UKZN LAUNCHES CHAIR IN INDUSTRIAL STUDIES

UKZN LAUNCHES CHAIR IN INDUSTRIAL STUDIES

A new Chair in Industrial Studies was publically launched by the School of Development Studies at the Durban Country Club on June 6. Adjunct Associate Professor, Justin Barnes who is an expert in the field of industrial development, took up this position on February 1.

 

‘It is the express desire of the School of Development Studies to positively contribute to the realisation of the abundant industrial development opportunities that exist both locally and across the African continent, and we believe that the appointment of Professor Barnes will act as a catalyst to the realisation of these broader objectives,’ said Senior Professor in the School, Professor Vishnu Padayachee.

 

Barnes is the Chairman of Benchmarking and Manufacturing Analysts which provides services to a number of successful industrial clusters across the country. He has written numerous reports and academic journal articles, and contributed to the formation of national government policies pertaining particularly to the automotive and clothing and textile sectors.

 

The School of Development Studies Board created the Chair in recognition of the importance of industrial development to the broader development of the national and sub-Saharan African economy. Padayachee said, ‘This is the first of what will be an annual event, with the intention of bringing over an international expert to engage the academic and broader business community on development opportunities for our industrial base.’

 

‘It is very refreshing and rewarding to have returned to the School and to contribute to its academic development,’ said Barnes. Focusing on some of South Africa’s development challenges he outlined the link between production and consumption, and redistribution and growth, along with sustainability and the need to understand competitiveness issues within South African and abroad.

 

He highlighted the need to understand global value chains, trade relationships, industrial policies, local business systems, industrial clustering, firm-level organisational competitiveness and the importance of learning people skills in industry.

Staff, students and political activists gathered at UKZN’s Westville campus on Africa Day, May 25, to honour the life of the late journalist, and political and human rights activist, Mr Strini Moodley.

 

The Strini Moodley Annual Memorial Lecture which was presented by noted Pan African scholar and writer, Professor Horace Campbell, who is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse University, New York. The lecture was titled "Towards an Africa without borders in the 21st century: Without Unity and Peace, there is no future for South Africa".

 

Professor David Macharia from the Umtapo Centre, which partners with UKZN in hosting the Lecture, said it was fitting to commemorate Africa Day in this manner. The Umtapo Centre is a non-profit development organisation whose mission is to engage in education, training, community mobilisation, and networking in order to empower people, particularly youth, to take control of their own lives in the struggle for sustainable development, peace, and human rights.

 

Campbell was introduced by Umtapo Board Member, Dr Farida Patel who referred to the late Moodley as a ‘veteran peace activist’.

 

‘There is need for a new orientation on liberation and peace to conceptualise the values of Ubuntu as the basis for transformation,’ said Campbell. He explained that Ubuntu incorporates values of sharing, co-operation, and spiritual health, and argued that Ubuntu, emancipatory politics, and reparations are the key concepts for liberation today and tomorrow. ‘The attainment of Ubuntu in the Pan African context is bound up with the political union of the peoples of Africa,’ he said.

 

Umtapo Board Member and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare, Professor Mbulelo Mzamane congratulated Campbell on his speech. He said that lectures and discussions such as these ‘tease [out] what might be best for our curriculum as universities.’ Mzamane flagged UKZN’s vision to be Premier University of African Scholarship as a plausible basis for an imagined “Africa without borders”.

In a first for South Africa, the School of Audiology, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology has launched a Masters of Philosophy in Group Therapy.

Head of School, Professor Robin Joubert said that the idea to start the programme originated with Mrs Vivian Alers, an occupational therapist from Gauteng, six years ago when she realised how expensive it was for South Africans to study abroad.

The main focus of the degree is to prepare therapists and psychologists to be able to run interactive groups that have a therapeutic focus. This would enable them to deal more effectively with issues facing South Africa, such as the large numbers of mental health care users in institutions as well as living in the community. These include survivors of trauma, victims of abuse and victims of serious crime who may also be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The degree is multidisciplinary which allows any practitioner with the correct health professional degree e.g. occupational therapist, psychologist or social worker, to study and become an expert in the use of group therapy in various contexts.

The degree was approved in 2010 by the Department of Higher Education and Training and  the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), to be offered at UKZN as from 2011. Modules are presented over a one week block and the first group of students is currently in the second module. 

One of the founders of the programme, Dr Rosemary Crouch, (formerly of Wits University) commented on the extensive need for therapeutic services in South Africa, including group therapeutic interventions. She said that the new degree will equip practitioners to become experts in group therapy. She congratulated the first group of seven that has enrolled and wished them luck.

