The University of KwaZulu-Natal will confer honorary degrees on six distinguished  individuals for their outstanding contributions in the social sciences, sciences, arts, literature, politics and academic sectors. Through their innovation, resilience, altruism and intellect in their respective fields, these individuals have profoundly  influenced  communities both in South Africa and globally.  The degrees will be awarded at the University’s graduation ceremonies which will be held over seven days commencing on Monday 16 April, and ending on Tuesday 24 April.  The recipients are:

Mr Hugh Nicolson Chittenden – DSc (honoris causa)  

Mr Hugh Nicolson Chittenden has made a major and distinguished contribution in KwaZulu-Natal and southern Africa to the public understanding of science in the field of ornithology.

He has spent a major part of his life observing, recording, photographing and writing about birds in relation to the geography, fauna and flora of many southern African regions. Chittenden has analysed bird behaviour throughout the sub-continent and in doing so has observed and recorded environmental and climatic threats to all of life which have come about through a detailed knowledge of birds.

His knowledge of the taxonomy of many hundreds of trees and plants of the southern African region is encyclopaedic. Profound observational understanding of the world of birds has taken public form in a multiplicity of books, articles, presentations, speeches and work with civil society organisations.  His personal notes, field notes, travel journals, and an accumulation of records constitute an immensely valuable source of primary information for present and future scholars, not only of ornithology but also of climatic and environmental change.

Over the years, Chittenden has also become an acclaimed photographer of birds with considerable technical expertise.

Chittenden is currently Chairman of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, an organisation formed in 1935, whose princi
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UKZN academic Professor Thumbi Ndung’u is among 28 biomedical scientists from around the world who will receive significant funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in the United States to further their research.

The HHMI has committed US$20-million for its inaugural International Early Career Scientist (IECS) awards.

The 28 scientists chosen from 760 applicants represent a wide range of disciplines, from neuroscience to virology to plant science.  All the awardees trained in the United States as graduate students or postdoctoral fellows and have published important research.  ‘These are the people who, 10 years from now, we expect will be the scientific leaders in their countries,’ said HHMI President Robert Tjian.

Ndung’u - who will receive about US$650 000 over a five-year period beginning in February this year - leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers working in the fields of HIV and TB pathogenesis and vaccine development and has a special interest in capacity building for biomedical research in Africa, especially the training of globally competitive African scientists.

His research interests are host-virus interactions, antiviral immune responses and biomedical interventions applicable to resource-limited settings.  He has a special interest in the development of biomedical interventions that can be used in resource-limited settings to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.

He is the Director of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) at the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at UKZN and holds the South African Research Chair in Systems Biology of HIV/AIDS at the University.

Ndung’u, his team and their collabora
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Parents and guardians of the 9 000 first year students attending UKZN in 2012 were out in force at Parents’ Day held on all the campuses last week.


For Ms Elsie Gumede, who travelled from Tongaat by train, being at the College of Law and Management’s Parents’ Day on the Westville campus was a life changing experience. Her son, Mr Wonderboy Gumede, registered for a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting degree making him the first in the family to undertake tertiary education.


Ms Gumede, an unemployed single parent of three, is among many women in the country solely dependent on government grants for financial support.


In addresses by members of the Executive Management and the Deans and Heads of Schools, parents were given information regarding UKZN’s re-organisation as well as what was on the cards at the University for their children. They also urged parents to support their children so that they performed better while students were advised to focus on their studies and be mature in their attitude.


Warmly received by Deans from UKZN’s College of Health Sciences (CHS) and Student Service offices, proud parents heard about the six-year journey their sons and daughters would embark on in the MBChB Programme in pursuit of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees.

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There was joy and excitement for five members of UKZN’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE-UKZN) team when they heard they had been chosen to represent Africa on a business trip to the United States from 3-11 February.

Team members are Mr Tinashe Gwatidzo, Ms Slindile Ncube, Ms Qhelile Nyathi, Ms Andisiwe Gqiba and Mr Joel Boafo.

