Ikomidi lezokukufundisa ezempilo kubafundisi balezifundo

Ikomidi lezokukufundisa ezempilo kubafundisi balezifundo
UNksz Leanne Browning waseUKZN ekhuluma ngamaphuzu abalulekile okuthi ungasenza kanjani umqulu wobufakazi bokufundisa.

Click here for English version

Ikolishi Lezempilo (CHS) Ihhovisi Lokufunda nokuFundisa ngaphansi kobuholi bukaSolwazi Sabiha Essack, lihehe intsha esemikhakheni ehlukahlukene nezifundiswa esezizoba ongoti zize emhlanganweni wokucobelelana ngolwazi owethule uhlelo lwawo lwabaLulekiwe emkhakheni wezokufundisa ngonyaka wezi-2015.

Uhlelo lwethulwe kwingqikithi yohlelo lokwenza kwabaphathi olubhekana nokufundisa kanye nezinsiza kusebenza zokuqinisekisa imikhakha yezemfundo esezingeni elifanele ezifundisweni ezithanda indlela yokunyuswa lapho kudingeka umkhakha wokufundisa onobufakazi futhi ophelele.

Ihhovisi lokuFunda nokuFundisa lekolishi lizosekela liphinde leluleke izifundiswa zeKolishi hhayi ngokwengeza izindlela zokufunda nokufundisa kuphela, kodwa ngokuhlanganisa imikhakha yokufundisa esezingeni elifanele ezobabeka esigabeni esingcono sokunyuswa ezikhundleni ngokokufundisa kwabo.

Izifundiswa seKolishi ohlelweni lomkhakha wokwelulekwa ekufundiseni luzonikezwa umeluleki wangaphakathi noma wangaphandle ozobasiza emkhakheni wabo wokufundisa.

Umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi-owawuveza insizakusebenza ngayinye kweziyisishaglombili zomkhakha wokuFundisa-wawuphethwe nguNksz. Leanne Browning wezokuQinisa NokuGqugquzela Ikhwalithi e-UKZN, ongaphansi kweHhovisi lokuFunda nokuFundisa leNyuvesi.

UBrowning uthe: ‘ umkhakha wokufundisa uyingqikithi yazo zonke izinsizakusebenza zokufundisa kwakho nobufakazi obahlukene bokusekela’.

‘Ukuletha umqulu wobufakazi kusho ukuthi usuthole isipiliyoni esanele nobufakazi bokukhombisa ukuthi kufanele unyuswe esikhundleni.”

Uthe lokhu kuchaza ukuthi izifundiswa kudingeka ziqhubeke zizibandakanye ohlelweni lokuhlola ubunyoninco bocwaningo lwabo kanye nobufakazi bokufundisa.

‘Ngokwami, kuyadumaza uma kunobufakazi bokuthi ohlolwayo ngempela ohlolwayo unguthisha ofanele kodwa umqulu wobufakazi abawulethayo awukho ezingeni lomsebenzi wabo.’

UBrowning uthe izifundiswa ziyahluleka ukukhetha ubufakazi obubaluleke kakhulu obudingekayo ukuze banyuswe esikhundleni;bashiye okwakufanele nokufaka okumele engabe kuyekiwe, lokhu kuholela ekutheni isicelo sabo singaphumeleli.

‘Ngoba uyazi ukuthi abahloli bafunani, kubalulekile ukuthi uyazi inqubomgomo yangaleso sikhathi nemigomo yokunyuswa esikhundleni yokufundisa njengoba inikezelwe yiNyuvesi.”

UBrowning ukhulume ngamaphuzu abalulekile zosiza izifundiswa ngokuqala zenze futhi nalabo abafuna ukwenza kangcono ezikhwameni zamaphepha abo okufundisa.

Umhlangano wokucobelelana ngolwazi ube yisipiliyoni esingivule amehlo njengesifundiswa esincane, kusho umfundisi weClinical Anatomy uNkkz Brenda De Gama ozwe egqugquzelekile ukuqhubeka ahlele futhi asebenze ekwakheni umqulu wobufakazi bokufundisa.

Ovumelana node Gama, umfundisi oseMkhakheni wePharmaceutical Sciences, uDkt Johannes Bodenstein uthe kubalulekile ukuhlezi usezingeni laleso sikhathi futhi usanda kuhambisa umqulu wobufakazi bakhe bokufundisa ukuze ahlolwe.

UBodenstein uthe ukufunda nokufundisa  kwakha ukubaluleka kwebhizinisi lwanoma iyiphi inyuvesi.Ukugcina umqulu wobufakazi omuhle kuwubufakazi obuzwakalayo bomlando womuntu ofundisayo njengesifundiswa.

 

Lunga Memela


author : .
author email : .

Top Honour for School of Life Sciences Student

Top Honour for School of Life Sciences Student
Ms Jerusha Naidoo (right) with her supervisor Dr Yougasphree Naidoo.

A PhD candidate in the School of Life Sciences, Ms Jerusha Naidoo, has won first prize for her presentation at the 16th Annual meeting of the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development (RCPGD) on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The prize allows her to attend a prestigious international conference.

Naidoo, who completed her Masters research last year examined the anatomy of the leaves of Pycnostachys urticifolia using electron microscopy as well as the phytochemical properties of the leaves in her thesis. Her work was also aimed at developing a micropropagation protocol for this species.

Naidoo, who is continuing with research into the pharmacological properties of the plant for her PhD, delivered her award-winning presentation on the topic of “Micromorphology and Pharmacognosy of Wild and Micropropagated Leaves of Pycnostachys urticifolia Hook”.

The annual meeting of the RCPGD is a congress where Masters, PhD and post-doctoral researchers - under the supervision or co-supervision of the Centre’s Director, Professor Johannes van Staden - present their research work to scientists from around the world who are invited to the congress.

At last year’s meeting, 30 postgraduate students attended, along with seven scientists from research institutes and universities across South Africa and 13 invited international speakers from countries such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Argentina who presented their research findings.

Naidoo was awarded first prize from among 30 postgraduate presentations after three respected overseas professors agreed on her presentation being the best at the congress. Naidoo now plans to attend the 63rd International Congress and Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research (GA2015) in Budapest, Hungary.

‘Being awarded first prize was such a surprise to me since there were many excellent researchers presenting on a variety of topics in plant sciences,’ said Naidoo. ‘They included local and international candidates, ranging from MSc level to professors associated with RCPGD, all competing for this prize. It was a great compliment and honour that international delegates from European universities awarded the first prize for my research presentation.’

Naidoo’s supervisor, Dr Yougasphree Naidoo, spoke highly of her student’s success. ‘Ms Naidoo is intelligent, highly responsible and a jovial student. She takes a keen interest in the activities of the School of Life Sciences where she was the ex-Postgraduate representative in 2013. During her MSc, I supported her to present a paper at the International Conference on Advances in Plant Sciences in Thailand in 2012, as well as at the annual meeting of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa on aspects of her medicinal plant research.

‘Her Master’s research, which I supervised in association with Dr Muhammad Nakhooda, was awarded cum laude and subsequently converted to a PhD. She was chosen to attend a GC-MS workshop at Stellenbosch University and was the Chairperson of the School of Life Sciences postgraduate Research Day organising committee in 2014. She has excelled in her academic career as an Ad-Hoc Lecturer for undergraduate Biology modules in 2014. She is a promising young scientist and we are proud of her achievement at the RCPGD meeting.’

Said Naidoo: ‘I am sincerely grateful to my supervisors Dr Yougasphree Naidoo and Professor Johannes van Staden for giving me the opportunity to present my research at this meeting. I would also like to thank my parents and my best friend and colleague, Ms Benita Kalicharan, for their unwavering support, prayers and assistance throughout my postgraduate academic career.’