One of the students Ms Nazeema Sooma
author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

CELEBRATING AFRICA DAY THROUGH HERITAGE AND LITERATURE

CELEBRATING AFRICA DAY THROUGH HERITAGE AND LITERATURE

The Kunene Foundation celebrated Africa Day on May 27 by hosting a dinner at the Mazisi Kunene Manuscript Museum to commemorate the life and work of African legend, Professor Mazisi Kunene. The dinner was supported by the National Heritage Council and the eThekwini Municipality and was attended by people connected in different ways to the late poet as well as intellectuals who shared in the celebration of African heritage and literature.

The Kunene Foundation was launched at the Durban International Convention Centre in 2006, and is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy and work of Kunene, an African poet who handwrote more than 10 000 poems exclusively in isiZulu, with a passion and dedication far beyond that of many great poets.

 

Kunene is best known for his epic poem on the life of King Shaka Zulu and his mother Nandi in the book Emperor Shaka the Great, which has been translated into both English and Japanese. Guests were welcomed by Mrs Mathabo Kunene, the Foundation’s Executive Manager and wife of the late poet. His son Mr Zosukuma Kunene, popularly known as recording artist Young Nations, and who serves as the Kunene Foundation’s Project Manager and Communications Director, gave guests a tour of the Museum and shared insight and information about commendations received by the legend during his 36 years in political exile.

 

Zosukuma noted that: ‘[Kunene] completed his degree at the former University of Natal, but could not graduate due to the prevailing apartheid laws at the time. Ironically the same University where he could not attend his graduation, now lies on a street renamed “Mazisi Kunene Road” in his honour.’ Kunene was forced into exile in 1959 and even whilst living in Europe and America, wrote about the liberation of African culture; works for which he received recognition from other countries which supported South Africa’s liberation struggle. He played a pivotal role in exposing apartheid to the world. In 1962 he became the chief representative of the African National Congress in London and its Director of Finance in 1972.

 

The Kunene Foundation has done remarkable work as part of the national heritage preservation drive in South Africa, as well as in developing extended programmes which contribute to both cultural and social development. The Foundation is currently in partnership with UKZN in the formation of the Mazisi Kunene Research Chair, to be based within the School of isiZulu Studies.

‘UKZN is a national, going global institution, though we are rooted in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal’ - Professor Nceba Gqaleni.

The Traditional Medicine Programme headed by the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine’s Professor Nceba Gqaleni hosted the Free State Department of Health and traditional healers on Africa Day, May 25. Gqaleni is the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair of Indigenous Health Care Systems. 

The 13-person Free State delegation, consisting of 10 traditional practitioners and three Department of Health personnel were on a two-day visit to KwaZulu-Natal to learn from the cutting-edge research being done in the province on traditional medicine.  The delegation met with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and its partners, the UKZN Traditional Medicine Programme, the eThekwini Municipality, and local traditional healers. Gqaleni hosted a meeting at the Traditional Medicine Laboratory with the delegation; and the eThekwini Municipality took the delegation on a tour to Silverglen Nature Reserve, where they witnessed the cultivation of indigenous medicinal plants, and to the Durban Muthi Market, where traditional healers ply their wares.

Colourful traditional wear and accessories, as well as drumbeats and song, characterised the meeting at UKZN. The proceedings began with a Zulu praise song and a prayer to God and the ancestors – an unusual occurrence at the University. 

Gqaleni gave a presentation on the purpose, research and academic programmes within the Traditional Medicines Laboratory. He said that the interprovincial connection will allow Free State healers to get involved with rare research opportunities and develop the dignity of traditional medicine and healers in South Africa.

Gqaleni explained that ‘The work of the Programme is to preserve and v
author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za

MOSQUITOES PREFER FLOWERS BEFORE THEY SUCK BLOOD

MOSQUITOES PREFER FLOWERS BEFORE THEY SUCK BLOOD

Mosquitoes represent a significant threat to human health because of their ability to transmit pathogens that cause diseases, which afflict millions of people world-wide.

Beside their well-known blood sucking behaviour the importance of mosquitoes as night-active flower visitors is unknown to most people. Several studies have shown that flowers play an important role as a source of nectar food for some mosquito species and that floral scent might be important for mosquitoes to find nectar plants. In the early stages of their lives, mosquitoes even prefer honey scents over human skin odours. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the attractiveness of synthetic floral scent compounds to mosquitoes.

