FOOD, WATER, ENERGY NEXUS

FOOD, WATER, ENERGY NEXUS

Combining water, energy and food thinking will address some of the shortcomings of the eight single issue millennium development goals set in 2000 for realisation by 2015, says Professor Chris Buckley, Head of UKZN’s Pollution Research Group.

Delivering the second of a Public Lecture series celebrating National Science Week at UKZN, Buckley said the nexus between food, water and energy was a hot topic for policy makers around the world.

‘Integration needs to be emphasised.  One needs to think globally, and act locally.’

Buckley, who is a sanitation expert, outlined the three basic principles of sanitation - public health is the objective; a sanitation system needs to be in harmony with water supply, and all water should be adsorbed on-site unless formal sewers are provided.

‘The problem with conventional sewage treatment is that it uses energy,’ he said. ‘And it wastes water - 18 000 litres are used to flush away 610 kg of excreta.

‘Current global trends are urbanisation, population growth and climate change.  Available water resources are needed for water supply security, food security, and energy security. The interlinking of them all is what we need to consider when we are making our choices.’

Buckley provided some sobering statistics.  In 2004, about 3.6 billion people or 42 percent of the world’s population lacked adequate sanitation; only 330 million people (ie 5 percent) had advanced sewage treatment; malnutrition accounted for 14 percent of the global burden of disease and sanitation-related diseases some 3.4 percent; and 32 percent of Africa’s population was without reasonable access to improved water sources while about 60 percent were without sanitation.

‘One of the reasons developed countries find it so difficult to change their sanitation is that they have invested so heavily in financial resources and infrastructure,’ said Buckley.  ‘But sitting in Africa, in a situation where there is no infrastructure, we have an opportunity to do things differently.’

Buckley described the headway Durban’s eThekwini Municipality was making with the provision of sanitation services to its 3.6 million population.  While central Durban had a developed sanitation infrastructure, the periphery of the unicity was a far more rural environment.  Moreover, he said, Durban was the municipality with the greatest number of informal settlements where there were no formal sanitation facilities in 203 222 households and 21 469 traditional rural households. 

‘To provide sanitation in the conventional way to Inanda, for example, would be very expensive,’ Buckley said.  In addition, we are in a very tight water situation as water demand in the Mgeni system exceeds supply.  ‘We need to provide a sanitation solution.  The challenge is how to provide sanitation services to rural and informal settlement environments.’

Buckley went on to explain the urine diversion toilet, which is being rolled out by the municipality.  With the traditional ventilated improved pit latrines (VIP toilet), the pits can get full and unhygienic.  ‘In the urine diversion toilet design, faeces and urine are separated; whilst the faeces dries, the urine soaks away and there is very little possibility of contamination. It is dry, and it doesn’t require water,’ said Buckley.   About 80 000 urine diversion toilets had been installed by the eThekwini Municipality to date. 

Buckley cautioned, however, that the urine diversion toilet was only suitable for family use not large community use.  ‘Water borne sanitation has a place in large informal communities,’ he said.  As an interim service, the municipality was providing communal ablution blocks.

Buckley said UKZN researchers from a multiplicity of disciplines were looking at productive ways of using sanitation residuals, at the Newlands-Mashu DEWATS technical evaluation plant.  ‘Engineers, microbiologists, soil scientists, crop scientists and community health practitioners are  all working together, looking at better ways of using sanitation waste, better ways of using less water, and re-using water  to produce food.

‘Water is life. Sanitation is dignity.’


author email : frosts@ukzn.ac.za

COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND RESEARCH OFFICE HOST WOMEN LEADERS

COLLEGE OF HUMANITIES AND RESEARCH OFFICE HOST WOMEN LEADERS

A joint initiative between the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Cheryl Potgieter and the DVC: Research, Professor Nelson Ijumba led to a panel discussion proudly hosted in celebration of Women’s Month. The discussion was titled “Journey of Women Leaders” and took place at the Howard College Theatre on Friday 23 August 2013.

Panelists at the event were prominent and successful women leaders such as Ms Baleka Mbete (National Chairperson: African National Congress), Mrs Phumla Mnganga (Chair: UKZN Council), Professor Renuka Vithal (UKZN DVC: Teaching and Learning) and Ms Zingiswa Losi (Second Deputy President: Congress of South African Trade Union).

Discussions by the panelists offered exciting insights on the successes and challenges those women in general and women in leadership particularly face in the workplace. The panelists also drew on their own personal experiences and offered advice to women.

Mbete spoke about her role in politics and drew on it saying: ‘My life unfolded in the direction of politics but one must learn to react and respond to challenges in the environment. Be open to being persuaded with different views and perspectives, you might learn something from someone.’

She advised women, especially women researchers, to probe the perspectives of women involved during the historical political landscape as a way of recognising the struggles and victories of women over the years.

During her address, Chair of the UKZN, Council Mrs Phumla Mnganga, pointed out that tension is the hidden face of leadership. ‘The head and the heart conflict when making decisions especially when it involves the governance of the University. Although it is extremely difficult to make these decisions but it is also a rewarding experience,’ she said.

She also told women to never avoid challenges as it was during those times that one’s craft in a leadership position was honed.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning at UKZN, Professor Renuka Vithal reflected on her experiences as both a mother and an academic stating that shifting of priorities between work, study and family life was evident in her life. ‘Women leadership journeys are never planned. Women often don’t think about the planned leadership processes. It just happens.’

Ms Zingiswa Losi of COSATU shared her experiences of working in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and of being a mother during those times and how that experience shaped her as a woman in a predominantly male environment.

Her advice to women was to display humility in leadership and to show respect. ‘We must, as women, begin to appreciate one another. Walk through those doors of opportunity, don’t expect favors. Take the criticism, take reflection and improve yourself.’