Naidoo, who is from Durban, chose to study at UKZN because of the A-rated scientists at the Institution who she identified as being important mentors in her work. She was inspired to pursue her research on medicinal plants and cell biology after conducting a project on medicinal plants and microscopy during her third year in Biomedical Science.

Naidoo plans to continue her work into the investigation of potential therapeutic medicinal uses for plants.

‘South Africa has such high floral biodiversity with species that have yet to be investigated for their medicinal value and so the main aim of my research is to elucidate the therapeutic properties of plants that have been used in traditional medicine but have not been scientifically validated. My future career plans involve further postdoctoral research into indigenous species in terms of their ethnopharmacology and the biotechnology that can be applied to obtain efficient therapeutic compounds.’

-Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

Academic Publishes Article in AGENDA

Academic Publishes Article in <em>AGENDA</em>
Lecturer in the School of Education, Mrs Nomkhosi Nzimande.

Newly-appointed Lecturer in the School of Education Mrs Nomkhosi Nzimande recently published an article in the journal, AGENDA, headlined: “Teaching pre-service teachers about LGBTI issues: Transforming the self”.

In the article, Nzimande reflects on how as a heterosexual, married, Christian and African woman, she had to confront her own preconceptions around sexual orientation or gender identity when she was asked to teach Level 4 pre-service teachers about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender an Intersex (LGBTI) issues.

Nzimande highlighted the personal negotiations she had to engage in to transform her own thinking on LGBTI issues before being able to teach students who were homophobic largely because of their histories.

‘In the article I show that much of the hesitation among teacher-educators to teach on LGBTI issues is largely driven by fear. So, how can LGBTI curriculum be mainstreamed if or when teacher-educators are fearful of engaging with students about LGBTI issues? I then suggest that confronting the fear does not only benefit the “self” but it enriches students’ educational experiences as well thereby preparing them to be able to teach in diverse classrooms.’

Nzimande feels it is an honour to have an article published in AGENDA as ‘the journal does not only raise awareness or debate around gender issues but also seeks to promote women’s rights. AGENDA sets a precedent for other journals to create opportunities for new scholars/researchers to publish.’

Nzimande said having the article published was the beginning of a new journey for her as a researcher and a scholar. ‘It certainly boosts my self-confidence and it is motivation to start thinking about the next publication which is going to be a challenging task, considering I am busy with my PhD studies. As an academic, this publication means I have achieved my performance units (PU) for this year. This is indeed a huge achievement for me as a “new kid on the block” in the research arena.

She chose UKZN as it offers diverse opportunities for her to develop as a researcher and scholar.

She also believes the School of Education is making a huge contribution in promoting scholarship, particularly African scholarship and academic excellence. 

‘The School of Education strives to promote quality in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Hence, it is often praised for its excellence in preparing teachers who are capable of teaching in diverse contexts in these times of uncertainties in the education system.’

‘Opportunities are created for new academics to engage intellectually with distinguished researchers and scholars in the School, with the purpose of generating new knowledge and mentoring.’

Nzimande’s future aspirations include becoming a professor at UKZN and one of the top published researchers.

One of her goals is to be nominated for the Women in Science award. ‘I just want to excel in every aspect of my academic life.’

Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

Architecture Student Achieves Second Place in PPC Competition

Architecture Student Achieves Second Place in PPC Competition
Architecture student Mr Phelelani Mthembu, runner-up in the PPC Imaginarium Competition.

Architecture student Mr Phelelani Mthembu was placed second in the PPC Imaginarium, a national architectural concrete competition sponsored by Portland Cement and Concrete (PPC). Mthembu won R15 000 for his design of a Historical Museum in Durban.

The purpose of the competition was to promote the use of PPC products towards more sustainable environments and communities. The competition also spurred innovative thinking and design proposals to raise awareness of critical environmental issues around contemporary architecture.

Mthembu plans to invest his prize money in the completion of his degree.

Mthembu said he was encouraged by his lecturers to enter the competition. As part of his first project for the second semester, he was tasked to examine how real world problems could result in a change in society through architecture.

He settled on designing and building a model of a historical museum on the Victoria Embankment. ‘I decided on designing a Durban Historical Museum because it appeared to be a neglected area and I felt such a museum would attract visitors, promote tourism and ensure that Durban people recognised and celebrated their histories.’

Mthembu said the competition was a tough challenge but his commitment and determination to win spurred him on.

He received valuable guidance from his lecturers who offered constructive criticism and valuable advice.

‘Competitions such as these are important because they teach entrants to work to strict deadlines and result in exposure to various leading companies and the public. The boost to one’s self confidence is also great. This competition has made me want to enter more in the future.’

He hopes to pursue postgraduate studies in Architecture and to one day run his own business. ‘I plan on moving back to my hometown of Richards Bay to help develop the city further.’

Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

CCS Launches Fossil Free KZN and Hosts Seminar on COP21

CCS Launches Fossil Free KZN and Hosts Seminar on COP21
Speakers and participants at the CCS Fossil Free KwaZulu-Natal launch and seminar series.

The Centre for Civil Society (CCS) at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently hosted two events around challenges and reactions to climate change crises and causes.

The events were held in an effort to highlight the need to save the planet and to continue building a KwaZulu-Natal-wide civil society movement for climate justice.

The first event was a seminar presented by an independent Communications Engineer, Mr Angus Joseph, which looked at climate justice and solidarity from Lima to Paris.

‘While acknowledging the role and function of localised grassroots actions to counter the destructive forces of capitalism and the side effects of climate change, we cannot overlook or over-simplify the larger global political and social narratives,’ said Joseph. ‘As the world progresses from COP20 in Lima, and we start preparations for COP21 in Paris later this year, we need to look back at the COP20 process and ahead to the year of actions and articulations building to Paris21.’

Joseph argued that planning for Paris should be based upon how the global platform afforded by COP21 can be used to influence the climate activist movement to begin to adequately reflect the gravity of the ecological crises being faced and to transform the capitalist system causing them.

‘This will undoubtedly require the intersectional convergence with movements focused on the many other manifestations of capitalism such as patriarchy, racism, colonialism, austerity, debt, housing insecurity and homophobia.’

His presentation also focused on experiences in setting up the activist convergence house CasActiva (House of Activists) as the alternative space for COP20 as well as experiences at various community houses around Peru and Bolivia. He encouraged a step-up in local climate activists’ preparations for Paris.

A new civil society network Fossil Free KwaZulu-Natal was also launched and was provisionally hosted by the CCS and co-ordinated by well-known Durban activist and CCS Scholar, Ms Faith ka-Manzi.

Said Manzi:  ‘The work was done in honour of Dennis Brutus (1924-2009), the poet whose last years spent at CCS (2004-09) and last weeks with us prior to the Copenhagen COP15 were dedicated to extending his heroic anti-apartheid boycott, divestment and sanctions activism to climate advocacy.’

Speaking at the launch, Manzi pointed out that the damage from climate change was becoming evident. ‘Already we have suffered massive storms which kill people living in poorly-constructed houses, and our citizens and many animals are suffering a devastating drought stretching from Durban through northern KwaZulu-Natal.  We must immediately address both climate change crises as well as their causes. Load-shedding due to Eskom’s incompetence is not a viable solution to our fossil fuel addiction.

‘It is long overdue for civil society to unite against our addiction to fossil fuels as well as our extraction and refining of these planet-threatening substances: oil, bunker fuel for shipping, coal for export and electricity generation, and methane from landfills and fracking.’

Also presenting at the launch were several leading experts on climate change - Mr David Le Page  of Fossil Free South Africa; Mr Desmond D’Sa leader of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, and Mr Delwyn Pillay of Greenpeace.

