University of KwaZulu-Natal scientist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has been appointed Chairman of the newly established UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel.

The new body will convene a series of scientific consultations to ensure that the best scientific evidence is used to inform the global response to HIV.

Abdool Karim's appointment was announced  yesterday by the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Mr Michel Sidibé, during his opening address at a UNAIDS Scientific Symposium in Durban. 

A statement said the panel would provide strategic advice on the relevance of new research and findings and how they could be rapidly implemented to best effect to prevent new HIV infections and improve the lives of people living with HIV.

‘In the thirty years since HIV was identified, the progress made by science has been extraordinary and its benefits have been felt far beyond those directly affected by HIV,’ said Sidibé in the statement. 

‘To reach the end of the AIDS epidemic, we need to continue to embrace science and innovation and I am delighted that Professor Abdool Karim has agreed to take on the leadership of our new UNAIDS scientific panel.’

 Abdool Karim, who is Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) at UKZN, said in the statement that science had the power to illuminate the future path to defeating AIDS. ‘I am humbled by this appointment and look forward to this new challenge.’ 

An Epidemiologist, he has conducted research on HIV epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention and treatment over the past 25 years.  

 Abdool Karim also holds academic appointments at Columbia University in New York and is interim President of the South African Medical Research Council.

As part of its new mandate the panel will convene international scientific consultations on behalf of UNAIDS, the first of which is already underway in Durban.

The topic of this first meeting is: Scientific advances from the “Mississippi baby”: Implications for public health programmes on mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The statement said the doctor who cared for the Mississippi baby, Dr Hannah Gay of the University of Mississippi, was one of the invited experts who would present the case history.

At the meeting experts will discuss ways to improve early diagnosis of HIV in new-born children and implications of starting them on antiretroviral therapy early.

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CALS invited UKZN staff and students to celebrate Africa Day a day early on Friday, 24 May, this year by visiting the Centre for a tour of its collections.

Law students, Sakhile Nene and Judy Rautenhheimer, took a break from their legal studies to celebrate with CALS and are seen here in the CALS Board Room in front of displays on the CALS  isiZulu Literary Museum,  the South African  literary biographer, poet and novelist, Stephen Gray, and the late Chinua Achebe.

Nigerian writer Achebe is renowned for his novels, the best known being: Things Fall Apart. CALS has substantial holdings of the works of both writers which are reflected in the UKZN Library’s iLink catalogue and on the CALS website at

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UKZN’s stand at this year’s Royal Agricultural Show in Pietermaritzburg has won a gold medal and the Trophy for the Best Display in an Individual Building - the second year in a row the University has won top honours.

After weeks of planning and several days of strenuous set-up, the team of energetic volunteers from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science waited anxiously to hear the results.

After the first round of judging, things looked promising when a new set of judges appeared the following day to take another look… and they obviously liked what they saw.

‘We were particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and extra effort put in by the students and staff who manned the UKZN stand – they went the extra mile,’ said Royal Agricultural Show Manager, Terry Strachan. 

With the theme for the 2013 Show being: “Something for Everyone”, various  fields of study within the agricultural, earth and environmental sectors were showcased at the stand through carefully created 3-D displays, with University staff and students on hand to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with visitors.  The displays ranged from an evolutionary exhibit of skeletons, a focus on seeds, through to an astrophysics and cosmology section, and a feature on the mining wealth of KwaZulu-Natal.

Whilst the cryo-preservation botanists had the public grinding their plants, the instant ice-cream created by the chemists was a winner with the crowds as was a simple device provided by the dieticians, which enabled passers-by to measure their body mass index (BMI) and find out for themselves whether their height to weight ratio was as it should be.

Another crowd-puller was Dr Tanja Reinhardt’s fun, interactive science experiments.  Aimed at the young, the young at heart, and those who simply want to know “why”, she soon had her audience ducking for cover as she shot rockets into the air and pelted people with marshmallows, fired from her scientifically modified vacuum cleaner! 

As the premier agricultural event in the province attracting about 150 000 people over the course of the event, it provided an ideal opportunity to showcase UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

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UKZN’s Corporate Relations’ Team braved the morning cold to be at this year’s Comrades Marathon on Sunday, June 2.

UKZN‘s branding covered the top of Botha’s Hill with the Production team keeping the runners and the spectators entertained.

The team, dressed in their red UKZN T-shirts, worked hard in ensuring that the runners were kept hydrated and motivated on their way to Pietermaritzburg. Physiotherapy students massaged the runners’ stiff muscles. The team also supported and cheered on the UKZN runners.

Congratulations to Claude Moshiywa who became the first South African winner of the Comrades Marathon “up run” in 21 years and to all the runners that participated in this year’s marathon.

To all the UKZN runners entering the Marathon in 2014, good luck with your training and please keep the Corporate Relations team updated.

