It’s all about giving back to the environment and Mother Nature, was the message from UKZN students who planted more than 50 trees during Arbor Day activities on the Edgewood campus on Spring Day!

Edgewood Environmental Forum (EEF) Chairperson Dr Joy Coleman said the 54 indigenous trees donated by the Pinetown Rotary Club were planted as part of a project organised by the EEF and the Richmond Mariannhill Industrial Conservancy.

Proceedings began with Rotary’s Ms Jean Senogles expressing her thanks to students for their willingness to plant the trees and then the Dean of the School of Education, Professor Gregory Kamwendo, showed the way by planting the first tree – a White Pear!

‘It is envisaged that each student will become a “tree guardian” for the duration of their degree and inspire other students to become actively involved in similar activities,’ said Coleman.  ‘This forms part of an on-going project, aimed at encouraging student environmental awareness through active participation.

‘The EEF and Richmond Mariannhill Industrial Conservancy are most grateful to Pinetown Rotary for the donation of trees and to Afripak for providing cold drinks.’

Mr Sbusiso Kubeka, a third-year student doing a Bachelor of Education degree, said he was passionate about teaching biology in high school once he graduates. ‘You’ve got to understand that people are misusing nature. Less trees mean less oxygen!’

Horticulturalist, Mr Devan Reddy said: ‘It’s exciting to see that students are getting involved. We try to stay away from exotic plants and plant endemic and indigenous flora instead. It’s very important to preserve the natural environment.’

Reddy said it is vital to make students aware of the environment. ‘They need to take responsibility.’

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As part of the Seasons France celebrations, UKZN hosted a French Day showcasing academic and research collaboration between French institutions and the University.

The programme featured presentations by leading UKZN and French academics, and highlighted projects created through partnerships between UKZN and various French institutions.

Dean and Head of the School of Arts, Professor Nogwaja Zulu, jointly opened the event with Mr Pierre Lemonde, the Attaché for Science and Technology at the French Embassy. In his welcome address, Zulu spoke about the importance of French as a language, and said he would look for ways to incorporate it into the various programmes in his school.

Lemonde said the day at UKZN was significant as France was South Africa’s fifth largest partner in terms of collaborative research, with more than 400 joint publications a year. He hoped the event would see this collaboration grow and help facilitate an increase in the number of South African students doing their degrees in France.

The event, held at Howard College’s UNITE/School of Engineering Building, ended with a cocktail evening, allowing participants to network and socialise.

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UKZN Libraries officially launched the Westville Campus Library Research Commons (RC) with an aim of enhancing research output at the University.

The RC is intended to serve senior postgraduate students, academics and researchers of UKZN, especially the emerging researchers who may not have the space for research production.

Guest speaker, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Nelson Ijumba had the honour of cutting the ribbon. In his address he said the importance of the Research Commons is that postgraduate students now have a quiet space in the library where they can do their research.

In her welcome address, Head of Information Services at the Westville Library, Ms Noni Makhathini said: ‘The opening of the Research Commons shows how serious the library is in supporting UKZN’s strategic priority of becoming a research-led institution and to increase knowledge production.’

Director of Libraries, Dr Nora Buchanan highlighted the concept of the research commons. ‘The concept of the Research Commons is a logical extension of the Information Commons idea which has had many successful implementations in university libraries in the United States and in South Africa (the first was at the University of Cape Town in 2000).’

She added this is a “truly South African idea” which brings together high-end technology, access to extensive online information resources and well-trained staff with the skills to support researchers in a dedicated physical space.  

‘We are therefore grateful to Professor Ijumba for making funds available to build and equip a new Research Commons at Westville and we know it is going to be well used,’ she added.

Subject Librarian, Dr Richard Beharilal thanked all staff members who were involved in putting the launch together and for the support they had received from everyone that was involved.

