Five UKZN Medical Students from Class of 2016 to Graduate Summa Cum Laude

Five UKZN Medical Students from Class of 2016 to Graduate Summa Cum Laude
From left: Dr Karishma Heeramun, Dr Kristy Herridge, Dr Preyanka Pillay and Dr Siveshin Moodley.

Five MBChB students in the Class of 2016 will graduate summa cum laude from UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine this year.

They are Dr Preyanka Pillay, Dr Kristy Herridge, Dr Karishma Heeramun, Dr Siveshin Moodley and Dr Yusuf Khatib.

‘It was a huge surprise to receive the news,’ said Herridge. ‘My family is very proud to have a doctor in the family and glad to see my hard work paid off. Right now I’m concentrating on surviving internship so I can’t say exactly what the future holds for me.

‘The pursuit of excellence keeps me going – mediocrity is just not good enough,’ she said.

Durban-born Herridge had this advice for other aspirants: ‘Hard work, perseverance and discipline are the key to success and that means missing parties, nights out and holidays.  It’s all about getting priorities right.’

Herridge comes from a very supportive family, ‘When I quit my good job in Johannesburg to study medicine, I received nothing but unconditional love and support. Both emotional and financially.

‘I’m not a genius. What I do have in abundance, however, is a desire and drive to excel, reach my potential and accomplish goals I set for myself! I say this because these achievements are not limited to those gifted with superior intellect. They are in reach of every student who puts in the effort. It’s not rocket science. It’s the daily grind.’

Completing his Medical degree so successfully came as a shock to Moodley, ‘I confirmed it several times but I only really believed it after the announcement by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

‘The news brought great joy to my family. It was something surreal to tell the truth. One of my goals in life is to do my best and make my family proud and I have managed that.

‘I would never have been able to achieve what I did without my family influences and no amount of words can describe the gratitude I have for them. I achieved what I did through the cumulative input of my social influences, my family and my lifestyle.

‘It also showed me that I am in the right profession because although the road was tough, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was never a nerd to the point that studying was my life. Quite the contrary actually.’

Moodley has always enjoyed a challenge, ‘I believe in pushing myself. I know I have boundaries but I always strive to push myself to the limits and if possible beyond. I try to have a balanced life. Exercise is life for me. I would go crazy if all I did was study. I find exercise to be the best release.’

He advised those still studying to enjoy life and flourish. ‘Some people say stop dreaming and face reality; I say keep dreaming and make reality. Don’t follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave your trail.’

Heeramun said it was ‘amazing’ to complete her degree summa cum laude. ‘I am so grateful that all the years of hard work have paid off.’

Her family was overwhelmed when they heard the news. ‘They were so excited that they started phoning all our relatives to tell them. They have been so supportive towards me over these years, it feels really good to see how happy and proud I have made them.

‘These six years have been full of challenges with hardly a dull moment in Medical school.

She is currently doing her internship in the Free State and hopes to specialise in Paediatrics.

Khatib said his results were motivation for him to continue to strive for excellence in the field of medicine, ‘I hope to specialise as a physician and I would also like to be at the forefront of technology and innovation in healthcare.’  Khatib’s achievement fulfilled his late grandfather’s dream of having a doctor in the family.

Pillay is thrilled to be among the top students. ‘The reality is the harder you work for something the greater the sense of achievement. I have always aimed for excellence in the hope that success would follow.’

‘My family is extremely proud and happy that I accomplished my goals. These results have given me a sense of accomplishment knowing that my hard work and sacrifice have paid off. I am very grateful to my family for their love and support.’

Pillay is currently doing her internship at the Pietermaritzburg Hospital Complex.

Although she has not decided what to specialise in, she wants to be involved in research and the integration of medicine with technology in order to contribute to improvements and innovation in medicine.

Her advice to students is: ‘Never give up, work hard, stay grounded and run your own race. Imagine, believe, achieve.’

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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UKZN Dance Lecturer Directs Show at KZNSA Gallery

UKZN Dance Lecturer Directs Show at KZNSA Gallery
FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY performs connections between a quartet at the KZNSA Gallery on 17 February.

