Planning an Academic Career Explored at Workshop


Academics from the College of Law and Management Studies attended a seminar where they heard about how to plan and develop a successful career.

The seminar, facilitated by the College’s Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley,  involved UKZN’s prolific researchers, Professor Shannon Hoctor and Professor Mike Kidd from the School of Law as well as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialisation, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, engaging with academics about long-term planning for NRF-rating, funding and the importance of research and publication.

Carnelley said the aim of the seminar was to get academics to look 20 years hence and assess what they should be doing to ensure they maintained a balance between teaching and research and were aware of opportunities they could take advantage of to further their careers.

Speaking about the importance of research and publication, Hoctor told academics they needed to build their profiles by presenting at conferences and covering all aspects of their work through short and long term planning.

‘As an academic, you have to be an expert in your field and conferencing gives you the opportunity to do that. It lets people know what you are doing and allows other scholars in your field to give feedback on your research which is important,’ he said.

Hoctor also spoke about the importance of mentorship, how to formulate research ideas and the importance of honing teaching skills.

‘As you mature as an academic, you have a responsibility to mentor your students and to remain passionate about your field so that you can publish articles which identify you as an expert in your field.  You have to divide your time adequately between teaching and learning and seek knowledge through reading and writing,’ he said.

Planning for NRF rating was the topic of the presentation by Kidd who is an NRF-rated researcher. He shared his experience of going through the process as well as what the benefits are of an NRF rating for an academic and the University.

Ramjugernath’s presentation, titled: “Building your Research Profile: Tips and Experiences”, emphasised that being an academic or a researcher was not just a job but also a lifestyle aimed at developing the next generation of leaders.

‘‘An academic career is all about having a great support system, collaboration and linkages. You have to use every opportunity to incorporate research in your teaching because undergraduate students are impressionable so you need to show them that research can be used as a vehicle for social upliftment,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Celebrates 10 Years of Excellence

UKZN Celebrates 10 Years of Excellence
UKZN’s Founding Chair of Council and Alumnus, Dr Vincent Maphai presented the keynote address during the University’s 10-year celebration.

UKZN celebrated its 10-year anniversary in style with a commemorative dinner held at the MH Joosub Hall on the Westville campus.

‘Reflecting on the distinctive period, UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, said: ‘As we close these 10 years, remember that all of you are part of the history of the University…we are the only successful merger, others have failed and one was disbanded.’

The event, directed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi, highlighted the University’s decade of achievements, hardships and role as a leading light on the Higher Education landscape.

The event also reflected on the solid foundations laid to take the University to the next chapter.

During his keynote address, UKZN’s Founding Chair of Council and Alumnus, Dr Vincent Maphai, commended the Vice-Chancellor and his team for their achievements. ‘Walk tall, you produced an excellent university…take this moment and thrust us into the next decade.’

Maphai told the audience that the clear ‘unambiguous political’ mandate they received from the then Minister of Education, Dr Kader Asmal, was to ‘make the merger work’, adding that the important principle of management was to give clear direction about what was needed and to provide the necessary support.

Maphai said the job of Council was simple but not easy. ‘The role of Council is to give direction, appoint an executive management to execute duties, resource that management, and hold that management accountable.’

He said as Council, they led by example, tightening succession issues which meant changing and reducing the term of Council. ‘When your time comes, please go…please make sure this culture is rooted in the University.’

He said there was role clarity between Council and management. He pleaded with Council not to spend one minute more than they were needed at the University, and to respect their role.

Maphai said the hands of Councillors should not be stained by corruption and they should have one prime aim – to serve the University. 

Reflecting on the merger, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, said: ‘Our success and standing can be evaluated. I am proud to claim to be part of the legacy of this past decade…there is more work to be done, but we are well on our way.’

She said the achievements included the rise in the number of students graduating from UKZN, the increase in research produced by the University and the high number of staff now studying and graduating with PhDs.

‘UKZN is truly a reflection of the new South Africa.’

Maphai commended the role played by UKZN’s first Chancellor Dr Frene Ginwala and also the quality of the Student Representative Council and Unions during the merger. He urged academics never to relent on the principle of excellence.

To distinguish themselves from other universities, Maphai urged UKZN to become number one in research in his lifetime, to build a social identity of members and graduates of the University and to inform public policy and debate.

The event also saw the launch of the 10-year commemorative UKZNTOUCH 2014 publication.  UKZNTOUCH is the annual flagship publication of the University aimed at alumni, opinion makers, strategic partners and donors.

The 2014 edition of the magazine features the theme: “Excellence through Transformation”, to commemorate 10 years of the merger. The articles feature ground-breaking research and teaching and learning initiatives, key partnerships, community engagement initiatives, and major infrastructure developments, prominent alumni profiles; and major news announcements achieved over the past decade.

Other prominent guests included the eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo; UKZN’s Chair of Council, Mrs Phumla Mnganga; and former Chair of Council, Mr Mac Mia.  Members of Council, Executive Management, Alumni, Student Representative Council members, staff and students also attended.

Entertainment was provided by Themi Venturas Productions, the Young Black Mambazo and the UKZN Jazz Band.

Sithembile Shabangu

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Community Engagement with Service Learning workshop

Community Engagement with Service Learning workshop
Participants in the Community Engagement with Service Learning Workshop at the UNITE Building.

The College of Humanities Teaching and Learning Unit recently hosted a Community Engagement with Service Learning workshop at the UNITE Building.

The workshop was facilitated by Pietermaritzburg-based academics Professor Julia Preece of the School of Education and Dr Desiree Manicom, Senior Lecturer in the postgraduate Policy and Development Studies Programme and academic leader for community engagement in the School of Social Sciences.

The workshop focused on their collaborative and recently completed action research project - funded by the NRF and UKZN TLRG - that investigated the experiences of incorporating service learning with community engagement activities.

Speaking at the workshop, College Dean for Teaching and Learning, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa, said community engagement was an important component in the College and fitted into the goals of the University’s strategic plan.

Manicom said Goal 2 of the Humanities Strategic Plan made provision for the operationalisation of the University’s goal on responsible community engagement within the College. The document titled: “Framework for the Recognition of Responsible Community Engagement”, provides a framework for the implementation of Goal 2 of UKZN’s Strategic Plan.

Manicom said to realise these goals ‘we need to establish the proper infrastructure for community engagement in the College and to allow for a database of scholarly understanding of community engagement and to build research and scholarship initiatives around community engagement through research links with communities within the schools at the University’.

The research project comprised eight case studies conducted on the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus which began with stakeholder consultations followed by implementation and evaluation of the case studies over 12 months.

The Community Engagement with Service Learning (CELS2) project tackled the challenge of how to address the competing goals and values of student service learning course requirements and those of community organisations in order to enhance university contributions to local development needs.

Preece spoke about the study’s key findings highlighting that dedicated community engagement staff should be allocated to facilitate Service Learning and Community Engagement within the College. ‘We also need to look at establishing an infrastructure for community engagement in the University for funding and matching courses to community lead initiatives. Feedback loops should also be built into the service learning timetable.’

