Following on the successful symposium on “classification” held by the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) earlier this year, the Centre hosted Indian demographer Professor Sonalde Desai on May 30. Desai is affiliated to the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi and the University of Maryland (USA) workshop discussion was held around her paper “Caste and Census: A Forward Looking Strategy”, which raises critical questions on categorisation in the 2011 Indian Census. The Paper Discussant was Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cape Town Dr Zimitri Erasmus, a sociologist with close ties to the ccrri.

Starting with a fascinating background presentation on the caste system in India – its historical roots and modern incarnations – Desai then focused on her research interest in inequality.  Tying this closely to the current state of the caste system, she showed, through the results of a survey she had conducted, a direct correlation between caste and access to services; the lower the caste group, the less access to education, employment and basic services.  Desai also highlighted the fact that most of the data on caste groups comes from 1931, making this year’s census all the more important. Affirmative action legislation in India – based on caste and tribal grouping – still uses this outdated data as a primary resource.

A suggestion that arose out of the stimulating discussion session was that instead of using loaded caste categories (or race as in South Africa) other indicators of disadvantage could be used – for example, one could look at the history of the person and their family, the location of their residence, or the school they attended.

The ccrri has been working on a long-term project on “classification” and plans to bring together scholars to exchange ideas and share perspectives on census-taking, categorisation and related state practices from different contexts. For more on this and other research areas, visit the ccrri website at

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Young Environmental scientists are busy presenting their Masters and Doctoral (PhD) research proposals. One such scientist is Mr Simphiwe Ngcobo from the School of Bioresources Engineering and Environmental Hydrology (BEEH).

Ngcobo grew up on a farm in Howick on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, where he attended local schools. He has achieved an undergraduate degree in Hydrology and Soil Science, an Honours degree in Hydrology and is pursuing his Master’s degree in Hydrology.

Like many high school pupils, Ngcobo was not entirely certain which degree to pursue, but he knew it would have to be a combination of his passion for pure science and applied science. At UKZN, he discovered his passion for Hydrology.

“I live quite close to the Midmar Dam and … my fascination with my chosen degree stemmed from that ... I am keenly interested in the process-based side of hydrology as well as the applied side of the discipline,’ said Ngcobo.

Ngcobo’s research proposal is titled, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Water Quality Constituents and Implications for Adaptation”. His focus is the critical importance of developing the climate change-related adaptation strategies necessary in water quality management within the Mngeni catchment area. His research project is funded by BEEH, and the Water Research Committee.

Ngcobo is supervised by BEEH‘s experienced researchers Mr Trevor Lumsden and Mrs Sabine Stuart Hill and co-supervised by Professor Graham Jewitt.

‘Certain aspects of my research topic are heavily discussed and published however, practically nothing has emerged with regard to connecting the basic catchment processes (hydrological processes) that drive w
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The Colorectal Cancer and Stoma Support Group (CCSSG) launched at UKZN on May 31 aims to assist patients with cancer of the bowel.


The Support Group has been established under the auspices of the Colorectal Unit based in the Department of Surgery at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital. The launch took the form of a fund raising dinner.


Colorectal Cancer, a cancer of the large bowel, is the third most common cancer worldwide and is the second most common cause of death. In South Africa 5 000 cases are diagnosed annually. Contributing to this high mortality rate is lack of information and support for patients and their relatives.

Speaking at the launch, the Head of the Department of Surgery and Colorectal Unit, Professor Thandinkosi Madiba, said that people are afraid of speaking about symptoms related to the large bowel because this is regarded as a taboo subject.


Madiba added that there are no support groups available for patients who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or who are living with stomas. A stoma is a surgically created opening in the body that replaces the normal opening. It is needed when the normal opening is blocked by a tumour or has been altered as part of cancer treatment.


Madiba encouraged people to seek medical attention as soon as they notice symptoms related to the large bowel so that the disease can be picked up earlier thus giving the patient the chance of a cure.


Some of the symptoms include a change in bowel habit, blood in the stool, foul-smelling stool, abdominal pain and discomfort, bloating or fullness, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss and a feeling that one wants to pass stool but nothing comes out.


The art of acclaimed bushman artist, the late Mr Vetkat Kruiper and his wife, Ms Belinda Kruiper’s poetry, is celebrated in the book Mooi Loop, which was launched on June 1.

The launch at the Bergtheil Museum in Westville was a collaboration between Art, Culture and Heritage for Peace (ARROWSA), UKZN’s Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS), and the Durban University of Technology (DUT), and was supported by the eTthekwini Municipality’s Local History Museum.

DUT Fine Arts and Jewelry students exhibited jewelry inspired by Mooi Loop and a trip they undertook to the Kalahari. Bechet High School students performed an extract from the play, Oliver Twist, which they had made socially relevant with rap and beat boxing. ARROW and CCMS students work with Bechet High School in a number of projects to promote social change and development.

Each page in Mooi Loop leads the reader further along the artistic and spiritual journey of Vetkat’s sacred artwork that he did not want to sell and the poetry accompanying each of those. A central message in the book is the importance of staying connected to and respecting God and nature.  

According to ARROWS’s Ms Mary Lange, ‘They [Vetkat and Belinda] said that they could not explain the art he created to someone, knowing that different people interpret messages and images differently.’ She added that the artwork and poetry acts like an archive of the history, spiritual awareness, and the lives of the bushman community.

