NEW MASTERS DEGREE TO IMPROVE NURSING AND MIDWIFERY IN AFRICA

NEW MASTERS DEGREE TO IMPROVE NURSING AND MIDWIFERY IN AFRICA

The Gabonese Republic and UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health - guided by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - are drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of a Masters degree in nursing and midwifery to be offered in three African countries.

The three countries, all within the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), are Chad, Gabon and Congo Brazzaville.

Gabon and UKZN recognised there is a shortage of an adequately trained healthcare workforce to deal with the health needs of all Africans burdened with preventable diseases and high mortality rates.

According to the United Nations 500 000 women died of risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth in 2000, with 95 percent of the deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The partners said in most francophone African countries no nursing and midwifery existed within universities, which created scarcity in leadership, research and education. The collaborative project thus aims to deliver approved and tested university level educational programmes in the host countries.A clinical Masters degree will be implemented in eight universities situated in those countries.

Professor Mzobanzi Mboya, NEPAD’s Advisor: Education and Training Youth said UKZN would have the dual responsibility of co-ordinating and implementing the project among the consortium of universities.

UKZN will visit the universities to provide a situational analysis including the health services available as well as the educational facilities and infrastructure of each.

Fifteen students from each of the three countries will enrol for the Masters degree.

It is hoped the project will improve the level of clinical competence in specific areas of nursing and healthcare; equip specialist nurses to conduct clinical and health systems research in their field; improve regional health service management skills of specialist nurses and prepare nurses for nursing education positions.

Professor Busi Ncama, Dean and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health at UKZN, said the programme would be taught in block lectures and via eLearning.

‘We look forward to developing and implementing this career path for specialist nurses in the continent’s health services. We should enrol the first group of students in 2013.’


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

LAW TUTORS PARTICIPATE IN ESSENTIAL SKILLS TRAINING

LAW TUTORS PARTICIPATE IN ESSENTIAL SKILLS TRAINING

About 25 tutors and graduate assistants in the School of Law on the Pietermaritzburg campus participated in an exciting multi-skills workshop recently.

The aim of the workshop was to prepare them for their role as student tutors in the second semester by enhancing their group facilitation, record keeping and administration skills.

The workshop follows an innovative Train the Trainer Workshop for Academic Development Officers (ADOs) in the College of Law and Management on the Westville campus. It was run by Ms Margot Sennett Freedman, a Counselling Psychologist and Student Counsellor in the College, and Ms Ann Strode, a Senior Lecturer in the School.

The morning workshop emphasised the valuable role student tutors play in the School.  ‘As final year LLB, Masters or Doctoral students these students are role models and mentors to other students,’ said Sennett Freedman. ‘Their progress through their law degrees shows that they have mastered the skills necessary to succeed at university and were able to overcome the challenges that studying at university and life threw at them.’

Apart from emphasising the essential role that student tutors play in the School, the workshop also provided them with valuable tips and skills on how to facilitate tutorials.  ‘We looked at body language and dealt with common issues such as encouraging participation in students, dealing with late-coming and disruptions as well as ways of boosting self-esteem and confidence in students,’ said Strode.

Many of the tutors will work with first year students who are newly adjusting to university life.

‘Following the re-configuration of the University, psychologists working as student counsellors have been devolved to the Colleges and Schools. This allows us to work with the academic staff and students in new and exciting ways – we are working preventatively rather than reactively a lot more. As this workshop demonstrates, we have got off to a really positive start,’ said Sennett Freedman.

“Having a psychologist and student counsellor located in the School of Law adds a whole new dimension to the way we work with students.  It enables us to develop a new set of skills in our students enabling them to be more confident and assured legal practitioners in the future. This approach is working extremely well for us all and is one of the benefits of the new College model,’ said Strode.


author email : Sennett@ukzn.ac.za

LECTURERS THROUGH THE EYES OF STUDENTS

LECTURERS THROUGH THE EYES OF STUDENTS

The image lecturers portray to students was the focus of a College of Law and Management Studies’ Teaching and Learning Forum presented by Dr Lorraine Singh of UKZN’s School of Education.