A photographic exhibition, titled -- FACES AND PHASES-- by KwaZulu-Natal-born Ms Zanele Muholi comprised 200 photographs of women, of which 57 photographs were showcased at the event to signify 57 years since the women’s march of 1956.  

‘Zanele Muholi asserts the absence of presence, zooming in with her lens to illicit our lesbophobic, xenophobic, queerphobic and homophobic gazes by making us see what we do not wish to see, the women we invisiblise because we are socialised to see women from a heterocentric point of view, physically, in the form of a woman we as a society are comfortable with whilst simultaneously in the imagination construct as absent the woman who refuses to be moulded to fit the commoditised cup of motherhood and maternity,’ explained Professor Rozena Maart.

She further added that Muholi’s photographs offer a visual history of the social, intellectual and political memory of South Africa - a memory fraught with the murder of lesbians in townships, cities and rural areas who are simply just a name to most of us.  

‘Her work urges us to recognise our struggle in their eyes, to look around and look  carefully at the faces of women and draw each one in with our own breath, one collective breath, as we celebrate Women's Month and remember the struggle for freedom,’ said Maart.

The event ended in an interactive conversational method where the audience asked pertinent, critical questions which stimulated debate and provided insight on contemporary thinking around classical feminist issues in the 21st Century.  

The discussions and responses were also well facilitated by Professor Pearl Sithole with the event proving to be a huge success with media, prominent government officials and representatives from various sectors in attendance. UKZN students also participated in the event.

Hoping this would be an annual event, Professor Cheryl Potgieter said, ‘As DVC  in office for nine months I will continue to ensure that gender issues be placed firmly on the agenda of transformation of the humanities.’


author email : Mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

LEGAL FORUM EXAMINES GOOD GOVERNANCE IN SA

LEGAL FORUM EXAMINES GOOD GOVERNANCE IN SA

The School of Law’s academic and socio-legal programme titled: “In Conversation with the Honourable Mr Justice Zakeria (Zak) Yacoob”, created a platform for the discussion of pertinent issues affecting good governance in South Africa.

The interactive programme launched last year allows the School to engage meaningfully with leading legal luminaries and gets them to reflect publicly on key socio-legal issues.

This year, the forum was hosted in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society as an occasion to confer on Yacoob, who is blind, the Presidency of the organisation and to celebrate the recent announcement of UKZN academic Professor Bonke Dumisa as one of its trustees.

Under the theme: “The widening chasm between public policy and public opinion”,  law academic, Professor Karthy Govender, engaged in  a one-on-one conversation with Yacoob on a variety of  legal topics and  on issues of public interest.

These included the lack of capacity within some municipalities to provide effective service delivery, imprudent use of public funds, the effectiveness of the judicial enquiry into the Marikana killings, the perception that the South African judiciary may not be impartial and the effect of politicians referring to judges as counter revolutionaries.

Yacoob responded to these issues by criticising the government for using taxpayers’ money to pay out former NPA boss Vusi Pikoli instead of abiding by the decisions of the courts. Yacoob also suggested that it may have been preferable to set up a preliminary investigation to ascertain the issues that led to the Marikana tragedy before proceeding with a full judicial enquiry. 

He lamented the inability of local government to deliver and suggested that the drafters of the Constitution should have allowed provincial government authorities to run local affairs in certain areas until competent and effective local government was established.

‘I hope the government will stop spending taxpayer’s money in pay outs, it is shameful. It was wrong for the development of municipalities not to be included in the constitution because you cannot establish a municipality without capacity that is working backwards. The government needs to develop programmes that take the needs of the vulnerable into account,’ said Yacoob.

The second part of the event involved opening up a platform for a question and answer session where the public was encouraged to contribute to the dialogue.

‘It was an exceptional session. Justice Yacoob talked candidly about a variety of issues that concern us such as government profligacy in  using tax payers’ money and the absolute necessity to resolve the critical issue of non-performing or underperforming municipalities,’ said Govender. ‘We hope to continue using this platform to generate more debate on key issues that impact on our society.’

The Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society, Ms Shamila Surjoo, encouraged people to make a contribution towards the needs of the blind and deaf as early intervention was vital.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN DISPLAY AT MARINE EXPO

UKZN DISPLAY AT MARINE EXPO

Postgraduate students from the Discipline of Marine Biology at UKZN participated in the Africa Marine and Leisure Expo on the main beach at Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

The students are part of the Marine Evolution Laboratory (MAREVOL) under the supervision of Dr Angus Macdonald at UKZN’s School of Life Sciences.

The focus of MAREVOL is to approach research topics such as conservation, ecology and taxonomy in the marine realm, from an evolutionary perspective; primarily through the use of genetic techniques. 

The MAREVOL team put together interesting displays at the Expo showcasing their projects which assisted them to interact with visitors and encouraged interest in the field of marine biology research.

Through the use of established and novel genetic techniques, MAREVOL is able to determine genetic relationships between organisms, based on accumulated differences within their DNA. These forms of data allow scientists to develop indices of relatedness, e/immigration, interbreeding, population growth, and diversity. This allows important insights into the nature and ecology of the species being studied.

Through conserving the genetic diversity of a species, scientists are able to ensure the “passing on” of favourable traits in individuals that may resist disease, changes in climate, pollution, and other human impacts.

During the Expo, the students also raised funds for a conference that they have been invited to in Mozambique later this year. 


author email : maneys@ukzn.ac.za

CALL FOR RESEARCH INTO JUDICIARY’S ROLE IN FIGHTING GENDER VIOLENCE

CALL FOR RESEARCH INTO JUDICIARY’S ROLE IN FIGHTING GENDER VIOLENCE

The Chief Justice of South Africa, the Honourable Mr Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, has called for academic research into the role of the judiciary in combating gender violence and in promoting gender equality.

