The School of Health Sciences held its Annual Oath Taking and Awards Ceremony where a full-house of academics, friends, family and sponsors congratulated the final-year class of 2012 for its hard work and outstanding academic achievements.

Professor Sabiha Essack, Dean and Head of the School, said the ceremony was a right of passage for the students who would soon start community service within the varied disciplines of Audiology; Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences; Dental Therapy and Oral Health; Nursing; Occupational Therapy; Optometry; Pharmaceutical Sciences; Physiotherapy and Speech Language Pathology.

Essack said health care faced many and varied challenges in South Africa, however, UKZN had equipped students with the necessary knowledge, skills and values to service the country’s health care needs.

A slew of awards were presented to students who excelled in their academic and community outreach endeavours.

Ms Rumaisa Khan scooped three awards in the Audiology Discipline, and Mr Clement Bhengu followed suit in the Dental Therapy and Oral Health Discipline. An astounded Ms Thembela Philile won all three prizes awarded by the Nursing Discipline whilst parents and friends cheered for Ms Priya Moonsamy, who walked off with four awards in the Discipline of Optometry.

The School’s Best Overall Academic Achiever Award went to Ms Seshnee Govender of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Ms Thobile Mkhabela from Dentistry was named Best Student Who Exemplifies Outstanding Community Involvement in the School. Both these awards were sponsored by Rodney Joseph.

Some of the students said it had been a challenging four years in the undergraduate programme ‘but it’s all worth it at the end’ and they looked forward to going out to work in the community and being able to put into practice all that they had learnt, while others said they would definitely return to pursue postgraduate degrees at UKZN.

In her address, Essack said parents needed to be congratulated for supporting their children through their studies and she encouraged them to continue doing so as the students became young healthcare professionals. 

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UKZN’s Yashwant Singh Rawat participated in the 24th Session and the 46th Executive Committee Meeting of the International Poplar Commission (IPC) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations held at the Forest Research Institute in Uttarakhand, India.

The meeting was attended by member and non-member countries of the IPC. Rawat presented a research paper titled: “Cultivation of willows in the mountain cold desert of India: the Lahaul valley case study (ID: 58)”, which he co-authored with Colin S Everson.

‘It was a great opportunity to meet, share experiences and knowledge with International delegates from different parts of world, as well as to learn about current research and development work going on international poplar and willow research,’ said Rawat.

Rawat – an Indian national - is working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Water Resources Research in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

His research focuses on improving livestock carrying capacity with rainwater harvesting and conservation on grasslands for extensive and/or intensive livestock production and biogas generation from manure in rural areas of South Africa. He is a specialist in agroforestry/forestry.

Before joining UKZN, Rawat worked on various multi-disciplinary agroforestry, forestry and natural resource management research and development projects in the Indian Himalayan Region. He has also worked at the United Nations University-Institute of Advanced Studies in Japan where his research focused on the ecological, energy, economic and social dimensions of woody biomass production and use.

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Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor Kriben Pillay, paid tribute to Professor Kanti Bhowan - who retired at the end of last year - in a presentation titled: “Learning and the Art of Wonder”.

Pillay explained that the 90-minute presentation had a few main objectives.

‘It was about sharing the wonder of learning, and the role of play in developing a questioning mind. It was also about having an entertaining look at some of the major disciplines in our College, and through this, sharing my own practice of teaching.

‘Last, but not least, it was an opportunity to  pay tribute to one of our long standing teachers, Professor Kanti Bhowan, who retires after 36 years at this University.’

In a thank you message, Professor Bhowan, who assumed many leadership roles during his years at UKZN, wrote: ‘Thank you for giving me recognition for my service to UKZN over the past 36 years. It has been a roller coaster journey, with many ups and downs, but it has all been worth it.

Your kind gesture contributed towards bringing closure to a very long chapter in my life. I really enjoyed the whole event organised today.

‘Thank you for inviting me to share a wonderful afternoon with you and many of our esteemed colleagues. It will remain as a pleasant and lasting memory to me for many years to come. Thank you for making this day a memorable one for me.’

Pillay also took the opportunity to say farewell to Mrs Virginia Ngidi (Aunty V), who retired after many years of service to UKZN as a general assistant in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership.

‘Aunty V played her own part in helping us deliver quality teaching and learning over the years. Without her meticulous attention to detail – like checking that we had all the necessary  materials for the classroom, and that teas were made on time for our block release students – we would have been lost,’  said Pillay.

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The College of Health Sciences held an inspiring and exciting afternoon of fun for those who attended the isiZulu course it hosted last year.