Singh has been involved in the field of Drama in Education for the past 35 years, spending many years as an education specialist for Speech and Drama in the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education. She completed her Masters in Educational Theatre at New York University in the United States.

Singh posed the following questions to lecturers at the forum: ‘Are we actually sabotaging what we say by how we say it?’ and ‘Do we make the best use of our contact time with students by really making contact?’

The presentation, which examined techniques which could be used to make communication in the classroom more effective, also touched upon the need to be aware of microphone techniques when lecturing in large venues and how to deal with the contentious issues of identity and accent, without forsaking clarity of communication.

Singh also highlighted a specific negative for students - lecturers simply reading from their slides rather than engaging with the class in more dynamic ways.

Singh, whose research interests are applied theatre, arts education, and narrative enquiry, has appeared on SABC-TV shows including Generations, Jozi H, and Fallen.

After the presentation, the College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay, offered to arrange workshops for College staff interested in improving their lecturing skills. Interested staff members should contact Professor Pillay directly at pillaykri@ukzn.ac.za
author email : pillaykri@ukzn.ac.za

SKA TELESCOPE PROJECT PUTS SA AT FOREFRONT OF SCIENCE

SKA TELESCOPE PROJECT PUTS SA AT FOREFRONT OF SCIENCE

The awarding of the lion’s share of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope project to South Africa will put the country at the forefront of science for the next 30 years, says Dr Caroline Zunkel, UKZN Physics Lecturer and researcher at the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU).

The Square Kilometer Array Organisation announced on 25 May this year that South Africa would host the SKA telescope project jointly with Australia. As the majority partner, South Africa is set to host two out of the three antennae sites in collaboration with eight other African countries.

‘The IT and engineering challenges of the SKA will be unprecedented, making it the world’s most ambitious science project,’ said Zunckel during a public lecture hosted by the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

Zunckel explained that the SKA project would involve the construction of 3 000 dishes, which would operate in unison to become the most sensitive radio telescope in the world by 100-fold.

She provided some interesting background:  the data collected by the SKA in a single day would take nearly two million years to playback on an iPod; the dishes of the SKA will produce 10 times the current global internet traffic; it will use enough optical fibre to wrap twice around the earth, and the central computer will have the processing power of about 100 million PCs.

In her lecture, Zunckel focused on the motivation behind a radio astronomy project of this scale, the scientific objectives of the SKA and how, through innovative design, these goals would be achieved. She also discussed the history of South Africa’s bid to host the SKA, what the country stood to gain from leading this international endeavour and the challenges that lay ahead.

Zunckel explained why the scientific community was so excited about the project:  the SKA will be 100 times more sensitive than any other telescope on the planet, making it possible to peer further back in time and deeper into space than any telescope ever before it; and it will provide the best chance of discovering life beyond our solar system allowing us to answer fundamental questions about the universe before the first stars were born.

Fundamental scientific questions to be probed by the SKA include: What is the origin of the observed structure of the universe and how did it evolve?; what is Dark Energy, and how can an understanding of this question help determine how fast the universe is expanding and why?; is Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity correct?; how do planetary systems form and evolve?; and the question that has always intrigued mankind: Has life existed elsewhere in the universe, and does it exist now?

Zunckel stressed that the SKA was not first and foremost an income-generating project.  Rather, it would see South Africa working towards a knowledge-based economy.  ‘Being awarded the SKA not only shows that the rest of the world believes in our ability to build such a sophisticated instrument but also to head a global scientific community. More importantly, it indicates a turning point for Africa in that it reflects how science and technology are set to play a major role in our future.’

Zunckel delivered her public lecture to a packed audience of interested students, fellow academics and members of the general public. 

