UKZN Alumnus Publishes Books on Personal and Professional Development

UKZN Alumnus Publishes Books on Personal and Professional Development
Mr Sibusiso Mbhele, Author of A Real Leader.

UKZN alumnus Mr Sibusiso Mbhele has published four books on personal development and leadership to help prepare young people for the working world both professionally and personally.

The books are: A Rare Leader, The Make of a Champion, You’re Born to Excel, and Finding a Job is a Job.

Mbhele says the books are ideal for anyone wanting to improve their lives but are specifically aimed at students in tertiary institutions, people in the workplace, those in prison, the unemployed and folk employed in non-governmental organisations.

Mbhele gave a brief synopsis of each book:

* ‘The Make of a Champion deals with the attributes of winners in life, whether in sport, business, education or other fields. It is a personal development book.

‘A Rare Leader is about personal leadership - how to build a personal leadership brand that impacts on the space one occupies.

* ‘You're Born to Excel is about cultivating the character of excellence in everyday life. It is targeted at everyone – those in the workplace, business, church, and school etc.

* ‘Finding a Job is a Job provides insight into the challenge of looking for a job, especially in this time of unemployment among graduates.’

Mbhele graduated with an Honours degree in Community and Development in 2009. He believes his inspiration for writing the books has been ‘discovering my purpose in life and the clarity to pursue it’.

 ‘Challenges I have faced range from one place to another – from finding acceptance in the field of writing as a young writer to getting positive feedback from the people the books target.’

When he is not writing, Mbhele is involved with empowering young minds through his company, Innovative-Veins Development. ‘We deal with personal development, career development, leadership development and coaching and training. We work in high schools and tertiary institutions to empower young people to have informed careers.’

As a Community Development Practioner, Mbhele believes all forms of development begin with self-discovery and pursuing one’s purpose in an environment which supports and embraces one’s dreams.

My plan is to develop a Leadership and Management Institute that will form a strategic partnership with other institutions seeking to achieve the same mission in shaping the young people in institutions of higher learning and high schools to dream out aloud and influence the course of their destiny,’ said Mbhele.

The books cost between R130-R170 each and can be ordered directly from the author on 079 844 6080 or email:

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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SAERA Conference Focuses on Equity and Access to Quality Education

SAERA Conference Focuses on Equity and Access to Quality Education
Professor Shiren Motala, and executive member, Professor Volker Wedekind of UKZN’s School of Education.

Equity, access and quality in basic education comprised the focus of Professor Shireen Motala’s presidential address at the 2nd South African Education Research Association (SAERA) Conference held in Durban recently.

Delegates from various institutions, associations and various stakeholders attended the conference which had the theme: “Researching Education:  Future Directions”.

Motala’s paper, which appeared in the latest Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) publication on the State of the Nation, debated the gains and challenges made in the country’s education system since 1994.

With the 2015 target date for meeting the Education for All goals imminent, education quality and reform remained key South African development challenges, explained Motala, the first President of SAERA which was formed last year.

‘The democratic government which came into being in South Africa in 1994 has shown its commitment to education for all, in part by producing numerous policy documents intended to ensure equitable and universal access to meaningful learning opportunities,’ said Motala.

‘Education ministers since 1994 have contributed to education reform, each with a distinct emphasis. Since 2009, a fourth phase has been under way, with new policies emerging and significant changes in how the education system is managed on a national level.

According to Motala, several trends can be identified during the fourth phase, among them the back to basics approach, which focused on the Action Plan to 2014 - Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 - which established key output goals, supported by guidelines which advocated a more utilitarian approach to education.

‘The separation of basic education and Higher Education at national departmental level has led to more focused attention to skills development, as evidenced in the National Skills Development Strategy III 2011–2016 and the Green Paper for Post-School Education and Training.’

While gains had been made, 17 years after the first democratic elections, research revealed that South African learners were far from mastering basic and minimum competencies across the curriculum, said Motala. While the state had a mandate to achieve both equity and quality, the evidence showed that the state had succeeded in achieving a degree of the former, but not the latter.

‘It is the poorest and the most marginalised among these learners who are especially affected by poor-quality education. Most learners in South Africa enrol in and complete primary education, despite numerous barriers to success, and even though substantial early childhood education and pre-schooling provision remain to be achieved.

‘A number of strategies have been put in place to address the many intractable problems in education reform and the delivery of quality education but, as always, policy is one thing, implementation another. It is apparent that necessary conditions for the delivery of quality education are adequate finance and human resources, involvement and a sense of ownership by role-players, regular monitoring and evaluation, and sustained effort,’ she concluded.

The Conference was organised by School of Education academics, with Professor Michael Samuel chairing the local organising committee. The committee also included: Dr Vimolan Mudaly, Dr Carol Bertram, Dr Ronicka Mudaly, Dr Ansurie Pillay, Dr Daisy Pillay and Dr Promise Makhosazane Nkosi.


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Matric Starts in Grade 1, Education Conference Hears

Matric Starts in Grade 1, Education Conference Hears
At the second SA Education Research Association Conference are (from left) Professor Elizabeth Henning, Professor Michael Samuel and Professor Andre Keet.

If you really want to change a nation and invest in a child’s future, the best and brightest teachers should be right down there in Grade 1, says Professor Elizabeth Henning of the Centre for Education Practice Research at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Henning was speaking at the 2nd South African Education Research Association (SAERA) conference hosted by UKZN’s School of Education.

Her presentation was titled: “Where to with the Science and the Social Justice of Child Assessment in South African Schools?”

The presentation focused on research conducted by Henning and a team of researchers from UJ that focused on the translation and standardisation of a German Mathematics competence test in four South African languages. The test was translated into isiZulu, SeSetho, English and Afrikaans.

‘We were concerned about five years ago about the dip in Mathematics achievement in Grade 3 and the dramatic decline in Grade 4. We cottoned on to some German researchers who had designed a test with a very strong theoretical base to test children aged between 4 and 8.

‘We then modelled it. It’s a firm model and we asked to borrow it and brought it to Soweto. We now have something that will say: “This kid is struggling here” or “This kid has a serious problem here”.’

The test, called the Marko-D, is a conceptual model of mathematical concept, says Henning, and is able to discover where children are stuck in their work and then identifies where remedial help can be provided.

‘Our kids were tested at the same time as those in Germany and guess what, we are on par - they did not do better than us. It is a standardised diagnostic test so that we can see when kids are in trouble. We hope to make the Marko-D widely available.

‘We’re now talking about how matric begins in Grade 1. It’s no use trying to patch up mathematics in Grade 9 - it is too late. Because when you build something you dig a foundation and you have a very specific mix of concrete to put into that foundation,’ said Henning.

Earlier, School of Education Academic Professor Michael Samuel, Chair of the Conference local organising committee, welcomed the close to 250 delegates to the Conference by highlighting some of the pertinent issues that the Conference would focus on.

‘Many of the papers talk about the limits of policy and the concern about whether policy will offer us a solution. I think this comes in the wake of a policy euphoria that characterised the early stages of post-apartheid; 20 years now into a new democracy what are the kinds of issues that we realistically need to be putting on the table. Should we be thinking about teacher centred versus learner centred or should we follow the comment of let’s be learning centred in our pedagogy as we try to organise systematic processes of inquiry for the growth of our future citizens.’