UKZN Dance Lecturer and FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY’S Artistic Director Ms Lliane Loots will direct a show: connections between a quartet, at the KZNSA Gallery on Friday, 17 February.

Four dancers - Jabu Siphika, Zinhle Nzama, Sifiso Khumalo and Tshediso Kabulu - are involved in the specially conceptualised performance work that will use all the spaces of the Gallery to evoke a journey through a site; a journey through the deeply interior (and ever moving) identities of the four FLATFOOT dancers while collaboratively creating an evening to spark the senses.

Loots says the performance will seamlessly move into the role of both choreographer and dancer as they begin to explore the nature of their own connections to one another and their connections to inner struggles around identity.

‘As the dancers begin to metaphorically and physically peel off their layers of clothing, they reveal the vulnerable self that cannot but move audiences. The performance is a space to allow the emerging - and now award winning-artistic and choreographic voices of the four FLATFOOT dancers to shine,’ she said.

According to Loots, FLATFOOT has a reputation for offering politically charged dance theatre. ‘Small site-specific relationship vignettes play between the dancers who move and flow between one another in close encounters. The gallery space allows for a more intimate engagement with the dance work and is ideal for a slightly voyeuristic look into the lives of others.’

‘The dancers have created a landscape of intimate and deeply profound personal story-telling and I feel we are seeing the new generation of Durban’s choreographers being born - do not miss it!’ said Loots.

* connections between a quartet begins at 6.15pm this Friday. Tickets - R50 each - can be bought up to 40 minutes before the show. For queries and pre-booking contact

author : Melissa Mungroo
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UKZN and University of South Alabama Cement Formal Relationships

UKZN and University of South Alabama Cement Formal Relationships
UKZN’s Professor Mershen Pillay with Professor Ishara Ramkissoon with doctoral students in Audiology from the University of South Alabama.

Formal collaboration has been cemented between UKZN’s Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology and the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of South Alabama in the United States.

This follows the hosting by UKZN of seven doctoral students in Audiology from the US university.

‘We are keen to tackle major challenges facing healthcare, globally and locally, especially regarding health care relative to social challenges - that’s our long-term vision,’ said Professor Mershen Pillay, an Associate Professor in Speech-Language Therapy and an Academic Leader for Research in UKZN’s School of Health Sciences.

‘This School level collaboration aims to strengthen and cultivate a lasting relationship between these two universities,’ said Pillay. ‘We hope that such collaborations develop into long lasting research relationships.’

During the two-week visit, the Alabama students took part in a variety of activities that exposed them to the real situation of the South African healthcare system. The group first visited and worked at the King Edward VIII Hospital’s Audiology Department and at other sites such as Refugee Social Services in Durban’s Diakonia Centre.

At the hospital, they were involved in clinical practices such as newborn hearing screening and observed ear, nose and throat surgeries. The group also visited and supported the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and deaf Society and a non-profit organisation, Asiye Etafuleni.

The group visited several outreach programmes conducted in Marrianridge near Durban by Ms Chantal Christopher of UKZN’s Occupational Therapy Department.

They also took part in a Hearing Conservation Programme held in Warwick Avenue at which both UKZN and Alabama students encouraged community members and industrial players to monitor noise exposure levels in a way that accurately identified and protected communities from excessive noise, which could cause hearing impairment down the line.

During this awareness campaign, students provided full ENT and hearing screening and diagnostic services. This inaugural service was part of a larger project to address street traders’ engagement with loud music and noise in the Warwick markets. ‘What makes this an historical event is the nature of the collaboration between sectors and the fact that a full ENT/Audiology service was made possible by relocating it to a community level service delivery platform,’ said  Pillay.

‘South Africans are very warm and welcoming. The South African culture is exciting for me and I would really love to work in South Africa,’ said student Ms Peyton Williams of South Alabama University. ‘My personal take is that there is a lot of community health improvement being done in South Africa and globally, however, a lot more needs to be done to improve our health care systems. One thing I have noted about South Africa is the urgent need to advocate for adequate resources in healthcare and that is a priority.’

