Address by Tshwane Executive Mayor Cllr K.D. Ramokgopa

Address by Tshwane Executive Mayor Cllr K.D. Ramokgopa
Tshwane Executive Mayor Cllr K.D. Ramokgopa.

The following speech was delivered by Tshwane Executive Mayor Cllr K.D. Ramokgopa at the 10 Years of Student Leadership at UKZN and the 3rd Annual Student Leadership Academic Awards Celebration:

Please accept our sincere acclamation on distinct and illustrious ten-year milestone of cultivating finer traditions of student leadership and nurturing elevated standards of academic excellence.

It is without a single shadow of doubt a high privilege and an interminable honour to deliver a statement on the occasion when the University pays homage to those of its students who distinguished themselves in the broader sphere of leadership and academic performance.

Given the role that the institution played in my formative stages of personal development and those of others who played and continue to play a significant role in building the South Africa that we know today, we had no trepidations or reservations in accepting an offer to be here with you today.

With your kind permission, Programme Director, I wish to make a few remarks on the significance of superior student leadership and academic excellence to not just life of a university, but that of society as a whole.

The role of universities in a changing society

Notions of superior student leadership and academic excellence are vital for the nature and purpose of universities in a changing society.

In their modern form, universities are modern products of the Enlightenment process in Europe and evolved and came to be defined by three key focal areas: tuition, research and outreach.

In their early days, universities were elitist institutions preserved for the exclusive access of the sons and daughters of the ruling classes to the exclusion of the working classes and the poor.

Conceptualised in this way, these were repositories of wisdom and custodians of knowledge in the service of the wealthy minority to the exclusion of the majority.

It is in this context that notions of ivory towers emerged; with varying historical and societal adaptations.

With the passage of historical time, universities, like other institutional forms, became objects of struggles to bring about a humane, just and egalitarian social order.

On account of such contestations a lot has changed and university education has since become accessible to those from lower strata in society.

In this context, scholars like Paolo Frere and other critical pedagogues, called for education to play an empowering and emancipatory role, in which communities play a central role in shaping the role of institutions of learning.

With the massification of education and opening of access to the poor and previously excluded, universities and institutions of higher learning became sights of struggle to resolve substantive developmental and transformational issues facing society.

Student leadership and academic excellence

It is in this connection that progressive students rightfully declared that ‘we are members of communities before we are students.’

By so declaring progressive students were drawing a solid line between their conception of a university and that of the elitist tradition detached and indifferent from their conditions of existence in poor communities.

This was the coming to fruition of the insights of the American philosopher, political scientist and a educationalist John Dewey who argued that ‘education is not about preparation for life, it is about life itself.’

By implication, educational institutions should not be conceptualised as though they are external to and exist outside of society; they are an inextricable part of societal life and can thus not be understood outside of the nature of such societies and their dynamics.

Henceforth, students were determined to use their experience and advantages of location in universities to draw attention to and strive for lasting solutions to problems of poverty, deprivation and exclusion.

From that point onwards the struggle to transform institutions of higher learning into ones that are not only responsive but that assume a leading role in changing society had begun in earnest.

From then onwards, the history of student leadership and academic excellence became inextricably linked with societal efforts to bring about justice and equality for all.

Institutions of learning can only be meaningfully functional to the needs of society if they put at the centre of their existence the lived experience of society itself.

It is in that broad historical context that your 10 years of student leadership and academic excellence is firmly located.

As society, we will evaluate your exertions on the extent to which they contribute towards solving the burning social and economic problems of the day.

For those of you lucky enough to know or remember the strategic choices being debated in the educational struggles of the 1980s in South Africa, you will recall that at some point the youth put forward two binary logic captured by the slogans:

‘Education before Liberation or Education after Liberation!’

From the vantage point of posterity, although not entirely conclusive, it is clear though that by and large students located within universities had resolved, implicitly or explicitly, that this is a false dichotomy!

And that instead what was required was the development of a strategic perspective that guides  the  use  of the  higher  educational terrain  to  advance  broader  societal  goals  of liberation and development.

In the words of the commanding historical figure of John F Kennedy’s stature: ‘leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.’

In other words, there should be no separation between your role as leaders and your performance as students; the two condition each other and are, if you like, a pre-condition for success of the other.

To be dependable and worthy leaders, you need to excel and be exemplary in your academic responsibilities!

Gone are the days of student leaders who excel in fashioning sophisticated arguments about transformation and only to emerge with less than five credits for the five years or so they spent on campus.

Naturally that should raise serious ontological questions about the very nature of their leadership; that is if it exists at all.

As students, we should roundly denounce such leaders as sending a wrong message to society and refuse to be guided by their example.

You must strive and aspire to be led by the very best among you and obdurately snub those whose conduct might send contrary signals about your societal goals and aspirations.

Academic excellence and student leadership in the service of humanity

Our clarion call and rallying slogan should become: striving for academic excellence and exemplary student leadership in the service of humanity.

To  become  authentic  descendants  of  generations  of  student  leaders  who  propelled institutions of higher learning to where they are today, we need to emerge at the forefront of ongoing debates on how best to transform these institutions to make them relevant to the societal challenges of the day.

As Franz Fanon has long thrown the gauntlet in The Wretched of the Earth:

‘Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfil it, or betray it.’

The previous generations, on whose broad shoulders we stand, discovered their mission as influenced by their conditions of existence and dependably fulfilled it to the best of their abilities.

Your challenge today is not to mimic them and simulate their circumstances; but rather to exert  your  analytic  abilities  to  approximate  the  nature  of  your  condition  and  devise appropriate strategies for intervention.