A concern for many of those looking at the new liberal tradition that’s coming through education is also the concern about the way universities are increasingly becoming business oriented rather than knowledge producers said Samuel.

‘I think that there are possibly threats to educational research and these are the following: We might end up choosing only those students who we believe will succeed; we might end up choosing simple studies rather than complex studies to be able to engage with. I want to encourage this dignified dialogue in the Conference to be able to say how do we borrow, exchange, redirect our heritages from the past, each of us bringing those heritages into this Conference, but how do we draw from it and move forward. How do we use our paradigmatic positions in a positive way, how do we borrow models of what is valuable or not to the long term agenda, whose models are we inheriting and why do we choose to inherit them. Could we discard them or reformulate them and can we dream ourselves anew,’ he concluded.


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Entrepreneurship Under the Spotlight at GSB&L Business Forum

Entrepreneurship Under the Spotlight at GSB&L Business Forum
Business forum panellists: Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Ms Margaret Hirsch, Professor Matthew Lester and Professor Shahida Cassim.

The role of education in cultivating entrepreneurs who have valuable contributions to offer South Africa’s sustainable economic development came under the spotlight at a Business Forum hosted by the Graduate School of Business and Leadership in association with Sanlam.

Under the theme:  “Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Development”, the panel debated entrepreneurship in South Africa.

The panel comprised Hirsch’s Homestores’ Chief Operations Executive, Ms Margaret Hirsch; UKZN Pro Vice-Chancellor: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath; Rhodes University Tax Specialist, Professor Matthew Lester, and Moderator and Entrepreneurship Champion, Professor Shahida Cassim.

The Forum, attended by more than 200 people, was part of the GSB&L’s commitment to the training and development of ethical leaders who are versatile and successful in all spheres of life and passionate about social and economic development in South Africa.

In her opening address, Cassim said empowering entrepreneurs was very important as they were the solution to the high unemployment rate, inequality and social problems hampering the country’s economic development.

As an entrepreneur who knows the meaning of starting from the bottom and working hard to get to the top, Hirsch shared her inspirational life story about how she escaped the cycle of poverty to build a successful international business.

‘You have to think of something different and then work hard at making it a success,’ said Hirsch. ‘You can work for a boss and make them money or you can work for yourself and make your own money, I chose the latter.  I run 16 businesses across the world and I am passionate about what I do.

‘South Africa is the land of milk and honey so go out there and work,’ she said.

Ramjugernath spoke on the role of Higher Education Institutions in cultivating and developing innovative graduates with entrepreneurial thinking needed to combat the social and economic problems facing the country.

‘We are a strong research institution but are not doing well in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation,’ said Ramjugernath. ‘The government speaks about the need to move to a knowledge based economy so we are working on bringing in entrepreneurship and an innovation mindset in undergraduate programmes. This will see students come up with ideas and work on business plans and move to a prototype phase to empower our entrepreneurs.’

Lester delivered a presentation on the involvement of SMMES in sustainable business development, highlighting the role of business in the National Development plan.

‘We know very little about entrepreneurs in South Africa and we have failed them as we cannot even provide funding for them. We have become a nation of complainers and that has to change,’ said Lester.

‘We have to create sustainable leadership and uplift others or else we will have achieved nothing by 2030.’

The audience was also given an opportunity to air their views through a question and answer session while a networking opportunity after the event enabled them to engage with the panellists on a one-on-one basis.

Through initiatives such as the Business Forum, GSB&L aims to fulfill its mission of educating entrepreneurs, managers and leaders who will add value to society.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Fun and Learning Combined at College of Health Sciences’ Workshop

Fun and Learning Combined at College of Health Sciences’ Workshop
College staff before participating in the giant inflatable obstacle course.

The College of Health Sciences’ (CHS) Communications Workshop provided fun and games for participants but also useful information about the role of effective communication in teamwork and collegiality.

Facilitated by the international service provider for organisational training and development, Synergistic Outcomes, the workshop united College management and staff who participated in all-day activities including a fun-filled giant inflatable obstacle course as well as the challenging hula hoop communication loop.

The College recognised that in order to contribute to the University achieving its goals as outlined within the strategic plan of the Institution, it depended largely on contributions of all staff and students being made as individuals as well as members of the teams in which they operated.

To this end, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College, Professor Rob Slow, supported a multi-pronged approach to communication saying it would promote ‘consultation, participation, shared understanding, and commitment’.

Mr Brett Ellis of Synergistic Outcomes said communication was often found to be the main barrier to success for many organisations internationally so it was important for the CHS to recognise this obstacle.

Tackling communication challenges was critical and this was emphasised by inspirational speaker on the day, Mr Eddie Botes. 

UKZN’s Academic Leader for Dentistry, Dr Shenuka Singh, said: ‘We pay lip service to the team approach but still work in silos.’

Singh said the workshop was an important part of reminding an individual about teamwork in service delivery.

Participants agreed that teamwork and a professional attitude towards communication would promote College citizenship.

The Director for College Professional Services, Professor Fanie Botha, reminded participants that the common objective of the strategic communications plan was to improve and optimise communication between all College staff, students, external stakeholders as well as the wider community within which the CHS functioned.

‘The new framework is envisaged to optimise all levels of communication (verbal, written and online) in the CHS while increasing freedom of participation, recognition of contribution, respect for differences of opinion, and rejecting discrimination. It also allows for the use of various forums to communicate policy, strategy and logistics in addition to assisting staff to improve and develop communication skills in the form of workshops and follow-up activities,’ said Botha.

Ms Zinhle Nzaji of the University’s Human Resources Division (HRD) said the Division supported the CHS Communications Workshop because the Multi-Faceted Strategic Communication’s Framework encouraged College staff to live out the values of respect, excellence, accountability, client orientation and honesty (R.E.A.C.H). Nzaji said communications workshops were an excellent channel to remind everyone of the University’s strategic direction as it provided a platform for staff to achieve its vision through teamwork.

The College website ( is active and in addition to, staff members can now “Like” and join the already popular CHS Facebook page ( and its buzzing Twitter account ( which will keep the College community abreast with trending news and developments.

-          Lunga Memela

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GSB&L Academic Presents Research at International Maritime Conference

GSB&L Academic Presents Research at International Maritime Conference
Conference presenters (from left) Mr Yapa Mahinda Bandara, University of Tasmania; Ms Larissa van der Lugt, Erasmus University in Rotterdam; Theo Notteboom, University of Antwerp and GSB&L academic Dr Mihalis Chasomeris.

Graduate School of Business and Leadership academic Dr Mihalis Chasomeris spoke on: “Port Pricing in South Africa: A Critique of Transnet’s Application of the Revenue Required Methodology”, in his presentation to the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) Conference in the United States recently.

Under the theme: “Maritime Economics in a Post-Expansion Panama Canal Era”, the Conference provided a platform for academics, industry experts and government officials to exchange research and information about maritime and maritime-related issues.