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UKZN had exhibits at the 2nd Kopano Exhibition at Eskom College in Midrand hosted by the Engineering Centre of Excellence within the Eskom Academy of Learning (EAL). 

Kopano is a Sotho word for gathering.

UKZN’s High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Centre and the Vibration Research Testing Centre (VRTC) were at the event which boasted exhibitions from all divisions within Eskom and external companies and institutions.

The event was attended by about 200 people including industrial partners, tertiary institutions, researchers, students and learners.

The main objective of the gathering was to allow the Engineering Centre of Excellence to put together a five-year strategic learning plan by getting input from the different stakeholders regarding their learning requirements.  

‘The Engineering Centre of Excellence showcased their partners in learning where various exhibitions were displayed around the country,’ said Mr Logan Pillay, Manager, EAL, Faculty of Engineering.

‘UKZN displayed the VRTC, HVDC and Smart Grid Centres which were extremely informative and impressed guests. UKZN and Eskom have established a strong partnership over many years and one of the outputs of this partnership is the establishment of the Science & Technology Innovation Park (STIP). We hope that more Centres from UKZN participate in this event,’ said Pillay.

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The Graduate School of Business and Leadership in partnership with the UNITE programme recently hosted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States with the goal of utilising multidisciplinary research in entrepreneurship to address complex challenges facing the society.

The project, known as CREATE  (Cultural, Research, Entrepreneurship and Technology Exchange), has grown organically through an informal working group and grounded in extending learning opportunities for students through constructive engagements.

The two-week information sharing session aimed to look at the many synergies and areas of mutual economic development interests shared by the academics.

Dr Stan Hardman, GSB&L Senior Lecturer and Project Manager of the Regional and local economic Development Initiative, pointed out the potential unleashed when different universities, and different schools within the same university, were able to collaborate on special purpose projects.

MIT Centre for Real Estate Lecturer and champion of the linkage, Professor John Kennedy, said that they were looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between the two academic institutions.

‘We are here to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s experiences and intellects. We need to challenge each other to overcome the hurdles and address issues that we can’t address alone as working with people from the ground up is very important,’ said Kennedy.

To give an overview of the value of partnerships between academic institutions and the municipality when it comes to local economic development, Head of Department - International and Governance Relations at eThekwini Municipality, Mr Eric Apelgren, gave an overview of Durban and the areas of research graduates could look into. These included looking at the expansion of the maritime sector, entrepreneurship and trading.

The students also enjoyed a tour of Warwick Junction, the Dube Trade Port and Cato Manor informal settlement before setting off to work with UKZN students on projects grounded in the community.

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Dr Nesri Padayatchi, CAPRISA Deputy Director, has been invited by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Department of Health to participate in its TB/Drug Resistant TB Technical Forum.

The Forum’s objectives are to develop standard operational procedures for clinicians who are involved in the management of TB and Drug Resistant TB. The Forum will also share best practices, devise research agendas and develop measurement tools to assess the effectiveness of the province’s delivery platforms.

Dr Padayatchi’s long standing involvement as a TB Clinician and researcher has led to her publication on her experiences and lessons learned which is widely cited in plans for future research on drug resistant TB.

She is the CAPRISA Principal Investigator for the ACTG and serves on the South African National Multi Drug Resistant TB Advisory Board and on the South African Consultative Committee for Isoniazid prevention for Tuberculosis.

(Published in CAPRISA’s May 2013 Newsletter)

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UMnu. Sabelo Mapanga onguMdidiyeli wemicimbi kwezonogada e-UKZN, kamuva nje uthweswe iziqu ze-BTech kwi-Security Risk Management kwisikhungo sase-Unisa.

UMapanga ukholwa ukuthi ukuzikhandla kanye nokucwaninga kulo mkhakha ikhona okuzonyusa izinga kule ndima yonogada kanye nokwenza ngcono imibandela yabasebenzi. ‘Ngizothanda ukubona izinga eliphezulu kule ndima yonogada kanye nemisebenzi abayenzayo.

Injongo yami ukuthuthukisa imisebenzi yonogada eNingizimu Afrika. Ngingathanda futhi ukuthi ngibe umluleki kaMongameli wesizwe ezindabeni zonogada kusho okaMaphanga, ozinze ophikweni lase-Westville kanye nase Edgewood.

Usesebenze eNyuvesi iminyaka engaphezu kwama-23, uthi wagqugquzelwa uSolwazi Malegapuru Makgoba oyiSekela-Shansela e-UKZN ukuba aqhubeke nezifundo zakhe. 'USolwazi Makgoba wangikhuthaza ukuba ngiqhubekele phambili ngesikhathi ekhuthaza abasebenzi ukuba baqhubeke nezifundo zabo okungenani bathole futhi baphothule iziqu zobudokotela, baphinde baqhubeke nokwenza ucwaningo,' kubeka okaMaphanga.

Inkuthazo nogqozi uyithole kakhulu kumfowabo ongasekho uMnu Bhekabantu Maphanga, uSolwazi Phyllis Zungu kanye noSolwazi Bonke Dumisa.