Workshop participants raised issues on strains that hinder proper community engagement such as territoriality, accusations and even misunderstandings among researchers and communities.

In response to the issue, Manicom emphasised that ethical considerations should be dealt with more especially in establishing and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship between researchers and communities.

‘NGOs can often act as intermediaries between researchers and communities. It must be remembered that research should in some way be linked to local context and community problems and needs. Feedback on the research outcomes should be shared with the communities as this should assist them in resolving their problems within their communities.’

In the group discussion, workshop participants shared their ways in which different disciplines could contribute to community engagement activities and ways in which service learning and community engagement could become research activities.

Mr Linda Mbonambi of Area Based Management within the eThekwini Municipality pointed out that service learning and community engagement could lead to co-authored publications between students and their supervisors. ‘In support of social cohesion, the research that comes out from these activities should be made more accessible to community members and creative platforms should be created to inform communities about these research findings.’

Further discussion points emerged such as that the research should be translated into some of the African languages to make it more accessible and easier to decipher and that by doing participatory research, the researcher ensures that the community becomes a part of the study.

Hlongwa closed the workshop saying, ‘We need to move a step forward in addressing community engagement issues and we will follow this up possibly next year with a working framework.’

Melissa Mungroo

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Social Work Academic Awarded Honorary Doctorate

Social Work Academic Awarded Honorary Doctorate
Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul.

Social Work academic, Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul, who was recently acknowledged for excellence and scholarship in the School of Applied Human Sciences, was recently awarded an Honorary Doctoral degree from Mid Sweden University. 

In awarding the degree, amidst a host of age-old European traditions, the University acknowledged Professor Sewpaul’s contribution to global social work, human rights and social justice, and more specifically to the critical and radical thrusts in teaching and research at Mid Sweden University. 

‘It felt a bit surreal for a while. I was totally astounded when I received the news from Mid Sweden University as I was unaware of the nomination.  They had my CV as I served as a discussant for a PhD and gave some lectures there, and they were aware of my work on a global level.  On the basis of that, the Department of Social Work at Mid Sweden University nominated me.  I feel truly honoured to be acknowledged in this way.  It is something that rarely happens to academics so it is very special.’

Sewpaul’s family is both proud and overjoyed at her achievement. ‘There were lots of congratulations and well wishes; that I serve as a source of hope and inspiration.  My sister cried and said: “It’s about time!”  She said that she was so pleased that people were seeing what I was worth and rewarding me for it, and that if my mum were still alive she would be so proud of her youngest daughter.’

Social Work lecturer Dr Tanusha Raniga spoke highly of her friend and colleague, saying: ‘We are really proud that Prof Sewpaul was selected by Mid-Sweden University to receive an honorary doctorate. We believe that this is a well-deserved accolade as Prof Sewpaul’s passion for Social Work is evident in her scholarship, teaching and community activism, her service on several national structures in SA, in her role as President of the Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa and as Vice President on the Board of the International Association of Schools of Social Work.’

The College of Humanities Acting Dean for Research Professor Donal McCracken further added, ‘Professor Sewpaul is an excellent manager and leader. She has a profound and deep sense of justice which results in an ethical ethos permeating through any project she is associated with. We are proud to have someone of such standing in the School of Applied Human Sciences.

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UKZN Alumnus Captain of Legends Rugby Ream

UKZN Alumnus Captain of Legends Rugby Ream
Ryan Strudwick, Craig Joubert and Stuart Berry.

UKZN alumnus Ryan Strudwick has been re-appointed as captain of the South African Legends rugby team.

Strudwick, who returned to his alma mater as forwards coach during the 2014 FNB Varsity Shield campaign, will lead the SA Legends in the annual World Rugby Classic in Bermuda. The Legends will compete against the Classic Lions as well as the national veterans teams of New Zealand, Italy, United States, France and Argentina for the coveted Bermuda title.

Strudwick played for University of Natal teams from 1992 to 1996, when he graduated with a B Agric Mgt. He then went on to play professionally for the Sharks and London Irish.

Meanwhile, UKZN alumnus Craig Joubert and Stuart Berry have been appointed by the International Rugby Board as match officials for the November internationals in the northern hemisphere. 

Berry will take charge of the Canada v Namibia match in Colwyn Bay, and will officiate as assistant referee for Scotlands Murrayfield clash with New Zealand and the France v Argentina match in the Stade de France. 

Joubert will control proceedings in the historic USA v All Blacks match in Chicago as well as Wales v Australia in Cardiff and Italy’s Test match against Argentina in Genoa, and will then return to the Millennium Stadium as assistant referee for Wales encounter with New Zealand.

Good luck to our old boys!

Mark Schulze 

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Postgraduate Students Impress at Research Day

Postgraduate Students Impress at Research Day
Postgraduate students listen to presentations at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s recent annual Research Day.

Postgraduate students at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science gave poster and oral presentations at the College’s annual Research Day held on the Westville campus.

Students were welcomed by UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Jonathan Blackledge, who described the day as a flagship event for the College, where the cream of its masters and PhD students showcased their cutting-edge research initiatives through about 50 oral and 70 poster presentations.

‘Knowledge leaders are essential in the rapidly changing and information-rich world of today,’ said Blackledge. ‘This annual Postgraduate Research Day, which is hosted by the College, is evidence of its commitment to nurturing young research minds. Participants, you are the knowledge leaders of tomorrow.’  

Blackledge said the day provided a challenging and competitive environment for postgraduate students to present their scholarly work, via posters and presentations, to an academic but supportive audience, while at the same time disseminating knowledge. 

He pointed out that the College led the University in the output of research and its number of masters and PhD graduands.  It also claimed 22 of the top 30 spots in UKZN’s leading researcher list and was home to six Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation National Research Chairs (SARChI Chairs). 

There were more than 50 well-established research groups active within the College, he said, with research grants annually exceeding R200 million.

Presentations covered the full gambit of research being undertaken in the College in the fields of Engineering; Chemistry and Physics; Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science; Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences; and the Life Sciences.

Participants were assessed by a panel comprising both UKZN academics and industrial judges who hailed from a variety of companies, including Umgeni Water, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Eskom, the National Research Foundation, the Technology Innovation Agency, the Water Research Commission, Pat Naidoo Consulting Engineers, and the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.  The judges were complimentary about the standard and quality of presentations and the variety of research being undertaken.

After an intensive day the function ended with the awarding of the prizes sponsored by the University Research Office, Schools within the College, as well as the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the NRF, eThekwini Municipality, CSIR, Thrip, Transnet, Inqaba Biotec, Whitehead Scientific, Reutech, DLD Scientific, Sasol, Illovo Sugar and Eskom. 

Prizes included sponsorship to attend an international or local conference.

First prize winners in the oral presentations for the different sessions included:  Mr Simo Mthetwa  of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science whose topic was: “Minimal Degrees of Faithful Permutation Representations of Finite Groups”;  Ms Lucy Ombala of the School of Chemistry and Physics, who spoke on “Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotubes as Supports for Pd Nanoparticle Catalysts”; Ms Stephanie Hayman of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who presented on the use of “Foraminiferal Assemblages in Determining the Palaeoclimatic Record of Two-Mile Reef, Sodwana Bay”, and Mr Chika Chukwuma of the School of Life Sciences, who spoke on the effect of “Xylitol on Normal and Type 2 Diabetic Rats”.