Those gathered at the launch committed themselves to start discussions with UKZN to become a solar energy powered University since the Institution was situated in an area with an abundance of sunlight.

Fossil Free KwaZulu-Natal will also look at how to table the demand for climate debt to Northerners as the minimal ‘polluters pay’ principle, given that the South African government’s Durban COP17 regrettably diminished the Kyoto Protocol’s principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibility’.

‘There is a need for the world’s wealthiest and most carbon-intensive institutions and individuals to compensate for the damage they have done to the people of Africa. But to that end, concrete funding mechanisms for climate debt payment that address the core problem – such as funding peasant and conservation activists battling against KwaZulu-Natal coal mining on the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park border– are also required,’ said Manzi.

Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

SA and French Artists at UKZN’s Jazz Centre

SA and French Artists at UKZN’s Jazz Centre
Charles Amblard (left) and Ewok in concert.

UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) recently presented its first “Twosday” gig featuring Ewok and Charles Amblard.

Amblard of France returned to Durban this year to begin work on a new album with Spoken Word Hip Hop artist, Ewok. The performance showcased the essence of the Blues Rocking Hip Hop band Blue Gene (www.blue-gene.com) with guitar and voice, poetry and music and Spoken Word Hip Hop.

CJPM Concerts and Jazz Centre Co-ordinator Ms Thulile Zama said: ‘Both independent international artists showed a wealth of combined experience in staging their craft across genres, sharing the stage with contemporary dance companies in a variety of musical styles before coming together in 2012 as guest artists of the French-SA Seasons.’

The duo has toured South Africa and France, including Oppikoppi in 2012 and the prestigious Paris Jazz Festival in 2013. They consolidated their live compositions into two EP’s and a full length album: These Meditations, both of which are available on ITunes. 

Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Welcomes Future Nephrologist

UKZN Welcomes Future Nephrologist
Dr Boitumelo Mashitisho.

Recipient of the Discovery Foundation’s subspecialist training fellowship, Dr Boitumelo Mashitisho, has joined the Department of Nephrology at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences.

Mashitisho will spend two years training under Nephrology HOD, Professor Alain Assounga, who welcomed Mashitisho to his Department. ‘The Department of Nephrology is delighted to receive the Discovery Scholarship Award to train Mashitisho. This represents national recognition of UKZN’s Nephrology training programme, which has produced 15 Nephrologists in the past five years, making it one of the most successful in the country,’ said Assounga.

‘I congratulate the Nephrology team and thank the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and the management teams at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital, King Edward Hospital and Addington Hospital for the excellent teaching platforms provided for our training programme.’

Assounga said he was also grateful to the School of Clinical Medicine at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and UKZN for their support and leadership.

Matshitisho, who is from Pretoria, is a Physician at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital. ‘I’m really excited to be here and looking forward to acquiring new skills that will help me improve the level of service at my institution,’ she said.

‘At the end of my training I will go back to my institution to plough back what I have learned but will continue with collaborative research work with UKZN.’

Mashitisho’s research interests include the kidney in HIV disease and the kidney in critical disease.

Mashitisho, who describes herself as a naturally motivated hard working individual, is married with three children. ‘We are a very tightly knit Christian family enjoying each other’s support in our academic endeavours.

‘The decision to undertake Nephrology subspecialty training so far away from home was a very hard one but I received fantastic support and encouragement from my children who said: ‘Ma, it may be stressful for now but know that we are all behind you moving forward’. I miss them a lot but am in contact with them regularly.’

She also received support from Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and the Internal Medicine Department because of the anticipated benefit to the hospital and the department.

Nombuso Dlamini


author : .
author email : .

Cosmology on Safari in KZN

Cosmology on Safari in KZN
A game ranger shows off a forest cobra to the Cosmologists.

A group of 70 South African and international Cosmologists and students met recently for a unique combination of a cosmology research conference and a safari at a game reserve in Hluhluwe in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The event, titled: “Cosmology on Safari”, was arranged by the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP) and UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), which is housed in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and the School of Chemistry and Physics.

Cosmology is the study of how the universe expands and this event focused on the interaction between cosmological models and data, with an emphasis on the challenges that remain in the Discipline.

The Conference was held at Bonamanzi, a private game reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal, which contains a variety of wildlife, including about 10% of the world’s rhino population. Delegates at the conference were taken on game drives and boat cruises in between attending research presentations.

‘It was a unique experience to listen to leading scientists discuss their work and then spend time viewing animals in the wild. I hope there will be another instalment of this event,’ said UKZN Astrophysics postgraduate student, Mr Johannes Allotey.

Strini Rajgopaul


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Paediatricians Win Share of Global Healthcare Innovation Award

UKZN Paediatricians Win Share of Global Healthcare Innovation Award
Dr Victoria Mubaiwa, KZN DOH, Manager of the Maternal, Child and Women’s Health (MCWH) and PMTCT programmes; Professor Anna Coutsoudis and Ms Lenore Spies, Director for Nutrition at the KZN DoH.

A team from UKZN’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health has been awarded US$370 000 (R4 million) for a low-cost toolkit that supports the provision of donor breast milk through human milk banks (HMBs) and breastfeeding support centres using a simple mobile phone app.

The FoneAstra human milk pasteurisation toolkit was originally developed by UKZN, health NGO PATH and the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. UKZN is one of four African initiatives to have won a share of the second GSK and Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award.

Professor Anna Coutsoudis of UKZN’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: ‘Breastfeeding is one of the key strategies in South Africa for reducing infant mortality. Donated breast milk is a lifeline for premature babies whose mothers aren’t able to give them the nutrition they need. The FoneAstra system makes it much easier to provide safe donated milk and set up small-scale human milk banks in poorer settings as part of a comprehensive breast-feeding promotion campaign.’

The FoneAstra system uses a mobile phone app that connects a cell phone to a probe that monitors the temperature of the donated breast milk. It provides a step-by-step guide through the pasteurisation process and makes it easier to track and trace donor milk for increased quality control and assurance. It can be adapted for use in settings with no electricity.

Ms Gugulethu Ndebele, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children, South Africa, said: ‘In order to bring life-saving healthcare to the hardest to reach children, there is a need for ambitious new ideas and collaboration. So it is fantastic that the Healthcare Innovation Award has recognised an innovation that is using a low-cost system to enable the safe storage of breast milk, which will help to save children’s lives. Through the recognition and funding from this Award, this initiative can help make a bigger impact for some of the most vulnerable children.’

Currently used in four milk banks at district-level hospitals in South Africa, the team from UKZN’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health is also - in collaboration with the Department of Health - rolling out the FoneAstra system to an additional five district hospitals across KwaZulu-Natal. The team aims to set up a network of human milk banks across the country, which will act as local focal points for breast-feeding promotion and support beyond the district hospital level, reaching the needs of newborns and vulnerable infants in the community.

The model has already been requested by Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Rwanda, Namibia and India and the team plans during the period of the award to set up Human Milk Banks with the FoneAstra technology in Ethiopia and Namibia.

The Healthcare Innovation Award is a key initiative delivered as part of an ambitious partnership between GSK and Save the Children, which aims to deliver a new model for corporate-charity working to help save the lives of one million of the world’s most vulnerable children.

 MaryAnn Francis


author : .
author email : .

College of Health Sciences Driving Primary Healthcare in KZN

College of Health Sciences Driving Primary Healthcare in KZN
Guests at the Colloquium.

Deputy Director General-Primary Healthcare in the National Department of Health, Ms Jeanette Hunter, has applauded UKZN’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) for its role in ensuring the University produces healthcare professionals “fit for purpose” in a primary healthcare model.

Hunter was speaking as a special guest at the recent CHS Primary Healthcare Colloquium.