UMapanga ubonga uyanconcoza kakhulu ngokwesekwa akuthole  e-UKZN. Lezi iziqu zami zesine kanye nama-Postgraduate Diploma amabili. I-UKZN idlale indima enkulu kakhulu, isibonelo nje, ukungikhokhela imali yezifundo kanye nokungivumela ukuba ngifunde ngesikhathi sokuhlolwa kanye nokwenza ucwaningo.

‘Ngizothanda ukubonga futhi uNkulunkulu ngomusa kanye nobubele bakhe abenzile kimina kuze kube  imanje.’  

OkaMapanga kumanje uphezu kwezifundo zakhe ze-MTech kwi-Security Management e-Unisa. 

Click here for English version

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CAPRISA congratulated Professor Jerome Singh on his recent “GHEI Award of Excellence” from the University of Toronto for the Global Health Governance module that he teaches.

This award is in recognition of Jerome’s efforts and success in inspiring and informing the postgraduate trainees at the University of Toronto.

In addition to being CAPRISA’s Bioethics core leader, Jerome is an Adjunct Professor at the Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto, Canada, and Senior Bioethics Researcher at the Sandra Rothman Centre in Toronto, where he advises the Gates Foundation on ethical, social, cultural, and regulatory issues.

(Published in CAPRISA’s May 2013 Newsletter)

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The launch of the Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD), a partnership between UKZN’s College of Humanities and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), took place on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

This joint partnership, which involves the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, will result in the rehabilitation of offenders, DCS staff members becoming familiar with the culture of working for offender rehabilitation, and community visibility.

UKZN’s Dr Raymond Kumalo and the Dean and Head of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, Professor Johannes Smit, were pioneers of the venture.

‘The Religion and Governance Programme of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics will be responsible for the training of facilitators in the VOD who will come from all over the country.

The Religion and Governance Programme will also enrol qualifying staff from DCS in our graduate and postgraduate programmes. This will include the training of chaplains for DCS as well as the education of DCS spiritual workers. Qualifying candidates will enrol and qualify with UKZN degrees,’ said Smit.

Professor Musa Xulu, the Advisor to the Minister of Correctional services, Dr Sibusiso Ndebele, was at the event in the company of members of his Department.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, welcomed guests to the launch emphasising the importance of such a partnership.

‘With our skills and expertise, UKZN will be able to assist the Department of Correctional Services during Victim Offender Dialogue sessions.’

Xulu pointed out that partnerships of this nature would help the department address their obligations adequately.

‘To give meaning and contemporary effect, to restorative justice, we have introduced VODs and the Reading for Redemption programme. These are rehabilitation interventions aimed at changing the behaviour of the offender with a view to preventing re-offending,’ said Xulu.

He explained that a successful VOD should result in the offender understanding the material and emotional harm caused by the crime and seeking ways to repair that harm, including through sincere apologies. Both the victim and the offender need to be healed by the dialogue.

Xulu said UKZN was well positioned to train and produce the critical mass of human resources skilled in the facilitation of VOD sessions that would be beneficial to victims, offenders and the community.

‘It is in this context that a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between the University and the Department of Correctional Services. It is both ethically and morally correct for the offender population to be transformed into law-abiding members of the community through this partnership,’ said Xulu.

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Two UKZN academics attended a special celebration at the Institut für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany recently in honour of the 85th birthday of Dr Karin Alt.

They were Dr Elke Steinmeyer (Classics) and Professor Bernhard Kytzler (Foreign Languages), who both delivered lectures at the event.

Alt joined the Freie Universität Berlin in 1958 and although officially retiring in 1993 has continued lecturing there.

Steinmeyer, a former student of Alt’s, contributed a paper from her area of expertise, Reception Studies, dealing with the reception of the Cassandra myth in the works of Christa Wolf (Kassandra) and Marion Zimmer Bradley (The Firebrand).

Kytzler, a former colleague of Alt’s, presented a paper titled Weggefährten (Comrades) which gave an overview of the history of the Institut over the past 50 years and acknowledged the particular role Alt had played during this time.

Other tributes were given by the acting Head of Department, Professor Dr Jannis Niehoff-Panagiotidis of Byzantine Studies and by the Chair of Ancient Greek, Professor Gyburg Uhlmann, as well as several current students.

Steinmeyer said Alt’s main areas of research are Greek Tragedy and Greek Philosophy, with special emphasis on Plato.

‘Her interests have gradually shifted towards Middle and Neo-Platonism, and she must be considered as one of the pioneers in the field. She has inspired generations of students myself included with her passion for the ancient world and plans to continue with her teaching for many more years,’ said Steinmeyer.

A full tribute written in German by Steinmeyer plus a photograph of Alt is available via the following link:

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A Silent Protest to raise awareness about rape and to support the many women silenced by rape was held at UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus.

