The University Intensive Tuition for Engineering (UNITE) programme at UKZN’s Engineering discipline received R1.8 million from Telkom SA Ltd. which will enable 30 high academic potential learners from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to study Engineering.


This foundation training programme is aimed at enhancing skills development, job creation and economic growth in South Africa.  The Telkom-UNITE Bursary Grant which will be made over a three-year period was announced at a function today.


The choice of UNITE to spearhead this initiative in KwaZulu-Natal is a powerful vote of confidence in an alternate access programme which has over 20 years consistently delivered on its mandate of promoting excellence in Engineering study.  The one-year programme has provided more than 1 000 students with an opportunity to pursue a career in Engineering. It is currently the sole Engineering-oriented alternate access academic programme and has for many years pioneered holistic, innovative and interactive teaching methods.


All academic and supplementary teaching and learning activities – such as comprehensive life skills training, mentoring, intensive tutoring, and the Orientation Programme – are geared towards developing the potential of students.


In addition to increasing the numbers of Black engineers, UNITE has also enhanced the academic performances and long-term career potential of more than 1 000 students. Over the years, many UNITE students have been awarded the Dean’s Commendation in recognition of outstanding academic achievement. Large numbers of graduates of the programme are now in employed in major corporations in South Africa, several of them at senior executive level. Some have ventured into consulting practices, whilst others are engaged in post-graduate research locally and internationally.

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Recently released research, conducted by Professor Steve Johnson and his team at the School of Biological and Conservation Sciences over a period of six years, reveals just how adept plants are at communicating with animals.  Their study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, involved the plant Cytinus visseri, and is the first to isolate the plant’s specific chemical scent and discover its effect on ground-dwelling mammals responsible for pollination.  

It is well known that flowering plants use a variety of methods/signals to attract pollinators who facilitate their reproduction.  Scent is one such method. It is particularly effective because of the diversity of volatile chemicals in flowers and because of animals’ heightened sense of smell.  In addition, scent is extremely valuable to plants pollinated by small mammals that do their work at night when visual cues are less effective.  However, little research exists as to what kinds of scents are most attractive to pollinators.  According to Johnson, humans find flowers pollinated by ground-dwelling mammals to be ‘yeasty’ or ‘pungent’ smelling.  However, “the chemical composition and attraction function of the floral scents of species pollinated by ground-dwelling mammals have remained unknown.”

Cytinus visseri is a parasitic flowering plant that does not produce chlorophyll but instead relies totally on its host plant.  It produces dark maroon, unusually robust flowers and resulting fruits which are hidden under the dense canopy of host shrubs.  Its floral features are similar to those of other southern African plants which rely on pollination by ground-dwelling mammals. 

The field component of Johnson’s study was conducted at Mauchsberg, the highest point on Long Tom Pass in Mpumalanga and home to the largest known population of Cytinus visseri plants.  His colleagues included researchers from the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the University of Calgary and the German University of Bayreuth. 

The researchers collected the scent from male and female flowers and analysed the samples in the laboratory using gas chromatography mass spectrometry.  The scent comprised over 30 different compounds, with the main volatiles being 1-hexan-3-one, 3-hexanone and ethyl butyrate.  To ascertain the exact identity of the pollin
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The Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) at UKZN hosted two stimulating discussions on February 1 and 2, titled: Classification, legislation and the Constitutional ideal of non-racialism and Classifying people: necessity of categories?


These topical events drew students, academics and others to discuss the South African ideal of non-racialism and the consequences of continuing classification in the light of today’s equity-based legislation.


Facilitated by the ccrri, the topics were tackled by academics from local and international universities, providing a platform for dialogue and debate.


Are there ways in which South Africa can untangle itself from the injustices of apartheid? Is it possible to draft constitutional legislation towards equity but avoid classification, which risks perpetuating predominant gender and racial hierarchies comparable to what it was in the country’s past? These were some of the unresolved questions that surfaced during the discussions.

Professor Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance at the University of Cape Town, UKZN’s Professors Steve Peté and Marelie Maritz, and Ms Sarah Pudifin, currently completing her pupillage in Durban, were the key speakers in the session on Classification, legislation and the Constitutional ideal of non-racialism. This first event was arranged in collaboration with the Faculty of Law.

