The central focus of the 2011 Ruth Edgecombe Memorial Lecture, which each year is dedicated to highlighting issues of environmental significance, was on climate justice. The lecture is held in honour of UKZN Professor, Ruth Edgecombe, who was a passionate scholar of environmental history who contributed to the growing research in this field of study in South Africa. 

Hosted by UKZN’s School of Environmental Sciences and the Wilderness Action Group, this year’s lecture featured renowned environmental activist, Mr Bobby Peek.  Director and founding member of groundWork, a non-governmental environmental justice organisation in Pietermaritzburg, Peek spoke on the topic: “Climate Change and COP17: is climate justice a reality for South Africans?”

GroundWork operates at local, national and international levels to advocate for democratic environmental governance and justice.  Peek formed the organisation in 1999, prior to which he worked with South Africa’s Environmental Justice Networking Forum as National Campaigns Manager.  He was also co-founder of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, a multi-racial alliance of community people challenging for democratic environmental governance in south Durban.  In 1998, Peek received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa, the world’s largest prize for excellence in protecting the environment.

In light of the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change gathering, known as COP17, in Durban later in the year, the issue of climate justice is pertinent.  A form of environmental justice, climate justice aims to ease, and ultimately to eliminate the disparate burdens and problems created by climate change.  Central to climate justice is the view that those least responsible for climate change are the ones most affected.  In opening his lecture, Peek said: ‘It is critical that we reflect on the history of how we got to this point of climate catastrophe, where the world’s governments are ineffective and moribund and lack leadership in forging a new tomorrow for humanity and all who rely on the earth as their home.’

According to Peek, despite 16 previous major climate conferences, together with countless other smaller preparatory meetings, the world is no closer to a real climate change solution than it was 17 years ago.  He is also firmly of the opinion that climate justice in South Africa is ‘wishful thinking’ and is, sadly, not a reality.   He explained that one has to look at climate justice through ‘its environmental justice lens’ which he defines as, ‘Empowered people in relations of solidarity and equity with each other and in non-degrading and positive relationships with their environments.’ Ultimately this involves the spirit of Ubuntu, but unfortunately, ‘As South Africans today, we do not live Ubuntu and our government does not p
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Academic Co-ordinator of Religion, Professor Jannie Smit was elected the eighth President of the Association for the Study of Religion in Southern Africa (ASRSA) at its 33rd annual congress in Durban.


ASRSA is an international scholarly association for the study of religion in southern Africa. It engages and facilitates research into the major world religions in the region as well as the wide field of the intersection of Religion with other disciplines in the Humanities. Socio-culturally speaking, the research is truly inter-religious as well as inter-disciplinary. As such, it articulates with the latest theoretical approaches in terms of the comparative and historical study of the religions and religious formations in the sub-continent.

Smit said that the recognition of the diversity of religions and religious persuasions has become a hallmark of post-apartheid and post-colonial cultural studies. In contrast to the exclusionary and marginalising ideologies and practices of apartheid and colonisation, the new South African Constitution fosters equality and respect of the dignity of all.

More generally speaking, the last decade has seen the ending of hostilities and conflicts in southern Africa. Hand-in-hand with new energies poured into socio-economic development is the exponential growth of religious organisations and various forms of spirituality. Numerous religiously-founded organisations form a central and vital part of civil society, working in various fields of development and health and HIV/AIDS care. Religion is a lived experience and reality for many and an integral part of their existence. As it impacts on all aspects of life, it constitutes a vital force of existence and social and spiritual wellness. It is a central part of ASRSA’s mission to research and study this phenomenon in all its facets and dynamics – social, economic, developmental, and moral.

One of the Association’s outstanding achievements is also its foundational contributions towards the teaching of the subjects of Religion Education and Religion Studies at school. The main focus of these subjects is to teach pupils about religions and their historical, moral and cultural specificities in terms of the many socio-cultural challenges that confront our communities. ASRSA will continue to play a vital research and educational role in this area.

Ultimately, the value of the academic study of religion is that it

The 21st century has seen an increase in the number of women leaders in South Africa. Although leadership roles are still new to some, a new breed with flair and confidence is stepping up to the plate at a much younger age and tackling issues of national and global significance. 