As already alluded to, to be equal to this task we need to cultivate the intellect of the utmost quality and systematically make the culture of excellence a defining feature of our academic life.

The ancient Greek philosopher and the towering figure in the evolution of modern political philosophy, Aristotle, had the following to say concerning the culture, values and ethos embedded in the culture of excellence:

‘Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those [virtue and excellence] because we acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.’

There are three critical insights that Aristotle is alerting us to with respect to how to stimulate and nurture the ideal of excellence.

The first is that excellence cannot be understood as a temporal and ephemeral phenomenon but a feature that once acquired must exist in permanence.

The second  is  that  the  attainment  of excellence  cannot  be a product  of  inadvertent  or fortuitous acts. It can only result from focus, consistency, tenacity and discipline.

The third is that for excellence to become a habit and not an isolated act as Aristotle insisted, there is a need for each and every individual within our institution to embrace it.

In this respect, it is worth recalling the words of one of the Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy when observing that:

‘Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing him [her] self!’

In other words, entrenching the values and ethos of excellence within the university should be embraced as both an individual and collective project.

What is clear though is that engendering excellence understood in the Aristotelian sense will require unparalleled levels of obstinacy, determination, persistence and insistence from each and everyone associated with UKZN.

As you navigate the vicissitudes of habituating yourself to the ingredients of excellence, we need to disabuse yourselves of any illusions of a painless undertaking. In this regard, we will do well to heed the warning words by German philosopher, Karl Marx when he said:

‘There is no royal road to science and it is only those who do not dread the fatiguing climbs of its steep paths that stand a chance to reach its luminous summits!’

To the recipients of awards and those being honoured

To the recipients of various awards and those being honoured today, congratulations on reaching the luminous summits of excellence!

We sincerely hope that you will make excellence an enduring habit and not merely an ephemeral and temporal feature!

I respectfully implore you to remain stubborn, firm and single-minded in your attachment to distinction and superiority of effort in rendering your service to humanity!

Your individual brilliance and talents will ossify the foundational pillars of our endeavours to cultivate fine traditions of quality, superiority and distinction in our commitments to our people!

Your  efforts  make  us  truly  believe  that  indeed  one  day  UKZN  will  become synonymous with the fountainhead of excellence!

Assuming your rightful place in a changing society

Your graduation marks the end of a cycle of student life and the beginning of life beyond campus dynamics. Whatever the destination, society out there is anxiously waiting to reap the benefits of your superior knowledge and skills acquired through years of rigorous academic training.

Society is eagerly waiting for you to demonstrate that your achievement is not a mere academic certificate but a valid indicator of knowledge and skills to help advance social and economic development.

Our society is in urgent need of your knowledge and skills to help in the resolution of the critical problems in the reconstruction and development process.

As ambassadors of UKZN, from today onwards, you have a duty and obligation to remain a shining example of the essential values, traditions and ethos cultivated by your institution. Let the rest of society learn from your cardinal example the superiority of knowledge and skills in the service of humanity.

Whether you end up in the private sector or public service, please remain inflexible in your attachment to distinction and superiority of effort in rendering service to humanity!

Our government  has  made  it  known  on  several occasions  when  communicating  policy matters that ours is a project to build a developmental state as  a vehicle  to propel our society towards a kingdom of a better life for all.

Experiences from elsewhere conclusively show that without a well-educated and highly skilled workforce and bureaucracy, the ideal of a developmental state remains at best a distant dream.

As you ready yourself to swell the ranks of both the private sector and public service, do so in the mould of what the Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci called “organic intellectuals.”

In our context, organic intellectuals refers to people like you who are steeped in theory and practice; central to conception and execution of government policies and embodying intellectual and work ethics that are organic to our project of democratic system of governance.

The project of establishing and institutionalising a developmental state presupposes a bureaucracy  at all levels  and  spheres  of  society  that  is central  to  the  conception  and execution of social and economic development policies.

You are thus challenged to take Fanon’s clarion call seriously and define your own place in the evolving process of transforming, reconstructing and developing our society.

By becoming an organic intellectual and by deciding to fulfil your mission in life, you will be putting your talents, skills and intellects in the service of humanity.

Once more to the illustrious generation of student leaders and awardees in this assembly, congratulations on reaching the luminous summits of science and knowledge!

We sincerely hope that you regard your achievements as triggers that ignite a life-long process of knowledge acquisition, and not its end.

Let the seed of reading and learning find a conducive ground to germinate and forever inhabit your world to help cultivate a culture of reading that is so critical for a modern nation like ours.

Please make learning an enduring habit and not merely an ephemeral and temporal feature of your life!

I sincerely hope the library hasn’t seen the last of you and that a book shall remain an ever-present item in your life.

I humbly recommend that you seriously consider building your own personal libraries at home so that the young ones can grow closer to books and thus help nurture a generation of readers!

Go on to become the vanguard and occupy the front ranks of our societal efforts to banish illiteracy and innumeracy to the dustbin of history.

Put your skills and talents in the services of our efforts to intensify the culture of learning and reading so that we can realise one of the pre-emblary provisions of our Constitution that urges us to ‘improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.’

By so doing you will be helping in the establishment of a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

With that, you would have contributed towards the creation of a society that is ready to take its rightful place in the family of nations.

I would like to leave you with the words of one of the giants of the South African literary scene, E’skia Mphahlele, when addressing a graduation ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania in the US in 1982:

‘My hearty congratulations on your success ... May I add to this message my sincerest wish and hope that in whatever service you render to humanity the self-fulfilment you find should at the same time be your community's own fulfilment in you’.

