The Deputy Minister of the Department for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (DWCPD), Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, met the UKZN’s Disability Unit to tell them about government’s plan to provide a special fund for all disabled students in Higher Education.


The R77 million fund will be available to all Higher Education Institutions in South Africa and each student will be able to access the grant to meet their needs, including assistive devices and reasonable accommodation.


The universities are required to submit a proposal which tables their needs so that they fully provide the support needed by their students. Challenges that were raised by the disability office were architectural barriers, inadequate human resources in supporting the students, student specific needs and software requirements.


 At the end of 2011, 373 disabled students were registered at UKZN. The concerns raised by the minister were the societal barriers faced by disabled students in choosing the careers they wanted and ending up opting for courses they did not want.  Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu said the purpose of the fund was to make sure disabled students were able to choose where they want to study and were able to access the necessary support. She added that the aim was to break those barriers in what students can study.


The aim of the partnership with the universities is to educate society and create disability advocates. The minister’s office will be meeting UKZN later this month to finalise the way forward.

author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za



Hard work paid off for nine top matriculants registered for their first year at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science when they were each awarded an Excellence Scholarship for their matric results.

Kaashif Sayed, Rivalin Govender, Andrew Clarke, Chane Venter, Amy Hoad, Gemma Gerber, Kaitlin Leigh Holgate, Sashlin Reddy and Rizqa Noormahomed each received R10 000 towards their first year of study.

Reddy who is studying towards a Bsc in Computer Science said he was privileged to have been awarded the scholarship as it would bring relief to his parents as well. Reddy has a cricket sports scholarship and has represented the KZN cricket team.

As the award was non-contractual, it did not prevent some from holding other bursaries and scholarships concurrently.  The only obligation was the recipients must study towards a degree in science or agriculture at UKZN in 2012. 

Public Relations Officer for the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Mr Ashay Nathoo, said:  My colleagues and I look forward to welcoming this exciting crop of fresh talent to UKZN, and we hope that they thoroughly enjoy studying for their degree of choice in science or agriculture.”

author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za



A research paper by Professor Darma Mahadea, Associate Professor in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, was selected as the best at an international conference in the United States.

Mahadea’s paper titled: “Prospects of Entrepreneurship to the Challenge of Job Creation in South Africa,” earned him the John Jack Award which was sponsored by the Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship.

He made the presentation in the International Developing Countries category during the 26th Annual Conference of the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) held from 12 – 15 January in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 In his paper he highlighted that a significant proportion of labour in South Africa could not find employment despite positive economic growth rates since the demise of apartheid. The formal sector was unable to provide adequate employment although the government had responded with various strategies.

Mahadea argued that entrepreneurship could make a difference in absorbing more labour, however, entrepreneurial capacity was a constraint in South Africa. Regression results indicated that the growth elasticity of employment had been very low over the 1994-2010 period.

His paper identified some constraints to employment creation against the entrepreneurial environmental conditions in South Africa and examined how entrepreneurship could make a difference to employment creation.

Professor Matthew Marvel, Competitive Papers Chair of the USASBE 2012, congratulated Mahadea on this noteworthy award and said: ‘This is an achievement since the paper first underwent a rigorous review process where only 40 percent of the submissions were chosen for presentation at the conference.’

Dr Reitze Rodseth, an enthusiastic Lecturer and specialist in the Department of Anaesthetics at UKZN, received the Phyllis Knocker/Bradlow Award from the Senate of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA).


This prize is awarded to a person who has not only gained exceptional symbols in CMSA’s final fellowship examination, but whose professional career has shown and continues to show promise of a substantial contribution to basic or to clinical research, to community health, or to the advancement of any scientific or humanitarian aspect of medical or dental practice in South Africa.


Rodseth was awarded R45 000 in funding from CMSA towards his proposed study of 5 000 patients to evaluate the ability of postoperative NT-proBNP to predict cardiac complications in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.


‘Recently, small studies have suggested that an increase in the NT-proBNP levels early after surgery will identify patients who will have a life threatening heart complication.’


