Renowned Anthropologist, dancer, singer and songwriter Johnny Clegg had the UKZN audience singing along to one his traditional war songs after receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University on 16 April.

Clegg was honoured during the College of Humanities’ Graduation ceremony for his sensitive and inspiring promotion of South African culture, music and history at home and abroad, and for his success in uniting South Africans and bringing pride and hope to South Africa.

‘The tradition of street music I stumbled upon had been forged over decades of experimentation as the ebb and flow of migration to Johannesburg and Durban exposed the migrants to new ideas and formats,’ he told his audience about his early musical years.

‘I was amazed at the innovative manner in which western instruments were thoroughly Africanised. The guitar developed from a strumming style (ukuvamba) to a highly sophisticated picking style (Ukupika). Whereas the guitar could simply be re-tuned and strings changed around, the concertina had to be physically taken apart and all the buttons changed around in order to play Zulu music,’ said Clegg.

Clegg is known as one of South Africa’s greatest musical exports and has been in the music industry for over 30 years. Sharing his musical journey with the UKZN audience, he said: ‘I often did not know what I was singing, but I had a musical ear and I could pronounce Zulu perfectly in a melody ... This led to some awkward moments where I rendered some very lewd, bawdy and explicit songs with the innocence of a 15-year-old, which made my audience at the hostels laugh until they cried, saying “play it again, play it again!” And I would play it again, happy that they found my performance so intensely moving’.

With a critical eye on South Africa’s racial imbalances, Clegg has promoted a unique pride in African heritage in a way that reconciles rather than tears apart. At the height of apartheid he made possible what seemed impossible: a celebratory ideological and artistic model for tolerance and human brotherhood, against the backdrop of divisive racial policies.

Clegg’s career includes lecturing Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand where he worked on blending English lyrics and Western melodies with Zulu musical structures. South African musical producer Hilton Rosenthal then signed up Clegg and his musical associate and friend, Sipho Mchunu, at a time when there was official prejudice against mixed race groups.

Clegg – who campaigned consistently against the injustices of apartheid and was instrumental in putting the new South Africa on the world map – has performed at all four of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS Awareness Concerts in South Africa and Norway.

‘If there is a continuity in the work I have done, it is this underlying idea of crossing boundaries and mixing competing approaches. It forms the background and influence in the crossing over of musical forms in most of the music I have composed,’ Clegg said.

This was an attitude and approach to culture, he explained, which finds resonance in Levi-Strauss’ notion of “bricolage” - being a cultural handyman and fixing the changing world with anything at hand. ‘That has given life and meaning to what I do,’ he said.

In addition to a number of international awards and honorary degrees, Clegg’s South African awards include the Four Outstanding South Africans Award in 1990; an honorary doctorate from Wits University in 2007; a SA Music Association nomination for the Best Live DVD in 2008, and the Order of Ikhamanga in 2012 for his ‘excellent contribution to and achievement in the field of bridging African traditional music forms, promoting racial understanding … working for a non-racial society and being an outstanding spokesperson for the release of political prisoners’.

author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za



The University of the Western Cape’s Professor Shirley Walters addressed distinguished guests at UKZN’s Humanities Graduation ceremony on Tuesday, 16 April on the Westville campus.

The founding Director of the Division for Lifelong Learning at the University of the Western Cape, Professor Walters has published widely on issues relating to gender, popular education, community education, lifelong learning in Higher Education, learning regions and education for democracy.

Referring to a folktale often used by renowned environmental educator and artist Dian Marino, Professor Walters illustrated that we can achieve our end-goal using different skills, understandings and attitudes.

The folktale tells the story of a war general who tires of fighting battles and spends a decade at a monastery perfecting the art of archery. He eventually leaves the monastery and, even though he had lived a peaceful life for 10 years, becomes enraged when in a near-by village he comes upon hundreds of arrows, each of which had found its mark, and had entered their targets as perfect bulls-eyes.

He insists on meeting the skilled person who had expertly shot the arrows, and is surprised to discover the marksman is a little girl. She explains to the general that she would take aim at a target, let the arrow fly, and would then draw the target around the arrow once it had landed.

The tale illustrates that we can learn from one another and can teach one another across generations. Learning is for life – from birth to death, and through all the transitions in between, explained Walters.

