each year since then in September, as part of the Heritage month’s celebrations, and also forming part of the annual Celebrate Durban calendar.

author : Indu Moodley and Liz Clark
author email :

R1.5 million high performance computing facility for UKZN

R1.5 million high performance computing facility for UKZN
Dr Mahmoud Soliman.

The College of Health Science’s Molecular Modelling and Drug Design lab - headed by Dr Mahmoud Soliman – has been awarded a High Performance Computing (HPC) Facility worth more than R1.5 million. 

Awarded by the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), the Facility is set to enhance research at UKZN in computational chemistry.

Soliman’s lab was also provided with a technical engineer dedicated to the lab as well as funding to support a postgraduate student for a year.

CHPC is a national facility offering computational resources to researchers throughout the country in academic institutions, state and privately funded research structures, commerce and industry.

Technical Manager at CHPC, Dorah Thobye said: ‘We are pleased to confirm that a huge HPC computational facility and a technical engineer has been dedicated to Dr Soliman’s molecular modelling and drug design lab at UKZN. These resources are granted to Dr Soliman for his scientific contribution/support to CHPC.’

Soliman’s lab covers a wide range of computational and molecular modeling research areas with the main focus on biological systems and drug design approaches. His main research interest is related to the design and study of biologically and therapeutically oriented targets by employing the applications of computational methods to the study of problems of chemical and biochemical reactivity.

His research has a particular focus on the transition state, environmental effects on mechanisms, the origins of catalysis, and the interpretation of kinetic isotope effects.

Reacting to the award, Soliman said: ‘I am excited by this huge investment in our lab and am willing to grant access to this facility to those who require it to support their research at UKZN.’

Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, acknowledged Soliman’s inputs saying: ‘Your motivation and commitment to UKZN and to your research and postgraduate students are highly commended. May you go from strength to strength.’

author : MaryAnn Francis
author email :

Health Science Dean on international pharmaceutical advisory panel

Health Science Dean on international pharmaceutical advisory panel
Professor Sabiha Essack.

Dean of UKZN’s School of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, has been invited to serve on the Advisory Group of the Academic Institutional Membership (AIM) Dean’s Forum of the International Pharmaceutical Federations’ Education (FIPEd) Initiative.

Essack, a professional Pharmacist and current Chair of the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans, will represent sub-Saharan Africa during the 2013-2014 period.

At the 2013 FIP annual conference in Dublin where Essack received the invitation, the main area of discussion of the FIPEd group was the five-year business plan and priority activities planned for 2014-2018 with a sole purpose of investing in pharmaceutical education to ensure a professionally educated healthcare workforce, an appropriate academic and  institutional infrastructure and high quality competency-based education.

Key priority areas include the transformation of pharmaceutical education towards the provision of integrated, patient-oriented services. FIP has found that with more than 2 000 educational institutions worldwide providing pharmaceutical education, many leaders are resisting change and not moving quickly enough to meet the needs of the population.

Many countries also face critical shortages in pharmaceutical human resources resulting in many having less than one pharmacist per 10 000 population.  Hence, FIPEd has made national planning and scaling up of a capable pharmacy workforce a critical priority area to meet the needs of society and ensure patient-oriented services are sustained and expertise in medicines tailored to the individual needs of communities.

Essack gave the South African perspective in her paper titled “Human Resource Challenges in Pharmacy – the South African Perspective”.

The five-year action plan discussed at the Dublin meeting has been developed around seven pillars. The first is the global conference on pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education which will bring together education leaders and representatives from around the world in one gathering place, to debate current challenges and share solutions for pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education, thereby developing a global vision for pharmaceutical education. 

The second is a global pharmacy education leadership network with training opportunities to foster learning, motivation building and exchange towards transforming pharmaceutical education. This activity will support the development of better leaders by providing quality leadership training for Deans and academic leaders from around the world. Key to achieving this priority area is enabling pharmacy education leaders to become change agents that would raise pharmacy education standards and transform pharmacy education that is more socially accountable. 

The third priority area is the hosting of educational sessions and forums at the annual FIP congresses which would bring together a wide range of participants, including pharmacy practitioners, scientists and academics. These platforms allow diverse participants to share and learn about innovations, challenges and solutions for better pharmaceutical education.

The fourth area is education development team projects and technical reports which will focus on high priority areas for education development, which require global action and activities. The Education Development Team brings together experts in the respective priority areas to undertake projects and provide evidence-based resources, technical reports and tools to inform and support education development. 

Education consultation services is the fifth pillar whereby pharmaceutical education experts will volunteer their services and provide an education consultation service to countries or institutions which wish to have external input into the development of their pharmaceutical education. FIP is the only global organisation currently providing comprehensive pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education development support.

The sixth pillar is developing, piloting, and launching regionally-located centres of excellence which will undertake projects to improve education, evidence and service delivery. The centres will share resources across borders, in particular with low income countries.

The final pillar is the FIPEd Infrastructure and Global Representation which will manage all FIPEd activities and communications and support fluid communication between FIPEd leaders, as well as ensure that the global health and education community are informed of FIPEd and FIPEd is engaged and represented in relevant global initiatives and events.

FIP, which UKZN became a member of in 2012, is primarily a volunteer based organisation which brings together organisations and leaders working to improve health through advancing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences education and stimulating transformational change in professional pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences and pharmaceutical education that would advance and develop the diverse profession towards meeting present and future health care needs around the world.

‘I am honoured to represent South Africa and Africa in a group that would advance the education and training of the pharmacy profession into a more socially accountable one with explicit focus on graduate competencies,’ said Essack.  ‘The AIM platform of FIPEd provides a forum for networking and sharing best practice in pharmacy education.’

author : MaryAnn Francis
author email :

UKZN student involved in vulture conservation

UKZN student involved in vulture conservation
Mr Ben Hoffman and Mr Frik Lemmer release a Cape Vulture back into the wild.

An MSc student in UKZN’s School of Life Sciences, Ms Morgan Pfeiffer, has devoted the past 18 months to the study of the Cape Vulture.

The vulture is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) but with the number of poisoning incidents and other environmental factors the raptor could soon be up-listed to endangered.