The awareness campaign, organised by UKZN students Thenjiwe Mswane and Brittany Pride, received support from Students for Law and the Social Justice branch in Pietermaritzburg.

Mswane explained the purpose of the campaign: ‘We want to say that there is a war on women’s bodies and enough is enough. We want to say that it is not about what I wear or about my sexual orientation - that nothing that I do gives anyone the right over my body. That society is not doing enough, either because we do not talk about it or because we ask questions like “what was she wearing”?

‘Somehow we shame the victim and not the perpetrator, somehow the message that is being sent out there is “don't get raped” instead of “don't rape”. How many more women will we lose before we say enough is enough?’

Mswane explained it was important to talk about it, to remove the stigma of rape for young girls growing up in 2013. ‘The state of affairs in South Africa saddens me.’

Silent Protests take place annually on several university campuses around the country. About 3 000 students participate at Rhodes University every year.

This was UKZN’s first Silent Protest, and about 300 students spent the night in a vigil, with two rape victims - including Jes Foord – addressing the gathering. Other students spoke about their experiences for the first time.

Mswane said it was particularly important to hold the protest at UKZN: ‘It was about time because a young women, a future doctor, had been raped and died and it just went by . . . it just did, somehow we were meant to be comforted by the fact the suspect was co-operating with the police. In lectures two weeks later, I heard the culprit was her boyfriend.

‘People need to know that it doesn't matter that it was her boyfriend, what matters is that another young girl has died. We lost a mother, a sister, a future doctor, a friend.’

Mswane, a final year UKZN Law student in Pietermaritzburg, has a BSocSc (Hons) from Rhodes University. ‘What motivates me is that I am tired, tired with society and how we constantly find a way to oppress one another. South Africa is home, I love it here but I want to be part of change in this country - I do not want to bring my daughter into a society where I teach her how not to get raped, I would rather teach my son how not to rape.’

A Gender Week is planned for the near future. ‘That’s a week where we question gender notion. Patriarchy does not only oppress women it oppresses men too. It tells them they cannot cry, or wear a skirt or hug another man -- it limits men so much and yet they accept it. More than your heterosexual man, it oppresses gay men,’ said Mswane.

In the run-up to the Gender Week, T-shirts will be on sale to kick-start fund-raising efforts.

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The Discipline of Public Health and its research collaborators from India and UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences recently held a symposium which deliberated on ways in which indigenous knowledge and practices could improve nutrition and health in South Africa and India.

According to the researchers, the counties share many similarities including their poorly developed infrastructure, demarcation between rural and urban areas, biodiversity, health and socio-economic needs. Each country has a rich cultural heritage which encompasses traditional and indigenous knowledge (IK) that can be used to find contemporary health solutions.

Professor Myra Taylor, Principal Investigator of the study, said traditional medicine could play an important role in the management of certain ailments. Furthermore, the sale of traditional and indigenous products could also be used as a strategy to address poverty reduction and to create employment.

‘Since 1994 South Africa has been re-engaging with its history, traditions and culture of healing. This provided a more facilitative environment to explore IK and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS).’

Taylor said the National Department of Health shift from a hospi-centric approach to focus more on primary healthcare was an opportunity to explore the feasibility of alternative health systems, rationale for the use of IK, the importance of biodiversity, cost effectiveness, climate change and other factors related to health and nutrition.

Coupled with South Africa’s heightened burden of infectious diseases and poverty in rural areas, Taylor said lifestyle changes in urban areas, including over-nutrition, had resulted in an increase of non-communicable diseases.

In the Ugu District of KwaZulu-Natal, the UKZN team initially examined possible ways to improve the diets of children living in the area. They then went on to work with community health workers to improve nutrition through context specific initiatives followed by promoting household and school gardening projects which were conducted in partnership with the local Sawubona Project.

Now on the fourth phase of the collaborative project, research teams from each country are investigating indigenous knowledge about nutrition. ‘It is important to make sure that we use the available resources in our countries to benefit the people by finding ways to work towards extending the knowledge for better health and nutrition.’

It was reported that IK and traditional medicine was context specific, currently held by the elderly, and needed to be transferred from generation to generation.

One of the presenters said the problem with modernisation was that it forced younger generations living in rural areas to look at IK as “backwards”.

Ms Sibonisile Mathe, a researcher from the Discipline of Social Work, said nutritious food which grows abundantly in the area, such as pumpkins and spinach, was perceived as food for the poor. ‘What is free is not respected. Only when you eat meat are you having a real meal.’

Findings reported that the majority of the population living in rural areas did not know what the concept of a balanced diet meant. Professor Geoff Harris from UKZN’s School of Economics and Management said: ‘A household’s level of income strongly influences which goods and services it will consume, and whether it will produce them itself or purchase them.’

Harris said social grants were still very important to low-income households. He observed that once these households had increased their income they switched to using manufactured alternatives.