There are 30 allocated computer workstations and a laptop area where users can use their own laptops. The facility has wireless connectivity. The RC features a bookable seminar room with a projector and a whiteboard wall for senior postgraduates to hold presentations and seminars. Tables and chairs in the seminar room can be re-configured to suit the needs of the users and can reflect either a “classroom style” or “seminar style” arrangement.  There is also a comfortable lounge and relaxation area with the daily newspaper.

The RC is located on Level 9 of the Westville Main Library (B-Block). Operating hours are similar to the Library hours.

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The former Research Director of UKZN’s Health Economics and HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), Professor Tim Quinlan, has co-authored and edited a book which explores the gap between what governments say about the pandemic and what they do to combat it.

Recently launched, the book titled: African Responses to HIV/AIDS: Between Speech and Action, is one of HEARD’s first projects on African leadership and features a host of public and scholarly disputes contextualised by African scholars.

The book refers to the record of governments in a wide range of African countries with case studies drawing on the rhetoric of governments and the nature of leadership in Ethiopia, The Gambia, Morocco, South Africa and Zambia.

Quinlan authored and edited the book with Dr Segun Ige who did his PHD  at UKZN approached Quinlan with the concept of writing about the rhetoric of AIDS as a way to examine the difference between how African governments pronounce on HIV and AIDS and how they act to deal with the disease.

‘The book was motivated by public anger and frustration in Africa over the apparent inability of many governments to act decisively in containing the pandemic and the seeming ambivalence of many African governments to the right to health and health care for their citizens.  There was also a need to present African perspectives on responses to HIV and AIDS (a key concern); to show the variety of responses in Africa - the good and the bad; and to counter a common perception that nothing has gone right in dealing with HIV and AIDS in Africa,’ said Quinlan.

‘From that came the hypothesis about the ambivalence of governments; then we asked African scholars to write on the basis of their work and experience on this seeming ambivalence and ultimately the book was produced. The focus on rhetoric and government ambivalence is reflected in part of the title: “between speech and action” which refers to the gap between what many governments say on HIV and AIDS and what they actually do.’

HEARD’s Executive Director, Professor Alan Whiteside, said the book was a necessary and provocative critique of leadership on HIV and AIDS and exposed the ambivalence of Governments to the health and welfare of their people.

‘As the authors point out in the book, the purpose is to draw lessons for future thinking and planning interventions in Africa by illustrating the positive and negative consequences of the rhetoric of HIV and AIDS on the continent. We were happy to work with UKZN Press who published this book and appreciated their co-hosting the book launch. As a follow-up we are jointly planning an event showcasing AIDS-related books and material towards the end of the year,’ said Whiteside.

Drawing upon the work of other scholars featured in the book, Quinlan and Segun highlight responses from governments to HIV/AIDS since the 1980s. ‘We summarize the assessment in terms of how some governments got the plot and stayed with it to prevent large epidemics (e.g. Senegal, Morocco); some got it and then lost it (e.g. Uganda); some got it, lost it and then regained it (e.g. South Africa); some got it relatively late (e.g. Botswana) and others never got it at all (e.g. Swaziland),’ said Quinlan.

The book also features an interesting analysis from researcher, Health Communications and Media Specialist Dr John Lengwe Kunda and UKZN’s Professor Keyan Tomaselli on the contradictions in former SA President Thabo Mbeki’s African renaissance and anti-'western' science rhetoric. They say Mbeki promoted the distinctly African philosophy of Ubuntu yet raised the fears of citizens living with HIV but provided nothing to give them hope and assistance to deal with the trauma involved. 

Stella Nyanzi, a Medical Anthropologist/Senior Researcher at Faculty of Law, Makerere University, Uganda examines Gambia’s President  Jammeh's proclaimed cure for HIV while a study by Paul Nchoji Nkwi, a Professor of African anthropology at the University of Yaounde I, Cameroon and H Russell Bernard, a Professor of anthropology at the University of Florida shows sound African-born responses (e.g. Uganda's ABC campaigns) and also what African customs and practices in connection with HIV transmission.