Professor Walters posed some pertinent questions to the Humanities graduates concerning the role of women in society: ‘If we go into a family homestead or a community, in the towns or villages, who do we see running the kitchens, the classrooms, the crèches, the clinics, the community organisations, the economic enterprises, the offices, and child-headed households? Who is mediating the violence, the pain, the illness, the food production, the poverty?’

Walters explained that in many cases, girls and women are leading and ensuring the sustainability of families and communities. But society continues to reinforce the notion that we do not have many female leaders. She asked, ‘Why do we not challenge the understanding that it is mainly boys and men who lead? Is it that our notions of leaders and leadership are so narrow that the leadership that girls and women are providing is invisible, and unrecognised?’

Congratulating the graduates, Walters said, ‘I encourage you to identify yourselves as leaders for learning in your homes, your communities and your workplaces.

‘I also encourage you to remember the attributes of both the contemplative, earnest, hard-working, committed general and the playful insubordination, confidence, and creativity of the young girl – as you help navigate us towards our target of more hopeful, socially just and environmentally sustainable futures.’

‘We will need all of these attributes and all of us to help ensure that another world is possible,’ she concluded.

author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za



UKZN’s College of Humanities conferred a posthumous Honorary Doctorate in Education on the late Professor Hugh Paul Africa at the UKZN Graduation ceremony on 16 April.

The well-known educationist, who played a significant role in the transformation of South Africa’s education system, died in November last year at the age of 76.

Accepting the degree on his behalf, his wife Mrs Louise Africa described Africa as an “excellent educator” who was ‘blessed with the ability to articulate with amazing eloquence’. Had he been alive, she said, he would have received his honorary degree with great pride, since it was UKZN’s predecessor, the University of Natal that awarded him his Bachelor of Arts and Honours degrees in the early 60s.

‘My family and I are proud that Hugh’s legacy has been recognised by this University, the Institution that represents the start of his long and productive academic career,’ said an emotional Mrs Louise.  

She reflected on his contribution to the development of Higher Education for over 50 years and her years spent with him.

‘His mother taught him that education is a greater and more reliable investment, whereas material wealth can be lost overnight. My husband took his mother’s lessons to heart. He was not afraid of adventure or risk.’

Describing their decision to leave South Africa for Zambia after their marriage in January 1963,  Mrs Louise said Hugh was unhappy about staying in South Africa ‘to have his children labelled from birth’ and chose instead to be part of the project of building free, independent countries in Africa.

Africa went on to make major and distinguished contributions to advance Higher Education, transformation and scholarship in the region.

Returning to South Africa in 1994, he was at the forefront of Higher Education transformation in the post-apartheid era and he distinguished himself through his high sense of integrity and care for others. Africa served on the Council on Higher Education and also provided exceptional leadership as Chair of the Higher Education Quality Committee which instituted a national system of quality promotion and assurance.

He was the past Chair of the US-SA Fulbright Commission Board, the Vice-President for Africa on the International Council for Distance Education, and served on the Provincial Board of ABSA and the Board of the Institute for Global Dialogue. During 2001 he served as a member of the National Working Group and during 2003 was a member of the Higher Education Restructuring Reference Group.

‘Having been married to an academic for 50 years, and being exposed to much of his academic life, I have often participated in discussions and conversations when fellow academics would throw out phrases like “so and so does not suffer fools”. I would like for this audience to know that Hugh Africa was definitely not in the category that “did not suffer fools”.

‘He had a deep understanding of and tolerance for human quirks and shortcomings.  He strongly believed in the right of every individual’s opinion to be heard and respected.’

Louise said she believed his early experiences of living and working with people of different cultures and outlooks helped to shape his profound acceptance of human nature.

author email : Mungroo@ukzn.ac.za



UKZN Lecturer Ms Mari van Wyk, who was awarded her Master of Education degree at the College of Humanities Graduation ceremony, was among three members of her immediate family to graduate this year.

In what she described as a “strange twist of fate” Van Wyk’s son Johan graduated with a BCom degree and her daughter Sumarie graduated at North West University with a BCom (Industrial Psychology) degree.

‘As a mother, I had to constantly motivate them, and told them that hard work now is only the light brush strokes on a much bigger picture,’ she said.

Van Wyk’s own motivation to complete her research on top of her job as a full-time Lecturer in the Science and Technology Education Department came from her passion for education.

‘I love my job.  I enjoy working with students – they are young, innovative and are willing to learn.  Yes, there have been frustrating times but that is normal in any other job. I am just so grateful that UKZN has given me the opportunity to further my education and assisted me to believe in myself. I am also grateful to my two supervisors Dr Martin Combrinck and Professor Naydene de Lange.  Without them I would not have been able to complete the study,’ she said.

