The culmination of the celebration of 100 years of academia in KwaZulu-Natal, a gala dinner at the Durban Exhibition Centre on November 18 encompassed forthright speakers, vibrant dance and eclectic music.  Hundreds of guests comprising the diplomatic corps, ministerial officials; KwaZulu-Natal’s academic community, UKZN alumni and students joined in the celebration.

Keynote speaker, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the Chairman of the Gift of the Givers Foundation and a UKZN alumnus said that South Africans in general ought to be educated and skilled in order to be able to compete with the best in the world. To this end, it is important that the University review its academic programmes regularly to provide career-orientated qualifications.

While aware that learning programmes at UKZN have produced graduates who went on to make valuable contributions to their country and the world, Dr Sooliman added that the University must ensure that donor funding is used for relevant research and training so that students leave the University armed with skills to empower communities and carry out their jobs with humanity and compassion.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Mubangizi  said the presence of guests representing several spheres of society signified a broad range of support for the advancement of Higher Education and a commitment to a legacy of empowering future generations. Presenting a snapshot of UKZN’s history, an institution originally known as the Natal University College at inception in 1910 in Pietermaritzburg, Professor Mubangizi said it was important to reflect on the pioneers who championed Higher Education and those responsible for the growth of education at the Institution over the decades.

Mr Bruno van Dyk, the Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, described the past achievements of UKZN as “sterling” and said the Foundation was proud of its role as “dream-maker”.  He indicated that the Foundation was deserving of this title by the mere fact that its fundraising efforts have generated funds to cover student fees for those who would otherwise not be able to study; innovative research has been supported by the Foundation; and several centres of education and research have received support.  However, to continue ensuring dreams reach fruition, Mr van Dyk said donor support was important. He encouraged alumni to fund UKZN’s activities at an opportune time – when the University celebrated 100 years of academia in the province. 

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Professor Chris Buckley and his Pollution Research Group (PRG) are working hand-in-hand with the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Utility (EWS) on a joint project with the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag).  In October, this project received news that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would be providing it with a US $3 million grant to continue developing and researching the relevance and economic viability of urine nutrient recovery tools and technologies. 

The foundation grant follows on from a visit by Mr Bill Gates and his team to Durban at the end of 2009 when they met with UKZN PRG members, Professor Buckley and Dr Kitty Foxon, together with senior representatives of EWS.  The visit involved a tour of on-site sanitation initiatives in the Durban area in order for the team to support and learn more about water, sanitation and hygiene interventions.

The project, which will be covered by the foundation grant for a period of four years, will further the development of technical solutions for urine processing for nutrient recovery.  The grant will also enable the researchers to examine ways in which the costs of providing sanitation can be reduced by the production and sale of urine-based fertiliser.    

Eawag comes to the party with many years of experience in the technology involved in the separation of urine as a sanitation solution.  In recent years they have successfully completed urine separation projects in China and Nepal and, according to the Eawag researcher in charge of the South Africa project, Dr Kai Udert, “This experience, plus the collaboration with an extremely progressive administrative department in Durban, were important reasons for developing our project in South Africa for the next four years.”

Part of the project involved testing the processes for the separation, purification and recovery of the nutrient components in urine in the laboratory.  The researchers now plan to take these successes and implement them at a larger scale.   Durban will be the test site for this evaluation due to the large number of urine diverting toilets which have been installed in the area. By the end of 2010 a total of 90 000 units will have been installed as part of the city’s initiative to provide universal sanitation.

A post doctoral political scientist has been recruited for the project and a post doctoral engineering research fellow and a number of Masters
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Ukuqokwa kukaSihlalo we JL Dube Chair emfundweni yasemaphandleni

Ukuqokwa kukaSihlalo we JL Dube Chair emfundweni yasemaphandleni

Kubekwe ngokusemthethweni usihlalo we John Langalibalele Dube emfundweni yasemaphandleni emkhakheni wezemfundo ngaphansi kwe Kolishi laka Humanities

eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu Natali (UKZN).

Lenyuvesi ibone kunesidingo ekuthuthukiseni imfundo yasezindaweni zasemaphandleni yabe isibeka lesisikhundla. UNjingalwazi Relebohile Moletsane wasemkhakheni wezemfundo nezentuthuko e-UKZN ungowokuqala ukuba usihlalo ukuthatha lesikhundla uqale, lomsebenzi ngenyanga kaMandulo.

U Dr Dube ongasekho wayesebenzisa imfundo yokholo ukulwela amalungelo nemfundo yabantu abamnyama, ngokuthuthukisa abantu basemaphandleni abanikeze ulwazi olusha ukuze bakusebenzise ekuzikhululeni.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

UNjingalwazi Moletsane unomlando omude ngocwaningo kwezasemaphandleni nemfundiso yakhona aphinde abhekelele abafundi abaningi abenza ucwaningo kulomukhakha. Ngalesikhathi ethula isihloko socwaningo lak
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From “A storm in the Tea Cup” to “Understanding the Reaction Mechanisms of Anti-Cancer Platinum (II) Metal Complexeswas the title of the Dean of Science and Agriculture, Professor Deo Jaganyi’s Inaugural Lecture on the Pietermaritzburg campus on November 10. 