‘South Africa’s vision is for a long and healthy life for all that live in it with special focus on sustainable development for individuals, the community and then the country. In order for us to succeed, socio-political, economic and environmental conditions need to be in harmony.

‘We won’t win if there’s a focus on clinical health but don’t recognise the role of social determinants. Universities like UKZN, in terms of undergrad and postgrad training, make a huge contribution to how a country deals with its healthcare challenges,’ said Hunter.

College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Sabiha Essack, said: ‘Primary healthcare (PHC) is part of a larger drive to get health care delivery fit for purpose in the 21st Century with a view to ensuring access to high quality care for a defined population. This vision is the driving force behind the re-engineering of the College of Health Sciences’ curriculum to ensure UKZN produces healthcare professionals who are competent and prepared for the changing dynamics of healthcare in a developing world.’

The National Health Insurance currently being piloted in KwaZulu-Natal has a strong focus on primary health care (PHC).

Department of Health Provincial PHC Manager Mrs Gcina Radebe said with a total of 591 PHC clinics in the province, healthcare was high on the list of priorities in each district. ‘The ideal clinic model has clinical care givers (CCG) who are responsible for visiting households in the community. CCG are responsible for household and community profiling and they provide basic home and palliative care, identify vulnerable groups, conduct environmental health assessments to identify and manage health risks and assess family health cards to identify illnesses for support, advice and referral.’

The CCGs were able to link households to relevant governmental services and provide reports to the Wards on progress made. ‘Each Ward consists of a War room which meets once a week for feedback. War rooms include the ward councillor, community leaders and various governmental departments. In this way, each household receives holistic services ensuring the well-being of all individuals within the community.’

Hunter stressed that what KwaZulu-Natal and the country needed were more community doctors.

UKZN is currently involved in a project with various Higher Education Institutions in the country and funded by the European Union, which is looking at designing a blue print of how to change the scope and training of medical practitioners to become community doctors. The team is working on designing a national diploma for primary healthcare for General Practitioners.

Dean and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Richard Hift, said the health curricula in Higher Education Institutions was currently fragmented and static. Graduates’ competencies are mismatched to the needs of patients and the population needs. ‘There is a lack of contextual understanding and inter-professional teamwork. Graduates seemed more capable of managing episodic encounters rather than providing continuous care.

‘Universities are working in one direction and those providing the systems are moving in a different direction. Communities seem to be trapped in health problems of the previous century. South Africa has a shortage of healthcare professionals and what have universities been doing about this?’ said Hift.

Essack, who is currently driving the implementation of appropriate and relevant graduate competencies in all CHS programmes, emphasised: ‘Our graduates need to be competent as communicators, leaders, health advocates, scholars and professionals.’

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and College Head Professor Rob Slotow ended the colloquium by encouraging all in the CHS to become part of the process. ‘The University of KwaZulu-Natal and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will remain operational over the next five years. This MoU provides both a responsibility and an opportunity for us in the CHS. It is a partnership and not an academic exercise. It provides an opportunity for everyone in the CHS to be a part of the process to produce competent graduates who will extend quality healthcare to all parts of the population.’

 MaryAnn Francis


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Students Make Mars One Shortlist

UKZN Students Make Mars One Shortlist
Ms Adriana Marais and Mr Divashen Govender.

The last time man set foot on another planet was during the Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972! Now, thanks to the Mars One project, people could be walking on Mars  in 2024 for the first time… and two UKZN students may be among them!

Ms Adriana Marais, a PhD candidate at UKZN’s Centre for Quantum Technology, and Mr Divashen Govender, a BSc student studying Applied Mathematics and Physics, have both made it into the Mars One final 100 as a result of personal online interviews with Dr Norbert Kraft, the  Chief Medical Officer of the mission.

During their interviews, Marias and Govender displayed the required pioneer qualities, such as team spirit, an understanding of the risks they may face and motivation to be a part of the mission.

Co-founder and CEO of Mars One, Bas Lansdorp, said of the candidates: ‘These aspiring martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.’

The Mars One initiative, run as a not-for-profit organisation in The Netherlands, has released its list of the final 100 candidates in the running for the one-way trip to Mars, a list whittled down from the initial 202 586 applicants from around the world.

Only seven of the 50 men and 50 women selected are from Africa with five being from South Africa.

The third round of the selection process will require candidates to form teams of four who will train for the challenges they would encounter on Mars if they are the final team selected to begin colonisation of Mars in 2024. Their performance as team players will determine their selection or non-selection in the upcoming rounds.

The organisation has successfully sold the television broadcast rights to DSP (an Endemol company), well known for broadcasting Big Brother, who will have exclusive rights to follow and screen the final selection processes and mission. The reality show, which is tipped to be a “media spectacle”, will drive the Mars One project and hopefully fund the final mission, which four people will leave for Mars on a one-way flight to begin the early stages of colonisation of the Red Planet.

Marais (31), whose research in quantum biology and early childhood dreams of going to space led her to apply for the Mars One mission, is interested in asking the question of what life is. She is primarily interested in looking for signs of life on Mars from a research perspective, saying that finding evidence of either life that once existed or does still exist would be a huge achievement for her.

‘If life can exist on Earth, in an unimaginably large universe, it must also exist or have existed elsewhere,’ said Marais, whose PhD thesis is titled: “Quantum Effects in Photosynthesis”.

More recent research that Marais has been involved in involves the identification of quantum effects in primitive photosynthetic organisms, such as bacteria, which suggests that quantum effects may have played an important role in the emergence of the very first living systems from the inanimate matter of which they are constituted. A description of the emergence of life from the inanimate matter of which it is constituted is one of the greatest open problems in science.

Additionally, Marais’ research into the detection of the molecular precursors of life in interstellar ices suggests that the building blocks of life may have emerged in space and been delivered to Earth by objects such as comets or meteorites.

‘I intend to investigate the extent to which quantum effects played a role in the processes that led to the emergence of life and its molecular precursors,’ said Marais, a project which complements her dream of interplanetary adventure.

Govender (23) intends to go into Astrophysics, having always had a keen interest in astronomy. Govender describes himself as always being up for a challenge, as evidenced by his decision to apply for the Mars One mission.

‘Space and space exploration has always been a dream of mine,’ said Govender on his Mars One profile. ‘To set foot on another planet and pave the way for mankind’s journey into a true space age would be so surreal. I believe that we can responsibly inhabit other planets and advance our knowledge of science along the way. On Mars we would be able to begin a whole new age of astronomy and science.’

Both Marais and Govender are optimistic about the prospect of leaving Earth permanently, since the Mars One project can use existing technology to send the astronauts to Mars and keep them supplied with all they need to live, but does not currently have the technology required to lift them off from Mars and return to earth.

Both candidates have won over the support of their family and friends, who are excited at the prospect of either one or both of them being remembered as the first humans to set foot on Mars. They see this prospect as being well worth the sacrifice of a life on Earth.

If not selected, both candidates could reapply, as the plan is to send crews out every two years after 2024 until a fully-fledged human settlement is established. Rovers will set up the living units in advance of the settlers’ arrival, and the units will be quipped to produce oxygen for breathing and food for the astronauts. According to Marais, a “breakfast of champions” on Mars will consist not only of grains and vegetables, but also of insect-based food, since bugs reproduce quickly and provide a good supply of fats and amino acids.

Whether or not Marais and Govender eventually set foot on Mars, they have captivated the attention of their peers and people all over the country, and hope that their goals of travelling to another planet will inspire new generations of astronomers and scientists in South Africa. The endeavour may seem impossible to some, however, when asked what her response to the risks of the journey would be, Marais replied with a quote from Nelson Mandela, saying that ‘it always seems impossible until it’s done’.

Christine Cuénod


author : .
author email : .