Titled Jabulani, the afternoon’s activities promoted the isiZulu culture, reassured guests of their new found communication skills and promoted isiZulu within the College.

The College prioritised promoting isiZulu as a language of communication and presented six-week courses throughout 2012. 

Professor Fanie Botha, Director of Professional Services for the College and the driver of the isiZulu communication project, explained the importance of using IsiZulu in the College as a medium of communication and how it would benefit the University at large.

‘Since the University has multicultural staff members and students, this initiative is well received by all.’ Staff who attended the basic isiZulu course were invited along with their isiZulu friends to join in the Jabulani experience which helped them to communicate and practice the language among themselves,' said Botha.

isiZulu games were introduced to staff members as a refresher of the IsiZulu vocabulary  they had learned. The games also helped non-isiZulu speakers to be exposed to practising the language through singing isiZulu songs and playing isiZulu games and drums.

Traditional African cuisine was included on the menu to promote the isiZulu culture through the naming of isiZulu food e.g. ujeqeimfino, usu and bhotshisi. The experience for staff from other cultures was unique and challenging, but all enjoyed the food and had lots of fun.

An isiZulu quiz towards the end of the programme tested the memory skills of each and every staff member who attended the course. In recognition of staff who attended 85 percent of the course, a Certificate of Attendance was presented.

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Masters student Mr Nicholas Moyo won first prize in the poster presentation category at a national conference in Boksburg on Global Change.

The prize provides full funding for Moyo to attend an international conference at a destination of his choice.

The conference, themed: “Understanding Global Change for Innovation towards a Resilient Society”, was organised by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs. 

Moyo was among other South African students whose abstracts were accepted for the conference. His poster presentation, with the theme: Understanding a Changing Planet and co-authored by his supervisor Professor Michael Savage of UKZN's School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, was titled: “Seasonal variation of surface energy fluxes above a mixed species and spatially homogeneous grassland”.

The work was based on Moyo's Masters thesis, awarded cum laude.  The main objectives of Moyo’s research were to investigate the influence of grassland management practices (mowing and burning) on the surface energy and radiation balance of naturally growing grassland and subsequently inferring on water loss. 

This conference brought together about 250 national global change stakeholders including policy-makers, researchers and members of the private sector and civil society, to exchange ideas on the latest trends in global change research and technology.

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Local government specialist Professor Purshottama Reddy of UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance delivered a paper at the 34th Roundtable Conference of the African Association for Public Administration and Management held in Zanzibar.

The conference, attended by 420 delegates from 35 countries including cabinet ministers, heads of management development institutes and development partners, created a platform for the sharing of ideas and knowledge on capacity building and development issues in the African region.

In line with the conference’s theme, Performance Management for Improved Public Service Delivery in Africa, Reddy co-delivered a paper he co-authored with the Head of eThekwini Municipality’s Performance Unit, Ms Nirmala Govender, titled:  “Performance Monitoring and Evaluation: The eThekwini Experience”.

The paper explored the challenges the municipality is facing during the implementation of the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation System, such as the lack of buy-in from staff and the absence of proper tools to measure performance.

The paper also outlined ways to address the challenges including the need for top management and council to drive the system; municipal wide communication of the IDP; embarking on a change management strategy and the need for monitoring and evaluation to be an ongoing as opposed to an annual process.

Conference recommendations highlighted the need for strong monitoring and evaluation; training; a cultural/mindset change; the replication of best practices from the private sector and a reminder that performance management was not a panacea for good governance. 

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Amaqembu nabadlali base-UKZN baphumelele phambili emdlalweni eyahlukene emqhudelwaneni i-University Sports South Africa (USSA) ngoZibandlela wanyakenye.

Kumdlalo weTable Tennis obubanjelwe eKimberley, i-UKZN ithole indondo yebronze emqhudelwaneni wabesifazane nalo oxubile.

 UMnu Preshen Naidoo, uNksz Keserie Perumal noNksz Saaisha Naidu bonke bakhethwe ukuba yingxenye yeqembu yabaphambili abayisishiyagalombili be-USSA table tennis.

 Umqhudelwano webody building wona ububanjelwe eNorth West. UMnu Lungani Magwaza uqede okwesibili kwabeHeavyweight.

Iqembu lebhola lase-UKZN eMgungundlovu libekwe isithathu kumqhudelwano weUSSA eKapa. Ngaphezu kwalokhu, lelithimba libuye lathola umklomelo wokuba iqembu elivelele kulomqhudelwano.

Umuntu oshaye amagoli amaningi nobe umdlali ovelele kube uMnu Sphesihle Mpanza wase-UKZN.