Pfeiffer, who received her BSc from Penn State University in the United States, is being supervised by Professor Colleen Downs of the School of Life Sciences on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Pfeiffer has been involved with a host of initiatives to preserve the Cape Vulture and her MSc research focuses on examining the threats to this raptor. More specifically she investigates the interactions between the bird and people who live in areas it inhabits.

A recently reported incident in which 48 Cape Vultures were poisoned in the Kokstad area caused Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officials and other watchers of this vulture to raise the alarm about the delicate balance of wildlife being disturbed by the threatened existence of these birds.

‘I have never named the vultures I follow, to resist the urge to personify them,’ said Pfeiffer in reaction to the incident.

‘But I still knew them. I saw where these birds went when people were not watching. I could tell you the sex of a particular bird and where it lived on the cliff. Some birds travelled far from their colonies, while others were busy parents sitting on eggs. So they didn’t have names but they still lived.’

In the incident, two birds were rehabilitated and released back into the wild through a programme run by Raptor Rescue of which Mr Ben Hoffman is CEO.

Hoffman and members of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife - including Dr Sonja Kruger, Regional Ecologist for the West uKhahlamba area, who works with the Bearded Vulture (a critically endangered species) – also went to the Drakensburg to release a Cape Vulture which had been rehabilitated for seven months in Hoffman’s programme.

‘This vulture has been poisoned with organophosphate poisoning, which attaches itself to fat cells in the vulture’s body and is difficult to get out of the system, making the rehabilitation process a difficult and sensitive one,’ explained Hoffman.

The rehabilitated bird was tagged, measured and released back into the wild with the assistance of Pfeiffer and members of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

Pfeiffer, who has a very personal relationship with the birds she is working with, hopes her work will contribute to conserving the Cape Vulture. 

* The International Vulture Awareness Day, which took place on the 7th of September this year, started as Vulture Awareness days run by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England.

The two organisations then decided to collaborate and expand the initiative into an international event aimed at drawing attention to the plight of these birds and encouraging efforts to ensure their conversation.

Among a host of international organisations, several bodies in South Africa are a part of this initiative including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Friends of Blouberg and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa’s Nyoka Ridge Vulture Restaurant.

author : Barrington Marais
author email :

Trees planted in celebration of new Research Centre and Arbour Week

Trees planted in celebration of new Research Centre and Arbour Week
The Mayor of the uMgungundlovu Municipal District, Councillor Yusuf Bhamjee, and UKZN Law academic, Professor Michael Kidd, plant a tree.

Representatives from the School of Law planted several trees in celebration of Arbour Week at their newly acquired Postgraduate Research Centre.

Environmental Law researcher and Lecturer in the School of Law, Professor Michael Kidd, said the new centre would provide the best possible research facilities for the growing number of postgraduate students in the School.

Well-known and renowned members of the local legal community attended as did the Mayor of uMgungundlovu Municipal District, Councillor Yusuf Bhamjee. ‘Planting trees provides long-term sustainability and we trust that this Postgraduate Centre becomes a leading and sought-after centre for training South African legal graduates,’ said Bhamjee.  

Several distinguished guests took part in planting the trees around the Centre, symbolic of the long-term goal to develop and grow the Postgraduate Centre.

Director and Master Mariner at Norton Rose Fulbright, Mr Malcolm Hartwell, acknowledged his company’s long-running association with the University. ‘We have been closely associated with the University for many years and whenever there’s an activity such as this we like to extend our full support to what we believe is one of the strongest legal training institutions in the country,’ he said.

The tree planting ceremony proved to be an excellent initiative in bringing the Pietermaritzburg law community together. ‘This has been a wonderful and auspicious occasion, and to have our own Postgraduate Centre can only bode something positive for the legal community, as well for the students of UKZN. It’s something I’m quite happy about,’ said Chairperson of the Pietermaritzburg Attorney’s Association, Ms Ashika Singh.

Postgraduate students in attendance expressed delight at having a centre dedicated solely to the furthering of their academic research endeavours.

‘The tree planting definitely serves as a good omen hinting at great things to come and the start of new things for not only the postgraduate students, but also the School of Law,’ said Environmental Law postgraduate student, Ms Chantelle Moyo.  

The School of Law Postgraduate Centre opens officially next month.

author : Barrington Marais
author email :

Workshop strives for answers to improve high school maths results

Workshop strives for answers to improve high school maths results
Educators sharing their concerns at the SAICA Maths workshop.

Finding innovative educational methodologies to improve mathematic results at Kwazulu-Natal’s high schools was the goal of the South African Institute of Charted Accountants maths educators workshop held at UKZN recently.

The workshop created a platform for educators, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) members and academics from UKZN’s School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Schools Liaison and Academic Services at the College of Law and Management to come up with ways to get pupils to excel in mathematics which plays a vital role for pupils hoping to pursue commerce, engineering, medicine and other degrees at university.

Presenters comprising SAICA’s Transformation and Growth Project Manager, Mr Xolela Sohuma, Tax Lecturer Mr Khaya Sithole, Schools Liaison officer Ms Sarda Pillay and College Academic Services Manager Ms Marian Kirsten highlighted strategies educators can adopt in the classroom to get pupils to enjoy mathematics.

They also explained the subject’s role in careers in finance, what the University expects from the students when it comes to academic performance, how the University’s point system worked and procedures for applications.

‘Maths is a gateway subject, that is why we have partnered with UKZN in one of the SAICA transformation flagship projects where we took more than 200 learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to assist them to improve their mathematics,’ said Sohuma.  ‘As educators you have to find out the benefits available to the students and go back to the classroom and assist them with achieving good marks in the subject that can open many doors for them.’

From an academics perspective, Sithole shared with the educators the reality of how pupils who are not well prepared for the transition from high school to tertiary level perform poorly. He encouraged the educators to adopt a parental role in the classroom and nurture their pupils and mould them to become future leaders.

‘As teachers, I believe there is a parallel link between the University and the education fraternity. Therefore it is our responsibility to collaborate and help our children instead of encouraging them to take maths literacy as it is an easier option.  Pupils who do maths literacy are not the ones who will be running our economy in the future, we need to keep the engagement lines open and help our children in any way we can because they are our future leaders.’

