UKZN Welcomes Dr Albert van Jaarsveld

UKZN Welcomes Dr Albert van Jaarsveld
Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

Dr Albert van Jaarsveld is the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and assumed duty on the 2 February 2015. He was until recently Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation. His career in research, teaching and leadership include academic and management positions at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch, as Dean of Science, Adjunct Professor: Environmental Studies Programme at Dartmouth College, USA, Vice President and more recently, President and CEO of the National Research Foundation.

He obtained his PhD in Zoology from the University of Pretoria. Pursued post-doctoral studies and research in Conservation Biology and Global security in Australia and the UK respectively and completed executive management training at Harvard University. His research work focussed on biodiversity and conservation planning, biodiversity and climate change as well as ecosystem services. He was appointed full Professor at both the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch and has published in excess of 100 primary research papers, including highly cited works in Science and Nature.

During his tenure as CEO of the National Research Foundation, the budget of the NRF increased from R 2bn to R 4bn and the organisation contributed to driving excellence and transformation across the national research landscape. Over this period ISI research outputs increased by 48% and PhD graduations by 57%. The number of NRF rated researchers increased by 56%, black rated researchers by 55% and women rated researchers by 36%. The NRF increased doctoral support by 48% and the global research citation impact of South African science increased by 25% between 2009 and 2014. In addition, SALT became fully operational, Africa won the SKA bid and infrastructure investment at Universities and Science Councils were dramatically increased.Capital investments of R300m were made to rejuvenate the National Research Facilities.  

Dr van Jaarsveld is recipient of numerous Professional Awards, including awards as an Outstanding Young Scientist; Outstanding Academic Achiever; the Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Tuition and Learning from the University of Pretoria; University of Stellenbosch Vice-Chancellors award for Research Excellence; and the Centenary Medal for distinguished career in research, teaching and leadership from the “South African Academy of Science and Arts”. He is co-recipient of the International Zayed prize for the Environment, a member of several professional and academic organisations and associations, including being a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and an elected member of the South African Academy of Sciences.

On the international front, Dr van Jaarsveld has served as co-chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment follow-up: Sub-global assessments; member of the ICSU nominations committee; as IPBES science focal point; Chair of the G8 science ministers Group of Senior Officials on Global Research Infrastructure; and Chair of the International Group of Funding Agencies (IGFA), Co-Chair of the Belmont Forum and as a member of the ICSU review panel (2013-2014).


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Undunankulu Wesifundazwe sase-KZN Weseka Ibhukumininingwane i-Info4africa yaKwaZulu-Natali

Undunankulu Wesifundazwe sase-KZN  Weseka Ibhukumininingwane i-Info4africa yaKwaZulu-Natali
Kusukela kwesobunxele: Nkz Debbie Heustice; Mnu Senzo Mchunu; Isekela LikaSihlalo Womkhandlu WezeNgculazi Kwazulu –Natali, uMnu Patrick Mdletshe, noDkt Sibongiseni Dlomo.

Click here for English version

Amalungu e-info4africa, okuyisizinda esizimele ngaphansi Kwesikole Sezifundo NgeNhlalosintu Elandelwayo, abethamele umhlangano wesibili Womkhandlu Wesifundazwe kwezeNgculazi  eHholo ledolobha eMgungundlovu.

Umqondisi we-info4africa uNkz. Debbie Heustice uthe ‘Sinenhlanhla yokunikezwa isikhala ohlwini olude lokuzodingidwa kulo mhlangano ukuze sethule ibhukumininingwane elisha laKwaZulu-Natali uchungechunge lwesi-7 siphinde sinikezele ngekhophi kuNdunankulu waKwaZulu-Natali uMnu. Senzo Mchunu, noNgqongqosheWesifundazwe wezeMpilo uDkt. Sibongiseni Dlomo.’

Ibhukumininingwane liqukethe ulwazi mayelana nezinhlangano ezilusizo ezevile kwizi-12800 nemininingwane yokuthintana nezinhlaka ezibalulekile zikazwelonke nesifundazwe kanye nezinombolo zesizinda sosizo sikazwelonke. Uhlobo lwebhukumininingwane lwe-PDF noma olukagesi luyatholakala ngothumela isicelo ku- media@info4africa.org.za.

UHeustice uqokwe kulo mhlangano njengelungu lobuBhalane  bomkhandlu wesifundazwe saKwaZulu-Natali wezeNgculazi. ‘Indima edlalwa umphakathi jikelele kuloMkhandlu wezeNgculazi ibaluleke kakhulu. Ukuba yingxenye yobuBhalane bomkhandlu kusho ukuthi singaxoxisana ngqo neHhovisi likaNdunankulu Wesifundazwe ngezindaba zezempilo, inhlalakahle, ukugwenywa kobumpofu njll.  Lapho sizobe simele umphakathi jikelele wesifundazwe,’ usho kanje.

Isizinda sibuye sandisa izinsiza esizihlinzekayo ngokuqala i-app yezingcingo zohlobo we-Android, okuzokwenza ukutholakala kwabahlinzeka ngosizo lwezempilo nolwezenhlalakahle eNingizimu Afrika kube lula. Lolu hlobo lwe-app seluyatholaka kwi-Google Playstore kanti futhi lusiza abalusebenzisayo ukuba babheke abahlinzeka ngosizo lwezempilo noma lwezenhlalakahle abaseduzane nabo ngokusebenzisa ubuchwepheshe be-GPS kumakhal’ekhukhwini wabo noma ngokufaka ikheli labo noma indawo lapho bekhona. Uma sebekutholile abakufunayo, bangacindezela isikhathi eside igama lomhlinzeki ngosizo bese kushayeka inombolo ebhaliwe. Uma kudingeka ukuthi kuyiwe kulabo abanosizo, le-app ikunikeza ibalazwe elilula elizokuholela kubo.

uMelissa Mungroo


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UKZN Student Activist Speaks to Trade Unions in Brazil

UKZN Student Activist Speaks to Trade Unions in Brazil
Mr Thando Manzi.

Community Scholar and Activist from UKZN’s Centre for Civil Society (CCS), Mr Thando Manzi, was recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to speak to members of unions affiliated to the CSP Conlutas federation.

Manzi discussed the shared struggles among Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and in turn promoted the notion of international solidarity between the countries.

He shared recent developments in the South African political sphere, including the expulsion of Numsa from Cosatu.

The death of his best friend who was electrocuted ignited Manzi’s interest in activism. His understanding of why people connected to electricity illegally spurred him to question and challenge government and society struggles, leading to him joining in protest actions.

‘I would leave my home in Cato Manor every day to travel up Rick Turner Road to a former Whites-only Roman Catholic school with the awareness that I risked losing touch with my community which encouraged me to engage in community struggles at a very young age. I began fighting for a united African society because Cato Manor is also a home for immigrants from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, the DRC and Malawi,’ said Manzi.

Manzi was often guided by his activist mother, Ms Faith ka-Manzi, also a scholar at CCS. Speaking about her son and his achievements and his goals for community development, she said: ‘Thando continues to be an inspiration to all of us. Right now he is involved in a community initiated movement in Cato Manor. They meet quite often and are dealing with socio-economic and environmental challenges faced by people in our area.

‘His passion makes him speak out against all kinds of injustices and right now he is engaging with people on a personal and a community level about prejudice against foreign African people as nothing freaks him out like xenophobia. In 2008, while on his way to school, he witnessed a xenophobic attack and vowed to speak out against it. But as a young adult he also does several other things outside the struggle, such as chilling with his friends, poetry and rapping,’ she said.  

As a Dennis Brutus community scholar, Manzi does research on community issues. In 2013, he headed the South Africa section of the University of Olso’s research into urban slums in South Africa, Kenya and India.

He also travelled to Brazil to share South African activists’ experiences with the world soccer organisation, Fifa, ahead of the soccer world cup. ‘I spoke about the protests prior to the world cup and the impact the tournament had on ordinary people’s lives and the economy,’ said Manzi.