Click here for English version 

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In celebration of the launch of the institution’s official tagline INSPIRING GREATNESS, UKZN Facebook launched a competition asking staff and students to submit explanations of what the tagline means to them.

Mr Previn Vedan, Mr Trevor Jasson and Mr Musa Kika each wrote winning entries and received Apple iPods as prizes.

‘'It’s cool to win something!’ said Vedan, a Bachelor of Law student who submitted his entry in the form of a poem which combines his love of writing and his experience at UKZN. ‘Being part of campus life has given me a greater perspective of my future and all that I have to look forward to. The poem reflects that.’

Bachelor of Social Science student Jasson first researched the meaning of the words “inspiring” and “greatness” before he put pen to paper. ‘I went to a lecture which dealt with how people in top positions originate at UKZN and I aim to be one of those. Therefore, I wanted to contribute my understanding of what makes UKZN great!’

Bachelor of Law student Kika, another academic achiever and passionate ambassador of UKZN, was excited to be chosen. His submission is included below, along with those of Vedan and Jasson.

 Musa Kika


It’s a story of inspiration, hope and achievement:

At UKZN inspiring greatness speaks of a century old tradition of academic excellence, of being at the forefront of academic contribution to the African renaissance. It speaks to truly intellectual Afrocentrism that celebrates and seeks to enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa, at the apex of education that meets our time and needs, and those to come.

Inspiring greatness at UKZN speaks to the building of innovative bridges into the future through cutting-edge research, world-class teaching and learning; of being a people-oriented university driven by the conviction that our people are the very resources to combat the challenges we face, and take the challenge to nurture their talents into expertise.

Inspiring greatness at UKZN speaks to commitment to the values of our shared humanity, to the virtues of diversity and recognition of the talents and the uniqueness each is endowed with; academic freedom at its apex. It speaks of moving forward, from a past nobody would dare want to return, to a future that takes cognisance of the past, of social transformation.

I see these things in the name UKZN. I aspire to these things. Africa and the world does. At UKZN our hope, our aspirations, our talents and our future are connected, in a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere that resonates achievement, and history is made at a truly African University. These are attributes and elements of greatness. Elements and attributes that make UKZN to be an institution celebrated beyond the boundaries of our continent. These are the virtues instilled in all around the world who are called alumni of UKZN; inspired to do great things. This is what UKZN is inspired to do: INSPIRING GREATNESS!

Trevor Jasson

To me, Inspiring Greatness means: My inner ability to achieve my desired goals through pure confidence and belief within myself. Personally, it evokes an emotion of hope, will and trust within me that makes me believe that anything I set to do, I will accomplish. It’s what allows my attributes to fill my dreams and goals. As my journey starts off from First year onwards, this Tagline will ensure that I remember why I am here, and will encourage me to perform to my fullest potential.

Previn Vedan

Inspiring Greatness

What am I, if I am termed a ‘Great’?

Am I a champion of the world, an entertainer or a swindler of fate?

Perhaps I am an altruistic lover of mankind?

Or can I conquer, by the power of mind?

Pieces of the answer lie in these manifestations,

But a definition requires further elaboration,

A ‘Great’ has the ability to journey inward and accept,

But with the notion of self-improvement, a ‘Great’ is also adept.

With a degree of greatness is how we all begin,

But a special environment is needed to nurture the quality within,

Sacred ground, a place to pay homage to education,

In this place, I have found greatness by attaining self-realisation.

Biko, Meer and Paton have walked on this grass,

My greatness has been rooted in recognition of my University’s past.

Greatness is the beginning, to an even more elusive end,

I have been inspired on the holy grounds of UKZN.

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Using more than 300 computers, 10km of cable, a super-fast gigabyte network and a continuous supply of electricity from Eskom, 300 gamers made South African history at FRAG LAN’s  first ever online PC gaming event held on the Edgewood campus.

Gaming, also known as E- sports, sees hard-core gamers getting together at LAN (Local Area Network) events where they compete, socialise and improve their gaming skills.

James Baillie, Owner of FRAG - Fricken Radical Action Gaming, said: 'Durban became the first South African city to successfully host a 300-man LAN in which gamers were enabled to play DoTA 2. This is the first LAN in SA that can LAN!  The ability to host such a LAN is a huge achievement as it has never been done before on such a scale. (DoTA 2 - Defence of the Ancients - is a multi-player online battle arena).

'The event happened thanks to UKZN which had the ability to supply enough bandwidth for the event and the demands of the different games being played,' said Baillie.

The organisers from FRAG LAN lived up to their promises. During the event, there wasn't a single power outage and despite gamers using all the internet connectivity at their disposal, not a single switch faulted. 

