SCHOOL OF LAW PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LATE CHIEF JUSTICE PIUS LANGA

SCHOOL OF LAW PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LATE CHIEF JUSTICE PIUS LANGA
The Langa family lighting the memorial candle at the
ceremony.

The School of Law recently held a Memorial Service to pay tribute to the late Chief Justice Pius Langa. The service which was attended by members of the Langa family, the judiciary and law academics and students celebrated Chief Justice Langa’s legal and humanitarian efforts towards ensuring equality and justice for all South Africans.

Langa’s close association with the School began in 1998 when he was appointed an Honorary Professor in Procedural and Clinic Law. His legacy as one of the greatest legal minds in South African legal history continues to inspire law students, through his keen sense of justice evident in his judgments and the legal expertise which he imparted to the law academics that he mentored. The Pius Langa Scholarship and the Pius Langa Residence bears testimony to the recognition bestowed by UKZN on this great human being.

Speaking at the memorial service, the Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi said: ‘My colleagues and I in the School of Law have had the honour and privilege of interacting with the late Chief Justice on a number of occasions, most notably after he was appointed Chief Justice of South Africa. Despite occupying the highest judicial office in the land, the most defining aspect of these interactions with the late Chief Justice was his humility and the respect he afforded to everyone he met, regardless of their status. Chief Justice Langa was a soft spoken, mild mannered man who, as is typical of most great intellectuals, listened more than he spoke.  We are here to celebrate his tireless efforts towards improving the lives of all South Africans thus leaving the world a better place.’

In his address on behalf of the judiciary, the Honourable Mr Justice Chiman Patel, Judge President of KwaZulu-Natal described Langa as a legal stalwart who will be remembered for his dedication to the legal system and his contribution to UKZN.

‘Despite his rise to the pinnacle of the judiciary, he still found time to contribute to this University and for that we are thankful. His legal expertise and dedication to the judicial system will be remembered for years to come,’ said Patel.

In a personal tribute, Professor David McQuoid-Mason, the Chairperson of UKZN’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and former Dean of the Law School described Langa as a colleague, friend and struggle icon. From a student’s perspective, Mr Karl Bloom highlighted how the late Chief Justice Langa’s most influential judgments shape students’ understanding of the law.

Speaking on behalf of the Langa family, Chief Justice Langa’s daughter Phumzile: said: ‘We are very pleased that the School of Law has held this Memorial Service as we know that this institution was close to Tata’s (father) heart. We are happy to see the familiar faces that have been through this trying time and would like to thank everyone for their support.’


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

RESEARCH ON EYE MOVEMENTS WHILE READING ISIZULU

RESEARCH ON EYE MOVEMENTS WHILE READING ISIZULU

Lecturer Ms Sandra Land, is doing research on eye movements in isiZulu reading in an effort to discover strategies developed by highly competent readers of the language.

This was made possible with the aid of a computer programme especially developed for her research by an eye-tracking software company in the United States.

‘A few years ago I invited some Certificate students who were struggling with English to submit assignments in isiZulu. I was confident I read isiZulu well enough to enable me to mark, albeit slowly, four or five assignments. Most of the class took me up on my offer,’ said Land of UKZN’s Centre for Adult Education in the School of Education.

‘Twenty or so assignments later, my Zulu reading skills had been given serious shock treatment and had developed dramatically. From then on, I became increasingly aware that when I read text in isiZulu my brain and eyes do something different from what they do when I read English text,’ explained Land.

Trying to work out what the difference was resulted in Land doing a PhD on the subject.

The idea for her research began when Mr Warrick Hulbert of Moffat Optical in Pietermaritzburg came to demonstrate the Reading Plus programme to reading specialists in the School of Education.

It was instantly clear to Land that the programme could be used not only to improve reading skills, but to record and analyse eye movements for the purpose of reading research as well.

Thus began a protracted e-mailing process with staff of the Reading Plus organisation in Boston in the United States which worked with Land to put together a Zulu package so that readers’ eye movements could be mapped directly onto the texts they read. She believes this was the first package of its kind to be developed for reading in an African language.