He said his goal was to become a role model to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

‘I am currently participating in an initiative started by concerned Cato Manor residents called Umkhumbane Multi-purpose Initiative, which looks at social issues in our community. Our ultimate goal is to start a forum whereby all the Brics nations communities are able to share their struggles and promote international solidarity. This initiative is derived from the Brics from Below organisation but will be called Communities from Below,’ he said.

Manzi has been invited to Brazil in June for an International Network Summit by CSP Conlutas which will be attended by delegates from South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Melissa Mungroo and Nosipho Mngoma


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AIDS Researcher Awarded Prestigious African Union Science Prize

AIDS Researcher Awarded Prestigious African Union Science Prize
His Excellency President Jacob Zuma congratulates Professor Salim Abdool Karim, for receiving the African Union’s annual Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award in the field of Earth and Life Sciences.

‘Research can play a central role in the development and integration of Africa.’ – Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

World-renowned South African AIDS Researcher, Professor Salim Abdool Karim was awarded the most prestigious prize for science in Africa, the $100 000 (R1.1million) Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award presented by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Robert Mugabe, at the African Union General Assembly in Addis Ababa on 31 January. President Jacob Zuma rose from his seat to congratulated Abdool Karim at the AU ceremony. The award was for Abdool Karim’s research on HIV prevention and treatment in Africa. In conferring the award, the African Union Commission acknowledged Abdool Karim ‘for great scientific achievement and contribution through science for the socio-economic development of Africa’.

Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA (Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa), at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said that ‘this award recognises the importance of science and the contributions of scientific innovation in the path to a healthier Africa. Research can play a central role in the development and integration of Africa.’  He said that he was “humbled” by this honour. ‘Science has a key role to play in Africa’s future growth and prospects. Hence, this African Union award has special significance for me as it highlights science for its contribution to Africa’s future.’

One of Africa’s foremost scientists, Abdool Karim is highly respected for his global leadership and seminal contributions in microbicides for HIV prevention in women, HIV vaccines, and HIV-TB treatment that have a profound impact on global health. He has spent over 30 years of his scientific career addressing the HIV and TB epidemics in South Africa and on the African continent.  His research has impacted international policies for HIV prevention and treatment. In one estimate, implementation of his HIV-TB treatment research findings can prevent up to 10 000 deaths each year in South Africa alone. Through his remarkable career he has demonstrated the momentous contribution that innovative multidisciplinary science and medical technology can make to disease treatment, prevention and global health.

In addition to directing CAPRISA, Abdool Karim is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UKZN and Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University in New York.  He is the Chair of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and is Scientific Advisor to the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Until last year, he was the President of the South African Medical Research Council and has just taken up an appointment, a first for an African scientist, on the Editorial Board of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Hoosen Coovadia, Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a leading global HIV scientist paid tribute to Professor Abdool Karim’s contributions, ‘In addition to being an international figure, which is evident from his numerous high-level positions in United Nations Agencies and leading global research institutions, Professor Abdool Karim has distinguished track record for fighting for the rights of the dispossessed and impoverished in South Africa. The apical position of his engagement with science and policy reveals his considerable scientific stature globally and within the continent of Africa.’

Abdool Karim is an advisor to several governments and the world’s leading agencies in AIDS and global health such as the WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP, PEPfAR and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for Global Health of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO Expert Panel on STDs and HIV and the WHO Steering Committee on HIV Treatment Guidelines.  

Smita Maharaj


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Study Sheds Light on the Biophysics of HIV Treatment Drug, lamivudine

Study Sheds Light on the Biophysics of HIV Treatment Drug, lamivudine
Mr Soumendranath Bhakat.

The rapid emergence of different drug resistant strains of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase in relation to viral pathogenesis as well as drug development remains of primary interest for young health scientist, Mr Soumendranath Bhakat.

Born in India, Bhakat is a PhD candidate in the Molecular Modelling and Drug Design Research Laboratory headed by Professor Mahmoud Soliman, the new Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences.

Bhakat presented his compelling Masters research at the 2014 College of Health Sciences Research Symposium.  It was titled: “An integrated molecular dynamics, principal component analysis and residue interaction network approach reveals the impact of M184V mutation on HIV reverse transcriptase resistance to lamivudine”.

The study reported the first account of the molecular impact of M184V mutation on HIV reverse transcriptase resistance to lamivudine – the drug prescribed for the treatment of HIV infection and hepatitis B infection – using a combination of molecular dynamics simulation, binding free energy analysis, principle component analysis and residue interaction networks.

Results from the study confirmed that M184V mutation leads to steric conflict between lamivudine and the beta-branched side chain of valine (amino acid), decreases the ligand lamivudine binding affinity when compared to the wild type, changes the overall conformational landscape of the protein and distorts the native enzyme residue-residue interaction network.

Bhakat said: ‘The comprehensive molecular insight gained from this study should be of great importance in understanding drug resistance against HIV reverse transcriptase as well as assisting in the design of novel reverse transcriptase inhibitors with high ligand efficacy on resistant strains.’

‘The study sheds light on the molecular mechanism of M184V resistance on lamivudine and related changes in conformational landscape of drug binding as well as overall protein conformation. This insight will act as a cornerstone to design novel nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors against drug-resistant strains,’ he added.

The study was published last year in one of the top journals of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Molecular Biosystems.

Bhakat, who also has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Birla Institute of Technology in Mesra, India, said the fact that research led to new discoveries which affect a large portion of humanity in a positive way made him passionate about his work.

‘The open academic atmosphere of UKZN nurtures critical thinking which is complemented well by its infrastructure, faculty and scholarship and thus provides an ideal atmosphere for research excellence.’

Determined to produce further research that will be published widely in leading international journals, Bhakat said he would continue his work on biophysics, computational biology and drug discovery in order to develop novel drug candidates as well as understanding molecular basis of protein folding and dynamics.

Lunga Memela


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UKZN Astrophysicist Helps Launch Antarctic Balloon-Borne Telescope

UKZN Astrophysicist Helps Launch Antarctic Balloon-Borne Telescope
Dr Cynthia Chiang and SPIDER in Antarctica.

Astrophysics Lecturer Dr Cynthia Chiang has returned from a two-month visit to Antarctica where she participated in an experiment which studied the earliest moments of our universe’s creation.

Named SPIDER, the experiment involved the use of six telescopes launched into the stratosphere with a giant helium-filled balloon, which swelled to roughly the size of Durban’s Kings Park stadium at its 35km cruising altitude.  From this lofty height, SPIDER observed the faint, leftover heat from the Big Bang: this afterglow, known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB), contains valuable clues that will help unravel the mysteries of our universe’s explosive beginnings. 

The experiment was built by an international collaboration including Princeton University, the University of Toronto, Case Western Reserve University, the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of British Columbia.

Chiang joined the SPIDER collaboration in 2009 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University. She was responsible for testing and operating SPIDER’s cryostat, a large vessel that houses the six telescopes and cools them to -270 degrees Celsius using 1 000 litres of liquid helium.

SPIDER, launched on January 1 this year, spent 17 days in flight.  The team members are currently planning a recovery mission to the payload’s landing site in west Antarctica, where they will retrieve the hard drives that contain the data.

‘I was absolutely thrilled to finally see SPIDER in the air.  It’s taken many long years of hard work and dedication from people across the globe, and collaborating with such a talented and cohesive team has truly been a blessing for me.  We’re all eager to see the data in full when the telescopes have been retrieved, and we look forward to facing the new challenges of sifting through our observations.  We at UKZN will be actively involved in the analysis, and we plan to continue collaborating on SPIDER for its second flight,’ said Chiang.

For information regarding the SPIDER experiment visit http://spider.princeton.edu

Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit


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New Readers Publishers Donate Books

New Readers Publishers Donate Books
Representatives from the KZN Department of Correctional Services with the NRP’s Ms Sonya Keyser (second right).

The New Readers Publishers (NRP), a non-profit publishing project based at the Centre for Adult Education (CAE), recently donated close to 120 000 books to many different organisations across the country. The Howard College office of the NRP closed its doors in December, and thus as many books as possible were distributed before moving the remainder to the CAE in the School of Education on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Ms Sonya Keyser of NRP stated that the aim of the NRP project, which has been in operation since 1991, is to promote reading and literacy by publishing a range of easy to read books in all South African languages. The NRP team ran workshops to strengthen the capacity of educators and librarians to teach and support reading. The project also trained and offered opportunities to aspiring authors, illustrators and editors.

