Surgical Registrar Conference at UKZN

Surgical Registrar Conference at UKZN
At the Conference from left: Professor Bhugsy Singh, Professor Sandie Thompson and Professor Delawir Kahn.

The 32nd Surgical Registrar Conference hosted by the South African Society of Surgeons in Training (SASSIT) and UKZN’s Department of Surgery, was held at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

The Conference was followed by the Surgical Research Society (SRS) Congress.

The first part of the Registrar Conference focused on the FCS (SA) examination with the main point of discussion on the first day being the paper titled: “The Role of the MMed and Future Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)” presented by Professor Delawir Kahn, HOD of Surgery at the University of Cape Town.

Khan explained the HPCSA’s recommendation made in 2010 for Registrars to complete a health component research paper in order to register with the statutory body.

‘To register with the HPCSA, one has to complete a research paper in order to become a specialist. The College requires a research contribution as well, as it has now been made compulsory. In order to fulfil the requirement to do research, one can do two things: conduct research that can change the world or do research for the sake of the requirement.’

Kahn provided essential recommendations for Registrars about research, discussing research topics and how to go about conducting research.

Another focal point was a talk about the Fellowship of the College of Surgeons of South Africa, FCS (SA) Examinations, which was presented by Professor Bhugsy Singh, the Deputy Head of the Department of Surgery at UKZN.

Singh spoke about the importance of the examination and provided comprehensive guidelines and exam preparation, with various current College examiners having been requested to participate. This included tips on the written examination, clinical cases and operative techniques.

There were about 35 presentations covering a wide array of surgery during the two-day Conference.

The prize for the Best Commentator went to Dr Dirk Viljoen of the University of the Free State, who was the commentator for Dr Keno Mentor’s presentation: “A Modern Approach to Breast Cancer”.

The Best Speaker prize was awarded to Dr Shelley Loots of Stellenbosch University for her presentation on: “Common Clinical Pictures – Atypical Presenting Syndromes - a Primer for the Surgeon”.

The SASSIT iPad winner for Best Presentation was awarded to Dr Linda Kumirayi of the University of Zimbabwe for her presentation on: “Surgery in the Elderly – Changes, Risks and Complications”.

Dr Miriam Mutebi of the University of Cape Town was the lucky winner in the Investec draw, scoring an iPad mini.

-          Words and photograph by Zakia Jeewa

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Student Support Services hosts Alcohol Abuse workshop

Student Support Services hosts Alcohol Abuse workshop
Ms Caro Smith with Mr Nkululeko Shabalala, as he prepares to wear goggles that simulate how alcohol affects the body and the mind.

Support staff from the four Colleges and students in mentorship and leadership positions were involved in an education workshop on alcohol use and abuse.

The Workshop was organised by the College of Humanities Student Support Services with the guest speaker Ms Caro Smith of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD).

The aim of the Workshop was to educate and create awareness on alcohol abuse and to relay the message to students on campus so that they are able to make well informed, responsible and safe decisions regarding drunk driving and the consumption of alcohol.  

Smith said South Africa’s road accident and drunk driving statistics indicated that alcohol abuse was a major social problem and was a factor in more than half of vehicle fatalities in the country and 61% of pedestrian deaths.

She believes social attitudes in South Africa towards drunk driving still lag far behind the rest of the world.

Smith also recounted various drunk driving incidents such as the death of her 23-year-old son Chas Smit, lead guitarist and co-performer of South African acoustic band PLUSH, who was killed by a drunk driver on 18 September, 2005 while leaving a show in Pietermaritzburg.

Smith explained the meaning of Units of Alcohol (UOA), how they are measured and stressed that students needed to be made aware of this. ‘Each person metabolises alcohol at different rates and times. Women are affected more, quicker, and from smaller amounts of alcohol than men, so women need to drink less, and slower than men. It takes the body approximately an hour or more, to get rid of one unit. Water, coffee or energy drinks don’t work; only time gets rid of alcohol from the body.’

Smith further added that the brain experienced dynamic change during adolescence (ages 12-21) and alcohol could seriously damage long and short term growth process. ‘Students who binge drink can lose up to 10% of their brainpower and this could mean the difference between passing and failing. Even students who don’t drink shouldn’t succumb to peer pressure. We need to run these alcohol programmes at UKZN to create a sense of awareness and responsibility.’

As part of the Workshop, Mr Nkululeko Shabalala, who is a member of the student group UKZN Student Dynamics and third year Psychology student, volunteered to wear the “drunken goggles” that show how alcohol affects the body and the mind.

‘I couldn’t see clearly, I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was walking,’ said Shabalala. ‘It was scary and it put into perspective how much alcohol affects your judgement.’ With the information acquired during the Workshop, Shabalala hopes to inform other students within his organisation and get the word out about the effects of alcohol.

* Counselling and information about alcohol use and abuse and its effects are available at the College of Humanities Student Support Services as well as other College Student Support Services offices.

- Words and photographs by Melissa Mungroo

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Surgical Research Society Meets at Medical School

Surgical Research Society Meets at Medical School
From Left: Professor Thandinkosi Madiba, Mr Johannes Norden, Dr Thomas Hubert and Dr Jason Ali.

The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Surgical Research Society of Southern Africa was hosted by UKZN’s Department of Surgery at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.

