UKZN’s Bews Herbarium is the first herbarium in South Africa to bring its specimen data online.

The herbarium, South Africa's fifth largest, was established in 1910 and is estimated to house more than 150 000 flowering plant specimens.

The flora of the Drakensberg Alpine Region and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands are particularly well documented in the herbarium. Furthermore, several families have been the focus of international research for many years and are also particularly well represented including the daisies (Asteraceae), sedges (Cyperaceae), legumes (Fabaceae), orchids (Orchidaceae), grasses (Poaceae), and ferns. In addition, the herbarium has a substantial collection of South African marine macro-algae.

Most South African natural history collections have been data based to some degree but rarely, if ever, is the electronic data easily and freely accessible to the scientific community or the interested public, despite the fact that the vast majority of institutions have websites.

Creating a website is relatively straight forward, but connecting data and providing special tools for searching, processing, analysing, mapping and image display are generally beyond the technical expertise of curators and collection managers.

There are many advantages to publishing specimen data and images online. Perhaps most importantly, the web can be used as a tool to provide data, which is otherwise locked up, to the widest possible scientific community. It also encourages feedback on identifications and helps to streamline loans management.

Natural history collections which put their data online become better known and are consulted and cited more often than those without the facility. A well-designed website with good quality information and data is excellent publicity for an institution.

The current Curator, Dr Benny Bytebier, introduced the modern and internationally used software package BRAHMS - Botanical Research and Herbarium Management System - to the Bews Herbarium when he took up his position in 2009.  Bytebier had been involved with BRAHMS since the mid-1990s while working at the East African Herbarium in Kenya.

BRAHMS manages and integrates data and images from specimens, botanical surveys, field observations, living collections, seed banks and literature. The system puts one in control of the data, optimising its use for the widest possible range of curation and research services and outputs.

BRAHMS is used by projects in more than 50 countries worldwide. Some projects are based at the world’s largest herbaria at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, whereas others are in small, often remote field stations or university departments. BRAHMS is freely downloadable from the system’s website.

In 2011, all specimen data that was digitised previously using SANBI’s PRECIS database system, were migrated to Brahms and a three-day training course was organised in which 17 people, including all staff of the Bews Herbarium, participated.

The migration of data and the training course was conducted by Mr Denis Filer of Oxford University in England, who developed Brahms, in collaboration with Bytebier and Senior Technician, Dr Christina Potgieter.

Brahms is now routinely used for all research and curatorial activities at the herbarium, and all specimens are systematically barcoded and imaged before being digitised.

This year the herbarium took the momentous step of publishing all its data online. ‘As such we have created a virtual herbarium from which specimen data as well as specimen images can be easily retrieved,’ said Bytebier.

The virtual herbarium can be accessed at The data can be searched interactively and the results of searches are presented in flexible text pages and data grids. Specimen images can be viewed and data of interest can easily be downloaded in spreadsheet format. About 30 000 specimens (20 percent of the complete herbarium) can now be consulted from anywhere in the world.

‘While we still have a long way to go, we believe this is a big step forward in bringing the herbarium to its users and making it more easily accessible to the scientific community and the public at large,’ said Bytebier.

An official function to mark the milestone launch of the website and virtual herbarium was held at the Bews Herbarium on 2 July.  After a short skype presentation by Bytebier and Filer, guests were given the opportunity to test the website and were treated to a tour of the UKZN Botanical Garden by Chief Horticulturist, Ms Alison Young.

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Congratulations to Dr Bill Bishai, Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute (K-RITH), who received the Gardner Middlebrook Award at the annual BACTEC Dinner in San Francisco on 17 June. 

The Gardner Middlebrook Award, sponsored by Becton Dickinson Diagnostic Systems, honours scientists who have made significant lifetime contributions in the study, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases caused by mycobacteria, including leprosy and tuberculosis. 

Bishai is amongst a select group of microbiologists who have been chosen by their peers to receive this international award since 1996.  As Director of K-RITH, he is now using his extensive understanding of mycobacteria to tackle the growing problem of HIV/ TB co-infection in South Africa.

K-RITH Scientist in Residence Dr Jacques Grosset has also been a recipient of this prestigious award.

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More than 270 alumni accompanied by partners and family members attended a premiere of the movie Friends with Kids as guests of UKZN’s Alumni Relations Office.

