UKZN has for the first time been placed in the Top 400 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said the high ranking was a fantastic achievement for UKZN. ‘All credit must go to the University's academic staff, students and leadership.

‘Nothing is more gratifying than achievement and success in academia. This achievement affirms our strategy. Finally, the African eagle has landed!’

The University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University are also in the Top 400. No other African universities made the rankings.

The University of Cape Town was placed 113th leaving it as the only institution on the continent in the Top 200. Wits is in the band between the 226 and 250 positions while Stellenbosch lies in the 251st and 275th grouping.

The California Institute of Technology in the US was ranked first, Oxford and Stanford were joint second, and Harvard was fourth.

The ranking organisers did not give UKZN's exact position saying it would be unfair to do so as the movement at that end of the table was very slight.

Times Higher Education takes into account 13 indicators in establishing rankings including the average number of times the university’s research papers are cited, staff-to-student ratio and the number of PhD and undergraduate degrees awarded.

Mr Simon Pratt, Product Manager at Thomson Reuters which facilitates the rankings, said: ‘We continue to see a high level of engagement and collaboration from participating universities.

This year we had 700 institutions actively participating in the Institutional Profiles project. This is a strong endorsement of the rigorous data collection process and analysis.

‘As we enter the fourth year of the Institutional Profiles initiative we have the broadest and deepest set of key performance indicators on universities globally, drawing on Thomson Reuters institutional reputation and citation data. This is the ideal foundation for the Times Higher Education World University Ranking,’ said Pratt.

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UKZN’s achievements in the area of transformation were praised by the Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande during the recent launch of the University’s Transformation Charter

Speaking at a launch function on the Westville campus, Nzimande said he had been told Africans comprised 62 percent of the total student enrolments at UKZN this year while in 2011 62 percent of graduates and 33 percent of academic leadership had been women. ‘This is a very important achievement.’

It was necessary, Nzimande said, to move towards defining transformation beyond overcoming racial divisions and rather towards seeking radical change in our society – including the education and training system.

Outlining the process of drafting the Charter, Professor Deo Jaganyi, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, explained it was commissioned by the University Council in response to the recommendations emanating from the Governance and Academic Freedom Committee of Council (GAFC) and the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions.

Jaganyi said the consultation process was broadly inclusive. ‘The inputs and comments from the different constituencies were collated and independently analysed including compliance with the university policies before incorporation into the draft document to enrich the Charter.’

The Chair of Council, Ms Phumla Mnganga commended Professor Deo Jaganyi for driving the process.

Professor Renuka Vithal, Acting Vice-Chancellor, said lessons for the Higher Education system could be distilled and shared from UKZN’s transformation experience.

‘Transformation of universities can be achieved in our life time. It is not easy, it is not for the faint hearted but has to be pursued with leadership, commitment and dedication at all levels,’ added Vithal.

The evening’s entertainment included a rousing performance by Mbazo, the children and grandchildren of renowned music group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

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The School of Law’s academic and socio-legal programme, In Conversation With, was launched on the Howard College campus recently with South Africa’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng taking part in a high profile debate.

The inaugural session of the programme opens a forum in which leading legal luminaries will be invited to discuss topical legal and judicial issues.

The first part of the conversation was a one-on-one conversation between the Chief Justice and the Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi.

The conversation saw Reddi ask Mogoeng, a School of Law alumnus, about his main priorities in respect of the judiciary, his concerns about the delays and consequent costs in finalising cases, the on-going debate in the legal profession about the undergraduate four-year LLB degree and the most urgent challenges he faces as Head of the Constitutional Court.

The Chief justice responded by outlining plans about the implementation of the monitoring performance system to address the backlog of cases, the issue of transformation within the judiciary and skills development within the judiciary. He also advised law academics to foster links with the Justice Department which would expose students to the practical side of law.

‘We need to reach out more to institutions such as this one and our communities as this is one of the ways we can ensure everyone is educated about their rights and justice is accessible to everyone,' said Mogoeng.

‘I am honoured to have been taught by lecturers, such as Ellie Newman, who empower students so when they leave this university they are better prepared for the world of law,’ said Mogoeng.

Mogoeng told students they needed to embrace education for the sake of the nation. ‘My appeal to you is that once you have completed benefiting from practitioners in this institution, you avail yourself as a fountain of wisdom for those who are yet to practice law.’