Dr Damian Clarke, President of the Surgical Research Society, welcomed attendants, saying that ‘in terms of surgical research, there have been many changes that have impacted on us as a society, with an emphasis on surgical research being an essential component of higher surgical training. Our mission has always been to develop young researchers and to provide a platform for them to present their findings to an audience of the best surgical minds in the country.’

Professor Richard Hift, Dean and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine at UKZN, said the meeting was ‘a conjunction of two important components: surgery and society. However, there is a third concept: community of practice. Support is a powerful aspect among professionals with shared ideals. Medical research has taken a dip over the last 20 to 30 years, however, high awareness provides a need to be strong in research, as well as to improve research, its resources and output.’

Oral presentations made at the Conference were divided into various categories including Burns, Trauma, Breast Surgery, Laparoscopic Surgery, Gastrointestinal Surgery, Laboratory and General Interest. Medical students from around the country also presented at the Conference, with a poster session being conducted on the last day.

The two-day Conference featured a variety of presentations from local and international keynote speakers.

Professor Cliff Shearman, President of the Society of Academic and Research Surgeons (SARS) in the United Kingdom, spoke about the production of competent and fit surgeons in the UK during his presentation titled: “Vascular Surgery Training – A New Dawn, or will all UK trainees have to come to South Africa and Australia to Train?”

Dr Thomas Hubert, Secretary General of the European Society for Surgical Research (ESSR) and Head of the University and Hospital Department for Experimental Research at the University Of Lille in France, spoke on: “Translational Research on Diabetes; Endocrine and Metabolic Surgery, from Pig to Patient”.

Paediatric Surgeon and Head of Department at IALCH Professor Grenville Hadley – who was the 2014 DJ Du Plessis Lecturer at the Conference - presented on: “Aluta Continua: Paediatric Surgical Research with Limited Resources”.

Mr Jason Ali (SARS Patey prize winner) of the University of Cambridge in England spoke on: Heterogeneity in Indirect Pathway CD4 Tcell Alloresponses.

Mr Johannes Norden, a final year Medical student from the University of Rostock in Germany presented a paper titled: “Rage Blockage and Hepatic Microcirculation in Experimental Endotoxemic Liver Failure”.

Prize winners at the event

The Bunny Angorn Prize for the Best Clinical Presentation was won by Dr Lucien Ferndale of Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg who spoke on: “A Quality of Life Assessment Tool for Dysphagia”. The Bert Myburgh Prize, which is presented to the runner-up, was awarded to Dr Jennifer Downs of the University of Cape Town, who presented on “Flow Velocity Measurement in Haemodialysis Access using 4D MRI: a Pilot Study of Feasibility”.

The Sceales-Antrobus Prize awarded for the best presentation in the Breast Cancer category went to Ms Tanya Augustine of the University of Witwatersrand, whose topic was: “The Immune-Mediated Cytokine Profile of Hormone-Dependent and Hormone-Independent Breast Cancer Cells in 3D In Vitro System”.

The Asklepius Prize for the best paper by a Medical student was awarded to Ms Heather Rae of the University of Free State, for her talk on: “Understanding of Medical Abbreviations Across Different Medical Departments at an Academic Complex in Bloemfontein”.

From UKZN, Mr Neil Moodley won the prize for Best Poster during the Poster session at the event, with the runner up being Ms Janeshree Govender.

-         Words and photograph: Zakia Jeewa

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Successful Alumni Event on KZN South Coast

Successful Alumni Event on KZN South Coast
Standing: Mr Lesiba Seshoka (left) and Mr Finn Christensen, Alumni Relations Manager; Seated from left: Mr Roger Chetty, Sales and Marketing Director - UKZN Extended Learning; Mr Fanle Sibisi and guests Mrs Penny and Mr Dave Snashall.

The Alumni Relations Office recently hosted alumni from the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast at a networking and information-sharing lunch in Pennington.

Members of the Convocation Executive, staff from Extended Learning and Alumni Relations were on hand to interact with guests.

President of Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi, welcomed everyone and expressed the importance of connecting with their alma mater saying: ‘relationships have continued to be fostered with graduates with whom the University previously had minimal contact through the organising of contemporary and popular events. The demographic profile of graduates at events has continued to change and now represents the current demographic profile of the University.’

Sibisi highlighted achievements at UKZN since the merger and encouraged everyone to make a meaningful contribution to the University in whatever way they could.

Executive Director: Corporate Relations, Mr Lesiba Seshoka, further encouraged former students to become passionate, active and engaged ambassadors of the University, ‘Our alumni are our brand ambassadors and we invite their experience and talent in taking the University forward. We should all claim our roles in inspiring and achieving greatness.’

Seshoka invited those at the lunch to attend other University-related events and to contact him should they wish to convey any ideas on how they could interact with the University.

The event was well received with many expressing their pride at being part of the UKZN family and their support for future collaboration.

Amid an abundance of networking and reminiscing, a lucky-draw was held with prizes - including two vouchers to attend short-courses organised by Extended Learning - donated by Alumni Relations and Extended Learning.

-          Words by Finn Christensen and Rakshika Sibran

Photograph by Rakshika Sibran

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UKZN Partners with eThekwini Municipality to Support Entrepreneurs

UKZN Partners with eThekwini Municipality to Support Entrepreneurs
From left: Professor Deresh Ramjugernath; CEO: Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Andrew Layman; Mr Sibusiso Sithole; eThekwini Municipality Deputy City Manager, Dr Naledi Moyo; Business Development Manager, Technology Innovation Agency, Ms Nelisha Naidoo; and Invo Tech Manager, Durban University of Technology, Mr Deven Reddy.