Alumnus Mr Navin Bechan expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the movie and snacks. ‘It really was an enjoyable, relaxing evening and I hope to be invited to future social gatherings like this.’

Alumnus Ms Julie-May Ellingson, acting CEO of the Durban's ICC, was among the guests. ‘This event is a good way for alumni to keep in touch with their alma mater and old friends. And I’ll definitely be coming to the next one,’ said Ellingson, who holds a Masters degree in Town and Regional Planning from UKZN.

Ms Esme Estrice of the Alumni Relations Office said the events provided alumni with a chance to interact with colleagues.

‘It is a good way of networking with our alumni and provides an opportunity for us to update alumni on their alma mater through information packages and a verbal update at the venue.’

Alumni can look forward to a range of upcoming events this year including a lunch at Richards Bay and a supper theatre event in Pietermaritzburg as well as an event in the United Kingdom.

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Renowned UKZN theologian and historian, Dr R Simangaliso Kumalo, recently celebrated the release of his latest book: Pastor and Politician: Essays on the Legacy of JL Dube, the first President of the African National Congress. 

The book includes an insightful selection of work by and about John Langalibalele Dube, a South African politician, philosopher, pastor, educator, novelist and poet who was the founding President of the South African Native National Congress (the present ANC) in 1912.

Dube was also the founder of the Ohlange Institute, the first school in South Africa to be founded by an African person. In addition, he was one of the first Zulu published authors and founded Ilanga, the first isiZulu newspaper which is still in circulation.

Pastor and Politician comprises essays on Dube written by Kumalo and others who knew him, as well as 12 short papers composed by Dube himself, which sets it apart from other works on the man. 

‘It goes beyond what other people are saying about Dube, but allows him to speak for himself,’ said Kumalo. 

With an aim to revive the legacy of Dube and his contribution to the liberation of the African people in South Africa, the book examines issues of self-reliance, good governance and African identity. 

It is most relevant to leaders in post-apartheid South Africa and reminds us that religion and politics are inextricably intertwined, as revealed by the life of Dube who held the two in a creative tension. 

According to Kumalo: ‘Underlying Dube’s achievements were his religious convictions and through this publication he ‘seeks to demonstrate the possible contribution of religion to people’s liberation and development if channeled properly’. 

Reverend Dr Moiseraele Prince Dibeela, who wrote the foreword to the book said: ‘Kumalo’s work has made clear the connection between the facets of Dube’s life as a politician, religious leader and educator.’

As Africa seeks to carve its own future, Dube’s legacy offers valuable insights and, according to Professor Heather Hughes, Principal Teacher Fellow at Lincoln University, Kumalo ‘has done us a great service’ by compiling this incisive work. 

Kumalo, who is based in the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, is the founding Director of the Religion and Governance Programme at UKZN and Director of the Ujamaa Centre for Biblical and Theological Community Development and Research.  He was instrumental in developing the John Langalibalele Dube Memorial Lectures which are held by the School each year.

A prolific writer, Kumalo is the author of two other books: From Deserts to Forests and Methodists with a White History and a Black Future.

The College of Humanities' John Langalibalele Dube Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile on 30 August in the Colin Webb Hall on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus. 
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UKZN’s Dr Patrick Giddy has pioneered a potentially fruitful relationship between the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics and three Chinese universities.

The institutions are the Renmin (People's) University of China in Beijing, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, and Wuhan University in the field of philosophy.

This comes after Giddy was recently invited to present three papers at separate conferences organised by these universities in collaboration with the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy in the United States.

The papers Giddy presented at the conferences will be published in various books by the publishing press of the Council in Washington. The topics that he discussed were Immanence and Transcendence in Confucianism, Buddhism and Christianity; Dialogue among Cultures and the Virtues in a Modern Global Age.

‘The philosophical horizon is always in need of broadening, and this is the case when Chinese philosophy, mainly in the tradition of Confucius and of Lao Tzu, is brought onto the scene.’

‘Also, our School at UKZN combines philosophy and religion, and this suits the outlook of Chinese academia, where religion is a subdivision of philosophy. The resources of these Chinese universities and their desire for greater contact with universities outside China are important factors,’ explained Giddy.