The second part of the event involved Reddi calling for questions from law students and academics followed by the unveiling of the Honours Board of the Ellie Newman Memorial Moot Final Competition which he participated in as a finalist in 1985.

Referring to the Chief Justice’s address, Reddi said: ‘The School of Law at UKZN is one of the most transformed law schools in South Africa. Our students range from the very sophisticated to those who have had very little, if any, contact with luminaries in the legal profession.

‘The Chief Justice’s visit to the School and the advice he dispensed to our students will no doubt serve to inspire every one of them to strive for levels of greatness they may have not thought possible.’

The event was preceded by the Moot Final Competition.

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Ms Annaliza Moodley, who completed her honours in Computer Science at UKZN last year, received the award for the best fourth year honours student at the conference and prize giving ceremony of the Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA).

Moodley was nominated for the award by her Supervisor, Dr Aderemi Adewumi, who received the prize on her behalf.

Moodley’s project, which focused on financial portfolio selection with heuristic optimization, had earlier been accepted and presented by Adewumi at the IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence for Financial Engineering and Economics (CIFEr 2012) in New York.

CIFEr is the major collaboration between the professional engineering and financial communities and one of the leading forums for new technologies and applications in the intersection of computational intelligence and financial engineering and economics.

In addition to the recognition and prestige the award holds, Moodley was given a cash prize for her achievements. It was the first time since the merger that a UKZN student has won the prestigious annual award which places University’s name in the ORSSA Hall of Fame.

It was also the first computer science project to scoop the award.

UKZN’s School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science made its presence felt at the event with several academics and students - including Adewumi and Professor Nelishia Pillay - presenting at the conference.

The UKZN delegation presented research papers in the area of optimisation and modeling which provided practical solutions to problems of national importance including annual crop planning, sports league scheduling, blood assignment in blood banking, financial portfolio selection and the early detection of type two diabetes.

Papers submitted by the UKZN delegation were well received and several have been accepted for publication. Adewumi was appointed to Chair a parallel session discussion during the conference.

The UKZN delegation got very positive feedback from ORSSA and was mandated to help resurrect the research society’s KwaZulu-Natal Chapter.

The Conference was also an opportunity for the UKZN group to network with other academics and industry partners, seeking ways for future collaboration.

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UKZN’s Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archives adopted the theme Cartoons, Satire and South African Politics for its 7th Peter Brown Memorial Seminar.

Brown, a Co-leader of the old Liberal Party, was a close friend of renowned author Alan Paton and instrumental in setting up the Alan Paton Centre.

Director of UKZN Libraries, Mrs Nora Buchanan, welcomed guests saying it was an opportune time to celebrate South Africa’s heritage and remember the life of Brown and his contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

Special guests at the event included Brown’s widow, Mrs Phoebe Brown, and the wife of political activist Dr Chota Motala, Mrs Rabia Motala. Motala and Brown were comrades, colleagues and friends during the struggle period and their wives have maintained their friendship over the years.

The seminar started with five short videos focusing on well-known South African cartoonists, Stidy and Zapiro, which set the scene for the seminar and introduced the central theme.

Manuscript Librarian of the Alan Paton Centre, Mr Nazim Gani, presented the keynote address titled: “Cartoons, Satire and South African Politics: A Case Study of Zapiro’s Cartoons”.

Gani said cartoons, satire and South African politics generated much interest and debate locally as well as internationally. ‘Obviously with Zapiro being South Africa’s most celebrated and published cartoonist, I felt it was necessary to case study his cartoons especially since he had been actively involved with the United Democratic Front and the End Conscription Campaign.’

Gani traced Zapiro’s cartooning career from the time he was a young child, drawing pictures of monsters to exorcise them from his dreams, through to his portrayal of Madiba as a father and moral guardian of the nation and Jacob Zuma with his famous showerhead.

He touched on how difficult it had been for Zapiro to criticize former President Nelson Mandela. ‘According to Zapiro, the first time he did so felt like a son criticizing his father.’ Gani said Zapiro argues that ‘his unflattering portrayal of President Zuma is entirely based on actual quotations where the President has said outlandish, chauvinistic, and ignorant things about AIDS, women and the rule of law.

