Staff, students and members of the public who attended a special public lecture at UKZN’s Medical campus on 2 February left inspired after an insightful presentation from Professor Peter Agre, the 2003 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.


Agre is being hosted at UKZN by the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH).


He received global recognition after he discovered aquaporins a family of water channel proteins found throughout nature and responsible for numerous physiological processes in humans and implicated in multiple clinical disorders.


Agre shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Professor Roderick MacKinnon, a Professor of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at Rockefeller University in the United States, for discoveries concerning channels in cell membranes.


‘The nature of science is just amazing,’ said UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, while extending a warm welcome to Agre. Makgoba said hard work and dedication led to cutting-edge science.


During the lecture Agre reflected on his scientific upbringing and recognised science as an international
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Mr Kashmeel Bisseru, South Africa’s top 2011 matric student and Dux at Durban High School (DHS), has enrolled at UKZN’s School of Engineering.

Bisseru was initially placed among the Top 10 matric students in the Umlazi district but following a remark of his science paper the youngster won the No 1 position in the country.

Bisseru was also the winner of the UKZN Faculty of Science and Agriculture trophy at DHS for being the school’s top achiever in Maths and Science.

DHS Principal, Mr Dave Magner, described Bisseru as a humble, hardworking boy, who would be a huge success in the future.

Bisseru was awarded a UKZN Scholarship and honoured at a special assembly at his high school.

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Management Studies has embarked on a project to enable Mother Tongue teaching and learning through some of their first year Accounting and Economics modules.

For the first time, the College is offering isiZulu-medium tutorials and isiZulu glossaries and lexicons to supplement existing first year course materials.

Tutors are ready to offer isiZulu-medium tutorials and consultations this semester. In addition, the Moodle e-learning system is being used to facilitate the project.

The innovative Nitro Reader mouse-over technology is being used to offer students user-friendly access to isiZulu glossaries and lexicons.

‘We need to move away from traditionally utilised, exhaustive textbook style learning to stimulating, learner-centred education, appealing to a modern generation of learners,’ said Dr Dianna Moodley, who is spearheading the language policy implementation plan for the College of Law and Management Studies.

According to Dr Moodley, recognising that first year students have particular learning needs as a result of their differing schooling backgrounds, previous learning experiences and their often under-developed learning skills, the venture could assist students facing impediments linked to learning through a second language.

‘Insurmountable research attests to the fact that learning through a second language poses a substantial barrier to students’ success. Professor Neville Alexander, a leading South African linguist in support of Mother Tongue Education, puts it nicely when he states that:

‘Being able to us
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The latest book to hit the shelves from veteran UKZN academic and author, Bill Guest, is: A Fine Band of Farmers Are We! A History of Agricultural Studies in Pietermaritzburg 1934-2009.


Published as an Occasional Publications imprint by the Natal Society Foundation, the book examines the history of agricultural studies in KwaZulu-Natal over the past 75 years giving a detailed overview of the establishment of the discipline in the province and focusing on the Faculty of Agriculture at the former University of Natal (UN). 


Alumni of Ag Fac - the name the Faculty was affectionately known by - have made their mark in agricultural research in South Africa and throughout the world.


Guest, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Associate in Historical Studies on UKZN's Pietermaritzburg campus, has authored, co-authored and co-edited 10 books on South African history focussing primarily on KwaZulu-Natal.


The new book covers the pre-formation period of the Faculty of Agriculture of 1934 to 1949 and then the following 60 years which has three principal periods of about 20 years each - (i) the establishment period of 1949-1966, (ii) the changing of the 'guard' and integration into the UN period 1966-1988; and (iii) the rationalisation, restructuring and merger period of 1988 to 2009.


A review of the book in the Natalia magazine states: 'Bill Guest has shown his skills as an historian in writing a factual yet interesting record of an institution universally known as Ag-Fac.  With academic acumen he has captured and enumerated the facts about the struggle which was a precursor to the funding and founding of Ag Fac.


In comment on the back cover of the book, Professor (Emeritus) B Nigel Wolstenholme writes: 'Bill Guest's scholarly research confirms that the original Ag Fac model, and its new millenium successor, have much to be proud of ... it is therefore both timely and a cause for celebration that Bill Guest's scholarly book is available for all those with an interest in the topic, as well as future scholars.  This book also comes at a time when the achievem
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Kube yinjabulo lapho amawele amathathu akaMoonaisur: uAshmika, uDimishka kanye noTashna benikezwe umfundaze lenani likaR20 000 umuntu emunye yiKolishi lakwaLaw and Management e-UKZN. 

Lomfundaze uzobanikeza ithuba lokuqhuba izifundo zabo zeHonours kwiHuman Resources Management.

Umfundaze wasungulwa iKolishi ngobuhlakani  bokuheha abafundi abaningi abafuna ukwenza izifundo eziphakeme. 

Umphathi weKolishi uSolwazi John Mubangizi ukhiphe izigidi ezinguR1.4 ezibekelwe abafundi abangu70 abaswele imali  yokuqhuba izifundo zabo ngo2012.  