UKZN in collaboration with the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy will host a follow up conference from 5-6 November in Durban, organised by Giddy. The theme is: “Religion, Values and a Secular Culture”.

For more information on this project and how to participate in the conference contact Dr Patrick Giddy via

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In its mission to strengthen partnerships with South Africa’s business stakeholders, the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L) hosted its first business round table breakfast at Moses Mabhida Stadium recently.

The breakfast provided a forum for the School to showcase its programmes to the province’s business community and to obtain ideas on the development of future programmes.  It was also an opportunity to engage corporate and public sector leaders on the challenges facing them and the potential solutions that lie in business education and enterprise development.

The event was well attended by members of the Durban and Pietermaritzburg Business Chambers of Commerce, corporate leaders and city officials.

In his introduction, director of proceedings and GSB&L Lecturer, Mr Steven Msomi, contextualised the history of the MBA programme. He did this by profiling MBA graduates who are influential in the South African business world including UKZN’s Executive Director: Corporate Relations, Ms Nomonde Mbadi.

GSB&L’s Dean and Head, Professor Stephen Migiro, provided a background and purpose of the breakfast and highlighted the needs and benefits of partnerships between the industry and the School.

‘When partnered with businesses, the School can play a role in providing applied learning which seeks to satisfy the demand for skilled workers and the need for a knowledgeable workforce and therefore it is imperative for business schools to bring academia and industry closer building a symbiotic relationship. The business school has to identify the area where it can build effective academia industry relationships,’ said Migiro.

‘The School should move from the model of working with employers to one of working with partners. A synergistic relationship has to be developed between the School and the industry so that both can benefit and contribute to the learning process. We can do this by identifying areas where we can work together,’ said Migiro.

During the discussions, stakeholders were asked to voice their concerns and challenges to help map a way forward. Participants called for the School to attend Chamber of Commerce meetings in order to understand the challenges, trends and developments in the industry. There was also a call for the School to publish interesting research conducted by its students.

The feedback was noted and appreciated with Migiro promising to include the suggestions in the School’s strategic plan.
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Four UKZN Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Masters students recently attended the South African Agricultural Business (Agbiz) Chamber’s biennial congress in the Drakensberg.


The four – Mr John Flanagan, Mr Adhil Goga, Ms Thembe Khanyile and Mr Andrias Nkoana – were part of a group of 16 masters students invited from various universities in South Africa.


The students were grouped into four teams of four members each that had to work on a case study.  Khanyile and Goga were part of the winning team, while Mandela Rhodes scholar Flanagan was a member of the runner-up team.


‘The Agbiz Congress Conference was a unique experience for all of us; we were hugely privileged to be present with about 100 of arguably the most influential agribusiness managers/owners in the country,’ said Flanagan. ‘It was a real eye opener about the broad spectrum of businesses providing for and driven by agriculture.’


The other students were equally enthusiastic.  ‘It was a really good experience to mingle with the “big guys” in the agricultural sector, and meet students from other universities sharing common interests,’ said Goga.


Khanyile found the session to be an enjoyable link between the academic and the real, business world while Nkoana said: ‘The overall conference was captivating.’


The students agreed that the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association student case competition was both challenging and fulfilling. Presented with a real life problem relating to marketing ostrich meat from birds infected with Avian Influenza, they were asked to present relevant solutions in groups.


Two out of four finalist teams went through to the final presentation before the full Agbiz conference ‘Our winning strategy was to be a little more creative with the solutions we came up with rather than just stating the obvious,’ said Goga.


Ms Lindie Stroebel, Agbiz Manager: Economic Intelligence and Finance, said the two finalist teams emerged from their theoretical academic background becoming innovative in proposing structured solutions which the ostrich industry could actually consider. ‘Congress delegates enjoyed the project which was a refreshing addition to the programme,’ she said. ‘They recommended further engagements be facilitated and perhaps formalised between the business sector and academia to ultimately provide students with sufficient exposure to the business environment.’


The annual Agricultural Business congress is the primary communication forum for up-stream and down-stream agribusinesses in South Africa. The attendance of the four UKZN post-graduate students was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Standard Bank, Agbiz and MKB.


‘Congratulations to our students who did so well and made UKZN proud,’ said Professor Gerald Ortmann of Agricultural Economics.