Educators used the opportunity to highlight challenges of constant curriculum changes and lack of resources which cripple the delivery of quality education.

Turnaround strategies for maths education which came out of the workshop were delivered to the Department of Education for consideration.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
author email :

Umfundi wase-UKZN Kososayensi Abaphambili Besifazane

Umfundi wase-UKZN Kososayensi Abaphambili Besifazane
Umfundi wase-UKZN uNksz Nontobeko Mvubu, othole umklomelo womfundaze weTATA emcimbini wama2013 DST Women in Science Awards nomfundisi wakhe uSolwazi Bala Pillay.

Uzitholele umfundaze wakwa TATA umfundi weMicrobiology uNksz Nontobeko Mvubu emcimbini obuse Goli wokuklomelisa ososayensi besifazane ba-2013 owenziwa umnyango wezeSayensi nobuChwepheshe iDST.

UMvubu waqokwa ngabafundisi bakhe uSolwazi Balakrishna Pillay noDkt Manormoney Pillay.

‘Lokuthola lomuklomela sekungivulele amathuba amaningi okuthi ngikhule ngenjomcwaningi,’ kusho uMvubu. ‘Ngibonga abafundisi bami ngokukholelwa kimina. Ukuba yingxenye yomcimbi lapho kukhona khona uNgqongqoshe wezeSayensi nobuChwepheshe bekuyiphupho engingasoze ngalikhohlwa.’

I-DST ibungaza abantu besifazane kwezesayensi minyaka yonke ngokuqoka bazongenela emazingeni ahlukene. Lemiklomelo ethulwa u uNgqongqoshe wezeSayensi nobuChwepheshe esidlweni sasebusuku kulonyaka ebibanjelwe eSandton.

USolwazi Cheryl Potgieter oyi Deputy Vice-Chancellor neHead of the College yaka Humanities uthule inkulumo ngokwanda kodlame olubhekiswe kubantu besifazane nendima engadlalwa isayensi nobucwaningo kuleyondawo.

‘Njengabantu abahola uNonto,  uSolwazi Bala Pillay name siyajabula Futhi siyaziqhenya kakhulu ngomklomelo wakhe,’ kusho uDkt Manormoney Pillay. ‘UNonto umulungele lomklomelo ngoba ungumfundi ozimisele, ozinikelayo, osebenza kanzima nowaziyo ukuthi ufuna ukuphothula izifundo zakhe zeMasters esikhathini esinqunyelwe sona.’

Umvubu ubekade evela enza kahle kuzozonke izifundo zakhe obesezitholele imiklomelo eminye, imifundaze kanye noxhaso lokufunda.

Izifundo zeMasters zakhe zifaka ubuciko obusha be molecular techniques okunikeza ulwazi olungcono ngezingxenye ezahlukene ngesifo se M. tuberculosis.

Esitatimendeni esihlangene esikhishwe abafundisi wakhe bathe: ‘Sibonga uSolwazi Bill Bishai wase K-RITH ngokweseka izifundo zikaNonto ese-Johns Hopkins University eMelika lapho omunye umsebenzi wenzelwe khona. Ucwaningo lakhe lweMasters luvuse imibuzo eminingi yocwaningo okwenze ukuthi lishintshe izinga liye kwelePhD.’

UMvumbu usethole okuningi okusiza ezifundweni zakhe zePhD kulonyaka ngokuya oqeqeshweni olusebenzisa ubuchule be-Bioinformatics software alwenza ukuthi akwazi ukuhlangula ucwaningo lwakhe esebenza nabe South African National Bioinformatics Institute.

‘Kuhambelana nenyanga yabesifazane, imiklomelo yeWomen in Science ikhombisa ngokusobala imizamo yomnyango yokuqinisekisa ukulingana ngobulili emikhakheni yezesayensi, ubunjiniyela nobuchwepheshe nokuqhikiza,’ kusho isitatimende sakwaDST.

Click here for English version

author : Barrington Marais
author email :

New Director for UKZN HIV Research Centre

New Director for UKZN HIV Research Centre
New Director of UKZN’s Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, Professor Deenan Pillay.

Leading Clinical Virologist, Professor Deenan Pillay, has been appointed as the new Director of UKZN’s Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies.

Pillay is a Professor of Virology and Co-Director of the Division of Infection and Immunity, at University College London.

He is a Clinical Virologist, having trained in London, Newcastle and San Diego, and has a long standing research and clinical interest in HIV virology, particularly related to the study of global HIV drug resistance and transmission. He helped establish the Bloomsbury Research Institute, a partnership between infectious disease research groups from UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Professor Nelson Ijumba, UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, said: ‘UKZN would like to congratulate Professor Pillay on his appointment and hope that, through his leadership, the Africa Centre will continue to be at the forefront of knowledge production and community empowerment in HIV/AIDS.’

According to a media statement released by the Wellcome Trust, Professor Pillay will take up his post at the Africa Centre on a secondment from UCL on 1 November 2013. His appointment follows the decision by Professor Marie-Louise Newell to return to the UK to take up a position at the University of Southampton. Professor Newell has been Director of the Africa Centre since 2005.

Professor Pillay said: ‘This is a very exciting new challenge. The potential to answer some of the key remaining questions relating to spread of infections such as HIV and TB is immense. To do so in the dynamic setting of South Africa, with its rapidly emerging biomedical research strength, is a tremendous privilege.’

The Africa Centre is based within a rural population with one of the highest burdens of HIV in the world. There, it carries out research into the impact of the virus on the local community and, in partnership with the local Department of Health, runs one of the region’s largest rural, primary-care-level antiretroviral therapy programmes. It also has a strong capacity-building programme, providing opportunities for staff to study towards university degrees, including Master’s degrees and doctorates, and for community members to gain other skills-based training.

Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director of the Wellcome Trust, says: ‘We are delighted that Deenan Pillay has agreed to take up the role of Director of the Africa Centre. Deenan is a highly respected clinical investigator in the research and public health communities.  He has shown great leadership in creating partnerships amongst researchers and institutions, as illustrated by the Bloomsbury Research Institute.  Such experience will prove extremely valuable in building the collaborative relationships that will maximise the value of the Africa Centre.