The paper examined the revenue requirement tariff methodology applied by Transnet as well as commenting on the proposed tariff structure.

‘I appreciated the opportunity to present my research at the international conference as well as to strengthen my network with both academics and practitioners in the maritime industry,’ said Chasomeris.

‘The paper was well received and the discussions generated have led to new friendships and a network of specialists that will benefit me as well as my PhD and masters students who are focusing on maritime research topics.’

Apart from presenting research, Chasomeris was also was invited to review papers which resulted in 138 presentations being selected from the 294 paper proposals he reviewed.

IAME has more than 400 individual members and more than 20 corporate members.

* Chasomeris invites students and staff interested in joining the Association to contact him at

- Thandiwe Jumo

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Economic Policies of Sub-Saharan African Countries Explored in Lecture

Economic Policies of Sub-Saharan African Countries Explored in Lecture
Professor Smile Dube addressing students.

University of California’s Economics and International Finance expert, Professor Smile Dube, delivered a Lecture on globalisation, multinational companies and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to postgraduate finance students at UKZN.

The presentation co-ordinated by School of Accounting, Economics and Finance Academic Dr Mabutho Sibanda, was part of the internationalisation drive giving students an opportunity to engage in a debate with an academic from an international university about the latest trading, investment and business trends.

Dube’s presentation focused on the importance of private foreign investment, the liberalisation of trade and the influence of technology in a modern economy.

‘Let us update our understanding of what drives foreign direct Investment (FDI) with new world knowledge,’ said Dube.

‘We need to find out what sub-Saharan Africa is doing so badly compared to other countries. Sub-Saharan countries need to think seriously about upgrading their skills and international practices in order to attract FDI to sectors that have a competitive edge.’

Dube’s Lecture was linked to the International Business Finance module – a core module in the Bachelor of Business Science (Finance) and Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Finance) degrees.

Students praised the Lecture saying it integrated the module’s learning outcomes with issues that affect sub-Saharan Africa, in particular attracting FDI.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Policy Workshop Examines Subsistence Agriculture in Peri-urban Communities

Policy Workshop Examines Subsistence Agriculture in Peri-urban Communities
Subsistence Farmer Ms Fakazile Mthethwa with UKZN’s Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya at a policy workshop.

UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) in partnership with local NGO, Decentralised Environmental Solutions (DES), recently hosted a policy workshop which investigated the role of subsistence agriculture in peri-urban communities as a tool for facilitating women’s economic empowerment and participation.

The workshop was a feedback platform for the three-year programme titled: “Empowerment Women for All (EWA)”, supported by the European NGO, Women in Europe Organising for a Common Future (WECF), and funded by the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

The programme has been implemented in five countries, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uganda and South Africa.  DES is a local project partner for the EWA programme.

The policy workshop provided a platform for DES to share lessons learned from the project. The workshop coincided with an evaluation visit by project partners from Europe which added an interesting dimension to the discussions.

Also attending the workshop were local NGOs, the eThekwini Municipality, the Provincial Department of Agriculture and UKZN’s Professor Pearl Sithole and Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya from UKZN who shaped and directed the discussions.

Sithole as a panellist and Ngcoya as programme facilitator were tasked with giving direction to policy discussions.

Sithole argued: ‘Who needs training? Communities are flabbergasted by the elites.’ She reiterated that elitist attitudes in subsistence agricultural interventions were detrimental.

However, she added that the efforts by organisations such as DES and others should be applauded. ‘Academics have a lot to learn from these organisations in terms of getting their hands dirty,’ said Sithole.

Ngcoya raised key arguments around the “bigger the better” attitude by implementing agents. His arguments were centred on the interventions being directed at creating larger farmers from small scale subsistence farmers instead of focusing on giving them tools to sustain themselves. He argued that the focus should shift from that attitude to focusing on productivity and sustainability of small scale subsistence farmers.

Other key themes arising from the discussion included the unblocking of institutional clogs; the use of technology as a positive development in agriculture; re-evaluation of the SETA model, and the issue of certification and how it hinders or promotes youth participation in agriculture.

A small-scale farmer from Mtubatuba, Ms Fakazile Mthethwa, challenged participants about the knowledge used in agriculture. She asked why indigenous and sustainable methods such as permaculture were not promoted and lambasted the government for not showing faith in ancestral farming methods. 

Mthethwa also criticised people for making poor choices about food.

Participants at the workshop believed a more structured and focused policy discussion was needed in the future. However, the workshop succeeded in bringing like-minded organisations, community scholars, practitioners and government officials under the same roof.

Melissa Mungroo

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International Footprint of Education Research Unpacked at SAERA Conference

International Footprint of Education Research Unpacked at SAERA Conference
Dr Felice Levine at the 2014 SA Education Research Association Conference.

Dr Felice Levine of the World Education Research Association (WERA) delivered a keynote address at a plenary session at the 2nd South African Education Research Association (SAERA) Conference in Durban. The Conference is partnered with UKZN’s School of Education.

Levine’s topic was: “The International Footprint of Education Research - A 21st Century Work in Progress”, which she managed to tie in with the Conference’s theme of:  “Researching Education: Future Directions”.

Her paper focused on an indicative analysis of education research in the United States and worldwide, and concluded that the education research field was dynamic with data and findings being relevant in the 21st century.

Levine gave an overview of the field of education research, the future of the education field and the implications of education research, pointing out that for the health and vitality of the education field, increasing doctoral degree production needed to be investigated.

‘There is a challenge in getting access to information about education research and this has to change,’ said Levine. ‘We need to advocate for better data and that’s where WERA comes in to leverage research. Our field isn’t classified as a scientific field and we need to stress the value of our field to stakeholders nationally and internationally.

‘Policies need to be produced ethically; we need to train the next generation of researchers and to create an international dialogue to emphasise the burning issues affecting our field. But above all, we need to display openness and innovation in the education field,’ added Levine.

* Dr Felice J Levine is Executive Director of the American Educational Research Association and the Secretary General of the World Education Research Association (WERA). Her work focuses on research and science policy issues, research ethics, data access and sharing, the scientific and academic workforce, and Higher Education.

Levine is currently collaborating on an NSF-supported assessment of education research doctorate programmes in universities in the United States, and is Principal Investigator of the AERA Grants Program and member of its Governing Board.

She is also Associate Editor of the Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, serves on the Executive Committee of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, and is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Melissa Mungroo

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PMB Campus Hosts First PMA Agri-Food Career Fair

PMB Campus Hosts First PMA Agri-Food Career Fair
Ms Tendai Chibarabada distributes information to high school pupils at UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science stand.

The Pietermaritzburg campus hosted a Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Agri-Food Career Fair – the first of its kind to be held in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Fair, one of three staged in South Africa annually, was organised by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), an international trade association based in the United States which boasts member companies around the world.

A branch of the PMA, the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent, was founded in 2006 in the US as a result of the PMA recognising that education and training of young talent in the fresh produce industry was vital.

The Foundation aims to attract, develop and retain young, talented people in the fresh produce industry.  The PMA in South Africa and the PMA Foundation have introduced several projects which aim to address the issue of human capital development in the fresh produce industry. One of these endeavours is the Agri-Food Career Fairs, held at the University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University and now UKZN.