Esteemed Biokineticist Appointed UKZN Lecturer

Esteemed Biokineticist Appointed UKZN Lecturer
Dr Jeanne Grace.

Dr Jeanne Grace has been appointed as a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences.

Grace joins UKZN after a successful career at the University of Zululand where she headed the Department of Biokinetics and Sport Science.

Her teaching experience includes the management of chronic diseases, disabilities and orthopaedic conditions, in addition to health promotion, sport specific testing, conditioning and rehabilitation.

She said it was important to produce more exercise therapist graduates in order to address the increasing burden of chronic diseases affecting not only South African citizens but people all over the world.

‘There will soon be a huge demand for clinical exercise therapists to address this burden,’ she said.

Grace’s research interests include the prevention and treatment of chronic disease through physical exercise and activity. She said her research focus would hopefully improve the health, welfare and quality of life of all South Africans.

‘The Discipline (of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences at UKZN) is very well established with world class facilities. This scientific back-up gives me the opportunity to excel and achieve my research and teaching goals in a professional, supported manner.’

Grace said she was passionate about passing on to students the clinical knowledge and skills she had gained over many years as a practising biokineticist and also to guide them academically to become the best students in their field of specialisation. 

She said: ‘It is also very rewarding to see that I am making a difference to the health and well-being of my patients and clients.’

She is determined to empower her students to achieve personal and career happiness and success.

‘I plan to achieve this career vision through group, and if possible, one-on-one learning situations, and developing and leading an inspiring lecturing environment.

‘I will strive to become a well-known and respected academic and researcher in my field of preventing and treating chronic diseases through physical exercise.’

Brought up on a farm in the Free State and a proud supporter of the Cheetahs rugby team, Grace said the beach and beautiful nature was what she loved about Durban.

Lunga Memela


author : .
author email : .

Research Spurs Inquiry into Long Term Side Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy

Research Spurs Inquiry into Long Term Side Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy
Ms Savania Nagiah.

Doctoral research conducted by young Health Scientist, Ms Savania Nagiah of UKZN, has instigated an inquiry into the long term side effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on HIV infected individuals.

In her study titled: “The Effect of Nuclease Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTIs) on Mitochondrial Integrity and the Nrf2-mediated Oxidative Stress Response in HepG2 Liver Cells”, Nagiah highlights that as HAART has significantly prolonged the lifespan of HIV infected individuals, long term side effects of the drugs have begun to emerge.

‘The most concerning among these is changes to metabolic parameters, favouring insulin resistance, lipodystrophy and sometimes leading to heart disease. A common underlying molecular mechanism to these adverse health outcomes is the over-production of free radicals. The condition under which antioxidant defence against free radical damage is exhausted is known as oxidative stress.’

Presented at the 2014 College of Health Sciences Research Symposium and now in its final year before completion, the study investigates stress responses that overlap in both oxidative stress and mitochondrial stress response, linking to pathological mechanisms in NRTI use.

Nagiah said: ‘Gaining insight to these molecular mechanisms will aid in uncovering preventative measures or possible therapeutic interventions.’

Current outcomes of the study have associated oxidative damage caused by NRTIs, particularly over chronic exposure with accelerated cellular senescence in liver cells.

‘This may explain why HIV patients on HAART exhibit age associated disorders,’ said Nagiah. ‘Furthermore, cell death pathways have been analysed. An investigation into the epigenetic regulation of drug transport was also conducted, revealing that different NRTIs had different pharmacokinetic properties potentially regulated by microRNAs.’

Nagiah said the final step of the study would be to relate the aforementioned to drug toxicity and how this would affect fat and glucose metabolism, leading to adverse health outcomes such as lipodystrophy and diabetes.

Nagiah said she found the investigative aspect of research to be enthralling.

‘No day at the lab is ever like the previous day as one is continuously in pursuit of building a body of knowledge. A study examining drug toxicity in particular will eventually have implications for a very large population of people who are on HAART.’

Her study is supervised by Medical Biochemistry Head, Professor Anil Chuturgoon and Dr Alisa Phulukdaree. She said Phulukdaree inspired her to pursue postgraduate studies upon completing her Bachelor of Biomedical Science’s degree at UKZN.

Nagiah graduated with her Bachelor of Medical Sciences Honours Degree cum laude before subsequently completing her Masters in the discipline.

Lunga Memela 


author : .
author email : .

Investigating Alternative Treatment for Sugar Diabetes

Investigating Alternative Treatment for Sugar Diabetes
Young Medical Scientist, Ms Zinhle Mvelase.

Recent studies at UKZN’s Human Physiology Discipline have been geared towards developing and evaluating the potential of various anti-diabetic agents including insulin formulations, plant extracts and novel vanadium complexes.

The studies discovered that inorganic compounds of the trace element vanadium were on the threshold of becoming a practical alternative to other oral hypoglycaemic agents as they were found to exert various insulino-mimetic effects.

The studies found that the novel 2-pyridylbenzimidazole oxovanadium complexes could promote glucose utilisation and glycogen synthesis in the liver (Chang) and skeletal muscle (C2C12). However, their additive or synergistic effects with known anti-hyperglycaemic agents remained unclear and required intensive evaluations.

This lead to Ms Zinhle Mvelase’s Honours research project  titled: “The Effects of Vanadium Complexes Combined with Hypoglycaemic Agents on Glucose Utilisation in the Liver and Muscle Cell Lines”, which aimed to investigate the effects of vanadium complexes in combination with anti-hyperglycaemic agents in glucose metabolism of liver and muscle cell lines in vitro.

Mvelase’s study, supervised by Head of UKZN’s Human Physiology Discipline, Professor Cephas Musabayane, found that hpybz (VO) 2 was combined with either insulin or metformin, whereby glucose concentrations were monitored at 0, 12, 24 and 48 hours following which cells were harvested for glycogen analysis.

Mvelase said: ‘By comparison to the control, hpybz (VO) 2 combined with insulin significantly decreased media glucose in both liver and muscle cell lines, with concomitant increase in glycogen synthesis in both liver and muscle cell lines.’

Interestingly, the study found that an insulin combined treatment showed a significant additive effect on glucose utilisation and glycogen synthesis when compared to hpybz (VO) 2 or insulin alone, in both liver and muscle cell lines.

These results suggested that a combination administration of hpybz (VO) 2 with insulin was effective in glucose utilisation compared to a single drug administration in liver and muscle cell lines, in vitro.

Her study concluded that the administration of hpybz (VO) 2 in combination with insulin may be beneficial in the management of diabetes mellitus.

Mvelase said diabetes remained a debilitating disease for hundreds of million of patients worldwide and this was a serious burden to healthcare system.

She said the lack of effective agents to treat diabetes efficiently is what drove researchers to explore other alternatives, ‘not only to broaden treatment availability, but also to ensure efficient treatment.

‘Previous studies have documented that a combination therapy is more effective than a monotherapy, and indeed, our results suggested that vanadium complexes combined with either insulin, metformin and OA have the ability to promote glucose uptake and activate glycogen synthesis in the liver and muscle cell lines.’

Now registered for her Masters in Medical Science (Physiology), Mvelase said her passion for research stemmed from basic intellectual curiosity. She graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science (Anatomy) degree before pursuing her Honours in Medical Science (Physiology).

Mvelase said in addition to her parents, she was deeply indebted to her supervisor, Professor Musabayane; co-supervisor, Dr Hlengiwe Mbongwa and mentor, Mr Ntethelelo Sibiya who supported her throughout the study.

Lunga Memela


author : .
author email : .

Strengthening Links with the Finance Sector


.

The Finance Discipline at the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance recently met representatives from the JSE Investment Challenge to discuss partnership opportunities which would benefit students.