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Family and friends of the late Dr Mordecai Vusumuzi Gumede joined the University community as well as traditional healers to commemorate the life and times of the inspirational medical veteran.

The gathering took place at the inaugural Dr MV Gumede Memorial Lecture held by the College of Health Sciences during African Traditional Medicine week. The lecture paid tribute to a man well known for his work with traditional healers in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Gumede played a key role in shaping the recognition and development of African traditional medicine earning him respect among traditional healers at a time when his embodiment of collaboration between traditional and conventional medicine was still anathema to many. The celebrated pioneer was posthumously awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Zululand in 1999.

Gumede published a number of papers in various journals including the South African Medical Journal, South African Journal of Family Practice, and The Leech: Wits Medical Graduate Association Journal.

He was described as an exceptional medical doctor who contributed substantially to the public service in the province. His book: Traditional healers: a medical doctor’s perspective, is prescribed by several South African universities.

A special tribute was paid to Gumede on behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Healers Group by Baba Sazi Mhlongo and Baba Protus Cele, who spoke about the important role traditional healers played in society, telling the audience there was no “short cut” to becoming a traditional healer.

A keynote address was delivered by Professor Lizo Mazwai, Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Board and Specialist Surgeon: St Mary’s Hospital, Mthatha.

Mazwai referred to Gumede as his mentor and role model, and as ‘a man of firsts who did not hold back, even on the unconventional’.

Mazwai said science could not explain traditional healing; ‘it is mythical in its very nature. It is a reality for those who have the connection’.

It was unfortunate that profit motives had resulted in pharmaceutical companies acquiring a sudden interest in traditional medicine, said Mazwai.  Although biomedical examination of plants used for healing purposes was necessary, the traditional healers’ intellectual property should be respected, and any benefits should be fairly administrated.

‘We tend to look at medicine on the molecular level. There are certain things which are beyond the laboratory that traditional healers understand.  Negative attitudes to traditional medicine are mostly due to ignorance; some might even call it arrogance.

‘Medicine and traditional healing is as old as mankind and recognising its complementary role is a positive step forward,’ said Mazwai.

He commended the College of Health Sciences for having a specific discipline for traditional medicine, saying UKZN had partnered with the MRC on many projects and he was hopeful that ground-breaking research would be done on malaria, diabetes, TB and HIV.

‘It is through the work of pioneers like Dr Gumede that clinical research and traditional healing will collaborate for improved health.’

Also present was Dr Nceba Gqaleni, Traditional Medicine Expert, who paid tribute and introduced the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Healers Group.

Professor Rob Slotow, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: College of Health Sciences, said: ‘It is fitting at this time during African Traditional Medicine week, for the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s  College of Health Sciences to celebrate the life and memory of Dr MV Gumede and in particular his contribution to the advancement of traditional medicine and public health in this province.

‘Through this memorial lecture, which will be held annually, we aim to continue his legacy to promote and develop African traditional medicine alongside conventional medicine, through scientific endeavour.’

Gumede’s eldest daughter Dr Lindiwe Simelane, said the family was humbled by the gesture from UKZN and the College of Health Sciences.
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The Medical Students Representative Council (MSCR) was lauded by academics, support staff and the medical student body during the 43rd Annual Curriculum Review Conference held on the Medical campus.

Supported by the College Teaching and Learning Office and all four Deans of Schools in the College of Health Sciences (CHS), the conference provided a platform for students to engage with academics on pertinent issues regarding the MBChB curriculum.  This was particularly relevant in the light of the programme being taught collaboratively from this year by all four Schools in the College under the University’s new college model.

MSRC Deputy President Dr Ashlin Rampul said being admitted into the MBChB programme at UKZN meant a student had the potential to become a doctor.

‘The MBChB is the gold standard of the University. In this medical school you are not seen as a number but as an individual. The MSRC will do what it does best, and that is to serve students,’ said Rampul.

