A book - co-authored by UKZN’s Dean of Law, Professor Managay Reddi - tracing the history of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) was launched on the Howard College campus this week by Public Protector Thulisile Madonsela.

Managay wrote the book, An African Journey to Good Governance: The History of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association, with Dr David Barraclough from Fine Focus.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Law and Management Studies, Professor John Mubangizi; the President of AOMA and the Ombudsman of Angola, Dr Paulo Tjipilica; Governance Adviser of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fÜr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Mr Ruan Kitshoff, and the Acting Director of the African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) based at UKZN, Advocate Ishara Bodasing, all addressed guests at the event.

According to Reddi the book provides a narrative description of several events that led to the creation of AOMA and AORC. She said inspiration for the book was created by the limited amount of literature available which outlines the genesis and history of AOMA.

Welcoming guests, Mubangizi congratulated the two authors for producing a book he described as "enriching" to himself, and a contribution to good governance in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

‘We are here to witness the scholarly work of two exceptional scholars and to encourage others to research and publish on the role of the ombudsman, an area that hasn’t been researched much,’ said Mubangizi.

He recalled the launch of AORC at UKZN in 2011 with goals to promote good governance, protect the rule of law and uphold human rights in African countries by communicating awareness on the Ombudsman and researching trends in this regard. ‘AORC was formed with the intention to provide training, advocacy and research on the ombudsman and interact with international organisations on matters concerning the ombudsman. One of the benefits of this Centre (AORC) is the book being launched today.’

Thanking Madonsela for her attendance, Mubangizi said the School of Law looked forward to future collaboration with all role players within AOMA.

Launching the book, Madonsela, also the Executive Secretary of AOMA, said she was pleased to be a part of the milestone event. 

‘Former President Nelson Mandela once said: “A nation that forgets its yesterday can’t build a better tomorrow”. AOMA is not a nation but a constituency trying to find its place in the African continent. The book has similar intentions - trying to trace the steps of the few men and women appointed to the ombudsman’s office to help pursue good governance in the country.

‘We hope the content of this book not only helps AOMA to improve good governance efforts but it becomes a resource to other continents and scholars. We hope the book is useful to future generations who need to trace this organisation’s footsteps, to protect and respect the rule of law and in the protection of human rights in the continent,’ said Madonsela.

Madonsela indicated that the launch of this book was aptly timed as it coincided with AOMA’s accreditation to the African Union.

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Abafundi base-UKZN abenza izifundo zobuNjiniyela bethule ucwaningo lwabo kukomfa ebizwa ngeSouthern African Universities Power Engineering Conference (SAUPEC) ebibanjelwe eNyuvesi yaseNorth-West University.

Lekomfa inika onjiniyela abasafufusa, abafundi, nabacwaningi nabafundisi eNingizimu Afrika ithuba lokwethula ucwaningo lwabo emkhakheni wobunjiniyela neminye imikhakha esondelene nawo.

Abafundi besiKole sobuNjiniyela e-UKZN uMnu W. Phetha, Mnu Y. Singh (Msc) and Mnu N.K Chetty bethule amaphepha ocwaningo amane.

Njengeminyaka edlule, kwethulwe umbiko wonyaka odlule mayelana nohlelo lweEskom Tertiary Education Support Programme (TESP). Inhloso yeTESP ukwandisa abantu emfundeni ephakeme  ngokutshala amakhono ocwaningo olubhekeni no-Eskom.

Abafundisi abangu-12 baseKolishi Lwezolimo, Ubunjiniyela neSayensi bethule ucwaningo nabo.

UMnu Logan Pillay ongusihlalo weTESP uthe: ‘I-TESP iyayisekela kakhulu imfundo ephakeme ngoba iyona ekhiqiza oNjiniyela nosoSayensi bakusasa baphinde banikeze abafundi amakhono adingekayo eNingizimu Afrika.

‘I-TESP ikhule kakhulu futhi kuyasijabulisa kakhulu ukubona ukwanda kwenani labantu esibaxhasile abavela eKolishi Lwezolimo, Ubunjiniyela neSayensi e-UKZN minyaka yonke.’

UPillay uthe u-Eskom uthe angathanda ukubona kwanda isibalo sabafundisi abafaka isicelo soxhaso lweTESP ukuze siqhubeke sikhulise ucwaningo nokuxhumana phakathi kwethu.

Click here for English version

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Two UKZN PhD students attended a winter school in Switzerland on quantum cryptography – the practice of encrypting and decrypting information and related topics in order to provide practical training for researchers around the world.

The school was held by ID Quantique in the charming village of Les Diablerets in the Alps.

The two students were Mr Makhamisa Senekane and Ms Yaseera Ismail who joined another 23 delegates from around the world, including post graduate students and influential individuals from industry, to interact and share ideas concerning matters regarding quantum physics.