The JSE Investment Challenge is a national financial literacy competition which provides South African high school pupils and university students with opportunities to explore the world of investing by trading JSE-listed shares through a virtual portfolio.

Finance Lecturer Ms Faeezah Peerbhai said the meeting with the Manager of Corporate Social Investment at the JSE Education Division, Mr Idris Seedat, was beneficial as now all UKZN finance students were exempt from the registration fee required for participation in the JSE Investment Challenge.

‘Participation in the JSE investment challenge will allow students to obtain practical experience in trading, thus providing them with an opportunity to put the skills they learn in class to good use.

‘The JSE has also selected mentors from among finance students who will assist in mentoring those in underprivileged schools who are participating in the school division of the Investment Challenge. The mentoring process is designed to assist the learners to understand key elements regarding stock trading as well as to provide any additional resources they may need to effectively trade,’ said Peerbhai.

Last year, the partnership between the School and JSE yielded good results as Finance honours students Mr Brian Masondo and Mr Wesley Bohata were part of the winning team which beat 140 rivals who competed in the Challenge to claim the number one spot nationally.

Seedat congratulated the students and the School for the achievement and proactive efforts in ensuring that the students recognise the importance of financial literacy to help secure a better future.

‘We would like to congratulate UKZN for its achievement in the 2014 Challenge and express our gratitude for being imperative role partners in the realisation of this aim by making the Challenge available to all their students. As we forge ahead we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo


author : .
author email : .

Documentary Provides Glimpse Into the Life of Struggle Hero Albie Sachs

Documentary Provides Glimpse Into the Life of Struggle Hero Albie Sachs
Albie Sachs shaking hands with Professor Karthy Govender.

Applause filled UKZN’s Highoward College Theatre after the recent screening of a documentary, Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa.

The 80-minute emotionally charged film, directed by renowned film maker Ms Abby Ginzber, documents the sequence of events in the life of lawyer and civil rights activist Sachs, during the apartheid era, when he helped fight for a free South Africa.

The film follows Sachs journey of imprisonment, torture, exile and the 1988 car bomb planted by South African security forces in Mozambique which cost him his right arm and sight in his left eye.

The documentary explores the value of human dignity, equality, freedom and the critical role Sachs played in architecting South Africa’s constitution.

School of Law academic, Professor Karthy Govender, who has worked with Sachs and reviewed his book: The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law, describes him as an extraordinary man with an indomitable spirit who forgives, something all South Africans can learn from.

‘This story is a call for those in power to do better and it could not have come at a better time as we all need a bit of inspiration,’ said Govender.

Sachs advised the audience to treasure their rights and use them to address the country’s challenges.

‘The Constitution is not just a piece of paper, it transformed the country. In South Africa we have our freedom but we still don’t have our security. If people are dissatisfied with what is happening now, they should use their rights to change things,’ he said.

Ginzberg said sharing Sachs’s history with South Africa was very important to her and she had learned a lot through screening the film all over South Africa.

After the screening, the audience were given an opportunity to interact with Sachs and Ginzberg.

Fomer School of Law academic, Professor Ramanlal Soni, said when he saw the film and what Sachs stood for, it evoked the feeling of humanness which is what Gandhi advocated.

High school teacher, Ms Fiona Khan, said it was an opportunity to ensure pupils were not left out of this ‘wonderful learning curve’ by having special screenings for young people.

SRC member, Mr Mduduzi Mubiana, asked Sachs to share his wisdom with the student representative body on how it could address issues of inequality in education to avoid student protests.

The night concluded with audience members taking the opportunity to get their books signed by Sachs and posing for photos with him.

Thandiwe Jumo


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Helping to Promote Durban as Gay and Lesbian Friendly

UKZN Helping to Promote Durban as Gay and Lesbian Friendly
KZNGALTA members at the planning workshop.

Promoting Durban as a gay and lesbian friendly tourism destination was the focus of discussions at the KwaZulu-Natal Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association’s (KZNGALTA) first Strategic Planning Workshop held at the UKZN School of Law.

Also debated was the aim of the association to educate the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial tourism community about the benefits of niche-marketed gay and lesbian tourism.

School of Law academic and KZNGALTA Chairperson Mr Shaun Kruger said the Association wanted to liaise and advise the KZN Tourism Authority on its broader tourism development strategy and specifically on those aspects involving or aimed at gay and lesbian tourists and tourism products.

‘Seeing that 2014 was KZNGALTA’s 10th birthday, we decided to host a strategic workshop to assist in our Key Strategic Planning for 2015-2018 in the hope of realigning our marketing, projects and events with our own objectives, the needs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender an Intersex (LGBTI) community, the tourism orientated businesses in and around KwaZulu-Natal, the TKZN Strategic Plan 2013-2018 and Durban Tourism. This will in turn lead to the promotion of tolerance and acceptance of the gay and lesbian community as a positive contributor to society,’ said Kruger.

The workshop ended with the association agreeing to achieve their vision through close collaboration and engagement with all tourism stakeholders; expanding and diversifying its marketing strategies and guiding those of tourism bodies; ensuring representative and transformative policies were well implemented, monitored and evaluated; and promoting the holistic integration of the LGBTI market within the KwaZulu-Natal tourism sector.

Melissa Mungroo


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Music - Makers - Witness the Funk (WTF)

UKZN Music - Makers - Witness the Funk (WTF)
Witness the funk.

Witness the funk (WTF), a group including UKZN students, makes alternative, trap, hip hop music, journeying into a new, fresh type of sound they call Gqom Trap.

The group comprises Lindokuhle (Efelow) Gcwensa (23), Charles (Aux Cable) Mchunu (24), and Nhlakanipho (Moshine Magnif) Shongwe (25).

Aux Cable has completed his Medical Science degree and is currently reading for his Honours, while Moshine Magnif is completing his final year of a BCom degree.

Witness the funk was formed in 2009 by Moshine Magnif, Aux Cable and former members, Muzi and San Season. ‘The group was created during our first year on campus,’ said Aux Cable. ‘After we released our first project titled The Pursuit, Muzi and San Season left. Moshine and I continued making music and met Efelow at a show we were all performing at. We became friends and Efelow joined the group in 2013.’

Their music is inspired by youth lifestyle and their experiences. ‘Other music also plays a part in our inspiration, such as a Durban house genre called Gqom and an international sound called Trap, originally from South America,’ said Aux Cable.

WTF have been acknowledged by highly acclaimed artists including Black Coffee, Zakes Bantwini, DJ Maphorisa (Uhuru) and many more. ‘We’ve also had the chance to work with Cassper Nyovest, Toya Delazy, Uhuru and Okmalumkoolkat on our current project,’ said Aux Cable. ‘We have just got an endorsement deal with international clothing brand, DC Shoes.’

While the music industry is notoriously difficult to break into, WTF has received air play and built up a fan-base by sending their music to different radio compilers as well as to DJs, especially ones who are highly booked and get their mixes on radio. ‘Once the DJs started playing our music, we also promoted our brand through bookings and live performances. We started getting support from university students as we used to perform at some shows on campus. But now our following is from a high rotation of performances, radio play/interviews and our social media presence,’ said Aux Cable.

To balance being students and musicians, they put in as much work as possible with every chance they get. ‘For us the drive is having lots of love and dedication towards our God-given talent. Nothing beats focus, determination and hard work. With those qualities you can accomplish anything in life,’ said Aux Cable.

‘Our plans for this year are to break through the industry and change the whole entire hip hop scene to greater heights in terms of originality and setting new trends which are more South African. We’re also planning on expanding our loyal fan base and following which will grow our passion for music and market sales.’

The talented musos would love to work with “living legend” Chicco Twala someday.