In a bid to assist local entrepreneurs grow their business and create more employment opportunities, eThekwini Municipality in partnership with UKZN and other stakeholders recently launched Innovate Durban during a two-day Innovation Summit at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The founding partners of Innovate Durban are eThekwini Municipality, UKZN, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Technology Innovation Agency, and the Durban University of Technology. The initiative aims to position eThekwini as a leading innovative city in Africa so that it can develop solutions for the challenges of service delivery as well as for problems faced by rapid urbanisation.  

IBM and Mahindra were among other partners involved in the innovation summit which brought students, budding entrepreneurs and all innovative and creative thinkers together in one space.

UKZN Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, said developing a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and a strong ecosystem in which they could thrive, were vital in order to address the challenges faced with regard to high unemployment, low economic growth, and massive inequality in the country.

‘UKZN is very proud to be one of the founding members of Innovate Durban. We see our role at the University as not simply undertaking excellent teaching and learning, and research, but leveraging that to impact the lives of all South Africans in a positive manner,’ said Ramjugernath.

The Chair of the Forum, Dr Anneline Chetty, said the summit was a resounding success. ‘We are celebrating Youth Month and we decided that this time, instead of just discussing our challenges, we would let the youth be a part of the solution.’

A highlight leading up to the Summit included the novel “Innovation Trek” - a one-day excursion in which groups of some of the younger Conference members toured various areas in eThekwini. The groups were tasked with identifying some visible challenges and then brainstorming innovative solutions which they showcased at the Summit with the winning group receiving an award.

The “Cato Maniacs”, a passionate group comprising high school and tertiary students, won first prize for their innovative ideas to tackle social challenges in Chesterville. The group proposed the development of a computer and mobile application that allows non-governmental organisations to network and brainstorm solutions to challenges faced by the community, e.g. drug abuse, crime and poverty.

The students also thought of an innovative way of ensuring that the Youth Centre was more accessible. Cato Maniac team member Ahmed Mohamed said there was no signage at the Youth Centre which resulted in the Centre being under-utilised.

The team conducted extensive research in the field of solar-powered digital signage. Mohamed said Durban had an average of 6.4 hours of sunshine a day. ‘Why not use this natural resource to our advantage? After start-up costs, solar power also proves to be much cheaper.’

Said City Manager, Sibusiso Sithole: ‘People should realise that innovation is not only about the big things but also about the little changes in our thinking, our systems, and processes we introduce to improve the quality of life of all our citizens.

‘It all starts with an idea… and the idea starts with us.’

For more information about getting involved in next year’s Innovation Summit or more about the winners, contact eThekwini Municipality’s Chair of the Forum Dr Anneline Chetty on email or phone 083-4598083.

Words: Sejal Desai

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Accounting Lecturer Presents Paper at International Research Conference

Accounting Lecturer Presents Paper at International Research Conference
Dr Karen Bargate with her daughter, Erin.

UKZN School of Accounting academic, Dr Karen Bargate, recently presented a paper titled: “Interactive Qualitative Analysis - A Novel Methodology for Qualitative Research”, at the 13th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies (ECRM) in London.

The Conference is a forum for researchers to make presentations based on a range of scholarly approaches to theoretical and empirical papers employing qualitative, quantitative and critical methods of research.

Bargate’s paper which formed part of her PhD dissertation,  investigates the use of Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) (Northcutt & McCoy, 2004), as a methodology to develop an understanding of how Managerial Accounting and Financial Management students experienced learning in a writing intensive tutorial programme.

Bargate said she was motivated to submit the paper after using the research methodology in her doctoral studies with great results.

‘IQA is a methodology not many people are familiar with that is why I am spreading the word about it. It fitted my research perfectly and I enjoyed sharing my experiences with the other researchers from all over the world and hearing their views,’ said Bargate.
Apart from attending the Conference, Bargate also used the opportunity to visit her daughter, Erin, a UKZN alumni who lives in London.

-           Words by Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Academic Receives Award at iSteams 2014 Conference in Nigeria

UKZN Academic Receives Award at iSteams 2014 Conference in Nigeria
UKZN Computer Science lecturer Dr Aderemi Adewumi (right) receives an award from a Conference organiser.

Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS), Dr Aderemi Adewumi, attended the iSTEAMS 2014 Conference at the Afe Babalola University in Nigeria where he delivered a keynote address on: “Biomimicry: Nature’s Solutions to Complex Multidisciplinary Problems”.

Adewumi received an honours award from the organisers in recognition of his contributions toward multi-disciplinary research efforts and the Conference.

The iSTEAMS Research Nexus Conference is a series of ???International Conferences on Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Management and the Social Sciences held at various locations around the world.

The focus of these conferences is the exploration of how innovative technologies can aid research and development. This focus is enhanced by the multi-disciplinary approach employed by these conferences which seek to emphasise collaborative research which, it is believed, will better address challenges being experienced globally across socio-economic, political, scientific, infrastructural and human capital development boundaries.

The theme for the 2014 iSTEAMS Research Nexus Conference was: “Together Toward Tomorrow: Leveraging on Multidisciplinary Research for Human Capital”.

Adewumi’s talk presented an overview of Biomimicry as a discipline that looks into nature (and natural systems) for inspiration in creating more sustainable designs and solutions that address many multidisciplinary problems.

‘The goal is to study, learn from (and not simply about), and mimic nature in solving the myriad current human challenges existing in many fields of study including mathematics, engineering, architecture, management, to mention a few,’ said Adewumi.