‘Our goal is to sustain and further strengthen this newly established relationship with the University of KwaZulu-Natal,’ said Professor Ishara Ramkissoon, who is the accompanying project leader and an Associate Professor in Audiology from the University of South Alabama.

author : Lihle Sosibo
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Maths and Physics Whizz Joins UKZN School of Engineering

Maths and Physics Whizz Joins UKZN School of Engineering
Mr Ndumiso Ndamane with his father, Mr BN Ndamane (left), and Mathematics Teacher, Mr JJ Mhlongo.

Mr Ndumiso Ndamane, who last year matriculated from Umlazi Comtech achieving full marks in Mathematics and Physical Science, has joined the Discipline of Electrical Engineering at UKZN’s School of Engineering.

‘Enjoying a subject comes from understanding it to a point where it isn’t a worry for you anymore and you can help others who battle with the subject,’ said Ndamane.

The high achiever said the most challenging aspect of matric was managing his time efficiently. However, being a timekeeper for school sports for two years helped him with this, ensuring he was never late!

Ndamane’s inspiration for his chosen field comes from his lifelong penchant for experimentation - he was deemed “naughty” for his childhood exploits.

‘Being naughty somehow paid off because I knew I had a calling in the electrical field when I started experimenting with electricity,’ said Ndamane.

‘My uncle, who works at Eskom, inspired me to pursue electrical engineering because of the life he lived and how he used to help people around him.’

Ndamane enjoys being able to create things and loves electricity.

And it’s not all science! He is also a keen musician, learning to play the piano at the age of 13. His first “gig” was at UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music.

He paid tribute to the many people who had played a role in his life and thanked God for where he is today.

‘I’m grateful to my parents who were always there for me when I was growing up, teaching me wrong from right, and for my siblings who supported me through thick and thin.’

He also thanked his school teachers and his friends for their input and backing.

Ndamane says he is looking forward to tackling new challenges at university and having the freedom to make decisions on his own as he puts his time management skills to work.

author : Christine Cuénod
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UKZN Contributes Towards Improved Early Childhood Care in Informal Settlements

UKZN Contributes Towards Improved Early Childhood Care in Informal Settlements
Delegates at a workshop in Durban to discuss ways to improve the well-being of babies and toddlers in care establishments in the city.

Ways to improve the well-being of babies and toddlers in care establishments in Durban was discussed at a workshop involving UKZN along with provincial and local government office holders, researchers, crèche managers, teachers and parents.

The participants were brought together by the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD), funded by the European Union and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency through a grant awarded to the Project Preparation Trust (PPT) in 2015.

PPT partnered with UKZN academics and education and training NGO, Tree, to map the existence, quality and needs of nurseries and crèches across the municipality’s informal settlements with the objective of encouraging registration and upgrading.

Professor Sarah Bracking of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies said: ‘While Government has an impressive policy of registering early childhood care facilities (day care, crèches, nurseries, and early childhood development centres) into gold, silver and bronze standard in order to provide resources to assist them, our research unfortunately shows that many facilities in informal settlements are not registered and cannot realistically meet the criteria for doing so.’

According to Bracking, the key stumbling blocks to registration are land tenure, ownership and planning regulations in respect of informal settlements. Due to this, up to 97% of children in settlements, such as Amaoti, remain unregistered and thus unassisted by Government.

‘Some centres also have health hazards and infrastructure challenges, such as lack of secure roofs, fences to separate the centres from roads, and lack of water, sanitation and food. The good news is that this project surveyed them all and then produced case studies of how some centres could be rapidly improved and made safe,’ said Bracking.

Renovation was the most economical option, rather than spending scarce resources on new buildings.

‘For under R5 000 a child, most centres could be made safe and healthy. Fortunately, many eThekwini centres assessed in the research are keen to get assistance and support.’

Workers from the centres, who were present at the workshop, were awarded certificates by Tree for having completed extensive staff training programmes on how to stimulate the learning of children with few toys or resources as well as how to ensure sanitary conditions with tippy taps and hand washing. Delegates from Government and the University were moved by the commitment of the workers and pledged to assist them further.