De Vos posed the question: in trying to achieve equity, are the correct groups being targeted by the South African Constitutional Court “as it tries to address a mix masala of categories”? His concern was that although there is no ill intent in identifying categories (be they racial or gender groupings) to benefit from equity plans, therein lies a danger of perpetuating the very gender and racial hierarchies which can be traced in the country’s history.


The idea of ‘classifying people’ was the focus of the second event. Debating this topic were international speakers: Professor Ian Hacking from the University of Toronto in Canada; Professor

It’s a first for UKZN and South Africa. Whilst many researchers have examined economic issues in the maritime industry, there has not been much focus in South African scholarship on understanding the sociology of labour markets for sailors in the global labour market at doctoral level.

For his PhD work on understanding the way labour markets and human resources practices impact on seafarers’ occupational lives, Dr Shaun Ruggunan, a senior lecturer at the discipline of Human Resources (HR) Management in the School of Management recently received a Y-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF). The Y-rating recognises a researcher, under the age of 40, who is recognised by all or the overriding majority of reviewers as having the potential to establish him/herself as a researcher as demonstrated by recent research products.

Ruggunan’s work focused specifically at how employment trends have changed in the shipping industry in South Africa (SA), the Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK) over the past 30 years. He spent about three months in each country and in South Africa conducted most of his field work in Durban and Cape Town.

He said that his work has the potential to contribute to Maritime Studies which is one of UKZN’s research focus areas for 2011. He added that his thesis is interdisciplinary since it involves studies looking at economics, human resources development and industrial sociology.

An important outcome of this study is that it will help contribute to job creation strategies for South African sailors. Ruggunan found that South Africa has the least number of sailors in commercial shipping and the Philippines has the most. He added that the numbers of sailors in the UK have declined rapidly - this is caused by the fact that sailors in the UK and SA are regarded as ‘expensive’. The study also compared the strategies used in the Philippines to those in the other two countries. He said that the wages paid to the sailors are tax free, paid in dollars and the rates are set globally.

Ruggunan was also commissioned by the Transport Education and Training Authority to research and investigate strategies that can be used to create employment opportunities for South African seafarers. He said government has recently invested money to examine a national training scheme to ensure that sailors obtain the requisite skills to complete their email :



The Centre for Rural Health (CRH) on UKZN’s Howard College campus is proud to announce the appointment of Dr Bernhard Gaede as its new Director on February 1.


After qualifying as a doctor Gaede joined the Health Systems Trust (HST) as a facilitator in 1998 in the Initiative for Sub-District Support in Bergville, in the Drakensberg. Thereafter, he stayed on in the Bergville area, working at Emmaus Hospital from the year 2000 as Hospital Manager, Medical Manager as well as Medical Officer at different stages.


He has been extensively involved with rural health advocacy through the the Rural Doctors’ Association of Southern Africa (RuDASA) as well as the Rural Health Advocacy Project.


The CRH works to improve the health of rural communities through research, capacity building and advocacy. The Centre works closely with the public health system, community networks and the University to improve the health care offered to underserved communities in rural areas.


“It is an intensive learning experience working out in the rural areas. It opens your eyes to how much change you can make working away from urban medical centres,” Gaede said.


Happy to have been received warmly by the Centre and colleagues at UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medline, Gaede looks forward to working closely with medical students and encouraging ‘rural friendliness’ during their years of study and practice. His appointment is the first step in setting up the new Department of Rural Health at UKZN – the first academic department of its nature in the country.


Gaede admitted that it is tough working as a health practitioner in rural areas, which, while home to 43 percent of the country’s population, have few medical facilities and a shortage of medication. “I
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The School of Development Studies is delighted to welcome Dr Justin Barnes, the recently appointed Adjunct Associate Professor in Industrial Studies.  


The focus of the post is to grow the field of Industrial Development in the School and offer the School’s Masters students the opportunity to explore the challenges faced by industry in sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa.


Barnes will undertake research and continue publishing in this field, specifically on global value chains, industrial policy, firm-level upgrading and competitiveness. The first study which he will undertake will be in collaboration with Professor Anthony Black from the Economics Department at the University of Cape Town, and will be on the automotive industry, comparing the competitiveness of two countries, South Africa and Thailand.

He hopes to supplement his considerable experience as a consultant in industry and in policy-making in South Africa with academic rigour, creating a platform for industrial development.