‘I presented few examples of how nature has inspired many designs and solutions in real life while pinning it down to the work done by our research group in optimisation and modelling.’

Participants at the Conference came from a variety of countries including the United States, South Africa, various West African centres and Nigeria.

Adewumi’s presentation was well-received and applauded, with his presentation being lauded as an eye-opener to many in respect of research breakthroughs, possible collaborations and directions.

Adewumi, who was attending the Conference for the second consecutive time, also gave a presentation in 2013 on the topic of: “Nature-Inspired Solutions to Natural Challenges: A Multidisciplinary Perspective”.  The emphasis of Adewumi’s 2013 presentation was on how nature provides inspiration for the design of many algorithms and techniques to solve complex, real-world problems.  The presentation then was narrowed down to a nature and bio-inspired paradigm of swarm intelligence techniques for solving complex optimisation problems.

The moderator of Adewumi’s 2014 presentation remarked that the memory of his 2013 keynote address was compounded with an innovative, thought-provoking presentation which expanded on his 2013 presentation by providing a broader view of how nature can provide inspiration for solving multi-disciplinary problems through the broader field of biomimetics. The moderator also highlighted the importance of the presentation in inspiring those present to new research efforts.

The optimisation and  modelling research group led by Adewumi is  part of the Artificial Intelligence research efforts of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science which seeks to study real-world problems existing in many facets of life and research, model them where necessary and develop intelligent and efficient techniques for solving them.  Examples of the problems the group looks at emanate from areas as diverse as medical science, telecommunications, transport management, education, communication, industry, sport and agriculture.

Adewumi said he interacted with people at the Conference who wanted to learn more about the topic and about UKZN, and to receive insight that could assist with their own research endeavours.  Adewumi also met top students who expressed interest in pursuing postgraduate studies at UKZN. 

Before departing, Adewumi and other keynote speakers, together with the organisers, had a meeting with the Chancellor of the recently-established, leading private University where the Conference was held.  The Chancellor was impressed to learn about UKZN and expressed interest in future collaborative agreements with the University, particularly in the area of postgraduate training.

-          Words by Christine Cuénod

-          Photograph courtesy of Dr Aderemi Adewumi

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New Telescope for UKZN

New Telescope for UKZN
The 0.75m SAAO Telescope.

UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) has been awarded the South African Astronomical Observatory’s (SAAO) 0.75m telescope after submitting a motivation to take over the instrument which was being redistributed by the observatory.

The telescope, manufactured by Grubb Parsons in the 1970s, is being donated to UKZN by the SAAO in advance of its replacement by a modern one metre aperture telescope. The telescope, one of two smaller telescopes offered for donation, is due to arrive at UKZN in January 2015.

In its motivation for the telescope, the SMSCS said it planned to use the instrument for student research projects at undergraduate, honours and masters levels as well as for outreach purposes. This will allow the SMSCS to increase the capacity and knowledge of its students as well as contribute to increased public knowledge through the arrangement of evenings when the telescope is open to the public.

The SMSCS is looking into various options for housing the large piece of equipment. The School has the support of the eThekwini Municipality, who may provide a suitable, off-campus site for the housing of the telescope. Alternatively it may find a home on the Westville campus. The bid also had the support of the University of Zululand, meaning that the telescope’s eventual placement will be decided after due consideration is given to the convenience of students from both institutions.

‘Not many Universities have access to their own telescope of this size,’ said SMSCS’s Dr Matt Hilton about the donation and its implications for the School. ‘We plan to introduce a new major in Astronomy at the undergraduate level beginning in 2015. In addition, UKZN will host a node of the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme from 2016, and will run Honours and Masters courses in Astrophysics and Space Science. The telescope will be used to provide hands-on training in observational astronomy in all of these courses.

Use of the telescope will also enable students to learn how to design and execute simple research projects.  Some students may also design and build simple instruments that can be used on the telescope, such as imaging cameras or spectrographs.

-          Words by Christine Cuénod

-          Photograph by Marek Chrastina

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UKZN’s Africa Centre Acknowledged by INDEPTH

UKZN’s Africa Centre Acknowledged by INDEPTH
Dr Kobus Herbst at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies.

The International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Population and Their Health (INDEPTH Network) - an organisation which collaborates with UKZN’s Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies - recently announced the launch of its INDEPTHStats application for tablets and mobile phones.

The INDEPTH Data Repository and INDEPTHStats are two online data archives which continue to build and strengthen capacity for research data management as well as share and improve free access to health and science research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for the benefit of individuals working in the public health space globally.

This is particularly important for UKZN’s Africa Centre which was created to conduct and support research addressing pressing population and reproductive health questions affecting people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Centre, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is based in the Umkhanyakude district of KwaZulu-Natal where the burden of disease from HIV is immense. A cohort of 90 000 households are part of the on-going data collection.

Through INDEPTHStats, the Africa Centre is able to provide researchers, government officials and policymakers with information that can guide their decision-making, including crude birth and death rates, age specific fertility and death rates, infant, child, and under five mortality rates, as well as numerous other health and demographic indicators.

The Africa Centre’s Deputy Director, Dr Kobus Herbst is the Principle Investigator of the INDEPTH Data Management Programme (IDMP, formerly iSHARE2)? .