‘According to Zapiro, the great onslaught against the media is one of the trends affecting cartoonists in South Africa. Cartoonists should be allowed to be critical and he said that even Madiba felt the country needed satirists.’

Zapiro had said that that Madiba encouraged him personally as a cartoonist and gave him the necessary space to express himself.

‘Zapiro feels there is an important role for cartooning in South Africa. He is of the opinion that cartoonists are being taken more seriously than ever. This is evident by the fact that President Zuma is suing him and furthermore by the recognition of cartooning in journalism circles,’ said Gani.

In conclusion, Gani said he believed political cartoons contributed to the understanding of media representation of issues, people and events. As a result, future studies ‘should focus on the feasibility of political cartoons towards understanding a particular social phenomenon and how they can be harnessed to build and shape public opinion’.

The seminar ended with a question and discussion session and a vote of thanks by retired Manuscript Librarian, Mrs Jewel Koopman, who highlighted the importance of having a free Press.

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Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Beverly Parker was commended for her years of service to the former Musicological Society and to the SA Society for Music Research (SASRIM) at the society’s recent music research conference at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Chairman of SASRIM, Professor Zelda Potgieter, praised Parker’s work on the society’s journal SAMUS, which she edited from 1993 to 2005, and her work as Co-ordinator of the SASRIM programme committee for the last four years.

She said that ‘the musicological community is deeply indebted to’ Parker, and cited her ‘professionalism, efficiency, wisdom and long-suffering patience.’ She said that these qualities and her unreserved sharing of her ‘years of experience in matters pertaining to all aspects of the society’s functioning’ have benefited less experienced colleagues enormously.

Parker served as a Musicologist at UKZN from 1975 to 2007. Her publications concern a variety of fields within European and African music and tertiary music education, and she helped develop and teach two interdisciplinary courses.

She served as Acting Head, Head, and Interim Head of Music for over nine years and was a member of the Committee on Staff Development and Chair of the Academic Ceremonials Committee. She also served as a sexual harassment advisor.

The Musicological Society honoured her work as an Editor by dedicating a volume of SAMUS to her in 2007. She designed websites for the Society and SAMUS and for the UKZN Music Discipline.

She also served for several years on a committee of the South African Qualifications Authority and advised and served on review committees for the Universities of the Transkei, Venda, Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch as well as the then Durban Institute of Technology.

‘It was very rewarding to be recognised at SASRIM’s AGM for the contributions I have made to the two music research societies,’ said Parker.

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Displaying outstanding legal skills in front of a Bench of sitting High Court Judges, Ellie Newman Moot Court finalist and SABC radio presenter Ms Nomfundo Mkhize gave notice she is destined for a successful career in law – if she decides to choose that path!

The fourth year UKZN LLB student, an icon for youth empowerment through her show Teen Zone on Ukhozi FM, excelled in the first round of the competition with her presentation on the issue of declaring as unconstitutional the disciplining of children in the private home.

Then in the semi-finals she had just three minutes to make her presentation on the controversial issue which is going before the ANC’s proposed Media Tribunal Council and came in third place in the finals that were held at Howard College recently.

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned so much from the Moot Court experience. The preparation for this final has been by far the hardest out of the three rounds.’

Mkhize (21) was a semi-finalist at the PAN Universities Debating Championships held in Zimbabwe early this year and hopes to represent UKZN at the World Universities Championships in Germany.

Mkhize was the youngest person to be nominated for Best Day-Time Presenter in a Public Broadcasting Station in the MTN Radio awards for her Teen Zone show, which examines issues affecting the youth.

‘I started at Ukhozi FM while doing Grade 11 hosting a show called State Your Mind aimed at the “tween” market. Then during my first year at university I was promoted to hosting Teen Zone which is on air every Wednesday at 3.30pm during the drive show,’ said Mkhize

‘In the show we talk about issues including dating, sex, teenage pregnancy, youth unemployment, subject packages for Grade 9s, bursaries and much more. Many of our listeners are in rural parts of South Africa and get exposed to this information for the first time through the show.’

Mkhize recognises the value of pursuing a postgraduate degree. ‘At the moment it’s a toss-up between completing pupilage and going straight to the bar, or doing articles, or going oversees to complete a masters in entertainment law which is an under developed area in South Africa,’ said Mkhize.