With a desire to increase the reading materials available to adult literacy classes, and to continue to promote reading more generally, Keyser and her co-worker Ms Catherine Rich sent out a call to anyone working in the literacy field to send requests for books.

‘We asked for a motivation as to why they needed the books and what they planned to do with them,  then we gauged and assessed the impact and “reach” these books would have for these networks and then we allocated books to everyone who applied. The response was overwhelming!’ explained Rich.

The books were sent to various organisations across the country, including seven of the Polokwane Municipal Libraries, the Royal Bafokeng Institute in the North West, the Catholic Community Service in the Free State, Khalipha SP School in Umlazi, the Shine Centre in the Western Cape, the Ujama Resource Africa Project in Mpumalanga and even the Department of Correctional Services in KwaZulu-Natal.

However, as the team began packing up books for distribution, logistics proved to be a challenge as some recipients of the books lived in rural areas and small towns where postal services were quite a distance away and were expensive.

Despite the logistical difficulties, the recipients were committed to getting their hands on the one-of-a-kind books, with Rich even recalling one of the recipients who, upon hearing of the NRP book donation, jumped into his van with his daughter and drove from the Free State to Durban to get his books.

Speaking about the books received, Mr Simon Ravhuhali from Sintamassip Community Development in Gauteng expressed his gratitude. ‘The Venda books that we requested arrived at Postnet and were collected. We are all excited that they are in different languages and we are blessed to have copies of them for the literacy development of our community. On behalf of Sintamassip, I still want to say thank you very much to NRP in my language: Ro livhuwa nga maanda!’

Keyser further added, ‘It has been an emotional time, but it is rewarding to know that our books have had such an impact on reading and there is still such a great demand for these books. The NRP website will still be active and the Centre for Adult Education in Pietermaritzburg is hoping to launch e-book versions in the near future.’ Many people are dismayed at the NRP closing its main operation in Durban, but it has nevertheless been a most fulfilling and enjoyable journey for the dedicated team. 

As part of wrapping up the Durban office, an archive of adult education materials dating back to the apartheid years, and the NRP historical material, were donated to the Centre for African Literary Studies (CALS). CAE in Pietermaritzburg will also hold small numbers of each title published by the NRP and plan to continue supplying books to literacy projects, adult centres and schools. Ms Taadi Modipa has taken on this task, with the support of colleagues in CAE who wish to maintain the legacy of the NRP.  


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SARChI Attends National Conference on Global Change

SARChI Attends National Conference on Global Change
The SARChI team from UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies.

The South African Research Chair on Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment (SARChI) team from UKZN’s School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently attended the 2nd National Conference on Global Change at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

The theme of the Conference was: “Global Change research in South Africa: Towards Integration Across Disciplines, Sectors and Scales”.

The main purpose of the Conference was to bring together the diverse global change research community in South Africa and to share recent research progress and outcomes across the broad scope of the NRF’s Global Change Grand Challenge (GCGC) programme.

The Conference was attended by post-graduate research students, emerging researchers and researchers and professors from South Africa and internationally. 

Team SARChI presented papers that were based on research done in conjunction with the Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value (based at the University of Manchester) and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA). The study’s analysis and the conference trip were sponsored by the South African Research Chairs initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation of South Africa.

Development Studies Master student, Miss Ayanda Tshabalala, presented a paper titled:  “Notions of Sustainability and Development: With a Particular Reference to the Clairwood, Durban Port Expansion. Is it Geared Towards Poverty Reduction?” 

Her paper interrogated whether the proposed Durban port expansion will have any valuable development advantages for the local community of Clairwood. ‘The proposed port expansion will focus on providing formal employment at a time when the South African economy has been plagued by jobless growth. The question remains how this infrastructure will fit within the current realities of residents in Clairwood which remain a mix of both formal enterprises and informal businesses activities,’ she said.

Research by another Master’s student, Mr Tawonga Rushambwa, focused on sustainable development, economic development, prosperity, social inclusion and good governance using the Clairwood community in Durban as a case study.

Post-doctoral Researcher, Dr Sithembiso Myeni’s paper investigated Government-subsidised housing as a tool to reduce poverty and the power relations involved in this process within KwaZulu-Natal. ‘Poverty reduction is not always a necessary criterion which influences either the mapping or the profiling of housing beneficiaries. There was also a problem of competing and contradictory decision making processes between the stakeholders,’ said Myeni.

The team’s Research Manager, Ms Kathleen Diga, presented a paper titled: “Climate Change Adaptation and Poverty Reduction Co-Benefits: A Case Study of eThekwini Municipality”.

Her work investigated how human development or socio-economic factors were being considered within an externally funded climate financed project. She examined an exploratory desktop case study of the Buffelsdraai Community Reforestation Programme based in the eThekwini metropolitan municipality.

Another interesting paper, assessing the recent upsurge of subsistence farming activities in the urban areas of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, was presented by Development Studies PhD student, Mr Danford Chibvongodze. His paper interrogated the processes that have led to this phenomenon, called Rurbanisation, or the ‘process of practicing rural subsistence activities in an urban-style landscape’ (Trefon, 2002:490). It also looked at the perceptions of this new phenomenon by Bulawayo residents.

An interactive student debate on the topic: “Environmental Concerns are Playing too Much of a Role in Shaping South Africa's Future Energy System”, resulted in Ms Mandy Lombo, Masters student in Development Studies, participating as part of the team called The Voice.

Debate participants included students from UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, Ms Nasiphi Ntshanga, and Mr Sibu Majozi as well as students from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of the Western Cape. The audience was able to participate in the debate via Twitter.

‘The Conference was a learning experience, and it was also a chance to meet students and researchers from other universities in the hope of future collaborations and projects. The Conference also changed the way one perceives the world and environmental concerns,’ said Lombo.

Melissa Mungroo and Mandy Lombo


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Mike Rossi Project to Perform at Jazz Centre

Mike Rossi Project to Perform at Jazz Centre
Members of the Mike Rossi Project band which will perform at UKZN’s Jazz Centre.

UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music will feature the Mike Rossi Project: Trespassing Permitted band from 18h00 on Wednesday, 11 February.

The band is the result of Rossi’s mixed musical life as a musician and educator who has travelled extensively. ‘While born in the US, much of the music that will be performed reflects my experiences of living in South Africa for the past 15 years with frequent travels to the US, throughout Africa, Europe and especially Italy where my parents originate from,’ said Rossi. 

He said the music was specifically orchestrated for three horns - trumpet, trombone and multiple saxophones - with a stellar rhythm section. The music ranges in style from South African township jazz, to hard bop, to modal, to Latin, to contemporary.

The band features Rossi on soprano, altello, alto and tenor saxophones, William Haubrich on trombone, James McClure on trumpet and flugelhorn, Melvin Peters on piano, Dave Ridgway on acoustic bass and Kesivan Naidoo on drums. These musicians represent the very best of South African jazz talent.

Mike Rossi Projects Durban tour is supported by ConcertsSA, Samro Foundation and Connect Za.

Entry fee is R50 while pensioners pay R30 and students R15. Please contact Thuli on 031 260 3385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za for more information.

Melissa Mungroo and Thuli Zama


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Masters Student Contextualises Rotator Cuff Research

Masters Student Contextualises Rotator Cuff Research
Ms Nerissa Naidoo.

The potential of UKZN masters student Ms Nerissa Naidoo’s study on understanding disorders of the rotator cuff in South African patients has led to her applying for her study to be upgraded to doctoral research.

The rotator cuff is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that attach to the bones of the shoulder joint, and while a wealth of international research has been conducted on rotator cuff pathology, Naidoo’s study does so in the national context.

Co-supervised by esteemed Clinical Anatomy Professor, Kapil Satyapal and Ms Lelika Lazarus of the same Discipline, Naidoo recently presented a subset of her Masters research – titled: “Enthesopathic Patterns of Two South African Female Cadavers” - at the College of Health Sciences (CHS) Research Symposium.