Students at the Conference questioned the College leadership about the medical curriculum and best practices that would affect their progress.

Dr Veena Singaram of the College Teaching and Learning Office (TLO) said UKZN employed a student-centred approach with the Dean, Professor Fikile Mtshali, making great strides towards recognising the Office as a centre of excellence in supporting health sciences education.

Singaram said the TLO would implement a “robot system” in the MBChB Programme to assist students in assessing their progress throughout the medical curriculum thus ensuring they met the University’s standards of excellence.

‘The onus is on you to take full responsibility for academic standing at any given time while pursing your degree.’

Singaram said students registering “green” in the robot system would be of good academic standing, scoring 75 percent and above in their studies. ‘Orange indicates a student is at risk and red indicates serious underperformance.’

Singaram assured students that under the new College Model, the University’s support sector was streamlined to service both students and academics in a more effective manner to facilitate excellence in research, teaching and learning.

The MSRC’s Mr Nombuso Shozi said: ‘We’re in constant communication with our academics and this prevents any problems that could arise at a later stage.’

Shozi explained that miscommunication and lack of understanding between the parties involved often led to unruly behaviour by students.

Mr Matthew Majola, MSRC’s Academic and Transformation Officer, spoke about the collegiality maintained between the MSRC and the College leadership earlier this year during a visit to the Medical campus by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

The HPCSA is a statutory body committed to serving and protecting the public and providing guidance to registered healthcare practitioners.

Majola said the MSRC had also worked closely with College leadership during a Students’ Clinical Conference held recently at the Medical campus.

He said successful medical students were assured of employment after they graduated but they needed the necessary support to realise this dream.

Students attending the Conference said they had gained clarity on UKZN’s medical curriculum, the standard of excellence expected from them and the open-door policy of support staff and academics.

‘Academics responded to the questions very well,’ added Rampul.

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The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre was packed to capacity for the opening night of the 14th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience presented by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Artistic Director and Performing Arts lecturer at UKZN, Ms Lliane Loots, brought the audience up to date on the “normative” path that defines the arts and culture landscape in South Africa.

‘Eighteen years into our democracy, I feel like we – as artists - are on the front line again. While we might not be facing riot police and bullets like other workers in our country, we as artists face the pervasive lack of care and absence of a remembered political history, which, like a bullet into an angry mob, is as silencing and as violent,’ said Loots.

It was essential for the arts in a continent like Africa that ‘we understand growth in a more profound way while not losing sight of the “cultural economy” of human rights practices.

‘I ask that we come back to an understanding – in this renewed war zone that asks us to dodge the bullets of our cultural and artistic extinction – that our humanity demands lucid and critical memory and reflection, which for me, is the highest calling any artist and choreographer in Africa can heed. We cannot consent to anything less.’

The act for the night featured dancers from the Flatfoot Dance Company and Ensemble BATIDA who performed A Spring (two) matter, which is the music and story of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, part of collective memory for dancers and musicians over the past 100 years.

It tells of the struggle between the positive and the negative human being in thinking and acting; two opposites that battle each other, trying to blend and exist peacefully, or convincing one another to aim for a better co-existence.

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In an effort to improve postgraduate enrolments in the College of Law and Management Studies, the School of Law recently embarked on an internal recruitment drive targeting top performing students in the School.

The recruitment drive took place at the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses and was attended by third and final year students who have achieved an academic average of 60 percent and above. These students were encouraged to consider postgraduate studies after the completion of their LLB degrees.

Law academic Professor Stephen Peté addressed the students telling them of the many exciting opportunities available to postgraduate students. Opportunities he mentioned included a 100 percent fee remission available to candidates who embark on a full research masters; having access to various scholarship packages; a possibility of earning an income by becoming a graduate assistant; becoming a tutor to first year students; having access to a well-resourced and newly refurbished postgraduate centre on the Howard College campus; and access to world-renowned law academics and legal experts.   