In his seminar “How to attract a sweet tooth: the role of floral scent compounds for attracting mosquitoes”, Dr Andreas Jüergens, a senior lecturer from the School of Biological and Conservation Sciences at UKZN spoke about the possibilities of using floral scent to control mosquito populations. Research thus far has focused on mosquito control using chemicals that imitate animal odours. Jüergens research will take a different direction, testing chemicals typically emitted from flowers. This approach would have the big advantage of trapping female mosquitoes before they take up a blood meal and thus transmit diseases. He added that the project is still in an early stage, testing for the best combination of scent chemicals to attract mosquitoes, but that in the future such mosquito traps could be especially useful in areas with high levels of malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Jüergens began his mosquito research in Germany in collaboration with Dr Stefan Dötterl and Dr Umma Salma Jhumur at the University of Bayreuth. His new position in South Africa gives him the opportunity to go one step further and to test his ideas under “real” conditions. The project is supported by the National Research Foundation and will be conducted in collaboration with Dr Adam Shuttleworth, a postdoctoral student at UKZN.


author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

ENGINEERING INSPIRES LEARNERS IN RURAL COMMUNITY

ENGINEERING INSPIRES LEARNERS IN RURAL COMMUNITY

A visit to a poor rural community, a few kilometers from the Mozambique border, resulted in a memorable and special adventure for Head of the UNITE Programme and Engineering Dean’s Assistant, Mr Noel Powell. 

Invited by UKZN alumnus and employee of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Mr Themba Mntambo, Powell presented an engineering career talk to a group of 100 Grade 12 learners at Velabusha in KwaNgwanase.  It was initiated when Mntambo visited UNITE to drop off his nephew and discovered that the Faculty of Engineering would be prepared to visit his remote area. 

For Powell, the adventure began when he discovered that there was no electricity in the area and that special transport would be required to get from Manguzi to the community hall in the bush.  Undaunted and determined to make a first class presentation, Powell borrowed a generator from a friend and acquired a makeshift screen.  Transport was arranged, provided by a total stranger who met the UKZN team at the local police station and drove them to their destination.

According to Powell, they were greeted by a well-turned out group of eager learners in a very run-down community hall without any of the modern amenities conducive for a technology-driven presentation.  However, within no time, the generator was activated, a white sheet hung on the wall and the data projector set up and ready for the show. 

Unfortunately, all the activity disturbed a swarm of bees in the ceiling, resulting in the learners making a mad dash to the back corner of the hall to get out of the way of the angry bees.  ‘Being allergic to bee stings was quite unsettling as well as knowing that the closest hospital was quite a distance away,’ said Powell. But with only one victim – one of the learners was stung on the finger – the show proceeded.

The flawless presentation, complete with powerful visuals and engineering related gadgets such as an optic-fibre light, and a mechanical heart valve, captivated and entertained the learners.  Each participant received a packet of chips and an easy-to-assemble toy ornithopter (mechanical flapping bird) as examples of what engineers produce. Powell explained that producing one packet of chips involves every engineering discipline.

Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Education, Professor Volker Wedekind has been appointed to a Ministerial Task Team that will advise the Minister of Higher Education and Training on improving the performance of Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).

Wedekind said that ‘it is an honour to be asked to serve on this team.’ He is the only university-based member of the Task Team, which, said Wedekind, places responsibility on him to ensure that he brings both the skills and the perspectives of Higher Education its work.

SETAs are a key mechanism for addressing the skills shortages in South Africa, but have been criticised for not delivering on their mandate. The Task Team, comprising seven members, will be advising the Minister on ways of making the SETAs more effective. It will assess the performance of the SETAs and recommend changes to their systems of governance, finance and skills planning.

The Task Team began its work at the end of March and is due to report to the Minister at the end of June 2011.


author email : Khanyilem1@ukzn.ac.za

LAW LECTURER DOES UKZN PROUD

LAW LECTURER DOES UKZN PROUD

“As a matter of fact: A critical analysis of the SCA judgment in The Citizen v McBride” is the title of an article by Law Lecturer, Mr Michael Buthelezi, that will be published in the July issue of De Jure.

Buthelezi said the article was inspired by a defamation case brought by Mr Robert McBride against The Citizen newspaper and heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2010. This followed a Citizen report that called McBride a “murderer” even though he had obtained amnesty before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Buthelezi conducted a critical analysis of the court’s findings. He also looked at the effects of amnesty, especially on the people that had been granted it.  He said that in light of the objective of the TRC Act on national unity, reconciliation and reconstruction, it was not fair to keep on referring to people as “murderers”. This goes against the objectives of the TRC, namely re-integration of the recipients of amnesty into society.