Traditional Healing Practitioner and Councillor, Sam Kikine’s testimonial of how traditional healing practices helped him at a point in his life when he was very ill, confirmed the efficacy of traditional healing practices. He said it was important for society to note that there was a difference between sangomasnyangas and faith healers.

Professor Kasturi Sen Ray from Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University in India said there were many similarities between South Africa and India. She reported on a significant domination of IKS by males in rural communities of India, and mentioned that sometimes they found that certain medicinal plants were recorded to heal up to four different disorders, varying in dosage and preparation.

Delegates also had an opportunity to learn about Nutrition in Ayurvedic Medicine – a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent– which was presented by Dr Venkatesan Sandhya, a Durban-based Ayurvedic Physician.

The collaborative partners are working towards a final paper which will compare IKS in their countries, identify commonalities in the therapeutic use of specific plants for various ailments, and formalise IK for each country’s health and nutritional benefit.

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The School of Social Sciences and the College of Humanities hosted the second in the SAHUDA Democracy and Governance Lecture and Seminar Series recently on both the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campuses.

The seminar was presented by Dr Jideofor Adibe, a scholar and an academic publisher.  With an impressive variety of academics in attendance along with postgraduate students from various disciplines and schools across the College of Humanities, Adibe delivered interactive workshops on both campuses titled: “Publishing in the Social Sciences”.

He engaged the participants on a range of issues including the challenges of publishing journals and books in Africa.  Using the ongoing “incubation” of School of Social Sciences journals by Adonis and Abbey as examples, he emphasised the importance of effective management of academic journals for self-sustaining growth. 

Acknowledging the importance of African titles, he encouraged African journal editors to work towards achieving regularity (of journal issues) and consistency (of quality).  He also urged postgraduate students to imbibe the academic culture by developing their skills through collaborative authorships with their supervisors and other senior staff. 

The high point of the programme was his presentation of an insightful lecture on: “The Implications of Boko Haram Terrorism for Security in West Africa”. Issues such as the human security, socio-political, and economic consequences for the West African subregion (and beyond) were also engaged and debated at the seminar.

According to the Dean and Head of the School of Social Sciences, Professor Nwabufo Okeke Uzodike, the preponderance of the submissions from both the Pietermaritzburg and Howard College audiences focused on the need for governments at all levels to prioritise the security of their states and people, particularly on issues relating to border control and safety.

‘The third in the series of the SAHUDA Democracy and Governance Lecture and Seminar initiative will be delivered by the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, Professor Saleem Badat, on 12 August at the Howard College campus,’ said Uzodike.

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Motivated by the need to succeed in a highly competitive environment, Electrical Engineer Mr Preggie Reddy decided that pursuing a Master in Business Administration (MBA) qualification from UKZN would give him the edge over rivals.

Despite having over 21 years’ experience in industrial engineering and being the founding member of SEC Electrical cc, Reddy realised that to grow a successful business  he needed to acquire expert administration knowledge which he could only get through doing an MBA.

‘Securing an MBA while being Managing Director of a company is really unusual, especially in the electrical contracting sector. During the MBA programme I was very mindful of making changes in my business. An MBA programme when applied correctly in the world of business can make all the difference,’ said Reddy.

Reddy says his greatest achievements in life have been graduating with an MBA and his company becoming the first electrical contracting business in KwaZulu-Natal to be accredited with ISO 9001: 2000 certification.

He is now intent on addressing the issue of the critical shortage of skilled electricians. Hence, during his MBA studies he pursued accreditation for his company to be an approved training centre for MERSETA which will take qualified electricians and equip them with industry-ready skills. To accomplish this goal Reddy already runs an internal training centre complete with a lecture theatre and a 25-module industrial training centre.

‘I worked hard on the MBA programme to get maximum benefit out of the learning institution and see what can be achieved. I can safely say the 36 months I spent studying on the MBA programme have enlightened and sharpened my skills on practising good business, taking into consideration my corporate social responsibility and ensuring profitability,’ said Reddy.

Graduate School of Business & Leadership Lecturer Mr Steven Msomi describes Reddy as a very hard-working, diligent and warm person who strives for the absolute best in all he does.

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Top Maths and Science learners from underprivileged schools in northern KwaZulu-Natal have heard about the wide variety of degree programmes and financial support available for them from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) if they excel in their final Grade 12 examinations.

A team of Heath Sciences Deans and professional services staff from the College and the Corporate Relations Division were in the Hlabisa District to make sure that learners, who could not make it to the University’s Open Days on campuses, were informed about the application processes and study opportunities available to them.

Mr Mzwakhe Mageba and Ms Benzile Shoba, teachers at Nomathiya Technical High School in Mtubatuba, said they often impressed on  learners the importance of early application to university but felt the youngsters’ perceptions really changed when they got the message from outsiders.

Mageba and Shoba, who were among the teachers accompanying top learners to the CHS Information Day, said they welcomed the UKZN initiative because there was not a lot available in their area to help pupils make informed career choices.