Second prize winners were: Mr Vusi Magagula of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, who presented on “Bivariate Spectral Collocation Based Quasilinearisation Method for Solving Non-Similar Boundary Layer Equations”; Mr Olusola Bodede of the School of Chemistry and Physics, who spoke on “Phytochemical and Biotechnological Studies of Zanthoxylum Capense:  an Endangered South African Medicinal Species”; Mr Nyasha Chiurayise of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who presented on “Introgression of Aflatoxin and Fumonisin Contamination Resistance Genes in Maize Hybridas”; and Ms Lauren Eyssen of the School of Life Sciences, who presented on the “Recombinant Characterisation of the Virulence Factor, Metacaspase 5, From T. Congolense”.

In the poster category, first prizes went to Ms Kimona Kisten of the School of Chemistry and Physics, whose theme was “Elemental Distribution and Uptake by Watercress (Nasturtium Aquaticum) as a Function of Water Quality”; and Ms Nolubabalo Ndlaliso of the School of Life Sciences, whose topic was “Modelling of Hydrogen Production from Synthetic Wastewater as a Function of Hydraulic Retention Time and Organic Substrate Concentration)”.

Second prizes were awarded to Ms Thembisile Zaca of the School of Chemistry and Physics and Ms Depika Dwarka  of the School of Life Sciences

The event, attended by about 300 students, staff and industrial visitors, was declared a resounding success.  ‘The College pulled off a great Research Day,’ said guest speaker, Professor Kesh Govinder, who provided some fascinating insights into the concept of symmetry and its various applications to both physical and mathematical problems in his keynote address

 Sally Frost

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Innovative Projects at Mechanical Engineering Open Day

Innovative Projects at Mechanical Engineering Open Day
A Flying Car, designed by Mr Kevlin Govender, Mr St John Darryl Nelson, Mr Euvenptheran Naidoo and Mr Erlank Slabbert, won the hotly contested Peer Prize at the UKZN Mechanical Engineering Open Day.

UKZN’s School of Engineering building and car park were abuzz with activity when final year Mechanical Engineering students showcased projects they created through hard work and creative thinking.

It was Mechanical Engineering Open Day - always an eagerly anticipated annual event on the University’s calendar.

The Design and Research Project module requires fourth year students to work in groups of three to four on a given mechanical engineering problem.  They have the year to come up with a practical and innovative solution.

‘These projects simulate a professional working environment in which students have to apply Engineering knowledge gained during their studies to achieve specified project objectives while keeping within predetermined budgets,’ said academic leader for Mechanical Engineering, Professor Glen Bright.

Assessment of the projects is structured in accordance with the Engineering outcomes required by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

‘The focus of this Open Day was to highlight the hard work and technical achievements of our final-year students,’ said Bright.   Altogether 21 projects involving 76 students were wheeled out for public consumption. 

Projects ranged from designing a hybrid rocket propulsion system, to an automated beer production system, a hydropower plant, an off-road vehicle for game reserves, a green building, a 3-D metal laminate printer, a flying car, and a solar car.  

Overcoming stiff competition, Mr Nirish Brijnath, Mr Curtis Louw, Mr Dylan Morford and Mr Hloniphani Ntuli won the Autodesk Engineering Prize for their project on Electromagnetic forming of Meso-Scale Features in Thin Metal Foils. 

The UKZN Solar Car with a student team comprising Mr Damien Raghubeer, Mr Saien Rugdeo, Mr Peter Sinclair, Mr Shuvay Singh, Mr Nicholas Witteveen and Mr Matthew Woods, won Best Project in Category 1. 

Best Project in Category 2 went to Mr Creason Chetty and Mr Chikhar Maharaj for their innovative Hybrid Rocket Propulsion System.

The Best Industrial Project was a Sugar Store Valve designed by Mr Innocent Khumalo, Mr Menzi Mgenge and Mr Siphsethu Khuzwayo; whilst the Flying Car, designed by Mr Kevlin Govender, Mr St John Darryl Nelson, Mr Euvenptheran Naidoo and Mr Erlank Slabbert won the hotly contested Peer Prize.

As the exciting and innovative afternoon came to an end, Bright declared Mechanical Engineering Open Day 2014 a resounding success.

Sally Frost

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Prevalence of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Examined

Prevalence of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Examined
Dr Nombulelo Magula.

The Acting HOD in UKZN’s Department of Medicine, Dr Nombulelo Magula, presented her study titled: “Prevalence of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in Patients Presenting with a Large Pericardial Effusion at King Edward VIII Hospital”, at the College of Health Sciences Research Symposium.

The study aimed to determine the prevalence of drug resistant tuberculosis in patients admitted at King Edward VIII Hospital with a pericardial effusion.

According to Magula, the prevalence of drug resistant tuberculosis is high in South Africa but its frequency in patients with pericardial tuberculosis is unknown: ‘The burden of TB in South Africa is severe and its intersection with HIV leads to unusual and complicated forms of TB. The study highlights the importance of performing invasive investigations to confirm the diagnosis of TB pericarditis. Failure to do so might lead to inappropriate therapy and unfavourable outcomes.

The study focused on the management of TB pericarditis which, according to Magula is a dangerous form of TB that can cause fluid build-up and compression of the heart killing a quarter of those who contract it. ‘Drug resistant TB is a type that does not respond to standard medications and is more difficult to treat.’

A cross sectional study was conducted on adult participants with a clinical diagnosis of TB pericarditis who enrolled in the Investigation of the Management of Pericarditis (IMPI) study from October 2009 to August 2013. Diagnostic and therapeutic pericardiocentesis was performed where suitable as well as biochemistry, microscopy, liquid culture (MGIT 960), line probe assay and cytology.

Magula’s research was a sub-study of a much larger clinical trial on the use of steroids in treating TB pericarditis. The clinical trial found that the addition of steroids to TB treatment in patients with TB pericarditis made no difference to their mortality rate. ‘More importantly, in HIV infected patients, steroid treatment increased the risk of cancer. However, steroids offered benefit by reducing fibrosis and scarring around the heart,’ she explained.

Central to the clinical trial was establishing the diagnosis of TB pericarditis. The goal of the sub-study was to establish the prevalence of drug resistant TB. ‘We aspirated the fluid collection caused by TB around the heart (pericardiocentesis). Laboratory tests found Multi-drug and Extremely drug resistant TB in 10% of patients who had TB identified by microscopy or culture.’

According to Magula the clinical trial was the first multi-national trial of TB pericarditis and the largest trial of the use of steroid therapy in HIV-associated TB.

‘Identification of drug resistant TB following pericardiocentesis, underscores the importance of performing this procedure in patients with a presumed diagnosis of TB.’

The parent study enrolled 1 400 patients with TB pericarditis from 19 hospitals in eight African countries.

Magula, who said research funding was a major challenge in conducting the study, is currently finalising her PhD thesis on “Metabolic Complications of Antiretroviral Therapy” supervised by Professor Umesh Lalloo and Professor Ayesha Motala.