Please continue to make us proud in all your life endeavours!

We implore you to continue to be worthy ambassadors of your institution and your alma mater!!

Thank You!!!

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Hearty Congratulations to Former SRC Member Dr Sandile Kubheka

Hearty Congratulations to Former SRC Member Dr Sandile Kubheka
Dr Sandile Kubheka.

Dr Sandile Kubheka, the former 2012/2013 Medical School SRC member, added to what is becoming a long list of accolades, when he recently won ANN7’s Young South African of the Year award.

The prestigious awards ceremony was held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday, 6 September 2014 and was attended by South African stars in sports, entertainment, politics and business, to celebrate the achievements and contributions of extraordinary South Africans.

Kubheka, South Africa’s youngest doctor who works at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, indicated that he was humbled after winning the award. He told The Witness newspaper that he was shocked and surprised when his name was called and that he was extremely excited by the honour. 

Kubheka has been acknowledged by his very own university, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, for his leadership as a Student Representative Council member during the prestigious ceremony celebrating 10 Years of Student Leadership and Academic Achievement Excellence at UKZN.

He is no stranger to claiming high accolades. He has won the KwaZulu-Natal Young Achiever of the Year and Best in Health Award at the Future Leaders Youth Awards. He was also nominated for the MTV Base Leadership Award earlier this year.

- UKZNdaba Online

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Hearing Impaired Humanities Student at the AfricaGeo Summit

Hearing Impaired Humanities Student at the AfricaGeo Summit
Humanities student Mr Emmanuel Khuzwayo who attended the AfricaGeo 2014 Summit in Cape Town.

Humanities student Mr Emmanuel Khuzwayo, who is hearing impaired, recently attended the AfricaGeo 2014 Summit in Cape Town.

‘Being at the Summit was a pleasant, adventurous and informative moment for me,’ said Khuzwayo.

‘I was able to explore the future of Geomatics and the nexus that Geography has in developing people’s needs and decision making, especially in Africa as the theme of the Conference was “Developing Geomatics for Africa”.’

Khuzwayo gained practical knowledge on the use of Geographic Information Systems and the vast opportunities available for Geomatics students. The summit managed to introduce delegates to processes and development of Geomatics by giving them an opportunity to choose between sessions they found relevant for their career interests.

‘The programme agenda was split into four different venue sessions and delegates were then given an opportunity to choose based on interest. This split gave me an advantage since this setting reminded me of my lecture attendance timetable.’

Khuzwayo also gained practical knowledge in Geographic Information Sciences, the development of the Rural Development Framework and the pressing Land Tenure debate in Southern Africa.

‘With the development of Geomatics, I feel strongly that Geomatic graduates should be supported and provided the necessary skills for investment in a successful economy of Africa and social integration. The scope of the summit was aligned almost exactly to the module structure at UKZN. So for the first time I was clearly introduced to the issues I study,’ he said.

Khuzwayo believes that summits are important, especially for science students who get an opportunity to learn practical work. ‘I advise fellow students to grab such opportunities because our future as the youth lies in our potential and also of how much we want to contribute to development of our governments. I hope that UKZN continues investing in their students for the development of the University and assurance of the Transformation Charter. All students with disabilities should believe in themselves and go for these opportunities.’

-          Melissa Mungroo

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UKZN Volleyball Teams Scoop Awards

UKZN Volleyball Teams Scoop Awards
Members of UKZNs volleyball teams celebrate their achievements at the national championships in Gauteng.

Men’s and women’s volleyball teams from UKZN competed at the National University Volleyball Championship held at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Both UKZN teams scooped bronze medals after an intensive five-day competition which saw 22 men and 20 women’s teams from institutions across South Africa compete for medals.

The teams were commended for their sporting prowess and training regimes. ‘Both male and female team coaches must be congratulated for the excellent manner in which they prepared their teams for the tournament. It was quite evident that both teams trained well and could maintain the high standard of volleyball,’ said UKZN University Sports South Africa (USSA) Team Manager, Mr Lawrence Naidoo.

UKZN student Mr Devin O’Regan received a special award for being the “Best Attacker” at the tournament while he and fellow players Ms Atrika Hansraj; Ms Yasmin Rajak and Mr Usangiphile Buthelezi were selected for the USSA National Team.

- Raylene Captain Hasthibeer

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Ten Years of Student Leadership at the University

Ten Years of Student Leadership at the University
Mr Bonnke Shipalana, Guest Speaker.

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.


From left: Dr Sandile Kubheka and MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo 
 From left: Mr Mzomuhle Mhlongo, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu and Mr Nelson Mabusela (both
 Mhlongo and Mabusela are former SRC Presidents). 
 From left: Mzomuhle Mhlongo, Mbali Maseko, Anitha Ramiah, Trevor Wills and Kgotlaetsile
 Chair of Council Mrs Phumla Mnganga and CSRC President Sithabiso Mthethwa. 
 CSRC Member Ndabenhle Moloi and Mrs Nokwanda Jali, Senior Administrator in the Office of the 
 Executive Director. 
 SGLD Manager, Mr M. Sibisi and Executive PA Mrs Priscilla Cele. 
 Former SRC Presidents Mr Sibusiso Ngwane and Mr Fanle Sibisi. 
 From left: Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cllr K. Ramokgopa, Mayor of Emtshezi, Cllr B.
 Dlamini and President of UKZN Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi. 
 From left: Professor Kesh Govinder, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, Mr Trevor Wills, Professor
 Malegapuru Makgoba and Professor Renuka Vithal share a light-hearted moment before
 the event. 
 Student Leaders who graduated in 2014. 
 From left: Former SRC President Mr Lordwish Sithole and Dr Sibusiso Chalufu. 
 Former and current student leaders, including the current Howard College SRC President
 (second from right), Mr Mthobisi Myende and the former President of ENACTUS, Mr Sethu
 Sidzamba (centre). 
 From left: MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Professor Malegapuru Makgoba. 
 From left: Mr Sammy Mashita (former SRC President), Ms Anita Ramiah (Student Governance
 Administrator), Mr Kgosientso Ramakgopa (former student leader and current Executive
 Mayor of Tshwane), and Mr Lesiba Seshoka (Executive Director: Corporate Relations) 

- Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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

History Made with Creation of National Platform for Student Affairs and Services
Dr S. Chalufu (Deputy President), Ms N. Rabaza (Deputy Secretary), Dr S. Pillay (President) and Dr Iain L Ange (Treasurer).

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 Implications;
  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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Student Services Division and Student Support Services Staff and Student Presentations at the SAFSAS Inaugural Conference

Student Services Division and Student Support Services Staff and Student Presentations at the SAFSAS Inaugural Conference
From left: Wulganithi Thaver, Dr Saloschini Pillay and Kamilla Rawatlal. Seated from left: Professor Ahmed Bawa and Paullete Naidoo.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal made considerable impact at the inaugural Southern African Federation for Student Affairs and Services in Higher Education (SAFSAS) conference. Staff members of the Student Services Division and the Student Support Services took great pride in representing the University by providing stimulating, thought-provoking and captivating presentations at the Conference.

Mr Sachin Suknunan, Information Officer in the Student Services Division, delivered two presentations focusing on models and strategies in Student Affairs and Services (SAS). His first presentation revolved around the strategic use of information systems such as data-mining, digital dashboards and predictive systems as a means of providing strategic information (knowledge) to enhance decision making, efficiency and service delivery in Student Affairs. Mr Suknunan emphasised these types of systems were used at universities in developed countries and proper investment and integration of these systems could provide a variety of strategic benefits.

Suknunan’s second paper focused on research-based evidence and interventions in SAS. He highlighted the possibility of enhancing service delivery based on deriving empirical evidence from students. Suknunan cogently argued that just as how one applies research techniques to academic studies, the same can be applied to the support sector such as SAS. This could in turn allow strategies and interventions to be based on empirical evidence and statistics that could inform proactive strategies.

Ms Roshanthni Subrayen from the Disability Support Unit on the Edgewood campus also embarked on two thought provoking presentations. The first paper was generated from a qualitative study that focused on residential experiences and its impact on academic outcomes for students with visual impairments at UKZN. In this study Subrayen argued the social exclusionary processes, power positions, human rights violations and poverty are phenomena that create barriers at student residences, and further challenged the notion of equitable academic outcomes for all. Subrayen also conveyed that the research presented in the paper also gave a voice to women with visual impairments experiencing social exclusion at student residential facilities in higher education.

The second presentation by Subrayen was equally exciting as it provided some exposition on the contradictions and tensions around equity, access and participation discourses and what it means for students with disabilities in Higher Education, internationally and in South Africa. Policy and legislative initiatives foregrounded on human rights, right to education, social justice, equity, access and participation in Higher Education were the highlights of the paper.

Keeping in line with disability in Higher Education, Ms Yanga Futshane from the Disability Support Unit on the Pietermaritzburg campus also made a valuable contribution at the Conference. Futshane’s presentation revolved around the concept that many Higher Education Institutions in South Africa, including Technical Vocational Education and Training institutions, did not have Disability Units in place and those that have them did not have the appropriate support infrastructure to support and enhance students with disabilities.

At the Conference Futshane also represented the Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association (HEDSA) and her presentation attempted to inform Higher Education Institutions on the nature of support that HEDSA can provide in order to create an enabling environment for students with disabilities.  

There were also papers that were presented by the Student Support Services staff belonging to the various Colleges at UKZN.

Dr Saloschini Pillay, Manager: Student Support Services in the College of Health Sciences (CHS), and her colleague Ms Kamilla Rawatlal, delivered a paper which explored the concept of ‘positive career compromise’ in addressing career counselling and development intervention in South African Higher Education. Given that the current practice of career counselling and development in Higher Education has been found limiting because of a focus on psycho-metric assessments and person environment fit, this presentation highlighted the importance of interventions addressing the social institutional realities in Higher Education. The need to widen career counselling and development intervention in Higher Education Institutions to address this social reality and inform contemporary practice through innovative and reflective practice, was the focus in this presentation.

Similarly, Ms Wulganithi (Wulli) Thaver, also from Student Support Services in the College of Health Sciences, presented a paper titled “Impacting student success: An innovative approach to respond to students’ needs during the transitional stages.” The paper focused on developing strategies that would identify students’ unique needs and implement programmes to enhance retention, throughput and success. It highlighted the structured and innovative Student Support Programme that is currently offered by Student Support Services in the College of Health Sciences for all its first entry students. The presentation provided an overview of the structured student support programmes, the identified needs of the CHS’s first entry students and the impact of the relevant interventions on their transition into the university environment and their overall academic performance and well-being.

Ms Shelley Barnsley, Manager: Student Support Services in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) also represented her College with a presentation titled, “It’s not business as usual: The case for a decentralised framework of student counselling in higher education.” This conceptual paper critically reflected on the merits as well as the challenges of the framework of decentralised counselling after two and a half years of implementation of a devolved model of student counselling in the counselling service of CAES at UKZN.