The Fairs exist to popularise agricultural studies and dispel the myth that agricultural qualifications ensure no more than a career in farming.  The Fairs have contributed to stimulating an interest in ‘scarce skills’ fields of study such as pasture science, agronomy, soil science, horticulture, plant pathology and food science.

Various role players in the agricultural industry in South Africa have enthusiastically supported the Career Fairs, which come at an important time as tertiary training institutions, agricultural businesses, input supply companies, commercial farms and service providers continue to report how the unavailability of young people is affecting their businesses.

Exhibitors at the Fair included the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute/South African Poultry Association, ZZ2, RCL Foods, Starke Ayres Seed, the Citrus Academy, South African Sugar Research Institute, the South African Institute of Agricultural Engineers (SAIAE), the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), Sakata Seed, Rugani (Greenway Farms), Potatoes SA, Tongaat Hulett, SA Agricultural Teachers Association (SAATA), the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Pannar Seed and Lima Rural Development Foundation.

The Fair was a great hit among young folk, with close to 1 000 students and high school learners visiting the marquee on the lawn in front of Rabie Saunders building throughout the day. Exhibitors provided information about bursaries, internships and careers to give students an idea of what opportunities await them once they have qualified in an agricultural field.

Tongaat-Hulett hosted 34 learners from Nkosibomvu Secondary in Tongaat, Shakaskraal Secondary in Shakaskraal and Umlulama Secondary in Hopewell. Learners from Masameni High School in Ixopo also had the opportunity to attend, as did those from Alexandra High School in Pietermaritzburg.

The Fair also featured a Teachers’ Lunch for high school teachers of Science, Life Science and Life Orientation where they were encouraged by various representatives of the industry to promote careers in agriculture and food production with students.

The Fair was a great success and the PMA and UKZN look forward to making it an annual event.

Christine Cuénod

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College of Humanities 2014 Careers Day

College of Humanities 2014 Careers Day
Students at a College of Humanities Careers Day.

Aimed at showcasing careers in the field of the Humanities, the College of Humanities Student Support Services held a Careers Day on both the Howard College and the Pietermaritzburg campuses.

Students had the opportunity to interact with various organisations exhibiting on the day, while Schools within the College were invited to participate.

‘This joint exhibition by Schools and organisations helped to bridge the gap between the academic sector (training) and the world of work as students were able to link courses and degrees offered within the College to specific careers,’ said Ms Angeline Stephens, College of Humanities Student Support Services Manager.

Stephens was pleased with the level of interest shown by both students and companies. The events provided opportunities for recruitment, career information and for networking and establishing links between companies and students.

First year Psychology student Ms Kirana Parusnath said: ‘The careers day exhibits were really great and informative. It allowed us to engage more with companies and organisations about possible career choices. Student Support Services really did a good job. I hope they have this event next year with even more companies.’

Another student Ms Zona Sofono also attended the event stating that it was a good initiative by the College to showcase the many career opportunities available for students. 

Melissa Mungroo

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The Sky’s the Limit for Captain Kanthum Naidoo-du Plessis!

The Sky’s the Limit for Captain Kanthum Naidoo-du Plessis!
Captain Kanthum Naidoo-du Plessis serenaded by the Durban Tenors.

Every generation brings with it the opportunity for greater success, British Airways and Kulula pilot, Captain Kanthum Naidoo-du Plessis, told a Women’s Day gathering on UKZN’s Westville campus.

Working in a male-dominated environment has not inhibited Naidoo-du Plessis who has racked up more than 6 000 hours of flying time and currently pilots a Boeing 737-800 on regional and domestic routes. 

Addressing the gathering, she said a strong work ethic had helped her.  ‘People are forced to leave prejudice behind when a job is well done.’

She juggles the roles of a wife, mother and a pilot but behind the controls in an aircraft the safety of passengers is her priority. ‘When you are in 65 000kg of metal, 41 000 feet above the ground, hurtling along close to the speed of sound with 200 people behind you, you can only wear one hat, and that’s a pilot’s hat.’

‘Naidoo-du Plessis emphasised the importance of education and spoke about the relay of life. ‘That is what we do, we pass the baton on to our children,’ she said.

‘There are two rules in a successful relay - one is don’t drop the baton. The other is that the receiver needs to be prepared and ready. If we get this right, if we run a successful relay, our children will be prepared and ready for life.’

She was pursuing an Accounting qualification when she came across a tiny advert in a Sunday newspaper inviting applications for a career in aviation. After a rigorous interview process (including numerous tests), she was selected out of more than 800 applicants.

While the journey had been difficult, she was passionate about aviation, referring to a quote by artist Leonardo da Vinci: ‘Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes forever skyward.’

Naidoo-du Plessis is married with a seven-year-old daughter, Kayla. When she isn’t flying around the country or spending time with her family, she enjoys mountain-biking and running.

She acknowledged her parents as well as her husband, Hugo, and her daughter for the supportive role they had played in her life.

The Women’s Day event was co-ordinated by Ms Pamela Adams of Corporate Relations, with Professor Suria Govender as Programme Director. Entertainment included performances by the UKZN Dance Club, Ms Slie Meyiwe and Infiniti (the Durban Tenors).

Loads of prizes were up for grabs including gift baskets, bouquets of flowers, food vouchers and UKZN memorabilia.

Prizes were sponsored by Magic Pan Caterers, the Upper Caff, Desirees Bakery, Mr Haffejee at the Varsity Shop, Mrs Govender’s Curry Kitchen, What’s Up Hotdogs, Motion-Hair Products, Obsidian Hair & Beauty, V City Chicks, UKZN Schools Liaison and UKZN’s Corporate Relations.

-       Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN Researcher Wins Titans – Building Nations Award

UKZN Researcher Wins Titans – Building Nations Award
Dr Abdul Mirza (centre) receives his Titans Award from panel judges CEO: South African Maritime Safety Authority, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele (left), and the CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency, Mr Jack van der Merwe.

Postdoctoral researcher in UKZN’s School of Chemistry and Physics Dr Abdul Mirza was announced as a regional winner in the 2014 Titans – Building Nations Awards prize-giving ceremony at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Mirza, who won both the Country and SADC Regional awards in the Academic Education and Training sector, completed his PhD in Quantum Physics at UKZN in 2012. He is also the CEO of QZN Technology, a spin-off UKZN company, specialising in data encryption.

The annual Titans-Building Nations Awards competition, initiated by CEO Communications, pays tribute to the men who play pivotal roles in the development and growth of their country, the African continent and the people who inhabit it.

Awards are presented to leading men in Johannesburg, Mauritius, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia at ceremonies which take place during July, August, September and October.

CEO Communications is also known for its recognition of women through its Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government programme, which has run for the past few years.

The Titans - Building Nations programme runs for 12 months, providing award winners with a platform to celebrate their accomplishments with other winners across the continent and form lasting connections with other leaders who are committed to the progress of their respective regions, nations and the continent as a whole.

Mirza’s award recognises his commitment to furthering education and training in quantum technology.