Readers, who had responded to Land’s University-wide and public invitation to competent adult Zulu readers to participate in the study, courageously submitted themselves to a screening test of their reading speed and skill. The most skilful of them then patiently read texts while their eye movement was tracked and recorded.  Lands then tried to make sense of them.

Findings from this research indicate that although English and isiZulu both use the Roman alphabet and share literacy conventions such as presenting text in lines that run from left to right to make up paragraphs, there are significant differences in optimal strategies for reading them.

Land noted that at first sight, isiZulu appeared to be easy to read because of its orthographic transparency - almost all the sounds of the spoken language are represented in the written form by particular letters - and its consistency-letters unvaryingly represent particular sound.

‘In comparison, English orthography is opaque so that sounding words out only works for about half of them (try “works” for example,) and inconsistent, where the same letters often represent completely different speech sounds, as in “through”, “thorough”, “trough” and “tough”,’ said Land.

‘However, in spite of the  apparent benefit of transparency, findings that have emerged from this study indicate that: isiZulu text takes twice as long to read as English text; its readers make 20 percent more visual fixations than readers of comparable spans of English text; fixations (points where the eyes stop and focus) on isiZulu text last about 30 percent longer than fixations on English text;  the amount of text decoded in each fixation is about four letters, compared with  eight to 17 letters decoded in each fixations by readers of English text; and readers of isiZulu make on average one regression for every 27 letters – which means that they regress about twice as much as readers of English text.

‘Reasons for these differences resonate with Goswami and Ziegler’s Psycholinguistic Grain Size Theory which suggests that readers of English (and similarly opaque, inconsistent languages, such as French) will tend to look for patterns in spans of text of up to a few syllables in order to decipher text, whereas processing only a few letters at a time is a more effective strategy for reading languages with a transparent orthography such as isiZulu, Italian, and Finnish,’ explained Land.

She concluded that the Roman alphabet was possibly not the best choice of script to represent isiZulu.

‘As suggested by Mark de Vos of Rhodes, a syllabic script similar to that of Japanese might have led to a written form that was easier and swifter to read. However, it’s far too late for that now. The best we can do, especially in this province where most learners must develop reading skills in the two radically different orthographies of isiZulu and English, is to ensure that they are supported and enabled to develop effective reading skills in both languages.’

‘It’s a bit like teaching children (or adults) to play squash and tennis – although they just have to learn how to run about the court and hit the ball, you would never expect them to use the same racquet for both games,’ added Land.


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

SAICHE GOLD MEDAL AWARD GOES TO UKZN PROFESSOR

SAICHE GOLD MEDAL AWARD GOES TO UKZN PROFESSOR

The South African Institute of Chemical Engineers (SAIChE) awarded Professor Deresh Ramjugernath their Gold Medal Award at their recent National AGM and Awards function in Johannesburg.

Ramjugernath is the DST/NRF South African Research Chair for Fluorine Process Engineering and Separation Technology, Director of the Thermodynamics Research Unit at the University, as well as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Innovation, Commercialisation, and Entrepreneurship.

His team is recognised as one of the leading research groups in its field globally. The team undertakes a number of cutting-edge research endeavours which contribute towards chemical process development and optimisation of separation processes in South Africa and internationally.

The SAIChE Gold Medal Award is granted for outstanding achievement in chemical engineering or process technology in its broadest definition. The main criteria for the award is based on ‘unusually competent chemical engineering efforts carried out essentially within Southern Africa, including commercial implementation (where relevant) and with at least an element of innovation’.

Ramjugernath received the award for his ‘outstanding achievement in Chemical Engineering, including his contribution to the Advancement of Chemical Thermodynamics and Chemical Engineering Education’.

‘I’m passionate about capacity development and it is deeply rewarding to have my contributions to the profession recognised by a national body such as SAIChE,’ said Ramjugernath.

Speaking of his success, Ramjugernath acknowledges the contributions of co-workers as pivotal: ‘Such achievements are not made on an individual basis. Rather, it is the result of various important partnerships with peers, students, team members and colleagues.’