Peté strongly advised the students to rather pursue postgraduate studies first instead of entering the job market without the specialist knowledge required to give them a competitive-edge over their peers.

Gambling law expert Professor Marita Carnelley attended both events and reminded students why UKZN was a great place for postgraduate studies. ‘UKZN is a research-led institution and law academics have contributed to knowledge production through publishing in peer-reviewed journals that are academically sound.’

The event was also attended by postgraduate students Mr Bradley Cibane and Mr Lunga Siyo who both decided to pursue postgraduate studies and are now reaping the benefits.

Cibane has had to put his LLM studies in Business Law on hold this semester in order to travel to France on a French Embassy Scholarship while Siyo is a graduate assistant working on a research project with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor John Mubangizi.

The recruitment campaign was a success with fourth year student Ms Penelope Gumede now considering pursuing an LLM on a part-time basis as she has been accepted to do her articles at Venn Nemeth & Hart Attorneys. ‘I have done tutoring in the past and want to do masters in order to fine tune my writing and research skills.’ 

The Dean and Head of the School of Law Professor Managay Reddi told students the University was investing quite extensively on postgraduate studies in order to provide a great learning experience for students. Reddi together with other law academics took students on a tour of the newly refurbished postgraduate centre as well as the new headquarters of the Maritime Unit which will soon be created.

Through this initiative and other recruitment drives the School of Law is looking forward to an improvement in postgraduate enrolments next year.

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The Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking (HIVAN) at UKZN has just released the KwaZulu-Natal HIV-911 Directory of HIV-Related Services (Series 5) with 5 000 copies being distributed free of charge to health and wellbeing service providers.

The KwaZulu-Natal Directory contains information on 2 297 organisations actively involved in HIV, TB and STI-related prevention, treatment and support in the province. It also includes information on organisations providing socio-economic, legal and psycho-social support programmes.

Service provider information is categorised by municipality and type of service offered. The database is updated on an annual basis with the latest available information listed in the directory.

According to Miss Catherine Jenkin, Media Consultant to the HIV-911 Programme, the Directory is a useful resource for all members of society, from service providers to the man on the street.

‘The database from which this directory is drawn is also used to create and update a variety of other useful products, geared towards helping people to find information on service providers anywhere in South Africa.

‘HIV-911’s database products are also designed to help service providers to identify other organisations in the area that can support the needs of their clients.

‘In this way HIV-911 is able to support networking and collaboration between organisations – which is critical in areas where there is often dire need and limited resources,’ explained Jenkin.

Access the HIV-911 referral network through the following:

Online Directory:

Mobile phone friendly directory services:


Mobile Phone Directory: Call *130*448# to search the HIV-911 directory on your cell phone - free on all networks, except Vodacom. Vodacom subscribers need to use: *120*448#, at 60 cents a call.

Ask for advice by sending an SMS to 45080

* Contact Catherine Jenkin at to request a copy of the Directory.

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A group of young and seasoned academics from the College of Health Sciences attended a five-week research supervisor training workshop which was an offshoot of a short course in UKZN’s Education Induction Programme.

The programme consists of four courses of 20 hours each facilitated by staff from the University’s Higher Education Training and Development section and administered by UKZN Extended Learning. The aim is to promote the professional development of academic staff at the University.

Dr Serela Ramklass, Senior Lecturer and research co-ordinator in the College of Health Sciences, said the research supervisor training workshop was designed to develop the ability of academic staff to supervise the research activities of post-graduate students in ways that were effective, efficient and ethical.

Ramklass said the workshop enabled rich and vibrant sessions, ‘presenting a platform for new and experienced practitioners to explore the changing postgraduate environment together.’

‘The entire series of sessions make up one 16 credit-bearing module for the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education which is an honours level equivalent module.’

Ramklass said the sessions/workshop could also be taken for non-degree purposes, especially for those who wanted to focus on postgraduate supervision.

‘The educational value of supervision is very vulnerable,’ said Mrs Ruth Searle, who presented a session on the ethical issues of publishing.