‘I’ve have always had a keen eye for not only how things do what they do, but moreover why they do it,’ said Mirza of his passion for the field. ‘This was my motivation to study as an undergraduate in Applied Maths and Physics. Quantum physics was a career choice I made during my postgraduate days. I saw this as an opportunity to get involved in futuristic technology that, in the medium term, will be quantifiably useful in industry.’

Mirza said he was pleasantly surprised when told about his nomination and subsequent shortlisting for the award, which is finalised through a rigorous, credible judging process conducted by independent business leaders.

‘I had not expected to be ranked within the listing,’ said Mirza. ‘This recognition is a milestone for me. Being shortlisted among African leaders implies that my work is recognised as an asset to South Africa and the region in general. People appreciate the work that I do, and that means the world to me.’

Mirza, who attended the awards ceremony, described it as a great opportunity to network with other leaders in various industries. He also spoke of what the recognition would mean for his career in the future.

‘This has been a gratifying process allowing me to appreciate the work in various sectors that is collectively propelling South Africa forward,’ said Mirza. ‘I would like to use this recognition to influence strategic decisions within Science and Technology that will promote the interaction between academia and industry by catalysing the creation of technology-based Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).’

Christine Cuénod

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History Made with Creation of National Platform for Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education

History Made with Creation of National Platform for Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education
Doc Nhassengo (DUT), Dr Sibusiso Chalufu (UKZN), Dr Saloschini Pillay (UKZN), Professor Crain Soudien (UCT), Dr Llewellyn MacMaster (US) and Laetitia Permall (UWC).

The creation of a national body, the Southern African Federation for Student Affairs and Services (SAFSAS), and the hosting of its inaugural conference have brought the sector - for the first time - under one roof to collaborate on strategies to enhance student development and support.

The establishment of the federation, supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training, benefits Student Services professionals based at tertiary institutions around the country as it provides a united body to tackle critical issues facing students and student affairs and services as well as providing the opportunity to work towards a coherent, equitable and professional organisation. 

‘In this way we move away from the silos in which we operate and become a dynamic and cohesive voice for students in higher education South Africa,’ said Dr Saloschini Pillay, President of the new organisation and also Manager of Student Support Services at the College of Health Sciences.

The Executive Director of Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, is Deputy President of SAFSAS.

The organisation comprises the following professional bodies:

        * South African Association of Senior Student Affairs Professionals (SAASSAP)

        * Southern African Association for Counselling and Development in Higher Education (SAACDHE)

        * National Association of Student Development Practitioners (NASDEV)

        * South African Association of Campus Health Services (SAACHS)

        * Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I)

        * Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association (HEDSA)

        * Financial Aid Practitioners of South Africa (FAPSA).

Speaking at the Conference, Pillay highlighted five critical areas impacting Higher Education in South Africa:

1.         The professionalisation of Student Affairs and Services;

2.         The provision of Student Accommodation in Higher Education: Challenges and


3.         Student Governance and Leadership;

4.         The White Paper on Post-School education: implications for Student Affairs and

            Services; and

5.         Student Funding: experiences and challenges.

The President Emeritus of the International Association of Student Affairs and Services, Dr Roger Ludeman of the United States, delivered the keynote address titled: “Professionalising Student Affairs and Services … an International Perspective”.

Ludeman examined the history and evolution of student support services in the United States and cited examples of best practices in professionalising student services. ‘The difference between being just a civil servant and being a professional is that you don’t accept your lot in life. You try to improve it in the interests of your students and your profession,’ said Ludeman.

‘Using your agreed upon principles, values, theories and skills, you continually act for everything you believe in to try and enhance the learning and development of every student who comes through your university.’

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Transformation and Student Affairs at the University of Cape Town, Professor Crain Soudien; and Vice-Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology, Professor Ahmed Bawa, also delivered keynote addresses at the three-day conference.

Soudien spoke on: “Transformation of Higher Education – Realities, Challenges and Opportunities”, while Bawa’s address was titled “Current Realities Impacting Students and Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education … Charting a Way Forward.”

Director of University Teaching and Learning Development at the national Department of Higher Education and Training, Professor Nan Yeld, outlined challenges facing student support staff.

Yeld said while universities recognised teaching and learning and research, student services was an area that seemed to be overlooked. She said universities should consider acknowledging the good work done servicing this crucial area by awarding student support professionals.

Several Student Services professionals presented papers at the Conference on a wide variety of topics.

Chairperson of the SAFSAS Steering Committee, Dr Llewellyn MacMaster, said: ‘The birth of SAFSAS which took place with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Bloemfontein was a very important moment in the history and development of student affairs and services within the Higher Education and Training sector.’

MacMaster acknowledged the efforts of everyone involved in hosting the Conference.

-   Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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UKZN Signs MoU with the Crops for Malaysia’s Future Research Centre

UKZN Signs MoU with the Crops for Malaysia’s Future Research Centre
Dean and Head of School, Professor Albert Modi, with Dr Aryo Feldman of the CFFRC and Dr Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi.

UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Science (SAEES) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC), situated at the University of Nottingham in Malaysia.

The MoU was initiated by Head of School, Professor Albert Modi, and Research Fellow at SAEES, Dr Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi, in collaboration with scientists from the CFFRC.

The CFFRC is a recently established research institute based in Malaysia whose guarantors are the Government of Malaysia and the University of Nottingham in Malaysia. It is an international centre mandated for research and development primarily on underutilised crops for food and non-food uses.

Mabhaudhi has research interests in underutilised, indigenous and traditional crops, making this partnership ideal as it fits into the work he is currently busy with.

The MoU between the CFFRC and UKZN makes provision for an exchange of personnel working on various aspects of underutilised crops, joint research activities, joint supervision of postgraduate students and in future joint registrations of students at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and UKZN, supervised by scientists from UKZN, UNMC and the CFFRC.

Modi and Mabhaudhi recently hosted Dr Aryo Feldman of the CFFRC. The purpose of Feldman’s visit was to establish working relationships as well as logistics for funding future collaborative research on underutilised crops at UKZN.

As part of this MoU, Mabhaudhi will also soon be visiting CFFRC in Malaysia to further strengthen relations as well as lead joint research projects.

Christine Cuénod and Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi

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US Evangelical Theologian and Activist Speaks at UKZN

US Evangelical Theologian and Activist Speaks at UKZN
The Reverend Jim Wallis of the United States delivers a public lecture at UKZN.

“Religion and Ethics in an Immoral Society: with an Emphasis on Evangelical Theology”, was the title of a lecture delivered on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus by visiting United States public evangelical theologian, social activist, prolific author and international commentator on ethics and public life, the Reverend Jim Wallis.

Wallis, who is President and founder of Sojourners Community where he is also editor in-chief of the internationally renowned Sojourners magazine, was hosted by The Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC).

The event - chaired by Director of the Ujamaa Centre, Professor Simangaliso Kumalo - was attended by 300 people including UKZN students and staff, representatives of theological institutions in Pietermaritzburg, leaders of local churches and members of the KZN Ecumenical Council.

Wallis focused on the importance of prophetic theology from his own context, sharing his personal stories, views and memories with the audience, leaning heavily on the teachings of the Bible within a political yet human sphere.