Mogoeng was speaking at the 9th Annual Conference of the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (SAC-IAWJ) co-hosted by UKZN’s School of Law.

The Conference, which created a platform for judicial officers to discuss pertinent legal topics and to exchange ideas on best practices, was attended by high profile judicial officers such as the Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Honourable Madam Justice L Theron, and the Deputy Judge President of KwaZulu-Natal, the Honourable Mr Justice A Jappie.

Responding to the Conference theme: “A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women”, Mogoeng said: ‘As the judiciary, we need to make a brutal introspection of ourselves and the steps we are taking to ensure our performance is better than before.

‘Academics can play a role in researching areas of social context and sensitivity training to ensure that the judiciary is well equipped in addressing the issue of gender violence and gender equality. We need everyone to play their roles and play them well if gender violence is to be addressed. I am keen to hear the resolutions passed at the end of this Conference and steps you will take as a body to reach this goal. ’ 

The Dean and Head of the School of Law, Professor Managay Reddi, highlighted the 57th anniversary of the historic 1956 Women’s March and the pivotal role that transformation plays in curbing gender violence and creating gender equality.

‘The founding of a truly equal society is not possible without transformation. You, more than anybody else, therefore need to embrace the transformative those of our Constitution in the interpretation of the law that you apply in your courtrooms, to ensure that there is not just formal, but substantive transformation in the lives of all women in our country’ she said.

Under its sub-themes, the Conference addressed the nationwide issues of gender based violence, gender health; the judicial approach to gender equality; and governance and funding of NGOs post 1994.

There was also a discussion on the lack of women in senior positions within the Judiciary.

In her address, SAC-IAWJ President Madam Justice Baratang Connie Mocumie emphasised the importance of cultivating a mutually beneficial partnership between universities and the legal fraternity.

‘We need to build an interactive relationship with universities, such as this one, so that academics can interrogate issues which are too sensitive for the judiciary to handle. Through associating with academics and sharing ideas we can learn how to empower and develop ourselves,’ she said.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

AMATHUBA EMISEBENZI KUMKHANGISO WABAQASHI

AMATHUBA EMISEBENZI KUMKHANGISO WABAQASHI

Bangaphezu kwe-3 500 abafundi abahambe bethole ulwazi nokucaciseleka ngendlela okuyiyona edingekayo uma befuna umsebenzi abafuna ukuwenza, emkhangisweni wabaqashi obubanjelwe esikhungweni saseWestville.

Lomkhangiso wenzelwa ukuthi abafundi bathole ulwazi ngemikhakha yemisebenzi nokufunda okuyikho okuzobavulela amathuba okuqashwa.   

Lomkhangiso, ohlelwe iKolishi LezeMithetho nezifundo zokuPhatha bebambisene neKolishi leSayensi yezeMpilo, linikeze ithuba abantu abavela ezinkampanini ezingama-73 eziphezulu ekuqasheni ukuthi baxoxe nabafundi ngemisebenzi yokuqashwa ngokuphelele, ukusebenza ngamaholidi, amankontilaki ezokuqeqeshwa, ukusebenza ufunda, ukuqashwa kumazwe angaphandle kanye namathuba emifundaze.

Kwezinye zezinkampani ebezikhona bekubalwa kubo uMasipala waseThekwini, uClicks, u-Unilever, uNetcare, uFNB kanye noKPMG.

Abafundi bebefuna kakhulu ukwazi ngamathuba alabo abaneziqu kanye nezidingo zemisebenzi abayifundelayo.

Umfundi owenza unyaka wesine ezifundweni zeBCom Accounting uNksz Yasmin Masoka uthe: ‘Bengifuna ukwazi kakhulu ngamathuba enginawo mina. Umkhangiso ungilethele lonke ulwazi ebengiludinga. Manje sengiyazi ukuthi izinkampani ezahlukene zinaziphi izinto.’

Omunye umfundi wePharmacy naye owenza unyaka wesine uNksz Raeesa Doolarkhan uthe ubefuna ukwazi kakhulu ngokuqashwa okwesikhashana uma eqeda ukufunda.

‘Lolulwazi engilutholile kulomkhangiso selungisize kakhulu ekufikeleleni esinqumeni sokuthi ngizofaka kuphi isicelo sami somusebenzi nokuthola uqeqesho ngomsebenzi ukuze ngiphumelele emsebenzini wami.’

Nabaqashi basebenzise lelithuba ukubona ukuthi bangabaqasha yini abafundi ezinkampanini zabo.

Obheka amakhono kaUnilever, UMnu Azvir Rampursad, uthe: ‘Sikujabulele ukuthi abafundi esikhulume nabo bakulangazelele ukusebenza e-Unilever futhi banogqozi ngezimpahla zethu esizithengisayo. Sizojabula ukubabona abanye babo bezosebenzisana nathi babe ingxeye yenkampani yethu.’

Abahleli balomcimbi uNksz Rosheena Jeawon oyiCareer Development Officer eStudent Support Services kanye neCareer Development Officer, uDkt Vasi Govender bathe ukugcwala kwalomcimbi kukhombisile ukuthi abafundi bakulangazelele ukuthola amathuba emisebenzi nokuzithuthukisa.

Click here for English version


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN BUILDING GLOBAL BRIDGES

UKZN BUILDING GLOBAL BRIDGES

UKZN’s Community Development Programme, within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), recently partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Department of Social and Behavioural Health in Virginia in the United States for the Building Global Bridges (BGB) Project.

BGB, a collaborative community-engaged research project between UKZN, VCU and Brettonwood High School, is based in the under-resourced community of Kenneth Gardens in Umbilo, Durban.

The BGB project has at its core the overarching goal of fostering cross cultural learning opportunities for VCU, UKZN and Durban’s Brettonwood High School students.  Funding for the Global Bridges Project was provided by a VCU International Partnership Initiatives Award.