Leading by example is Ms Qhelile Nyathi (23) who hails from Zimbabwe and following in her businessperson father’s footsteps.  Nyathi left home at a tender age to pursue her undergraduate studies at UKZN and received her Bachelor of Actuarial Science degree summa cum laude in 2010. She is currently studying towards an Honours Degree in Financial Mathematics at UKZN.


Nyathi’s pursuit of excellence has become synonymous with that of the award-winning Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE-UKZN). ‘I am deeply passionate about our work and was faced with the challenge as well as an opportunity to lead the SIFE-UKZN team as President in this year,’ she said.


She believes that there are so many untapped opportunities for Africa, ‘in the field of investment banking as well as financial derivative … for example, subsistence or rural farmers could be protecting themselves against risk due to weather through investing in agricultural derivatives.’


Nyathi joined SIFE-UKZN in March 2009/ SIFE International’s slogan is “A heart for the world. A head for business”. ‘Our mission is to breakdown the walls that exist between business and communities,’ she said. ‘For me SIFE has been a platform to grow as a business leader and as a human being who cares about what I see happening around me… [having] the courage to make a difference,’ she added.


‘We achieve this by creating partnerships with Government departments, businesses and NGOs, and tap into their resources and expertise to find solutions to challenges we identify within our communities. The solution then becomes a project where the communities are beneficiaries. We focus on sustainability, so we must ensure that we transfer skills, knowledge and resources to the community so that they are able to continue when we exit from the project,’ she explained.


The annual College of Health Sciences Research Symposium was held recently at UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine. The presentations at the Symposium confronted various clinical, public health and laboratory-based studies focusing on South Africa and the continent’s health issues.


2011 marks the 60th Anniversary of the Medical School. To mark this anniversary, not only did current students deliver oral and poster presentations, but they were joined by 1974 Medical School graduate, Professor Saraladevi Naicker and member of the Class of 1990 Professor Bongani Mayosi, who both stressed the importance of research productivity, especially among young scientists.


In her opening address, titled, “The ethics and challenges of nephrology research and practice in an under-resourced environment”, Naicker who heads the Division of Nephrology and Department of Internal Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand outlined the serious medical challenges faced by Third World countries.


These include losing specialists with scarce skills to high income countries whilst Africa suffers a shortage of health care workers. The result is that there are not enough practitioners to roll out care – ‘an issue also impacting the rate of HIV treatment in South Africa’.


Naicker’s address delved deep into nephrology research and practice, focusing on the burden of diseases in South Africa and showing an alarming increase in hypertension, glomeria, renal failure, and Type II diabetes. Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine and paediatrics dealing with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney. Naicker stressed that smoking is also very harmful to the functioning of the heart. She lauded the banning of smoking in public places and reminded attendees that primary prevention is always very important.


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Abafundi ababili abenza unyaka wesibili weBCom Accounting e-UKZN baqhakambise iNyuvesi emva kokubalwa kubangeneli abangamashumi amabili nanhlanu abaphume phambili eNingizimu Afrika kumncintiswano wendaba, iStudent Leadership Summit essay competition, obubanjwe yiSouth African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).


UNksz Anela Ngoma benoNksz Farnaaz Shaikjee bakhethwa ukuba babe yinxenye yengqungquthela yempelasonto ebibanjwe eGoli ngomhlaka-12 kuNcwaba lapho bexhumene namaChartered Accountants noSomabhizinisi asebemkatshubomvu kuleli eNingizimu Afrika.


Lomncintiswano ubuhlose ukugquqguzela abafundi abanekhono kwi-Accounting ukuba bazikhandle ezifundweni zabo  ukuze bagcine bengamaCharted Accountant.


Ukuze bangenele umncintiswano abafundi kumele babhale incwadi eluleka uhulumeni wakuleli ngesinqumo sokuba izwe lisamukele na isimemo sokuba yilunga lezomnotho kwisivumelwano iBRIC ephakathi kwamazwe iBrazil, Russia, India, kanye neChina njengamanje; indaba eluleka umfowenu  omncane ofunda uGrade 8 ongazi noma akhethe ukufunda iMathematics kumbe iMaths Literacy ezifundweni zakhe; noma indaba enaba ngephephabhuku elilobe ukuthi abantu baseNingizimu Afrika sebelandela i'Lead SA' emabhizinisini nasezimpilweni zabo.