She is Head of the Clinical Unit at King Edward VIII Hospital, a lecturer at UKZN and a member of Council of the College of Physicians of South Africa.

Magula received an award for best Clinical Oral Presentation at this year’s 49th Congress of the Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa for her PhD work.

She also received an award at the 16th International Congress on Infectious Diseases and was invited to present her PhD work at the Emerging African Investigators Symposium. The Medical Research Council has granted her funding to pursue further research on Metabolic Complications beyond her PhD thesis.

Married to an ENT surgeon, Magula has three daughters and is a host-mother to a “daughter” from Michigan on a long-term Rotary exchange.

Running keeps the KwaMashu-born Magula going. ‘Running up hills really does it for me, the steeper the hill the better. I also enjoy gardening and baking.’

Nombuso Dlamini

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Final-Year Students Showcase Health Sciences Research at Annual Symposium

Final-Year Students Showcase Health Sciences Research at Annual Symposium
The winning teams at the School of Health Sciences Young Health Scientists Research Symposium.

A total of 10 research presentations by final-year students from each of the School of Health Sciences disciplines were heard by adjudicators at this year’s successful Young Health Scientists Research Symposium on the Westville campus.

The day was opened by the Dean and Head of School, Professor Sabiha Essack, and led and chaired by Professor Johan van Heerden, Academic Leader for Research in the School, and Dr Shenuka Singh, Chair of the UKZN Humanities and Social Sciences Ethics Committee.

The students had delivered winning presentations in their discipline specific Research Days and now competed at an interdisciplinary level.

The winning presentation - titled: “Preparation and Evaluation of Vancomycin (VCM) Loaded Lipid Polymer Nanoparticles (LPNs) for Bacterial Infections” - in the laboratory-based research category  was delivered by a group of students from the Drug Delivery Research Proto-Unit in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Discipline.

The students observed that nano drug delivery systems were being widely explored to overcome challenges with antibiotics, and LPNs displayed unique advantages of both liposomes and polymeric nanoparticles whilst excluding some of their limitations. There was a lack of data on incorporation of antibiotics into LPNs. Therefore, the aim of their study was to prepare and evaluate LPNs containing VCM.

The study found that VCM-loaded LPNs comprising 20 mg Vancomycin HCl (4 percent loading) and a lipid: polymer ratio of 2:1 displayed best drug entrapment efficiencies and also had activity against both sensitive and resistant bacterial strains.

A group of five Optometry students scooped the prize for clinically-based research in a study where they investigated the effect of Oakley tinted lenses on stereopsis – the visual perception of depth and ability to see three-dimensionally. The study found that colour and transmittance levels did not have an effect on stereopsis but change in retinal illumination adversely affected stereopsis at distance and close up.

A presentation investigating the types of feeding problems, food preference and the relationship to family eating preference in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in South Africa, was presented by award-winning Speech-Language Pathology students in the community-based research category.

The study found that children with ASD in South Africa presented with typical feeding problems and eating preferences of children with ASD. These problems had a significant effect on family life. The lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the Speech-Language Pathologist’s role and specific intervention for feeding were evident clinical implications. Future research implications included direct observation of feeding behaviours and types and success of interventions used.

On the panel of independent adjudicators, which included Professor Andrew McKune and Professor Meshen Pillay, was Professor Johnathan Blackledge, UKZN’s newly appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research. He said one of the most exciting aspects of the health sciences was its diversity and the wealth of different ideas from various disciplines that found a natural role to play involving not only the treatment of illness, but its prevention.

Blackledge said UKZN was one of the world’s premiere centres for health sciences research with pioneering work being undertaken in areas such as clinical immunology, molecular genetics, health informatics, virology and the prevention of HIV, for example.

He delivered an insightful presentation on digital imaging and communication in medicine – one of his areas of expertise. 

A message sent by Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Rob Slotow, said it was of paramount importance for the College to create an enabling environment for research and for intellectual discourse of research, especially amongst its young scientists. ‘A popular measure of academic excellence of an institution is based on the quality and quantity of the research output,’ he said.

In his message, College Dean of Research, Professor Moses Chimbari described the Young Health Scientists’ Research Symposium as a forum which provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to showcase their studies and to gain the experience of public critique annually.

Chimbari said: ‘In recognition of the need to support undergraduates who constitute the pool for future postgraduate enrolment, the College gives imminent honours graduates good academic exposure, and also allows them to be nominated for presenting at a national forum.’

The students were awarded certificates when they presented their studies at discipline level. Adjudicators encouraged all the presenters to stay on and pursue postgraduate studies in the College upon completing their final year at UKZN.

Lunga Memela

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Idinga Ukusekelwa Uhlolovo Imiyalezo Egquqguzela Inhlanzeko Yomlomo

Idinga Ukusekelwa Uhlolovo Imiyalezo Egquqguzela Inhlanzeko Yomlomo
UDkt Shenuka Singh.

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Imibono emisha ngokubaluleka kokugqugquzelwa kwezempilo yomlomo okunobufakazi ibidingidwa ocwaningweni olusanda kuphothulwa uMfundisi noMholi Kwezokufunda e-UKZN eMkhakheni Wezokwelashwa Kwamazinyo, uDkt Shenuka Singh.   

Inkulumo ka-Singh eklonyelisiwe eMhlanganweni wezoCwaningo weKolishi LezeMpilo ibinesihloko esithi : “Izithiyo Zamasiko Ekugqugquzelweni Kwezempilo Yomlomo – Imiphumela Ezinhlelweni Zezempilo Yomlomo”.

Uzosebinzisa izi-R15 000 azizuzile emhlanganweni ukuze ahambele ingqungquthela ezoba kulelizwekazi (i-Afrika) ngonyaka ozayo ezobe inongoti kulo mkhakha.

U-Singh uthe indima nokubaluleka kobufakazi ekugqugquzelweni kwezempilo nokuhlelela ezempilo yomlomo, ikakhulukazi ubunjalo nesimo sobufakazi sekuke kwaba isihloko senkulumompikiswano enkulu. Ucwaningo lwakhe lukhombe izithiyo ezivimbela ukwamukelwa kwenqubo yezempilo yomlomo enobufakazi, ikakhulukazi lezo ezithinta ukugqugquzelwa kwezempilo yomlomo.

Uchazile ukuthi ekuqaleni izeluleko eziningi ebezinikwa iziguli abasebenzi bezempilo yomlomo bezingenabufakazi kodwa bezithathwa njengezizosebenzela zonke iziguli ezingamalungu emiphakathi. Bekuyaye kuphakanyiswe ukuthi isiguli sivakashele udokotela wamazinyo okungenani kabili ngonyaka kodwa kungenasizathu sezesayensi salokhu.

U-Singh ubeke ukuthi yize noma okwenziwa ngamakliniki ezempilo yomlomo kubalulekile kodwa umuntu ngamunye kumele aqwashiswe ukuze azinakekelele yena umlomo wakhe. Inselelo ukunika abantu ulwazi olufanele ukuthi lulethe ushintsho ekuziphatheni kwabo. Ucwaningo luka-Singh lugqugquzela ukuthi uhlelwa kokugqugquzelwa kwezempilo yomlomo nokwenziwa kwakho kususelwe ezinhlelweni nokuhleleka komphakathi ukuze kuqinisekiswe ukuthi wonke umuntu uneqhaza kwezempilo yomlomo nokunakekelwa kwawo.