‘The Africa Centre was established by the Wellcome Trust in partnership with the South African Medical Research Council in 1998 and employs around 350 people, including around 25 scientists. The cornerstone of its research programme is a biannual household demographic survey that since 2000, has collected data on births, deaths, marriage and migration events, as well as household economics. The survey covers a population of around 90 000 people in 11 000 households.

‘An additional annual HIV surveillance study, established in 2003, covers adults 15 years and older, collecting data on HIV status, sexual behaviour and relationships, and other health issues. The Centre also has a virology laboratory at the Medical School in Durban, with research relating to the dynamics of HIV in breast milk and population viral phylogenetics.

‘The Centre has been behind several high profile research papers recently, including two papers in the journal Science this year demonstrating for the first time the positive impact of antiretroviral therapy on the rate of new HIV infections in a community setting and that such therapies are a highly cost-effective investment for the people of South Africa.’

author : Online Team
author email :

The role of business in NDP explained

 The role of business in NDP explained
Professor Marius Ungerer.

The role business and civil society had to play to be in line with South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP)  was outlined at a Public Lecture at UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership by Professor Marius Ungerer, an Associate Professor: Strategy, Change and Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch’s Business School. 

Academics from UKZN’s School of Business and Leadership, MBA students and members of the Durban business community heard about community strategies they could employ to ensure the plan became a reality for South Africa.

Ungerer gave a detailed view of where the plan originated and its context. He concluded by pointing out how the business community fitted in with this vision for 2030.

‘We have to break out of our moulds of self interest and think long term as the plan requires us to do. Our first job is creating winning and world class companies. We need to look at social entrepreneurship, global partnership and learning, and exchanging ideas of best practices with our global counterparts.’

Ungerer also highlighted how businesses should align their services with the national priorities of the country, co-operate with local government, transform urban and rural areas and give incentives to motivate staff.

‘Research shows that in a developing context children need role models therefore we should not tolerate corruption.  We also need to embrace South African languages, different cultures and religions.

‘I am very impressed with UKZN in this regard as I can see through their staff and students that they are already practising this. The plan is very important and we can all make it a possibility,’ said Ungerer.

The Schools Dean and Head Professor Stephen Migiro had this to say about the Lecture: ‘The Lecture unpacked the NDP’s link into priority areas and succinctly explained the role of business and civil society in its implementation to students and representatives from the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Further, the Lecture provided pointers to potential research topics by our research students in the School, in particular those on the Local Economic Development programme.’

author : Thandiwe Jumo
author email :

Inspiring creative reflexivity in clinical psychologists

Inspiring creative reflexivity in clinical psychologists
From left: interns, Mr Sduduzo Mncwabe, Ms Preleen Sookoo, Ms Garlie Matabane, and Ms Waheeda Goga, with Mr Karl Swain, Professor Basil Pillay, Mr Suntosh Pillay, (seated) Dr Devi Rajab and Dr Thirusha Naidu.

Durban personality, Dr Devi Rajab, recently spoke at a function for clinical psychologists at the Department of Behavioural Medicine in the School of Public Health and Nursing.

Many of the interns and their supervisors at the talk had a week earlier attended the show Botoo, at the Playhouse Theatre. Written by the venerable Ronnie Govender and based on writings by Rajab in her book Women: South Africans of Indian origin, the play was about Dr Kesaveloo Goonam, a feisty but principled feminist, who was South Africa’s first qualified woman Indian doctor.

Goonam was jailed 18 times for her anti-apartheid activities. The play highlighted the many paradoxes of the principled activist - a sari-clad, fluent Tamil speaker as well as a keen smoker and Scotch drinker.

At the talk, Rajab discussed the importance of the arts in critical thinking and psychological practice as too often, as a psychologist, perspectives were class based.

‘Even Freud used the work of Shakespeare and Greek mythology to develop his ideas in psychoanalysis,’ she reminded the audience. ‘Art gives you the vehicle with which to speak up,’ she noted, using examples of political protest which relied on more artistic forms of rebellion.

Her column in The Mercury, “Devi’s Diary”, often tackles socio-political issues in sharp and witty analysis. Her collection of writings in No Subject is Taboo, is testament to that.

‘You’ve got to be introspective,’ she advised, describing the creative tension between her roles as both public writer and psychologist. ‘I realised I was revealing things about myself in what I write, and people were finding out more about me than what I wrote about.

‘To be a good clinician and a good writer know the world experientially and expose yourself to other stuff outside Western perspectives, people like Rabindranath Tagore. As a writer you don’t only write for others but in the process, you learn about yourself and the need to write boldly and without fear.’

Rajab concluded the discussion saying: ‘You need to know your limitations, because it teaches you about yourself. Through every experience you should learn something.’

This event was inspired by the need to provide space for creative reflexivity as an essential skill of emerging psychologists.

The Department of Behavioural Medicine co-ordinates the year-long clinical psychology internship for interns who rotate through various public hospitals - including Addington, King Edward, and King Dinuzulu - before completing an additional year of community service.

author : Vijay Ramballie
author email :

African traditional medicines in focus during Memorial Lecture

African traditional medicines in focus during Memorial Lecture
(From left) Professor Yonah Seleti, Mrs Phumelele Mqina (Dr MV Gumede’s granddaughter), Dr Lindiwe Simelane (Dr Gumede’s daughter) and Professor Rob Slotow.

The Chief Director of the National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office in the Department of Science and Technology, Professor Yonah Seleti, delivered the keynote address at the College of Health Science’s 2013 Dr MV Gumede Memorial Lecture.

The annual Lecture pays tribute to Gumede - an exceptional Medical Doctor - who shaped the recognition of African traditional medicines in KwaZulu-Natal during a time when traditional medicine was not recognised as an alternative healthcare treatment.

Commenting during his presentation, Seleti said: ‘Dr Gumede’s pioneering work in the field of African Traditional Medicines (ATMs) during a time when there was no recognition or value to this work is still important today when much persuasion is required at all levels. We are fortunate that Dr Gumede invested in this field. His path-breaking work led to government formally recognising the field in 1994 and investing in it.’