Ms Lindiwe Ngubane from Student Support Services in the College of Humanities presented a paper based on the lived experiences of mature-aged undergraduate students in Higher Education which was based on a case study done at Edgewood campus. The study involved a cohort of teachers that were sent by the Department of Basic Education in 2011, from Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, to embark on Bachelor of Education degree. These educators did not have Teachers qualifications, but most of them were in the field for a long time and were therefore mature-aged students between the ages of 25 and 45. The study revealed some fascinating findings that were highlighted by Ms Ngubane at the Conference.

Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, Executive Director: Student Services, together with Ms Lucia Khambule, UKZN’s Central SRC member, were panelists in a panel discussion on Student Governance and Leadership. Preceded by comments from Professor Crain Soudien who, amongst others, highlighted the fact that student leaders need to focus on enhancing the student experience and on teaching and learning, the panel explored various aspects of student governance and leadership. These included the question of whether Student Affairs should be engaging leaders outside the SRC; the role of SRCs in shaping and transforming institutions of higher learning; the issue of academic requirement for SRC membership; whether the positioning of the SRC in university statutes was in fact appropriate; the critical question of ‘what is the student interest?’; and the appropriate model for student governance in HEIs, amongst others.

  Shelley Barnsley.   Wulganithi Thaver.
  Dr Saloschini Pillay and Dr Sibusiso
  Sachin Suknunan with Professor
  Ahmed Bawa.
 Lucia Khambule, Central SRC Member.  

-          UKZNdabaOnline

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Right to Respect Campaign and a Celebration of Women of Character, Courage and Commitment

Right to Respect Campaign and a Celebration of Women of Character, Courage and Commitment
Dr Sibusiso Chalufu (back row, second from left) with colleagues and students at the Right to Respect Campaign.

The Howard College Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit and Campus Health Clinic hosted a reproductive health education and advocacy programme in celebration of Women’s Month at the Howard College Theatre in August 2014.

The main objective of the Right to Respect Awareness Campaign is to create greater awareness of sexual reproductive health rights.

In his opening address Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, the Executive Director:  Student Services expressed how he was alarmed by the nature and number of brutal incidents being committed against women. Citing the case of a woman who was raped in the Magistrate Court offices by a man who refused to use a condom, he asked the question: ‘What kind of society are we living in where women have to negotiate how they are violated?’

Further citing the case of a young woman who was murdered in Inanda, Durban by an ex-fiancé, he questioned the kind of society where women are murdered for their choices in life. He highlighted the fact that it was for that reason that programmes such as the Right to Respect Campaign are important as they not only encourage responsibility and mutual respect in relationships, but also promote sexual rights and gender equality.

Whilst appreciative of initiatives such as Men’s Forum, Men in Responsibility and others, Dr Chalufu argued that more urgent interventions aimed at building a critical mass of male students and staff who are positive social agents, were required. 

Anthropologist and Senior Lecturer within the School of Social Sciences, Dr Maheshvari Naidu delivered the keynote address. Naidu’s topic centred on “Getting behind the (Fore) skin, Know yourself, Respect Yourself”. Her address took on a metaphoric standpoint with emphasis being placed on the nature of human beings and their interpretations of identity markers in line with racial, sexual and gender differences and feminism.

Borrowing Jacques Derrida’s theory of difference, Naidu pointed out, ‘It helps us see that sexuality and sexual orientations are much more complex than what we may want to pigeon-hole and judge it to be. Adopting this view of delaying the assumed meaning, and “looking beyond the foreskin” helps us come a little closer to the idea and behaviour that dis-respect based on judgment and intolerance doesn’t make much sense.’

According to Dr Naidu, ‘Engaging in transactional sex for the consumerist Gucci bag and holiday abroad or giving in to sex just because you do not wish to offend or lose the partner or giving in to the occasional condom-less sex, because he promises to withdraw in time makes the women complicit to certain masculine sexual scripts. It turns us, the signifiers, into how and what signification the men give us, so knowing yourself  is the ultimate respect you can give yourself’ (UKZNDABAonline: Volume2¦Issue 46).

Mrs Nonhlanhla Khanyile of the Support Worldwide Organisation advised students against substance abuse, multiple partners and the dangers and consequences of having unprotected sex. She showcased sexually transmitted infection images to sensitise the audience to the impact of sexually transmitted diseases on the body.   

In his message of support, Mr Nduduzo Zwane, Deputy President of Howard College SRC encouraged women to take leadership roles to be in better positions to fight the scourge of abuse in various levels.

Student Health and Sport Manager Mr Mark Bashe, outlined the purpose of the day and in his closing remarks emphasised the importance of the event.

Edutainment was provided by first year Anthropology students (The Anthros) a comedy sketch in which they enacted and parodied stereotypical identity markers, or so called “differences”. Peer educators from the UKZN HIV and AIDS Unit entertained the audience with music and a fashion show. One of the highlights of the event was a stellar performance by the winners of the 2014 Clash of the Choirs SA team.

Howard College Campus Health Clinic nurses offered health screening services (cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar level tests) as well as calculations of Body Mass Index (BMI)) outside the venue.

The event was well attended by students, staff and external stakeholders such as DramAidE, Marie Stopes Family Planning Clinic, the Advice Desk for Abused Women and official Westville Prison representatives. 

-          UKZNdaba Online

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Student Services Wellness Day – Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body

Student Services Wellness Day – Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body
Student Services Staff in one of the exercise sessions.