The UKZN/VCU students were sent out into Kenneth Gardens with the aim to expose them to life in Kenneth Gardens, to build cohesion in the community, and to collect data to be used as part of the research project.

The research focus is two-pronged. It aims to explore and better understand the lives of the people of Kenneth Gardens as well as to focus on the health problems residents experience. In order to address the research aims, UKZN and VCU students interviewed a sample of elders in the community as well as a sample of users of the local homeopathic clinic, situated on the estate and run by volunteers from the Homeopathy Department at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) and a local NPO, Senzokuhle.

In addition, 13 Brettonwood High School pupils, who are also residents of Kenneth Gardens, engaged in a photo-voice project where they were given digital cameras and asked to photograph people, places or things of interest and importance within Kenneth Gardens. This aided the research, showing the perceptions of Kenneth Gardens by the learners, including their understanding of threats to health in their community.

Students from both universities also recently presented a summary of work accomplished through the project at UKZN’s Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) which hosted UKZN and visiting VCU students for the duration of the project. This provided an opportunity for the audience to learn more about the UKZN-VCU collaboration and the other community engagement projects being undertaken by the Community Development Programme in Kenneth Gardens.

The data, photographs and student experiences were presented at this event. Grade 9  pupil, Mr Mncedisi Buthelezi, had taken a picture of the UKZN and VCU students as part of the photo-voice project. ‘These people are important because it shows there are those out there who care enough to get up and make a difference in other people’s lives. We can learn a lot from them,’ he said.

Speaking at the event, UKZN student, Mr Thula Sizwe Zungu, said: ‘As a student, you learn about research within a classroom setting but with the Building Global Bridges project, you really get to put it into action in the field and in turn develop and solidify new skills of your own. And now I can actually see research and academia as a viable career option.’

VCU student, Miss Lisa Borcheller, found the research experience to be incredibly rewarding and insightful. ‘With such an interdisciplinary and diverse team of students, it has been a unique learning and networking experience for me. There was the constant exchange of ideas, research styles and cultures and both professional and personal relationships were made.’

A VCU blog for the project was also established www.building-global-bridges.blogspot.com

A student-led presentation also took place at Brettonwood High School with guests being able to view the exhibition produced by the learners.


author email : Mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

15TH JOMBA! CONTEMPORARY DANCE EXPERIENCE SET TO “WOW” AUDIENCES

15TH JOMBA! CONTEMPORARY DANCE EXPERIENCE SET TO “WOW” AUDIENCES

UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) proudly presents its 15th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban from Wednesday, 28 August to Sunday, 8 September.

This year’s festival is a delightful blend of local and international dance theatre. Dancers from Holland, Switzerland, America, Portugal and France will grace the JOMBA! stages alongside some of South Africa’s most cutting edge performers.

On the local front, JOMBA! is proud to host the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist award winner for dance, Mr Fana Tshabalala, whose new work, INDUMBA, premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to critical acclaim.

One of the gems of this year’s festival is the collaboration between local Durban-based dancer and choreographer Desiré Davids and France-based Hélène Cathala in a soulful duet called B.L.E.N.D. where they share the stage in a confrontation of their divergent histories.

On the international front, this will be the first edition of JOMBA! to host an American Dance Company. In partnership with the US Consulate in Durban and the US Department of State’s Arts Envoy Programme.

JOMBA! is delighted to host the Chicago-based company Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. ‘Deeply Rooted will spend two weeks in Durban and will be part of JOMBA’s extended dance education and development programme run in conjunction with the Flatfoot Dance Company,’ said Lliane Loots , Artistic Director of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience and Flatfoot Dance Company.

Deeply Rooted will travel to Flatfoot’s numerous dance programmes run in Umlazi, KwaMashu and Tugela Mouth. Over the next two weeks, Deeply Rooted will share their dance skills and philosophy with more than 600 KZN young dancers in an enriching cultural exchange.’

Deeply Rooted’s invitation to JOMBA! will culminate in two stellar performances on the closing nights of the festival on 7 and 8 September. They will present choreography that threads together some of their key signature dance works.

The partnership with Flatfoot Dance Company will also see the six resident dancers of Flatfoot joining Deeply Rooted in their performances during JOMBA! after having spent two weeks learning their repertoire and sharing styles and working methods.

Another first for JOMBA! is an unprecedented treat for ballet and neo-classical dance lovers in the form of Holland’s magnificent INTRODANS.

World-renowned for skill and virtuosity, INTRODANS brings a programme suitably titled SUPERSTARS which features five choreographies by five of Holland and Europe’s most influential dance makers in the form of Anaphase by Ohad Naharin, Evening Songs by Jirí Kylián, Nacho Duato’sSinfonía IndiaPas de Danse by Mats Ek and Polish Pieces by the Dutch Maestro Hans van Manen.

Portuguese dancer Francisco Camacho and his EIRA dance company will perform on the opening night of JOMBA! in a hard hitting solo dance theatre work called The King In Exile.

Another first for JOMBA! is an event collaboration with Durban’s artSPACE (Durban) Gallery. Monday 2 September provides a once-off evening of site-specific dance work made for an audience wanting an up-close and personal encounter with dance. Also on view at the JOMBA! @ artSPACE event, is a collection of award winning short one minute dance films from all over the globe curated by Jeannette Ginslov’s ScreenDance Africa.

JOMBA! hosts its usual platforms of the Fringe (Sunday 1 September) and the Youth Fringe (Saturday 31 August). ‘With over 60 entries for a coveted place in this year’s JOMBA! Fringe, the selection of only 10 works was a difficult task but means that the final selection offers a standard of dance theatre that is growing,’ said Ngubane. ‘The JOMBA! Youth Fringe takes place at the Wiggins Community Hall in Cato Manor/Umkhumbane and is a celebration of over 28 KZN based youth dance groups and the incredible dance work that they are doing.’