They will visit several cities including New York, Washington DC, Springfield Missouri and Bentonville in Arkansas to present projects which they undertook in 2011. 

In each of the cities apart from Springfield, the SIFE South Africa team will make presentations similar to those they did at the SIFE World Cup last year. The audience will consist of various high profile executives including representatives of SIFE worldwide, Walmart International and the US State Department.

With the recent acquisition of Massmart by Walmart and Walmart’s strong interest in pursuing business within the African region, SIFE headquarters through its long standing relationship with Walmart is keen to develop the partnership further for the benefit of SIFE African countries.  

In view of this, SIFE headquarters has invited SIFE South Africa to the US on a business trip with a view of marketing the SIFE Africa program to Walmart business leaders in the hope it will motivate them to sponsor SIFE Africa countries.  

SIFE South Africa was chosen for the trip as this country has the largest Walmart store in the region. The students will be able to experience the culture of the United States and visit many important business and historic sites.

SIFE is a 36-year-old registered entity and an international non-profit organisation comprising thousands of college and university students and faculty advisors from around the world. author email :



Top matriculants Ms Cherise Ganesh and Mr Ruvaje Ramdeen, who both scored seven distinctions in the 2011 exams, will study towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at UKZN this year.

Ganesh received a bursary from Deloitte, one of the biggest firms in the country. Her main aim is to complete her degree on time so she can do her articles in 2016 at the firm. She also receives R20 000 from the University as a top performer.

‘I have always been a consistent performer at school and I am happy that all my efforts have paid off in such a big way. I am very excited about meeting new people and making lots of friends, I have started preparing myself for the social adjustment from an all-girl school to a mixed institution by working as a hostess at a restaurant,’ she said.

Coming from a very close-knit family, she says she owes her performance to their continued support and their ‘no pressure’ attitude towards her studies.

Like Ganesh, Ramdeen loves numbers but is more of an analytical person. He plans to work for one of the big four firms in the country, but accounting is not his only passion.

Ramdeen plans to travel the world and interact with diverse cultures he has only heard about. ‘I want to see as much as I can in the world and visit museums all over because I have a passion and an eye for fine arts.

‘I believe that you must not be afraid to be different and I look forward to meeting new people at UKZN and experiencing different cultures,’ he said.

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Director of UKZN’s Centre for Civil Society, Professor Patrick Bond, has returned from an 11-day study tour of south and central China organised by ‘New Left’ Chinese academics from Renmin and Lingnan University.  Bond has long regarded China as a key to the world political economy: ‘I’ve always thought China the most critical place to understand current accumulation processes and new class/community/ecological struggles,’ he said.


Bond started his trip by attending the South-South Forum on Sustainability in Hong Kong. Comprising scholars concerned with ecological and socio-economic justice, the Forum revolved around two main areas of concern: alternative development and ecological sustainability. 


Bond says China is going through the first stages of a major economic correction and suggests there could be ‘turbulent’ times ahead.  ‘The country is full of socio-economic contradictions and ecological blunders.  The past few years have been characterised by extreme inequality and social tensions while the property market is already showing signs of cracks and real-estate prices are falling.’


He said China had possibly run too far too fast without consolidating a balanced economic strategy with appropriate consideration of rural-urban relations. ‘Chongqing - the world’s fastest-growing major city with seven million urban residents, increasing at a rate of one million people a year – exemplifies both the excesses which plague the country and the visionary public investment strategies.  The expert leadership of the son of a former Deputy Premier, Bo Xilai, provides the city with high levels of efficiency and equity.’


Unlike other cities in China which are home to ‘ghost cities’ comprising millions of empty apartments due to what Bond calls ‘developers’ over-priced for-profit housing,’ Chingqing is in the process of constructing 700 000 low-cost houses for two million people.  But, he asks: ‘Can the boom last?’