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UKZN’s Centre for Civil Society scholar and researcher, Mr Molefi Ndlovu, has played a major role in creating Qwasha!, a portal for community digital content.

Ndlovu was part of a team which included Web Developer, Mr Niall McNulty, and Graphic Designer, Mr Lwazi Gwijane.

Qwasha! is an online public archive of counter narratives, community media productions, interviews, stories and activities.

The initiative is addressing the need to increase the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and related social media platforms to facilitate and amplify citizen voices and grassroots exchange, dialogue, and collaboration at local, regional, continental and on a global scale in all spheres of public life.

‘The hope is that by putting effort into a more organised public action archiving practice in community-based development initiatives within the eThekwini metro area, the online platform can be seen as another tool in the hands of citizens. It is a means through which they can voice their views and move closer to the realisation of fundamental human rights to free expression, thought, association, access to information and the right to dissent,’ said Ndlovu.

To assist in this regard, Ndlovu and his team will curate and collect archival multi-format data relating to various civil society processes and activities through a free downloadable quarterly e-journal and multi-media.

The researchers are confident that there is a need for greater outreach initiatives working on bridging the gap between formal academy and community-based knowledge.

Hence, the Qwasha! digital portal is an attempt at responding to the growing awareness of internet use for communication and record-keeping at community level. McNulty said the Qwasha! platform would be populated with user-generated content and social media such as Twitter and Facebook and would be used along with mobile technology to reach the community masses on a larger scale.

‘The next phase in this project will include the collaborator expansion of project activities to interested Durban communities, thereby putting the city on the global map as a place of identity, history and creative expression,’ said Gwijane.

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Sixteen different academic societies in the field of religion and theology participated in a recent conference hosted by UKZN’s School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The Joint Conference of Academic Societies in the Field of Religion and Theology focused on the central theme: “Knowing, Believing, Living in Africa: Perspectives from Religion, Theology and Science”.

The programme for the five-day event included a large number of parallel sessions, a host’s reception, various society dinners, business meetings, and cultural events and outings arranged by individual societies.  Each society was responsible for organising their own programme within an agreed format. 

According to Dean and Head of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, Professor Isabel Phiri, it was particularly encouraging that ‘participants did not just stick to their own society but went across to listen to presentations of other societies’.

Keynote speakers, addressing the theme of the conference from the perspectives of their fields of academic expertise, presented six open plenary sessions throughout the conference. 

Phiri said the speakers were invited ‘on the basis of their academic stature, their ability to engage creatively with current trends in their disciplines, and their ability to move beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries’. She added that gender, race, discipline and religion affiliation were also taken into account. 

The following distinguished scholars presented the six plenary lectures: Dr Afe Adogame from the Centre for the Study of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh; Professor Cornel du Toit, Head of the Research Institute for Theology and Religion at UNISA; Dr Simanga Kumalo, Head of the Ujamaa Centre and the Centre for Religion and Governance at UKZN; Professor Madipoane Masenya, Chair of the Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at UNISA; Professor Abdulkader Tayob, NRF Chair in Islam, African Publics and Religious Values Islamic Studies, Religion and Public Life at UCT; and Dr Alberto Melloni, Professor of History at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. 

Adogame, whose presentation focused on the topic: “Questing for the Good Things in Life: The Public Face of New African Christianities”, said such conferences were extremely valuable for building relationships and interacting with others from similar academic fields.  

Speaking at the opening of the Conference, Phiri highlighted the presence of a significant number of internationally-recognised scholars from around the world.  She emphasised the amount of work and planning that had gone into organising a conference of such magnitude.

‘I am hoping that if we continue gathering like this, we will have the whole world coming to find out about cutting-edge research in religion and theology,’ said Phiri.
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The Business Organisational and Leadership Development (BOLD) initiative has been established at UKZN under the leadership of Mr Rudi Kimmie of UNITE and Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, the South African Research Chair in Fluorine Process Engineering.

In light of high unemployment and pervasive social decline which face graduates, BOLD is more than a skills development project, says Kimmie. ‘It is an embracing concept which promotes holistic personal and enterprise development.  It talks to current socio-economic challenges facing South Africa through centralising ethical awareness and social outreach as core activities, yet also advances entrepreneurship training.