Zunckel attended the then University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg as an undergraduate in 2000, earning her BSc (Hons) degree in 2003 after which she enrolled in the National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) masters course in 2004 completing her MSc at the University of Cape Town in 2005.

Zunckel then received the Domus A Scholarship from Merton College to study towards a PhD in Astrophysics at Oxford University in the United Kingdom which she completed in 2008. After working for one and a half years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Astrophysics Department at Princeton University in the United States, Zunckel returned to UKZN in 2010.

Arising from an initial concept conceived in 1991 by an international working group comprising Australia, Canada, China, India, the Netherlands and the USA, the SKA organisation today consists of 67 institutions and facilities from 20 countries.
author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

BASIC ISIZULU COURSE BENEFITS COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES’ STAFF

BASIC ISIZULU COURSE BENEFITS COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES’ STAFF

Staff members on all three campuses at which the College of Health Sciences (CHS) is based attended a basic isiZulu course offered over six weeks by the College’s Zulu Language Office.

 

Generating much interest among colleagues, the course was first offered in June and July with repeat sessions scheduled for 21 August to 27 September.

 

Sessions were designed especially for beginners and provided participants with the basic knowledge and skills required for effective communication in isiZulu.

 

Participants said they found the course very useful in breaking down communication barriers between themselves, patients and research participants.

 

‘In keeping with the philosophy of second language learning, the course is fun, interactive and adopts a learner-centred approach,’ said course co-ordinator Mrs Roshni Gokool of the College’s Teaching and Learning Office.

 

Gokool said participant feedback was important and evaluating the course as a whole would ensure its improvement. Her fluency came about when she was a student in the isiZulu Discipline at UKZN. ‘My lecturers were very good and they inspired me to want to teach the language.’

 

After the course, participants were assessed on whether they could greet and introduce themselves in isiZulu, applying it in their daily routines; engage in conversational small talk; identify an isiZulu-speaking mentor or friend who would correct their pronunciation; formulate a request and conduct a telephonic conversation.

 

Dr Rashmi Venugopala, an international researcher currently in the Department of Public Health Medicine, who already speaks eight languages, challenged herself to learn isiZulu.

 

‘The course was useful and interactive, although isiZulu is very complicated.’

 

Each participant received a course pack including a DVD with pre-recorded isiZulu dialogue.

 

Ms Zanele Thambani, one of tutors in the course, said it was very relevant for participants in the health sciences. ‘Some of them came in with questions they had from their fieldwork.’

 

‘Some of the participants are now interested in an intermediate course which shows us that they are willing to learn more.


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

MEDICAL EXPERTS PROMOTE INTEGRATION OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY IN PRIMARY CARE

MEDICAL EXPERTS PROMOTE INTEGRATION OF PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY IN PRIMARY CARE

Psychopharmacology - the study of drug-induced changes in mood, thinking, and behaviour – was debated at a public lecture on the Howard College campus.

 

International medical experts Professor Morgan Sammons and Professor Steven Tulkin discussed integrating psychopharmacology in primary care and the benefits of training psychologists.

 

The presentation, part of the School of Nursing and Public Health’s public lecture series, attracted staff and students from various disciples who learnt about psychopharmacology and the evolution of primary care in psychology.

 

Sammons said he believed psychologists were the future of psychopharmacology. ‘Most patients around the world who seek mental care only receive medication and that is a problem. They see a general practitioner and get once-off treatment. Pills alone are not enough!’

 

Sammons drew attention to cases where patients had been prescribed expensive drugs for mental illness, only to find at a later stage that they were wrongly diagnosed.

 

‘Some prescriptions have severe side effects often leading to weight gain and cognitive problems.

Anxiety, major depression, schizophrenia, trauma, and the disorders of bipolar, eating and personality are some of the most prevalent mental conditions causing suffering world-wide.’

 

Sammons highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of patients seeking care for mental health problems which doubled from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. He stressed the importance of delivering psychological services in the primary healthcare setting.