Most notably the Gold Medal Award has been traditionally given to teams within the industrial arena. Ramjugernath is a marked and rare departure from this trend - a direct reflection of the excellence of his research undertakings in the Discipline of Chemical Engineering.


author email : Maraisb@ukzn.ac.za

GSB&L HOSTS SUCCESSFUL WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP BUSINESS FORUM

GSB&L HOSTS SUCCESSFUL WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP BUSINESS FORUM

A panel of prominent South African businesswomen shared successful leadership strategies at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) in association with Absa Private Bank at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

Panel members included: the Chairperson of Mbekani Investment Holdings Limited and Aspen Pharmacare Ltd, Dr Judy Dlamini; Chief Executive Officer of SANPAD, Dr Anshu Padayachee;   Chief Executive Officer of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, Ms Nosipho Siwisa-Damasane; and Chair of the UKZN Council, Mrs Phumla Mnganga.

The high powered women shared their   perspectives on leading in turbulent environments and alternative approaches to managing business challenges.

The breakfast, attended by 300 guests, coincided with Women’s Month and is part of the GSB&L’s commitment to the training and development of ethical leaders who are versatile and successful in all spheres of life and equally passionate about social and economic development in South Africa.

Changing careers is not a decision to be taken lightly but for Dlamini leaving the medical profession for the business sector was a rewarding leap which began with acquiring the knowledge she needed to succeed.

‘Most people thought I was crazy for giving up being a doctor but I knew I could be anything I wanted to if I developed myself. I decided to do an MBA and I knew I needed to use it because it has a short life span.  We need to invest in our soft and hard skills if we are to succeed. Leadership for me starts with yourself, you have to be humble and learn as much as you can,’ said Dlamini.

Collaborative leadership is what drives Siwisa-Damasane to succeed. Through her bottom up and inclusive approach she has managed to achieve great heights in her career.

For Mnganga, leadership in academia is about service, understanding the environment a person is in as well as being accountable to the stakeholders.

‘Tertiary education is a very robust but rewarding environment and you have to stay true to what is right. To be able to serve stakeholders we must advocate support and embrace who we are as women and see it as a contribution to society,’ said Mnganga.

As a researcher and UKZN Lecturer Padayachee found a way to use her PhD research as a foundation to curb domestic violence in her community.

‘Transferring my PhD into action I started the Advice Desk for the Abused because it was my passion to see domestic violence end in my community.  I would advise researchers to not only do research for themselves but to use it for the community and make sure that they give back,’ said Padayachee.

The Dean and Head of the GSB&L, Professor Stephen Migiro said: ‘Through this and other initiatives it is envisaged the School will fulfill its mission of educating managers and leaders to create value to society.’ The GSB&L has introduced discussion forums on contemporary business and leadership issues to which eminent leaders have been invited.

The next business forum in the series will be held in October and will focus on Entrepreneurship which is core in job creation as well as the alleviation of poverty in South Africa.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

IN CELEBRATION OF SCIENCE

IN CELEBRATION OF SCIENCE

Durban school pupils enjoyed a fun-filled morning of science at the Science and Technology Education Centre on the Westville campus recently.

In celebration of National Science Week, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science staff went the extra mile to keep about 300 Grade 10 and 11 pupils wowed by the whole spectrum of scientific wonders available at UKZN.

Accommodating 60 learners a day, the programme offered an array of hands-on fun. From simulating tsunamis, to munching on liquid-nitrogen-dipped biscuits, to making chemical concoctions, to analysing microbiological cultures, to exploring the wonders of Antarctica - the learners did it all.

Each day youngsters from four different schools tried their hands at being scientists of the future. The day’s programme included exposure to four different scientific disciplines, a talk on careers available in the sciences, as well as a fun-filled quiz. With a competitive element thrown into the mix, the children were eager to display just how many scientific facts they knew.

‘What is the name of the planet closest to the sun?’

‘Why, Mercury, of course,’ answered a young bright spark

With a delicious tea and lunch, a personal goody bag with useful information and a do-it-yourself scientific experiment for everyone, learners left the University in high spirits, with the importance of science enhanced.

National Science Week is celebrated every year during the first week of August. A Department of Science and Technology initiative run in partnership with public and private institutions, it aims to further the public’s understanding of science and to advance science and technology within South Africa.