JOMBA! also offers a full programme of workshops and master classes by all of the participating dancers and choreographers. These workshops and classes are offered free of charge but booking is essential.

‘In promoting critical arts dialogue and writing about dance and the arts, JOMBA! runs its 4th year of the Dance Writing Residency. Six applicants have been selected and will be mentored through the festival as they create critical writing for both the JOMBA! Blog and for the JOMBA! Khuluma festival newspaper,’ said Loots.  

Loots will also host the anticipated JOMBA! Talks Dance platforms with the various dancers and choreographers presenting work at JOMBA! These will be held directly after performances.

For more information, go to www.cca.ukzn.ac.za and on Facebook (JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience) and Twitter (Twitter @Jomba_dance)


author email : Mungroo@ukzn.acza

YOUNG RESEARCHER WINS SCHOLARSHIP

YOUNG RESEARCHER WINS SCHOLARSHIP

Postdoctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L), Dr Sandra Hildbrand, has been awarded a Jörg Meyer-Stamer Scholarship.

The Scholarship, which supports young development researchers and practitioners, is funded by the consultancy company Mesopartner, a well-known provider of specialised know-how on territorial development, competitiveness and innovation.

Hildbrand aims to expand the findings from her PhD research to explore how some of the detected shortcomings in the complex sugarcane production and supply systems could be addressed. This project will be supervised by her PhD supervisor, Dr Shamim Bodhanya.

As part of the Scholarship, Hildbrand was invited to attend the 9th International Summer Academy on Systemic Change in Territories, held in Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany. The Regional and Local Economic Development Initiative (RLEDI) at the GSB&L supported her participation and made her attendance possible.

The Summer Academy conveyed principles from systems and complexity thinking. The systemic insight approach connecting different principles, systems and methods was introduced as highly valuable for economic development and formed a central part of the summer academy.

This approach is composed of five phases - hypothesis, analysis, understanding, strategy and intervention - and a continuous process of learning and adjusting. In addition to the systemic insight approach, participants could choose from a series of seminars, such as inclusive economic development, creative facilitation and making markets work in territories on one day.

Hildbrand said: ‘The Summer Academy certainly provided up-to-date, practical and theoretical know-how on local economic development. One of the key learning’s described the necessity of a systemic approach that considers different perceptions, revisits present assumptions and continuously reflects on issues to reach a deeper understanding of the situation.’

She is planning to share some of the learning’s with postgraduate students at a workshop in the near future.

Twenty-seven economic development experts from 19 different countries participated in the Academy which created the unique opportunity to share experience and build networks for future discussion.


author email : hildbrands@ukzn.ac.za

LEADING CHINESE MEDICAL INSTITUTE VISITS UKZN

LEADING CHINESE MEDICAL INSTITUTE VISITS UKZN

UKZN’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) recently hosted China’s leading educational, research and malaria monitoring institute, the Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS).

The delegation consisted of the Vice-President of SAMS, Professor Jianhua Xun; the Director of Shandong Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Professor Xin Liu; the Director of Research at SAMS, Professor Luyu Ma; the Director of Laboratory Animal Center at SAMS, Professor Sujun Lu and Associate Professor of Shandong Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Professor Fuyong Wang.

SAMS was established in 1958 and is very similar to UKZN’s CHS. It is also engaged in medical research, disease control, clinical practice, education and training. SAMS consists of 13 research institutes and collaborates with eight hospitals in China. Part of the delegation included scientists from the SAMS Institute of Parasitic Diseases.

SAMS is a leading research institute in China which has through research and treatment managed to eradicate kala-azar, filariasis, malaria and leprosy in Shandong. SAMS monitors and controls all parasitic diseases in the Shandong Province, through collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Some of the key priorities of SAMS are to collaborate with UKZN’s CHS in the areas of genetic exploration of drug resistance, rapid diagnosis of diseases, early diagnosis of cerebral malaria and vaccine development. The delegation is also keen to explore a collaborative programme offering collaborative research projects, student and staff exchange and co-operation in areas of clinical medicine.

Xun said SAMS had assisted many countries in Africa to establish monitoring centres of malaria. ‘We have good laboratory support, close relations with monitoring stations in rural areas of China, WHO experiences for training of occupational health experts and contacts with international institutions. We are also willing to offer UKZN’s CHS samples that we collect from our collaborative hospitals and monitoring sites.’

CHS’s Dean of Research, Professor Moses Chimbari, told the delegation that the College would look favourably at renewing a Memorandum of Understanding with SAMS. He said: ‘We are very happy to explore solid areas of collaboration which fit in with our internationalisation plan. We are a research driven College and welcome similar institutions that would add value to our programmes, staff and students.’


author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

RAISING AWARENESS IS THE ANSWER - BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

RAISING AWARENESS IS THE ANSWER - BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

Breaking the silence about breast cancer will empower other women and raise serious awareness about the illness, says cancer survivor, Ms Vanessa Moodley.

A Senior Lecturer in Optometry, Moodley was speaking at a fundraising event, CUPPA for CANSA, organised by School of Health Sciences’ staff in the spirit of August as Breast Cancer Month.

Moodley was diagnosed with breast cancer more than two years ago – the discovery was inevitably associated with initial shock and trauma.  However, it did allow her the opportunity to reflect on the important things in life and learn how to lead a more balanced lifestyle. 

The journey through the treatment was made easier due to the strong support system around her. ‘I am very grateful for the overwhelming support I received from family, friends and colleagues who held my hand every step of the way.’

The reality is that not everybody is fortunate enough to have the disease diagnosed in the early stages, says Moodley, and this is why she chose to go public about her condition, in the hope that her optimism will inspire old and younger women to get screened for breast cancer annually. ‘The cost of treating late stage cancer is very high so it is important to be screened regularly for early detection.’