 

‘The need is overwhelming… patients continue to be underserved and suffer. It is important to introduce the patient to a behavioural regiment as well.’

 

Sammons spoke about the difference between drug-centred, disease-centred, medical and psychological models of treatment, lobbying for the use of a psychopharmacological model which ‘focuses on the entire spectrum of treatment’.

 

‘If you combine psychology with medicine, even in severe situations, people get better.’

 

Sammons said psychologists could be trained efficiently to provide services in primary care, but ‘psychopharmacology training will be essential to this endeavour’.

 

Sammons said it was important to be educated about pharmacology and medicine, especially in a country so burdened by disease.  

 

‘As our population ages, there are more and more chronic diseases. This results in depression and anxiety which go hand in hand,’ said Tulkin.

 

‘The shortage of psychiatrists - physicians who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders - will certainly be familiar to you.

 

‘There is a need to “talk” to the patient.’


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

POLITICAL MEANING OF FIRE EXAMINED AT SEMINAR

POLITICAL MEANING OF FIRE EXAMINED AT SEMINAR

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies recently welcomed former research fellow at UKZN, Dr Kerry Chance, whose presentation examined the political meaning of fire among residents of townships and shack settlements in post-apartheid South Africa.

Using an example of an informal settlement in Foreman Road in Durban, Chance argued that fire – inside the home as a hazardous source of light and heat or on the streets to signal revolt – was part of everyday practices and interactions between residents and state officials.

Chance explained that residents saw the state’s failure to provide formal housing and services as the cause of routine slum conflagrations and street protests.

‘These practices and interactions have given rise to disputes in South African public discourse over the legitimate demarcation between crime and politics under liberal democratic conditions,’ said Chance.

She further explained that political meanings of fire arise from their historical and ethnographic milieu with recent history in South Africa prior to 1994 being ‘linked to fire, not to crime, but to atrocities of apartheid, counter-revolutionary activities, and the very possibility of liberation itself’.

Chance said residents of Foreman Road had spoken to her about their memories of fire which were that while guns were aimed at men, fire took aim especially at women and children.  The deployment of fire targeted the home, the site of the domestic sphere and social reproduction.

‘In Foreman and other settlements, fire mediates between “the criminal” and “the political” categories which have taken on new meanings in democratic South Africa. Even where residents and state officials agreed on first-order agents of fire – a match, a faulty cable, a knocked candle or paraffin lamp – there was a firm distinction between the discourses of fire mobilised by the state and those living in townships and shack settlements,’ said Chance.


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

MEDIA PHD STUDENTS AT THE AMABHUBESI DIGITAL PUBLISHING CONFERENCE

MEDIA PHD STUDENTS AT THE AMABHUBESI DIGITAL PUBLISHING CONFERENCE

Representatives of the Media and Cultural Studies Department on the Pietermaritzburg campus attended the Amabhubesi Digital Publishing Conference held in Johannesburg.

PhD student Sandra Pitcher closed the proceedings with an illuminating presentation on copyright, intellectual property and digital publishing. Focusing on the future of academic journals, she discussed critical issues raised in licensing agreements in the digital age, and argued for the need to find a balance between open access publishing and digital rights.

PhD student Michelle Atagana, currently managing Editor at Memeburn in Cape Town, discussed the fascinating and controversial issue of monetizing online content with integrity.

The students’ Supervisor, Dr Nicola Jones, who is the academic leader for Media and Cultural Studies, the Centre for Visual Arts, and Drama and Performance Studies on the Pietermaritzburg campus, was the invited Chair for the first day’s proceedings.
author email : crookesv@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN ACADEMIC ADDRESSES SPEAKERS OF KWAZULU-NATAL MUNICIPAL COUNCILS

UKZN ACADEMIC ADDRESSES SPEAKERS OF KWAZULU-NATAL MUNICIPAL COUNCILS

Encouraging public consultation and enhancing relationships between councillors and communities was the focus of an address by UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance’s Professor Betty Mubangizi at the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature Speakers’ Forum in Durban.