Bracking believes early childhood development ‘needs strong collaboration between the Departments of Environmental Health, Traditional Settlements, Education and most importantly the Provincial Treasury and City Management in order to be voted the monetary resources to succeed.’

She further argues that no child should become an ‘unfunded commitment’ as neglect in the early years can lead to proven and lifelong health vulnerabilities.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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High Flying KZN Matric Student Chooses UKZN to Study Nursing

High Flying KZN Matric Student Chooses UKZN to Study Nursing
Mr Anele Mathenjwa (left) and Mr Sabo Mlambo.

UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health welcomes matric high achiever Mr Anele Mathenjwa to its rank of Nursing students.

Mathenjwa obtained six As and two Bs for his National Senior Certificate at Sinethezekile High School in Jozini in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

‘I have always loved nursing and am thrilled to be studying at UKZN,’ said Mathenjwa, whose role model is his former school class mate and friend, Mr Sabo Mlambo. ‘He always motivates me to study hard and do better.’

Mlambo has also been accepted to study for a Bachelor of Nursing degree at UKZN.

The young men share a love of nursing and believe they have all the qualities to succeed in the profession.

Mathenjwa plans to complete his degree and then do another health related qualification. ‘I love this profession. I always imagined myself in uniform working in a clinic or hospital.’

Mlambo hopes to complete his degree in “record time” and then move onward in the profession.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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High School Pupils at UKZN for Introduction to Chemistry Course

High School Pupils at UKZN for Introduction to Chemistry Course
Mawele High School learners, teachers and staff at the Chemistry Department on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus.

As part of an initiative to promote the study of Chemistry among high school learners, the Discipline of Chemistry on the Pietermaritzburg campus hosted 74 young pupils and their teachers.

The youngsters, from Msinga’s Mawele High School, accompanied by their science teachers, took part in an introduction to chemistry course which included laboratory work and a “magic” show.

The visit, organised by Dr Vineet Jeena and colleagues, was one of many supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

‘The School of Chemistry and Physics (SCP) at UKZN and the RSC have a common vision of connecting with our community and inviting the next generation to experience and enjoy the beauty of chemistry - regardless of their financial background,’ said Jeena.

‘As UKZN Chemistry academics we have a responsibility to promote the science within our province. To achieve this, we aim to host all schools from the Msunduzi region for departmental visits. Through a generous donation from the RSC, we have initiated this endeavour with a visit from Mawele students. We hope to make this a biannual event and, in the coming years, invite as many learners as possible.’

A teacher at Mawele High, Mr Justin Hammond, is a UKZN graduate and has been at the school since 2007. Showing dedication to his students, he and other teachers run an intense, full-day programme for their matric students which has resulted in a 100% matric pass rate. Some of its matriculants have gone on to study medicine in Cuba.

Learners at the school take part in a number of extracurricular activities from debating to participating in expos.

Despite challenges including large class sizes and few teaching resources, the school excels. Hammond’s hope was that visiting UKZN would help make theory practical, and motivate learners to persevere with their studies.

The visiting pupils were in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Triple science - Geography, Physical Sciences and Biology - is a popular subject choice at the quintile one school which is poorly equipped in laboratory resources.

It was the first time the youngsters had been in a laboratory where they worked under the guidance of Mrs Kristy-Lyn Barry and postgraduate demonstrators.

Staff complimented the scholars on their capability and knowledge, noting that they quickly picked up the techniques of doing experiments.

After lunch provided by the SCP, learners were treated to a “magic” show organised by Dr Desigan Reddy, which featured various visually appealing experiments, including crushing cans using iced water and making “elephant toothpaste”. The show ended with a bang as demonstrators lit hydrogen balloons to the delight of the group.

UKZN, which will continue to interact with the school, has been able to donate laboratory supplies as part of outreach efforts in promoting Chemistry.

author : Christine Cuénod
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Civil Engineering at UKZN has Welcomed one of Durban’s Top Matric Achievers to its Ranks

Civil Engineering at UKZN has Welcomed one of Durban’s Top Matric Achievers to its Ranks

Ms Zakiyya Kaka, who matriculated from Al Falaah College in Durban, is excited about beginning studies towards her dream career as a structural engineer.