The LAN started at 10am on Friday, 7 December and went on through the night until 9am on the Sunday.

Such was the demand, the gamers were reluctant to leave, and the organisers were forced to “pull the plug”. Only once the power had been switched off, did the gamers start packing and depart!

The organisers from FRAG ensured that everyone had an enjoyable experience. Prizes for the best gamers were awarded during the event.

Team TWG was the overall winner scooping a cash prize along with techie goodies including keyboards, mouse pads, and PC gamer equipment.

‘A huge thanks has to firstly go to UKZN for the internet, I-StudentSA for prize sponsorship, Mass Discount's Games Stores for the cash prizes and COREX South Africa for their prize sponsorship. Without the help of the sponsors, the LAN would not have been possible,’ said Baillie.

 Through the International eSports Federation (IeSF), eSports will be included at the 2013 Asian Games.  Gamers are awarded Protea Colours for eSports through Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA), the national controlling federation. 

The next FRAG Lan is from 6pm on Friday, 25 January until 9am on Sunday, 27 January 2013. For more details, please visit

Follow FRAG on Facebook at

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Debates about diagnostics, genetics and intervention in regard to autism formed the underlying theme of a public lecture at UKZN's College of Health Sciences by Professor Petrus de Vries, the Sue Streungmann Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Cape Town.

The criteria required to make a formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are found in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fourth Edition (DSM IV). However, these criteria are set to change when the new DSM V is released early in May this year.

The current DSM IV classifies a set of pervasive developmental disorders as autism, Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders - not otherwise stated (PDD-NOS). ASDs are neurodevelopmental disorders that are characterised by impairments in communication and social interactions, and may include the presence of stereotyped or repetitive behaviours or circumscribed interests. 

Conversations about autism involve the global challenge of being able to distinguish between children who have autism, Asperger’s syndrome and PDD-NOS. Proper diagnosis will ensure correct treatment and intervention therapies.

De Vries said: ‘The importance of proper diagnosis cannot be underestimated given the fact that treatment before the age of 42 months is regarded globally as ideal intervention which allows for greater impact than intervention provided after the age of five.'

In the new DSM V, the separate diagnostic labels of Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and PDD-NOS will be replaced by one umbrella term: Autism Spectrum Disorder. Further distinctions will be made according to severity levels.  The severity levels are based on the amount of support needed, due to challenges with social communication, restricted interests and repetitive behaviours.

The conceptualisation of the autism spectrum suggests that it exists on a continuum of impairment, with Autistic Disorder (AD) being most severe, and PDDNOS representing the less severe end of the spectrum.

Currently, the diagnosis is made on the basis of impairments in communication, social interaction, restricted interests and repetitive behaviours.  In the new edition, the communication and social interaction domains will be combined into one, titled:  “Social/Communication Deficits”. Additionally, the requirement of a delay in language development is no longer necessary for a diagnosis.

The new criteria as mentioned in DSM V are based on expert opinion, research and analysis. However, the fear is that high functioning people on the spectrum will be excluded from the classification and hence not receive the range of services offered to people living with ASDs. Questions have also been raised as to how the new classification will impact on people currently diagnosed with PDD-NOS or Asperger’s syndrome.

The current prevalence rate for ASDs is 1 in 88 children below the age of five. There are six major symptoms of ASDs which clinicians and psychologists use to diagnose the disorders - failure to develop normal socialization; disturbances in speech, language and communication; abnormal relationship to objects and events; abnormal responses to sensory stimulation; developmental differences, and delays. The symptoms are observed during infancy or childhood.

ASDs affect 1 percent of the global population and are more prevalent in men than in women.

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The University of KwaZulu-Natal hosts the University of Fort Hare in the FNB Varsity Rugby Shield pipe opener at Peter Booysen Park in Golf Road, Pietermaritzburg, at 16h30 on Monday, 28 January. 

Fort Hare, the alma mater of South African icons Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, has a well-established rugby scene with a rich history and are a shining light of genuine rugby development in the Eastern Cape. They will be no pushovers, having beaten the UKZN Impi twice in 2012.

The Impi have been hard at work in two training camps and will be well prepared for the challenge which will be attended by South African Rugby Union top brass and broadcast live on SuperSport 1.

As most UKZN students only return from vacation in February, the Impi will be relying on alumni and local supporters to provide home ground advantage.

According to UKZN Sports Officer, Mr Reggie Smith, it will be an afternoon of “Rugby that Rocks”, with cheerleaders, traditional dancers, and an entertaining MC lined up.

UKZN Rugby will also use the day to promote the Rugby against Rape campaign in association with the Jes Foord Foundation.

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