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

UMFUNDISI WASE-UKZN UBAMBE UMKHANDO WE-PHD ELESOTHO

UMFUNDISI WASE-UKZN UBAMBE UMKHANDO WE-PHD ELESOTHO

USolwazi Julia Preece noDkt Peter Rule bemfundo yabadala i-Adult Education basesikhungweni saseMgungundlovu babambe umkhando eLesotho wokwamukela abenza izinga lemfundo yePhD.

Lo umkhando wesithathu owenziwa ngenxa yokwanda kwabantu abaneMasters abaqhamuka eNyuvesi yaseLesotho, lapho uPreese afundise khona iminya emine ngaphambi kokuza e-UKZN.

Abafundi abayi14 abavela eziNyuvesi kanye nezinhlangano zemfundo ephakeme ezahlukene, abakuhulumeni kanye nezinhlangano ezizimele (NGOs) badele amakhaza ukuhambela lomkhando. Lomkhando ukhiphe ulwazi lokufaka izicelo zokufunda kanye nolwazi lwePhD ngaphansi kweSikole sezeMfundo e-UKZN.

Lokhu kubanikeze ithuba lokufundisa nabafundisi kanye nosizo ngezicelo zabo. Loluhambo luqinise nobudlelwano Phakathi kwemfundo yabadala e-UKZN kanye naseLesotho enabafundi abayisishiyagalolinye abenza lezifundo ezingeni lePhD.

 ‘Lomkhando unikeze izihambeli ithuba lokuzwa ukuthi bangakwazi kanjani ukuqhuba izifundo zabo bebe behlala eLesotho nokuthi kuzodingekalani uma kuziwa kwezokubhalisa, izifundo zabo nokuthi balenze kanjani ucwaningo lwabo,’ kusho uPreece.

Izihambele zilibonge kakhulu lelithuba lokuthola ulwazi olunzulu ngezifundo babuye bakwazi nokukhuluma ngocwaningo abafuna ukulwenza bengakafaki izicelo zabo. Futhi bekuyithuba lokuzwa ngabafundi abathathu bePhD abavela eLesotho  ngezinqinamba kanye nezindlela zokufunda e-UKZN ube uhlala kude.

Lomkhando unikeze ithuba izihambeli ukuba zicabangisise kahle zingakathathi isinqumo ekutheni ziyafuna yini nokuthi zinalo yini ugqozi lokungenela lezizifundo.

 ‘I-UKZN ingeyodwa kwabancane abafundisa izifundo zemfundo yabadala zePhD eningizimu ne-Afrika. Iyona yodwa iNyuvesi enezifundo ezinikeza ithuba abantu ukuba bafunde bekulamazwe asondelene nabo,’ kusho uPreece.

 ‘Noma iLesotho kuyiyona enabantu abaningi kodwa kukhona nabanye abavela eSwazini kanye neZimbabwe. Lomkhando ofana nalo owesithathu nosekukhombise ukuthi iyona ndlela esebenzayo ekuheheni nesibhalisa ngayo abafundi bethu abaningi.’

Click here for English version


author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN CHOIR SCOOPS TOP AWARDS

UKZN CHOIR SCOOPS TOP AWARDS

The Student Services Division hosted a lunch in honour of UKZN’s Choir which won four trophies at the SA Tertiary Institutions Choral Association (SATICA) National Choir Competition finishing in second place overall.

The lunch was attended by UKZN Executive Management representatives, staff of the Student Services Division and Choir members.

Executive Director of the Student Services Division, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu, paid tribute to the Choir: ‘We acknowledge and highlight you. We are proud of what you have achieved but need to do more for you. We need to provide more opportunities for your talent to be appreciated.’

Registrar Professor Jane Meyerowitz congratulated the Choir on their achievements saying ‘the Choir is one of the highlights of graduation’.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, expressed her love for the arts and echoed Chalufu’s sentiments that further opportunities needed to be explored to give the young singers opportunities to showcase their talents.

Executive Director of Physical Planning and Operations, Mr Charles Poole - a former choir boy himself, said the experiences the members gained from being part of a choir would stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

The President of the Central SRC, Mr Nelson Mabusela, said music spoke to young people and voiced his pride at the Choir’s victory in the competition, adding that the SRC would be supportive of the Choir’s future endeavours.