Naidoo found that despite the spontaneous occurrence of unique skeletal manifestations in the cadavers, disorders in the osteology of their shoulder regions were reflective of underlying pathology as they presented as indicators of processes that were either disease-specific or bone-site specific.

‘Although the reporting of these osteological phenomena in clinical literature may assist the clinician with a definite diagnosis to prevent a cascade of degenerative changes which follow rotator cuff pathology, it may also facilitate the remodel of lifestyles of ancient populations in the field of Bioarchaeology,’ Naidoo explained.

She said the results of her on-going research could be clinically advantageous to both the clinician and the patient as it may contribute to advances in reconstructive surgery as well as to enhancing the quality of life.

‘Furthermore, the knowledge of the gross vascular anatomy may also assist in the appropriate therapeutic management of injuries in and around the subclavian-axillary arterial system, thus preventing arterial insufficiency of the upper limb,’ she said.

Naidoo said the field of clinical anatomy was more than just basic science to her. ‘It is an art-form which enables me to develop, present and share my scientific thoughts in a way that combines my two favourite subjects: Anatomy and English.’

‘The past few years of my postgraduate study have been rather exciting and enlightening. My Honours project which essentially focused on the arterial supply to the rotator cuff muscles resulted in the emanation of three papers, all of which were published in the International Journal of Morphology and Folia Morphologica.’

Naidoo said of the four papers emanating from her initial masters study, one was presently in press, the second under review, while the latter two were in preparation for subsequent submission.

In addition to presenting two of the above papers at the CHS Research Symposium 2014, she also presented them at the 42nd Annual Conference of the Anatomical Society of Southern African 2014, as well as the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences Research Symposium 2014.

Naidoo has established herself nationally and internationally through publication, conference attendance and presentation. She is actively involved in on-going research projects in the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, many of which she has presented on various occasions.

As the Central President of UKZN’s Golden Key International Honour Society, she prides herself on more than just academia. She said she endeavours to uphold the three pillars of a holistic individual in all that she does: ‘academia, leadership and community service’. 

Lunga Memela


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Healthcare Education and Dental Public Health a Priority for Academic

Healthcare Education and Dental Public Health a Priority for Academic
Mr Tufayl Muslim.

Research conducted by UKZN Dentistry Lecturer, Mr Tufayl Muslim, is a reflection of his passion for dental public health and healthcare education.

Muslim, who presented three studies at the 2014 College of Health Sciences Research Symposium, won R30 000 towards attending an international conference.

A doctoral candidate, he believes his students should be instilled with an understanding that they have been equipped with the necessary tools to use in the upliftment of their communities.

‘Students also need to be aware of the need for constant and continuous improvement of their knowledge and skills in order to become the best clinicians and researchers that they can be,’ he said.

As a Dental Therapist and an Educator, Muslim identified a need to ensure that his students be imbibed with a sense of responsibility towards the community.  He said both the student and the community benefited through enhanced and improved service learning, and the aim was that ‘the spirit and desire of wanting to serve the community continues to be kindled in students even after they have graduated’.

This is what led him to conduct his award-winning study titled: “Final-year Dental Therapy Students’ Perceptions of their Service-Learning Experience at a Selected University”.

Participants in the study reported an increased sense of social responsibility, and an increased understanding of the populations that they would serve after qualifying. Students were adequately prepared (academically and clinically) to undertake the service learning experience (SLE) and were aware of what was expected of them in terms of learning outcomes and service delivery. Additionally it was found that students were adequately supported in terms of clinical services rendered, and food and accommodation.

The results indicated that certain improvements needed to be addressed in order to improve the students’ SLE, and contribute to the optimisation of the learning environment.

Muslim felt researching the factors which hindered and promoted students experiences in service learning had the potential to ensure continuous and incremental quality improvement and assurance in healthcare education.

‘Being a health care practitioner and an educator I have a dual passion – health care education and dental public health. Additionally, I have a keen interest in medical ethics and jurisprudence. My research areas thus tend to focus on healthcare policies that can lead to improvements in dental public health, and in healthcare education improvement strategies and interventions.’

His most recent studies have ranged from health education practices (service-learning) to cross-national oral health policy studies that were aimed at improving oral health delivery and population status, leading to lessons that could be learnt from developing and developed countries and applied cross-nationally.

Supervised by Academic Leader of Dentistry, Dr Shenuka Singh, Muslim also presented a paper at the research symposium that investigated the use of Systems Dynamic Modelling theory and application in future oral healthcare worker provision in order to forecast adequate and appropriate numbers of oral healthcare workers at the symposium.

‘Dr Singh is one of very few Oral Hygienists who hold a doctorate, and her outstanding supervision skills have made my PhD journey a more bearable one.

UKZN has an excellent research ethic, and with support of people such as the former Dean of the School of Health Sciences, the Dean of Research, and staff of the Dentistry Discipline, teaching and researching at UKZN has become a pleasure.’

Muslim submitted his PhD for examination at the end of 2014 and is awaiting results.

As the first graduate in his family, he acknowledged the value of education, and said he understood that any challenges one faced in the pursuit of education should merely serve to strengthen one’s resolve to succeed.

Lunga Memela


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Top Honours for UKZN Philosopher

Top Honours for UKZN Philosopher
Professor Mabogo More.

Honorary Associate Professor within UKZN’s School of Social Sciences, Professor Mabogo More, is the co-recipient of the 2015 Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) in recognition of his contribution to philosophical thought and literature.

The Frantz Fanon Prize recognises excellence in scholarship that advances Caribbean philosophy and Africana-humanist thought in the Fanonian tradition.

More said: ‘I am truly honoured to be named a recipient of the Frantz Fanon Lifetime Achievement Award for 2015, especially from such a prestigious philosophical association as the Caribbean Philosophical Association which at its inaugural conference in Barbados gave me the honour of being its first keynote speaker.

‘My thanks to the CPA and to the many students throughout my 40 years of teaching philosophy in a philosophically hostile world; those students who in their belief in my philosophical ability not only gave me strength to go on but also refuted the claim that philosophy is not for Blacks.

‘In particular, I would like to thank those students at the former University of Durban-Westville and UKZN who took my classes on African Political Thought, Western Political Philosophy and Political Philosophy in Context. Lastly, thanks to the young lecturers and students at UKZN with whom I shared endless hours in my office discussing complex philosophical issues.’

CPA President Dr Jane Anna Gordon said: ‘During the days when philosophy and political theory in the South African academy were dominated by professors who simply imitated scholastic work celebrated in the Global North, More was studying, developing, and nurturing generations of students also to understand and contribute to a distinctively South African brand of emancipatory thought.

‘His decades-long efforts could not more fully exemplify what the Caribbean Philosophical Association as an organisation cherishes. It is our honor to offer him this long overdue recognition.’

The award committee Chairperson, Professor Lewis R Gordon added: ‘There is no academic or public intellectual in philosophical and political work short of Steve Bantu Biko who has had more of an impact on generations of Black intellectuals in South Africa than More. One of the consequences of his work is that the dominant universities such as the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witswaterstand, and Stellenbosch have invested themselves in his invisibility. That is one reason why his name on the internet produces his writings instead of articles on him.’

Professor Rozena Maart, Director for UKZN’s Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) and a member of the CPA, further congratulated More. ‘He has done the University proud as well as his country, his students, friends, colleagues and comrades, because he never stopped doing what he loves doing, which was sometimes difficult because he wrote and taught philosophy born of struggle, philosophy born of the relationship of the dialectic, and taught philosophy that took students to a different level of recognition of their existentialist identities ... he taught them philosophies that matter,’ said Maart.

More shares the award with another scholar of Afro-Caribbean, Chinese, and Marxist thought, Dr Grace Lee Boggs, a 99-year-old Philosopher and activist from Detroit.

The award, which consists of a plaque acknowledging his achievement, will be handed over at a special session with the other winners at the international conference of the Caribbean Philosophical Association from 18-21 June in Mexico. More will also become a full voting member of the Frantz Fanon Committee where he will be consulted to assess future nominees for this award.

