An international competition to find a winning design for UKZN’s new medical teaching hospital has been launched by the National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

Fully sponsored by the International Academy for Design and Health (IADH), Motsoaledi said the competition would save government between R300 and R500 million in design fees for hospitals around the country.

Addressing a gathering on the Howard College campus he said South Africa had during the past 20 years produced an average of 1 200 medical doctors every year ‘regardless of the demand and regardless of the quadruple burden of disease’.

Motsoaledi said the country needed world-class teaching hospitals in order to meet the Department of Healths (DoH) target of producing at least 3 600 medical doctors annually.

Construction of the new learning hospital using the winning design from the competition is expected to begin on vacant land adjoining the Howard College campus in 2014.  All UKZN Health Sciences Disciplines and King Edward VIII Central Hospital will be integrated on the new premises.

The new Limpopo Academic Hospital, the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mpumalanga Tertiary Hospital and the Dr George Mukhari and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals in Gauteng will benefit from adaptations of the winning design.

Professor Alan Dilani, General Director of IADH, said the competition was being run in the spirit of Mandela Day and the winning design should reflect that.

Founded in 1997 by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, IADH is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the stimulation and application of research concerning the interaction between design, health, science and culture.

Dilani lobbied for state-of-the-art hospitals to service the country’s public sector. He said medical doctors were the most knowledgeable people in a hospital. ‘The way you engage with them and the overall environment of the hospital will determine how doctors perform.’

Dilani said the design brief would be available on the DoH and Academy’s websites.

Professor Rob Slotow, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College of Health Sciences, said the College looked forward to producing a new cadre of health care professionals, “fit-for-purpose” to deliver on the new NHI.

Slotow said the six new flagship projects would allow academic institutions to expand the health workforce equipped with knowledge skills and competencies appropriate to the country’s health context and aligned with the country’s health system.

‘As a leading Higher Educational Institution with a long tradition of producing leaders in health care provision, governance and research, we welcome this partnership. Together we can ensure capacity within a new health system based on the health contexts and needs of our province and country, and which is delivered at the highest global standards.’

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It has been an exciting six weeks for Professor Neil Prose, Fulbright Scholar and Paediatric Dermatologist from Duke University in the United States, who was hosted by the Discipline of Rural Health at UKZN to assist with integrating teaching around communication. 

Passionate and committed to teaching empathic communication between healthcare providers and patients, Prose helped educators in the College of Health Sciences (CHS) to develop sustainable curricula and to explore communication skills literature to determine what findings and suggestions were applicable in different cultures and countries.

Prose says the process of building a relationship with the patient and their family is half the work of being a doctor but often a very small focus in medical education.

Prose received the annual Leonard P Tow Humanism in Medicine Award at the Duke University Medical Center in 2008.

After marrying a Durban woman in 2001 and visiting the province annually after that, Prose developed an interest in interacting with diverse groups and individuals. ‘I started to wonder if the work I had done teaching empathic communication skills to medical students and registrars in the USA might have an application at the Medical School at UKZN.’

Prose said communication between doctor and patient in South Africa’s multicultural society was particularly challenging but presented wonderful opportunities for teaching and learning. This made UKZN his institution of choice for the Fulbright Scholarship.

At UKZN, Prose tutored communication skills, also lecturing fifth-year medical students during their Family Medicine elective. He visited the Hillcrest AIDS Centre as a potential site for medical school selectives and travelled to Murchison Hospital in the Ugu District where he met with a group of medical students during their rural health elective.

Prose said he was fortunate to have presented at CHS’s African Languages Colloquium, and a public lecture in August titled, “Curiosity and Compassion: Health Care Communication in a Multicultural Society.”

Prose led a group of 13 medical students on a half-day cultural experience at the Muthi market, food market and a mosque at Warwick Triangle in Durban.

The students had the opportunity to visit parts of Durban they had never seen, and to confront their own beliefs and prejudices.

‘The following week, we met as a group to discuss our own stereotypes and prejudices, and how they had been affected by the experience.

‘I chose this activity in the hope that the students might develop increased “curiosity”, and respect for South Africans who come from racial, cultural and economic backgrounds different to their own.’