Seleti’s address, titled “South African Paths to the Protection of African Traditional Medicines”, focused on the importance of introducing ATMs or indigenous knowledge in the global economy, thereby generating wealth to the knowledge owners but also ensuring that intellectual property rights were protected. He said legislation was essential to ensure the public was protected and that the services could be used safely.

Currently, there was also a lack of recognition of existing Indigenous Knowledge Systems’ (IKS) communities of practice as global bodies of knowledge and innovation. There was also no acknowledgement of communities of practice as professionals.

Seleti said the Department of Science and Technology together with its partner government departments were working towards providing guidelines for the development of the certification of IKS as formally approved qualifications by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

He said it was also important to ensure IKS innovation and product development which would look at the value products which needed to be patented whilst allowing higher educational institutions to credit its students through masters and doctoral degrees.

‘IKS offers traditional healers the opportunity to interact with students in laboratories.  It also provides the opportunity for local and international companies to become involved in endorsing and patenting the products,’ said Seleti.

Seleti concluded by saying that the Department of Science and Technology had taken Gumede’s dream miles further by working towards ensuring the protection against the misuse of traditional healers’ knowledge. He thanked UKZN for always supporting the work of ATM by hosting the IKS Chair and the first Centre of Excellence in IKS in the country.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College, Professor Rob Slotow, said: ‘The College of Health Sciences hosts the annual Dr MV Gumede lecture during African Traditional Medicine week to celebrate the life and memory of Dr Gumede and in particular his contribution to the advancement of traditional medicine and public health in this province.

‘Through this annual Memorial Lecture, we will continue his legacy to promote and develop African traditional medicine alongside conventional medicine, through scientific endeavour.’

author : MaryAnn Francis
author email :

Young researchers represent UKZN at SAEON-GSN Indibano conference

Young researchers represent UKZN at SAEON-GSN Indibano conference
Participants at the 2013 SAEON Indibano held in Cape Town.

Three postgraduate researchers from the African Environmental Change Lab research group in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, were selected to represent the University at the 6th Annual SAEON-GSN Indibano Conference held in Cape Town.

Two MSc students, Mr Luke Bodmann and Mr Tristan Duthie, focussed on vegetation change in the Cathedral Peak area of the Drakensberg, while PhD student Ms Kate Strachan, examined the reconstruction of past sea-level change along the east coast of southern Africa.

The title of Bodmann’s research was: “Detection and Attribution of Change of the Afromontane Archipelago: Cathedral Peak”. Bodmann uses a combination of proxy data techniques, including fossil pollen and charcoal analysis, to analyse a sedimentary record of environmental change in Cathedral Peak over the past 1 000 - 2 000 years.

Bodmann, who is being supervised by Professor Trevor Hill, Ms Michelle Warburton and Dr Jemma Finch, said: ‘This burst of energy, motivation and fun has got me to really grab my research by the horns and give it my best. The SAEON-GSN Indibano was a privilege to attend, and really made me feel a part of something bigger,’ said Bodmann.

Duthie was awarded the prize for Best Poster Presentation for her poster titled: “Modelling Modern Pollen Dispersal and Peposition Characteristics of Vegetation Communities of the Cathedral Peak area, KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg”.  Duthie said research aimed to improve the reliability of interpretations from long-term palaeoecological data, particularly with regards to pollen analysis, through modelling pollen dispersal and deposition characteristics in the Drakensberg.

Duthie and his supervisor, Professor Trevor Hill, recently returned from a workshop on modern pollen modelling at Hull University in the United Kingdom where they presented a paper titled: “Potential for Modern Pollen Modelling in the Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa”.

Strachan delivered an oral presentation titled: “A late Holocene Sea-Level Curve for the East Coast of South Africa”. Her research, which explored the application of salt-marsh foraminifera as sea-level indicators in the southern African context, is being supervised by Hill, Finch and Dr Peter Frenzel of the University of Jena in Germany.

Strachan said the highlight of her trip was a visit to the Sea Technology Services Workshop facilitated by Dr Charles von der Meden. ‘It was fascinating to hear and see what monitoring and research is taking place regarding biodiversity in deeper parts of the ocean,’ said Strachan. 

For the UKZN team the SAEON-GSN Indibano Conference provided an invaluable opportunity to meet and interact with other students involved in long-term environmental observational research, in addition to professionals in the field.

author : Barrington Marais
author email :

Msinga Nutrition Fair a boon for the rural community

Msinga Nutrition Fair a boon for the rural community
Women from agricultural farming groups dressed in traditional attire attend the 2013 Msinga Nutrition Fair.

As Women’s Month drew to a close, the scenic area of Msinga Top played host to the third annual Msinga Nutrition Fair organised by UKZN’s Farmer Support Group (FSG).

The Fair is described as ‘a way of encouraging groups in Msinga to learn and reflect on their accomplishments annually’.

The FSG is a Pietermaritzburg-based community outreach and research unit within UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

The Unit has played a pivotal role in identifying the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the KwaZulu-Natal area and actively works on engaging these farmers in useful initiatives which focus primarily on improving their livelihoods. 

Women in the Msinga region are faced not only with limitations in terms of their hierarchal cultural standing, but also encounter numerous difficulties in terms of agricultural practices and potential for growth and success in this specific arena.

The FSG has played a crucial role in addressing these issues, and acting as a medium which places women in the Msinga area in a position to actively improve their livelihoods through community-driven agricultural practices. FSG’s reach extends to overall livelihood improvement of the community through empowering women in terms of craft production and HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives.

The Unit began work in Msinga in 2001 and since then 10 women’s groups have started community gardens in the area. This not only provides food sources for the women and their families but also sees surplus crop yields being supplied to local supermarkets providing a further source of income for these women.

The Fair itself allows the groups to showcase their produce, market it and in the spirit of community it provides an ideal platform for the agricultural groups to engage in a cross-communicational exchange of ideas, sharing of difficulties and the offering of advice and solutions.