Kukholelwa ukuthi lemfundaze izokhuphula izibalo zabafundi abafuna ukuqhuba izifundo kuManagement Studies, bakhuthaze abafundi abasha abazokwenza izifundo Maritime Law nezifundo zakwaLLM.

UMnu Jay Moonaisur uthe ulijabulela kakhulu ithuba elivulelwe amadodakazi akhe. 

'Ukubafundisa baze bafike lana bekunzima kakhulu emndenini ngokwezezimali.'

Lamawele ayale abanye abafundi ukuba balandele ezicathulweni zabo njengoba kubalulekile ukuqhuba izifundo zakho ukuze ube nekusasa elingcono.

'Besifuna ukusebenza siqhube izifundo zethu ntambama kodwa siyabona ukuthi ngeke sikwazi ukukwenza kokubili. Sithathe isinqumo sokuzama ukufaka isicelo somfundaze saba nenhlanhla sawuthola. Sesizokwazi manje ukufeza amaphupho ethu,' kusho u-Ashmika. 

UDimishka noTashna bavumelene ukuthi ukuzimisela, ukusizana nokuphasa kahle ikona okubabeke ethubeni elihle.  

'Sonke besingatholi ngaphansi kwamaphesenti angu 70 ezifundweni zethu ngoba besisebenza sifunda ndawonye. Ukuqhuba izifundo kuzosibeka ethubeni elihle emkhakheni wakaHuman Resources,' kusho uTashna. 

Click here for english version

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The accolades keep rolling in for Ms Saffiya Habib, a Masters student from the School of Life Sciences at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

Habib was awarded the Roche Prize for the Best Biochemistry Honours Student in the country in 2010.  The award was presented to her while she was attending the joint conference of the South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SASBMB) and the Federation of African Societies of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (FASBMB).

To be considered for the prize, students must have completed their degree and be nominated by their lecturers or fellow students.

Habib completed her undergraduate and honours degrees summa cum laude at UKZN's Westville campus and was nominated by Professor Mario Ariatti, who is co-supervising her Masters along with supervisor Dr Mogie Singh.

Ariatti was full of praise for Habib, describing her as being a highly motivated and keen student with a bright future. He went further to highlight her exemplary work ethic, relating how she often set the pace in the laboratories starting bright and early, putting in an extra concerted effort at weekends and after hours, despite having to travel from Verulam every day. 

Habib said that the award was a pleasant surprise and thanked everyone who had supported her throughout her tertiary studies. 

Saffiya hopes to complete her Masters dissertation this year, and will attend and present at an international conference in France. She won the funding to attend this conference as part of her prize for winning the Faculty of Science and Agriculture’s Post-Graduate Research Day award for best oral presentation last year.

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Professor Bonke Dumisa of UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance is among nine experts in sectors such as education, health and finance chosen by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Dr Zweli Mkhize to join the KwaZulu-Natal Planning Commission.

The KZN Planning Commission is the first such provincial entity in the country and works alongside the National Planning Commission.

UKZN’s Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is also on the provincial planning commission while UKZN’S Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, sits on the national commission

While the task of creating a turn-around strategy for the province for the next 30 years is a mammoth one,   Dumisa says he’s looking forward to sharing the invaluable practical knowledge and insights he is gaining from the Commission with his students and fellow academics. He believes that translating this wealth of expertise and knowledge into teaching and learning ensures that students are informed and engaged on social issues.

Dumisa encourages his students to keep themselves informed by reading newspapers and business books, and listening to or watching current affairs programmes on radio or television. He loathes ‘the regurgitation of text book material’ and motivates his students to critically engage themselves and to demonstrate personal thought and understanding.

‘When I ask the questions I do not want them (students) to memorise the book because if I wanted to know what is in the text book I would read it myself and not need to mark their scripts. This is what I believe all universities should be doing,’ said Dumisa.

Dr Lisa Frost Ramsay, a Lecturer and researcher at UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, addressed the SA Parliamentary Portfolio Committee in Cape Town recently on the proposed amendments to the Weather Bill.

A specialist and expert in the fields of air pollution meteorology and environmental health, Ramsay represented a group of local atmospheric scientists. Her address conveyed the concerns around some of the provisions of the Weather Services Bill, in particular, the limitations that could be placed on future research.

Ramsay’s speech highlighted the implications of the bill with regard to three main areas. The first of these was access to data, with a specific focus on the limitations that could be placed on research and innovation.

Furthermore, she stated that changes to the bill could see the South African Weather Service (SAWS) fail to meet certain statutory obligations. Amendments to the bill would also see restrictions on independent forecasters, and once again lead to constraints on the research and development of forecasting models.

The third point highlighted dealt with the limitations that would be placed on the critiquing of work carried out by SAWS. The arguments presented by Ramsay alluded to the necessity of open reflective practice in order to facilitate the growth and development of SAWS.