Kaka’s favourite subjects at school were Mathematics, Physical Science, and Engineering Graphics and Design. She says she loved the constant challenge these subjects posed.

‘It’s satisfying to work on really complex problems. I love the fact that there was no single right way to get to the answer but rather a few different routes to go down.’

She appreciated the precision and detail of Engineering Graphics and Design as well as the opportunity to be creative and design things that were uniquely hers.

Kaka said she had to work through anxiety about whether she would do well in her matric year and gain entry into her chosen university course. Her secret to success is to work consistently throughout the year and not add undue pressure by leaving tasks to the last minute.

She constantly went over past papers to test her knowledge.

Kaka’s love of structures and the practical and creative aspects of design inspired her choice of structural engineering. She hopes to one day be employed by an international company which allows and encourages her to work on diverse and challenging projects.

Matric was not all work and no play for the high achiever who unwound by playing or watching soccer, her favourite sport, and visited the library whether she was busy or not. She also spoke of her love of the beach, where she frequently spends time swimming, walking or running.

Kaka thanked her family for their support throughout matric.

‘I really appreciate my family’s dedication and the sacrifices they made to ensure I had everything I needed to do well.’

author : Christine Cuénod
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New Director for Centre for Civil Society

New Director for Centre for Civil Society
The new Director of the Centre for Civil Society, Dr Shauna Mottiar.

UKZN academic Dr Shauna Mottiar has been appointed Director of the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies within the College of Humanities

Mottiar, who says she feels privileged to serve as the Centre’s Director, began her journey as a Research Fellow at the Centre in 2008 where she worked on a number of civil society-focused research projects, including social movements and social protest.

‘CCS as a space is unique in that it allowed me to consider theoretical aspects alongside “praxis” through direct contact with civil society activists,’ she said.

The Centre’s main aims are to advance socio-economic and environmental justice by developing critical knowledge about, for and in dialogue with civil society through teaching, research and publishing.

Mottiar intends to build on this in several ways, including expanding the centre’s contribution to the formal UKZN teaching programme to include both masters and honours options.

‘I aim to initiate programmes which allow grants to students conducting research in the area of civil society for their MA and PhD dissertations. I also plan to expand the Centre’s research staff to allow for the creation of dedicated research specialities.

‘Added to that, the Centre enjoys a number of links with national and international civil society organisations and activists which I would like to expand on to include formal collaborations and training,’ said Mottiar.

CCS has both an active seminar series and a programme of hosting international scholars which she hopes to continue and to expand, further building on CCS’s cultural initiatives through projects supporting community participatory documentary art and photography.

In keeping with UKZN’s commitment to community engagement, Mottiar highlighted the CCS Community Scholarship Initiative which involves participation by members of civil society organisations in Durban allowing for exchanges between CCS academics and local civil society organisations, thus providing a space for the organic intellectual.

‘This initiative also ensures that the theoretical understanding of the concept “civil society” is underpinned by practical experiences and likewise that civil society organisations linked with the CCS have an opportunity to participate in evolving formulations of theories on civil society and are helped to use them in their own environments,’ she said.

* Mottiar, who has a PhD (Political Studies) from the University of the Witwatersrand, worked for a variety of research organisations including the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, the Centre for Policy Studies and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes. She has also worked on research projects at the Centre for Conflict Resolution and Health Economics and the HIV and AIDS Research Division.

Mottiar undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at UKZN where she was based as a research fellow at the Centre for Civil Society and later in the Discipline of Development Studies, School of Built Environment and Development Studies.  Her research interests include civil society, social movements, social protest and philanthropy.

She has published in a number of journals including Politics and Society, Development and Change, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, and Democratisation and Politikon. She teaches a Development Studies masters course titled: “Civil Society and Development”. 

author : Melissa Mungroo
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UKZN and US African American Studies Association Sign MoU

UKZN and US African American Studies Association Sign MoU
Joined by staff of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, signs the Memorandum of Understanding with Dr Lemuel Berry.