Prose said he identified two particular challenges facing medical educators in South Africa.

‘The first is to develop a curriculum and a set of teaching skills that meet the needs of students who come from a very broad range of cultural and educational backgrounds. The second is to train a generation of healthcare providers whose skill set and career aspirations allow them to meet the enormous health needs in South Africa.’

Prose said KwaZulu-Natal had a particular history of racial and ethnic conflict during the apartheid years. ‘It is understandable that this legacy continues to impact on the way in which medical students interact with each other and approach the patients they are required to serve. Differences in spoken language add an additional level of complexity.’

Dr Paula Diab from the discipline of Rural Health said they welcomed a kind gesture from Professor Richard Hift, Dean and Head: School of Clinical Medicine, who is willing to fund Prose’s return next year to build on the work already begun.

Prose inspired an institutional collaboration between academics from UKZN, Rhodes University and Wits University who will be working on the production of educational videos in isiZulu, Xhosa and Tswana for teaching medical communication to students.

In addition to book chapters and articles to be written by UKZN academics for the South African Medical Journal on the students’ visit to the Muthi Market, further collaboration has been fostered with the discipline of Rural Health. This will adapt the current rural attachment in final year to focus more on teaching empathy to students and result in curriculum transformation in addition to further collaborative articles that will be published.

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Eight UKZN students from disadvantaged backgrounds were each awarded a R10 000 bursary at UKZN’s 9th Annual Golf Day held at the Royal Durban Golf Club.

This year 128 golfers teed-off to raise funds for students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds who have excelled academically.

Participants included businessmen, staff, students, alumni, donors, friends of the University and the local golfing fraternity.

UKZN Registrar, Professor Jane Meyerowitz, told the participants their participation was in aid of a really good cause.

Since its inception the Golf Day has raised R900 000 providing 90 students with funding to complete their studies. The main sponsor of the event this year - and for the past three years - was Standard Bank which pledged R50 000.

‘Nothing gives me more joy than seeing the excitement on the faces of the students when they hear they have been chosen to receive a bursary. I congratulate the students and wish them well in their future studies,’ said tournament organiser, Ms Shakila Thakurpersad.

‘Next year is our 10th year and the tournament will be held at the Wild Coast Sun. We are hoping to celebrate in style by giving away more bursaries to deserving students.’

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For the second year running, a French student on the Pietermaritzburg campus has won the creative writing competition organised by the French Embassy in Pretoria. Last year’s winner was Lara Williams.

Victorious in the category “French major university student”, Ms Amy Stimson’s prize was an all-expenses-paid 11-day stay in Paris.

Stimson, who recently returned from the experience, said she especially enjoyed visiting the monuments as well as mingling with French-speaking people in cafés, bookshops and bakeries.  ‘My stay in Paris has improved my level of proficiency and given me an eternal love for the language.’

UKZN’s French Discipline is particularly proud of Stimson’s achievement. French Lecturer Ms Ghyslaine Dye said the courses at UKZN were geared towards the autonomous use of French enabling students to compare favourably with their colleagues at other South African universities.

Professor Bernard De Meyer, who co-ordinates third year French studies, said: ‘We introduce current issues mainly from France and Francophone Africa, and encourage critical thinking in the language. Our students are particularly well equipped to face the multilingual world and its challenges and have an added advantage when it comes to job opportunities, especially with French being a main language of communication in Africa.’

Ms Stimson plans to register for an honours degree in French next year.
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Hundreds of delegates and guests attended the 21st Anniversary celebrations of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) held on UKZN’s Westville campus on Saturday, 8 September.

Among the gathering were UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba; Young Communist League Secretary, Buti Manamela; ANC Youth League’s Ronald Lamola and COSATU President, Sdumo Dlamini.

Makgoba officially welcomed keynote speakers and everyone in the large crowd to the celebrations.

President Jacob Zuma’s representative, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, reminded students that militancy was dangerous when there was no discipline. Discipline ensured that militant actions did not lead to ‘anarchy and to feeding into the root cause of counter revolution’.

Representatives from youth organisations spoke on different issues presently affecting the country and the youth in particular.

