LAUNCH OF THE AFRICAN OMBUDSMAN RESEARCH CENTRE AT UKZN

LAUNCH OF THE AFRICAN OMBUDSMAN RESEARCH CENTRE AT UKZN

The President of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma extended his congratulations to UKZN on the establishment and launch of the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) on March 15.

‘I take pleasure in welcoming the heads of African ombudsmen institutions to our country. We feel highly honoured to host you, given your important responsibilities of protecting the rights of the people, especially the poor,’ he said.

The Research Centre was established to serve as a focal point for African ombudsman institutions and a resource of the African Ombudsman and Mediators’ Association (AOMA), a body that works to entrench good governance, upholding of the rule of law and respect for human rights by supporting, developing and protecting the independence of ombudsman institutions across the continent.

The AORC is also responsible for creating awareness about the existence of ombudsman institutions; generating, preserving and disseminating information on issues related to the ombudsman institution; and researching trends and practices that have to do with this institution in Africa. It will also provide training, research support and advocacy services to the AOMA.

President Zuma said that the Centre will be a source of important information and hope and that it will allow ombudspersons to be trained at UKZN rather than going abroad for training. He added that South Africa is proud to have Chapter 9 institutions like the Office of the Public Protector which are independent and impartial and subject only to the Constitution and the law. The President said that ombudspersons have an important role to play in entrenching a culture of accountable governance and in strengthening democratic institutions in Africa.

UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said that the University was honoured by the AORC’s faith and confidence, especially in its Faculty of Law.

author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN HOSTS SENIOR US DELEGATION ON AIDS RESEARCH AND TREATMENT

UKZN HOSTS SENIOR US DELEGATION ON AIDS RESEARCH AND TREATMENT

On March 9, the Director of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Head of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) led a US delegation on a visit to UKZN HIV and AIDS research project sites.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), guided the delegation on a detailed tour of CAPRISA sites.  The group included Dr Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director who previously led the Human Genome Project, Ambassador Eric Goosby, the United States Global AIDS Co-ordinator in charge of PEPFAR, Ms Deborah van Zinkernagel, Deputy Global AIDS Co-ordinator, Dr Roger Glass, Director of the Fogarty International Centre, Dr Samuel Adeniyi-Jones, Director of the African Region-US Department of Health and Human Services and Ms Stacy Wallick, Public Health Analyst (NIH).

The NIH delegates started their visit with a tour of the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute, a visit to CAPRISA and an opportunity to see the building site and the plans for the new K-RITH building, currently under construction at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. Guided by Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Dr Kogie Naidoo, the PEPFAR delegates made an early start with a tour of the CAPRISA eThekwini clinic and the adjoining Prince Cyril Zulu Communicable Diseases Centre (PCZCDC), which is Durban’s busiest Tuberculosis (TB) clinic where approximately 5 000 TB patients are treated each month.

Visiting the groundbreaking Microbicide Gel Trial research site in rural Vulindlela (near Howick), delegates were impressed with the warm welcome received by the community. Dr Collins said, ‘There has been very exciting work done on the microbicide gel here. However, one should never forget that the work was possible only through the vision and leadership of a Chief that saw the benefit in partnering with CAPRISA for his community. The eyes of the world are upon you and you’re a beacon of hope to the world. Not only are you doing God’s work for your community but also for the world at large’.

Inkosi Zondi, traditional leader of the Vulindlela District gave an emotional account of how CAPRISA has benefited the community by reducing the number of deaths caused by HIV and AIDS. He said that all lives belong to God and as the leader of the community, he thanked PEPFAR and the US government for providing the funding for research of this kind to take place and pledged the ongoing support of the Vulindlela community to the project.

Baba Sithole, the local pastor who is Chair of the Community Support Research Group in the district described how the project has impacted on the community by not only reducing the number of deaths but by educating the youngest members on HIV and AIDS. He said, ‘A seven-year old at home knows how to take her AID
author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

LAW FACULTY COMMENDED FOR MAINTAINING HIGH STANDARDS

LAW FACULTY COMMENDED FOR MAINTAINING HIGH STANDARDS

UKZN’s Faculty of Law was commended for keeping its standards high at a Business Breakfast Meeting hosted by the College of Law and Management Studies on March 11.