Keynote speakers included Professor Nicolas Gesin, leader of the applied physics group at the University of Geneva;  Professor Sandu Popescu of the University of Bristol, Great Britain; Professor Vadim Markorov, head of the Quantum hacking lab at the institute of Quantum Computing in Waterloo;  Dr Tracy Northup, senior scientist at the University of Innsbruck;  Dr Renner Renato, head of the Quantum Information Group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurech), and Dr Mikeal Afzelius, leader of the Quantum memory group at the University of Geneva.

This course lasted a week and examined relevant aspects of quantum physics, which comprised building a foundation for quantum cryptography, in particular Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), as well as touching on relatively current research carried out in the field.

Some of the highlights included looking at the future of quantum computing both from a theoretical and an experimental point of view;  quantum memory, a significant development for QKD systems, which stores qubits until required for the determination of the secret key, and entanglement which offers an extra layer of security to a QKD system. 

Time was also allocated for recreational activities, which included skiing, sledging, curling and visiting the glaciers in order to promote networking and collaborations between delegates.

Furthermore this was an opportunity for delegates to visit the premises of ID Quantique for an additional understanding of some of the encryption devices available currently as well as the ability to interact with postgraduate students at the University of Geneva working on quantum memory systems.

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UKZN Masters student in Criminology Mr Oliver Ngabonziza has finished a semester of study at the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden completing modules in work environment, team and team work, organisation and leadership and Swedish for beginners. Mr Ngabonziza is completing his Masters degree on “Offender reintegration and its role in reducing the recidivism rate in South Africa”. He is being supervised by Professor Singh.

Meanwhile, Professor Sultan Khan (Sociology), Professor Shanta Balgobind Singh (Criminology) and Dr Nirmala Gopal (Criminology) have completed a lecturer exchange programme at the same institution and are currently collaborating on an international research project between Sweden, India and South Africa.

The visits were organised by Linnaeus-Palme, a Swedish exchange programme for teachers and students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The programme aims to strengthen co-operation between institutions of higher education in Sweden and developing countries thereby increasing global contacts in the world of higher education.

Palme scholarships for foreign participants originated due to the conditions faced by developing countries and their opportunities for development. The underlying idea is mutual co-operation between institutions of higher education will enrich the countries involved and provide a basis for broader partnerships between them.

Students who participate in exchanges are believed to be better prepared for work in a global context. Teachers who participate in exchanges are expected to use and spread both their own global knowledge as well as that of their students inside and outside of the classroom. Overall, this will lead to international experiences being utilised within the departments. 

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UKZN’s alumni rugby team the Numzans have returned as winners of the Veterans Bowl at the Cape Town Tens - the world’s largest rugby tournament with 96 teams competing.

Numzan stands for Natal University Maritzburg Alumni with all team members having played varsity rugby in the 1980s or early 1990s. The sizable Numzans squad boasted a wealth of experience, including several former SuperRugby players and some Nomads who played on the IRB Sevens circuit many years ago.

The Numzans have been involved in the Veterans section of the Cape Town Tens since the formation of the team in 2009 when they finished in third place.

In 2010 the Numzans held the World Legends comprising stars such as Tana Umaga, Rob Fleck, Tim Horan, Leon Lloyd and Jason Little, to a 24-26 scoreline. In 2011 they were awarded “best dressed” team for their “formal wear” on Fancy Dress Friday when they wore1970s style safari suits, complete with long socks and combs! 
Since 2010 the Numzans have been involved in annual titanic battles with the World Legends, often giving them their toughest game of the tournament. 2012 was no different, and the raucous support from the Numzan supporters in loincloths and Zulu skins ensured the 2012 Numzans walked away with the Gees prize, awarded to the team with the most spirit.
This year at the Veterans Bowl, the Numzans beat False Bay in their opening game before losing 15-0 in the main game to the World Legends team - featuring former Wales captain Colin Charvis, England heros Paul Volley and Josh Lewsey (the 2003 World Champion), and Chris Sheasby (a RWC Sevens World Cup winner), as well as Springbok stars Breyton Paulse, Bob Skinstad and Stefan Terreblanche. This was the closest scoreline the Legends were held to all weekend, and a number of them commented that the Numzans gave them their toughest game of the tournament - harder than the final which they won.

The Numzan’s loss to the Legends consigned the UKZN alumni to the Bowl division, which they won in style, beating Old Dale (featuring ex-UKZN player and France international Steve Hall) in the quarter-final, Amarax in the semis, and ex-Springbok Philip Smit's Gauteng team in the final.

Cape Town 10s tournament director, Ron Rutland (himself a UKZN alumnus) commented on the special bond and spirit the UKZN Numzans brought to the Cape Town Tens.