Moodley is the Chairperson of the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s Professional Board for Optometry and Dispensing Opticians in South Africa. She said organisations such as Reach4Recovery were dedicated to supplying practical and emotional support to breast cancer patients and their families and encouraged women and men to contact them if they or a family member were diagnosed so that the organisation could provide the necessary support.

It was common knowledge that breast cancer was no longer prevalent only among older women. Statistics revealed that younger women, and even aging men, were susceptible. Moodley recollected meeting many young women with the disease but was most affected by a teenage girl who had a double mastectomy.

Moodley said all women were at risk of getting breast cancer. Studies showed that women over the age of 40 were more at risk as were those whose family had a record of the disease.

At-risk people also included women who started menstruating at a young age, those who underwent menopause at a late stage, had children after the age of 30 or not at all, and those who drank more than two glasses of alcohol a day.

Moodley said early warning signs included: finding a lump in the breast or armpit, puckering of the skin around the breast and chest area, an increase in the size of one breast, dimpling or change of the nipple, a swelling of the glands, a discharge from the nipple, a swelling in the armpit or lowering of one breast or nipple.

Studies confirmed that the risk of breast cancer could be reduced by regular exercise, eating a low fat diet, controlling body weight, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking at all. “Women are encouraged to see a doctor or their nearest clinic as soon as they notice any changes in their breast(s). A mammogram is a quick and relatively painless X-ray that assists in the early detection of breast cancer even before the lump is obvious,’ said Moodley.

‘R3050 was raised at the CUPPA for CANSA initiative and money is still coming in, in the form of personal donations,’ said Ms Sandra Naidoo of the School of Health Sciences. ‘Employees from various disciplines supported the idea to raise funds for the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) for Breast Cancer Month. So many mothers and sisters of ours have died of breast cancer.  This is our contribution towards the fight for cancer and to show that we care.’


author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za

UMALUSI USES EXPERTISE OF UKZN ACADEMICS

UMALUSI USES EXPERTISE OF UKZN ACADEMICS

The UMALUSI Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training has appointed UKZN’s Professor Delia North as a member of their Assessment Standards Committee.

North is the Academic Leader of the Discipline of Statistics in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.

Her colleague, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Mathematics Dr Sudan Hansraj, who served on the Committee from 2002 to 2006, has been reappointed this year.

‘The brief of UMALUSI (isiXhosa for “shepherd”) is to ensure that qualifications in South Africa are accredited at the appropriate education level,’ said Hansraj. ‘In particular, UMALUSI governs the exit examination, namely the matric examination, and also oversees the qualifications of persons from outside South Africa to ensure equivalence of qualifications.’

North and Hansraj have been invited to serve as academics on the Standardisation Panel which comprises statisticians, mathematicians, mathematics educationists and staff of UMALUSI.

Hansraj said the Standardisation Committee role was to ensure the matric examination standard was maintained from year to year and that any deviations were measured against an averaging of performance over the previous five years.

This process ensured that students had been fairly examined and that current matriculants were in a comparable position to their counterparts in the previous year.  

North follows in the footsteps of Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Wits, Professor Paul Fatti, a highly respected and experienced statistician who served in the position for eight years. Fatti recommended North for the position based on her immeasurable experience as a statistician and educationist.

‘I am very honoured to serve on the UMALUSI Assessments Standards Committee, in particular to follow on from Professor Paul Fatti,’ said North. ‘The scope of work that this committee does includes overseeing the standards of final examinations in government schools, independent schools, FET Colleges and adult education centres.’

Her work at the University has allowed North to share her wealth of knowledge throughout the years through teaching as well as through several outreach projects for in-service teachers around the country.

‘With the current debate about education levels in the country, I feel it is a great time to serve on a committee of this nature. I look forward to working with an excellent team towards ensuring that the best possible crop of learners enters the tertiary institutions of their choice.  I have been passionate about education for many years - at my university, nationally and internationally - as nothing is more worthy of my time than working with our young people, the leaders of tomorrow,’ said North.

Hansraj has been instrumental in furthering mathematics education, both at school and tertiary level for many years. He has also been involved in a number of outreach initiatives including tuition programmes for underprivileged high school students in the greater Durban area.

‘It is a great achievement for the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science to have two members on the UMALUSI Standardisation Panel,’ said North.


author email : maraisb@ukzn.ac.za

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE WORKSHOP

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE WORKSHOP

UKZN’s Stratford House Committee Residence recently organised a workshop on core issues which contribute towards gender-based violence (GBV).

The forum was led by two activists in the field – Dr Anthony Collins of the School of Psychology and Dr Lubna Nadvi of the School of Politics.

Collins, who has done extensive research on violence and GBV in particular, is the 2012 recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teachers’ Award for teaching excellence.

He spoke about the problem of under reporting and outlined strategies on how to address the issue, highlighting the need for all acts of violence to receive sufficient attention to raise the ire of society ie through reports in the media.

Nadvi is the current Chairperson of the Advice Desk for the Abused, a radio commentator, a political analyst and human rights activist. She is the recipient of Amnesty International’s Human Rights Award for Women’s Rights.

She spoke on issues of women’s emancipation, mentioning achievements made by women in various fields, including the appointment of Dr Frene Ginwala as the first Speaker of the National Assembly in a democratic South Africa.

Nadvi also discussed the work of the Advice Desk for the Abused, suggesting that attitudinal changes were needed for success in the battle against violence.

There was also a presentation by a poet from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Fanelesibonge Mkhize, who has worked with the renowned story teller Gcina Mhlophe and performed for President Zuma.


author email : 210538103@stu.ukzn.ac.za

TOP COMPANIES ATTEND CAREER FAIR AT UKZN

TOP COMPANIES ATTEND CAREER FAIR AT UKZN

A Career Fair on the Howard College and Pietermaritzburg campuses gave students the invaluable opportunity to network with representatives from a number of top companies and industry leaders on full-time job opportunities, vacation employment, training contracts, learnerships, and various bursary opportunities.