* Originally from Benoni in Gauteng, More became a member of South African society as a fighter living in the Bantustans. Despite the many obstacles he faced, he managed to study for his Masters degree in Philosophy at the University of Indiana and had the opportunity to pursue his doctorate in the United States.

More returned to South Africa to work with generations of young Black intellectuals in the Bantustans, in Soweto, and in Durban. While pursuing doctoral study at the University of Cape Town, he found the environment in the Philosophy department racially untenable. He eventually completed his doctorate at the University of South Africa with a dissertation bringing together Africana existential phenomenology and European existentialism on the philosophical study of racism. He was constantly attacked, unfairly treated, but he pressed on.

His major contributions are in the study of Black Exstentialism, Black Consciousness, philosophies of race and racism, uBuntu, Biko, Fanon, Noël Manganyi, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Melissa Mungroo


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New Head of Family Medicine Department

New Head of Family Medicine Department
Dr Bernard Gaede.

Dr Bernard Gaede is the new Head of Family Medicine at UKZN.

He takes up the position this month after serving as the Director of UKZN’s Centre for Rural Health for the past four years.

Gaede, who trained as a family Physician and holds a PhD in Family Medicine, worked for more than a decade in rural areas of South Africa and has a wide scope of clinical and organisational experience in such fields as HIV medicine and primary health care.

His new appointment comes at a time when the re-engineering of primary health care is a national priority. This, said Gaede, was an opportunity for the already well-established Family Medicine Department to focus on the development of its decentralised training platform, new research areas and as well as curriculum transformation.

To date, the department has thrived to provide appropriate and continuous family medicine teaching and training at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in urban and rural teaching sites.

Gaede said it was important to train students according to the new competency model developed by the Health Professional Council of South Africa. ‘It’s part of larger movement in the country guided by the National Health Insurance on the need to train healthcare professionals who can provide quality primary health care for all.’

Gaede said the Family Medicine Department would play an important leadership role in taking primary health care forward. ‘It’s also a great opportunity to generate new research topics.’

His areas of interest and research have included healthcare systems, community-level care (including home-based care and traditional medicine), human rights and Medical Anthropology. He has also been actively involved over the past decade in the Rural Doctors Association of Southern Africa - Rural Health Advocacy Project.

His recent interests include health professional education and the establishment of a decentralised teaching platform in the province which he will drive in the new post.

 Lunga Memela


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Fourth-Year Orientation Prepares Students for Clinical Practice in KZN Hospitals

Fourth-Year Orientation Prepares Students for Clinical Practice in KZN Hospitals
Professor Richard Hift addressing the next generation of doctors.

UKZN’s fourth-year Medical students will spend the final three-years of the MBChB Programme training at a selection of teaching hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.

School of Clinical Medicine (SCM) Dean and Head, Professor Richard Hift, welcomed the fourth-year class of 2015 to the clinical phase of their medical degrees, encouraging them to set a high standard for themselves in order to make the most of “on-the-job learning”.

Hift said at no point during the clinical years could students afford to be slack because then they would be setting themselves up to be mediocre.

‘Work very hard,’ Hift advised. ‘It’s not cool to get 52% in clinical medicine. Nobody wants to be treated by a doctor who graduated with 50% from medical school.’

Hift explained that while it was one thing to arrive 15 minutes late to a lecture, it was another to arrive 15 minutes late at the hospital ward when patients were waiting.

‘The next three years are all about developing healthy habits of becoming a professional,’ he said, stressing it was now a priority that students aim to become the most reliable and trustworthy doctors they could be for the sake of their patents.

‘South Africa needs students who have been trained to be fit-for-purpose.’

He said UKZN’s medical curriculum recently underwent radical changes which positioned the MBChB graduates as the best equipped to service the country’s healthcare needs.

As part of the extensive Orientation Programme, the students heard from Surgery Department Head, Professor Thandinkosi Madiba, who described medical doctors as professionals having the community’s special trust and respect.

Madiba said a true professional remained a student forever; keeping abreast of current practices, hard at work and always aware that the world was looking at their conduct.

Senior student Ms Asanda Xolzwa shared her experiences in clinical practice with the auditorium and encouraged the students to treat every patient as if they were a member of their own family.

Academic Mentor from 2010 to 2014, Mr Mtusi Setshego, told students about the benefits of enrolling for the Academic Mentoring Programme which is offered to help students through the demanding medical curriculum.

SCM Operations Manager, Mrs Antoinette Botha, wished the students well in the final years of their journey and introduced them to various UKZN administration and hospital staff who would help guide them through clinical training.

The event was followed by another Orientation Day for fifth-year students who look forward to their final year in the MBChB programme in 2016.

 Lunga Memela


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2014 Matric Achiever Chooses UKZN Above the Rest

2014 Matric Achiever Chooses UKZN Above the Rest
Ms Divina Govender.

Danville Girls High’s Ms Divina Govender, who scored seven distinctions and a 93.14% aggregate in the 2014 National Senior Certificate examinations in 2014, will pursue a degree in Electronic Engineering at UKZN.

One of the most important achievements during Govender’s school life was when she received the honour of a white blazer - only the 13th awarded in the school’s history.

‘The award I am most proud of is the white blazer. This is the highest honor awarded to any pupil at my school. Having been awarded honors for national colors in chess and academics, I received the white blazer issued for only the 13th time in the school’s 47-year history.  I was also fortunate enough to receive many distinguished awards in my matric year one of which was the proxime accessite (runner up to dux),’ said Govender

Her passion has always been in the sciences and her dream of being an Engineer started when she was just six years old and mathematics and physics were her favorite subjects.  ‘I am aware of how difficult such a degree is and I am always up for a challenge. In addition, I would like to make some impact on the world even if it is in a small way. I dream of helping develop and shape the world through innovative thinking. Pursuing a degree in engineering, which encourages innovative thinking and problem-solving, is the first step towards that.’

With her parents as her role models, Govender knows exactly what she wants to achieve.  ‘I am always striving to be the best person I can be. Naturally my main goal in life is to be happy and content and I believe the only way to do that is focus on oneself. That is why I try to be the best me, not better than anyone else but simply the best me I can be at the time.’

Govender enjoys composing music, drawing and story writing.  However, she has a big interest in technology and the latest gadgets on the market.

Prashina Kallideen


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UKZN Attracts Matric Star to Study Electronic Engineering

UKZN Attracts Matric Star to Study Electronic Engineering
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A self-confessed dreamer, Ms Naymah Sameen feels that despite getting a 92% aggregate in matric she could have done better!

With a total of eight distinctions in her National Senior Certificate exams, she was always inspired and motivated by technology.  ‘The power of human-developed artificial intelligence, electronic communication systems and their ever rising, rapid progress and domination in the modern market, led me to choose a career in Electronic Engineering,’ said Sameen.

Her older sister, who is completing her final year of Chemical Engineering at UKZN, is her role model. ‘My sister’s immense dedication to her academic career is what I call “positive fanaticism”, and even though I do not think I will be able to reach her degree of dedication, I will try my best to get as close to it as possible.’

Sameen, who is motivated by her faith in God, is extremely hardworking. Her parents and educators have been great motivators for her.

Sameen enjoys fashion designing, craft making and cooking. ‘We should never segregate the many factions in our lives. True success, I believe, is achieved once you learn how to combine values of reverence for humanity, spirituality, obligation, generosity and dedication in any field of human endeavour, thereby emancipating yourself into the greater world of excellence, which is where we all belong.’

Prashina Kallideen


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Special Editions of Educational Journals Launched

Special Editions of Educational Journals Launched
UKZN’s School of Education academics and students who contributed to two special editions of educational research journals in 2014.

UKZN’s School of Education recently celebrated two special issues of educational research journals that were guest edited by academics, Dr Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan, Dr Claudia Mitchell and Dr Daisy Pillay.   

Also featured in the journals are School of Education doctoral students who have contributed to these special issues: Ms Tamar Meskin, Ms Tanya van der Walt, Ms Sizakele Makhanya, Ms Wendy Rawlinson and Mr Sagie Naicker.