‘Being part a team is something particularly meaningful in rugby, and the camaraderie that it creates knows no bounds. It’s this spirit, which has always been in abundance in varsity rugby, which underpins the already legendary Numzans.

‘The stories, the laughter, the banter, the memories, and even some of the rugby, shared between 40 guys - most older than 40, some who hadn’t seen each other in 15 years, and almost certainly hadn’t played rugby together in just as long - continues to epitomise the Cape Town Tens.’

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The pharmacology of TB treatment among patients with and without HIV was the subject of a guest lecture presented at UKZN by Professor Kelly Dooley, an assistant professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

The lecture, at UKZN’s KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), was attended by a full-house of experts in HIV and TB research along with postgraduate students in the field.

Dooley said researchers had a long way to go if their goal was a two- to three-month treatment for drug-sensitive TB and a six-month regimen for multi-drug-resistant TB.

The lecture highlighted how treatment options for TB and for TB and HIV co-infection relied heavily on pharmacology –the science that deals with the origin, nature, chemistry, effects, and uses of drugs. 

Dooley said it was easier to establish which drugs to prescribe for HIV-infected patients because researchers had a viral load to work with. On the other hand, drug development for TB was said to be more challenging, especially given the paucity of informative biomarkers of treatment response.

She said understanding the relationships between biochemical and physiological effects of drugs on the body and the process by which certain drugs were absorbed, distributed, metabolised, and eliminated by the body would help dose optimisation and regimen choice for TB.

Doctors were able to diagnose TB by looking at sputum from a patient but there were limitations because the sputum was not entirely reflective of the patient’s total TB. She said the only way to analyse how effective drugs were on recipients would be if the patients were kept in a study for up to 14 days to monitor the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. 

‘If we can have the same TB patients coughing up sputum over time then we would start to have a sense of how effective the drugs are on the TB.’

Dooley said a shortened treatment duration for drug sensitive TB as well as safer, more effective treatment for drug resistant TB, were critical in order to win the fight against the disease. She coupled this with finding regimens that could be used together with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs without compromising efficacy of either drug for co-infected persons.

One of Dooley’s suggestions was to include patients infected with HIV in TB treatment trials ‘but potential drug interaction and overlapping toxicities must be considered first’.

Dooley said TB drug development ideally came in three phases starting from establishing the  maximum tolerated dose, then monitoring the early bacterial activity together with a two-month treatment trial, and finally focusing on full treatment and a follow-up for any relapse. She explained that some TB drugs had to be tested in mice models because of their toxicity levels but there was on-going research being conducted on drug penetration into lesions in humans.

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Fourth-year students in the discipline of Nursing touched the lives of Grade 12 learners, their parents and members of the Mariannridge community in Durban when they visited Mariannridge Secondary School to share some of their university experiences.

The visit - which included Mr Vijay Ramballie, UKZN’s Student Recruitment and Schools Liaison Officer - was part of the fourth-year class’s Mental Health Programme, co-ordinated by Ms Charlotte Engelbrecht who lectures in the discipline. It aimed to provide Grade 12 learners at the school with as much information as possible about post matric study.

Mrs Jenny Boyce Hlongwa, a Mariannridge Community Leader, said they lived in a small area which faced a lot of socio-economic challenges.

Teenage pregnancy and drug abuse were some of the social ills hindering the success of youth in the community.

Hlongwa said learners in secondary education had poor pass rates and a low number of these learners were geared to enter higher education. She said a serious problem was learners who did not exert themselves enough to make the right grades for class selection at the end of Grade 9 resulting in them failing to make informed and feasible career choices.

In order to address this problem, senior members of the community identified education as key to supporting youth for success in life. They made a pact to develop and nurture the youth to adopt a “can-do” attitude through strategic interventions.

One such intervention was to invite institutions of higher learning to deliver presentations at the school.

The learners were addressed by Ramballie on the competitive nature of being accepted to study at UKZN – ‘an institution of choice for staff and students’ which offered a variety of programmes hard working matriculates could apply for.

Ramballie said the University had produced some of the world’s greatest leaders and stressed that the institution was research-led and student-centred in all its endeavours.  This was supported by a talk delivered by student Mr Deheehan Sydney on UKZN’s vibrant “student life” and the extensive work they have covered as fourth-year students in the Nursing programme.

Sydney encouraged the learners to study hard and do their very best during their matric year. Ms Nondumiso Phakathi, Ms Nokukhanya Hadebe and Ms Esperance Nyirabizimana – members of Sydney’s Youth Desk group – said they looked forward to spending time working with the community.

Engelbrecht said other students in the fourth-year programme would spend time working on highlighting all the positive aspects of being a woman in society, while a third group – dubbed as the Teddy Bear Group – would work in focus groups to knit teddy bears for the community’s trauma centre.  