Executive Director, INDEPTH Network, Professor Osman Sankoh said: ‘On behalf of the Board and on myself, I wish to congratulate Dr Kobus Herbst and his indefatigable teams in Africa and Asia of the IDMP for working very hard to make these updates possible. Special thanks go to the leaders and data management teams of our member centres who worked tirelessly on their data in order to make these datasets available for wider international scientific inquiry.’

Herbst has worked with Health Partners (SA) on a variety of human resource planning projects in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Nigeria, involving the development of human resource modelling (HRPlanner) and management software programs (HRAdmin).

As the Principal Investigator of the IDMP, his role is to harmonise and improve access to data collected by member demographic and health surveillance sites in 21 African and 5 South-east Asian countries.

-          Words: MaryAnn Francis

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Intel Proposes Partnership with the GSB&L to Combine Technology and Education


Representatives from the technology company Intel recently visited the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) to discuss a partnership agreement that will hopefully lead to the opening of an Intel Experience Centre at the University.

The Centre will create a space for educators, innovators and designers to use the latest technology to be provided by Intel as a tool for teaching and learning, stimulating research and to create entrepreneurial knowledge.

Intel South Africa’s Education Business Development Manager and UKZN alumnus, Mr Andre Christian, said that as a technology brand they had observed that graduates had limited technological skills therefore the Centre would transform both pedagogy and student learning experiences.

‘Intel takes education very seriously that is why we have people observing what takes place in the classroom and how technology could add value to education. The Centre will provide an environment for new and different ideas and since it will also have new technology, it will allow us to integrate critical thinking into teaching and learning,’ he said.

The first centre of this kind was launched at the University of Cape Town in June. GSB&L agrees to the partnership with Intel, but it would need space for the facility and Wi-Fi connectivity, while Intel will cover the cost of the technology  and  remuneration cost of at least two employees for the first two years’ of the Centre’s operation.

GSB&L’s Dean and Head Professor Migiro said that this is a great concept as it could complement what the School was doing, particularly in the area of entrepreneurship. The Centre will promote e-entrepreneurship to the surrounding communities, besides capacitating Lecturers and Educators on the use of technology in the lecture theatres and classrooms. Henceforth, a memorandum of understanding will be pursued.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

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Editing Workshop Equips Writers to Tackle the English Language

Editing Workshop Equips Writers to Tackle the English Language
Mr John Linnegar.

Wordsmiths and aspiring editors were on the Howard College campus for a workshop on copy editing and proofreading techniques.

Hosted by the University Language and Planning Development Office (ULPDO), the workshop was conducted by Mr John Linnegar, who has over 30 years’ experience in editing, proofreading and technical writing.

The three-day intensive workshop included proofreading symbols for editors and proofreading and editing techniques, including basic grammar rules and spotting common trouble-areas found in text. John Linnegar encouraged participants to ‘train your eyes to spot errors’.

According to Dr Langa Khumalo, Director of ULPDO, the workshop was vitally important for research students and their supervisors. ‘It can be argued that copy editing and proofreading are part of the skills set that are at the heart of our teaching and learning academic activity here at the University,’ said Khumalo. ‘These are crucial skills in thesis writing, thesis supervision and writing academic journal articles and journal article reviews.’

Co-ordinator: ULPDO, Mr Khumbulani Mngadi, said the Department would run a similar workshop next year, focusing specifically on proofreading and editing isiZulu.

Participants, who included senior academics, postdoctoral students, postgraduate students, members of the non-academic staff, language practitioners and members of the public, agreed that the workshop had been very beneficial in providing them with theoretical skills of editing and proofreading. 

Participants were given copies of Engleish, our Engleish – Common errors in South African English and how to resolve them by John Linnegar.

     -  Words and photograph: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN Student Ranked Among the World’s Best in Bodybuilding

UKZN Student Ranked Among the World’s Best in Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding World Champion Mr Joshua Nkosi.

UKZN student and Bodybuilding World Champion Mr Joshua Nkosi was ranked first in his category and fourth overall after participating in the NABBA-WFF Universe Championships in South Korea.

‘Things went very well for me at the Championships,’ said Nkosi, a final year Dentistry student.

He also won a gold medal and a trophy in Greece last year where he secured his world champion status.

Winning the two competitions earns him possible international sponsorships and a Pro-Card.

Nkosi said his victory last year was the most epic and joyful time in his career as a bodybuilder. ‘Winning a world title at an event where 28 countries are represented takes a lot of hard work and dedication.’

Comparing the two competitions, he said Greece was like being in ‘the deepest end of a swimming pool’ while in South Korea it felt as if he had been ‘thrown into the ocean where sharks dwell’. 

Nkosi started bodybuilding to keep fit but his constant exposure to the sport and the passion he has for it propelled him to his present status.

Nkosi’s simple doctrine for lean muscle development is 30% gym and 70% diet. ‘In simple terms, I eat clean i.e. high protein, low fat and medium carbohydrates for optimum energy. That, combined with training five times a week, keeps my body in good shape.’

Asked how he balances his sport and studying, he said: ‘Being a final year student in the Discipline of Dentistry  is very challenging but when you have a passion for sport, multi-tasking develops which helps you eliminate unnecessary aspects of social life which hinder your goals.

He encouraged other students to take up sport while studying as it not only relaxed the mind but encouraged discipline and paved the way forward towards other career opportunities.

Acknowledging the support from his family, friends, Department of Sport at UKZN and his church (Christian Revival Church), he also gave credit to his close friends and training partners Mr Ntethelelo Sibiya, a Master’s student from the Department of Physiology and Mr Khulekani Dlamini, a Master’s student from the Department of Sport Science, for pushing him hard in the gym.