Professor Sabiha Essack, Dean and Head of the School of Health Sciences, told the gathering UKZN was the place to be for health sciences students.

‘The College is home to world-class facilities, state-of-the-art technology and laboratories, and we are pioneers of podcasting and eLearning. When you train with us you can become one of a number of health professionals. What we teach you at UKZN is really relevant to the South African and African context.’

Both Dean and Head of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, Professor William Daniels, and Essack spoke about the College’s student-centred approach and overseeing which saw its students undergoing experiential learning in rural and urban healthcare settings.

While Essack spoke about the importance of community-based education and community outreach in the College, Daniels gave an insightful overview of the University’s MBChB programme which had a syllabi that was “appropriate, current and relevant”.

Daniels’ outline of South Africa’s health system and challenges coupled with ‘an extensive and changing burden of disease’ stressed the importance of training doctors who could excel in rural and urban healthcare settings. ‘The role of UKZN is to train competent and safe doctors who will be agents of change by changing the behaviour of society; particularly by taking on a preventative approach to health.’

Dr Saloschini Pillay, College Manager for Student Support Services, said once students were enrolled into first-year, her team offered a unique and College-specific programme which came into play at the University’s initial academic orientation, going through to the students’ final year of study, ensuring that they were equipped with the right skills before entering the job market.

The College’s Student Funding Officer, Mr Paseka Nkhoesa, addressed a variety of questions about student finance, saying students who did exceptionally well in Grade 12 and continued to do so at university level had little to worry about regarding payment for their  studies.

The closing date for application to the MBChB programme is 30 June, and 30 September for other Health Sciences programmes.

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Professors Salim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim were featured in the inaugural City Press supplement in celebration of 100 inspirational South Africans, who have achieved world class success in the arts, sciences, business, design, civil society and sport.

Launched on Freedom Day - the national holiday that marks South Africa’s first non-racial elections -the supplement will be published annually.

(Published in CAPRISA’s May 2013 Newsletter)

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UKZN students and staff comprised players representing 10 countries in an Indoor Soccer “World Cup” event held at the University’s Sports Centre

The day started with the registration of players from South Africa, Germany, Swaziland, Holland, Zimbabwe, India, Turkey, Nigeria, Kenya and the DRC. Team captains collected their playing kits, country flags and prepared for the march past with their cheerleaders leading them onto the indoor arena. Each team was welcomed and introduced by music, dance and the cheering of the audience.

The Sports Centre came alive with singing by supporters of the various countries while a canteen sold burgers, chips and cool-drinks.

The games were very competitive as teams fought hard to get through to the finals spurred on by their increasingly vociferous supporters.

Uppermost in the organisers’ minds was that soccer is a team sport which brings people from different countries and cultures together at one venue. Organisers adapted this to a UKZN Indoor “World Cup” as the Institution boasts more than 2 000 international individuals, including students, post-doctoral Fellows, researchers, international affiliates, inter-study and international staff.

To strengthen the relationship between staff and students, the aim was to:

· increase through sport the understanding of cultures/traditional norms, values and practices;

· share cultural experiences through social interaction, such as sport and networking;
· display and demonstrate skills and techniques of the different countries while playing sport;
· create a platform for nationals to establish friendships with internationals on and off the field and vice-versa; and
· give internationals the experience they could take home, acting as ambassadors for South Africa, and especially UKZN.

The teams were divided into groups with 10 games in each group.  Winners progressed to the semi-finals and then the finals. South Africa was crowned winners of the tournament, with Turkey runners-up.

At the awards ceremony, 100 players and all the referees received medals and certificates of appreciation. The winners and runners up received trophies.

The Indoor “World Cup” was a huge success and will be a permanent feature in the calendar of International Relations.  

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‘Your stories are life savers! In fact, I would run away if they were not available for me,’ says Mrs Yvonne Spain, a volunteer at a rural school in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, who is working with a group of learners to improve their English.

To support her in this work, Spain uses the weekly Learn with Echo educational newspaper supplement, produced by UKZN’s Centre for Adult Education in Pietermaritzburg.

Every week 73 000 copies of the four-page educational newspaper supplement are distributed with the free Echo community newspaper in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas. Published without interruption since September 1990, the publication is going strong and has outlived similar projects.

Based in the Centre for Adult Education on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus, the project is supported by the UKZN Foundation, the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, occasional short-term funding partners who commission articles, and the Echo newspaper which covers the printing costs.

The content of Learn with Echo is varied, covering topics including current affairs, financial literacy, health, numeracy, life skills, early childhood development, and most importantly, entertainment. This is of crucial importance, illustrated by the increasing body of research that underscores the academic value in encouraging readers to develop the love of reading for enjoyment.

Lack of literacy resources impacts heavily on what schools and adult learning centres are able to achieve. ‘It is a challenging environment – there are so few books and stories available in a resource-poor school that are relevant and appealing to teenagers in these circumstances,’ said Spain. 