The annual Student Services Wellness Day hosted by the UKZN HIV/AIDS Programme was held earlier this year. Throughout the day general health screening (hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, weight, height, and body mass index) was undertaken by the campus and occupational health clinic nursing staff. HIV Counseling and Testing and TB screening was undertaken by external providers.

It was heartening to have more than a hundred staff from all campuses attend the health screening and encouraging to see the commitment of some staff who were very vocal in the wellness workshop.

The opening address by Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, Executive Director: Student Services, challenged the audience to take good care of their health by using the opportunity to know their health status and making wise choices. Dr Chalufu mentioned that the recent results of the University’s employment engagement survey had invigorated his Division to think seriously about ways to improve the qualitative engagement of staff in University life in line with the goal of making UKZN a “university of choice for staff”. ‘Our efforts as an Institution, as divisions or units should be to enhance our staff and students’ wellness from the various facets of wellness: occupational, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, environmental and spiritual wellness,’ said Dr Chalufu.

The HIV and AID Programme Coordinator Ms Nomonde Magantolo outlined the purpose of the day indicating the importance of health screening and highlighting some of the silent killers such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, etc. She also stressed the importance of a healthy body and a healthy mind, doing everything to minimise the spread of unnecessary social ills and illnesses.

The thought-provoking input from UKZN Safety, Health and Environment Manager, Ms Snegugu Tshabalala, raised awareness of how easily we neglect office workplace procedures.  Ms Tshabalala highlighted the importance of responsible behaviour among staff for health and safety compliance.

UKZN’s Dr Rubeena Partab conducted a workshop session titled “Honouring the Healthy Self” aimed at promoting personal transformation. Working in small groups, staff had the opportunity to share and create the time to nurture themselves.

The focus on responsible behaviour and money management was conducted by Mr Bathando Ntlabati. Staff were taken through various aspects aimed at ensuring financial wealth.

The exercise sessions undertaken by the peer educators and Virgin Active gave staff an opportunity to shed a few kilos whilst having fun. The lucky prize draws were sponsored by the Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit (CHASU) and Three Cities Hotels. Heartfelt gratitude was expressed by Ms Magantolo for the support offered by all those who participated in the programme.

The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme challenges all Colleges to promote wellness on an ongoing basis, but especially during the mid-term vacation period as a refreshing stress reliever. The Student Services Division looks forward to greater staff involvement in the next programme.

-          UKZNdaba Online

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UKZN Disability Support Unit reaches out to Learners from Schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

UKZN Disability Support Unit reaches out to Learners from Schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Deaf and hard of hearing learners with Dr Sibusiso Chalufu at an awareness event hosted by the Disability Support Unit.

The Disability Support Unit located in the Division of Student Services recently held an Information and Awareness session for Deaf and Hard of Hearing learners from schools in Newlands, Isipingo, Port Shepstone and Zululand.  The event was held in collaboration with the Deaf Federation of South Africa and UKZN’s Disability Support Units.  

In an effort to ensure that the learners derive maximum benefit from the session, two Sign Language Interpreters provided translation services. 

The Executive Director of Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu informed the meeting that he was glad to be part of a gathering which reinforces two of the University’s Strategic Goals, namely, Goal 2: Responsible community engagement and Goal 5: To be an institution of choice for students.

Dr Chalufu highlighted the fact that as an institution UKZN had worked hard not only to widen access into University, but also to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the academic programme, thereby maximizing their opportunities for growth and development in their chosen fields and in life in general.

Quoting Mary Kay Ash, he encouraged the learners to work hard: ‘Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you.’ Quoting Colin Powel, Dr Chalufu reminded the learners that ‘A dream does not become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.’

Dr Chalufu commended the passion of staff in the Disability Support Units across the campuses and stated that through the support offered to students with disabilities, there has been an increase of students enrolling at the University.  There are currently 470 students with disabilities registered for support.  The meeting was further informed that 70 students with disabilities graduated in 2014.

The learners were provided with information on student funding, accommodation and academic support offered through the Disability Support Unit.

Representatives from the different organisations included educators from Fulton School for the Deaf, VN Naik School for the Deaf, St Martins School for the Deaf and Durban School for the Hearing Impaired. 

Present at the session were also representatives from the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, the Deaf Federation of South Africa and the KwaZulu-Natal Deaf Association.  The meeting resolved that an Advisory Group will be established comprising of all relevant role players which would then advise and support access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students.

-          Sithembile Shabangu

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Disabled Students Voices will be heard through Central Disabled Students Structure

Disabled Students Voices will be heard through Central Disabled Students Structure
Members of the Central Disabled Students Committee with Disability Unit Staff.

Disabled students from Edgewood, Westville, Howard and Pietermaritzburg campuses recently converged on the Edgewood campus to deliberate on the need to speak with one voice at UKZN.

The establishment of the Central Disabled Students Committee was given momentum with support from the Disability Support Unit staff.  The Executive Director of Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, met with representatives of disabled students in 2012 on the Howard College campus and mooted that idea of a strong disabled student voice. 

The latter came to fruition in 2014 and will serve as an advocacy and lobby to equalise opportunities for students with disabilities as well as create greater awareness in the University community.

-          UKZNdaba Online

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UKZN Student Led SA at the Youth 20 Summit Delegation in Australia

UKZN Student Led SA at the Youth 20 Summit Delegation in Australia
Mr Nhlanhla Khumalo.

UKZN Master’s student Mr Nhlanhla Khumalo led a five-member South African Youth Delegation team at the Youth 20 (Y20) Summit held in Australia.

The Summit is a platform for young people from G8 and G20 countries to engage in policy discussions on pressing global, economic challenges and generate innovative solutions which are presented to the G20 Leaders Summit for consideration in their discussions.