Workshop participants were encouraged to keep a journal to reflect on personal experiences in the programme, document views about the supervision process, responses to activities or the structure of the programme and readings, and to observe how the process affected their practices as a supervisor.

It is hoped that the inducted participants will become aware of the roles, functions and responsibilities of supervision.

The Education Induction Programme also deliberates on ethical issues related to the research and supervision process while participants are expected to have devised a programme to meet various needs and capitalise on the strengths of diverse supervisors, drawing up a contract of supervision.
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Dr Gosnell Yorke, a Lecturer in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, represented the Caribbean Government (St Kitts-Nevis) as Head of Delegation and Honourary Consul at the African Union (AU) African Diaspora Summit in Johannesburg.

The event represented an historic day in the life of the 10-year old AU. Not only did it coincide with the 49th anniversary of Africa Day, but it was also the first-ever African Union-sponsored and South Africa-hosted African Diaspora Summit.

Held at the Sandton Convention Centre, the central theme of the Summit was: “Towards the Realisation of a United and Integrated Africa and its Diaspora”. Government representatives from throughout the continent as well as from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean were welcomed at the Summit by President Jacob Zuma.

Formed in Durban in 2002, the AU is the immediate successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was established in 1963 with its Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Its mandate then was to push for the total political liberation of the African continent.

With the dismantling of apartheid and the subsequent advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994, it was felt that the time had finally come to push for other forms of liberation as well, e.g. cultural, psychological and especially economic.

It was in this context that former President Mandela’s commitment to reconciliation and former President Mbeki’s promotion of the African Renaissance and commitment to the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) could best be understood.

Since the formation of the AU, its Constitutive Act has been amended (in 2003) to formally recognise those like Yorke who hail from the older African diaspora as belonging to its 6th Region.

In particular, Article 3(q), “Objectives” of the Protocol on Amendment to the Constitutive Act of the African Union, now reads as follows: The objectives of the Union shall be to: … (q) ‘invite and encourage the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of our continent, in building the African Union’.

Though this amendment has not yet been ratified by the requisite number of African countries to give it full force and effect, Yorke stated that members of the 6th Region could now participate in the life of the AU by sitting as members of its Social and Cultural Council.

Yorke says the main outcome of the Summit is an 11-page Draft Declaration on the African Diaspora Summit. Amongst others, the wide-ranging Declaration which was discussed in a Closed Session calls for a number of activities and projects. These are:

In essence, the Summit resolved to continue to strengthen the links already established between Africa and its Diaspora.

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UNksz Thabisile Mehlo, oyiTug Master esikhumulweni semikhumbi eThekwini, ophakathi nezifundo zakhe zobummeli esikoleni sobummeli e-UKZN uzimisele ukuba ummeli emkhakheni wezemikhumbi.

Uthi uMehlo ukufunda kulesisikole e-UKZN sekumuvulele iminyango eminingi kulomkhakha nokuvulwa ngokusemthethweni kweMaritime Unit kulesisikole kuzomnikeza ukuqonda kahle ngempilo yasenyuvesi.

UMehlo ufuna ukusebenzisa izifundo zakhe ukuba ngummeli ozoluleka isikhumulo semikhumbi iDurban Port. ‘Ngesikhathi ngisafundela lomsebenzi ngiqeqesha ukuba itug master, umkenyana wami naye osebenza kulomkhakha wangitshela ngalomsebenzi wobummeli kulomkhakha wezolwandle. Ngawuthanda lomsebenzi weMaritime Law ngase ngibhalisela ukwenza izifundo zobummeli.’

Ukuba yiTug Master, uMehlo ubheka ukusebenza kwemikhumbi kulomkhakha okufaka nabasebenzi bakhona, ukubheka indlela yomsebenzi nokubheka ukuphepha nokuvikelwa kwemvelo.

Noma lomkhakha wemikhumbi ugcwele abantu besilisa kakhulu, uMehlo uyabakhuthaza abantu besifazane ukuthi babheke wonke amathuba akhona kulomkhakha.