During his time at UKZN, continuing work in industry will facilitate the maintenance and growth of the dynamic interaction between graduate teaching, a focused research remit on industrialisation and an applied/policy role, that would benefit both the students and School, while supporting government’s and industry’s strategic goal to build skills and capacity and enhance research capabilities.

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“Pack-up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile...” George Henry Powell

Fancy studying abroad for a semester? Ever wanted to experience what Asher Roth sings about in his 2008 song ‘I love College’? Ever imagined yourself sipping French Vanilla Lattés at Starbucks with slithers of lemon pound cake at the corner of Bonita and Yale Avenue in Claremont California instead of Zanzibar Lounge in Westwood Mall? Or leaving your comfort-zone and being an ambassador for UKZN and making new international friends.

It’s that time of year once again, when the UKZN International Exchange Programme invites second and third year students to apply to participate in the International Exchange Programme. If your application is successful you can spend an entire semester at any one of the universities or colleges that UKZN has ties with anywhere in the world, yes anywhere in the world, think BIG.

This time last year I myself spent the spring semester at Pitzer College, a Los Angeles-area Liberal-Arts College in California, USA. Looking back I learnt a lot and experienced the best six months of my life there. Not to sound Americanized but it was sick and totally awesome, omg.  At Pitzer College I was part of a much bigger international group which saw me mingling with 27 other international students from far flung places like Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Australia, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Britain, Botswana, Morocco, Finland, Italy and the list goes on and on.

Each university that hosts international students has a very caring and engaging international office; ensuring that you feel welcome and they also go out of their way to make your stay as pleasant as possible. They organise excursions and various activities monthly and partner one with a host family which helps immensely with homesickness. You also get a host friend who helps you make sense of student life in your journey towards cultural appropriation. There are people all along the way to make you feel welcome so there’s nothing to be afraid of.

The biggest thing that might jolt you a bit is the ‘infamous’ culture shock. Being South African one might be fooled and think that by living in a multicultural, multiracial and multi-ethnical country that has 11 official languages we’d be immune to culture shock but such luck doesn’t exist. Culture shock is when one is taken out of one’s familiar surroundings. Old status quos and modus operandi are no more and one is placed in an utterly new milieu. The fun bit then begins. One then needs to learn to appropriate oneself to the new culture and surroundings and embark on the journey towards enculturation.

UKZN offers exchanges to numerous universities and
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The 11th annual summer school for postgraduate students in the Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies Programmes was held between January 18 and 22 at the Westville campus. Some 35 students from 10 African countries were represented, including a small handful of South Africans. The school was run by Professor Geoff Harris of the School of Economics and Finance, with significant inputs from Dr Sylvia Kaye and Dr Reshma Sathparsad from the School of Social Work and Community Development. This was the last such school to be held as the Programme is coming to an end.


Most of the participants were Masters students who have completed their coursework and are writing their dissertations this year; a few Honours and PhD students also attended. They were exposed to a range of research designs and data collection methods, with an emphasis on participatory action research. The students have returned home (the Programme is offered by distance learning) and are working on their research proposals.


Graduates from the programme are scattered throughout Africa and will number over a 100 by the end of 2011. Many are involved in significant peace building initiatives with NGOs like Grace to Heal in Zimbabwe and Shalom Educating for Peace in Rwanda and a number are teaching in new university peace studies programmes, especially in Zimbabwe.
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UKZN’s International Relations Office held a workshop for UKZN exchange students where they presented on their experiences while at international universities. These students were part of the second semester Exchange Programme.

Ms Claudia Lyle, a BCom Law student said that one of the challenges during her stay at Torino University in Italy was language but said that through the experience she learned to be tolerant and understanding.

Education student, Ms Chrystalene Nair who spent four months at Millersville University in the United States said that the part she enjoyed the most was teaching the Grade two class as part of her experience.

According to the International Relations Office, UKZN has 60 exchange agreements with institutions in 26 different countries. The Exchange Programme provides students with an opportunity to interact on a social, cultural and academic level with international students. It allows students to embrace a new culture and different lifestyle.

Students participate in a reciprocal Exchange Programme with a recognised partner institution and pay fees directly to their home institution (the institution that the student is currently registered at) and in return receive a waiver of fees at the host institution (the institution that the student is spending the exchange period at).