‘Akusizi ukuthumela imyalezo efundisayo esikhaleni nje. SidingaI ukugqugquzela indawo enokweseka lapho wonke umuntu eqonda ukuthi ukuzinakekela kuyisiqalo sokuba nempilo jikelele.’

U-Singh uthe inhlanzeko yomlomo idinga ukunakwa kakhulu umuntu ngamunye njengenhlanzeko yonke nje, ukudla nokuphila ngendlela efanele. Umphakathi kumele ufunde ukuthi akusikho ukubamhlophe kwamazinyo kodwa ukucwebezela kwawo okubalulekile. Akubalulekile ubumhlophe kodwa ukucwebezela kwawo.

‘Yize abasebenzi bezempilo bengeke banikezele ngohlelo lokudla olusebenzela futhi olungenela iphakethe lawo wonke umuntu kodwa kubalulekile ukuthi abantu bazijwayeze izindlela ezilula zokuzinakekela njengokuxubha kabili ngosuku –ekuseni nasebusuku- besebenzisa umuthi wamazinyo oneflorayidi. Ukuhlanza amazinyo ngokuflosa noma ngamanzi emva kokudla kungasiza nakho ekususeni ukudla nokunye okusuke kungene phakathi namazinyo.”

U-Singh uthe kubalulekile ukuqonda ukuthi iziphuzo ezihlihlizayo, ukudla okunamfukayo nokunoshukela kanye nokunamakhabhohayidrethi amaningi kuneqhaza elikhulu ekuboleni kwamazinyo. ‘Okuyingakho ke kubalulekile ukuthi amaswidi adliwe nokudla kunokuwadla maphakathi nezidlo.’

Ukunakekelwa komlomo ngobufakazi  kunike abacwaningi kulomkhakha ithuba lokubhekisisa abantu abaqeqeshelwe umsebenzi, ezezimali nokuthola izindlela ezinomqondo ezingasetshenziswa uma kukalwa ubufakazi mayelana nezifo zomlomo.

Ezinye izihloko ezivele kulolu cwaningo bekuyilezi: izithiyo ekwamukelweni kokugqugquzelwa kwezempilo yomlomo enobufakazi, izindlela ezingeyizo zokuhlola; ukusetshenziswa ngendlela engafanele kokuhlola ocwaningweni olususelwa ebantwini abayizakhamizi nokuntuleka koxhaso lwezimali.

‘Kubalulekile ukuhlanganisa ubufakazi nezinhlelo ezosiza imiphakathi; okungaba sezikoleni, emisebenzini, emakhaya, ukugqugquzela ukudla ngendlela enempilo, nokwakhiwa kwezinqubomgomo.’

U-Singh uthe amazinyo angama-28 kuya kwangama-32 akubantu abadala ayigugu kakhulu futhi angahlala impilo yonke uma nje ezothola ukunakekelwa okuvikelayo.

uLunga Memela

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Edgewood Environment Forum Promoting an Environmentally Sustainable Society

Edgewood Environment Forum Promoting an Environmentally Sustainable Society
Making a difference - staff and students celebrate Arbor Day by planting yellowwood trees on the Edgewood campus.

The Edgewood Environment Forum (EEF) was formed about 11 years ago to promote sound environmental principles in decisions by UKZN concerning the physical development on the campus conservancy as well as the protection, regulation and improvement of the environment.

The EEF comprises interested staff and students from Edgewood, and members of the Richmond Mariannhill Conservancy and the KZN Conservancy Association.

EEF Chairperson, Dr A James, has made numerous attempts to revise the recycling of waste matter by motivating for the drafting and implementation of a UKZN-wide recycling policy but has been unable to do so, because this appears to be a University matter to be discussed at management level.

The lack of a UKZN-wide recycling policy has not dissuaded staff members at the Edgewood campus, including Dr James, Dr R Mudaly and Mr T Chirikure, from actively engaging with activities under the auspices of the Edgewood Environment Forum.

Ms S Mdabe has been one of the most active students in the activities of the Edgewood Environment Forum.  In January, Mudaly presented the vision and mission of the Edgewood Environment Forum to first year students during the Orientation Week. Subsequently, students and staff engaged with poster displays to commemorate Water Week, as well as poster campaigns to emphasise the awareness of environmental issues. 

A Conservancy seminar was held in September in conjunction with the Richmond Mariannhill Conservancy. Guests, including chemists from the Water and Sanitation Department, discussed issues around water quality in the eThekwini area.

Students also presented service learning projects, where they outlined strategies used to engage learners in environment awareness and health programmes.

Participants discussed issues about employment opportunities related to recycling, as well as the concept of upcycling.  The four Rs - recycle, reduce, re-use and renew- as well as the concept of upcycling, were debated, and members from UKZN ENACTUS presented project details and products in this regard.

Central to the Arbor Day initiative was the planting of yellowwood trees, donated by Mr Mark Liptrot from the Richmond Mariannhill Conservancy.

In a further effort to make the Edgewood environment more informative, the UKZN Facilities Management was contacted by James to provide information boards and plant labels for the indigenous garden which is maintained at Edgewood. In addition, staff and students were invited to display discipline-related items or posters in the display cabinets from October 2014 to December 2015. 

The quest for sustainability at Edgewood is characterised by environmental integrity, economic viability and social equity. Members of the Edgewood Environment Forum believe in the following statement by Margaret Mead:  Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

 Ronicka Mudaly

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Launch of UKZN Book on Teaching and Learning Practices

Launch of UKZN Book on Teaching and Learning Practices
Cutting cake to celebrate the launch of a book written by UKZN academics are (from left) Professor Renuka Vithal, Professor Kriben Pillay and Professor John Mubangizi.

The College of Law and Management Studies Teaching and Learning Unit recently celebrated the launch of the first of its kind, a book that deals specifically with Teaching and Learning.

The book titled: Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies: Shared Approaches, Lessons and Good Practices which was launched at the Colleges Research Day is a compilation of published articles and book chapters authored by the Colleges academics.
College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay’s objective was to bring together material from disparate sources so that there was an increased awareness of what is being accomplished across the College in teaching and learning.

Speaking at the event, UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning Professor Renuka Vithal commended the College for being trailblazers in the field of teaching and learning and said she is looking forward to more publications in future.

‘I would like to congratulate the College of Law and Management Studies for setting the bar so high. We are especially pleased to see an increase of grants that have gone to the College and how they are bearing fruit. When I saw the book I had to send it to the Deans of the other Colleges so that they can also start thinking about doing the same for their Colleges,’ she said.

To commemorate this big occasion, the contributors to the book, namely Dr Shaun Ruggunan, Professor Betty Mubangizi, Professor Manoj Maharaj and Ms Upsana Singh from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Dr Gerry Bokana and Ms Vanessa Tang from the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Graduate School of Business and Leadership academics Ms Cecile Gerwel Proches and Shamim Bodhanya each received the first printed copies of the book along with Ms Fiona Farquharson who edited the book. The book covers five themes:

• Theoretical approaches to teaching and learning.