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The annual function of UKZN’s Alumnus Association in Europe – with 75 people attending - was held at the bright and conveniently situated Bankside Gallery overlooking the River Thames on 5 September.

Professor Brenda Gourley, former Vice-Chancellor of the Open University and of the former University of Natal was the Guest Speaker and spoke on “Trends in Higher Education.”  The attendees found her talk most informative and followed with a range of questions for Professor Gourley.

Ms Nomonde Mbadi, Executive Director of Corporate Relations and Mr Fanle Sibisi, President of Convocation also addressed the gathering. Ms Mbadi welcomed everyone on behalf of UKZN and provided an update on the University. Mr Fanle Sibisi spoke on the importance of Convocation and outlined the plans the Convocation Executive have for their term of office.

South African canapés and drinks were served after the talks and guests were able to network and catch-up with fellow graduates. Folders with the latest UKZN information were distributed, allowing attendees to read about their alma mater at their leisure.

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The French Discipline at UKZN and the Association for French Studies in Southern Africa (AFSSA) have donated the Arbre à Palabres (palaver tree)-dubbed the “poetry tree” - to the French Department at Eden College.

The hand over was done during an entertaining French ensemble performance by college students.

The palaver tree was made by the Umcebo Trust assisted by refugees from French-speaking countries in Africa and Eden College’s French students.

This tree was decorated with poetry written by pupils of French from around the world as part of a competition organised within the context of the 13th World Conference of the International Federation of Teachers of French held in July in Durban and generously supported by UKZN.

According to UKZN’s Professor Francesca Balladon, the tree was conceived to figuratively emphasise that the conference was being held in Africa for the first time and also to symbolise the West African tradition of a community coming together, under the Arbre à Palabres, to share experiences and views and to connect with each other.

During her address to Eden College, Balladon said: ‘I hope that in this wonderful enriching environment that is Eden College this tree will inspire you all to communicate your ideas, your feelings, your views and your creativity throughout your school lives, and also when you get out into the real world.

French Teacher at Eden College, Ms Ann Lussi, was grateful to UKZN’s French Department and AFSSA for donating the Palaver tree. ‘We shall definitely look after this symbolic tree as it is quite special to us here. It is indeed a privilege to work with UKZN and to have this symbiotic relationship with the University’s French Department,’ she said.

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A UKZN chemical engineering graduate, Mr Stuart Woolley, was chosen from students around the world to participate in a summer school in Singapore which examined water-related problems facing mankind.

The Global Alliance of Technological Universities, or GlobalTech, held its summer camp at the Nanyang Technological University.

The 24 students from 10 different countries had a busy time table at the two-week camp. In the mornings they attended lectures by international experts from GlobalTech Universities on new water treatment technologies and water management techniques and policies while in the afternoons they went on site visits to modern water treatment facilities and water management facilities in various areas in Singapore.

In the final days of the camp, they took part in a laboratory-based competition where they were put into groups tasked with constructing two portable devices - one using membrane technology and the other non-membranous technology - which could be utilised as water-purification devices in a natural disaster scenario.

The feasibility of the devices were judged on the criteria of how easy the devices were to operate, the rate at which drinking water was produced and the quality of the water.

Woolley’s group was judged to have produced the best water filtration devices overall and declared winners of the competition

The students’ work was later showcased at the 4th GlobalTech Workshop on Challenges and Solutions for Sustainable Water Management in Urban Centres. The GlobalTech Summer Camp and GlobalTech Workshop coincided with the International Water Week in Singapore, which provided the students with opportunities to attend world-class seminars and to interact with experts in the industry.

Woolley is currently studying for his masters in chemical engineering at UKZN and is involved with the Pollution Research Group’s research into the Bill & Melinda Gate’s Foundations’ Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

Woolley said he applied to attend the Global Tech Summer Camp as an opportunity to further his education and experience in water purification technologies and management, knowing the knowledge he gained would be invaluable in his MSc research.

When asked of his impressions of Nanyang Technological University and Singapore, Woolley said ‘NTU is the largest engineering college in the world and attracts a staggering amount of money in research grants. As a result they are at the forefront of technological research and have some extremely bright people there, so it is an extremely exciting institution to be involved with. As for Singapore, think of “Durban”, with summer all year round and several billion Rands pumped into infrastructure and development. It’s an amazing city.’