UShaikjee obhale incwadi elandula ukuthi iNingizimu Afrika ibe yilunga leBRIC ulobe izizathu ezingi ngaloludaba. Uzwakalise ukungenami ngenani lezinkampani zamaChina esezinamabhizinisi kuleli. Wesesa kakhulu ngenkathi ekhethwa njengomunye wabazohambela lengqungquthela eGoli. ‘Kwathi angizincinze ngenkathi ngithola ucingo,’ kusho uShaikjee. Uthe loluhambo lalungaphezu kwalokhu ayekulindele, ufunde lukhulu.


UNgoma ufisa ukub
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A Colloquium on “The Teacher Education Landscape” hosted by the Faculty of Education provided the Faculty with an opportunity to reflect on the progress made in the education system and to map a trajectory for priorities.

Dean of the Faculty, Professor Michael Samuel, noted that: ‘we are now more than five years into a merged institution which drew on our different biographical institutional heritages which chose to foreground different understandings of the goals for Faculties of Education.’

‘This year saw the introduction of a new policy framework of Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications, and the development of the National Integrated Strategic Policy Framework for Teacher Development and Training, which draws together partners across the Department of Basic Education and Training, the National Department of Higher Education and Training, the South African Professional Council for Educators, the ETDP-SETA, the Education Labour Relations Council and the Higher Education sector represented by the HESA Education Deans Forum,’ Samuel added.

The Colloquium posed a number of questions: Why is teacher education a national priority? Why is it that we [Faculties] need to focus our national attention towards the production of teachers, the continuing professional growth of our current teaching force and the need for the activating scholarship amongst the future researchers of the education and training system of the country?

‘We should be aiming to influence policy makers that equity of human, physical and financial provisioning across all the different districts masks the varied situational requirements in each specific sociological context. This is acknowledged somewhat in the pro-poor policies of the education department, but the scale of specific nuanced kinds of redress required especially in poverty rural contexts is fundamental to reconstruction of the education system. The productivity of the education system cannot be anticipated without paying attention to issues of poverty, income, literacy and access to basic education resources, like qualified teachers, physical infra-structure and material resources,’ said Deputy Dean: Continuing and Mixed Mode Delivery,  Professor Volker Wedekind.

Commenting on the need to review the present BEd undergraduate curriculum which aims to address the demand for teachers, Professor Labby Ramrathan, Deputy Dean: Initial Teacher Education at the Faculty of Education said: ‘We need to develop a more elegant delivery of essential elements that will lead to deepening the quality of students’ understanding of the content of the disciplines/ subjects they intend to teach. We must create teachers who have deep understandings of the discipline of Education which will be able to withstand any changes to school curriculum policies.’

In partnership with the provincial Department of Education (DoE) UKZN hosted a Certification Ceremony on September 23 at the Colin Webb Hall on the Pietermaritzburg campus for primary school subject advisors. The Advisors completed courses funded by the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and
Training Authority and delivered by the Faculty of Education during the last quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011.


Fifty Foundation Phase Advisors and 21 Intermediate Phase Advisors completed the course “Reading to Learn Across the Curriculum”; 22 advisors completed “Mathematics for the Intermediate Phase”; and 51 Foundation Phase advisors received certificates for “Teaching Numeracy in the Foundation Phase”.


Deputy Dean for Continuing Education and Mixed Mode Delivery, Professor Volker Wedekind, said UKZN’s Faculty of Education is serious about uplifting the quality of education in South Africa.


Addressing certificate recipients, Wedekind said ‘People like you are the key activists in the country’s education system... you can make a difference by interacting with and showing principals and teachers how they should be teaching in the classroom and how they should be managing the curriculum.’


Mgungundlovu District Official, Ms Nozipho Mkhize said, ‘doing the course was very developing’. ‘The course taught us a great deal in how to better mathematics,’ said Mr WM Dlamini who hails from the Empangeni District.


The courses focused on the following:


Reading to Learn across the curriculum:

The DoE requested training in this met
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The Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART) in the School of Religion and Theology, hosted Reverend JP Mokgethi-Heath, Director of INERELA+, a network of religious leaders living with HIV.  He presented an approach to HIV prevention that is more comprehensive than the ABC method - SAVE (Safer practices, Available medicine, Voluntary, confidential testing and counselling, Empowerment and education). 