Representatives from companies and organisations such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, SASSRI, The RCL Group, Diageo, Toyota, Agristaff, PwC, Stark Ayres, LIMA, Standard Bank, The Auditor General, and First National Bank, were at the Fair.

Organised by Student Support Services, the Career Fair aims to bridge the gap between tertiary education and the working world by providing a platform on which students can gain insight into the career possibilities available to them once they graduate.

‘We support initiatives like the Career Fair because they educate students about career possibilities available to them,’ said Ms Adri Coetzee of Stark Ayres.

The Fair was a hive of activity with students asking numerous questions about career choices and unique opportunities offered by companies to graduates.

UKZN student, Ms Hilda Tsanga, described the Fair as a useful tool to help decide on the best route to follow on graduation.

Mr Ricardo Cele of Procter & Gamble said the Fair was an ideal platform to connect with talent UKZN had to offer: ‘Procter & Gamble is pleased with the calibre of this year’s UKZN students.’

Agriculture students Ms Thandanai Nongalo, Ms Xola Nqabeni and Ms Leanda Mncube, all in their final year, agreed that the Fair provided them with information which helped calm their anxieties regarding life and work opportunities.


author email : maraisb@ukzn.ac.za

RESEARCH OFFERS FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON UNLOCKING STUDENT POTENTIAL

RESEARCH OFFERS FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON UNLOCKING STUDENT POTENTIAL

Research being undertaken by Dr Annah Bengesai, the new Head of the Teaching and Learning Unit in the College of Law and Management Studies, aims to prove that the key to success for disadvantaged students is self-motivation and a sense of personal responsibility.

Bengesai’s research which compares UKZN with three other institutions in sub-Saharan Africa provides a different perspective of how disadvantaged students use the challenges they face as motivation to attain success in their academic studies.

‘It is interesting to observe that students who do not have resources or face poverty are driven by those factors to work hard and succeed,’ said Bengesai. ‘Most people think of disadvantage as a negative thing but my research shows that it can have a positive influence in student success. I am planning to present my research at the International Teaching and Learning conference.’

In her doctoral dissertation titled: “Critiquing Representation: the Case of an Academic Literacy Course in an Engineering Faculty in a South African University”, Bengesai’s explored institutional practices of teaching and learning through a multidisciplinary approach drawn from applied linguistics, sociology and philosophy.

In her previous position as an Academic Development Co-ordinator at the School of Engineering she researched various strategies of teaching and learning which she plans to adopt in the College.

‘There are various strategies that are beneficial to lectures and students that can be adopted in the College but one has to look at how these changes may pose a challenge for lecturers  who might find it difficult to adjust to the new systems. The context might be different to what I am used to but I believe that the goal of academic excellence is the same across the board and we can achieve success in this regard through working together,’ said Bengesai.

‘Dr Bengesai comes into the College Teaching and Learning Unit with an impressive academic research record that is very pertinent to the operations of the Unit,’ said College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay.

‘Additionally, she has gained valuable on-the-ground experience in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, which should stand her in good stead in an environment that is both complex and creatively challenging.’


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac,za

MASAKHANE YOUTH LEADERSHIP COURSE

MASAKHANE YOUTH LEADERSHIP COURSE

The Community Development Association (CDA), a student-run voluntary organisation at UKZN and other South African universities, hosted its 12th annual Masakhane Youth Leadership Course (MYLC) between 30 June and 6 July.

The CDA works to address societal issues, including those of inequality, leadership development and HIV/AIDS awareness, through youth participation and volunteer work. This is achieved through fostering partnerships between the organisation and schools.

The course has enjoyed tremendous growth from its humble beginnings in 2002 when it hosted 25 pupils from KwaZulu-Natal to the 2013 course in which more than 150 pupils took part.

In keeping with the CDA’s objectives, the MYLC cultivates the leadership skills of Grade 11 pupils, acknowledging the importance of an enlightened youth.

This year participants spent a week at UKZN’s Edgewood campus involved in the programme which aims to:

* enable youth to create their own experiences of leadership by promoting social responsibility, critical engagement and innovation among youth;
* initiate a national conversation on the role of youth in a democratic dispensation;
* promote and encourage collaboration among South African youth of different racial, linguistic and schooling backgrounds;
* empower youth with leadership skills for strategic thinking and planning.

The core aim of the MYLC is to encourage participants to go back into their schools and communities with a sense of confidence in their ability to advocate for a change in their peers and encourage them to take ownership of and have pride in their societies.

The course is just one of the many community outreach initiatives driven by the CDA.


author email : 211549585@stu.ukzn.ac.za

EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH FURTHERED AT EXAMINER’S WORKSHOP

EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH FURTHERED AT EXAMINER’S WORKSHOP

Staff from the College of Law and Management Studies recently exchanged ideas on elevating the quality of the examination process to ensure the advancement of excellence in research.

The examiner’s workshop, organised by the College’s Dean of Research, Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama, in collaboration with academic leaders, created an interactive platform for staff to engage on the policies, methodologies and principles involved in the examination process.

Speakers included Professor Damtew Teferra of the Higher Education Unit; the Director of Quality Promotion and Assurance, Dr Luvuyo Lalendle; the Director of Postgraduate Studies: Research Capacity Development, Dr Nthabiseng Motsemme; the Chairperson of the Ethics Committee: Dr Shenuka Singh; the School of Law’s Academic Leader of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley; the College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay; Post-doctoral Fellow, Dr Brett Van Niekerk, and Professor  Michael Samuel of the School of Education.