Deputy Judge President of the High Court of KwaZulu-Natal, Justice Chiman Patel, told the business and legal fraternity that he hopes that the Faculty continues to excel in its endeavours.  He made these comments during his address titled “The Bench, the Legal and Commercial Professions and Academia – An Indispensible Partnership”.

‘I hope that a partnership can be created between the stakeholders assembled here today as to how we can move this debate forward,’ he added.

Justice Patel said that the legal profession is regarded as a high status profession and is growing in popularity. This is shown by the large number of applicants for articles of clerkship. He added that the quality of training that these students receive will affect the level of service provided to the general public and to the business community.  He said that if there are challenges with the LLB degree these need to be ironed out quickly so as to prevent these graduates from entering the legal profession unprepared.

‘Having said this, I think it is important to say that the standards at UKZN remain high and this Faculty is to be commended for managing to keep standards high despite the ever-increasing pressures to which I have alluded,’ he added.

Justice Patel said that the most obvious skill that law graduates should possess is appropriate legal knowledge. ‘The acquisition of this skill is the direct responsibility of Law Faculties and they must ensure that those qualifying possess sufficient knowledge to advance to the next stage of their chosen career path,’ he added. He said that higher than average literacy skills, drafting skills and critical thinking skills are also necessary for successful legal practice.  He suggested the need for ongoing interaction between academia, the practicing professions and the Bench. author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES STUDENTS TAKE PART IN EXCHANGE PROGRAMME

DEVELOPMENT STUDIES STUDENTS TAKE PART IN EXCHANGE PROGRAMME

Four Masters students, Mr Sean Kirby, Mr Menzi Mthethwa, Ms Helen Cooke, and Mr Nkeka Tseole from UKZN’s School of Development Studies (SDS) are visiting the University of Bergen and the University of Oslo on a short one-month Norway exchange programme.

The students are being hosted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Bergen and Chr. Michelsens Institute (CMI - Bergen) as well as the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research in Oslo.  They will be working on research projects which are currently ongoing between the SDS and their respective development research partners in Norway.  One project includes more detailed analysis on land reform panel data collected between 2000 and 2007 which attempts to examine the impact on the quality of life of participating households within South Africa's Land Reform Programme.

The student exchange is funded by the Norway Research Council and the South African National Research Foundation under the Quality of Life and South African  Land Reform (Land at Last) collaborative project and administered under the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) for Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment. Professor Julian May of the SDS holds the Chair.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

UCWANINGO LIKADOKOTELA WASE-UKZN LUZOSIZA ISIFUNDAZWE SAKWAZULU-NATALI

UCWANINGO LIKADOKOTELA WASE-UKZN LUZOSIZA ISIFUNDAZWE SAKWAZULU-NATALI

UDkt Thayananthee Nadasan ofundisa kwaSchool of Physiotherapy, Sports Science and Optometry eNyuvesi waKwaZulu-Natali (UKZN) usezakhele udumo lazwelonke ngocwaningo alwenza efundela ubudokotela ngosizo lwezempilo olutholakala ezingeni lomphakathi.

 

UNadasan umenywe yikomidi loSosayensi bamazwe ngamazwe, i-International Scientific Committee (ISC), ukuba ahambele ingqungquthela iWorld Physical Therapy Conference 2011ezobe ise-Amsterdam lapho ezothula ucwaningo lakhe alubiza nge-“Primary Health Care Delivery: A Case Study of KwaZulu-Natal with Special Reference to Physiotherapy”. Leli ithuba elingavelele bani njengoba kumenywe abacwaningi abacwaninge ngezihloko ezikhethekile nemiphumela yakhona ezoletha usizo nenguquko ezweni.

 

Ebongela uNadasen, umphathi womkhakha wezempilo e-UKZN, uSolwazi Sabiha Essack uthe, ‘Impela lelithuba lingubufakazi bokuzimisela nezinga lomsebenzi wakho.’

 

Ucwaningo lwaNadasan luhlose ukusungula indlela ezokwandisa nezoqinisekisa usizo lwezempilo olutholakala ezingeni lomphakathi esifundazweni saKwaZulu-Natali. Luphinde lamuzuzisa umklomelo wokuba yilunga leGolden Key International Honour Society ngonyaka ka-2010. IGolden Key yamukela amamaphesenti angu15 kuphela abafundi base-UKZN abashaye abanye emakhanda.