An initiative of the office of the Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, the Speakers’ Forum brings together Speakers of Municipal Councils in the province. This year the Forum offered a platform to discuss a range of policy, legislative and practical matters in the province’s local government institution.

With the theme of the Forum being: Towards Effective Oversight and Active Citizenry in KwaZulu-Natal, the timing of the presentation could not have been more appropriate taking place two days after the release of the Auditor General’s Report which revealed the disturbing financial status in some of South Africa’s municipalities.

Mubangizi’s presentation titled: “Enhancing Participation and Improving the Role of Community Structures in Oversight for Good Governance”, highlighted how political oversight could strengthen the accountability and responsibility of public servants and how this could positively impact on the performance of municipalities.

Mubangizi stressed that ‘oversight seeks accountability and its intention, while being primarily constructive engagement between the polity and the executive, seeks citizen engagement as a critical component of the process’. She added that oversight was not only about looking for wrongdoing but also about looking out for good and innovative ways of effective performance so that such strategies could  be strengthened and that better systems and processes of delivering services learned.

In this regard, Mubangizi alerted the councillors to the numerous research findings from a range of public research institutions.  She said staff and students of UKZN continually undertook research on topical issues with findings which could impact the performance of government in all its three spheres.

‘The government invests a lot of money in research activities and a number of UKZN’s masters and doctoral students often do research on local government matters for their dissertations.’

On the issue of community participation, Mubangizi said since communities were themselves not a homogeneous group and thus had different priorities, it would often be necessary for councillors to engage negotiation skills and even conflict resolution skills before attaining consensus.

In her opening address, KZN Legislature Speaker Ms Peggy Nkonyeni, highlighted the importance of strengthening the province’s legislative processes.

The keynote address at the Forum was delivered by Ms Nomusa Dube – the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal. The MEC lamented the failings of some councillors who, she said, were not performing to their full potential despite the numerous training and capacity building programmes initiated. Her department would devise a new strategy following a skills audit of councillors in the province.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

BRIGHT YOUNG MINDS CELEBRATE NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK AT UKZN

BRIGHT YOUNG MINDS CELEBRATE NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK AT UKZN

The week of 30 July – 3 August saw a flurry of activity at the Science and Technology Education Centre on the Westville campus as local school pupils from the greater Durban area came to experience and enjoy fun-filled mornings of science. 

In celebration of National Science Week, and funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science pulled out all the stops to keep some 300 Grade 10 and 11 pupils wowed by the whole spectrum of scientific wonders available at the University.

Accommodating 60 learners a day, the programme offered an array of hands-on fun.   From simulating tsunamis, to munching on liquid-nitrogen-dipped biscuits, to making chemical concoctions, to analysing microbiological cultures, to exploring the wonders of bats - the learners did it all. 

Each day witnessed youngsters from four different schools take their turn at being scientists of the future.   The day’s programme included exposure to four different scientific disciplines, a talk on careers available in the sciences, as well as a fun-filled quiz.  With a competitive element thrown into the mix, the children were eager to display just how many scientific facts they had at their fingertips.

‘What was the name of the first satellite sent into space? Why, Sputnik, of course!’

With a delicious tea and lunch, a personal goody bag with useful information and a do-it-yourself scientific experiment for everyone, learners left the University in high spirits, with the importance of science receiving a big green light!

National Science Week is celebrated every year during the first week of August.  A Department of Science and Technology initiative run in partnership with public and private institutions, it aims to further the public’s understanding of science and to advance science and technology within South Africa.


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

UMFUNDI WEZOMCULO E-UKZN UTHOLE ITHUBA KWEZAMAFILIMU

UMFUNDI WEZOMCULO E-UKZN UTHOLE ITHUBA KWEZAMAFILIMU

Umfundo wezomculo uMnu Khulekani Zondi usebenze njengomqondisi wezithombe, esebenza nangamakhamela, aphinde aphathe futhi ahlele ezomculo kwenye yamafilimu ehamba phambili ebizwa Uhlanga (The Mark) eyakhangiswa kufestivali iDurban International Film Festival eThekwini kulonyaka.