‘Umsebenzi wetug master ufaka ukuphendula imikhumbi ime ngendlela okuyiyona esizwa umshayeli webhanoyi yalesisikhumulo semikhumbi,’ kusho uMehlo.

Click here for English version

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Education and knowledge are important national assets which enable South Africa to compete internationally and the Government needs to make more resources available in this vital area, says the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile.

Delivering the College of Humanities’ 9th Annual John Langalibalele Dube Memorial Lecture on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, Mashatile said he was humbled by the occasion taking place in the year the country celebrated the centenary of the African National Congress - the oldest liberation movement in Africa.

Dedicated to celebrating and honouring the life and legacy of Dube, the ANC’s founding President, the lecture was titled: “John Dube’s Challenge to the Humanities and Education in the 21st Century”.

It was most appropriate for Mashatile to deliver this lecture as his department is actively involved in issues around national heritage.  In addition, he was an active member of the struggle and participated in the underground structures of the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). With the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, he played a leading role in re-establishing the structures of both the ANC and SACP.

Mashatile urged the country to learn from Dube, a pioneer in education who created the Ohlange Institute, the first school in South Africa founded by an African person. Dube firmly believed ‘that there is no substitute for education’.

The Minister emphasised the importance of education and knowledge in equipping the country to compete with the rest of the world and said the state must intervene and make more resources available for education.

‘In preserving the vision and legacy of Dr Dube, we must continue to condemn any actions that undermine programmes aimed at providing quality education and teaching in our schools and institutions of higher learning,’ said Mashatile. 

On the subject of the humanities, Mashatile highlighted the drop in student enrolments for disciplines in the humanities as well as the decrease in graduations of students from the humanities. 

The Africa Competitiveness Report of 2011 which argues for a move away from the social sciences and humanities to an emphasis on science, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship, does not help the situation, said Mashatile. 

‘It is through the humanities that we are able to record our past, with an understanding of it, make sense of our present and plan better for our future.’  He further explained that Dube ‘saw the humanities as part of a broader set of skills needed to enhance an individual’s contribution to society.’

Mashatile said he was encouraged by a recent study on the state of the humanities in South Africa conducted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) which recommended greater emphasis on the humanities, including an increase in funding for advanced degrees. 

Mashatile said these recommendations had been included in the National Planning Commission which ‘agrees that the humanities are important in understanding some of the difficult challenges our country faces such as transformation, violence, corruption, the gap between the rich and poor and the issue of race.

‘Indeed, humanities contribute to the development of a well-rounded individual…and equip learners with important skills such as critical thinking, deep and thorough analysis of events, the ability to view various incidences and occurrences as part of a whole.’

In concluding, Mashatile assured the audience that the ANC was committed to defending and deepening the legacy of Dube and his colleagues and to upholding their values and principles.

‘The Department of Arts and Culture will continue to partner with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Dube Foundation on some of the initiatives you are currently working on to keep the legacy of Dr JL Dube alive.’

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The School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences recently hosted a training course in remote sensing and hydrology.

Internationally acclaimed scientist Professor Wim Bastiaanssen presented the training course which was jointly funded by the European Union Project, WATPLAN, and a research project, Fruitlook, funded by the Western Cape Provincial Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 

Both these research projects provide satellite derived data products operationally via the web portals and and have a strong focus on capacity building in this new field.

The five-day workshop consisted of a combination of lectures and hands-on exercises aimed at getting students working with remote sensing derived datasets and software.

The ERDAS software, particularly the Model Maker module, was used extensively in the training course.  ERDAS licences were made available for the duration of the course by Data Design

The week saw students from UKZN and others assessing agricultural water management in the Western Cape using data sets from the Fruitlook project, and catchment water management in the Incomati catchment using WATPLAN data sets.