He recalled, as an evangelical teenager, being told by his church that Christian faith had nothing to do with either racism or war. He then found a new home in the civil rights movement and the Black community, learning about the relationship between the “two forbidden topics” in polite White society.

‘I view politics from the vantage point of my own religious tradition - in particular from the perspective of the biblical prophets and the teaching of Jesus. But given the prominence of the religious right in contemporary American politics, any reference to the Bible prompts many to mistrust and suspicion.

‘Yet I believe the prophetic biblical tradition can serve as a fundamental alternative to both the limits of secular humanism and the oppressions of religious fundamentalism. The religion of the prophets can help us shape a politics of conscience.’

Wallis touched on the immigration debate in the United States which is around an estimated 11 million individuals whose lives are torn apart by the broken immigration system in that country.

‘Policy makers on both sides of the aisle have come to understand the moral imperative of ensuring the well-being of those within our country - of keeping families together and welcoming those who already share their lives, their work, and their church pews with us. If we can uphold the common good on immigration, I believe it is possible elsewhere.’

Wallis believes the politics most needed right now is the ‘politics of community’, a prophetic spiritual network across the lines of race, class, gender, and region with prophetic spirituality as a vision for transformation.

In closing, he said: ‘We stand at a political crossroads, and critical choices must now be made. Those choices are at heart religious, in so far as they will reveal our most fundamental values and moral sensibilities. The road we take will determine the kind of people we will become and the nature of the societies in which we will live.

‘In short, the decisions we make will decisively shape the quality of life for ourselves and our children's children. The Hebrew Scripture says it well: “I have set before you, life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live”.’

Melissa Mungroo

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Workshop to Launch Newly-Initiated Nanotechnology Platform

Workshop to Launch Newly-Initiated Nanotechnology Platform
Attendees at the Nanotechnology Workshop.

The School of Chemistry and Physics in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science recently held a workshop as part of the newly initiated Nanotechnology Platform.

The Nanotechnology Platform Workshop, co-ordinated by Dr Vincent Nyamori with a few of his colleagues through the School of Chemistry and Physics, was a closed call for University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) academics and research staff who have an interest in the field of nanotechnology.

The primary aim was to bring together researchers from across the world in the field of nanotechnology to work on one platform and advance the nanotechnology community at UKZN.  It is hoped that this workshop will allow UKZN participants to collaborate and work on agreed theme(s) to generate the platform within the global nanotechnology sphere that will be recognised nationally and preferably internationally too.

The workshop was officially opened by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Deogratius Jaganyi.

It was facilitated by well-versed researchers in the “nanofield” including Professor Barry Sanders (Director, Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, University of Calgary); Dr Zivayi Chiguvare (Director Renewable Energy and energy Efficiency Institute, Polytechnic of Namibia); Professor Suprakas Sinha Ray (Chief Research Scientist and Director, DST/CSIR Nanotechnology Innovation Centre), Professor Neil J Coville (Centre of Excellence for Strong Materials, School of Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand), Professor M Maaza (Chairman NANOAFNET), Professor Ijeoma F Uchegbu (Chair in Pharmaceutical Nanoscience, Department of Pharmaceutics, UCL School of Pharmacy) and Dr Anthon P Botha (TechnoScene (Pty) Ltd).

The 44 participants, who included researchers from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science and the College of Health Sciences, were encouraged to identify niche nanotechnology research areas and build strong teams of collaborators relating to chemistry, physics, materials, engineering, medicine and nanomaterials science, among other fields. 

In addition, the aim of the workshop was to understand how other platforms and centres operate and if possible strengthen ties with various national centres involved with nano-research and link-up with existing SARCHi Chairs.  UKZN’s Dr Vincent Nyamori said: ‘The final results of the programme were to devise the strategy for the way forward for the platform.  The facilitators visited the various laboratories and facilities available at the University and were very impressed.’ 

Dr Louis Jimenez of the Antiviral Research Group said:  ‘Congratulations for such a great effort to develop the first nanotechnology workshop at UKZN. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of a novel productive environment for the University.’ 

Professor Maaza, said: ‘I wish to express my congratulations for all the arrangements and the benefit in sharing with you the birth of the UKZN nano platform. It is indeed inspiring to see such a high profile and multidisciplinary singular and original research.’

Nyamori said: ‘The workshop gave us an opportunity to see our common goal, and an insight on how we can coalesce to the various efforts and interests within the field of nanotechnology, from fundamentals to applications, and end on one stage, the UKZN nano-platform. The detailed report and the outcome of the workshop are still being processed and we hope this will gives us the direction to the next step on this new and very interesting venture.’

Leena Rajpal

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Dr van Jaarsveld Becomes UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor Designate

Dr van Jaarsveld Becomes UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor Designate
Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

The Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal announced the appointment of Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, the current Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation as the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University with effect from 1st February 2015. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the University’s Westville campus on 14 August.

Van Jaarsveld takes over from Professor Malegapuru Makgoba whose term of office ends on 31st December 2014. Professor Makgoba has led UKZN with distinction since his appointment as the first Vice-Chancellor of the merged institution in 2004.

Dr van Jaarsveld brings with him a wealth of experience and new ideas on how to keep the University on an upward trajectory, building on its record of excellence through transformation. Van Jaarsveld’s experience in the driving seat of the National Research Foundation not only provided him with the functional knowledge of research systems at a macro level but also with the necessary experience to function at the highest level.

Dr van Jaarsveld who has served as the NRF’s CEO for the last five years said, ‘I have been presented with an invaluable opportunity to return to academia in a capacity that will bring me closer to the coal face of skills development and scientific research in South Africa. I feel that I can make an important contribution to the University of KwaZulu-Natal in its efforts to further grow its teaching stature, improve its research capacity, to contribute to institutional transformation and to enhance the international standing of UKZN as a major research-driven Higher Education institution.’

Professor Makgoba is available for a transitional period of three months on expiry of his current contract.

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Ten Years of Student Leadership at UKZN

Ten Years of Student Leadership at UKZN
Executive Mayor of Tshwane Mr Kgosientso Ramokgopa addressing the leadership event.

UKZN celebrated 10 years of student leadership on the Westville campus. Hosted by the Student Services Division, the event also acknowledged the academic achievements of current student leaders.

Speaking on the day, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba commended the former leaders for their ‘exceptional leadership’ and remarked on the impact they were having as graduates of the University. ‘Most of you have gone on to greener pastures and become leaders in the so-called new South Africa.’

Makgoba acknowledged that while the University had endeavored to shape the young leaders, he personally had been affected and shaped by interactions with them. He said he had enjoyed working with young students whose ‘radical ideas’ he often reflected on.

Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, Executive Director: Student Services, said the event was held to reflect on the experiences of former student leaders at the University. He applauded the current and former students for achieving their academic goals while serving in various leadership capacities at the University.

Chalufu highlighted the programmes that the Division had initiated in the past two years and further outlined some of the plans going forward, in an effort to enhance the quality of student life and contribute to the development of students in general and student leaders in particular.