Promoted to a full Professor in the School of Chemistry at the beginning of 2010, Professor Jaganyi devoted his Inaugural Lecture to highlighting his first research endeavours followed by his more recent activities. He started by explaining how, in 1992, while completing his PhD at Imperial College in London, he and his colleagues were approached by a major tea manufacturer wanting to know if they could figure out the nature and cause of tea scum.  The company was keen to allay their customers’ fears that the scum on the surface of their cuppas was due to dangerous chemicals, and to stop them from resorting to coffee. 

After much experimentation, explained Professor Jaganyi, the researchers were able to establish that due to the hard water in Britain (which is characterised by an accumulation of calcium and bicarbonate that is picked up from the beds of limestone) calcium carbonate is formed, which ultimately causes the scum found in tea.  Their research was published in the prestigious journal, Nature, and caused quite a furore all over the world – the news even reached the New York Times.  Further research revealed that loose tea leaves make the best and quickest cuppa as tea bags drastically reduce the rate at which flavours infuse into hot water. 

Leaving tea bags behind, Professor Jaganyi went on to detail his recent research associated with platinum complexes in second generation anti-cancer drugs used to treat testicular and ovarian carcinomas, bladder tumours and tumours of the head and neck.  The downside of many of these drugs is their toxicity and limited spectrum of anti-tumour activity.  Although more than 3 000 platinum complexes have been synthesised and tested since the 1970s, only about 35 of these derivatives have entered into clinical trials, said Professor Jaganyi.   

He is in the Top 15 percent of the 2010 top academic achievers in UKZN’s Golden Key International Honour Society and recently returned from the United Kingdom where he completed his second Masters Degree.  Mr Brian Kwazi Majola who works as an Assistant Director in the public sector cites participation in the UKZN Management Studies’ Africa-America-Europe 2007 Summer School programme as the key to his success, as it gave him the opportunity to study abroad.

Mr Majola has worked as an Educator, Sales Consultant and a Policeman and holds two honours degrees and a Master of Commerce in Industrial Relations.  A scholarship from the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Programme enabled him to study further for a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management International Development at the University of Manchester from August 2009 to October 2010. Mr Majola was one of two people awarded the scholarship in KwaZulu-Natal and one of 30 in South Africa. They were able to choose the country they wanted to study in. The Masters Programme enabled students to go to France and Belgium for field training. They learned much from the European Commission, the Development Bank, and the United Nations in terms of work practices and policy formulation.   During his stay in England, Mr Majola also visited Ireland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Holland, and travelled around Scotland and Wales.

His masters’ dissertation was titled “Women Representation in the Era of Decentralisation” and the focus was on the UMsunduzi Municipality in Pietermaritzburg, his hometown. Mr Majola was interested in contributing to the literature on local government in relation to democracy, gender issues, and representation.  He said that the study could add value on strategies to be adopted and could be useful to policy-makers.  He added that local government is closest to community members, the majority of whom are women and are poor. However, women themselves still elect men because they are not confident. Women’s representation at local level depends to a large extent on political parties’ discretion and policies. Family support and a changing culture are factors that are contributing positively towards increasing women’s representation. Interestingly, once elected, women are treated as equals, depending on the individual’s contribution, according to Mr Majola.

Mr Majola thanked his wife, Phindile, who allowed him to follow his dream and looked after his daughters while he was abroad. Going overseas at that particular time was hard for him, as he had a new-born baby, had recently got married and was building a house.

He said that it is important for young people from previously disadvantaged communities to grab opportunities to study with both hands and not depend on political appointments to get them where they want to be in life. Mr Maj
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The fostering of the English language as a medium of transfer in South Africa has always been a topical issue, considering the country’s racial and cultural diversity. In her Inaugural Lecture Professor Ileana Dimitriu likened English Studies to a ‘translated discipline’ in the contemporary academy.

“Is English Studies a translated discipline? If so, what are the challenges? And, how can English help foster cultural interaction?” These were the questions posed by Professor Dimitriu.


In her introduction, Professor Dimitriu noted that English in South Africa was characterised, traditionally, as a British-colonial importation. English today, however, is not only the language of Shakespeare, but also that of world literature, “whether in the western classics (Homer or Kundera, in translation) or, more recently (in translation), the Afrikaans novels of André Brink, the isiXhosa writings of AC Jordan, or the oral praises of the great Zulu kings.”


The Lecture investigated interdisciplinary links between translation studies and English Studies, suggesting questions such as: Why do some cultures and authors get more critical attention than others? Why do some authors get translated more often than others? Who takes such decisions, and according to what selection criteria?