• Creative pedagogy using simulations and software.

• Teaching, learning and assessment.

• Enhancing student access and throughput Social regeneration through practitioner research and public leadership.

The book will be available in electronic format and at a cost of R40 for the hard copy.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Business Science Students Excel at Business Challenge

Business Science Students Excel at Business Challenge
Winning business challenge team, ManuTech, celebrate their victory.

First year Bachelor of Business Science students experienced the practical side of theory they have been learning in class when they participated in the annual Integrated Business Studies (IBS) Business Proposal Presentation.

The Bachelor of Business Science programme is a four year honours programme offered by the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance with its core module, Integrated Business Studies being facilitated by the College of Law and Management Studies Teaching and Learning Unit.

To test their business acumen, the two groups had the task of coming up with a business concept and developing a proposal presentation that involved the eight main business functions namely, top management, finance,  information technology, marketing, human resources, research and development, corporate social responsibility and operations management.

Both groups presented efficiently showing they understood how the theory they were learning translated into practice but it was the MenuTech team’s electronic restaurant menu pad and menu application that emerged victorious.

The idea aims to replace the standard restaurant printed menu with a digital version. While runner ups, Pronto Pizza pitched the idea of a pizza vending machine that will provide express pizza at university campuses and at Durban Station.

Mr Sam Maramba, who is one of the tutors that worked with the winning team said it was a rewarding experience to see how the students engaged critical thinking when shaping their ideas.

‘Our role as tutors is quite active in helping students change the way they argue, critically analyse points as well as give them confidence in presentations. MenuTech’s proposed business kept up with the current trend of the use of technology in all spheres of our life,’ he said.

‘As the proposal took shape, students were divided into business function groups that resembled an actual company and from there on our involvement was minimal. Group work is never easy especially with deadlines and this was also a good lesson for the students as it was evident through the many complaints they had at first,’ he added.

The event sponsors, Business Partners were impressed by the students innovative ideas and the high calibre presentations.

Thandiwe Jumo

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Foundation for Research Excellence Laid at College Research Day

Foundation for Research Excellence Laid at College Research Day
Research Day overall winners, from left Ms Kerry McCullough, Mr Barry Strydom and Ms Ailie Charteris receiving their prize from Professor Marita Carnelley.

Quality research by 45 academics was showcased at the annual Research Day of the College of Law and Management Studies.

The day, hosted by College Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley, is part of an on-going strategic commitment to build a research ethos in the College through creating a supportive environment where researchers share their research and benefit from feedback and guidelines from their peers.

To cultivate a culture of research excellence, the College of Law and Management Studies recently hosted its Annual Research Day which saw 45 academics showcase quality research done in the College’s various disciplines.

The Research Day was hosted by the College Dean of Research Professor Marita Carnelley. The initiative is part of an on-going College-wide strategic commitment to build a research ethos in the College through creating a supportive environment where researchers, through sharing their research, can benefit from feedback given by their peers. The presentations were divided into various streams: Teaching and Learning, Accounting, Economics and Finance; Business, Leadership and Local Economic Development; Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research; Law and Management, Information Technology and Governance.

Carnelley said: ‘The theme of the day “Growing Academic Research Output” is linked to the provision of support for researchers to make in-roads into the academic environment.’

The day commenced with “An unseemly spat or a case of good manners?” - the title of the entertaining and insightful keynote address delivered by School of Law academic, Professor Tanya Woker. The address focused on the important issue of copyright versus plagiarism and the disastrous consequences that the latter can have on academic career.

‘It is becoming very important, from a career perspective to show how useful your work is and that can only be achieved if your work is cited in other people’s research. Therefore, even a trivial hint of plagiarism can be damaging to an academic because it is an emotionally charged allegation,’ said Woker.

‘You can use other peoples work, but you have to attribute it correctly. Given the importance of having your research acknowledged, academics may feel motivated to pursue claims of plagiarism if they feel they have been ignored or wronged,’ she added.

Amongst the many highlights of the day was the presentation delivered by UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Professor Jonathan Blackledge on economic modelling. Titled: “Financial Time Series Modelling using the Fractal Market Hypothesis from Conception to the Launch of a New Business” the presentation gave an overview of the process of using research as a basis for entrepreneurship: how a new company can be spinned off from research. It was a thought-provoking presentation, touching on history business, law, politics, economics and philosophy. The economists in the College are considering using the forex exchange system to assist with the turnaround strategy!

To inspire the spirit of friendly competition, the papers that were presented were evaluated by independent judges who resulted in the authors of the best papers walking away with great prizes - R5 000 for each of the five stream winners; a R1 000 book voucher for the persons placed second in each stream and a book prize for those in third place.

The overall first place prize went to the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance academics Ms Kerry McCullough, Mr Barry Strydom and Ms Ailie Charteris for their paper titled: “The long-term tracking ability of passive investment products in South Africa”. The study uses an alternative, cointegration based approach to measuring the long-term tracking error passive investments based on the JSE-All Share Index. Unfortunately they have to share the IPad donated by Adams & Adams Attorneys.

It is envisaged that through such initiatives the College of Law and Management Studies will make a valuable contribution to the University’s primary goal of becoming a research led institution.

Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Women’s Sevens Rugby Team Triumphs at Championships

UKZN Women’s Sevens Rugby Team Triumphs at Championships
Sharks XV players.

The UKZN Women’s Sevens rugby team has won the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Sevens championship in Pretoria, beating the University of Pretoria 27-7 in the final.

And in further rugby success for UKZN, students, Siphathisene “Spa” Dube and Shayne Makombe were selected for the Sharks Sevens squad. Dube will travel with the team to the SARU interprovincial Sevens tournament, while Makombe, a Zimbabwe International, remains on standby as the non-travelling reserve. The Sharks Sevens team is managed by this year’s UKZN Impi assistant coach, Ryno Combrinck.

In addition, Nosipho Mkhwanazi and Sizophila Solontsi represented the SA students women’s sevens team.

In the traditional 15-man game, Shayne Makombe, Rico Lategan, Lwazi Ncgungama and Adam Wessels have returned from their tour with the Sharks Clubs XV (the former Natal Duikers), which recently won the SARU Central Amateur Tournament, seeing off their counterparts from the Free State, Griqualand West and Griffons regions. 

Mark Schulze 

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Santa Shoe Box Project 2014

Santa Shoe Box Project 2014
From left: Mr Sharman Singh, Miss Nana Ngcobo, Mr Shaun Naicker, Mrs Tammy Frankland, Mr Reggie Mkhize, and Mr Jabulani Zondi; and (front) Mrs Rowelda Donnelly, Mrs Adeshini McIntosh, Ms Regan Dawson, and Mr Wonderboy Makhaye.

Santa’s helpers have done it again! As a part of a charity drive initiative, staff on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus and some of their friends have made online pledges to the Santa Shoe Box initiative to fill shoe boxes for children on the project’s Christmas list.