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The College of Health Sciences’ Women in Leadership and Leverage (WILL) committee ended its series of workshops with an insightful presentation on acupuncture.

Workshop presenter Dr Kitty Kwo Chen, a qualified Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, said the procedure had been used for more 3 000 years and helped restore balance in the body’s energy forces.

Correcting imbalances in the flow of energy through channels known as meridians in the body, Kwo said acupuncture involved inserting very fine needles at specific acupoints during treatment. ‘In total, there are 360 acupoints in the body.’

Kwo said acupuncture was a natural way of healing, ‘without side-effects’ and which does not use any chemicals.

‘This form of healing is highly recommended for stress relief and the treatment of acute or chronic conditions. It can also help improve the function of organs and the immune system.’

Kwo said acupuncture helped patients suffering from headaches; back, neck, and lower back pain; stress related problems; sport injuries and sinusitis. It also assisted with weight loss which had a success rate of over 80 percent.

‘Insomnia is one of our bodies’ biggest enemies but acupuncture can heal this too.’ Kwo said many people had turned to acupuncture in their efforts to quit smoking ‘but I always tell my patients that I can’t help them change their reality. Once your mind is calm you can start working towards changing your situation.’

Kwo said acupuncture had been endorsed by the World Health Organization and was known to be effective in the treatment of about 43 different kinds of illnesses.

Kwo is registered with the Allied Health Professional Council of South Africa and has done presentations on acupuncture for a number of organisations including Radio Al-Ansaar, the Rotary Club, and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

Workshop participants were fascinated to learn about Chinese traditional healing methods and asked many questions comparing and contrasting them with South Africa’s indigenous healing practices.

Dr Shenuka Singh, workshop convener and a committee member of WILL said Kwo’s presentation ended the workshop series for 2012 on a high note and there was a lot to look forward to in the new year.

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Abafundi nabafundisi eKolishi le-Agriculture, Engineering neScience badele imvula ngenkathi kunomqhudelwano wobasubathi osukwini lokuzithokozisa olubanjelwe epulazini lezocwaningo leNyuvesi eMgungundlovu, i-Ukulinga.

Lolusuku osolubanjwe yisigaba seScience and Agriculture e-UKZN iminyaka emine ilandelana, bekungokokuqala usokunyelwa yiKolishi lonke.

Amaqembu eziKole kanye nawasemahhovisi ahlukahlukene avunule ahambisana nezihloko ebezinqunyelwe usuku. Bekumibalabala, kwavelela oluhlaza wesiKole seMathematics, Statistics neComputer Science.

Koklonyeliswe iqembu ebeligqoke kahle kunawo wonke, nelitshengise uqgozu ngaphezu kwamanye. UMnu Thulane Singwane kanye Nksz Wendy Janseen, baphume phambili kubasubathi besilisa nabesifazane.

Kudliwe izibiliboco ehholo lase-Ukulinga emuva komjaho.

Click here for English version

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Administrative staff at the College of Humanities recently participated in a customer care workshop at the Howard College Theatre.

The workshop was facilitated by the CEO of Envision International, Mr Kum Bezeng, with the aim of equipping administrative staff with the necessary skills to handle and assist UKZN customers and clients as well as its external stakeholders.

Bezeng said the workshop was structured to help staff develop a culture of making customers feel welcome while at the same time exceeding customer expectations and fully meeting their needs.

The two-day workshop covered aspects of customer care such as setting customer satisfaction standards and meeting them accompanied by addressing crucial elements in a customer-driven environment.

‘The staff at UKZN were very enthusiastic and interactive. Now they can serve their customers with pride and a smile,’ said Bezeng.

Staff members were awarded certificates of attendance at the end of the course.

‘It was a very informative and constructive workshop,’ said Ms Pops Pillay of the School of Applied Human Sciences. ‘In our busy and stressful work environment, the customer care workshop taught us how to plan, manage and effectively conduct ourselves in a most professional way.’

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Three UKZN students have completed five-month overseas exchange experiences which they described as both exciting and an eye-opener.

Fourth year Social Work student Ms Nokuthula Ngubane, who attended Jönköping University in Sweden, said: ‘The campus life in Sweden is very relaxed - you have time to complete assignments and projects while still being able to enjoy socialising.

She said despite the obvious language barrier students had been welcoming and easy to interact with.