“In … emphasising a cultural approach to translation, translators are mediators and image-makers, not servile imitators of an ‘original’ text,” said Professor Dimitriu. She drew a link between the social role of translators/re-writers and public intellectuals.


“Responses to questions about ‘who says what, why, for which audience, and, under what circumstances’ (the questions of public intellectuals) are shown to be as valuable to society as the questions of translation scholars:  ‘who re-writes, why, for whom, and, under what circumstances’,” she explained.


Professor Dimitriu argued that translation, therefore, may help English explore social diversity, questioning whether modern English speakers share a culture with Shakespeare, and whether modernised versions of his work actually constitute acts of ‘same-language’ translation, amongst other factors.

Student teachers enrolled for the undergraduate Biological Science for Educators 420 Module were given an opportunity to present their research projects at a Research and Service-Learning Seminar on October 9, on the Edgewood campus.


Presenting for the first time, the student teachers had conducted their Research and Service-Learning projects at six placement sites: Old Age Homes, Children’s Homes and Drop In-Centres. Each presentation was given a 25 minute slot and was presented to the Dean of the Faculty of Education, their peers, SIFE-UKZN students, lecturers from the Durban University of Technology, eThekwini Municipality Education and Agrarian Managers, Placement Site Managers, and the External Examiner.


The goals of the Research Seminar were to showcase undergraduate students’ Research and Service-Learning projects and to recognise and value the students’ research efforts. It also aimed to recognise each individual student’s capacity to engage with research and to motivate and inspire students to be researchers in their classrooms and beyond.


“Service-Learning is an important development in Higher Education. As future teachers these student teachers have been challenged to work with different contexts, people and incidences,” said the School of Science, Maths and Technology Education’s Dr Angela James, who co-ordinated the seminar and is the lecturer for the module.


Presenting on the topic: Children’s perceptions and actions of their living conditions at home and a Drop In-Centre, Ms Nonsidiso Molefe and Mr Brian Mkhize reported that conducting their first research project was a great learning curve and through the ups and downs they exceeded their own expectations.


Other students said that the Research Seminar was an eye-opener in terms of the standard of research presented by their fellow students, and by introducing them to ‘the underworld of research’ that they now look forward to in postgraduate studies.


Representing the Management from the Old Age Home where the students conducted their research, Mrs Zabe Mqadi thanked Dr James for inviting them to UKZN.


Dr Mogie Subban, lecturer in the School of Public Administration and Development Management was invited to serve as Programme Director at the Public Sector Human Resources Convention hosted by the Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal from October 12-14  at Sibiya in the North Coast. The theme of the conference was:  Moving towards an Integrated Service Delivery Approach through Human Resources, and it aimed to share best practices in human resources to improve service delivery and build a better future together.  

A vibrant and colourful gala dinner was hosted by the Premier to acknowledge and award best practices in human resources in the Province.  The Department of Transport received the Bronze award for 3rd prize, followed by Community Safety and Liaison with the Silver award for 2nd prize, and the Gold 1st prize was awarded to the Department of Finance for the best-run human resources.

Dr Subban was thanked by the Honorable Premier in his speech at the gala dinner for her role and contribution, and ongoing collaboration with their office.  She assisted the Premier’s Office in the compilation of the conference proceedings and the close-out report for the project.

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Ms Thandeka Mtshali from UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division was chosen to attend a Summer School in Chemnitz, Germany. This is an annual School for UKZN Management Studies students and students from the University of Texas El Paso, Wits University and Chemnitz University of Technology. Ms Mtshali, who is studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Management, said that the Summer School is a great opportunity to learn about yourself, travel and be an ambassador for UKZN and South Africa.

The Summer School has a different theme every year and this year’s theme was Intercultural Communication and Development.

Ms Mtshali said that during her two week stay, every day was hectic and no less memorable than the rest.  “We did a lot of group work and had an opportunity to interact with other students from the different universities.

“One day that stuck out was the project group where our topic was ‘How does the media influence your thoughts on cultures, looking at food, values, etc’ and we hosted the whole summer group to a dinner,” she said.  Different groups from each country cooked their traditional food. “Continuing with the project we did a video on Intercultural Stereotypes and presented at the last day of the seminar,” she added.

Asked about what she gained from the visit, she said that she made friends, learnt a lot about communication, and gained different perspectives on intercultural communication and development in different countries.

“Most of the topics that we spoke about were about trying to bridge the gap between them and us. What I noticed about the group … was that each country had their own past that they were trying to move away from,” said Ms Mtshali.  She added that there was a lot of discussion about border controls.  Chemnitz is part of Eastern Germany. East and West are slowly merging but a gap still exists. This situation also existed in South Africa, where there was much debate about opening borders to citizens from other African countries. Students from El Paso Texas are situated on the border between the US and Mexico. “This opportunity allowed me the chance to learn about the different countries and their issues which we thought separated us but actually brought us together,” she said. if (window.print) { window.print() }