The project relies on the passion and generosity of willing volunteers and donations to ensure the delivery of thousands of gifts to children in South Africa.

The contents of the boxes include items such as stationery, toiletries, toys, clothing and sweets.

‘This year the Santa Shoe Box may reach its goal of more than 100 000 pledges for the first time and we are all thrilled to be a part of it,’ said UKZN’s Mrs Tammy Frankland. ‘Our involvement in the project has grown from four people in 2013 to 16 this year. We are confident that our team of Santa’s helpers will grow even further in the future – ensuring the contribution of more shoe boxes from UKZN.’    

              Tammy Frankland

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UKZN Academic Elected President of Population Association of Southern Africa

UKZN Academic Elected President of Population Association of Southern Africa
Recently-elected President of PASA, Ms Nompumelelo Nzimande.

School of Built Environment and Development Studies academic, Ms Nompumelelo Nzimande, has been elected President of the Population Association of Southern Africa (PASA).

PASA is a scientific regional body which brings together population and demography scientists and practitioners, policy makers and development partners on Southern African population issues. It is also a non-profit, non-political, and secular organisation, consisting of individual and institutional members.

‘It is a great honour to be elected as the President of PASA as it shows recognition by my peers in the field of Demography/Population Studies. However, I am also aware of the responsibilities that go with the appointment,’ said Nzimande. She believes she was nominated based on her being a Demographer from an academic institution and having connections with academics both nationally and internationally.

Nzimande is now mainly responsible for ensuring intellectual engagement within the association. There is also a council that will work with Nzimande to ensure the smooth running of the association and its activities.

‘I hope to create an environment for intellectually stimulating engagement in the field of Demography and Population Studies through relevant activities. I also plan to engage in outreach activities to showcase Demography/Population Studies as a field of choice in South Africa. It is a scarce skill that a lot of pupils and students do not know of,’ she said.

Asked about how her election will benefit the School and the Discipline’s students, Nzimande said: ‘The students from BEDS will benefit from the outreach activities. We hope to ensure that students are able to attend and participate in PASA seminars and in the Annual conference in 2015. Furthermore, we will ensure that students participate in the African Population Conference in South Africa in November next year.’

Melissa Mungroo

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Health Professionals Unite for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice

Health Professionals Unite for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice
Health professionals say interprofessional education and collaborative practice are the future.

A new declaration was recently pronounced by health professionals and experts aimed at reaching health equity in South Africa by advocating interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP).

The declaration was announced at a UKZN symposium organised by the School of Health Sciences under the leadership of the Dean, Professor Sabiha Essack, and Ms Dain van der Reyden and Professor Kitty Uys, uniting a body of about 200 professionals from health disciplines across the country.

The delegates felt interprofessional collaboration would provide a more ‘patient-centred approach’ to healthcare in line with addressing prevalent 21st century challenges.

Together with a panel of local and national experts, they agreed that IPECP would improve the quality of care for all South Africans if health professionals stopped working in silos and united towards common purpose – holistic care for patients.

The Symposium resulted in the formation of a new IPECP community of practice which will advocate for the inclusion of interprofessional collaborative practice into scopes of practice and exit level outcomes by all professional councils.

They agreed to advocate for the integration of interprofessional education in health professional curricula at universities; cultivate IPECP competencies among faculty, preceptors and service providers; identify best practice IPECP models and share resources to adapt such models to the South African context as well as to participate in international networks, such as the World Health Organization, informing best practice models.

This community of practice would also utilise network platforms such as the South African Association of Health Educationalists, Academy of Science for South Africa, and the South African Committee of Health Sciences Deans to create an awareness of IPECP; mobilise relevant stakeholders in health, social and educational sectors; as well as conduct collaborative research to inform IPECP in Africa

The Symposium commenced with an address from the President of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), Professor Mochichi Mokgokong, who supported IPECP and reminded delegates that in conjunction with its 12 Professional Boards, the HPCSA was committed to promoting the health of the population, determining standards of professional education and training, and setting and maintaining excellent standards of ethical and professional practice.

Professor Stefanus Snyman of the Interprofessional Education and Practice and Service-learning at the Centre for Health Professions Education at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, gave the keynote address highlighting how an IPECP strategy could result in social accountability, transformative learning and interdependence in education.  He spoke about the three pillars of core competencies, a common approach using the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) framework and education-health harmonisation in addition to challenges and solutions on IPECP implementation. 

A moving trilogy of case presentations featuring patients who needed specialised interprofessional healthcare sparked debates on ways in which IPECP could improve the country’s health system, in both the public and private sectors.

The deliberations indicated that health professionals were not entirely familiar with each other’s scopes of practice. While advocating for their own professions, they also needed to be aware of limitations in their scopes of practice and be able to refer particular cases of patients to the specific health professionals who had the ability to intervene timeously.

Improving the quality of care, respect and understanding for each other’s professions was deemed a priority for all.

It is envisaged that the Community of Practice would be formalised in 2015 and seek affiliation to Higher Education South Africa after which a national conference would be considered to share best practice

Lunga Memela

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Media Lecturer Wins Best Paper Award at Communication Conference

Media Lecturer Wins Best Paper Award at Communication Conference
Ms Sandra Pitcher.

PhD Media and Cultural Studies (Pietermaritzburg) candidate and contract Lecturer Ms Sandra Pitcher won the top prize for the best paper presented at the South African Communication Association (SACOMM) conference in Potchefstroom.

Pitcher’s research, which is based on her doctoral thesis, analysed the representation of former President Nelson Mandela in the work of political cartoonist, Zapiro.  The paper, titled: “Moulding the Myth: An analysis of Zapiro’s Representation of Nelson Mandela 1994-1999”, aimed to critically evaluate the work of Zapiro in line with what it means to be a good political cartoonist.

In her paper, she argued that Zapiro failed to be critical of Mandela’s leadership and, instead, perpetuated ideologies of ‘Mandela the Saint’ and ‘Mandela the Superhero’.  Consequently, it was argued that during Mandela’s reign as President, Zapiro was more political lackey than political watchdog.

Pitcher said she was both shocked and delighted at winning the award (one of only five) at SACOMM’s 40th anniversary gala dinner because so many other excellent papers were presented. She was happy her controversial argument was appreciated by her colleagues from across the country. 

She was also quick to credit her supervisor, Dr Nicola Jones, for guiding her through her studies.  ‘She was incredibly supportive when I wrote the paper, and offered invaluable feedback when I discussed the claims and arguments that I made in it,’ Pitcher said.

Melissa Mungroo

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2015 World Social Science Forum Launched at UKZN

2015 World Social Science Forum Launched at UKZN
From left: Professor Olive Shisana, Mrs Weziwe Thusi, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, and Dr Ebrima Sall.

The World Social Science Forum (WSSF) for 2015 was launched recently at UKZN’s UNITE Building.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said the College was excited to be a part of the upcoming Forum in terms of UKZN’s Memorandum of Understanding with one of the hosts of the Forum, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

The WSSF, from 13 – 16 September 2015 at the Durban International Conference Centre (ICC), will involve policy makers and shapers comprising scientists, politicians, activists, civil society organisations,  labour and business leaders.  They will gather to focus on real-life issues - inequality and injustice - under the theme of: “Transforming Global Relations for a Just World”.