‘I find it really helpful that they can first read it in isiZulu for understanding, and then go on to the English. I often also use the exercises at the end of the page. They love the stories so much that they take them home and every week and so far they have brought them back to class to swap them. So well done on a truly amasing resource!’

The learners particularly love the weekly stories Ukufunda Nokubhala, about the character Mkhize, because they say he teaches them words, makes them laugh, and “he is like me”.

Spain’s experience echoes the findings of Adult Education honours students who are researching the uses of Learn with Echo as part of their independent research projects. Students’ visits to adult basic education classes reveal a severe shortage of appropriate reading and learning materials for this level, which hampers learners’ progress.

The availability of a wide range of reading matter at accessible language levels is vital to support reading development among new readers of any age. Facilitators of classes for adults are invariably delighted to receive copies of Learn with Echo and become subscribers because they have little else they can easily use.

Thus the Learn with Echo project attempts to address a gap in resources and highlights the need for increased development of appropriate reading material in many forms – such as the story books published in all 11 official languages by a sister project, the New Readers Publishers, on the Howard College campus.

These UKZN community engagement initiatives run by the Centre for Adult Education address a much neglected area of the South African education system.

It is a welcome bonus that the project is also becoming an increasingly fertile ground for postgraduate research activities.

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CAPRISA was delighted to host the MAC AIDS Fund (MAF) Vice-President, Ms Andrea Flynn, and the MAF Executive Director, Mr Rohit Burman, on 17 May 2013.

The fund has contributed funding towards the CAPRISA 008 Tenofovir Gel Implementation Study. Specifically, funding from MAC AIDS is being used to develop a tool-kit for family planning service providers.

This tool-kit will comprise an “A-Z” box of everything needed (e.g., education handbook for nurses, posters, monitoring register, how to store and dispense applicators, etc.) to train each primary care clinic to integrate tenofovir gel into their existing family planning services.

The MAF, established in 1994, was developed to support people who are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, as well as donating funds to communities that offer services and help to prevent HIV/AIDS through educational programmes and services. Sales from the VIVA GLAM range of lipsticks and lipglosses contribute to the MAF.

MAC Cosmetics is currently the leading non-pharmaceutical corporate fundraiser for HIV/AIDS worldwide and has raised over $224 million to date thanks to the VIVA GLAM campaign.

(Published in CAPRISA’s May 2013 Newsletter)

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Student Hillary Chinyere won first prize in the UKZN Alive! photographic competition in which entrants were asked to depict the University through fresh eyes.

Organised and sponsored by the Business Organisational and Leadership Development (BOLD) initiative, the competition attracted photography enthusiasts from all UKZN’s campuses. 

The aim was to encourage students to see the University through “fresh eyes” and capture those moments under the following themes: structures, nature, activities, technology, arts and culture, and using mobile phone camera technology.

To promote an inclusive adjudication process, the Corporate Relations Division displayed the photos on the UKZN Facebook page and winners were ranked according to the number of “Likes” they earned.

Second prize went to Babalo Nyakeni and third to Nonhle Magubane.

Guest speaker, creative photographer and Urban Designer, Prakash Bhika, showcased his work and shared tips on photography with the students.

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Mini-Hockey at the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus is getting bigger and better!

An initiative of UKZN Senior Sports Administrator, Reggie Smith, the programme currently has 55 boys and girls aged six to 12 on its books and is now drawing youngsters from as far afield as New Hanover, who attend the Friday sessions from 5.30pm to 7 pm.

On Mondays from 5pm to 6.30pm there’s training for boys and girls aged between 13 to 18 with about 50 attending these sessions.

The coaches are UKZN first team men and women provincial players as well as Smith, who is the South African Universities Manager for the 2013 World Student Games in Russia, and Investec South Africa women’s hockey team assistant coach Fabian Gregory, now in his seventh year with the national team and a veteran of two Olympic Games and numerous other international events.

‘The concept is about creating a fun environment where the kids are mastering the basics of the game – so important to success as they get older – but in a manner in which they are hardly aware they are developing these skill sets such is the enjoyment they are having,’ said Smith.

Essentially, the mini-hockey children are beginners, as are some of the academy kids, and what is crucial is the amount of direct contact time they get with the coaches to practice those skills.

‘We are working at getting more kids involved so we can refine our programmes to an even greater degree specifically for each age-group - such as six to eight year olds, nine to 10 year olds and so on. The feedback from parents has been extremely positive.

‘It is crucial to learn these skills on world-class hockey turf as we have at Greenfields, which is a Willowton, Pietermaritzburg product used nationwide.’

Smith said exposing kids to age-appropriate technical levels such as how to push and slap a ball, trap a ball and master skill sets at an early age allows for the development of more advanced skills and a strong foundation to build on as the players progress to Academy and school levels.