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UKZN’s Centre for Visual Art (CVA) recently opened its Godiva Awakes exhibition, a collection of prints by UKZN and British artists, at the University’s Jack Heath Gallery in Pietermaritzburg. 

Inspired by the famous story of Lady Godiva who rode naked on her horse through the streets of Coventry to protest her husband’s taxation on his tenants, the exhibit will be on display at the gallery until 15 September.

The prints emanate from a print swop between CVA lecturers and students and the Inky Cuttlefish Studios and the William Morris Gallery in Britain.  They were recently displayed at exhibitions and festivals in the United Kingdom which were linked to the London Olympics.

The exhibit reflects the work of 24 artists – 12 from UKZN and 12 from Britain – who each produced an edition of four prints, all reflecting the central theme.  These same prints will feature in an exhibit at the Inky Cuttlefish Studios in a few weeks.

Initiated and led by CVA Lecturer Mrs Faye Spencer, the project was a rewarding and unifying experience for CVA students and has been described by Spencer as ‘a great boost for printmaking at UKZN’.

CVA student, Mr Colbert Mashile, found the work very interesting as there was no set brief and he was able to express the theme of Godiva Awakes in whatever way he liked.  ‘It was completely different and refreshing…a whole new experience,’ said Mashile. 

Two other CVA students, Mr Dexter Sagar and Ms Storm Pieterse, explained how they enjoyed working as a group around a central theme and said it was a “good change of pace”. They also found it interesting to see what the British artists had produced and how they had interpreted the theme. 

Speaking at the official opening, Spencer highlighted the importance of keeping the Jack Heath Gallery running and said she was very proud of the ‘beautiful, rich and diverse work’ being showcased. 

‘There are four things that epitomise this project, ‘community, collaboration, commitment and compassion…they are all present in this space,’ said Spencer.

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Doctors, nurses and midwives working in the rural health districts of KwaZulu-Natal were taught the essential steps in managing obstetric emergencies (ESMOE) during a three-day workshop held at Howard College campus.

Made possible by funding awarded to UKZN’s Enhancing Care Initiative Unit through a five-year grant from the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the ESMOE programme was formulated with the goal being to assist and supervise interns and community service officers at rural health facilities.

A national priority - saving the lives of mothers, babies and children - remains a challenge for health practitioners in South Africa, especially those working in unfavourable circumstances in rural areas.

ESMOE was one of the programmes designed by UKZN’s MEPI group to retain an effective and competent workforce to service the health needs of mothers and babies in rural parts of the province.

Dr Mergan Naidoo of UKZN’s MEPI group said it was alarming that South Africa as a middle income country was less successful than some lower income countries in reducing the mortality rates for mothers, babies and children.

The workshop focused on HIV, maternal and neonatal resuscitation, miscarriage, obstetric emergencies and haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, assisted delivery and equipped participants with the necessary surgical skills in managing obstetric emergencies.

‘We want to have a trainer at every hospital in the province.  Almost every hospital in the province has been reached during the past two years,’ said Naidoo.

Naidoo said the workshop contributed to the public sector and helped the University meet its social responsibility commitments.

Ms Iolanthe Moore, a Paramedic in advanced life support and a Lecturer at UKZN, said feedback from health practitioners working in community healthcare centres and clinics in rural areas indicated that a lack of facilities, qualified staff and delays in transporting patients in need presented huge challenges in managing obstetric emergencies.

Poor infrastructure and the lack of necessary equipment in dealing with emergencies added to the problem.

Naidoo said the workshop placed emphasis on experiential learning and ‘helping participants to work more laterally so they can handle problems more comprehensively’.

The workshop was supported by UKZN’s Discipline of Family Medicine and the Department of Health.

Dr Abdessalem Cheniour of the KwaMagwaza Hospital, who attended the workshop, said it had been insightful to learn new protocol for managing obstetric emergencies, while Dr Sibongiseni Mthembu said he looked forward to passing on new knowledge and skills to colleagues in the uThungulu District where he worked.
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