Choir member Mr Njabulu Phiri said they draw inspiration from the reaction of the crowd at the competition. ‘The reception we got from the audience was overwhelming. That was something to be proud of.’

Phiri acknowledged that the musical background of the students in the Choir allowed them to do arrangements for the various categories which helped them win the trophies.

Phiri thanked University management and acknowledged Chalufu and his staff members Ms Priscilla Cele and Ms Nokwanda Jali for their support.

UKZN’s Choir received awards in the following categories:

Western prescribed song (And the glory of the Lord) - 1st

Vernacular i.e. African Prescribed song (Ingqanga) – 4th

                         

Gender based songs:

Female voice (Mtanami Mtanami) - 2nd

Male voice (Woza) - Position 7th

                         

HIV/ AIDS song (Kwenziwe njani) - 3rd

Own Choice (Ihele) - 6th


author email : Captainr@ukzn.ac.za

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE BOOKLET DEVELOPED BY ACADEMICS

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE BOOKLET DEVELOPED BY ACADEMICS

Programme Director at the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) at the School of Applied Human Sciences, Ms Debbie Marais, and her colleague, Ms Jacintha Toohey, have developed a practical guidance booklet on negotiating fair research contracts in collaborative research partnerships. 

The booklet has been designed to offer broad guidance in practical terms of some of the key challenges facing universities and research institutions in research contracting, including intellectual property rights, ownership of data and samples, capacity building and technology transfer, compensation for indirect costs, and the legislative context of research contracts.

It addresses each issue in-depth, provides points to consider when contracting around each issue, highlights key clauses where relevant, and includes references on where to go to find out more.

The idea for the fair research contracting initiative arose in 2006, when the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh (ICDDRB) brought the issue of contracting practices to the attention of the World Health Organization’s Advisory Committee on Health Research, highlighting the difficulties they faced in negotiating “equitable” contracts with research sponsors.

COHRED was asked to lead an International Collaboration on Equitable Research Contracts to examine this issue in more detail and plan a collective response.

‘The challenge for us in developing this guidance is that much of the advice and resources available are generated from a high-income country perspective. We were committed to developing guidance that looked at the issues from a low- and middle-income country perspective, and to move away from the idea that fair research partnerships are determined to a large degree by reliance on the goodwill of high income country partners,’ said Marais.

Highlights of the project thus far include the publication in May 2009 of an editorial in the Bulletin of the WHO which raised awareness on the issue while a think tank in 2011 and a workshop in 2012 focused on identifying the key challenges faced in the research contracting process.

‘A key event in the development of the guidance document was the meeting held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in October 2012,’ said Marais. ‘It was during this meeting we began to focus on the structure and content of contracting checklists and guidance to support low and middle-income country institutions and governments. The fair research contracting guidance document is the culmination of this work.’

More information on the fair research contracting initiative is available at www.cohred.org/frc and the full document at http://www.cohred.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Fair-Research-Contracting-Guidance-Booklet-e-version.pdf


author email : Mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT FOR MOTHERS

BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT FOR MOTHERS

We need babies to be breastfed, because this is how we are going to keep them healthy and strong, says Professor Anna Coutsoudis, renowned public health scientist in UKZN’s Department of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Speaking at an event on the Medical School campus to acknowledge recently trained breastfeeding counsellors, Coutsoudis said the theme for this year’s International Breastfeeding Week was community support for breastfeeding.

This meshed perfectly with the University’s Breastfeeding Counsellor Training Programme piloted in Cato Manor and the Breastmilk Bank established at the iThemba Lethu Home for Orphans.

In the breastfeeding programme, the peer counsellors - themselves mothers - are trained to support other mothers in the community and are equipped with information on the benefits of breastmilk. The Breastmilk Bank initiative, supported by the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, is supplied by mothers with excess milk.

The keynote address at the event was delivered by the Director of Nutrition at the National Department of Health, Ms Lynn Moeng, who lamented the fact that a recent health survey showed that ‘in South Africa, only eight out of 100 mothers gave their children solely breastmilk for the first six months’.