 

NgoLwezi onyakeni odlule, uNadasen wathula lolucwaningo eMadrid, eSpain engcungcutheleni i-International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (ICERI2010) phambi kwezihambeli ezingaphezulu kwamakhulu angu-700 ezisuka emazweni angaphezu kwa-70 zwelonke.

 

UNadasan wathokoza ethola leli thuba wabonga abaphathi bomkhakha wakhe, u-Essack, oSolwazi Johan van Heerden; kanye noDkt Sonil

On March 10, a delegation of six senior academics from the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences (JAAS) visited UKZN in an effort to establish collaborative links between the two institutions.  The delegation, which was hosted by the School of Agricultural Sciences and Agribusiness, interacted with UKZN academics involved in research in the fields of horticulture, human nutrition, biotechnology and food security. 

Established in 1932, JAAS is one of the largest agricultural research institutions in China.  It has a staff complement of over 2 000 academic researchers and more than 20 academic institutes, both on the main campus in the city of Nanjing, and spread across several cities in Jiangsu province. It was originally established as the National Agricultural Experimental Institute by the Chinese central government, but is now financed and directly administered by provincial government. 

JAAS is located at the southern foot of Zi-Jin Mountain in the beautiful eastern scenic area of Ninjing, Jiangsu Province, which is a 200 km drive from China’s biggest city, Shanghai.    The Academy focuses on rural economic and technological development, and is committed to basic and applied research, as well as to the production of food and fibre and the protection of China’s natural resources.  To this end, JAAS has established extensive collaborative relationships with both domestic and international research institutions. 

In welcoming the delegation, the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, Professor Deo Jaganyi, said he was delighted at the opportunity for UKZN to establish collaborative links with one of China’s leading agricultural institutions.

President of JAAS, Professor Xihau Zhao, was particularly interested in research being conducted by UKZN in the field of food security in Africa, as well as issues of genetic modification.   Academics from both camps shared their common problems, the most notable being how to attract top students to the field of agriculture; and how to keep good staff.  Head of School, Professor Gerald Ortmann said he hoped further exchange would result from the firm basis forged by the delegation’s visit. 

After collaborative discussions, the delegation was treated to a tour of the School’s facilities housed in the Rabie Saunders Building on the Pietermaritzburg Life Sciences campus.
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

MONEY DOESN’T BUY HAPPINESS, SAYS PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS

MONEY DOESN’T BUY HAPPINESS, SAYS PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS

The expression “Money can’t buy you happiness” was one of the underlining themes which guest speaker and alumnus Professor John Knight presented to Finance and Economics staff and students at UKZN, as part of a seminar series at the Pietermaritzburg campus.   

Knight’s presentation was based on a survey that he recently conducted, focusing on China’s current rapid economic expansion and its association with subjective happiness.   Knight is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at Oxford University, United Kingdom. He is a founder member of the Centre for the Study of African Economics and has been conducting research on China for 20 years.

He said that, despite the consistent and rapid economic growth since 1990 in China, happiness has not risen over time. Some of the causes are rising income inequality, economic insecurity after no state guarantees to the ‘rice bowl’, changing reference groups, with migration of people from rural to urban areas, and new aspirations which offset rising incomes.

Knight compared happiness levels in South Africa with China.  He said that in South Africa, the situation is different as the average level of happiness for South Africans has risen over the years 1990-2007, and  more so between 2001- 2007.  He added that this proves that there is more to happiness than a simple rise in income, and that there needs to be a measure of transformation in society.  Although China’s economy continues to prosper, the Chinese are mostly unhappy. By way of contrast, economic growth in South Africa is moderate, but happiness levels among South Africans are higher, said Knight.  Accordingly, China is seeking a more harmonious type of economic growth, he added.

Knight identified certain trends and groups that are influenced by higher incomes.  He also looked at how income (money) affects the direction of one’s aspirations and levels of happiness. His presentation encouraged the audience to reflect on their own goals in relation to income and happiness. 