He further expressed gratitude to staff members within his office who planned the event, particularly Mr Meliqiniso Sibisi and Mr Nkosikhona Dladla, and the ‘anchors’ of Student Services,’ Ms Priscilla Cele and Ms Nokwanda Jali, among others.

Former Executive Dean of Students Mr Trevor Wills reflected on interactions he had enjoyed with members of the SRC, and quipped that since he had retired, he often missed the ‘engagement’, particularly the calls he would receive at all hours of the night!

He applauded the former student leaders for the contributions that they had made to the University, and for inputs they were currently making in their respective fields.

Acknowledged as the ‘first Student Governance Officer’ Mr Zola Saphetha, spoke about the key milestones achieved by students, specifically student activism.

A number of former student leaders reflected on their experiences at the University, including: Mr Sibusiso Ngwane; Mr Sammy Mashita; Thanduxolo Sabelo; Mzomuhle Mhlongo and Mr Nelson Mabusela. The current CSRC President, Mr Sithabiso Mthethwa, also gave his views on where the University was at present and the road ahead.

Provincial MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, acknowledged former leaders for the strides they were making in their careers. ‘This University has produced great assets in you for the world,’ said Dhlomo.

Dhlomo said those associated with the University including alumni should be approached to contribute to scholarships, etc. He supported the former leaders’ aim to ‘plough back and also push us to do so’ by contributing financially to the University. ‘We owe it to our great grandchildren,’ he added.

A highlight of the evening was the address by the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Councillor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa, an alumnus of UKZN.

Remarking on the contributions students have made in shaping the country, Ramokgopa said: ‘We galvanised students against the establishment of the time.’

He quoted former United States President John F. Kennedy, saying, ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.’

The keynote address was delivered by Mr Bonnke Shipalana, Founder and Chairman of Power of One (Leadership Agency) and CEO of The Communications Firm.

Shipalana encouraged young leaders to understand the difference between ‘what’s important and what’s necessary’.

He said: ‘If you are not serving, you are not a leader. If you are not leading, you are not growing.’

The final part of the evening was the third Annual Student Leadership Academic Achievement Celebration.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, commented on the University’s commitment to growth, including plans to increase wireless connectivity ‘as part of our vision and mission to move ahead’.

Mr Fanle Sibisi, President of UKZN’s Convocation, wished everyone a happy Women’s Day. He, along with numerous other speakers, acknowledged Mrs Anita Ramiah from UKZN’s SGLD offices on the Westville campus.  

-        Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Ongoti Bacacisela Abamabhizinisi aseThekwini Ngamalungelo Abathengi

Ongoti Bacacisela Abamabhizinisi aseThekwini Ngamalungelo Abathengi
Ongoti bamalungelo abathengi: uSolwazi Tanya Woker, uAdv Neville Melville noNksz Wendy Knowler.

Isikole sezoMthetho sase-UKZN besinesithangami sokucobelelana ngolwazi ebesihlose ukucacisela abamabhizinisi aseThekwini ngomthetho i-Consumer Protection Act nomsebenzi we-Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman.

Lo mhlangano ubuphethwe isifundiswa sezomthetho uSolwazi Tanya Woker futhi bewunezinkulumo ebezithulwa uAdv Neville Melville oyi-Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman futhi owayengumfundi wase-UKZN noNksz Wendy Knowler oyintatheli kwezabathengi.

Umhlangano bewuthanyelwe abangama-35 abebemele abahwebi/nabathengisi kanti bekubhekwa izihloko ezifana nalezi ukubaluleka kokulalelwa kwezikhalo?; yini uMxazululi?; okumele ukwenze ngokubeka komthetho wokusebenza; izindlela zokwakha amaqhinga amahle okubhekana nezikhalo; ukusebenza kahle ngaphansi kwe-CPA kanye namasu okuphumelela.

UWoker uthe umhlangano bewubanjwe ngenxa yesidingo sokwazisa abathengi ngamalungelo abo nokuthi bangabikela bani uma engahlonishwa. ‘Abathengi abathenga impahla etholakala ukuthi ayikho esimweni esifanele noma banganikwa usizo olusezingeni elifanele bangabikela ihhovisi loMxazululi ngodaba lwabo uma ohwebelana nabo engaziphathi ngendlela efanele izikhalo zabo,’ usho kanje.

‘Ukuba khona koMxazululi okwazi ukubika kuye kubalulekile ngoba kuqinisekisa ukuthi abathengi banendlela yokuthola ubulungiswa ngoba isikhathi esiningi kuyabiza ukusebenzisa izinkantolo.’

UMelville ukhulume ngasebhekane nakho ekusebenzeni nge-CPA futhi wasekelwa uKnowler onikeze izethameli izeluleko mayelana nokugwema ukugagulwa ephephandabeni alibhalelayo.

Ezinye zezaluleko ezinikezwe abebehambele lo mhlangano kubandakanya ukuqinisekisa ukuthi abasebenzi bayazamukela ngobuqotho izikhalo zize zisonjululwe. Lesi sigaba sidingidwe kakhulu futhi kubonakale sengathi izethameli zizuze lukhulu kuso,’ kusho uMelville.

Enkulumweni yakhe uKnowler uthe kuyamangaza ukuthi ingakanani imali esetshenziswa abamabhizinisi ekukhangiseni ngezimpahla nokunye kwabo kodwa uma sekuziwa ngasekubhekaneni nezikhalo zabathengi kungabi nokuziphatha ngendlela efanele.

Uthe abathengi basebenzisa kakhulu izingosi zokuxhumana okwenza kube lula ukukhalaza kubantu abaningi.

Click here for English version

-nguThandiwe Jumo

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Education Research Explored at SAERA Conference

Education Research Explored at SAERA Conference
Professor Cheryl Potgieter delivers her welcome address at the SAERA Conference.

The nature, purpose and role of education research came under the spotlight at the 2nd annual conference of the South African Education Research Association held in Durban recently.

UKZN DVC and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Cheryl Potgieter welcomed the 250 delegates emphasising the importance of education.

Potgieter, who spoke to the Conference theme of “Researching Education: Future Directions”, said the theme called on delegates to reflect and chart a future pathway for engagement with education on both scholarly and practical levels.

‘We meet at a time when education has increasingly become the talking point in our country, with some people succumbing to the temptation of comparing today’s education system with that in use during the apartheid years. While such a comparison may be devoid of truth, it indicates a sense of impatience and desperation for change from people who feel that today’s education system is not living up to the expectations of a democratic and free South Africa,’ she said.

‘Immediately, this indicates a need for us to continue researching and trying to understand the causes of this impatience and desperation, while also not neglecting the shortcomings experienced by government to expediently roll out a functioning education system.’

Potgieter, who also attended the pre-conference workshop, said academics at UKZN’s School of Education were involved in ground-breaking research and work.  She made special mention of Lecturer Dr Thabo Msibi, who is heavily involved in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) work in schools and communities.

Potgieter told Conference delegates that the College of Humanities would support its academics involved in postgraduate degrees for the next five years to assist them in the transition from Lecturers to Professors. Several projects would be introduced to change the landscape of Higher Education in the areas of gender and race.