‘Through a broad range of experiential learning activities BOLD intends to ignite passion, advance personal growth, inspire organisational development and ultimately contribute towards solving South Africa’s socio-economic problems through job creation and enterprise development,’ he said.

Entrepreneurs throughout the world were renowned for qualities which included: innovation, resourcefulness, ambition and altruism.  It was the combination of these qualities, said Kimmie, which were not actively promoted in South African education curricula and which often rendered graduates ill-prepared for the demands of the modern world.

‘What sets the vision of BOLD apart from the many entrepreneurship courses available is that it also aspires to develop the strategic leadership and organisational skills which can drive the complex entrepreneurial knowledge economies of the future.

‘Already attracting attention from the business community and government agencies such as the National Youth Development Agency, BOLD intends to strengthen UKZN’s role as a socially responsive institution,’ said Kimmie

For additional information, contact Rudi Kimmie at or Professor Deresh Ramjugernath at

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UKZN's first inaugural lecture of the year titled: “What children can teach us about love, sex and gender”, presented by Professor of Education in the College of Humanities, Deevia Bhana, challenged the audience to rethink their long-held beliefs and assumptions on children and sexuality.

‘My title for tonight’s lecture, more than anything else, is to stop the pretence of childhood sexual innocence, to shake us up a bit and begin to trouble children, gender and sexuality so that we might be better positioned to deal with issues and problems and improve our interventions in schools,’ said Bhana. 

Bhana, a pioneer in the field of gender and South African childhood sexualities, has twice received the Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) Award from Columbia University in the United States.  She was also a finalist and second runner up in the 2011 South African Women in Science Awards.

Bhana’s presentation centred on two main arguments: sexuality matters to children whether they are 6 or 16 and sexuality intersects with power and social inequalities. 

In the context of South African society which is plagued by a high degree of gender and sexual violence in addition to the pressing risk of HIV and AIDS, Bhana argued that the “price of innocence is too high”. She encouraged a redefinition of childhood and suggested we “sharpen our analysis of childhood” in order to promote gender equality and to address the scourge of sexual violence and HIV and AIDS.

Bhana provided a factual account of the tragedy in children’s lives by quoting some sobering facts and figures highlighting the prevalence of sexual violence and HIV and AIDS among South Africa’s youth.  She also interspersed her presentation with press cuttings reflecting the heinous nature of crimes involving children.  

Bhana’s presentation was based on years of research with children from 6 to 9 and 16 turning 17.  She interacted with a wide range of children, cutting across race, culture, socio-economic status, school and gender. 

Through her research, she learned childhood sexuality was the domain of danger but also the domain of love and adventure.  Bhana found children across society had a lot to say about HIV and AIDS and its close association with sex which, for them, equalled pleasure and danger.

However, she also discovered relationships were central to young people’s lives and spent a lot of time listening to children recount their relationship joys and woes.

According to Bhana, South Africa is doing a lot to combat the tragedies involving gender and sexual violence.  She said there were a lot of “voices” out there that condemn the violence but there were also some “missing pieces in the puzzle”.

‘It is important for people to understand that power is central to the social relations of gender and men are the main agents of violence,’ said Bhana.  ‘Toxic forms of masculinity are already exhibited in boys as young as 6 years old.’

However, she warned against falling into the trap of seeing “innocent girls versus violent men”.  Young girls are also inducting themselves into violence in an effort to assert power, she explained. 

In dealing with these complex issues, Bhana emphasised the importance of paying attention to social context.  ‘Space, place and culture all affect how people give meaning to love and sexuality.’

Bhana said there is no simple solution or antidote to eliminate sexual violence but because children spent so much time in school, she advocates working with teachers and parents “to change ideas about children” and encourages “going beyond disease prevention” to focus on understandings about relationships.  She wanted to see an end to “the byzantine-like theories which limit our understanding of children and sexuality”.

Bhana is optimistic about conquering the challenges around gender and sexual violence and maintains that South Africans have great capabilities – ‘they have taken their battles to the streets before and have won. 

‘As citizens, we can be drawn to the streets and I ask you to join us in the fight that restricts our freedoms and threatens our democracy.’