Ms Jenette Reitsma, a MA student in the discipline of French on the Pietermaritzburg campus, was the 2010 winner of “le concours de la Francophonie 4”, a competition in collaboration with the AUF (Agence Universitaire de la Francophone, of which UKZN is an associate member) and the French Embassy in South Africa, which is aimed at the promotion of French in Southern Africa. Postgraduate students were encouraged to submit their proposals, written in French, in subject areas that concern languages and society. The prize grants a Masters student a three month scholarship at a foreign university that forms part of the AUF network, which consists of over 400 institutions worldwide.

 

Ms Reitsma chose to do her research on the use of the African graphic novel to teach French as a foreign language, at the University of Charles de Gaulle in Lille in the north of France. Currently she is working there under the guidance of Dr Marie-Pascale Hamez, a specialist in the field of Teaching French as a Foreign Language (TFFL). ‘My days consist of taking part in lectures aimed at improving my competencies in French i.e. grammar, written production, comprehension etc. I also have lectures on French history and theatre. Otherwise, I am in the library focusing on my dissertation and I meet with my professor once a week to discuss progress on the research. During weekends I have time to explore the beautiful city of Lille and enjoy this wonderful opportunity!’ Reitsma said. 

 

Her supervisor, Professor Bernard De Meyer, said that it is heartening to see the benefit of opportunities such as these for students themselves and for curriculum development at UKZN.  De Meyer added: ‘Jenette is basing her research on the graphic novel Aya de Yopougon by the Ivorian author Marguerite Abouet. As previous research in the discipline has shown, students are encouraged by the African context of their learning material. Not only do they become aware that French is a major language on the continent, but the intercultural component is extremely valuable in enhancing the value of students’ learning. We, in the French Department, look forward to using the knowledge that she has gained and avail ourselves of this new material to draw attention to the fact that French is a language of communication in Africa, a means of bridging the gap, and of rediscovering one’s own identity through contact with the other.’


author email : demeyerb@ukzn.ac.za

CENTRE FOR SCIENCE ACCESS REACHES OUT TO LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL

CENTRE FOR SCIENCE ACCESS REACHES OUT TO LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL

Grade 12 learners from Makhumbuza High School in Umlazi were recently afforded the opportunity to visit UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, courtesy of the Centre for Science Access (CSA).  Facilitated by Senior CSA Tutor, Mr Muvhango Rasalanavho, the visit comprised an information-rich programme designed to give the learners a “feel” for university life and to familiarise them with the different study options. 

The visit was initiated by former Makhumbuza learner, Mr Sifiso Nzama who also graduated from UKZN’s Science Foundation Programme in 1992.  He is currently a Director at Ibuya Consulting Engineers, an electrical and electronic company for the built environment.

Presentations by the Faculty of Science and Agriculture and the Faculty of Humanities, Development and Social Science provided the learners with an idea of where they need to aim in order to gain access to university study.  This was complemented by a talk from Mr Nick Munro of Student Counselling who conducted an abbreviated career-interest inventory with the students.  In addition, he facilitated discussion around career decision-making and planning skills.  Also on the agenda was a presentation by Financial Aid Services which helped the learners to understand the different options available for financing their studies.

The highlight of the day was a visit to the chemistry laboratories where the learners experienced “science in action” and had the opportunity to view top-class facilities and equipment.  Lunch rounded up the programme and allowed teachers and learners to interact with CSA staff in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. 

The learners left the University enthusiastic and excited, ready to apply themselves to their studies in order to gain University entrance.  ‘Hopefully they will go and study knowing that they can get financial assistance based on academic performance,’ said Rasalanavho.  The teachers who accompanied the learners also benefited from the experience as they gained more insight into how their learners can access the University and apply for financial aid.
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT WORLD MARKET TRADING

STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT WORLD MARKET TRADING

Students at UKZN’s Westville campus enjoyed an interactive business presentation initiated by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)-UKZN.

 

This initiative was part of SIFE-UKZN’s Investment Catalyst Programme. The Programme was initiated two years ago with the objective of encouraging students to make investment part of their lifestyle.

 

Speaking on smarter ways of making money, Mr Grant Jones from international trading company, IQuote Trading said: ‘Everybody wants to be rich but nobody knows how to. To improve your financial position you have to improve your financial IQ.’

 

Students gained insight into the benefits and risks of online trading. Jones said that very few South Africans are taught how to trade and create wealth from the World Markets. ‘This has a financial impact on the country,’ he added.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za