The case came before the Constitutional Court (CC), which made its decision a few weeks ago. Buthelezi said that even though the majority of the CC judges did not agree with his view, he is very happy that one judge did. He is currently preparing a response to the CC’s judgment.

Buthelezi, a lecturer for almost 10 years, teaches the Law of Persons and Law of Delict. His greatest enjoyment is seeing his students graduate and meeting them in high places, such as the Durban Magistrates Court. He also takes pride in hearing about the success stories of some of his former students.

‘A big challenge is finding ways to motivate students so that they remain interested in their studies,’ he added.

Keynote speaker at the Graduate School of Business Breakfast on May 27 was Professor Walter Geach, who spoke about South Africa’s new Companies Act. 

Geach is a senior professor and Fellow of UKZN. His areas of specialisation are corporate governance, business law and financial services.

The presentation dealt with some of the fundamental issues arising from the provisions of the 2008 Companies Act, which took effect on May 1, 2011. These include their effect on existing companies and close corporations; the different provisions in a company’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI); financial reporting, audits and independent reviews; the role of directors; and business rescue.

The new Act has deemed all companies formed in terms of earlier legislation to have been formed in terms of the 2008 Act.

MOIs must meet certain core requirements. These apply to all companies and cannot be changed. For example, all companies must prepare annual financial statements. There are also provisions which can be altered to meet the needs and interests of stakeholders, like the right to receive dividends and to vote.

In keeping with the principle of flexibility and simplicity, the Act has tried to provide as easy a regulatory system as possible. Greater burdens of regulation fall upon state-owned companies, public companies, and certain private companies that hold assets in a fiduciary capacity or which have a certain number of employees, turnover or level of assets. In other words, companies whose activities have a wider social and economic impact are subject to greater regulation.

A positive aspect of the new Act is the introduction of business rescue provisions, which are aimed at rescuing financially distressed companies rather than liquidating them.

According to Geach ‘the Act also [imposes] strict rules on company directors as they cannot be awarded bonuses without the consultation of stakeholders. Even their remuneration has to go through stakeholder channels before being agreed upon.’  Furthermore, the principle of accountability of directors is extended by means of a provision that empowers a court to declare a director who fails to perform in terms of the law to be delinquent, or to be placed on probation, where the actions do not justify an immediate declaration of delinquency. Hopefully, this will help prevent South African companies from overspending recklessly on undeserving directors as has been encountered before, said Geach.


author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za

IQEMBU LASE-UKZN LIBALWE KWAMANE APHUME PHAMBILI ENINGIZIMU AFRICA

IQEMBU LASE-UKZN LIBALWE KWAMANE APHUME PHAMBILI ENINGIZIMU AFRICA

Iqembu labafundi abane baseNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali lithokozele ukufinyelela kumlenze wokugcina emncintiswaneni i-2011 CIMA Global Business Challenge, laphinda laqhudelana namanye amanyuvesi amathathu kwi-Absa Capital eSandton, eGoli.

Umphathi wesigceme saseNingizimu Afrika weCIMA, uNksz Samantha Louis uthe beliphakeme kakhulu izinga kwabangenele umncintiswano kulonyaka. ‘Kube nzima kakhulu ukukhetha iqembu elizophuma phambili kumaqembu akulonyaka. I-CIMA ithulela wonke lawa maqembu isigqoko ngokufinyelela kuleli zinga.’

Oyilunga leqembu lase-UKZN, uMnz Nathan Mpofu uthe amaqembu angenele lomncintiswano aqophisane kwezamabhizinisi, bevivinywa ngempatho yebhizinisi lezimpahla zokugqoka ngezindlela ezahlukahlukene. ‘Iqembu lethu, i-Emthunzini Consultants, lisebenzise ubuchule bezezibalo, ezomnotho kanye nokuhluzisisa ukuze sixazulule izinqinamba ebezibekelwe ibhizinisi lethu,’ kusho uMpofu.

Kulonyaka angu-45 amaqembu angenele umncintiwano, kwaba angu-30 abaqhubekele kumlenze olandelayo. Wonke amaqembu abekelwa imigomo nezinqinamba ezifanayo emabhizinisini awo, kwathi lawo amane efinyelele esigabeni sokuqcina ethulela amajaji umsebenzi wawo ngokukhethekile.

Amanye amaqembu afinyelele esigabeni sokugcina kube yiBusiness People, neSylen Business Consultants ase-University of Johannesburg, eGoli; kwaphinda kwaba yiTunajibu Consulting yaseNorth West University.