He also thanked his girlfriend Ms Ayanda Hlongwane, who ensures he maintains a strict, clean diet.

-          Words: Sithembile Shabangu

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Zimbabwean Academic Examines Aspects of “Surgery in the Elderly”

Zimbabwean Academic Examines Aspects of “Surgery in the Elderly”
Professor Godfrey Muguti and Dr Linda Kumirayi.

“Surgery in the Elderly – Changes, Risks and Complications” was the title of a presentation by the University of Zimbabwe’s Dr Linda Kumirayi at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine in Durban.

Kumirayi presented on Day 2 of the Surgical Registrar Conference hosted by the South African Society of Surgeons in Training (SASSIT) and UKZN’s Department of Surgery.

Kumirayi explained that there was a difference between chronological age and physiological age which resulted in heterogeneity within the elderly population. Elderly patients therefore needed to be regarded as individuals.

She said elderly people could be further categorised - based on their chronological age - as ‘young old’ from 65 – 74 years, ‘old old’ from 75 – 84 years and ‘oldest old’ for those more than 85 years old.

With an aging population and a significant baby boomer generation in the United States, interest had grown in the field of gerontology. Life expectancy in the US was now around 78 years while in Africa, it was 58 years.

Kumirayi said with aging came the risk of diseases such as malignancies, infections, coronary and valvular heart diseases as well as degenerative joint diseases. There were many myths about old age - for example, saying old people did not tolerate surgery at all or that illnesses were a sign of aging so should be accepted.

‘All systems are affected in the aging process – both the physiological and anatomical. Importantly there is a decrease in physiological reserve.’

Kumirayi said within the cardiovascular system, the heart was less compliant in an elderly patient due to the changes in the myocardium and in the conduction system.

The respiratory system function was considerably weakened due to the loss of chest wall compliance, flattening of the diaphragm and lung parenchymal changes due to a loss of elastic tissue. ‘There is loss of neuronal tissue with aging as well as reduced cerebral blood flow. The Blood Brain Barrier is less efficient such that the aged brain has increased sensitivity to centrally acting drugs. Overall there is poor reflex control in terms of baroreception and thermoregulation,’ said Kumirayi.

‘With aging there is weakening of the immune system. In the presence of severe infection, an elderly patient may have an atypical presentation such as a normal white cell count, normal temperature and absence of pain. Elderly patients therefore tend to present late and with complications. Also there is an accumulation of auto anti-bodies and reduction in the naïve T cell population.

‘Due to poor peripheral blood supply and loss of collagen and elastic tissue, the skin in old people is weakened and they become prone to decubitus ulcers. HIV infection prevalence in the elderly population is comparable to the general population but the increase in occurrence of other co-morbidities make the elderly patient more prone to the complications of the disease.

‘Poly pharmacy is common in elderly patients as most are on medication for some other chronic illnesses such as arthritis hypertension and diabetes. It is vital for a doctor therefore to review the patient’s medication before commencing any treatment.

‘Occupation, lifestyle, co-morbidities, medications, hearing, visual impairment and previous medical surgical history all contribute to an elderly person’s risk assessment. Frailty, scored by the presence of weight loss, weak grip strength, self-reported exhaustion, slow walking speed and low energy expenditure has a bearing on prognosis with scores of four to five being associated with increased morbidity and mortality,’ she said.

‘Use of ß-Blockers, statins, and stopping of smoking can reduce an old person’s risk of post-operative complications.’

Kumirayi also mentioned the following in her presentation:

* Delirium in the elderly – it is vital to identify and manage the cause. Optimisation of oxygenation, metabolism as well as fluid balance plus adequate pain control help in preventing occurrence as well as early resolution of the condition.

*Cardiovascular complications such as hypotension can occur, it is therefore important to maintain a good preload by adequate hydration.

* Myocardial infarctions as well as venous thrombo-embolism are among important complications to look out for.

* Respiratory complications such as ventilator dependency, aspiration and pneumonia can occur. A loss of co-ordinated swallowing reflex and increase in time for gastric emptying increases the risk of aspiration.

* Renal complications such as uraemia and electrolyte derangements can occur when there is hypotension or use of nephrotoxic drugs.

* Metabolic complications including hypothermia and hypoglycaemia can be prevented by taking the necessary precautions and monitoring temperature plus glucose levels respectively. Prevention strategies include the use of minimally invasive surgical options, setting of realistic goals of therapy, having a multi-disciplinary approach as well as patient and family involvement.

Kumirayi concluded that elderly patients had acceptable survival rates after surgery, but tolerated complications poorly. Good results were linked to a smooth, uneventful postoperative recovery.

-           Words and photograph: Zakia Jeewa

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Conference Explores Wars

Conference Explores Wars
Professor Johan Wasserman (fifth, left) with HASA Conference participants.

The History Education Programme in the School of Education recently hosted the Historical Association of South Africa (HASA) Conference in Durban.

The Conference focused on the wars of history, but also extended to the wars about history as well as other southern African historical issues.

Professor Johan Wasserman of the School of Education said the Conference was an opportune moment for historians to reflect upon and reappraise the events of the time.

‘Conferences of this nature are an ideal opportunity for scholars to meet, engage and share their work with the broader history community. As in the past at both the HASA Conference and that of our sister organisation, the Southern African Historical Society (SAHS), a strong emphasis is placed on the development of young historians,’ said Wasserman.