 Smith can be contacted at 082 578 0840 or for more information.

-       Article by Jonathan Cook.

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The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) exhibited at the Annual Careers Exhibition at Thomas More College in Kloof.

The Exhibition was first presented in 2004 with the main aim being to ensure pupils are exposed to various potential career paths.

Institutions and industries, both local and international, were given an opportunity to showcase their qualifications and facilities. School learners from Grades 10, 11 and 12 were given an opportunity to visit each exhibition stand to find out more about the different career options.

The event was opened by each representative providing a small introduction on the institution they represented.

Learners were keen to get more information from the CAES stand pertaining to the degrees and facilities offered at UKZN. College staff were able to provide advice and information on all degrees offered at UKZN, including Central Application brochures and applications, UKZN study guides and College of AES brochures. In addition, the College staff gave the enthusiastic learners personalised AES bendee rulers and writing pads.

‘The Thomas More Career Exhibition was well organised with different institutions and industries providing the learners with information pertaining to future career options,’ said Ms P Mdlaka of UKZN.

‘The learners were interested in the degrees we offer at UKZN across all Colleges. The learners were also encouraged to attend the CAES Open Day held at UKZN where students and staff from each School will be present to provide additional insight into the various degrees.’

Career Guidance Counsellor Mrs V Moodley said: ‘Learners thoroughly enjoyed the morning and gained extensive information about the options available at UKZN which will assist them in making informed decisions about their career paths. It was a pleasure to host the various institutions.’

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Undergraduate and postgraduate UKZN students recently visited the premises of industry players in Pietermaritzburg to get first-hand experience on a variety of issues.

The students visited Hulamin, Performed Line Products (PLP) and Pfisterer.

Mr Pravesh Moodley of UKZN’s Vibration and Testing Centre (VRTC) co-ordinated the visits with the aim of exposing the students to the ‘manufacturing processes and to forge closer links with industry in search of opportunities for collaborative research for the VRTC. In addition, the knowledge gained from the visits would be used to assist the undergraduate students in designing a new vibration damper,’ said Moodley.

The VRTC is a specialised laboratory on the Westville campus equipped to do vibration testing on powerlines and vibration dampers. The Centre was initially established with funding from UKZN, Eskom and the National Research Foundation through the Technology Human Resource Innovation Programme (THRIP).

At Hulamin - a world class producer of semi-fabricated aluminum for local and export market -students were given a presentation by Roll Shop Co-ordinator, Mr R Reddy, who also interacted with the youngsters on issues around vibration testing.

The aim of Reddy’s presentation was to provide students with exposure into the vibration processes carried out by a company called Univibe in the United Kingdom.

 An interesting model analysis was done with some fault finding analysis and this led to design engineering of vibration dampers manufactured on site. Reddy said: ‘The installation and tuning of these dampers engineered the undesired frequencies out of the machine completely it now operates under fairly stable conditions.’

Engineering Manager at PLP and a UKZN alumnus,  Mr C Bolland, gave the students a tour of the factory.


PLP is an international designer, manufacturer and supplier of high quality cable anchoring and control hardware and systems, fibre optic and copper splice closures, high-speed cross-connect devices and hardware for the solar industry. The students were exposed to the various manufacturing processes including helical preformed wire forming processes and gravity and high pressure die casting.

Students were also given a demonstration of the basics of Aeolian vibration and how various PLP-manufactured damping devices work on a 30m test span in PLP’s test laboratory. Various other material and tensile testing methods were shown.  After the exciting tour of the factory, students were given PLP caps, pens and some hardware samples for their project.

Bolland was impressed with the level of interest and questions asked by the students and wished them well in their studies.

The final visit was a presentation and tour of Pfisterer Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Pfisterer Holding AG in Winterbag, Germany. The company’s Technical Manager in South Africa, Mr Thabani Nene – also a UKZN Mechanical Engineering graduate - was keen to host the students.

Pfisterer is a low, medium and high voltage hardware supplier to power utilities such as Eskom Holdings and Railway pioneers including Transnet Ltd. The manufacturing plant employs more than a third of the total number of staff in the Pfisterer group.

‘Our focus is on power transmission and distribution systems, even at the railway sector, with examples like the Gautrain and Euro Tunnel Projects being supplied with some of our products,’ said Nene.

At the end of the Pfisterer visit, Nene handed copies of a book: Silicone Composite Insulators: Materials, Design and Applications by Dr F Schmuck and Dr K Papailiou to all the students with personalised copies going to a variety of UKZN staff members.

Schmuck is Pfisterer’s current Group Head of Technology: Insulators while Papailiou is the former Chief Executive Officer of Pfisterer Holding AG and a well-known researcher in the field of high voltage insulators and vibration damping. Papailiou is also Chairman of the Cigre Study Committee, and he is the co-supervisor of masters’ degrees being done by Mr Y D Kubelwa, Mr K A Ntambwe and Mr E Ojo.

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