Dr Ramsay’s comments were well received by the portfolio committee who agreed that certain revisions to the Bill were necessary. It was highlighted that it was not the intention of the legislators to restrict innovation or research in the critical fields of meteorology and climatology and provisions would be revised where they inadvertently suggested this. Furthermore the issue of data access for academic research would be addressed in later meetings.

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UKZN is fortunate to host UKUSA - the longest running and one of the most successful Community Arts Programmes in South Africa.

UKUSA is a developmental Community Performing Arts Non-Profit Organization operating from the School of Music on the Howard College campus every Saturday from March to October. Well known University music educator Professor Elizabeth Oehrle is the founder and co-ordinator of this massive Community project.   

Ukusa was born in 1987 during one of the worst periods of internal strife and bloodshed in apartheid history. It was a time of desperation for many young South Africans.

Ukusa began as a small local arts outreach project with 50 students and 3 teachers operating out of a dilapidated shed at the old Durban Station.

The aim was to offer a space to township youth to explore their artistic talents. Professor Christopher Ballantine invited UKUSA to the University in 1989 where it has remained ever since. The staff has increased to 20 and student numbers to more than 200 annually.

UKUSA assists students 16 years and older who show willingness to work, ability in the creative arts, and a desire to share what they have learned with others in their communities. UKUSA also serves as a bridging programme for students interested in studying at the School of Music.  A number of UKUSA students have gone on to complete degrees at UKZN and other universities and places of Higher Learning.

More than 8 000 students have attended UKUSA over the past 25 years, coming from all over greater Durban and as far afield as Ulundi, Port Shepstone and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. UKUSA students have gone on to achieve their dreams in careers of their choice and now initiate and run Community Youth Arts Programmes in their own communities.  

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) continues to host compelling lectures as part of its Education and Training Programme Lecture Series.


The most recent was presented at UKZN’s Medical campus by Dr Michael Saag of the University of Alabama (UAB) in the United States who spoke on: “The Current Status of Antiretroviral Therapy”.


Saag is a Professor at UAB’s School of Medicine, a Director of the University’s Centre for AIDS Research, and also the Jim Straley Chair in AIDS Research.


Saag spoke on the science, ethics, policy and public health issues related to antiretroviral therapy, articulating a United States perspective on the pandemic but stating: ‘We have a lot of issues in common with South Africa.’


He nutshelled his concern saying: ‘We aren’t diagnosing people early and when they show up, they have a very low CD4 count.’


Although antiretroviral therapy had shown impressive results in prolonging the lifespan of infected individuals, ‘we aren’t where we want to be yet.’


Saag argues that effective treatment is still very dependent on the economy and limited resources in most instances.


A greater concern was when patients said they felt better and stopped taking antiretroviral treatment - it was crucial for them to stay on the treatment.


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Twin sisters, Reratilwe and Reabetswe Moalosi of Brits, are looking forward to a challenging and exciting first year at UKZN thanks to the University’s UNITE programme.

UNITE, the University Intensive Tuition for Engineering Programme at the School of Engineering, is an Alternative Access programme which has consistently delivered on its mandate of promoting excellence in the study of engineering during the past 20 years.

The sisters, who matriculated at the Hartebeestpoort High School last year, hope to move from the UNITE programme into the mainstream BSc Electrical Engineering degree course next year.

The young girls are very happy to be at UKZN.  Reabetswe, who had always wanted to study at the University, said people at UKZN had been kind and helpful. She was thrilled at the opportunity to learn to speak isiZulu.

Reratilwe was grateful for the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds and felt the University offered her a unique study option she couldn’t find elsewhere.

The sisters singled out mathematics lecturer Dr Megan Govender saying they found his lectures entertaining and informative. Headed by Mr Noel Powell, UNITE’s 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 programme and has for many years pioneered holistic, innovative and interactive teaching methods.

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A UKZN academic had the honour of representing his Caribbean island of origin at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) climate change gathering in Durban last year.

Dr Gosnell Yorke of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics in the College of Humanities was part of a three-person Delegation of the Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis.

Yorke has also been re-appointed as the Honorary Consul for his country of origin in South Africa, having first served in that diplomatic capacity in Johannesburg from 2003-2007 before joining UKZN.

While in Johannesburg, he was able not only to represent his Government as Head of Delegation at the second inauguration of former President Thabo Mbeki in April 2004, but was also able to attend various official openings and ordinary sessions of the Pan-African Parliament which has its headquarters in Midrand.

While based in Johannesburg, Yorke also served as a translation consultant with the worldwide United Bible Societies.

Fluent in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese and having successfully completed a post-doctoral programme in linguistics at Unisa (1999), he also worked briefly in and/or conducted various translation workshops in the Hispanophone (Spanish-speaking) country of Equatorial Guinea in West Africa and in Francophone (French-speaking) Africa as well—mainly Cameroon, Senegal and Ivory Coast. 

Yorke said that it was a privilege for him to be authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of his Government to participate as a Delegate at COP 17.  ‘My island nation is one of the 43 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (the AOSIS Group), which had to interact or negotiate quite intensively and extensively with other groupings at the conference.’

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