‘We’d like to thank Aewon Wolf who has played a huge role in getting us to perform at big events and introducing us to different promoters; Vivienne Wasserfal; Holly; Zamo (Merve) Mnguni and his sister TDK; Ayanda Makukule; Unathi;  Junior Lavie; Kgolo Daguru and the list goes on …’

They initially called themselves College Boyz and released their first single called Funky Laces. After hearing about an American group also named College Boyys, who released a song called Foot Work, they decided the group needed a new name.   Witness the funk was born because of the ‘variety of the feeling and elements our music brings’.

* Check out WTF’s Nomusa on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMh8MG21XXo

Follow Witness the funk on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/witnessthefunk01

And on Twitter: @WTF_AuxCable

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


author : .
author email : .

Zimbabwean Government Minister Addresses UKZN Meeting

Zimbabwean Government Minister Addresses UKZN Meeting
From left, front: Ms Siphiwe Mathonsi, Mr Lesiba Seshoka, Mr Christopher Mushohwe, and Ms Tasmeera Singh; and (back) Ms Vanuja Krishna, Ms Nombulelo Bezu, Ms Reshina Umra, and Zimbawean student representatives Mr Amin Matola and Mr Goodnews Zimbwa.

The Zimbabwean Presidential Scholarship Programme was the focus of an address by Zimbabwean Government Minister, Mr Christopher Mushohwe, at a meeting on UKZN’s Westville campus.

UKZN has a longstanding relationship with the Programme which is headed by Mushohwe, who gave a synoptic overview of the Programme highlighting President Robert Mugabe’s commitment to education.

Mushohwe said the programme aims to ‘bridge the digital divide’ and to lessen the ‘gap between the poor and the middleclass’.

According to the Minister, more than 37 000 students have graduated through the programme, at universities around the world, with a strong focus on science and mathematics. The students hold degrees in Engineering, Accounting and Law. 

The merits and challenges of the Scholarship administration were discussed with one of the major issues confronting the Scholarship programme being the difficulty Zimbabwean returning students encounter obtaining study visas to continue their studies.

Ms Tasmeera Singh, Acting Manager of UKZN’s International Relations Unit, said the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) had an advocacy group that would be approached to assist international students with issues relating to visa applications and requested the Minister to forward such cases for attention.

UKZN’s Executive Director of Corporate Relations, Mr Lesiba Seshoka, said the University planned to recruit more international students to meet the University’s target of 10 percent of the student population being international, with a strong focus on SADC countries.

Seshoka reaffirmed the University’s commitment to cementing a partnership with the Zimbabwean Government saying, ‘we see you as a very important partner and role player’.

Seshoka proposed that UKZN sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure the continuity of the programme.

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


author : .
author email : .

Phyllis Naidoo Collection Housed at UKZN Documentation Centre

Phyllis Naidoo Collection Housed at UKZN Documentation Centre
Phyllis Naidoo and her collection at the Documentation Centre.

The life of anti-apartheid stalwart, lawyer and author, the late Phyllis Naidoo, is documented in an extensive collection at UKZN’s Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre on the Westville campus.

The collection, which Naidoo donated to the University in 2006, includes letters, photographs, press cuttings, books and previously unpublished short stories which illustrate the contributions of activists to the liberation struggle.

Known for her indomitable spirit and commitment to the struggle, Naidoo passed away on 13 February, 2013.

Among the many inspiring and interesting aspects of her life are that her law firm served as a sanctuary for former Robben Island detainees, and that she found President Jacob Zuma a job at a pet shop in Durban after he was released from the Island!

Naidoo received one of the country’s highest honours, the Order of Luthuli, from President Thabo Mbkei for her contributions to the struggle for democracy. An alumnus of the former University of Natal, she received honorary doctorates from the University of Durban-Westville and the Durban University of Technology.

According to the Documentation Centre’s Senior Librarian, Mr Thiru Munsamy, the Documentation Centre plans to host a public lecture in her honour.

Other major collections at the Documentation Centre include Indian History and Indenture experience/ Ships Lists, KwaZulu-Natal history, Resistance History, Women in Resistance, Contemporary Politics, Asia-Africa Co-operation, Organisational Histories, Human Rights, Health, Welfare, Student and Faculty History, Education and Housing, a photographic archive, and other artefacts.

Members of the public are welcome to peruse the collections and immerse themselves in South Africa’s rich and turbulent history.

The Gandhi Luthuli Documentation Centre is in B Block (beneath the Library) on the Westville campus. The Centre is open between 08h00 and 16h30 Monday to Friday.

www.scnc.ukzn.ac.za

 

Contact Details:

Thiru Munsamy

munsamyt@ukzn.ac.za

031 260 7351

Emmanuel Narie

narieed@ukzn.ac.za 

031 260 7350

Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer


author : .
author email : .

Living Legends Breakfast

Living Legends Breakfast
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Registars with the Legends.

Community Obstetrics is as important as all other Obstetrics & Gynaecology sub-specialities, says former Head of UKZN’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Professor Ronald Green-Thompson.

Green-Thompson was speaking at the Department’s first Friday registrars’ breakfast meeting of the new year’s postgraduate calendar at which the aim was to recognise and acknowledge the contribution made by former HODs and in so doing inspire academic advancement and excellence as well as selfless service delivery among consultants and Registrars.

Green-Thompson told Registrars: ‘We need to set ourselves milestones and develop measurements of our actions and goals.’

He encouraged Registrars to do things better and to recognise the importance of collaborative efforts in advancing women’s health and rights, and further encouraged them to be dedicated to the reduction of disparities in health care. 

Green-Thompson, head from 1988 to 1994, was acknowledged as an astute teacher and administrator, who later became the Head of Department of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health for several years. 

Among other “living legends” at the meeting was Professor Hugh Philpott, who headed the Department from 1974 to1986 and was remembered for his contribution towards labour and delivery among African women, and the use of the partogram, an instrument now used by the World Health Organization. 

Philpott said: ‘Every still birth, and neonatal and maternal death in the province of Natal was my responsibility and concern.’

Since his retirement, Philpot has visited health care facilities in all 11 districts of KwaZulu-Natal, and all over the country through the NGO, the Centre for Health and Social Studies (CHESS), which he started with the pioneer of Community Obstetrics, Professor Sam Ross. The department held a memorial service at the meeting for Ross who had recently passed away.

‘We need to re-engineer health care,’ said Philpot. ‘We need to listen to the Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi and meet all the health needs of the women in South Africa. Re-engineering includes district specialist teams which the Minister has rolled out through the country.’

Professor Jay Bagratee, head from 2010 – 2013, outlined the numerous advances in gynaecology and the opportunities these offered specialists to be world class scientists and practitioners.

Professor Jack Moodley (1996 - 2005) and Professor Eddie Mhlanga (2006-2008) were unable to attend but sent their apologies and best wishes.

Nombuso Dlamini


author : .
author email : .

UKZN Study Investigates Usefulness of Antioxidant

UKZN Study Investigates Usefulness of Antioxidant
Mr Olubunmi Adebiyi.

Mr Olubunmi Adebiyi of the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Health Sciences has completed a study titled: “Naringin Attenuates Oxidative Stress In Type I Diabetes Mellitus”.

Naringin is a chemical compound isolated from grapefruit. The study aimed to investigate the potential therapeutic benefits of naringin in ameliorating oxidative stress-induced cardiac and renal damage.

‘Naringin has been identified to have a variety of effects ranging from antioxidant to anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic potentials,’ Adebiyi said.

The study investigated the usefulness or otherwise of the antioxidant potentials of naringin in preventing or alleviating oxidative stress induced diabetic cardiomyopathy.