Moeng asked the 70 mothers present – all of whom are undergoing training as breastfeeding counsellors - how many of them had exclusively breastfed their infants for six months and was visibly amazed when the majority raised their hands. Coutsoudis said this was an indication of the success of the training programme in that not only were these mothers being equipped to support other women but in the process were benefiting themselves by using best infant feeding practices.

Moeng, echoing the sentiments of Coutsoudis that ‘breastmilk remains your best choice’, said while maternity leave was often cited as an obstacle to exclusive breastfeeding in the first six  months, there were other challenges young women encountered. These included hospitals that did not support breastfeeding, family members who told young mothers to use porridge to encourage their babies to sleep through the night and the misconception that babies would be healthier if they were fed formula milk.  

She suggested a way to encourage the exclusive use of breastmilk was to educate families, ‘in particular mothers-in-law or grannies’, as they often proffered advice on how to raise children. Healthcare workers should also be properly informed and hospitals should be “baby-friendly” zones.

Ms Zandile Magasela, a recently trained peer-counsellor, strongly advocated the exclusive use of breastmilk and abstinence from smoking, drinking and unprotected sex.

Magasela, who identified a tendency for people to think mothers didn’t have money if they breastfed, said ‘breastmilk is power’! She thanked Coutsoudis and the University for inviting her to be part of the training programme.

Moeng and Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Professor Sabiha Essack, handed out certificates to recently trained counsellors who had completed the 12-month training programme.

The day, also the start of the College of Health Sciences’ celebration of Women’s Month, was rounded off with a presentation by Ms Helen Mulol of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health who is conducting a study on the exclusivity of breastmilk intake and the associated health outcomes.

Mulol outlined the World Health Organization’s guidelines on breastfeeding which state that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months for optimal development and health. She thanked and commended the peer counsellors for participating in the programme.


author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za

RETIREMENT BECKONS FOR UKZN PERSONALITY

RETIREMENT BECKONS FOR UKZN PERSONALITY

Manager of Student Funding, Mr Richard Morrison, retires at the end of the year after a journey with UKZN which started in the 1970s as a Humanities student on the Howard College campus.

Morrison says at the time, the University was dominated by the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and ‘plagued by security police activities’.

His plan to become a lawyer was sidetracked by his love for Speech and Drama with its more active student life and he soon moved to the Pietermaritzburg campus to complete his studies at Honours level. He eventually concentrated on Public Relations after spending some time in the theatre world.

Morrison has an Honours degree in Speech and Drama, an Honours degree in Public Relations from UNISA and an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Management from UKZN.

His foray into student funding began after he started up the University of Natal Schools Liaison programme on the Howard College campus in 1981.

‘In the early ‘80s, the Bursary and Scholarships Office had a secretary and only one full-time administrator, Ms Pam Kerry, who recently died and left money for bursaries for needy students at UKZN.  The Department has grown and now has more than 33 staff across all of the campuses,’ said Morrison.

As the Manager of Student Funding at UKZN, Morrison was involved with managing the policies, procedures and strategic direction for the three main streams of funding which currently total in excess of R750 million a year through more than 20 000 awards.

Morrison says being associated with the University for more than four decades and working on all of UKZN’s five campuses ‘has formed and moulded me as a citizen of South Africa’.

His journey at the University was influenced by many colleagues who guided and influenced his career path.

Morrison said his wife had been ‘a tremendous support’ for him during his years in Financial Aid and had also encouraged him in dealing with all the challenges he faced.

The Morrisons two children graduated from the University. ‘My daughter is in Marketing Research for Unilever and my son is in the computer industry, specialising in computer games.’

Morrison is contemplating how he will keep busy once he retires. ‘At 60 (the retirement age of the Institution) I must now say good-bye to an activity that has kept me young and constantly on my toes.  However, I would like to stay economically active for a few more years and continue making a difference to people’s lives in one form or another. So I am on the lookout for opportunities!’


author email : captainr@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN INVOLVED IN DRIVE TO IMPROVE RURAL CIRCUMCISION PRACTICES

UKZN INVOLVED IN DRIVE TO IMPROVE RURAL CIRCUMCISION PRACTICES

The DST/NRF Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Centre of Excellence with its hub at UKZN is working with a group of the University’s medical students to develop a pilot initiative in the Matatiele area of the Eastern Cape to improve circumcision practices in South Africa.