In some cases, accommodation and meal costs are also waivered, depending on the conditions stipulated in the exchange agreement. The exchange student will receive credit for the courses completed at the host institution towards their degree at the home institution.  The period of exchange is usually one semester.

Ms Sam Mahlawe who went to the University of Calgary for Communication and Media Studies said that the experience made her open minded. She said that the lectures were informal and encouraged everyone to speak. She added that the challenge was the weather which was -43 degrees at times.

All of the students agreed that the UKZN Exchange Programme gave them the opportunity of a lifetime and they would like to become volunteers to tell other students about the programme. They added that they would encourage other students to apply. The experiences that they shared included student academic life, making new international friends and travelling. Other students that attended the workshop were Adeela Haffejee, Sonam Ghandhi, Kavashnee Govender, Christine Magdalene, Tyran David, Sandi Buthelezi, Khumbuzile Mweli and Amanda Ndovela.

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I-Centre ye Communication, Media ne Society (CCMS) yaseNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali iklonyeliswe nge Shout Out Award ngabaxhasi bayo i John Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA) zingu 26 kuNnyanga yaMasingane.


Lomklomelo bawuthole ngeqhaza abalibambile ekuthuthukiseni i Strategic Health Communication eSouth Africa nase Africa yonkana. Basungule nomkhakha wezifundo zokuzijabulisa (entertainment-education module) emfundweni ephakeme.


Banikezwe lomklomelo emcimbini obubanjelwe eJohhannesburg lapho i JHHESA ibizobika ngemusebenzi ewenzile kulonyaka ophelile. Eminye imisebenzi abayenzile kubalwa kuyo i Programming for women ne Girls on HIV prevention la kubalwa khona umdlalo kamabonakude ku e-tv obizwa nge 4 Play: Sex Tips for Girls eyakhethwa ezigabeni eziyisikhombisa kuma SAFTA Awards. Kukhulunywe kabanzi ngezinqinamba abesifazane abasabhekene nazo ukuze bathole ulwazi nemiyalezo yemishanguzo yegciwane le HIV/AIDS.


Umphathi wakwa CCMS uNjingalwazi Keyan Tomaselli ugqugquzele bafundi ukuthi benze ucwaningo oluzosiza i JHHESA ibheke ukuthi ama Campaign awo anjengo Brothers for Life ayawenza yini umehluko.


I CCMS unomlando omuhle ngokukhiqiza ucwaningo oluningi futhi oluhle olwenziwa abafundi bamazinga e Honours, Masters ne PhD.


Abebeyomela i CCMS okungabafundisi oNkosikazi Eliza Govender no Nkosikazi Lauren Dyll-Myklebust eJohannesburg, Umphathi we JHHESA, uMnuzane Patrick Coleman uthe baklomelise i UKZN - CCMS ngoba babonile ukuthi bakhiqize abafundi abahamba phambili.

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With the beginning of the new academic year and thousands of new students joining UKZN, Orientation Programmes were organised across the campuses to welcome the students and help them find their feet.

Anxiety mingled with excitement on the faces of first year students as they lined up at the registration and orientation venues. The Orientation Programme was compulsory for first year students. The Programme, hosted by all UKZN’s Faculties, provided guidance on academic life and also introduced students to the variety of societies and sporting clubs available at the University.  

With over 6 500 current students and 1 300 new students under its wing, the Faculty of Management Studies held an extensive Orientation Programme. Dean of the Faculty Professor Lesley Stainbank encouraged students to work hard and not to get left behind. She added that to ensure that this happens, they need to complete all their assignments and to attend all their lectures.

The Faculty of Law’s Orientation Programme this year was shorter than previous years’ Programmes and more informative. Students were provided with information on the registration process, student services and the experience they would encounter as first years. The different student law organisations also encouraged students to join their ranks. These organisations focus on community projects and programmes to help students gain skills they will require when they qualify.

Students enjoyed the fun and games organised by the Student Leadership Development Office in the Quad on the Westville campus. They were also given an opportunity to have their eyes tested for free by the Optometry discipline. Activities included blindfolded students taking part in games to encourage awareness of visual impairment and blindness. Students with disabilities were encouraged to get involved in the University's sporting activities.

The Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) held its annual Opening Ceremony on February 1. After an official address by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Umesh Lalloo, first year students signed the Hypocritic Oath, pledging to abide by the rules and standards of the medical profession.
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