Professor Raymond Kumalo of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) presented his paper on: “New Street Names as Meeting Points for Politics and Religion in Durban”. He discussed how religious convictions influenced the process of renaming streets and the subsequent response.

‘The religious significance of street names is important when we consider that people identify with a street name to the extent that its meaning goes beyond being political but is a religious symbol of their liberation, through which they understand their past, and how they act in the present and envision their future. In short a street name helps in the formation of their identity with the city and their sense of belonging to it.’

Kumalo argued that one of the reasons for the strong contestation around the naming process was because it was a meeting point for people’s political and religious convictions.

Other topics included: “Pietermaritzburg and the Great War by Mr Paul Thompson”; “The Practice of Ukuthwala and its Evolution in KwaZulu-Natal” by Dr Makho Nkosi and Professor Johan Wasserman, and “Green Spooks: Ireland’s Intelligence Scapegoats” and the “Anglo-Boer War” by Professor Donal McCracken.

-          Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo

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Full Programme Announced for 35th Durban International Film Festival

Full Programme Announced for 35th Durban International Film Festival
eThekwini Municipality’s Mr Thembinkosi Ngcobo with Durban Film Festival Managers Ms Tiny Mungwe and Mr Peter Machen.

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) returns to the city for its 35th year from 17-27 July to celebrate the wonder and diversity of global cinema.

Speaking at the announcement of the Festival’s line-up at UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, Festival Manager Mr Peter Machen said this year’s diverse line-up of world-class cinema included a key focus on 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa as well as a snapshot of contemporary British film and various focus areas.

‘The 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy programme features an expanded South African documentary programme in response to the large number of high quality doccies currently being produced in the country.

‘The result is a rich and diverse slate of films, including Khalo Matabane’s Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me and Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai’s devastating account of Marikana. They are joined by many other films that chronicle lesser known but no less significant stories behind the end of apartheid and the rebirth of South Africa into a new country,’ said Machen.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, further pointed out that the Festival was a special project of her office and would continue to receive support from the College to ensure the future of the Festival.

‘A festival of this nature is important as it contributes to nation-building and social cohesion and reflects global society. As one of the strategic initiatives of the College, we are working towards establishing a closer relationship between DIFF, our students and the School of Arts,’ said Potgieter.

The Head of the eThekwini Municipality’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Department, Mr Thembinkosi Ngcobo, said DIFF had become a signature event for Durban and continued to grow.

‘We have a three-year agreement with DIFF and we hope to increase the investment to ensure longevity of the Festival and to continue supporting this venture.’

The DIFF team also screened sneak-peak trailers for the upcoming Festival and revealed that this year’s opening night film Hard to Get - the electrifying feature debut from South African filmmaker Zee Ntuli, who has already received critical acclaim for his short films - will also enjoy its world premiere. The film follows the mercurial relationship between a handsome young womaniser and a beautiful, reckless petty criminal. 

DIFF 2014 includes a generous selection of feature films, cutting edge documentaries, eight packages of short films and a selection of thrilling surf films in the Wavescape Film Festival.

This year also sees the return of Durban Wild Talk Africa, which includes a selection of the best environmentally themed films from around the world, as well as the second edition of The Films That Made Me, in which an acclaimed director introduces five films that have been important to his/her  growth as a filmmaker. 

Machen highlighted that the week after DIFF ended, Durban would host the World Congress of Architects. In acknowledgement of this, the Festival would present a small stream of films exploring various aspects of architecture. 

DIFF 2014’s principal screening venues are Suncoast Cinecentre; Ster Kinekor Musgrave; Cinema Nouveau – Gateway; Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre; Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre in KwaMashu, and the Tsogo Sun Elangeni Hotel. Other venues include the Bay of Plenty Lawns, the KZNSA Gallery and the Luthuli Museum on the North Coast, which will have a special programme of screenings.

Tickets are available at the respective venues and prices range from R25 to R40 (R50 for 3D screenings), except at Luthuli Museum, Ekhaya, Elangeni Hotel and Bay of Plenty lawns, which are free of charge.  The Short Film programme at the KZNSA Gallery costs R25. 

Programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas, and other public information outlets.

For full Festival details go to or phone 03-2602506 or 03-2601816.

-          Words and photograph by Melissa Mungroo

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IGSB&L ibinesidlo sasekuseni sokuqalwa kohlelo lwempelasonto yokuqala elobizwa nge- Startup Weekend

IGSB&L ibinesidlo sasekuseni  sokuqalwa kohlelo lwempelasonto yokuqala elobizwa nge- Startup Weekend
USolwazi Shahida Cassim ethula inkulumo ngombono weSikole sezamaBhizinisi.

Amalungu omkhakha wezamabhizinisi athembise ukwesekela nokuzibophezela kwiSikole SezeZiqu ZamaBhizinisi NobuHoli  emcimbini obizwa ngempelasonto yokuqala eThekwini lapho bekudliwa isidlo sasekuseni nababambe iqhaza.

Le mpelasonto ibanjelwa eSikoleni mhla zi-3 kuya ziyi-5 kuMfumfu.

Ngokwempumelelo yomcimbi wanyakenye owenza i-KwaZulu-Natali yaba undabuzekwayo ngokuba Startup Weekend enkulu e-Afrika, Isonto Lokuqala liwuhlelo lokuqeqesha osomabhizinisi abasakhula ngokubafundisa ukuguqula umcabango ube yibhizinisi eliyimpumelelo.