Overall Bhana’s research makes a significant contribution to developing interventions that deal with children.  It highlights the importance of trans-disciplinary approaches to the study of childhood sexualities by drawing on gender studies, political economy, sociology and schooling.
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Bangu-60 abafundi besayensi kumabanga kaGrade 11 no12 abahambele isikhungo saseMgungudnlovu kanye neWestville ngesonto lokuqala kuNtulikazi, lapho bethole ithuba elingavelele lokuhlola ukuthi bangaba yini oSosayenyo bakusasa.

Labafundi bamukelwe uhlelo lweCollege of Agriculture, Engineering and Science olubizwewa ngeBe a Scientist for a Week olube yimpumelelo enkulu.

Bebehla benyuka izinsuku zonhlanu bethamela izifundo zezibalo nesayensi kuhle kwesonto phecelezi eliphilwa umfundi wakuleliKolishi.

‘Kade ngathanda ukufunda isayensi kodwa bengingazi  ukuthi maningi kangaka amathuba avuleleka uma usuyifunde eNyvesi,’ kusho uCassandra Barker ofunda e Durban Girls’ High.

‘Loluhlelo lungivule amehlo,’ kusho omunye umfundi wase Northlands Girls’ High. ‘Ngisithande kakhulu isifundo sequantum physics. Siphinde saxhumana noSosayensi baseCERN eSwitzerland. Bengingazi ukuthi kunezinhlobonhlobo zesayensi futhi sengizimisele ngempela ukuqhuba izifundo zami kulomkhakha.’

Izikole zakuleliKolishi zibe nezihambeli ezichithe amahora amathathu ngamunye ngamunye zicobela abafundi ngobuchwepheshe  kanye nezinye izifundo zesayensi. Abafundi bathole nokuchitha isikhathi kwiMicroscopy and Microanalysis Unit baphinde balulekwa ngezinyathelo ekumele bazithathe uma befuna ukuphumelela kwezesayensi.

Abafundi bathe abakhathazekile ukuthi bachithe inxenye yeholidi labo befunda eNyuvesi. ‘Bekungathi ngithole ithuba lokuvakashela ikusasa lami,’ kusho omunye wabafundi.

IBe a Scientist for a Week ifundise ngazo zonke izinhlobo zesayensi ekubalwa kuzo ezezibalo, icomputer science, bioresources engineering, biochemistry, kanye ne-agriculture and environmental science. 

Abafundi bajabulele ukufunda ngamarobhothi kwisayensi yamakhompiyutha, abanye bathokozela ukufunda ngemicrobiology kanye nebiochemistry. Bafunde lukhulu nge-agriculture ngesikhathi bevakashela iplazi leNyuvezi elibizwa nge-Ukulinga.

UNks Swasti Maney ohlele lolusuku esikhungweni saseMgungundlovu uthe kubalulekile ukuthi abafundi basheshe bafunde ngezinhlobonhlobo zesayensi abangazifunda uma sebeqede isikole.

UManey uthe iKolishi lizimisele ukuthuthukisa umphakathi, ikakhulukazi intsha. Ubonge bonke abafundisi nabasebenzi beKolisho abeze lolusuku lube yimpumelelo. 

Click here for English version
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A life-long dream of being admitted as an attorney at the Pietermaritzburg High Court has finally become a reality for 57-year-old UKZN alumnus, Mr Siphiwe Ndimande.

His journey has been one of sweat, sacrifice and ambition that knew no boundaries.

‘To get to where I am today I had to overcome many challenges,’ said Ndimande. ‘I come from a very poor and underprivileged background. My father was a domestic worker, my mother a housewife and I was the third born of nine children. 

‘Although my parents could not afford to send me to university, they encouraged us all to further educate ourselves and become successful,’ explained Ndimande.

A father of three, Ndimande’s love for law developed in the rural area of Emzumbe KwaNdelu near Port Shepstone where he was well known for debating clan names with his peers.

Not willing to let financial constraints hamper his aspirations, Ndimande completed his matric while employed as a Supervisor in the cattle and sheep section of UKZN’s Ukulinga Research Farm near Pietermaritzburg.  He later secured a job in the Registry Office on the Pietermaritzburg campus and started a BProc degree.

‘One of the benefits of working at the University was that staff could study for any degree at the university  without paying fees.  This was ideal for me as I was still unable to afford tertiary tuition. I chose to attend evening classes as I still needed to work during the day.