The forum, a flagship activity of the International Social Science Council (ISSC), is being hosted by the HSRC and the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).

These host organisations have partnered with a consortium of more than 13 interested parties, comprising national government departments, leading South African universities - including UKZN’s College of Humanities - science academies, research institutes, research foundations, local and international research councils and prominent non-governmental organisations.

Panellists at the launch were Dr Ebrima Sall of CODESRIA, Professor Cheryl Potgieter of UKZN, the MEC for Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal, Mrs Weziwe Thusi and Professor Olive Shisana of the HSRC.

Speaking at the launch, Potgieter, who chaired the panel, said the College of Humanities was both interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary with the School of Social Sciences housing a large number of social science students able to contribute to the forum as young academics and the next generation of researchers.

‘As the College of Humanities, we understand the importance of recognising and engaging on such social issues. Our young academics will continue to produce and disseminate knowledge to aid in the development of the continent and to transform the global agenda in relation to social change,’ she said.

Potgieter pointed out that Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, had contributed R5 million in support of the WSSF and was one of the confirmed speakers for the conference.

Thusi believes that the Forum will have a radical impact on issues of inequality and social change. ‘This Forum will assist government to address critical issues for social change and will also contribute towards youth development, creating a space for young researchers. We look to UKZN, other universities and the National Research Foundation (NRF) to facilitate this process of contributing to the development of young researchers and in transformation of the country.’

Executive Secretary of CODESRIA, Dr Ebrima Sall, said: ‘We are aware that the sites of the struggles to transform global relations include the knowledge production world itself where the asymmetries of the global order tend to be mirrored. For those of us in Africa and in other parts of the Global South, the 2015 WSSF provides an opportunity to showcase the best of our research and publications, and demonstrate that another world is not only possible: it is a necessity.’

Shisana said the theme was informed by ‘growing inequalities at global, regional, national and local levels and the impact that had on the quality of life of populations as well as on the sustainability of resources necessary to support quality of life.

‘Participants will address trends in inequality and the measurement, nature, manifestations and drivers of this injustice. The forum promises to provide a platform for exciting, informative and insightful discourse.’

She also revealed the structure of the upcoming forum and what delegates and the public could expect next year. ‘The Partners of the WSSF 2015 Forum unanimously agreed to honour Wangari Maathai of Kenya who passed away in 2011 with a lecture held in her name.  This would provide the Forum with an opportunity to acknowledge her role and legacy in advocating scientific research and knowledge.  As this is the first Forum to be held on African soil, it is most fitting to honour one of Africa’s great leaders at this event.’

Potgieter pledged that the College of Humanities would work closely with the HSRC to facilitate a UKZN public lecture series honouring women leaders such as Maathai. This will form part of the College’s strategic goals for 2015.

As a Social Scientist and academic in her own right, Potgieter was nominated and appointed by CODESRIA and the HSRC to co-chair the conference’s Local Organising Committee (LOC).

Melissa Mungroo

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Fine Arts Students Exhibit Work in Pietermaritzburg

Fine Arts Students Exhibit Work in Pietermaritzburg
UKZN Fine Arts postgraduate students (from left) Ms Joanna Smart, Ms Louise Jennings and Ms Paula Hulley.

A collaborative postgraduate exhibition investigating Pattern and Fragment by UKZN Fine Arts students Ms Paula Hulley, Ms Joanna Smart and Ms Louise Jennings was held at the Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg recently.

Smart’s creative practice focused on the cityscape of Durban and the patterns within the city, while the inward journey, with an exploration of the shadow self, set the ground work for Hulley’s deconstruction of the second half of life.

Jenning’s interest in geometry of nature and form was evident in a botanical series in porcelain. Her ceramics include a study of pentagon shapes in porcelain and black stoneware.

Speaking about her artwork, Hulley said: ‘I am intrigued with: “Shadow and an exploration of Self”.

‘Returning to the Centre for Visual Art after a 30-year break, it coincides with my transition from the first to the second half of life. The transition is a personal journey. I explore through the medium of oils in painting: the Self, the Shadow Self and finding catharsis through the visual arts. It is an exciting period of my life: the first half having set the foundation for the second.’

Smart’s artwork contributed to her masters degree and showcases the cityscape of Durban, the buildings and repeat motifs found within. ‘I embellish these paintings a bit to make a utopian view of the city. They are not exact copies of Durban; otherwise they would be ugly and very grey. I also work with fabric and the colours, vibrancy and patterns featured in fabric have influenced my depictions of buildings,’ said Smart.

‘A series in my Masters project features paintings of fabric found around my house - either Persian carpets, Indian throws or prayer mats are painted over some of my works of buildings that I completed for my honours degree last year. This project was experimental and I have brought together the two influences into one picture.’

Said Jennings: ‘My paintings and ceramics have always been about collections and objects that work with each other. They have also always been an opportunity to work with memories and my history.’

Melissa Mungroo

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High Level UKZN Contingent Attends Communication Conference

High Level UKZN Contingent Attends Communication Conference
UKZN delegates (from left): Mr Warwick Jones, Ms Mellisa Mechuna, Ms Merusha Naidoo, Ms Claire Keyworth, Dr Nicola Jones and Mr Amil Umraw.

A seven-strong UKZN team delivered presentations at the South African Communication Association’s (SACOMM) annual Conference in Potchefstroom.

The team comprised Dr Nicola Jones, Academic Leader for  Media and Cultural Studiesthe Centre for Visual ArtDrama and Performance Studies, English Literature and Language, and French Literature and Language, five top Media  Honours students from the Pietermaritzburg campus as well as PhD candidate and Media contract Lecturer, Ms Sandra Pitcher.

 Jones, who was selected to present two papers, was also invited to contribute to a special panel discussion on self-expression and the media, while the Honours students presented the findings of their research projects as part of SACOMM’s emerging scholars’ stream.  Pitcher presented a competitive paper, based on her doctoral thesis, which was awarded best paper.

The UKZN contingent was well-received with two students, Ms Merusha Naidoo and Ms Claire Keyworth, featuring in the SACOMM 40th anniversary newsletter as key up-and-coming emerging scholars. 

Keyworth’s work dealt with the evolution of female characters in Disney Princess movies, while Naidoo presented a controversial paper on the representation of Oscar Pistorius in the press during his trial.

Mr Amil Umraw’s work concerning social responses to domestic violence against men, was praised as a mature and eloquent study in an area where little research had been done.

Quizzed about the experience of taking part in South Africa’s most prestigious and long-running communications conference, student Mr Warwick Jones said it was interesting to engage with other students and lecturers from across South Africa, but more importantly, he appreciated the opportunity to showcase UKZN and the work done by its Media students.

The outstanding work of UKZN’s students was recognised not only by academics, but also private enterprise with three students - Naidoo, Keyworth and Ms Mellisa Muchena - invited by Van Schaik publishers to apply for internships in response to their stellar research and professionalism. 

Melissa Mungroo

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