The initiative has national significance and implications given the potentially life-threatening circumcision practices happening in various parts of the country.

The intervention by UKZN medical students in partnership with the Centre of Excellence demonstrates a best practice on the interface between African traditional/indigenous and modern practices.

It also shows how the Centre and the UKZN African Indigenous Knowledge Systems Signature projects can contribute positively to community and national challenges in the health and medical fields for sustainable community livelihood.

This pilot project which involves research and training is informed by the observations made by UKZN medical students doing their HIV/AIDS and STIs awareness campaigns in traditional schools in the Matatiele area.

They observed that circumcision practices in the area were leaving a trail of ruin and despair among young rural men with little being done to improve the situation. They noted as medical students that some of the traditional surgeons were not fully equipped with the knowledge and skills of circumcision which led to a large number of septic outcomes leading to death.

There were lots of young men affected by this fatal situation but their number and actual circumstances were not officially known. There was therefore a need to conduct a pilot study in the Matatiele area which would inform government and other stakeholders about policy interventions necessary to help equip traditional surgeons with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform sterile and other appropriate procedures.


author email : kaya@ukzn.ac.za

FRENCH AMBASSADOR VISITS UKZN RESEARCH SITE

FRENCH AMBASSADOR VISITS UKZN RESEARCH SITE

Several community elders welcomed the French Ambassador in South Africa, Mrs Elisabeth Barbier, and her team to the rural area of Potshini near Winterton where UKZN is currently engaged in a number of research initiatives.

The visiting group included the Attaché for Science and Technology Dr Pierre Lemond; Cultural and Cooperation Councillor Director at Institut Francais South Africa, Mr Frank Marchetti, and UKZN academics and students.

Although not present during the field trip, scientists from the Institute of Research and Development (IRD) have been closely involved in the research activities in the area.

The group also consisted of outside partners who have engaged in research and funding initiatives in association with the University including Ms Sue van Rensburg of the South African Environmental Observation Network, Ms Michelle Dye of the African Conservation Trust and Mr Michael Malinga of the Farmer Support Group.

The visitors were given an informative tour of the area where research into soil erosion is taking place.

The area has been chosen as a research site for soil erosion for several reasons such as the area’s position in a high rainfall area and the general quality of the soil there, which together make the area especially susceptible to erosion. 

PhD students Mr Phesheya Dlamini and Mr Macdex Mutema gave the group an informative tour of their respective research sites explaining the nature and purpose of the research they are engaged in. Also present were PhD students Mr Alistar Clulowa, Ms Charmaine Mchunu, Mr Khatab Mohamed Abdalla and MSc students Ms Humbelani Thenga, and Ms Simangele Sithole.  

Dr Terry Everson and Ms Sue van Rensburg explained the University’s relationship with the community. ‘There has been on-going relationship building between UKZN and the people of Potshini over the years, building a system of trust, which has been vitally important in maintaining a good relationship between the University and the community,’ said Van Rensburg.

Dr Pauline Chivenge further explained that relations with the community have been valuable in a number of ways: ‘The relationship with Potshini has been pivotal in capacity building as the processes soil scientists and hydrologists have to engage in can’t always be done in the lab. Through engagement with the community at Potshini they are able to extend their experiences to the field.’

Mr Maduba, a community leader addressed the group of visitors and thanked the University for choosing to work with the community at Potshini. ‘Working with the University has uplifted the community greatly. We here at Potshini have been privileged enough to have international visitors such as the French Ambassador, because of our affiliation with the University, we are thankful for all that UKZN has done for us,’ he said.

The University is currently involved in a number of other soil and water studies related research at Potshini and other areas around the Drakensberg.

Barbier congratulated the UKZN team for the excellent work being done.


author email : maraisb@ukzn.ac.za

RESEARCH EXPLORES LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF ADULTERY

RESEARCH EXPLORES LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF ADULTERY

A paper by a UKZN academic setting out the historical development of the legal consequences of adultery will be published in Fundamina: A Journal of Legal History.