Ngokubamba  lomcimbi wokuxhumana nomphakathi, i-GSB & L ithemba ukuthi izogqugquzela isiko lokuqala amabhizinisi okubalulekile ukuze kube nokuthuthuka nokuzinza komnotho Kwazulu-Natali.

Enkulumweni yakhe, iDini  eyiNhloko yeSikole , uSolwazi Stephen Migiro ukugcwalisile ukuzibophezela kweSikole kwezamaBhizinisi, ukuxhumana okuhle nomphakathi nokuba nezinhlelo zeziqu eziphakeme zohlobo oluphambili sibe sinxenxa umphakathi wosomabhizinisi ukuthi uqhubeke nokweseka iSikole emizamweni yaso.

Iphini likaSekelashansela Ubungcweti, Ezomnotho nokuThuthukiswa koMnotho  wabasaFufusa 

uSolwazi Deresh Ramjugernath ukugcizelele ukubaluleka kokubambisana  okungunxantathu phakathi komkhandludolobha, osomabhizinisi nabezemfundo. Lokhu kubalulekile ekwakhiweni kwesizukulwane esisha sosomabhizinisi abazolwisana nezinkinga zezomnotho nezenhlalo ezibhekene nezwe lonke,’kusho uRamjugernath.

Ubuye wagcizelela i-UKZN yenza kahle kakhulu ekufundeni nokufundisa nasocwaningweni.

‘Kubalulekile ukuthi iNyuvesi igqugquzele ukucabanga njengosomabhizinisi kubafundi bayo ngoba kungukhiye ekudalweni kwamathuba emisebenzi.’

‘Senza kahle kakhulu ngasohlangothini lokucwaninga kodwa siding ukulwenza lube nosizo emiphakathini esihlala kuyo. Kunokuningi ngakwezamabhizinisi okungakhuphula izinga labathola iziqu ingakho sisemkhankasweni wokwakha ubungcweti kwezamabhizinisi njengesisombululo sezinkinga zezwe ngakwezenhlalo, kushoRamjugernath.

Umhleli omkhulu wale Startup Weekend uSolwazi Shahida Cassim wethule inkulumo ngombono nokuma kwaloluhlelo. Ugcizelele impumelelo yomcimbi wanyakenye oveze okungenziwa osomabhizinisi basesifundazweni abasakhula. Lo mcimbi oyimpumelelo wenziwe ngoxhaso oluvela emphakathini.

Ekhulumela uMasipala weTheku, uKhansela Logie Naidoo uyishayele ihlombe imizamo ye-GSB&L ‘yokugqugquzela ezamabhizinisi esifundazweni okuzokhiqiza ongoti kwezamabhizinisi’

I Startup Weekend iwuhlelo olusemazweni angama-100 emhlabeni wonke. Umcimbi osemthethweni uzoqala ngokwethulwa kwezinkulumo zokunxenxa ngoLwesihlanu lapho ababambe iqhaza bezoza nemicabango yabo banxenxe abanye ukuba bajoyine iqembu. NgoMgqibelo nangeSonto amaqembu azogxila ekuthuthukisweni kwamakhasimende, imifuziselo, ukuqinisa imicabango, ukuzijwayeza izinhlelo zokwenza izinto zalolu hlelo. Nokwakha imikhiqizo edingekayo. NgeSonto amaqembu azokwethula imifuziselo yawo athole nemibiko ebuya kwithimba longoti  babahluleli.

Osomabhizinisi bazothola nethuba lokuxhumana nabanye osomabhizinisi abanempumelelo nongcweti kwezokuqalwa kwamabhizinisi abazobafundisa kanye nabahluleli ababuya ezindaweni ezihlukene.  Kwethenjwa ukuthi lokhu kuzogqugquzela ababambe iqhaza  ukuba bakhulise imicabango yabo besebenzisa ulwazi olunzulu abaluzuze lapha ngokuxoxisana nongoti bemikhakha ehlukene.

Uma udinga eminye imininingwane nge Startup Weekend bavakashela :

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Amagama nezithombe ngu Thandiwe Jumo

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SA Radiographer Elected President of International Society

SA Radiographer Elected President of International Society
Dr Fawzia Peer.

UKZN Honorary Lecturer Dr Fawzia Peer of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) in Durban has been elected the 14th President of the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) for 2014 - 2018.

The fourth woman president and the second president from Africa, Peer was elected during last month’s ISRRT council meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

‘I feel elated, but also really honoured and privileged to hold this prestigious position,’ said Peer, who has been a Radiographer for more than 30 years.

As part of the organisation’s mission, she will act as the international liaison representative for Medical Radiation Technology, representing the practice as President of the ISRRT.

Nuclear medicine is a medical field which involves the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Said Peer: ‘The future of nuclear medicine is molecular imaging. We were fortunate to have the first PET-CT scanner in the public sector in South Africa in 2006. The Department of Nuclear Medicine at IALCH provides diagnostic and therapeutic services to its patients.’

* Peer is the Manager of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at IALCH. She is qualified in both Diagnostic Radiography and Nuclear Medicine and is an Honorary Lecturer and Co-ordinator at the Department of Radiation Medicine at UKZN. Peer was also elected to the Radiography and Clinical Technology Board of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HCPSA) where she served two terms of office on the executive committee, representing Radiography.

- Words and photograph: Zakia Jeewa

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