Professor Joan Connoly from DUT noted that the oral traditional of knowledge is perceived as a fraction and not a whole by literate people. ‘The vast percentage is like an iceberg and the bulk of the knowledge lies underneath. It takes a special capacity to be able to access those understandings… I’m inspired by this book as Vetkat saw a world in which these different ways could come together and could be one, in a way that nothing was lost, changed but not lost,’ she email :



Umkhakha wezobudokotela eNyuvesi yaKwaZulu-Natali, iNelson R Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM), ubongele obafo abasha kwiColleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA) emcimbini obubanjwe mhlaka-6 kuNhlangulana. I-CMSA yimbumba elinekhethelo eyamukela oBafo emuva kokuphumelela isivivinyo esiqondene nomkhakha udokokotela asezikhethele wona.


I-NRMSM imemezele ukuthi bangu-77 odokotela bayo bemikhakha eyahlukahlukene abaphumelele kulesivivinyo baba ngoBafo beCMSA.


‘Ngizizwa engathi sekuvuleke amathuba amaningi emuva kokuzikhandla unmuntu efunda,’ kusho Dkt Sachin Moethilalh ongumufo omusha, othe ufisa ukuba eseqede izifundo zokuba udokotela wolwazi nonekusasa eliqhakazile eminyakeni emihlanu ezayo.


Ophumelele njengeSpecialist Physician, uDkt Sizwe Mthiyane osebenza ePrince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital uthe ‘ngizizwa ngijabule kakhulu’. Uthe yize izifundo bezibamise kabi, kuyintokozo uma sebephumelele.


‘Kusemqoka ukuba sijabule,’ kusho inhloko yeKolishi Lezempilo eNyuvesi, uSolwazi Tahir Pillay. UPillay uthe lesi sivivinyo sinzima kakhulu kanti sendlalela izifundo nenqubo ende kwezobudokotela uma usuphumelele.


Egqugquzela ubumbano nobudlelwane koBafo abasha, ophethe iNRMSM, uSolwazi Umesh Lalloo ubakhumbuze ngamathuba amaningi kwezocwaningo kwiNRMSM. ‘Ziyinqwaba izindlela ongakhula ngazo eNyuvesi,’ kusho uLalloo. Ukhuthaze waqinisekisa oBafo ukuthi iNRMSM yisona sikhungo sokuqhuba izifundo zabo mikhakhayonke.

The recent call by UKZN’s Student Counseling Centre for students to assist fellow hungry students received an enthusiastic response from students enrolled for Engineering’s UNITE Programme, based on the Howard College campus. 

Touched by the plight of starving students, UNITE students who are dependent on bursaries and financial aid, made a concerted effort to share their meagre supplies with those in need.  Within a short period of time, the students had mobilised an impressive supply of non-perishable foodstuffs; sufficient to fill a couple of bellies on cold winter nights.

This magnanimous gesture is part of the broader social awareness inculcated by UNITE of caring for self, caring for others and caring for the environment.  Deputy Director of UNITE, Mr Rudi Kimmie said: ‘We see this as a challenge to the rest of the student body.’

According to Kimmie, this is the third consecutive year that the UNITE students have supported a food campaign.  They usually try to identify and support initiatives off campus, but this year, when the students saw the opportunity to help their peers, they jumped at the opportunity.  Although many of the students still struggle to make ends meet, they always manage to fill the donation box in the office, explained Kimmie. 

UNITE students are also planning an anti-litter campaign to be launched in the second semester of 2011.

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Second-year Music student Mr Linda Sikhakhane has been awarded a bursary by the Leeds Youth Big Band to cover his tuition fees for 2011.

Sikhakhane, who is enrolled for a diploma in music specialising in saxophone, received the bursary after jamming with the Leeds Youth Big Band when it performed at UKZN’s Jazz Centre last year. The Band is keen to increase the number of horn-players in Durban.

Dr Mageshen Naidoo, the Acting Head of the School of Music, was asked to identify students to jam with the Band. Based on his performance in class, Sikhakhane was one of those chosen.

‘I cannot find … a way to express my gratitude to the School of Music and the Leeds Youth Big Band for what they have done for me,’ Sikhakhane said. ‘I had received bursaries from SAMRO and the National Arts Council in the previous semesters … [but] I did not receive those bursaries this year … if it was not for the Leeds Youth Big Band and the School of Music, it would have been difficult for me this year,’ he added.

Part of the bursary agreement is that he will offer music lessons to pupils from grades 4 to 7 at Hill View Primary School, which the Leeds Big Youth Band visited last year.  The mutli-talented tenor saxophonist is not new to teaching.  He has been offering music lessons to youth at Siyakhula Music Centre in Umlazi Township for almost two years.

Sikhakhane has already begun teaching “future artists” the fundamental theory to develop music reading skills and will offer practical lessons later in the year at Hill View Primary School and Siyakhula Music Centre.  

‘Working with young stars is great. They appreciate music and I am learning a lot from them,’ he said. He hopes that his young learners will eventually study at UKZN.

The principal of the Hill View Primary School said the school is blessed to have such a young and humble man with passion, knowledge, skills and love for what he does.

Professor James Cochrane presented at a CHART (The Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology) seminar on the topic "Public Health/Public Theology" in the School of Religion and Theology. Cochrane is one of the founders of the African Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP), an international research project. This programme identifies the “assets” local communities have in their struggles for health and life, recognising both their tangible and intangible assets.

 The ARHAP emphasis counters the dominant approach of much development work in which the emphasis is on what local communities do not have.  Attending the seminar were a number of PhD students who are using an asset-based approach in their research in the field of HIV.

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