This year’s youth summit examined Growth and Job Creation, Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development.

Khumalo (30) said being a leader proved to be a huge responsibility with the location of members in different provinces being a major challenge.

As a graduate of Development Studies, Political Science and Public Policy, Khumalo has a keen interest in South Africa’s foreign policy on global issues such as international security, energy security and climate change.

He is currently a member of the Black Management Forum (BMF) Young Professionals and works in the Patents and Designs Unit of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria.

During the Youth Summit, delegates participate in conferences and workshops with high profile speakers and recognised experts discussing topics such as food security, poverty, sustainable development, and the global financial and international monetary system.

The role of each delegate is to:

· engage with other delegates to enable them to represent the views of young people in their country

· liaise with the head delegate to contribute to pre-summit discussion with delegates from other countries in the period prior to the Summit

· contribute to policy recommendations for G20 leaders on behalf of G20 youth

· generate wider community understanding and recognition of the work of the Y20 and the G20

· to participate actively in the Y20 Summit

· follow up on policy recommendations and action plans coming out of the Y20 Summit and wider consultations.

Khumalo, who has a disability after developing poliomyelitis as a child, previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), a think tank based at UKZN.

He is an advocate of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, particularly as it relates to policies of the South African government as a signatory state.

Khumalo is reading for a Master of Social Science in Public Policy degree at UKZN.

-          Sithembile Shabangu

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Masters student Presents a Paper at the 4th International Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference

Masters student Presents a Paper at the 4th International Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference
Ms Joanita Rwebangira.

Ms Joanita Rwebangira, a Masters student in International Relations at UKZN, presented her research paper “Advancing Women rights discourse in conflict regions: A case study of the Northern Uganda Crisis”, at the Fourth International Africa Peace and Conflict Resolution Conference.

Themed “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Peace Studies in Africa: Lessons, Prospects and Challenges”, the Conference was hosted by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) in partnership with the Centre for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) and was held in Sandton, Johannesburg. 

The Conference was attended by more than 60 delegates from countries around the world. Ms Rwebangira was the only delegate from UKZN. Speakers at the Conference included top researchers in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Peace Studies in Africa.

This international gathering addressed gaps in knowledge and research on various ADR mechanisms as well as peace and conflict resolution initiatives and their impact of reducing conflicts, increasing peace and development, and promoting social justice within the African context. The Conference also attempted to identify best practices, common challenges and prospects in addition to providing space for networking, self-assessment, reflection and innovation among practitioners, academics, policymakers, and donors who participated in the conference.

Ms Rwebangira, whose research centres on women’s rights, mostly focuses on human rights violation in conflict regions and justice for the victims of conflict in Northern Uganda, and on post conflict recovery. In her paper she exposed how the process of post conflict recovery is excluding women, thus their limited contribution and participation in peace building including as well as sustaining the peace. Rwebangira’s contributions were insightful and inspired much discussion among delegates.

She provides insight to the effects of conflict on the progress of women in post conflict recovery using Northern Uganda as a case study. Violence in Northern Uganda perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has continued for over two decades. Women and children have thus remained the most vulnerable, subjected to human rights violations.

The intensity of women rights violation, and the mostly sexual violence and torture related offences, is a solemn hindrance to physical and psychological health of women. This demonstrates the urgent need to address these conflict related criminal offences against women’s rights in the region of Northern Uganda.

Addressing the violation of women’s human rights and interrogating the delayed efforts to respond to these concerns by government and international organisations, was the major concern in Rwebangira’s paper.

Funding for Rwebangira was made possible through the Student Co-curricular Fee which is administered by the Student Services Division.

-          UKZNdaba Online

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UKZN Student the Youngest Delegate to Present at International Music Symposium

UKZN Student the Youngest Delegate to Present at International Music Symposium
Mr Lebogang Sejamoholo and Mr Nhlakanipho Ngcobo.

A student presentation on the shifting relevance of revolutionary songs in South Africa captured the attention of international delegates at the Symposium of the ‘International Conference for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology’, hosted by the University of Fort Hare in East London.

Nhlakanipho Ngcobo (22), an Honours student in Applied Ethnomusicology at the UKZN School of Music, was invited by ICTM to deliver a presentation of his research work which focused on the relevance and impact of traditional revolutionary songs on the youth of today“New African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and South African Students Congress (SASCO) Revolutionary Songs: New Meaning”.

Ngcobo presented a short ethnographic film titled: ‘Y-tjukutja ANC’. The film provides some insight into the way in which the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) used popular culture to campaign for their party during elections. It shows visuals of demonstrations on campus and at ANC election rallies where youth are seen singing revolutionary songs that are remnants of the struggle for liberation from apartheid. His research explores how the historic songs have “new meaning” and are for example used to influence voting patterns.

Ngcobo’s research revealed that many old revolutionary songs have been modernised to reflect the present day. His film shows how a Disk Jockey at a rally played fusion sounds that combined revolutionary songs with contemporary house music.

Some ANCYL members are filmed singing songs such as “Mshiniwami” (my machine gun) and Dubul’ ibhunu (Kill the Boer) with the same energy and buoyancy of ANC stalwarts before them. Ngcobo says his research highlights how the youth of today have a different interpretation of those songs, ‘When the song Mshiniwami is sung, people are not referring to the MK (Umkhonto We Sizwe) that were the military wing of the ANC, they are singing about power, the power of the ANC and of the people of this country today. They are also reminding people of the contribution Jacob Zuma made during the struggle years.’