Sisters and postgraduate students in Theoretical Physics and Environmental Science, Humairah and Zaakirah Bassa, studied at Konstanz University in Germany.

‘The University and its courses are very student-driven. You get a two-week trial period to study what you feel you might want to take on as a major. There’s also a lot of sporting activities such as snowboarding and skiing,’ said Humairah.

‘We took a climate change course and one of the topics discussed was area studies in South Africa. Students asked us a lot of questions about our country’s politics and the population statistics.’

The sisters also had the opportunity to travel to Spain, England, Denmark and Scotland.

They advised other students to take up any opportunity to study abroad as an exchange student because it was an amazing learning experience which taught one to budget and be independent.

‘It changes your way of thinking and opens you up to experience new places and cultures,’ said Zaakirah. She said exchange students needed to be flexible and prepared to learn as much as they could of the host country’s language.

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The School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (MIT&G) recently hosted the American-African-European (AAE) Summer School Programme.

The two week-long interdisciplinary and intercultural Masters study hosted by UKZN and the University of Witwatersrand catered for the College of Law and Management Studies key priorities of improving postgraduate enrolments by promoting international collaborative scholarly work opportunities between UKZN and partnering universities.

It also created a platform for UKZN academics to engage with International postgraduate students and academics from Germany’s Chemnitz University of Technology and the University of Witwatersrand on global business management trends, economic forums and political leadership in South Africa.

Mr Taahir Vajeth, Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader: Human Resource Management, IR & ER, encouraged students doing their masters to take advantage of the various scholarship packages offered to international students by the University.

‘Masters students can use this opportunity to network and discuss collaborative research possibilities between themselves and other UKZN students.

'There are also opportunities to embark on a full research masters or a 100 percent fee remission for full research or doctoral research. Please think about this and share the news of these exciting opportunities with other students,’ said Vajeth.

To keep students engaged on social issues currently affecting business management and governance in South Africa, MIT&G academics Ms Ashika Maharaj and Mr Kwazi Majola led a discussion on the impact on the country of the recent violent protest action in the mining industry.

The discussion looked at the bargaining process and labour relations in South Africa, the role political leadership played in resolving strikes and the effects the public service delivery protests have had on the economy.

While MIT&G academic Ms Lindiwe Kunene’s presentation titled: “Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’S) are failed by government in South Africa”. The presentation analysed the very high failure rate in the SMME industry.

Students also participated in the information sharing sessions by delivering presentations and being part of team building events. The students also enjoyed a tour to the SAB-Miller Plant and Nampak in Durban and a Heritage and Freedom Route tour in Pietermaritzburg.

Ms Jennifer Beuchold, a Management and Organisation Masters student from Germany said: ‘The programme has been very insightful for me because of the different views that are shared by the students and the presentations made by the lecturers. I am very privileged to be part of it as I also got to explore South Africa.

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Initiated in 1987, UKUSA is one of the most successful Developmental Community Performing-Arts non-profit organisations in South Africa.

UKUSA assists students who show willingness to work, ability in the creative arts, and a desire to share what they have learned with others in their communities. UKUSA also serves as a bridging programme for students interested in studying at the School of Music.

Music student Ms Jovita Joy Govender was a student at UKUSA in 2010 and 2011. ‘I heard about the programme from an outreach Community Youth Music project UKUSA funds in Chatsworth,’ said Govender.

‘I have always had a passion and love for music, but I didn’t know how to pursue it. UKUSA opened up the door for me when they funded a music school in my area,’ explained Govender.

‘UKUSA gave me the courage to take my passion for music further and I applied to study music at Howard College.

The lecturer who auditioned me was very impressed with my vast knowledge of theory and practical. Presently, I am studying a BA degree in Music,’ she added.

‘I just want to thank the programme’s co-ordinator Professor Betsy Oehrle and all the teachers and staff at UKUSA for the fantastic work they all do!’ said Govender.

UKUSA began as a small local arts outreach project, with 50 students and a staff of three teachers. The aim was to offer a space to township youth to explore their artistic talents.

Currently on offer are courses in music theory (grades 1-5), maskanda, saxophone, voice, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, trumpet, keyboard(for students able to bring their own keyboards). Concerts enable students to enjoy performing, and deserving students are awarded Certificates of Merit at the end of the year.

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