Used in prevention programmes around the world, ABC stands for ‘Abstinence; Be faithful; use Condoms.’ However the way in which it is often presented is more like: ‘Abstain, if you can’t abstain, be faithful, and if you can’t be faithful, use a condom’. The implication that the use of a condom automatically marks a person as unable to be faithful, fuels stigma and acts as a disincentive to evidence-based prevention.  ABC ignores the role of HIV counselling, testing and treatment in prevention, and fails to highlight other possible means of HIV prevention, such as safe blood transfusion, safe injections, safe circumcision, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission.  Mokgethi-Heath demonstrated the SAVE Toolkit to Honours and Masters students at a workshop format.  The Toolkit can be viewed in the CHART office, Room 104, New Arts Building, Golf Road, Pietermaritzburg campus.

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The Women in Leadership and Leverage Committee (WILL) at UKZN hosted Advocate Busisiwe Mngoma who gave a presentation on effective ways of managing conflict in the workplace.

Mngoma, who is an alumnus of the University, manages the Office of the Ombudsman at UKZN. She joined the University as a manager of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit.

Mngoma said that for one to be able to deal with conflict, they need to understand what the term means and to explore the nature of the conflict. She added that conflict is not a fight but a disagreement. A number of factors can lead to conflict like a new work environment and new colleagues. She added that there are also different stages of conflict, which are usually caused by something deeper.

Some of the roots of interpersonal conflict include a misunderstanding, incompatibility, variation in goals or different values.

Mngoma noted that there are “red flag” personalities that one needs to look out for in the workplace. These include bullies who act tough and arrogant, and snipers who are known as backstabbers. She added that people who are known as “grenades” are the ones that are time bombs waiting to go off at any time. The know-it-all type of people are those that are experts at everything and act as though they know everything even when they don’t. The super-agreeables are the type of people who agree with everything and never have their own opinion. Other personalities that were discussed were the indecisive, the unresponsive, negativists and the whiners.

She said that conflict in the workplace can be good because people are not the same and it all depends on how it is managed. Conflict is bad because it delays the achievement of goals and can result in poor performance. Mngoma added that animosity can also cause poor performance and it is important to address the problem that caused the conflict in the first place. 

WILL is a committee of female academics within the UKZN’s College of Health Sciences who are dedicated and committed to suppor
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Tourism is a national priority, but the development of the sector is constrained by a severe skills shortage, especially at a higher level of qualification. This is why the government once again organized the National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE), which was held at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban from September 23-25.  Over 15 000 Travel and Tourism learners and their educators from all over the country filed through the exhibition to learn about tourism careers and Higher Education options in the tourism field.

The UKZN stand was one of the most popular stopping points due to the tireless efforts of 20 student volunteers from the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Programme. Under the leadership of BA Tourism graduates, Ms Jacqueline Cafun and in particular Ms Arisha Govender, students engaged the learners with beautiful collages, creative hand-made displays and interactive activities, such as face painting. This ensured that many learners ended up with UKZN not only on their minds, but also written on their foreheads! We gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors: Absa Davenport, Adams UKZN Branch, JVS, Global Source, UKZN Multicopy, Eduloan and Ramsay Media Distributors.

Sabine Marschall, Cultural and Heritage Tourism Programme Director, associate Professor and member of the NTCE Steering Committee.

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As part of the 2011 International Coastal cleanup, Edgewood students showed their commitment to the environment by cleaning up part of the Umbilo River. Along with other volunteers, 556 kg of waste was cleared from a small section of the river in two hours! Dr Coleman, a Biological Science lecturer commented on the river cleanup: ‘Cleaning rivers of pollution is not only important for the river system itself, but because any waste that the river carries could be discharged into the sea.’

A second group, made up of 100 students from Kingswood residence, descended on the Transnet Natural Heritage Site. This was the initiative of students Mr Lungani Mangwaza and Mr Siphamandla Mhlongo. Mhlongo, acting Chairperson for the House Committee commented: ‘this activity which formed part of our residence educational programme, was certainly a success’.

Edgewood plans to arrange further “cleanup days” during the year, so that these activities are sustained, and do not only occur on special days.

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