A number of keynote addresses were given by community leaders and various stakeholders including representatives from the government Departments of Health, Social Development, Education and Agriculture; and Councillors from the Msinga Municipality.

FSG’s Ms Gail du Toit thanked all stakeholders as well as the agricultural groups for their hard work and encouraged a cross-exchange of ideas and learning. ‘It’s amazing to see how the project has grown with established groups now training new groups; showing us how our group effort is manifesting positively through such exponential growth. We must continue the excellent work and always keep in our consciousness the issue of climate change and preserving our land,’ she said.

The event ended with a colourful display by the women dressed in their elaborate and beautiful attire.

FSG, an externally funded organisation, is also involved in similar agricultural empowerment initiatives in the Bergville area.

author : Barrington Marais
author email :

Mazda supporting conservation in KwaZulu-Natal

Mazda supporting conservation in KwaZulu-Natal
Representatives from WESSA, UKZN, WWF, Mondi and Barlow World Pietermaritzburg at the recent Wildlife Seminar held at the WESSA Venue, Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve.

Eight progressive conservation projects the Mazda Wildlife Fund is currently supporting in KwaZulu-Natal were outlined at a recent wildlife seminar held at the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) venue at the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve near Howick.

UKZN researchers and academics were among those who gave presentations at the function.

Now in its 23rd year, the Fund is one of the foremost and long-standing bodies in the South African motor vehicle manufacturing industry which support conservation in the country.

‘Mazda is exceptionally proud of what it has achieved in support of conservation and environmental education projects in South Africa,’ said Mr Ward Huxtable, Dealer Principal at Barloworld, Pietermaritzburg. ‘We are committed to strengthening this work in the future.’

Despite the economic difficulties currently being experienced by the motor industry, Mazda has remained committed to conservation initiatives ‘because it’s the right thing to do’, said Mazda Wildlife Fund Manager, Mr Humphrey le Grice.

The Seminar focused on ground-breaking conservation projects taking place in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Xander Combrink of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the School of Life Sciences at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, highlighted the value of crocodiles as barometers of environmental change.

His PhD work is mainly in Zululand where human/crocodile conflicts and the threat of climate change are of concern. His supervisor Professor Colleen Downs, also of the School of Life Sciences, said she was very grateful for the vehicle support Mazda Wildlife had provided since 1998 - it had made much of her field research possible.

Dr Mike Schleyer from the Oceanographic Research Institute and the School of Life Sciences, showed how there was a need to re-examine the value and management of reefs. In his research he has found that all reefs are not necessarily linked genetically, meaning that they need to be managed on a reef by reef basis. In addition to this, new evidence is showing that recreation practices are having a higher impact on the reef life than previously thought.

Such research had thus increased the need, said Schleyer, to ensure that there were well defined and located marine reserves where impacts were minimised.

This coastal work was supported by the positive manner in which the WESSA Blue Flag project was being adopted in KwaZulu-Natal as a tool to support environmental objectives and simultaneously also offering economic opportunities through its tourism value.

The Mazda Wildlife Fund also supports the work of the Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa’s second most bio-diverse biome; the grassland biome. This environment is at the head of the catchments which supply most of the country’s water.

Programme Manager, Dr Ian Little, said with 60 percent of grasslands having been irreversibly transformed and only a small percentage under formal protection, the need from both an economic and biodiversity perspective to conserve these areas was desperately needed.

Huxtable further noted that ‘the quality and positive impact that each of the projects was having was exceptional. ‘This is not widely recognised, neither is the passion and commitment of those implementing the projects,’ he said.

He concluded by emphasising the long-term commitment Mazda had to conservation, environmental education and sustainable living. 

author : Barrington Marais
author email :

Netshitenzhe - keynote speaker at UKZN forum

Netshitenzhe - keynote speaker at UKZN forum
Dr Joel Netshitenze (left) and Dr Sibusiso Chalufu in conversation on the Howard College campus.

Dr Joel Netshitenzhe, Director of the Mapungubwe Institute of Strategic and Cultural Reflection (MISTRA), delivered the keynote address at a forum on the Howard College campus which focused on the National Development Plan (NDP) and post-apartheid democratic prospects.

Netshitenzhe explored the developmental challenges facing the country and the propositions of the NDP.

He noted that leadership was required to address the challenges facing the country, remarking that ‘leadership should have the capacity and the courage to deal with corruption’.

Netshitenzhe cautioned against the distance between the “leaders and the led” and the “development of social distance” as he called it, not only in the government and society sphere, but also among student leaders and students.

Netshitenzhe also alluded to the need for social and citizen activism and the role of youth leadership, making reference to recent great youth movements such as InkuluFreeHeid, Young Professionals Forum, Youth Lab and the Young Economists of Africa.

As the talk fell on the anniversary of the Marikana incident, he reminded the audience of the tragic events which surrounded the Lonmin mining strike.

Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, Executive Director: Student Services, referred to Netshitenzhe as a ‘true intellectual giant of our time’, and commended the Society of Commons and the SRC for the foresight in hosting Netshitenzhe.

The Society of Commons, a student organisation which promotes dialogue, paid tribute to Netshitenzhe’s remarkable education, career and contributions to the country, saying: ‘Netshitenzhe suspended his studies at the former University of Natal’s Medical School in 1976 when he joined the African National Congress in exile.’

He has a diploma in Political Science from the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, a post-graduate diploma in Economic Principles and a Master of Science degree in Financial Economics from the University of London.

Before joining the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) as CEO in 1998, he was Head of Communication in President Nelson Mandela’s office. In addition to being GCIS CEO, he was appointed Head of the Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services (PCAS) in The Presidency in 2001. He headed the PCAS on a full-time basis from 2006 until his retirement in 2009.

He now works as an independent researcher, and is the Executive Director of MISTRA.

He is a Member of the National Planning Commission of the South African government, the Advisory Board of the Nelson Mandela Trust and the Board of CEEF.Africa (a Section 21 company dealing with tertiary education opportunities).

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
author email :

Youth forum gains momentum

Youth forum gains momentum
info4africa/WCRP Youth Forum learners worked in groups to design a project for their school or larger community.