More importantly though, knowledge of water treatment technologies, water management techniques and sustainable development policies are in desperate need in Africa and Woolley hopes that the knowledge he gained in Singapore and the connections he made there will pay dividends for him when he enters the industry.

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Kunesidingo esikhulu sabacwaningi emkhakheni weForensic Anatomy eNingizimu Afrika, kusho owayefunda e-UKZN nowaziwa umhlaba wonke osebenza njengeSpecialist Forensic Pathologist, uDkt Shereen Akoojee.

U-Akoojee ubevakashele isikole seLaboratory Medicine neMedical Sciences, ekhuluma emhlanganweni wabayinxenye yencwadi yocwaningo iDiscipline of Clinical Anatomy (DOCA).

Uthe amacala ocwaningo afaka izingane isikhathi esiningi abangwa ukulahlwa kwezingane, abakhipha izisu nezingane ezintshontshwayo kulelizwe.

Kusungulwe indlela ebizwa ngeStreet Law Project yokubheka indlela umthetho ongasebenza ngayo uma kuziwa kwezocwaningo nokuhlaziya izimo ezweni lakithi, engaphansi kwe-Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) yaseNingizimu Afrika. Lapha u-Akoojee uyiForensic consultant, umqeqeshi nomcwaningi.

U-Akoojee uthe ukwazi ngokwelapha kwezokuhlaziya kuyasiza ekuqondeni ukukhubazeka kwemvelaphi yomuntu. Uthe ukufaka ezokuhlaziya kwenza abezomthetho nabezokwelapha babe ngongcweti ngokukhula kwengane engakazalwa nencane esanda kuzalwa.

Ukuba nogqozi kwezokuhlaziya kwezimo kanye nePhysical Anthropology kwenze u- Akoojee abonakale ebamba iqhaza ekukhulisweni kwamakhono nasekuqeqesheni emikhakheni yeClinical Forensic Medicine neForensic Pathology, nabasebenza ngalokhu kwezempilo nabezomthetho. U-Akoojee wayeyiChief Specialist for Forensic Services and Bioethics eMnyangweni wezeMpilo KwaZulu-Natali aphinde abe umseshi we-Anatomy esifundazweni.

Inkulumo ka-Akoojee bekungukuthi aqale izingxoxo, nanokuthi aqale futhi agqugquzele ucwaningo kulomkhakha. Kuthenjwa ukuthi kuzoba nemiphumela ezosiza kusungulwe izindlela ezizosebenza eNingizimu Afrika. Abebekhona bakhombise ukuyithanda lenkulumo bafuna nokuqala iqembu locwaningo kulomkhakha.

Uthe ukufunda ngalokhu kungasungula kuphinde kwandise izindlela ezikhona eNingizimu Afrika, kuphinde kuqhathaniswe nezinye izinto zokuthola unyaka wengane engakafiki esikhathi sokuzalwa. Nabacwaningi bangaqala ukubheka izindlela ekungenziwa ngazo eNingizimu Afrika.

Iqembu lalencwadi yocwaningo liphinde lalalela uDkt Edwin Naidu noDkt Adeyinka Alabi abenza izifundo zeMasters neDoctrate abethule ucwaningo lwabo.

UDkt Okpara Azu oyiSenior Lecturer esikoleni seLaboratory Medicine neMedical Sciences uthe bazokwandisa ucwaningo, ukufunda nokufundisa kwabo. ‘Sihlele ukwandisa lokhu ngokumema abantu abahamba phambili, izinkampani neminyango emhlabeni wonke ukuthi bafike bazosipha ulwazi lwabo.’

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The College of Law and Management Studies understands that the subject choices made at Grade nine level will have a life-long impact on the life of an individual with respect to opportunities at tertiary level. This becomes evident every year when a large number of undergraduate applications are turned away because of the failure to meet the required entrance requirements especially in mathematics.

To address this challenge the College embarked on a community outreach project aimed at empowering Grade nine learners and parents with relevant and useful information to guide them as they make subject choices that will impact on career choices in future.