Rodseth’s study will be conducted as a prospective international multicentre study, where 5 000 patients who have undergone surgery and who spend the night in the hospital after their surgery will be followed.


‘This study aims to establish the relationship between postoperative NT-proBNP elevations and major heart complications such as death or a heart attack at 30 days after surgery,’ he explained.


It is expected that the study will take two years to recruit all the patients and an additional year to complete the follow-up.author email : memelal@ukzn.ac.za



The Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) , a cluster in the Inter Agency Standing Committee of the  United Nations, is collaborating with UKZN in the establishment of a post-graduate diploma dealing with child protection in emergency situations.

The diploma is considered the first of its kind. The pilot project will be developed in partnership with the University of Indonesia and Columbia University in the USA. This follows a process in which the CPWG approached more than 500 universities worldwide and undertook a rigorous examination of proposals submitted before selecting UKZN as the lead institution.

The proposal for this was developed by UKZN’s Dean and Head of Department: Built Environment and Development Studies, Professor Thokozani Xaba. Xaba is also the Director of the African Centre for Childhood.

Xaba and the Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, Mr Bruno Van Dyk, have been hosting the delegates at an initial planning workshop in Durban. Delegates include Professor Mike Wessells of the University of Columbia and the University of Indonesia and Ms Katie Bisaro and Mrs Amanda Malville of Save the Children and the CPWG.

These organisations and Higher Educational Institutions have extensive expertise in providing emergency relief to children. As this programme will be delivered internationally through distance learning, Ms Fiona Bulman of the African Centre for Childhood will support the development of the distance materials and systems.

‘The primary purpose for these partnerships is to ensure UKZN produces an educational accredited qualification that serves to develop aid workers with the necessary skills which will ultimately benefit the children most affected by horrific disasters,’ said Xaba.

Save the Children is one of the leading independent organisations which provide children affected by natural disasters and conflict with food, medical care and education.  It also assists in strengthening and re-building communities world-wide.

Columbia University has an extensi
author email : nyikana@ukzn.ac.za



Former SIFE President at UKZN, Ms Qhelile Nyathi, has been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship which will allow her to study towards her Masters degree at the University of Oxford in England for two years.

Nyathi will study two Masters programmes - African Studies and Financial Economics – as she believes the programs will facilitate in her development as a relevant actuarial scientist with a good understanding of African finances and economics within investment banking. 

African Studies is an interdisciplinary module that covers history, economics and politics of African states while Financial Economics is affiliated to the actuarial profession and falls under the SAID Business School at Oxford where she will receive exemptions from an actuarial sciences board.

Furthermore, during the two years she will complete eight of the 15 tests that qualify her as an actuary after the completion of her Masters degree. She will gain exemption from a further four actuarial exams.

Nyathi applied for the Scholarship through the Zimbabwe Constituency where she went through a rigorous two-day interview process. ‘The scholarship looked for individuals who are excelling academically and have a broad outlook on life and understand what’s happening on the local and international fronts be it politics, economics, agriculture or socially inclined events.

‘I also had to defend the opinions and decisions I have made in life as the interviews continuously probed about focuses outside our academics,’ she said.

Nyathi believes one of the reasons she was selected is because of her involvement in SIFE UKZN. ‘They were very interested in the work I did in SIFE as well as the expertise and experience I gained through it,’ she explained.

First year medical students officially set out on the long road to graduation when they recited the Hippocratic Oath at the 2012 Opening Ceremony on the Medical campus on 27 January.

The Ceremony featured presentations by senior management of the three schools within the College of Health Sciences which are responsible for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees.

Mr Msizwa Mkhwanazi, Director of proceedings and Students Services Officer within the Medical Student Representative Council (MSRC), said: ‘This medical campus has produced prestigious alumni such as the current National Minister of Health, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, the MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal and the Vice-Chancellor of UKZN. We hope that the Class of 2017 will produce the same.’

President of the MSRC, Mr Tamuhla Gilbert had wise words for the class: ‘Beware of Umbilo Road due to the heavy traffic, strangers that you will meet in hospitals and in the city, HIV, alcohol and anything that looks suspicious.’