‘Ngathola ucingo oluvela kuMqondisi nombhali uMnu Ndaba Ka Ngwane owangibuza ukuba ngiyafuna yini ukusebenza naye,’ kusho uZondi.

‘Emva kokufunda ngalefilimu ngavele ngayithanda lendaba nangendlela echazayo ebhalwe ngayo. Ngangisaba ngoba ngangingakaze ngisebenze efilimini enkulu ngaphambilini kodwa ngangiyilangazelele lenselelo eza nayo,’ kusho uZondi. Ifilimu ilandela impilo yokuhlukunyezwa, ukuhlupheka, nenselelelo ebhekana nentsha entathu yasemaphandleni. ‘Ngifunde okuningi kulefilimu futhi ngikulangazelele okunye okuzingineza lenselelo.’

UZondi ubonge abafundisi bakhe esikoleni soMculo okuyibona abamusizile ukuba akhulise ikhono lakhe. ‘Noma ukhona umculo wesimanje manje kulefilimu, kodwa sikhona isigqi somculo wase-Afrika. Ukufunda e-UKZN kungenze ngathanda izinhlobo eziningi zomculo nomdanso wase-Afrika. Kumina e-UKZN bekungathi kusekhaya hhayi esikoleni.’

UZondi uqale esebenza emafilimini amancane abebheka impilo yasemaphandleni kanye nomculo wase-Afrika njengoMaskandi. Ungumdidiyeli womculo aphinde abe umculi. Uke wavulela inkundla abaculi namaqembu anjengoMaroon 5, One Republic, Eddy Grant neLadysmith Black Mambazo.

Uphinde abe ngumsunguli we-EMamba Music and Entertainment.

Click here for English version


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

UNITE DIRECTOR ENERGISES AUDIENCE AT NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK PRESENTATION

UNITE DIRECTOR ENERGISES AUDIENCE AT NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK PRESENTATION

Guest speaker at UKZN’s National Science Week, UNITE Director, Mr Noel Powell, is passionate about education and instilling sustainable patterns of energy usage at the individual level.

This passion was illustrated in his address titled: “Energy and Expertise for a Sustainable Future”.

Powell said energy could be defined as ‘the capacity of a physical system to perform work’, or ‘the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity’.

‘We need energy to make something happen.  Forms of energy include chemical, electrical, mechanical, radiant, nuclear and thermal.’

Powell discussed traditional energy production based on non-renewable and diminishing fossil fuels, before moving on to look at alternative, sustainable energy sources and initiatives.  These included wind, solar, hydro-electrical and geothermal energy production.

UKZN researchers, he said, were currently examining methods to harness mechanical energy from ocean currents, tidal movements and depth-related temperature changes. ‘We have got to look at the impact we have on our environment.’

Powell used the sugar industry as an example of intelligent energy usage with bagasse (the leftover cane after the juice has been extracted) being used to make furfural, which in turn generates gas to power the sugar mills.

His said with regard to ensuring sustainable energy usage into the future, everyone needed to ask themselves:  ‘What can I do about it?’

‘Man is the custodian of planet earth and of our environment.  As such, we need to manage our future. To change the world, we need to start with the small picture, with the “me”. Imagine the difference in overall energy consumption, the difference in the big picture, if everyone went around switching off lights at night, if everyone just did something small. The old adage -  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – is very relevant.’

Powell is an example of his own passionate belief that individuals can make a difference. In his 24 years at the University, he has built UNITE up to be South Africa’s premier engineering access programme.

Powell holds a Masters degree in Education, specialising in teaching materials development.  Judging from the rich variety of goodies and gadgets in his presentation - including a real, live, tasty alternative-energy cooking demonstration using a R5 ethanol burner - Powell is a master of his game.