One of the planned interventions for the community was to educate parents about the values of higher education; making them comfortable with it, and getting them to support their children in order to ensure success.

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The Optometry discipline has welcomed two international optometrists whose postgraduate research projects will be supervised by UKZN academics.  

They are:

* Mr Nicolas Creach, a masters candidate from the University of Paris-Sud who is examining ways to improve the fitting of contact lenses for Black South Africans as research has found this population has a different corneal curvature to that of Caucasian people for whom contact lenses were initially designed. He will be at the discipline for six months.

* Dr Samuel Bert Boadi-Kusi, a doctor of optometry lecturing at the Optometry Department at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, will spend about two to three years furthering his masters research project into a PhD study looking at vision-related conditions that affect farmers in Ghana under a specialty area of Environmental and Occupational Optometry.

Creach said there was limited research on the corneal curvature of Black South Africans and he was interested in distinguishing how corneal curvature differed locally because studies conducted in the United States had indicated very slight differences on the comfort levels displayed by Black and Caucasian populations who wore contact lenses.

Creach said Black people who experienced discomfort when wearing contact lenses were at a disadvantage because some patients did not want to wear frames. He said contact lenses were more practical and at times South African optometrists experienced difficulty in finding the right contact lenses for some patients. He said the appropriate contact lenses were often more expensive.

Supervised by the Optometry discipline’s Ms Vanessa Moodley, Creach’s research will include looking into the material used to make contact lenses in order to come up with the right eye-care solutions.

Boadi-Kusi is being supervised by Dr Rekha Hansraj together with Mr Percy Mashige, who heads the discipline.

According to Boadi-Kusi, those working in agriculture faced a high risk of eye damage. He said Ghana was a leading producer of cocoa and farmers spent a long time working in the sun, spraying chemicals, weeding and harvesting crops – all of which exposed the eyes to potentially dangerous particles. ‘Unfortunately, data in this field is limited in Africa.’

In his research, Boadi-Kusi will document all the prevalent vision-related diseases and injuries affecting cocoa farmers in Ghana, and investigate whether the farmers are protecting themselves from the likelihood of such conditions. He conducted a similar study using 185 cocoa farmers when he did his masters degree.

Boadi-Kusi said he intended to up-scale research for his PhD by increasing the study coverage and would possibly include participants other than cocoa farmers to enable him do a comparative analysis and come up with intervention strategies that could be used to enhance the quality of life of the farmers. He said he hoped findings from the study would be useful to all, both in academia and governments of Africa.

Boadi-Kusi hopes that his UKZN experience is the beginning of establishing a partnership between the discipline and the Optometry Department at the University of Cape Coast.

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A stimulating discussion took place after Dr Yukteshwar Sookrajh, a registrar in the discipline of Public Health Medicine, reviewed a research paper authored by researchers at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at UKZN.

The debate was generated during a weekly journal club meeting the discipline holds to train registrars to address public health challenges holistically in their service delivery and research endeavours.  

The paper under review was published in May 2010, titled Preventing HIV in Women: A Global Health Imperative. It reported that women accounted for approximately one-half of all HIV infections worldwide.

The authors said sexual transmission was the dominant mode of HIV transmission in women, and there was a concomitant associated epidemic of transmission to infants.  They said the majority of HIV infections in women were in sub-Saharan Africa ‘with a disproportionate burden in young women under the age of 25’.

The journal club was concerned with ways in which experts in public health medicine could influence society’s attitudes and behaviour patterns, understanding that findings of the paper under review had indicated that the acquisition and prevention of HIV infection in women was ‘complex’ and influenced by ‘biological, behavioural, and structural’ factors.

Sookrajh said the toolbox for HIV prevention seemed more robust now than ever with the addition of numerous partially effective methods such as medical male circumcision, oral antiretroviral (ARV)-based treatment, ARV-based vaginal microbicides, clean needle exchange programmes, voluntary counselling and testing, a positive development for an HIV vaccine, male and female condoms, and STI prevention.

He said it was evident that a combination of interventions would have to be packaged according to an individual’s risk profile. Among other groupings he mentioned tailoring packages for young single women and men, married couples in which one of the partner was a migrant worker, intravenous drug users and men and women engaging in heterosexual anal sex.

Registrars in the discipline were challenged to engage Sookrajh on his review of the paper where he had concluded by saying that the need to address HIV prevention in a wider context was evident and required multisectoral collaboration and input in order to create an environment where women were empowered decision makers and gender inequity had been minimised.

Dr Stephen Knight, senior lecturer in the discipline, said although the paper had been published in 2010, Sookrajh conducted a comprehensive review using evidence-based content from even more recent studies to support his arguments. Knight said that the registrar programme encouraged registrars to engage critically with journal articles in order to stimulate a level of inquiry for more and more research topics in the discipline.

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