The students also heard a presentation by Professor Richard Hift, Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine, who told the class that if their foundation was weak their output would suffer. ‘The harder you work, the more you learn and the more you learn, the more expert you become.’

Professor William Daniels, Dean of the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, advised students to ‘make the right choices and behave appropriately so you may all be successful graduates’.

The class were also fortunate to have a presentation by internationally renowned scientist and recipient of many esteemed awards, Associate Director of CAPRISA, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim. Karim encouraged the class to consider a career in research. ‘Research is about appreciating knowledge but more importantly it’s about generating new knowledge that advances a community, country and the global arena. Research is important for the transformation of societies.

‘Research is not something you can enter
author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za



The UKZN Howard College Debating Union (HCDU) has moved up 20 places in the World University Debate Rankings and is now placed second highest among the South African universities behind the University of Cape Town.

The HCDU is presently ranked 80th out of more than 500 teams worldwide. These results are based on the performance of teams and individual speakers who attend major national, regional and international competitions.

Former President of the HCDU and current Director of External Competitions, Mr Kameel Premhid, said they were pleased with the ranking as they had achieved it without ever attending a World Championship competition.

The biggest competition the HCDU has attended is the Pan African Championships in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, last year. The Union did very well with all its teams making it through to the knockout stages of the competition with one UKZN team ultimately reaching the finals.

The UKZN team finished second overall and won the first, second and 10th best speaker spots.

Premhid says despite fund-raising drives, financial constraints have always prevented the union from attending the world championships but this year he has high hopes of them going to the event in Germany.

‘With greater financial and administrative support, the HCDU could very easily become the top ranking South African and African Debating Union. We are hopeful the university community will rally behind us and provide us with financial and administrative support.’

author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za



UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science treated their new crop of first year recruits to some fun and laughter when they gathered for the College’s annual Orientation Day.

Held simultaneously on the Pietermaritzburg, Westville and Howard College campuses, the events aimed to put the about 2 250 newbies at ease, introduce them to the College and to university life, unravel the labyrinth of registration, and send them on their way  with a dose of good, old-fashioned scientific fun. 

On the Westville campus, Dean and Head of the School for Chemistry and Physics, Professor Andy Kindness, explained to the students the differences between School and University – no more teacher meetings, no more reports and no more spoon-feeding.

He warned against the slippery slope of missing lectures and spelt out the dire consequences of plagiarism and cheating.

Given the speed of the modern world, Kindness explained that the College’s role was to educate problem solvers for the future, rather than train students for jobs that might currently exist, but which would soon be obsolete.

Counseling psychologist Ms Neeshi Singh-Pillay gave the students an insight into services offered by the university to help them on their way, including counselling, and career and financial guidance.

Suddenly faced with “freedom overload”, she cautioned the students about the dangers of following a “B-Caffetaria” degree.

Umkhandlu wesigungu sabafundi (iSRC) negumbi eliyisibonelo, iMentorship Office, basebenze kanzima ukuqinisekisa ukuthi abafundi abasha bathole lonke usizo abaludingayo ngezifundo zabo ngokuqala konyaka.

Izikhungo bezisebenza ndawonye ukuze bamukele abafundi enyakeni wabo wokuqala enyuvesi. Ezikhungweni zonhlanu zeNyuvesi ukwamukelwa kwabafundi kuqale ngokuthi baziswe ngayo, baphinde bamukelwa abebemele izikole ezahlukene.

Ekolishini lakwaHumanities esikhungweni saseHoward College, kuchithwe ulwazi ngezokubhalisa nangezinsiza zimali. I IWriting Place eseyehhovisi lakwaStudent Support lingezinye yezinto ekukhulunywe ngazo zokusiza abafundi bakwazi ukubhala ngendlela efanele kwiMfundo ePhakeme.

Abanye abafundi  bajabulele ukufundiswa ngomtapo wolwazi nokuthi bangayisebenzisa kanjani iminyango eyahlukene. Abafundi banikezwe imiqulu ebiqukethe lonke ulwazi abaludingayo ngekolishi labo. Lezincwadi ziqukethe yonke imininingwane abayidingayo ukuze baphumelele ezifundweni zabo.