 ‘I would leave home at 6am and only return after 8.30pm every day.  On some days, I would miss my transport in the evenings and would have to walk alone during the night all the way from Scottsville to Ashdown which is over eight kilometres away,’ said Ndimande.

After graduating, he completed his LLB degree and started practical legal training to gain experience being fortunate to serve his articles under Essa & Associates Attorneys. This brought him closer to his next target of starting a law practice with his son, Zethule, who is currently studying for his LLB at UKZN.

‘I am now qualified to open up a law firm and be independent. I am looking forward to saving funds for at least two years in order to accumulate the capital required to begin my own practice.  By that time my son will have completed his LLB and be able to join me in the family firm!

‘I plan to assist all those in the community even if they are unable to afford the fees attorneys usually charge,’ said Ndimande.

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UKZN is to benefit from a third competitive funding award from the Fogarty International Centre of the US National Institutes of Health which supports advanced research ethics training at institutions in low-and middle-income countries worldwide. 

The successful five-year grant, worth US$ 1.25 million (R10 million), has been awarded to the Discipline of Psychology in UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences to continue offering its highly successful interdisciplinary, Africa-based masters programme in health research ethics. 

The programme, the South African Research Ethics Training Institute (SARETI), which is based at UKZN, collaborates with The Johns Hopkins University and other leading research ethics centres, and has multidisciplinary leadership and academic staff drawn from several prominent South African and international universities and research centres.

The SARETI website can be viewed at:

According to SARETI Principal Investigator (PI), Psychology’s Professor Doug Wassenaar, the initiative aims ‘to build African capacity for the ethical review of health research and to strengthen Africa’s institutional training capacity to achieve and sustain this aim’.

Also central to the initiative is Co-PI, Professor Mariana Kruger, Head of Paediatrics at Stellenbosch University, and Deputy PI, UKZN’s Dean and Head of the School of Applied Human Sciences, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, supported by Professor Carel Ijsselmuiden from the Council on Health Research and Development (COHRED) Group in Geneva. 

The UKZN SARETI modular Masters programme provides full funding for four Masters trainees annually and consists of coursework at UKZN, practical work with research ethics committees and leading health research centres, e.g. CAPRISA and a dissertation on a topic relevant to strengthening health research ethics at the trainee’s home institution. 

Self-funded masters’ applicants are also accommodated as are applicants wishing only to do single or combined SARETI research ethics modules at Masters level.

In announcing the awards, Fogarty Director, Dr Roger Glass said: ‘Bioethics is at the foundation of research involving human subjects.  These grants will strengthen global health curricula at institutions in low-and middle-income countries to ensure scientists and administrators are able to design and manage ethical research studies.  This is increasingly important as more clinical trials are conducted in developing countries.’

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The School of Law recently hosted members of a Myanmar Legal Aid delegation on a South African tour organised by UKZN’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS).

The five-day tour aimed at increasing the level of knowledge of the delegation about comparative systems of legal aid and legal services, was the result of an international meeting on: Strengthening the Rule of Law in Myanmar, held in December last year.

Under the guidance of CSLS Chairperson, Professor David McQuoid-Mason, the delegation discussed the evolution of the South African legal aid scheme, different models of legal delivery used in South Africa’s relationship with non-governmental organisations and paralegals, and the structure of the legal aid governing body.

‘I was invited to talk about legal aid and street law at the meeting in December which gave me an opportunity to share with the Myanmar community what we do in South Africa and they requested to come here to see it for themselves,’ said McQuoid-Mason.

The delegation started their tour in Johannesburg where they visited the Constitutional Court, Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, the Women’s Prison and the Department of Legal Aid’s South African Head Office.

They then visited UKZN’s Street Law office based on the Howard College campus, and also met with the management of the Durban Justice Centre and the School of Law’s Centre for Criminal Justice on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Delegation spokesman, Mr Kyaw Myint, said the tour had provided them with essential knowledge they would adopt when establishing their legal aid in Myanmar.

‘Our country is currently in a transition from a dictatorship to a democracy. Since South Africa has a good history when it comes to building a democratic state we decided to learn from it. In our country we do not have legal aid except for death penalty cases. Those who require legal assistance must pay for it.

‘We have been very impressed with what we have seen so far and with how the legal aid system works in South Africa together with the support it offers to its citizens. We would like to establish the same system in our country and provide justice for all,’ said Myint.

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