Lead Editor, Pithouse-Morgan said: ‘The special issue of the journal Perspectives in Education (volume 32, no. 2), titled: Self-study of Educational Practice: Re-imagining our Pedagogies, offers a collection of articles by self-study researchers who are located across diverse disciplines in Higher Education institutions in South Africa, Canada and the USA.’

The collection begins with contributions from teacher educators (Ms Sandra Weber, Ms Linda van Laren and Ms Lesley Wood), moves on to work done in the domains of Drama (Ms Tamar Meskin and Ms Tanya van der Walt) and Graphic Design (Ms Lee Scott) and, finally, to trans-disciplinary self-study (Ms Corrine Knowles, Ms Thenjiwe Meyiwa et al. and Ms Anastasia Samaras et al.). Taken as a whole, the articles in this special issue highlight self-study as a fruitful area for both research and institutional transformation.

According to Pithouse-Morgan, the special issue of Educational Research for Social Change (ERSC) (volume 3, no. 2), foregrounds the relational dimensions and complexities of research reflexivity through articles that offer critical perspectives on enacting reflexivity in educational research across academic disciplines and institutional contexts in South Africa and internationally.

Meskin, Singh, and van der Walt discuss the development of the reciprocal self-interview (RSI) as a reflexive interrogatory method. Ms Theresa Chisanga, Rawlinson, Sibongile Madi, and Nkosinathi Sotshangane explore how reflexivity can be enacted through collective processes of creating, performing, and writing about found poetry.

Ms Shawn Bullock brings together ideas from teacher education and theatre literature to re-examine a video recording of his own teaching with the lens of a viewer as well as researcher and teacher educator. Responding to a scarcity of studies that explore reflexivity in educational leadership, Naicker demonstrates his use of digital memory boxes to generate personal history data about his leadership practice.

Ms Katherine McLay refocuses her gaze on herself as researcher in the context of a qualitative investigation into the use of iPads as a tool for secondary school student learning. Finally, Mr Jack Whitehead takes the reader into the reflexivity of not only looking back over his own work with living theory, but also the work of other scholars, including several South African researchers who have applied a model of living theory.

Melissa Mungroo


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Matric Award Winner Sets Sights on Chemical Engineering Degree Through UKZN

Matric Award Winner Sets Sights on Chemical Engineering Degree Through UKZN
Ms Shenika Ramsamy.

Scottburgh High’s Ms Shenika Ramsamy has set her heights on obtaining a Chemical Engineering degree at UKZN.

Ramsamy received subject awards for Mathematics, Physics, Afrikaans, Life Sciences and Accounting, going on to scoop the Dux award and the Illovo Shield Trophy for the highest overall aggregate in the senior phase. She was awarded Academic Honours with an average mark of 85% over three years.

Her efforts did not go unnoticed and she received a full bursary from Illovo Sugar to study Chemical Engineering.

Her matric marks were: Mathematics 96%, Physical Sciences 96%, English 90%, Afrikaans 96%, Life Sciences 91%, Accounting 94% and Life Orientation 85%.  She was the top 2014 matric pupil in the Ugu District with a 93% aggregate.

‘I find Chemical Engineering intriguing due to its vast applications in industry. I am especially interested in chemistry and have some knowledge of the chemical engineering topics and job prospects as my sister has just completed her degree in this course.’

Ramsamy’s role model is her sister who also graduated from UKZN with a Chemical Engineering degree and is presently working at Total in Johannesburg.  

Ramsamy is extremely concerned about the environment and the effects certain industries have on the world. ‘I would like to help reduce the carbon footprint of corporations and being in this field will allow me to make a positive contribution in that area. It is my desire to discover and patent new techniques and products.’

In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, playing netball and tennis as well as having fun with friends.

Prashina Kallideen


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Regional and Economic Development Project Orientation

Regional and Economic Development Project Orientation
Former student Ms Lungelo Dhladhla sharing her experiences.

The Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) gave a warm welcome to its new Regional and Economic Development Project students at a four-day orientation programme.

The aim of the information-sharing session was for facilitators and administrators of the project to enlighten the 36 incoming students about what was expected of them and to equip them with knowledge vital for their success in the two- year journey that will shape them into future leaders in the local economic development sector.

RLED Project Manager, Dr Jennifer Houghton, said the orientation was a way to get the students acclimatised at the School.

‘Orientation gives students an opportunity to get to know the academics they will be working with as well to meet each other. I took the students through a creative exercise called LED Mapping where they got to think about what they will be working with during their time here and how it will contribute to sustainable economic growth and development. We are looking forward to what they have to deliver,’ said Houghton.

She also encouraged students to take advantage of the six scholarships on offer for postgraduate diploma students and masters students.

At the orientation programme students were informed about applications and procedures; introduced to systems thinking by Dr Stan Hardman; met their lecturers; received a perspective from past and present students and were taken on a tour to familiarise them with the campus.

Former students - Ms Lungelo Dhladhla, who is now the Chief Executive Officer of Mindset Concept Production House and Mr Andile Biyela, now the Assistant Director: Community Services at the Department of Economic Development Services based in Nkandla - told of how the skills they learned from the project had benefitted their careers.

‘The things I learned from the project expanded my way of thinking in business,’ said Dhladhla. ‘I am now able to understand how the project I am working on will benefit the community and the stakeholders. It has also empowered me to turn the ideas and concepts I had when I entered the programme into viable projects and given me an opportunity to network with other practitioners in my field.’

The pair advised the students to be realistic about time management and planning.

‘You have to be able to juggle everything and give up on socialising because there is a lot of work to be done but the benefits are worth it. You don’t only learn about LED but you learn how to refine your writing, so you are groomed to be a better scholar,’ said Biyela.

Thandiwe Jumo


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Research Excellence Celebrated at Research Day

Research Excellence Celebrated at Research Day
School of Accounting, Economics and Finance academics at a Research Day.

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance recently hosted its Research Day, a strategic initiative aimed at contributing towards increasing research output within the College of Law and Management Studies.

The day saw 19 academics showcase quality research done in the School’s various disciplines and was attended by more than 40 academics.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi commended the School for prioritising research.

‘This Research Day is taking place at the beginning of the year which shows that the presenters spent the holidays working on their papers and that should be commended,’

‘The day is about people sharing their research and its importance; and answers the questions why publishing is important. If you have limited growth in your career as an academic, there is no other way to progress but to publish. So, please take advantage of the assistance available to you from your Dean and the Research Office and let’s improve research in our College,’ he said.

The papers that were presented explored economic, educational, financial and environmental themes.

In the finance stream, Ms Shelley Donnelly delivered a paper titled: “Factors that affect the Credit Risk of Commercial Farmers in KwaZulu-Natal”, while Dr Mabutho Sibanda presented on the “Determinants of Financial Literacy Among Secondary School Pupils in Zimbabwe”.

Ms Ralitza Dobreva and Mr Farai Kwenda presented a paper on the “Impact of Acquisitions on Profitability: Evidence from listed firms in South Africa and Brazil”.

In the teaching and learning session, Dr Karen Bargate, Dr Phocenah Nyatanga, Ms Jessica Goebel and Ms Charmaine Lathleiff delivered research that explored differed methods of teaching and their negative and positive impacts on the student academic success.

After the presentations the presenters received feedback from their peers on how to improve their research.

The Dean and Head of the School, Professor Anesh Singh encouraged the academics to take advantage of the various research initiatives aimed at building research capacity.

‘It has been a great day; it is interesting to see how we all have different methods of research. I would like to encourage you to take advantage of all of the research initiatives going-on in the School such as the Publish One Publish All (POPA) project and the research funds and workshops we have planned to help you find out what you need to do to be active researchers. We are here to help you and get you publishing. So, please tell us how we can help you,’ he said.

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 positioning itself as a research led institution.

Thandiwe Jumo


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New Head of Department of Public Health

New Head of Department of Public Health
Dr Saloshni Naidoo.