Van Wyk’s thesis looked at the professional development that takes place when student teachers perform their professional practice in schools.

‘Student teachers visit schools once a year for four weeks. The group of students that I conducted my research with was part of the Rural Teacher Educational Project (RTEP) programme. Nineteen senior students were placed in a rural context in the Vulindlela area in two separate schools.  The student teachers and the schools formed the background of my study,’ she explained.

Cluster leader for the Science and Technology Education Department Dr Michèle Stears said she believed Van Wyk’s passion for education carried her through the project. ‘Few people are more enthusiastic about education, and researching professional practice put her at the coalface of teacher education. Juggling a busy teaching schedule, doing research, and caring for her family could not have been easy. We are indeed proud of her,’ she said.

author email : Mungroo@ukzn.ac.za



Kube injabulo ephindwe kabili kumndeni wakwa-Hansraj njengoba uSharda kanye nendodakaazi yakhe uKajal bethweswe iziqu kulo nyaka e-UKZN. UHansraj uthole iziqu zeqhuzu le-Masters kwezeMfundo  ngesikhathi uKajal yena ezothola iziqu zeqhuzu le-MBChB (iziqu zobudokotela) khona  ophikweni le-Nelson Mandela School of Medicine.

‘Ngizizwa ngijabule kakhulu ukuthi ngiphothule iziqu zami, kakhulu ngoba mina nendodakazi besifunda eNyuvesi ndawonye. Angikakholwa namanje. Besisekana kakhulu, ngiyaziqhenya kakhulu ngaye, ebeka kanjalo.

Isihloko noma umsebenzi kaHansraj ububheka ezemfundo kulabo abangababaleki ezindaweni zabo zokuhlala ukuze basinde phecelezi esithi – refugee, ubugxile kakhulu endimeni yezolimi.

‘Nginguthisha wolimi futhi abantwana abaningi abangama-refugee abakwazi ukufunda ezikoleni abazithandayo ngenxa yenqubomgomo yolimi lwesikole kanye nokwamukelwa kwabo,’ ebeka kanjalo.

‘Nakuba, ucwaningo beluhlola inqubomgomo yolimi lwesikole ezohambisana nabafundi iphinde futhi ibheke ukuthi inqubomgomo ibasiza kanjani abafundi. Ucwaningo beluhlola futhi ukuthi inqubomgomo yolimi lwesikole kanye nemizamo yesikhungo ibasiza noma ibathiya kanjani abafundi ukuthi bakwazi ukumelana neCurriculum yase Ningizimu Afrika,’ ebeka kanjalo.

Njengothisha ofundisa ngokugcwele ulimi, oka-Hansraj uthi uncoma umeluleki wakhe ngempumelelo ayitholile uSolwazi Reshma Sookrajah, kanye nomndeni wakhe. ‘Umyeni wami kanye nabantwana bangilekelele kakhulu ekufundeni, ukucubungula izibalo zomsebenzi ebengiwuqoqile, kanye namazwi enkuthazo. Umyeni wami ubeye ahlale kanye nami ngesikhathi ngisebenza kuze kushay’ izintatha ekuseni ubusuku bonke.

UKajal uchaze umama wakhe njengalowo obemnika ugqozi kakhulu: ‘Ngiyaziqhenya ukuthi ngithwese iziqu ngonyaka owodwa kanye nomama wami. Ubeke ngokuthi ugotshwa usemanzi, egcizelela ukubaluleka kwemfundo, ukuphothula kuka mama iziqu zakhe kusikhuthazile kakhulu mina nomfowethu ukuthi siqhubekele phambili nezifundo zethu’.

UKajal uthe uyazigqaja kakhulu ukuthi akwazi ukuphothula iziqu zakhe phezu kokuba ekwazile futhi ukuqhubeka nemisebenzi yakhe yokuba umama, unkosikazi kanye nomsebenzi. Uphinde wakwazi nokuphothula unyaka wakhe wesine we-Hindi, elale isine ekuhlolweni kuzwelonke kwi-Prakash.

Enikeza iseluleko kwabanye abafundi, uSharda uthe, ‘Lalela abafundisi bakho kanye nomeluleki wakho. Landela imiyalelo yabo, sebenza njalo ngosuku. Funda ngawo wonke amandla akho izifundo zakho.’

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author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za