The project covered various areas including Chatsworth, Harding, Phoenix, Pietermaritzburg, Port Shepstone, Tongaat, Umlazi and Umzinto and over 1 000 learners who are interested in pursuing careers in Law and Commerce were addressed by academics and support staff.

The success of the event was evident in Umlazi where more than 600 pupils from various high schools attended the presentation. UKZN Accounting Lecturer Mr Msizi Mkhize spoke on the vital role mathematics played in commerce degrees and how pupils needed to bear this in mind when making subject choices next year.

Mkhize said: ‘If you want to do a BCom degree at UKZN you have to have maths - so think about this when you are choosing your subject combinations in Grade 10.  There are so many opportunities waiting for you after high school that is why you need to think about your academic future before you reach Grade 12 and make the right choice for your future now.

In Pietermaritzburg Mr Barry Strydom, Senior Lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, gave the pupils a broad overview of the benefit of qualifications offered by Schools. ‘Every facet of life involves negotiating as well as the ability to analyse factors that influence unemployment and job creation. If you embark on a future in economics you will get to experience the vital role that economics plays in people’s lives,’ said Strydom.

Supply Chain Management representative, Dr Micheline Naude, spoke on exciting careers within her industry and how UKZN was dedicated to shaping future leaders in every career field.

Grade 9 pupil Sizakele Mhlongo said that she is grateful that she got to attend the presentations as she is better informed about her future career aspects.

‘I want to become an accountant and I was not sure about the subjects that are required for me to be able to study for that degree. After listening to the presentation I have realised that core maths is very important and now I can make the right choices next year and hopefully get to study at UKZN in the future,’ she said.

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Two UKZN lecturers recently organised training workshops for Life Sciences Teachers from the Umkhanyakude district in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

This was deemed necessary as the revised Life Sciences school curriculum in the FET band (Grades 10-12) places emphasis on teaching and assessing practical and investigation skills to reinforce the content and thus improve the learning of the subject.

A key requirement for this teaching is for the teachers themselves to possess the necessary skills to carry out practical work successfully.  Many teachers, especially those trained in the old education system, have either not received adequate training in this field or require re-training.

Two members of staff from the School of Life Sciences on the Westville campus, Ms Bulelwa Keke and Dr Shakira Shaik, responded to this need by organising two weekend workshops for teachers from the rural Umkhanyakude district.

Teachers were trained or re-trained in various practical activities prescribed or recommended in the school curriculum with the main emphasis being on microscopy skills.

The workshops were also attended by Mr Robert Mtshali, the Life Sciences Subject Advisor from the Umkhanyakude district.

Teachers were all given new Grade 10 and11 Life Sciences textbooks courtesy of Maskew Millar & Longman and Pulse Education publishers.

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UKZN alumnus Advocate Simi Pillay-van Graan has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Business Against Crime South Africa (BACSA).

Pillay-van Graan, an admitted advocate of the High Court of South Africa, has a BProc LLB from the University of Natal, and an MBA from the University of South Africa.

She attributes her success to the skills gathered from her academic qualifications. ‘I always maintain that having legal degrees is a powerful asset, especially if one wants to pursue a position at a management or senior management level. It was the degree from UKZN that afforded me the opportunities I sought in both the legal and business environments. The effort put into making my academic qualifications and experience work for me, led to my CEO appointment,’ said Pillay-van Graan.

In her new position as CEO of BACSA, Pillay-van Graan’s vision is to achieve a safer country for all people by bringing together business and government to examine integrated approaches to addressing crime.

‘The CEO position is a challenging one as its success depends on sustainable relationships with both high level business and government stakeholders. I am in a fortunate position as I have developed strong relationships in these environments making it easier to engage and form new relationships going forward.’

Driven to use her law career and passion for legal justice for South African citizens, Pillay-van Graan continues to thrive in positions that promote responsible community engagement. She has worked for the National Prosecuting Authority as a Prosecutor and as a Specialist Legal Officer in the police before assuming the position of Senior National Project Manager and Strategic Executive for BACSA. She has been with BACSA for the last eight years.