UMpofu uthe ukufinyelela kumlenze wokugcina emncintiswaneni kube yimpumelelo enkulu yize iqembu labo belizimisele ukuphuma phambili. ‘Sifunde lukhulu kulomncintiswano kanti noma singaphumanga phambili silangazelele eminye imincintiswano ezayo,’ kusho uMpofu.

Iqembu lase-UKZN libonge uNksz Ailie Charteris osebenza kuMnyango wezeFinance and Economics eNuyuvesi, kakhulu ngokubalekelela ekulungiseleni umncintiswano. ‘Ubuchule nosizo lwakhe lwenze lukhulu size sifinyelele lapho sifike khona,’ kusho abafundi.

A two-day Leadership Workshop for alumni organised by Alumni Relations and facilitated by Ms Marie Odendaal and Mr Mandla Ndaba of the Student Leadership Development Office took place on the Westville campus from May 30-31.

Participants ranged from recent April 2011 graduates to those with a few years work experience. The participants, a number of whom had travelled from various parts of KwaZulu-Natal, discovered the value of effective communication and personal development, while tackling issues of diversity, teamwork and conflict management.

The wide range of participants in terms of demographics, work experience, sector and level of management allowed for interesting debates around leadership challenges.

When the group reflected on important lessons they had learnt, the issue of love was at the top of the list: ‘When you love yourself and have passion for your work, you infect your co-workers with renewed energy and love, and it will encourage a more productive and ambitious manner in their work’ said one participant. Facilitator, Mr Mandla Ndaba added, ‘The love of power and the fear of losing it creates a bad environment and downward spiral [in your office, home and other social institutions], but the power of love creates a beautiful environment and allows for very effective management’.

Feedback on the Workshop included ‘extremely interesting’, ‘packed with essential information’ and ‘a real learning curve.’

The Workshops are aimed at the most recent graduates, and professionals seeking skills to assist them in their work,’ said Mr Finn Christensen, Manager of Alumni Relations. ‘These Workshops assist in building long lasting relationships between Alumni Relations (and the University) and the graduates – many of whom are starting out on careers which require such skills as project management and leadership,’ he added.


author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za

ART STUDENTS SHOWCASE MANY TALENTS AT UKZN’S CENTRE FOR VISUAL ART

ART STUDENTS SHOWCASE MANY TALENTS AT UKZN’S CENTRE FOR VISUAL ART

Third year Centre for Visual Art students on the Pietermaritzburg campus had an exciting opportunity to exhibit their work at the Centre’s end-of-semester exhibition from June 2-3.

 

Also featuring artwork by Honours student, Mr Muzi Gigaba, the eye-catching exhibition revealed an impressive level of skill and talent.

 

‘Our students get introduced to a range of media and techniques,’ said Academic Co-ordinator, Mr Vulindlela Nyoni and Mrs Faye Spencer who lectures Painting at the Centre. They dubbed the exhibiters a small but very strong group.

 

‘The lecturers are very supportive and encouraging,’ said Gigaba who intends to pursue a Masters degree. He said that he enjoys freedom of expression in his work and is not limited to a single genre or medium. Gigaba added that the Centre offers an interactive environment for students and their lecturers.

 

‘We look for excellence in what we do,’ said Nyoni. Proud that the standard of work produced by the students matches that of other tertiary institutions, Nyoni said they encourage students to find their own voice as they progress. ‘There are a lot of successful people who have come from this line of creativity in the current contemporary art scene,’ he added.

 

The lecturers agreed that it is difficult for non-artists to understand their work as research; however, they encourage students to reflect on their role as generators of knowledge and constantly create new borders of knowledge.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

SPRINGBOKS SCRUM AT UKZN

SPRINGBOKS SCRUM AT UKZNStudents at Westville campus were delighted when their rugby idols visited the campus. They clamoured to try and take photos of some of the biggest names in SA rugby, including Springbok Captain John Smith, the famous “Beast”, Tendai Mtawarira, and Jannie du Plessis as they posed for a photo shoot for a SuperSport campaign advertising the Rugby World Cup.

The Westville audio visual studio1 was used to film segments of the advert. World renowned photographer Mr David Prior took stills of the three players outside the studio in L-Block.

The advert aims to capture the power and ability of the Springboks to defeat competing countries. Johannesburg-based advertising agency Ogilvy worked with Prior to create the advert and to bring to life the ideas behind the concept.  The “Beast” made quite an impression on Westville fans who tried to get his attention during the shoot.

The Rugby World Cup kicks-off on September 9, with the Springboks playing their first match on September 11 against Wales.


author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za