Bond witnessed the ‘doubtful sustainability of China’s fragile ecology’ while on a trip along the Yangtze River.  He says the Three Gorges Dam, built on the banks of the river a decade ago, is probably the country’s biggest ‘environmental dilemma’.


UMnu Muhammad Ismail omenyezelwe uMnyango Wezemfundo njengomunye wabafundi ophumelele ngamalengiso kumatikuletsheni wa-2011eNingizimu Afrika uqinisekile ukuthi i-UKZN izomunika konke akudingayo ukuze abe iChartered Accountant nomhlaziyi wezezimali.

U-Ismail uzokwenza izifundo zeBachelor of Commerce ku-Accounting eKolishi leLaw ne Management.

‘Ngikulangazelele konke engizokunikezwa i-UKZN njengoba ingenye yamanyuvesi ahamba phambili futhi ngifuna  ukungenela izinto eziningi ezenzeka esikhungweni saseMgungundlovu. I-UKZN  ikunikeza konke okudingayo ukuze uphumelele ungumuntu,’ kusho u-Ismail.

Ugogo ka-Ismail, uNkk Kulsam Ismail umuchaze ngengesipho esibalulekile. ‘Umndeni wethu ujabule kakhulu ngempumelelo kaMuhammad nokuthi uzobe efunda enyuvesi ehamba phambili futhi eseduze kwasekhaya.

 ‘Abangani bakhe bamuthanda kakhulu. Wenza nomsebenzi wokusiza abantu emphakathini. Esikoleni abekusona bengize ngimuthethise ngokusiza abantu abaningi kakhulu ngoba ngithi ngeke akwazi ukumelana nakho konke , kodwa wakwazi,’ kuchaza ugogo.

U-Ismail ofuna ukufunda phesheya  mhla eqeda, unomfundaze wakwaPriceWaterHouseCoopers ngokuphumelela kahle kanye nethuba lokusebenza khona  uma eseqedile.

Ngaphandle kwezifundo zakhe, u-Ismail ufuna ukufunda iKoran alazi ngekhanda, afunde ulimi lwe-Arabic, aphinde avule nebhizinisi lezindawo zokuvakasha. 

Click here for english version

author email : Mr Muhammad Ismail.



The Medical Library is the first UKZN library to migrate to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology which provides improved services to the medical community.


The introduction of the new technology was made possible by a R 2,1 million sponsorship the library received from the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine late last year.


The new RFID technology introduces a self-check system which allows library users to issue and return library material without assistance from library staff.


‘This will ensure that staff services will be better utilised in areas where there is great need,’ said Medical campus Librarian Mrs Nonhlanhla Ngcobo.


RFID technology, which has been adopted by a number of leading academic institutions both locally and internationally, uses RFID tags to process transactions.


Part of the funding was used to refurbish the library.


Professor Nelson Ijumba, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, delivered the keynote address at the launch of RFID at the library in December. Also present were senior management of the Medical School, representatives from different libraries in KZN, representatives of library system suppliers as well as UKZN academic and library staff.

The first 2012 seminar of the School of Engineering in conjunction with the Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s Interdisciplinary Studies in Complex Systems was held under the guidance of Professor Carel Bezuidenhout on the Westville campus on 24 January.


This year’s seminar, organised with the support of industry partners, focused on finding opportunities for improvement in complex systems within the sugar cane production network.


The seminar - titled: “Statistics, Multivariate Domains and Complexity” - centered around the correlation structures exhibited in complex systems. A powerful tool to study the hidden signals in data was demonstrated while drawing on examples from medicine, finance, transport and education.


Bezuidenhout is a systems analyst and fills the post of a South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) Research Fellow in the School of Engineering. He has worked in the sugar industry since 1997 and supervised several PhD and MSc students in various fields including handling the complexity entailed in the sugarcane supply chain and its transport and logistics.


He has presented at several national and international conferences, worked abroad, holds several awards and has published several journal articles.

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