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Mine workers and the demise of compounds in South Africa were examined in research completed by the University of Pretoria’s Professor Andries Bezuidenhout who outlined his findings at a forum hosted by the School of Social Sciences at UKZN recently.

Bezuidenhout together with colleagues conducted extensive research both in the mining industry and with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).  His talk also touched on some of the issues involved in the Marikana mine tragedy.

He explained that at the core of colonial and apartheid social engineering was a spatial strategy based on institutions and infrastructure linking together rural homesteads and villages, and mining centres and towns.

‘In the case of the mining industry, single-sex compounds were set up as the foundation of the infrastructure of control over black labour. In our research endeavours we examined how various forms of control operated. We located our contribution within the labour geography literature,’ he said.

Bezuidenhout argued that it was not only state institutions and major corporations that shaped landscapes of control. In this regard he highlighted the centrality of workers agencies, specifically the way in which the National Union of Mineworkers “captured” the compounds and subverted the logic of employer control.

‘The fragmentation of the spatial order of apartheid and the introduction of choice leads to new forms of exclusion and the erosion of solidarities of old. Forms of agency that are effective in an historical moment may recede, even erode, on a changed landscape even if it is one that worker agencies helped bring about. This is the paradox of worker agency under capitalism.’

‘However, the union’s successes as well as the advent of democracy have resulted in profound changes, thus presenting the union with new challenges.’

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Deputy Head of Electricity at eThekwini Municipality, Mr Veer Ramnarain, is evidence that an MBA qualification from UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) can benefit more than just the student.

Ramnarain, who graduated with an MBA in 2010, said his studies included participation in a marketing management group assignment based on the jewellery industry, in particular the franchise, Natal Wholesale Jewellers (NWJ).

Using positive aspects highlighted in the research as her foundation, Ramnarain’s wife, Sharona, opened two successful NWJ franchises in Durban.

‘The success of my wife's businesses based on my MBA studies should hopefully dispel the myth that the qualification is a “divorce course” and encourage people to see it as a worthy qualification to have for themselves and their family,’ said Ramnarain

As an Engineer, Ramnarain also reaped the rewards of his MBA degree after being appointed KwaZulu-Natal Regional Field Services Manager in Eskom within a year of starting his studies.  It was a position he was very comfortable with as he had conducted research on the topic: “Consumer Response to Power Conservation Programme” based on national load shedding and Eskom’s medium-term strategy towards nationwide energy efficiency, for his MBA presentation.

Ramnarain attributes his career success to the critical discussions, group presentations and case study analysis offered by the programme.

‘I maximised the benefit of the contact learning and completed the dissertation in six months.  However, I must attribute this to having adhered to the guidance from my supervisor and the expert wealth of knowledge gathered from my lectures,’ said Ramnarain.

In an effort to improve postgraduate enrolments at the College of Law and Management Studies, the GSB&L this year offered two Masters programmes: Masters in Business Administration (MBA), and Masters in Leadership (MIL) under block-release and a range of customised education programmes. For more information on these programmes visit:

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Music students from the School of Arts were recently provided with a platform to create their own concept for a lunch hour concert when they choreographed and composed original material for large audiences at the Howard College Theatre.

‘For performance students, a platform like this to present creative talents to the public is an opportunity to share and grow and increase their performance and presentation skills.  It also gives them an opportunity to work on their own in the challenging tasks of drawing up a concept, running rehearsals and presenting a professional output at the end,’ said Music Lecturer, Dr Patricia Opondo.

The show IZWI LEMBOKODO (women’s voice) looked at issues facing both the old generation and new generation of African women. Every piece performed such as a praise poem about women and even a modern dance ensemble looked at issues, including rape and abuse, facing modern women.

Music student Mr Nhlakanipho Ngcobo was happy the audiences enjoyed the performances. ‘These events are not just about entertaining - they also educate youngsters about our history, about gender roles, equality and human rights. These events also make us aim to be better performers and help us learn the skill of entertaining and educating at the same time,’ he said.

On 13 October, the School of Arts will showcase the annual African Cultural Calabas which is being organised by third year students from the African Music and Dance programme. There will also be a year-end African Music Ensemble Concert on 22 October  at the Howard College Theatre.

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