The paper, by Professor Marita Carnelley who is the Academic Leader in Research at the School of Law, is titled: “Adultery Laws: Comparing the Historical Developments of South African Common Law Principles with those in English Law”.

Carnelley presented the paper at the Legal Historian Conference   held at KwaMaritane in the Pilanesberg earlier this year.

The article sets out the historical development of the legal consequences of adultery in two jurisdictions: South African and English law.

‘Adultery is still legally relevant in South Africa,’ said Carnelley. ‘Although it is no longer a crime,  the Transvaal High Court (as it was then known) confirmed in 2008, that the delictual damages claimed by the innocent spouse against a third party adulterer remained part of South African law.  Adultery, combined with the inability to continue with the marriage, could still nominally be part of the grounds for a divorce in the form of a guideline to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

‘In addition, adultery may also be indirectly relevant at the time of divorce, namely as a factor to consider when determining post-divorce spousal maintenance, a claim for forfeiture of benefits and/or a redistribution order. The question is asked whether this is constitutional and still relevant in modern society.’

In the article, Carnelley unpacks how adultery, generally considered to be a moral issue, has had and still has relevance in law.

She explains how historical changes to the legal approach towards adultery took the form of a three-stage process: first, adultery resulted in private self-help measures where the adulterers could be punished and killed by their families and then moving to the second stage where adultery was criminally prosecuted by the state and sentences over the centuries included death by burning, exile and flogging.

The last stage of development, where the South African legal system is now situated, is where adultery could result in a private delictual claim for damages to appease the hurt feelings of the innocent spouse. This possible remedy is regarded as important by the courts from a public policy perspective, as infidelity in marriage continues to be a serious problem affecting the core of family life in South African society.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

2013 FFS EXPO FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS

2013 FFS EXPO FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS

About 250 pupils from 22 schools attended this year’s FFS Expo for Young Scientist at UKZN’s Sports Centre on the Westville campus.

The purpose of the Expo is to stimulate interest in the process of scientific thought and to create an awareness of the intellectual pleasure and fulfillment that can be gained from carrying out an investigation through experimentation leading to an understanding of how things work or interact.

Youngsters got the opportunity to experience the wonder of uncovering the unknown by following a system of scientific experimentation and deduction.

The event started off with the pupils displaying their results as posters and other visually aided materials. There were three basic types of projects: (i) Collections which are arranged to illustrate a specific principle or method, (ii) Construction whereby learners display some technical knowledge and evidence of skills and (iii) Investigations which can include practical, theoretical and design studies.

The Expo started with the official opening followed by an interesting talk from Dr Corrie Schoeman on What is a scientist? Thereafter pupils were entertained by Professor Bice Martincigh, Dr Bernard Owaga and Dr Vincent Nyamori who put on an exciting Chemistry Magic Show.

A total of 41 medals were given to learners. Star College Boys’ High School and Ashton International College (Ballito) scooped 8 medals each.

The Sadha Pillay Award went to Anderson Worth from Howick High School for his project on “Tesla Coil”; Danielle du Toit from Howick High School won the Mike Laing Award for her project “Charlotte’s Web”; and Illiya Matveyuk and Joseph Grobler from Domino Servite took Gold for the Best Senior Poster for their project titled Go Eco2.

The Best Junior Poster Award went to Heinrich Marloth of Domino Servite for his project titled “Energize”, while Tristan Meyer and James Rex from Hilton College took Gold for the Best Marine project titled “Effectiveness of Shapes for Coastal Protection”, and Star College Boys’ High School took Gold for Best Junior Project by Tyrique Byroo for the project “Biogas: the fuel of the future”.

Daverin Nadesan won Gold for Best Senior Project for “The Robotic Catapult”. Mr Ugur Hulusi Patli, a teacher at Star College, said: ‘These results are the fruits of the labour undertaken by our hardworking students, their parents and our educators. The goal of our school is academic excellence by educating the stars of the future in science.’

Martincigh, who is Chairperson for FFS Expo Committee, said: ‘The Expo was a great success and it was wonderful to see such remarkable talent from the learners.  This bodes well for the future of science and technology in the country.’


author email : rajpall@ukzn.ac.za