UKZN’s Department of Public Health Medicine has welcomed Dr Saloshni Naidoo as its new Chief Specialist/ Head of Department. 

‘I am very excited about my appointment,’ said Naidoo. ‘It will give me an opportunity to contribute to and further develop Public Health Medicine participation in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, research and service delivery.’

Naidoo, who has been in a specialist post at the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health since 2003 working actively in Public and Occupational Health, says Public Health Medicine principles are key to addressing the health priorities of the South African population.

Working with colleagues, she wants to strengthen the use of the Community Orientated Primary Care (COPC) approach in teaching undergraduate medicine and further extend postgraduate training of Public Health Medicine specialists beyond the urban environment.

‘This would ensure the production of medical professionals who are better equipped to understand and manage the primary health needs of South Africans,’ she said.

Naidoo’s research interests involve women’s health and child development, exploring the impact of occupational, and community exposures on women’s reproductive health. ‘Exposures in the pre-natal and natal phases can impact negatively on child development’ she said.

Naidoo is currently part of a working group developing Volume 113 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph on: “Some Organochlorine Insecticides and Some Chlorphenoxy Herbicides”.

Naidoo’s other interest is the health of health care workers as a means of improving public health service delivery. She maintains an interest in the health of healthcare workers with particular emphasis on reducing workplace exposures with a focus on tuberculosis and disability management.

‘We always care for patients but, the question is: who cares for health care professionals?’

She has been funded by various agencies including, The South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD), The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the South African Medical Research Council.

Publication of her research in various international and national peer reviewed journals has highlighted important public health issues in South Africa.

Naidoo has presented at international and national conferences, chaired conference sessions and served on the Scientific Committee for international conferences in her field of expertise.

Through her research activities, she has established a network of international collaboration, which in the past has included the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organisation, and currently includes leading occupational epidemiologists from The Netherlands, United States, France and Southern Africa.

She is currently a member of the Council of the College of Public Health Medicine, in the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa having served previously from 2008 to 2010 and has examined and co-ordinated examinations for the College of Public Health Medicine (Division of Occupational Medicine).

As a graduate of the former University of Natal and UKZN, Naidoo is looking forward to working with colleagues at the University in her new role.

 Nombuso Dlamini


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New Dean and Head of School of Health Sciences Appointed

New Dean and Head of School of Health Sciences Appointed
Professor Mahmoud Soliman.

Professor Mahmoud Soliman has been appointed as the new Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences.

Soliman is the Leader and Principle Investigator of the Molecular Modelling and Drug design research lab, which is located in the School.  The lab focuses on the study of biological systems, drug-receptor interactions and the design of novel drug candidates and their mechanism of action

His research interest is related to the design and study of biologically and therapeutically oriented targets by employing the applications of computational methods to the study of problems of chemical and biochemical reactivity.

Soliman was pleased with his appointment: ‘The School of Health Sciences is one of the most innovative health education programmes in the country,’ he said. ‘It has educational facilities fitted with state-of-the-art technology and our curriculum promotes learning through utilisation of the best educational approaches and sound teaching principles. Our classes are taught by highly qualified staff who bring academic and clinical expertise to the classroom.’

He said with the engagement with community partners across the country, the School provided innovative, academic and clinical experiences so that its graduates were well-equipped to meet the demands of the competitive healthcare marketplace.

‘It is my commitment to continue to shape the School with a vision and mission embraced by our exceptional staff members, our students and our community,’ said Soliman. 

Soliman’s Molecular Modelling and Drug Design lab was awarded various grants and financial support from the National Research Foundation, the School of Health Sciences and the Centre for High Performance Computing in Cape Town (CHPC) to enhance research at UKZN in drug design and modelling areas.

He graduated from a Pharmacy school in Egypt, and then completed his postgraduates studies (Mphil, PhD) at the University of Bath in United Kingdom.  He joined the School of Health Sciences in 2011 as a Senior Lecturer of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

Soliman has two children aged seven and 10. ‘My wife and two kids always support me and share my success.’

 Nombuso Dlamini


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UKZN Welcomes First-Year Nursing Students

UKZN Welcomes First-Year Nursing Students
Nursing staff welcome first-year students at Orientation.

More than 60 students from all over South Africa have enrolled for UKZN’s Bachelor of Nursing programme this year.

The School Of Nursing and Public Health (NPH) held a week-long Orientation programme where the students were welcomed by staff who assured them they had made the correct decision in choosing UKZN to further their studies.

UKZN’s Nursing Discipline is recognised for its innovative educational programmes, state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities, its research activities, extensive work in Africa, and international network of scholars.

Discipline staff, Mrs Cecelia Harrington, Mrs Pretty Mbeje and Ms Edith Pakkies, said by choosing to study Nursing the students had signed up to go out and take care of people as a profession. UKZN had a mandate to ensure they graduated as exemplary healthcare professionals in four years’ time.

They encouraged the students to brace themselves for life-long learning and to remember that the very best healthcare professionals always upheld the values of the profession.

The students were taken on a campus tour by fourth-year colleagues in the programme and went through orientation at the University library as well as the Discipline’s Clinical Laboratory Orientation.

An Academic orientation and induction programme was presented by School of NPH Student Counsellor, Mrs Wuli Thaver, after the students had enjoyed mapping out their life paths and how Nursing would fit into them.

The first-year Nursing programme is directed by Professor Petra Brysiewicz who also delivered a motivational talk to the students during Orientation.

Academic Leader for Nursing, Professor Gugu Mchunu, spoke to students on the first day of Orientation, sharing personal experiences and early anxieties about being raised in a rural community in KwaZulu-Natal and then having to leave home to embark on her Nursing studies.

Mchunu said the Nursing Discipline lived up to UKZN’s motto of: Inspiring Greatness, saying students should make the most of their UKZN experience while studying hard and excelling academically.

She said UKZN was taking the profession back to its roots by cultivating graduates who upheld the values of nursing and its code of ethics.

 Lunga Memela


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UKZN Academic Gets Award for Best Paper Published in Plant and Soil Journal

UKZN Academic Gets Award for Best Paper Published in Plant and Soil Journal
Professor Hussein Shimelis with his award from the SA Society of Crop Production.

Professor Hussein Shimelis of the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) has received the award for the best paper published in the SA Journal of Plant and Soil by a member of the South African Society of Crop Production (SACP).

The award was made during the annual Combined Congress of SACP, the Soil Science Society of South Africa, the Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences and the Southern African Weed Science Society.

The Congress, with the theme: “Taking Research to the Farm to Ensure Long-Term Sustainability”, was held in George towards the end of last month.

The paper submitted by Shimelis, which deals with a seed oil crop called vernonia (Centrapalus pauciflorus), is unique in its use of statistical methodology to identify principal agronomic and seed oil traits in the East African plant.

Known as a weed in the countries where it occurs naturally, the plant was initially identified in a study in the United States as having the potential to act as a more environmentally-friendly, cost-effective source of seed oil for industrial uses.

Vernonia, which is found in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania, is a source for naturally epoxidised seed oil. This means that the oil extracted from the seeds does not have to undergo epoxidation, an expensive chemical process necessary to make other seed oils useable, which utilises noxious petro-chemical substances in the manufacturing process and pollutes the environment with harmful volatile compounds.

The naturally epoxidised oil extracted from the vernonia, however, has the potential to revolutionise the industrial oil and plastics industries as well as be used in the paint industry and in epoxy resins where it could prevent the substances from releasing volatile compounds into the air. Additionally, the seedcakes remaining after the extraction process could be used in animal feed, with experiments in that application underway.

Shimelis, whose study approaches the crop from a Plant Breeding perspective, set out to characterise the 36 genotypes of the plant and evaluate which influential and representative characters of the genotypes would be useful for breeding in the high oil yielding varieties.  Some of the varietal selections determined that some strains of vernonia could yield up to 900 litres of oil per hectare.

Breeding of the plant aims to combine high seed-yielding varieties that don’t have high oil yields, with varieties which are higher in oil content. There is potential for more research, as it is necessary to examine how vernonia fares in frost-free and more suitable agro-physical environments in South Africa.