His captivated audience left fully informed about the importance of conserving energy, one individual at a time.


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

GERMAN STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME A REALISATION

GERMAN STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME A REALISATION

The German Exchange Programme of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (SBEDS) got into full swing recently with three postgraduate students from Erlangen University in Germany being entertained at a tea party.

German students - Mr Javad Mousavia, Ms Lena Pahlenberg and Ms Luisa Arndt - were all excited to be a part of the UKZN student community for the next five months.

‘We’ve been here almost a week and everything has been great. The residences are neat and well-organised, the campus is beautiful and everyone is helpful and friendly,’ said Pahlenberg.

Arndt said lectures at the University were also well structured. ‘In Germany, we don’t usually call our professors by name so that is taking some getting used to but classes so far have been a learning experience because there’s such intense discussions over course topics.’

The exchange programme will also see three SBEDS postgraduate students Mr Simon Halvey, Mr Jackie Shandu and Ms Mary Msowoya going to Erlangen University.

‘We are always looking for collaborations with respectable global institutions. A representative from Erlangen was visiting us last year and that’s when we began discussions about the exchange programme,’ said Mr Mvuselelo Ngcoya, Academic Co-ordinator for Development Studies at SBEDS.

‘UKZN students get to take courses at a leading programme in International Relations and Development Studies. In addition to a monthly scholarship, they have the opportunity to take German language courses which are also fully funded.

‘They might find the European winter challenging, but that’s part of the deal,’ said Ngcoya.

Msowoya, a Population Studies student, is expecting the exchange programme to be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. ‘It will be my first time overseas and I’m nervous but I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself and all that Germany and Erlangen University has to offer.’


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

TONGUES WAG AFTER LOVE POTIONS LECTURE

TONGUES WAG AFTER LOVE POTIONS LECTURE

Love Potion No 9:  The Science Behind Edible Aphrodisiacs was the subject of an entertaining lecture presented at UKZN by Dietician, Mrs Suna Kassier.    

The lecture launched the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s National Science Week public lecture series … and certainly got tongues wagging.

Hosted by the Dean of the College of Teaching and Learning, Professor Frederick Veldman, and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Kassier took her audience on a rollicking journey through the ages, during which she examined famous historical Casanovas and their particular love potion of choice.

Some intriguing titbits provided by Kassier included the fact that the Bible’s King Solomon, who was “great in wisdom, wealth and power”, also enjoyed the pleasures provided by 700 wives and 300 concubines – which in real terms equates to 2.7 women a day!

 Montezuma, the fifth ruler of the Aztecs, drank “chocolatl”, a drink made of cocoa nibs, vanilla, spices and honey, before spending “quality” time with his numerous concubines.

Shakespeare, the famous English playwright, poet and actor, said alcohol ‘provokes the desire but it takes away the performance’.   

An aphrodisiac is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as any food, drink or drug that arouses sexual desire and comes from the word Aphrodite, the Greek mythology goddess of beauty, fertility and sexual love.

Having dealt with the myths, Kassier set out to explain the science behind the romantic allure of oysters, caviar, chocolate and champagne.

Contrary to popular belief, Kassier explained that sexual desire was actually controlled by the central nervous system – not the heart! 

Oysters, a popular food for seduction, are in fact a rich source of amino acid taurine, which has cardio-protective properties and functions in transmission of nerve impulses.  Oysters are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, D, niacin, Iron, Iodine, Selenium, and Zinc – a potent combination that is excellent for men’s reproductive health and endurance.   Moreover, alkaloids in oysters have been shown to stimulate the reproductive system.  

Kassier cautioned that before wolfing down a plate of oysters in the hope of improving one’s love life, ‘just remember that an oyster is actually a marine bivalve mollusk – you will be eating a snail’!

However, there is some good news for those who like to indulge in the finer things in life.  Dark chocolate is good for you – and a glass or two of red wine will most likely keep that heart attack at bay.


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za