According to Adebiyi, chronic hyperglycemia in Type I diabetes mellitus is a trigger of oxidative stress. ‘Antioxidants have potential therapeutic benefits that can be explored in the prevention of oxidative stress-induced diabetic complications. Naringin, a bioflavonoid is well known for its antioxidant activity.’

Adebiyi’s study was conducted at Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and according to the researcher it was still too early to make recommendations, but naringin appears to hold a lot of promise in mitigating oxidative stress induced complications in diabetes mellitus.

He said 42 male Sprague-Dawley rats (225-250g) were randomly allotted into six groups. Groups I and II received 0.2 ml of 0.1 M citrate buffer (pH 4.5) by a single intraperitoneal injection (I.P) plus 10ml/kg distilled water or naringin (50 mg/kg) via oral gavage daily respectively.

Groups III, IV, V and VI were rendered diabetic by a single intraperitoneal injection of 65 mg/kg of Streptozotocin (STZ) in 0.1 M citrate buffer (pH 4.5) and diabetes was confirmed after 48 hours. Groups III, IV and VI were subsequently treated with subcutaneous insulin (8 I.U/day), naringin (50 mg/kg) orally and ramipril (3mg/kg) orally respectively.

Adebiyi said the groups III-VI showed significant hyperglycemia, polyuria, polydipsia, impaired glucose tolerance, low fasting plasma insulin and weight loss compared to the controls.

He said furthermore that group V showed significantly increased plasma, cardiac and renal Malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations, reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities compared with the controls.

‘Naringin treatment significantly reduced MDA concentrations and boosted SOD and GPx activity in cardiac tissue,’ said Adebiyi.

‘Naringin does not possess hypoglycemic effects but may confer reno- and cardio-protective effects in a diabetic state via its antioxidant action.

‘Currently a lot of focus is on using nautriceuticals in treating ailments.  Nautriceuticals are biologically active compounds derived from dietary sources and since naringin is readily found in grapefruit juice, it will provide a cheap alternative in the management of oxidative stress induced complications in diabetes mellitus,’ said Adebiyi.

Adebiyi said the study would be completed soon. 

Nombuso Dlamini


author : .
author email : .

The UKZN Griot. Of Comings and Goings

The UKZN Griot.  Of Comings and Goings
.

Keyan G Tomaselli*

A recent correspondent wrote:

‘I too came here ages ago, in 1984, in fact, and I have survived, nay crawled, through battlefields worse than the Somme, mustard gas and pummeled from bureaucracies afar, and lived. I’ve seen eight - at the last count - VCs come and go and leave with a “newer, better” system for us, from the erstwhile UDW to the now highly successful (417th best university in the world, is it?) UKZN, and survived, like you and many other unsung battle-hardened soldiers. Treblinka, Lubyanka, we’ve done them all. 

Or should I say, we’ve outlasted them all! And just when you thought that it was safe to get back in the water...., there’s a new fresh VC at the gate.’

Indeed, was gate access improved for his arrival?  A flag or two flown?  Hopefully, the new VC was not turned away by the overzealous Main Gate 1 HC guards who now refuse entry to all manner of official visitors, who are forced to jostle with treble parked taxis, hordes of hapless students and staff uncomfortably standing in the rain or the sun, while their pickups throttle access both in and out of the campus.  His first day on the job would have been to fix access and arrange for some shelters for the queues and to direct the traffic.  The newer and better system must start at the Main Gate. 

Once inside, the new VC should take a walk – a long walk, not a walk to freedom, but a walk that introduces him to all and sundry.  Jonathan Jansen meets his students, his admirers and his detractors at the President Kruger statue on his campus.  We have King George V at HC, outside the Howard College Building.  Put the King to work and get to know the statues and those who will congregate there to meet the new man.  The statues remain while VCs come and go

Then take the VC for lunch somewhere.  Well, that’s more difficult, as there is nowhere at HC to congregate over a decent meal – standing in a queue at one of the few mobile trailers is an option. Or, the cholesterol-inducing and unkept café oval. The VC and his minders could then sit on the grass, but the ants will get them as King George surveys the gulag.  To drive home the point, take the new man through the decaying shopping precinct.  From there amble to the glass-encased EG Malherbe Library, where ill-disciplined students make noise, talk, eat,  hide books and where many refuse to learn that this is where they should be learning. 

After lunch – shared with the ants – visit the legacy of some of the academic programmes, so that the tour will include the chalk-face – so to speak.  Know where and how your constituencies reside, who is there and not there.  A must stop is the men’s toilet near the MTB lifts. This over-used facility has previously featured in my column, but now is the time to make it famous:  like Kilroy, ‘The VC was here’.

From there, a detour through the Shepstone echo chamber to the Science blocks, where I once got lost for three days because it has no signage, no obvious access to any offices, and no-one to tell one where one is.  Near Gate 1 in the dip is the Snedden Theatre, known only to those who go there, where once the management had to use a thousand bottles of mineral water to clean the toilets that were inoperative on the opening night of a Pieter-Dirk Uys farce.  Such dedication from the theatre staff cannot go un-complimented. The round Island in the main drag has been cleaned up and the environs into HC landscaped. 

Once first impressions are dealt with, second impressions must be positive.  So, in light of the opening comment, the survivors of the merger can entertain the new VC with compelling stories about how UKZN reached No 1 status in research output, and the transformation math used to calculate this rating.   We are No 1 in the university news ranking throughout Africa.  There’s a formula behind that also.  Let’s not forget our Africanist scholarship which is part of our branding history, even as neoliberal managerialism has valiantly laboured to create operational (d)efficiencies.  

Think about the new democracy, one that ensures that we can all speak our minds on matters on policy, administration, implementation, delivery and support.  This column is an exemplar in this regard. UKZN has excelled in all these arenas.  All is well.  Pay no attention to all those impish professors who left UKZN because they were not pulling their weight.  They are now somebody else’s problem.

Yes, life on the merged wave is good.  We know this because that’s what the ten-year celebration was celebrating.  Yes, I was there, celebrating with those who turned up.  Ladysmith Black Mambazo was a highlight, the food was excellent, the moving lights and electronically sculpted décor worthy of the Oscars.  Professor WM Makgoba regaled us on the success of the merger – the only success amongst many defaults. The speech offered by the founding Chair of Council, Vincent Maphai, was spellbinding.  His main message was that no-one should be Chair of Council for more than two years. How else will one limit the damage?  When the time comes one must go he insisted.  And so, the new VC whose appointment was greeted with singing dancing in the corridors, if I am to believe my students and the local press, is now here.  

But we also need to reflect on what the academics achieved in cooperation with management.  The No 1 research status was obtained by but 29% of the total academic staff complement.  Imagine the status when everyone publishes even one article annually?  In this objective I supported Professor Makgoba totally. The top 500 ranking in a number of indices was indeed facilitated by the merger management.  Meals that helped senators to concentrate were introduced to ensure that the travellers from other campuses were fed and their blood-sugar levels stabilised. We are – by common consensus – the most transformed university in the country.  And, we must be the one the few universities that does not charge its staff for general parking. For this benefit we must thank the unions also.  And, the unions rose to the challenge of the merger, their officers have done a herculean job in representing all staff, not that all staff appreciate this.

Finally, this column is unique at any South African university.  Senior managers at other universities have expressed their envy that we at UKZN can engage in such creative banter.  This is a precious space occupying a precarious micro-public sphere that will hopefully continue.   In all the time I have been writing it, I’ve had only one known detractor, someone who accused me of pandering to power.  No matter, the public sphere is forged through small and incremental spaces. 

To our new VC, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, your selection is indeed indicative that transformation at UKZN has occurred. 

*Tomaselli is now a proper Professor Emeritus, a 30-year veteran of UKZN, who has also seen many VCs, DVCs, finance officers, registrars, deans and others come and go. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.

author : .
author email : .