To do this characterisation of the selections, Shimelis and his co-authors conducted field evaluations and fatty acid analyses. Professor Phatu Mashela of the University of Limpopo piloted the field evaluations using agronomic traits and Professor Arno Hugo of the University of the Free State undertook the oil and fatty acid analyses. The three co-authors utilised the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) as a statistical method to identify the most influential and representative characteristics of the diverse genotypes to try and ensure effective breeding for a plant with so much potential.

What makes this study unique, according to Shimelis, is the fact that PCA methodology will be applicable to other crops in plant breeding programmes for germplasm evaluation and selection. Additionally, Shimelis says the level of presentation is accessible to students and researchers, even if they are not statisticians or have limited backgrounds in statistics.

The paper also contained well-illustrated findings and interpreted PCA as a statistical methodology. With relatively little emphasis on the PCA methodology itself and limited use of statistical jargon, the researchers demonstrated the direct application of PCA for selection and grouping of germplasm collections. The direct impact of the use of this method for genetic resource characterisation of other crops has already been demonstrated by two of Shimelis’s PhD students, who have used the methodology in research related to breeding of sorghum (the results of which were published in the American Journal of Crop Science) and sweet potato (published in the Journal of Tropical Agriculture).

According to Shimelis, the use of PCA led to novel insights in selections of vernonia lines that go beyond what can be expected from a routine germplasm characterisation, which has implications for methods of characterising important traits of plants for breeding to ensure germplasm conservation, food security, environmental sustainability and more.

Shimelis, who was accompanied to the Congress by four of the students he is supervising from various institutions, said such recognition of his research was a motivation to continue the work and achieve even more.

Christine Cuénod


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UKZN Academic Publishes Short Stories

UKZN Academic  Publishes Short Stories
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Three Poisons, a book written by College of Law and Management Studies Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay, features a collection of three short stories,

The stories are titled: An Unethical ClearanceThe Twofold Tamil Rule and Imagining John Lennon.  The collection is based on the Buddhist tradition of the three obstacles to man’s fulfilment namely, greed, ill-will and delusion.  Pillay said the idea for the central story - The Twofold Tamil Rule - came to him after years of absorbing family stories and linking these to personal experiences and he wrote the long story within 10 days, with the assistance of a literature grant from the National Arts Foundation.

‘The stories show how events and things are connected and how we don’t take into account Ubuntu and how dependent we are on each other.  They are also influenced by my observation growing up in a family of Indian settlers. The stories are about the human behaviours that tend to keep us down,’ said Pillay.

In a review of the book published in The Witness newspaper, Pillay’s writing was described as satirical and entertaining and he received praise for his writing skills which he used to paint a vivid picture of the three themes.

Pillay said although the book fell under the creative genre there was academic research embedded in all the stories.

‘I would like the readers to be entertained by the stories and also to think about how things are connected in their own lives. The stories explore human nature and the human psyche which is within my research area in Leadership Studies. As an academic that is how we define research, everything is connected,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo


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Impi Get Their Noses in Front

Impi Get Their Noses in Front
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The FNB UKZN Impi lead the way after the opening round of the Varsity Shield after notching a valuable away win against FNB UWC.

Last year’s beaten finalists picked up a 16-5 win over UWC in what was a scrappy game in Bellville, whilst in Pretoria the FNB TUT Vikings claimed a hard-fought 21-16 win at home against the FNB Fort Hare Blues.

That means that the Impi top the standings after the first round of action, followed by TUT who trail them on points difference, whilst Fort Hare have a single bonus point to show for their efforts.

The visitors from Kwa-Zulu Natal scored a try in each half to take four valuable log points on the road, whilst former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers’ UWC charges were left empty-handed in front of their home fans.

It was a scrappy encounter throughout, with both teams making their fair share of basic errors, but it was the visitors that ended with the spoils thanks to tries from inside centre Marius Louw and livewire flyhalf Innocent Radebe who claimed the FNB Player that Rocks award.

The hosts staged a late rally as they looked to salvage something from the encounter, but it was not to be and they could only manage a single try to wing Gavian Cloete in response.

The match in Pretoria was a much tighter affair, and it took a late try from Vikings outside centre Vian Riekert to clinch the win after the teams had been deadlocked at 16-16.

TUT outscored the Eastern Cape side by three tries to one in the end, but Fort Hare remained firmly in the mix throughout thanks to a dominant scrum and the trusty boot of flyhalf Sivakele Ulana.

The UKZN Impi host the TUT Vikings in Pietermaritzburg next week, whilst FNB Wits make their return to the Varsity Shield in Alice where they will square off with the Fort Hare Blues after a bye in the first round.

All the teams and scorers:

FNB TUT Vikings 21-16 FNB Fort Hare Blues

FNB Player that Rocks: Hamish Herd

The scorers:

For FNB TUT:
Tries: Herd 2, Riekert
Cons: Walters 2

For FNB Fort Hare:
Try: Mandaba
Con: Ulana
Pens: Ulana 4

FNB TUT Vikings: 15 Paul Walters, 14 Tovhowani Nefale, 13 Vian Riekert, 12 Edwin Oliver, 11 Nelis Snyman, 10 Lee Roy Afrika, 9 Shawn Jaards, 8 Claude Johannes, 7 Attie Joubert, 6 Mandla Mdaka, 5 Jaco van Staden, 4 Armand Marshall, 3 James Frost, 2 Hamish Herd (captain), 1 Wian van Schalkwyk.

Replacements: 16 Jean Claude le Roux, 17 Ryan Sim, 18 Ross Middelcote, 19 Wessel Jordaan, 20 Deon Joubert, 21 Dylan du Buisson, 22 DK Mukendi, 23 RW De Wal.

FNB Fort Hare Blues: 15 Akhona Matutu, 14 Hlubi Mvana, 13 Lundi Ralarala, 12 Lithabile Mgwadleka, 11 Aziyena Mandaba, 10 Sivakele Ulana, 9 Khaya Siqoko, 8 Athenkosi Manentsa, 7 Madoda Ludidi, 6 Siphesihle Punguzwa, 5 Sibusiso Sityebi, 4 Lwando Nteta, 3 Olwethu Mputla, 2 Sesethu Time, 1 Lwando Mabenge.
Replacements: 16 Lutho Klaas, 17 Zanoxolo Qwele, 18 Ntyatyambo Mkhafu, 19 Malusi Vula, 20 Elandre Sias, 21 Siviwe Bisset, 22 Khanyiso Komani, 23 Litha Labase.

FNB UWC 5-16 FNB UKZN

FNB Player that Rocks: Innocent Radebe

The scorers:

For FNB UWC:
Try: Cloete

For FNB UKZN Impi:
Tries: Louw, Radebe
Cons: Radebe 2

Teams:

FNB UWC: 15 Darian Hock, 14 Gavian Cloete, 13 Minenhle Mthethwa, 12 Gordon-Wayne Plaatjes, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 Quaid Langeveldt, 9 Matthew Nortje, 8 Darren Luiters, 7 Jose Julies (captain), 6 Matthew Faught, 5 Stuart Austin, 4 Heynes Kotze, 3 Tahriq Allen, 2 Lifa Ghana, 1 Curtis Beukes.

Replacements: 16 Chadwin Robertson, 17 Wayron Losper, 18 Mitch Lingeveldt, 19 Brandon Beukman, 20 Damian Stevens, 21 Lubabalo Faleni, 22 Shane Pietersen, 23 Gustav Heydenrych.

FNB UKZN Impi: 15 Spa Dube, 14 Hendrik Lategan, 13 Marcel Coetzee, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Shayne Makombe, 10 Innocent Radebe, 9 Graham Koch, 8 Adam Wessels, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama, 5 Christie van der Merwe, 4 David Harel, 3 Sizwe Kubheka, 2 Chris de Beer, 1 Njabulo Mkize.

Replacements: 16 Mikyle Webster, 17 Ntando Mpofana, 18 Michael Hutton, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Langelihle Shange, 21 Gavin Nyawata, 22 Yandisa Mdolomba, 23 Matthew Mandioma.

www.varsitycup.co.za

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