‘The workshop aimed to bridge the gap between the senior and junior examiners and ensure examiners are not only up to standard and develop polices but respond to the College’s goal of promoting excellence in research,’ said Ntlama.

Under the broad topic of University’s policies on the examination process for both masters and doctoral degrees, Carnelley, informed the group of the success of the School’s new requirement for registered PHD students to defend their proposal before the higher degrees committee.

Carnelley said this created an opportunity for the student to benefit from feedback and guidelines given by the committee on how they should refine their research.

College Office Administrator Ms Simangele Nina advised staff on the correct procedure for filing documents and the importance of submitting documents on time.

Under the topic Research Methodologies and Examination Processes in Light of Publication, Teferra explored the area of quantitative and qualitative research.

‘Research aims to address a problem, explore and acquire knowledge to improve rankings. Journals are not the only means of communicating knowledge timeously - there are other research methods and we should explore those methods and their link to the editorial process,’ said Teferra.

Under the subject of the Principles of Quality Assurance, Lalendle covered plagiarism, academics engaging in cohorts to acquire good knowledge of current research methods appropriate to the nature of students, and the outlining of mutual expectations of the supervision process.

Pillay, van Niekerk and Samuel gave their perspective as examiners and students on aligning with the principles of the examination process.


author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

Keyan G Tomaselli*

What can be learned following all the excitement, despair and finally elation resulting from the 2013 Durban International Film Festival?

No theatrics, no protests, no foul language, no more sore bums and backs from watching too many movies, too often at too many venues.  Must say, DIFF really does jazz up Durban.  Much more fun than ICC conferences on toilets, climate and sanitation. Descending upon the town are all those quirky film directors, scheming producers, and earnest creative artists.  In their wake come the film buffs, international film scholars, film fanatics and all manner of hustlers on the make.  DIFF’s epicentre, the Blue Waters Hotel, really does rock for the 10 days.

Our students got professional experience. They generated film reviews for City Press, learning about real pressure in the real world and the need to meet real deadlines.  Under these pressing conditions of mimicking a real newsroom they had to generate publishable articles overnight.  

UKZN student reporters were jostling for attention along with globally published journalists, film makers, bloggers, film critics, activists and social media nutters.   The students moved from being eyes-wide shut to eyes-wide open. Some also were employed by visiting scholars to assist them in their own research. Others chaired workshops, panels and selected films and served in many organisational capacities, learning event management along the way.

DIFF has become a great incubator of media professionals, real-world training, and it offers a high pressure creative laboratory via the Talent Campus.  It is also a hub for financing via the Durban Film Mart.  Indeed, the financial and creative contribution of DIFF to Durban’s economy is being studied by our students, who also work with the Durban Film Office in assessing Durban’s film services and the city’s film friendliness.   DIFF and Durban are synergetically intertwined. 

DIFF/Durban and Africa are all conjoined, as one West African film director argued in his assessment of the impact on the continent as a whole of the banning of: Of Good Report. If artistic freedom is lost in South Africa it will never emerge in the rest of the continent, he observed.

DIFF has never been just a film festival.  Rather, it has historically worked as part of the contested public sphere, as it should do.  Debates, hot air, cold nights, lots of coffee, huge crowds, deafening parties, and seminars and workshops all jostled for attention.  DIFF is a place where public policy gets proposed. This is where film makers get to interact with the Film and Publication Board and other state bodies like the National Film and Video Foundation and the Department of Trade and Industry. These organisations are vigorously reminded that they are accountable to the film and public sectors - and not just to themselves.  Policy debates emerge out of the controversies, are negotiated in the corridors and the endless haze of cigarette smoke in which creatives constantly cocoon themselves trying to look cool (while getting very hot under the collar).

In the old days, thanks to a loophole in the censorship legislation, films banned from cinemas could be rented from film stores and screened in homes and other places.  The contradiction was that only 35mm films were subject to censorship.  16mm and Super 8 were excluded. Festivals were from the early 1980s granted an automatic censorship exemption.  Specialist educated audiences were assumed by the then Directorate of Publications as being mature enough to handle controversial fare.   DIFF was a key player in securing this policy change from the silly idea that assumed that all viewers are copy cat rats lacking aesthetic discernment - a lesson forgotten by the current Film and Publication Board.

The Board ironically did the country a favour by banning Of Good Report and placed UKZN at the centre of debates about the public sphere.   This is exactly where a university should be. Current issues impacting access to information and the credibility of the national public sphere were re-ignited with explosive force. 

Festival films are usually innovative, activist and challenging. “Audiences,” as one wag put it, “are part of the struggle” for aesthetic freedom and for restoration of the integrity of the citizen-led public sphere.  A key demand was that artists, authors, film makers, academics etc, should be advising the state’s regulatory bodies.  In the course of events, cool heads prevailed, and it was agreed that “due protocols” would be pursued, including a respectful engagement with representatives from the Board.

 It was really good to be part of an institution hosting such energy, shaping the debates and supporting the film sector.

This banning incident goes to the heart of authorial issues:  the role of archives, international conventions and United Nations and other declarations on freedom of expression issues, and reader/viewer access. The tweeting and blogging even during the opening, and later media releases turned the opening night’s film banning into a global issue.   How to find a balance between “protection” and “expression” becomes an issue for the Board, as indeed it was for the authors of Of Good Report.

This is the real world in which students participated and learned. They came back to the second semester bristling with self-confidence, knowing that they can cut it with the best, that they participated in the making of history, and also they got to hob nob with so many celebrities.  

·        Keyan G Tomaselli is Director of The Centre for Communication, Media and Society.  The security police still have a copy of his Super 8 movie, Wits Protest (1970-1974), which was never approved by the apartheid censorship apparatus.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.


author email : TOMASELL@ukzn.ac.za