Info4africa data collection staff attended the info4africa/ World Conference on Religions and Peace (WCRP) (Durban Chapter) Youth Forum recently. Info4africa is a self-funded Centre of the School of Applied Human Sciences within the College of Humanities.

The info4africa team members joined youngsters from schools across eThekwini and beyond for an invigorating forum event. 

The Youth Forum focused on the topic “Be an Agent for Change!” which saw learners working in groups to design a project for their school or larger community.

Info4africa staff got involved by helping learners think up innovative ideas to bring their community together. Some learners planned sports days or cultural events with the aim of demonstrating peace, while others designed promotional materials which highlighted the importance of community cohesion, peace and unity. 

A member of the info4africa data collection team, Ms Nomfundo Bengu, said: ‘We created a poster for Peace Month. It was great to see young people willing to work together for their communities and willing to reach out to the most vulnerable people in our country.

Her colleague, Mr Wandile Mkhize, also commented on the forum saying, ‘It was a productive forum, and it was inspirational to see young people take charge of their community responsibilities and become aware they can change the nation through their actions.’

The info4africa/WCRP Youth Forums take place on a quarterly basis throughout the year, and seek to bring together school pupils from across eThekwini to find positive solutions to societal problems.

For more information on these and other forum events, please visit

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email :

Renowned jazz musician gives Inaugural Lecture at UKZN

Renowned jazz musician gives Inaugural Lecture at UKZN
From left: Professor Salim Washington, Professor Cheryl Potgieter and Dean and Head of the School of Arts Professor Nogwaja Zulu.

Professor Salim Washington, a Harlem-based musician/scholar and an accomplished composer/arranger, recently gave his inaugural lecture at UKZN’s Unite Building.

The title of the lecture was: the 20th Century Aesthetic Revolt: The Revolutionary Implications of Jazz.

DVC and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Cheryl Potgieter welcomed Washington to the University stating: ‘The College is honored to have such an academic and researcher for the School of Arts and we thank you for joining UKZN. Washington joins a school which has one of the few A rated researchers in the arts/ humanities in the country and that is Professor Michael Chapman.’

Washington, who has joined UKZN as a music lecturer within the School of Arts, discussed the jazz aesthetic calling it fundamental, pervasive and catalytic macro-antiphonal. ‘Music has social valence and tells us something about the culture and the social practices of a particular community.

 ‘Jazz music is African American music in origin, but has grown to national and international significance with many strains and varieties and contested histories and also with differing practices and receptions throughout the world.

‘Within the United States, jazz is a music and set of cultural practices that chronicle the social evolution of African American history. It is a repository of the aspirations of the people who created and shaped it,’ said Washington

‘As such, it encodes the various freedom movements of black people in musical terms. It is a perpetually avant garde music form that continually reinvents its revolutionary ethos within particular social contexts.’

His lecture focused on pre-20th Century African American music, in particular, African American music in the Middle Passage such as the Pan African consciousness and the introduction of notions of ‘race’, and how music was seen as healing salve for the souls of black folk during the periods of slavery.

He went on further to discuss the notion of swing, avant gardism, dialectical living in the modern world, bebop, post-bop, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, and the urban rebellions.

Washington played short audio clips of Charlie Parker’s Now is the Time and John Coltrane’s Joy.

Asked if Jazz is dead, Washington replied there were three places he knew of where Jazz was alive; Cuba, Brazil and South Africa.

Washington earned his PhD from Harvard, after the completion of his dissertation: Beautiful Nightmare: Coltrane, Jazz, and American Culture.

He has performed in jazz festivals in the United States, Canada, various countries in Europe, South Africa, Mozambique, Mexico, and Brazil. He leads the Harlem Arts Ensemble and has performed with many of New York's finest musicians.

He has conducted extensive research in African American musical culture and has been an educator and workshop leader in the United States, South Africa, France, and Ireland. As a scholar, Washington has won many honours and fellowships including the prestigious Fulbright Scholars Fellowship, Ann Plato Fellowship at Trinity College, W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship at Harvard University, and Wolfe Institute Fellowship at Brooklyn College.

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email :

Forum launched to support women students

Forum launched to support women students
Members of the newly formed UKZN Women’s Forum take a pledge during the launch.

UKZN’s HIV/AIDS and Wellness Programme recently launched a Women’s Forum for female students to discuss issues and challenges they face.

The Forum, themed Transforming Young Women into Future Leaders, was launched during the Annual Abstinence Walk Campaign held to encourage students to abstain from sexual activity to reduce the pressure of having unprotected sex and thus help to lower the spread of HIV and AIDS and reduce the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned/unwanted pregnancies.

Findings of a study conducted by the Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) in South African tertiary institutions between 2008 and 2009 found there was a need to empower young women to take charge of their health.

The study also found there were more HIV positive women students than HIV positive male students and suggested there was a need to strengthen behaviour change communication interventions among students to reduce new HIV infections and drug abuse.

Head of the UKZN’s HIV/AIDS and Wellness Programme, Ms Nomonde Magantolo, said: ‘The launch of a Women’s Forum in an institution of higher learning is an additional support mechanism creating solidarity to facilitate a better sharing of knowledge and issues relevant to women across the Institution.’

The objectives of the Forum are to:

Among the activities and issues that will be initiated by the Forum are pregnancy awareness campaigns, sugar daddies awareness campaigns, group discussions on campus, residence visits, awareness on services available at the campus health clinics and high school visits.

The objectives of the Abstinence Campaign – themed Abstinence is My Choice – include good academic performance and achievement of future goals; being free from sexual transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy; freedom from psycho-social problems resulting from risky behaviours; making informed choices and good decisions, and to encourage behaviour change in promoting healthy life styles.

‘The Abstinence Walk Campaign is supported by Government departments and NGOs in partnership with UKZN to encourage abstinence as a method for prevention of disease, unwanted pregnancies, STIs as well as HIV infections,’ said Magantolo.  

‘The focus on young people is because of their vulnerability to social, physical and psychological abuse. There are challenges facing young people in South Africa and worldwide such as sexually transmitted Infections including HIV. They also face problems of suicide, unplanned pregnancy, as well as alcohol and substance abuse. These contribute to a high rate of morbidity and mortality among young people aged between 14- 24 in schools and institutions of higher learning.’