SAERA Vice-President, Professor Aslam Fataar, said the Conference enabled participants to have conversations across race, class and institutions. ‘There is a dire need for conceptual clarification and by engaging with this theme we can re-constitute the educational framework. This Conference has the potential to make a meaningful impact from an academic and educational perspective,’ he said.

Mrs Lora Rossler, Group Head Manager for Corporate Affairs at Mondi which is a key sponsor of SAERA, spoke about her company’s involvement in good cooperative sustainable development and the education system. ‘In light of the past South African education system, we have taken to the assessment and development of staff through their studies. We believe that positive results will stem from the conference as education systems inform critical decisions.’

The SAERA Conference proceedings will be available from Oxford Press in September 2014.

Other speakers at the Conference from UKZN were: Professor Wayne Hugo, Dr Peter Rule, Dr Ronicka Mudaly, Dr Siphiwe Mthiyane, Dr Vimolan Mudaly,  Dr Ansurie Pillay, Dr Thamsanqa Bhengu, Dr Inbanathan Naicker, Dr Nyna Amin, Dr Marinda Swart, Mr Crispin Hemson, Dr Shaun Ruggunan, Ms Jane Quin, Dr Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan, Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Dr Daisy Pillay, Dr Lorraine Singh, Dr Jean Stuart, Mrs Linda van Laren, Dr Jaqueline Naidoo, Professor Michael Samuel, Dr Carol Betram, Professor Johan Wasserman, Professor Pholoho Morojele, Professor Vitallis Chikoko, Professor Wolker Wedekind and Dr Makhosazane Nkosi.

Melissa Mungroo

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Management of Childhood Cancers Examined During Public Lecture

Management of Childhood Cancers Examined During Public Lecture
Professor Larry Hadley and Professor Andrea Hayes-Jordan after the public lecture.

Registrars of Paediatric Surgery and Radiation Oncology were inspired by a public lecture at UKZN delivered by respected paediatric surgeon Professor Andrea Hayes-Jordan of the United States on childhood sarcomas – the soft tissue disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in soft tissues of the body.

Soft tissue sarcomas include tumours of the fat tissue, bone and cartilage, fibrous tissue, skeletal muscle, smooth muscle and peripheral nervous system.

Speaking at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital’s Department of Paediatric Surgery, Hayes-Jordan’s focused on recent advances in the management of childhood sarcomas, presenting her ground-breaking work on the use of Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) – one of the most innovative treatments available today for complex abdominal cancers – after radical peritonectomy in children with peritoneal sarcomatosis.

This included her work in the laboratory on the genetics of childhood sarcomas and the search for novel drugs which can impact on cellular behaviour at newly defined genetic loci. 

Hayes-Jordan plays a pivotal role in the design of protocols for the management of rhabdomyosarcoma and other sarcomas under the umbrella of the Children’s Oncology Group, but as the Director of Paediatric Surgical Oncology at the MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital in Houston, Texas, she is responsible for the management of all children with tumours, including those outside her immediate research interests.

She is also a member of the International Paediatric Surgical Oncology Society (IPSO) and travelled through China in 2013 with UKZN’s Head of Paediatric Surgery, Professor Larry Hadley, resulting in her invitation to visit Durban as a Mary Weston Visiting Professor.

In addition to didactic teaching, Hayes-Jordan taught in clinics and operating theatres and during teaching rounds. Hadley said Hayes-Jordan proved herself to be an able educator and an admirable role model for aspiring paediatric surgeons.

‘Visiting academics such as Professor Hayes-Jordan re-energise both staff and students at our department and it is hoped that this visit will be the prelude to closer co-operation between our centres.’

Dr Yashoda Manickchund, a Registrar of Paediatric Surgery, said international experts who visited the Department gave insight into the latest trends in training, education and infrastructure in the developed world. It was exciting to note similarities in best practices between Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital and the international institutions.

Lunga Memela

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International Journal of African Higher Education Publishes First Issue

International Journal of African Higher Education Publishes First Issue
Professor Damtew Teferra.

The International Journal of African Higher Education (IJAHE) has published its maiden issue with contributions from academics and Higher Education practitioners in Higher Education Institutions and other organisations in Africa and around the world.

The Journal has been published by the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA) which is hosted at UKZN in collaboration with the Association of African Universities.

IJAHE is conceived and realized by Professor Damtew Teferra its Editor-in-Chief, who is also the founding Director of INHEA and leader of the Higher Education Training and Development at UKZN.

Teferra who wrote the editorial and the first article: “Charting African Higher Education – Perspectives at a Glance” was joined by others from Harvard University, University of Pretoria, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences/Universita Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Milan (Italy), UNESCO and the World Bank, among others.

The full content of the journal, with both English and French abstracts, is available at

The Journal is currently inviting manuscripts for consideration. Inquiries should be directed to

*IJAHE is supported by UKZN, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Association of African Universities, Boston College Libraries, and the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College.

- Damtew Teferra 

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UKZN Celebrates National Science Week

UKZN Celebrates National Science Week
Mr Ajay Bissessur demonstrates the wonders of Science at the Great UKZN Science Show-Off held in celebration of National Science Week.

UKZN celebrated National Science Week in style with a three-phase campaign.

First, Durban school pupils enjoyed access to a fun-filled week of scientific activities run by the Science and Technology Education Centre on the Westville campus.

Staff from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science went the extra mile to keep the 300 Grade 10 and Grade 11 pupils wowed by the whole spectrum of scientific wonders available at UKZN.

Accommodating 60 learners a day, the programme offered an array of hands-on fun including simulating tsunamis, programming robots, making chemical concoctions, viewing sophisticated microscopy equipment, handling live chickens, analysing genetic combinations, learning about maths, stats, physics and engineering, and  getting down and dirty with rocks.

Each day youngsters from a variety of local schools tried their hand at being scientists of the future. The programme included exposure to three different scientific disciplines, a talk on careers available in the sciences as well as a fun-filled quiz. With a competitive element thrown in, the children were eager to display just how many scientific facts they knew and left the University in high spirits with the importance of science enhanced.

As phase two of the week’s campaign, the College organised the highly successful Great UKZN Science Show-Off, aimed at the whole family.  This science show saw the famous “Dr G” - aka Dr Megan Govender - and Dr Tanja Reinhardt and Mr Ajay Bissessur battle it out on the scientific stage.  Their scientific tricks, treats, whooshes and bangs kept the audience wowed and amazed.

Ever want to breathe smoke through your nose like a dragon?  “Dr G” showed his young fans just how it was done!

Rounding off the Week on a more serious note, a public lecture was presented by UKZN PhD student, Ms Kenda Knowles, titled: “Astrophysics:  Recent Discoveries and Mysteries”.

The highly interesting presentation demonstrated just why astronomers get so excited about discovering the Universe.  Knowles explained to a packed house some of the more recent and interesting discoveries in astrophysics, including 3D printing and ultrasounds new (imaginary?) planets and triple black holes.

Knowles is a member of UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU).

National Science Week is celebrated every year during the first week of August. A Department of Science and Technology initiative run in partnership with public and private institutions, it aims to further the public’s understanding of Science and to advance Science and Technology within South Africa.

Sally Frost

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