Abafundi bakujabulele ukuhamba bekhonjiswa inyuvesi. Ithimba ebelikhombisa abafundi lisazoqhubeka nokubasiza noma sebeqale ukufunda.

‘NjengeMentorship Office, umsebenzi wethu ukuthi sisize iSRC ngazo zonke izinto abafuna ukuzenza eNyuvesi ngalesikhathi kufika abafundi. Owethu umsebenzi usuke usuphelile uma abafundi sebebhalisile, bangena ezindaweni zabo zokuhlala sebeqala nokufunda ngobunzima obuncane,’ kusho Nksz Phindiwe Rasmeni (where from?).

‘Kufanele sibeke izindlela zokusiza abafundi bakwazi ukungena kalula eNyuvesi uma bephuma ezikoleni, khona bezozimisela. Siyakujabulela ukuthola ithuba lokuhlangana nabafundi abasha sibasize ukuthi baphumelele uma belana eNyuvesi. Siyalijabulela ithuba lokuvuselela iMentorship Programme eqalwe namaKolishi.’

Click here for english version
author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za



UKZN graduate and public health consultant, Dr Nirvadha Singh, has been invited to share her pioneering study on the preparedness of KwaZulu-Natal hospitals to deal with mass disasters during the 2010 FIFA World Cup at an international health congress in Ethiopia in April.

The congress is the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) being held in association with the Ethiopian Public Health Association in Addis Ababa from 23 - 27 April.

Singh’s study titled: “Level of Hospitals’ Preparedness for a Mass Disaster during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer in the eThekwini District of KwaZulu-Natal,” assesses the state of hospital readiness, medical preparedness and emergency care in preparation for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup at 11 hospitals in the region.

Singh says because South Africa has been the only developing country to host the soccer world cup, there were no benchmarks on sports disaster management by any other developing countries for her to use in her study.


The results of the study indicate that although disaster plans and policies exist, there is still a need for resources to be directed toward skills training, attraction and retention of health care professionals, revitalisation of emergency and theatre areas and the commissioning of more isolation units. Singh is the first public health specialist in the world to have conducted such a study.


It is with pride that I share the news of the invite from the WFPHA. It will be a great privilege to carry the flag high for UKZN and of note is that world leaders and academics, including members of the World Health Organisation, will be there to listen to my presentation,’ said Singh.

UKZN School of Education academic, Dr Emmanuel Mfanafuthi Mgqwashu, has been invited to attend the World Literacy Summit hosted by Oxford University in England from 1 - 4 April.

Organized by the World Literacy Foundation, the theme of the summit is: From Poverty, to Literacy, to a Future, and will address key literacy issues being faced today.

This event will bring together leaders in global literacy activities and organisations, educators, key researchers, scholars and intellectuals committed to helping those living in social isolation because of their inability to read or write. This event will serve as a unique platform to highlight the importance of education and literacy for the marginalised population.

The invitation letter to Mgqwashu from the President of the Foundation pointed out that ‘through your role as Senior Lecturer in English Literatures, Languages and Literacies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, you are no doubt aware of the potential role education can play in promoting and improving self-sustainability amongst the most disadvantaged. We formally invite you to attend the World Literacy Summit and believe that your knowledge and experience of the issues around education and literacy would be of great benefit to all Summit participants’.

‘The invitation is humbling, timely, and will afford me an opportunity to share the platform with eminent global scholars and intellectuals in the field of literacy,’ said Mgqwashu.  ‘With God’s help, I hope this experience does not benefit just me and me alone.

‘The majority of students who come from families that are at the bottom of the economic scale, whose parents’ priority is buying bread rather than a newspaper, remain my primary concern as an academic.  I was once just like them, if not worse, and God help me not forget that,’ he said.

For more details on the speakers and the Summit, visit http://worldliteracy2012.org/speakers.html and http://worldliteracy2012.org, respectively.

author email : mavaneni@ukzn.ac.za