Peer Educator, Ms Nokubonga Mazibuko, told the audience that abstinence was for everyone and it was a 100% guarantee against getting STIs and getting pregnant.

Other participants in the programme included CAPRISA, DramAidE, Marie Stopes, the Rose Clinic, the Hope Centre, national and provincial government departments, eTthekwini Municipality and other tertiary institutions.

author : Sithembile Shabangu
author email :

Annual jazz jol at UKZN

Annual jazz jol at UKZN
Musician Prince Bulo of Africa Plus performs at the 25th Annual Jazz Jol.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music in partnership with Standard Bank recently presented the 25th Annual Jazz Jol which was attended by music lovers of all ages.

The event opened with UKZN Voices, a close-harmony jazz vocal  a Capella group, doing a short set.

Also featured was the 2013 recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist award for Jazz, bassist Shane Cooper, and his band which  included previous Standard Bank Young artist, Kesivan Naidoo on drums, as well as Reza Khota on guitar and Justin Bellairs on alto saxophone.

The line-up also showcased the exciting young trio, Africa Plus, which comprises Prince Bulo on bass, Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums and Lungelo Ngcobo on piano and keyboards.

The Mozambican quartet Afro Latino of Milton Chissano (guitar and vocals), Ildo Nandja (bass and percussion), Alberto Chemane (drums and percussion), and Njabulo Shabalala (percussion) also performed.

Proceeds from the concert went towards the Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship (RMS) which assists disadvantaged jazz students at UKZN with financial aid or support.

The RMS also provides bursaries for deserving students and also funds students’ travel and accommodation to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and other educational festivals, workshops and conferences.

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email :

Westville residence students celebrate Women’s Day

Westville residence students celebrate Women’s Day
Residence students thrilled by stage performances to celebrate Women’s Day.

Student Housing on the Westville Campus recently celebrated Women’s Day with students from the residences at a fun event on the cricket field.

Despite the cold weather the venue was packed, mainly with male students there to support their female colleagues!

The aim of the gathering was to celebrate and show appreciation for women. Speakers including Lungisani Mavundla from Ukhozi FM and KC from Love Life spoke about uplifting the spirit of Imbokodo and how men should treat women.

Students were entertained with music, poetry and dance performances.  The event was sponsored by MTN who provided great prizes and give-aways with food and refreshments on offer.

author : Sizwe Sithole
author email :

Indigenous Knowledge Systems and non-violence culture

Indigenous  Knowledge Systems and  non-violence culture
Stakeholders at the workshop on the Westville campus.

A champions and stakeholders meeting to pool resources and chart a way forward for an initiative to build a culture of non-violence in early childhood development using Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) was held on UKZN’s Westville campus.

At the meeting were representatives of the UKZN-based DST/NRF IKS Centre of Excellence; the Gandhi Development Trust; New Beginnings (an NGO focused on Early Childhood Development), and other stakeholders from both the private and public sector, including government officials.

Programme Co-ordinator at the Gandhi Development Trust, Ms Kanya Padayachee, said: ‘We face endemic violence on a daily basis in South Africa. Increasing numbers of young children find this [violence] to be a normal part of their world. Children are becoming reared in this terrible system of violence which confronts them at every level.

‘What is worrying about this is that they see the violence, mimic it, and this cycle of violence carries on repeating itself,’ said Padayachee.

‘If we want to change minds, and sustain that change, we must go to the earliest stages hence this interest in early child development (ECD).’

Addressing the workshop, the Director of New BeginningsMs Patsy Pillay, focused on early childhood development and education explaining the rationale behind focusing on ECD. ‘The first seven years of a child’s life is the most significant. By three years, at least 80 percent of the brain is formed. This is the ideal phase to encourage and develop a positive value system, not at Matric level.

‘This is where influencers inside and outside the home have an impact on the child,’ said Pillay.

Professor H O Kaya, the  Director  of the  DST/NRF IKS  Centre  of  Excellence,  said  the  initiative to build and promote a culture of nonviolence in ECD using  IKS was motivated  by the  fact that all sections of South African society, both public and private, including schools, places of worship, and places of work were plagued by incidents of violence such as rape, burglary, murder, and various  forms of abuse.

‘These  values  and practices are experienced  by  children from  the  early years of  growth and  development at  home, school, neighbourhoods, and shopping  centres.  This implies that any initiative  to  develop and inspire  the culture of  non-violence,  must  also  begin  during these formative  years,’ said Kaya.

‘Indigenous  ways  of  human relationship and behaviours including spiritual  values which emphasise  the importance  of tolerance for diversity, cooperation, sharing and respect  for   the  dignity  of all  forms of  God’s creation have  been  marginalised  in the search  for  building  sustainable   solutions  against  the culture of violence. These values are embedded in the African philosophy and principles of Ubuntu which emphasises that the individual realises their humanness through respect of the dignity and   well-being of others.

Kaya outlined the proposed roadmap to get the project off the ground:

• Conduct research in local communities including institutions on IKS values and practices which emphasise the culture of nonviolence, citizenship, social cohesion, gender equity, nation building, environmental consciousness and Ubuntu;
• Participation in a survey of existing values and practices in ECD Centres on awareness of a culture of non-violence and human rights, Ubuntu and the Gandhian Satyagraha philosophies: identification of uniformity, challenges and prospects;
• Design, produce and distribute toolkits of IKS-based educational materials (traditional music, folklores, puzzles, indigenous games, images, toys, dances, etc) that build and promote a culture of non-violence including positive values and practices;
• Provide necessary assistance to ECD practitioners and institutions to promote awareness of existing community and institutional based initiatives for building a culture of non-violence using IKS, eg protection of  IP, development of educational materials, curriculum, and programme activities;
• Develop educational/ training programmes and materials for the champions of the initiative including ECD practitioners, child-minders and educators;
• Fundraising for the implementation of initiative activities;
• Training of trainers including the Champions, ECD practitioners, child-minders and educators on the use of the toolkits.

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
author email :