Likewise, an ANCYL member, Thanduxolo Sabelo, interviewed by Ngcobo in his film, says the controversial Dubul’ ibhunu song should not be taken literally, that the song is interpreted by the members of the ANC to be about challenging a system and not meant to incite violence against a particular race group.

Ngcobo’s study shows how the struggle songs of the apartheid era hold strong and have been preserved, ‘The songs are a part of traditional music that has an impact on communities. Every song is powerful as it tells a story, it evokes emotion and informs society. Through the song, you learn the history of the community and the country,’ he said.

Supervisor and Head of School of Music, Dr Patricia Opondo says Ngcobo’s research was ‘impressive’.

Tutor Lebogang Sejamoholo assisted Ngcobo with his research and accompanied him to the ICTM Symposium. Both students said they were extremely honoured to have been given the opportunity to travel and attend the symposium, ‘We got to meet Ethnomusicologists from around the world and present on such a high level. The conference was interesting and inspiring, it encourages us to want to be presenting papers at future conferences and to be just like them (professional Ethnomusicologists). We exchanged information, we learnt so many new things and we visited a museum with traditional music instruments we had never seen before,’ said Sejamoholo.

When out of the classroom symposiums, delegates were treated to a visit of the University’s National Heritage and Cultural Studies Centre (NAHECS), ANC Archives and De Beers Gallery of African Arts. And towards the end of the conference programme travelled to attend the annual National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Sejamoholo says this was a bonus experience they were thrilled about. ‘We got to tour the International Library of African Music (ILAM) and attended a special workshop where we learnt how to make a traditional Xhosa music instrument, this is something we would never have imagined.’

Ngcobo says it was a life-changing inspiring experience that has motivated him to continue with his studies.

ICTM is an international organisation that sees the collaboration of experts on traditional music from around the world. It highlights the significant role of traditional music in communities all over the world.

Ngcobo and Sejamoholo’s opportunity of attending the ICTM Symposium was funded by UKZN’s Student Services Division. Through the Student Co-curricular Fee, students are assisted to partake in various co-curricular activities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, summits and training and exchange programmes.

According to the Executive Director of Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, in 2013 they were able to support students who engaged in numerous programmes in various countries including the UK, USA, Ghana, Sweden, Germany and in and around South Africa. This year the fund continued to support students—with the only challenge being that the demand was much higher for limited resources.

-          Sejal Desai

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UKZN Choir Surpasses its Rivals at the South African Tertiary Institution Choral Association (SATICA) 2014

UKZN Choir Surpasses its Rivals at the South African Tertiary Institution Choral Association (SATICA) 2014
The UKZN Choir performing at an event.

It came as no surprise that the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Choir outshone its competitors in the South African Tertiary Institutions Choral Association (SATICA) of 2014.

The UKZN Choir participated in a seven day competition that was held at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. Other universities in the group included the University of Fort Hare, University of Western Cape, University of Limpopo, Vaal University of Technology, Tshwane University of Technology, and Mangosuthu University of Technology.

The competition was tough, but the UKZN Choir was victorious and beat all these competitive universities with its vocal prowess. The Choir was exposed to various talents from other universities from which a lot was learnt.

The phenomenal performance of the UKZN Choir was as follows:

-  Under the Standard Category the UKZN Choir was crowned National Champions of SATICA and was awarded the Gold trophy (1st prize) for African and Western Piece.

- The Choir won the Glass trophy for being an outstanding choir in terms of the overall performance.

-  The Choir further won a Medal for the Quintet performance and for best Conductor.

Funding for the Choir was made possible through the Student Co-curricular Fee which is administered by the Student Services Division. The Choir continues to fly the UKZN flag high!

- UKZNdaba Online

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Student Services Staff at the Golden Key International Summit in Boston

Student Services Staff at the Golden Key International Summit in Boston
Ms Sheri Seetal, Primary Advisor, Golden Key- UKZN, receives the Key Chapter Award from Dr Derek Swemmer, Chair of the Board of Directors of Golden Key International and Registrar of the University of the Free State.

Ms Sheri Seetal, the Primary Advisor for the Westville campus Golden Key Chapter, attended the Golden Key International Summit in Boston in the United States from 28 July to 3 August 2014. 

With 531 delegates from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia and Australia, South Africa was well represented and had the highest number of delegates registered – 98 in total.

The keynote speakers included Ethan Zohn, the 2002 winner of “Survivor” who is also a cancer survivor, and Jerry Greenfield from Ben and Jerry Homemade Inc., the co-founder of one of the biggest ice-cream franchises in the United States.  Both speakers were inspiring and shared entrepreneurial hints and tips in their presentations.  Life skills learnt from their experiences and challenges faced in terms of their successes were well received by the delegates.

Both Advisors and students benefitted immensely from the presentations, workshops, poster presentations, community projects, careers fair and the pre-summit tours.  The pre-summit programmes allowed for interpersonal interactions, meetings and greetings.  There were numerous opportunities for networking and collaborations. 

The highlight of Ms Seetal’s expedition was the visit to Harvard University.  ‘Although it was an experience to be on the campus it was disappointing that the University was closed and there was no opportunity to meet the staff and visit the various departments,’ said Seetal.

Seetal chaired a session titled “Billhighway Best Practices: Hints and Tips”.  The presentation was on Billhighway’s system and highlighted the different aspects of the system and how Chapter Officers and Advisors could use it to control and manage chapter funds.  It is software specially designed for the financial management of Golden Funds. 

UKZN, UCT and Stellenbosch delegates received awards for the number of projects completed – which was a pleasant surprise and well received.

- UKZNdaba Online

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