UKZN and US African American Studies Association Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates (NAAAS) based in the United States.

NAAAS serves as a resource for scholars in the field who require information and support for research related to African and African American, Hispanic, Latino (a) and Chicano (a), Native American and Asian experiences.

It provides a forum for the expression of such research and artistic endeavours in the celebration of the lives and works of the above groupings.

The MoU cements the development of collaborative activities in academic areas of mutual interest and includes the following:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, said she was confident the MoU would make a positive contribution to the College’s research, teaching and community engagement initiatives.

‘The partnership is in line with the College’s strategic goal of interdisciplinary collaborative research, driving the internalisation of knowledge.’

NAAAS Executive Director, Dr Lemuel Berry, said: ‘We were very excited as an organisation to establish an MoU with UKZN’s College of Humanities. As an organisation we spend a lot of time in South Africa and we found that UKZN has all the quality ingredients we think will lead to a very viable relationship.’

author : UKZNdabaOnline
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Teenager Excels Despite Challenges She Faced as a Country Girl

Teenager Excels Despite Challenges She Faced as a Country Girl
Ms Thandazile Ngubane is ready to challenge the Dental Therapy degree.

Click here for the isiZulu version

Seventeen-year-old Ms Thandazile Ngubane, who is overjoyed at being accepted to study at UKZN for a Bachelor’s degree in Dental Therapy, says challenges she faced as a youngster were exacerbated by the fact that she grew up in a secluded rural area.

‘Growing up and schooling in an out of the way area is not easy - one needs to constantly make an extra effort and work that much harder to succeed,’ said Ngubane.

‘Fortunately, I worked very hard in my matric year and that has paid off.’

Ngubane, who spent her childhood in KwaNgwanase in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is grateful for the support and encouragement she received from teachers at the Star of the Sea School in kwaMhlabuyalingana where she matriculated.  ‘While at school we visited the Manguzi Hospital for a career choices experience and that was when I fell in love with dental therapy. I hope that once I complete my degree, I will be able to work there and serve my community.’

Ngubane says her family is very proud that she matriculated with three distinctions which earned her acceptance into the Dental Therapy programme.

Her family struggles financially which is motivation for her to work extra hard and hopefully secure student financial aid as she desperately needs money to buy textbooks and all the necessities required at university.

The Academic Leader of the Discipline of Dentistry, Dr Ahmed Muslim, welcomed Ngubane into the programme and wished her every success, saying the primary focus of mid-level workers such as dental therapists was that of primary healthcare. Muslim said the KwaNgwanase community would reap the benefits when Ngubane returns home after completing her studies to work in the area. The principle of umuntu umuntu ngabantu applies, and he urged all potential sponsors to rally around students such as Ngubane and invest in their futures as this uplifts the communities they would probably go on to serve in the future.

author : Lihle Sosibo
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Research on Public Protests Wins Law Academic Top Award

Research on Public Protests Wins Law Academic Top Award
Mr Khulekani Khumalo (left) receiving his best research paper prize.

UKZN academic Mr Khulekani Khumalo’s inaugural presentation at the Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa (SLTSA) Conference earned him the Best First Time Presenter prize.

Khumalo’s paper was titled: “When is Protest Action ‘Violent’ for Purposes of the Crime of Public Violence”.

The Conference gives South African legal education specialists an opportunity to be at presentations by both emerging and established Law academics and also provides them with a chance to exchange ideas and research findings on all aspects of the law.

UKZN was again well represented at the Conference with Law academics Professor Shannon Hoctor, Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama, Ms Nicci Whitear-Nel, Ms Zama Njobe, Mr Maropeng Mpya and Ms Juanita Easthorpe also presenting papers.

A discussion on protests usually grabs the attention of people as it is a burning issue in society today. I analysed the existing meaning of “violence”, identified its shortcomings and proposed a definition of violence that I believe does not lead to inconsistent conclusions and uncertainties in the law,’ said Khumalo.

Khumalo’s research in this area has been published in the First Volume of the South African Journal of Criminal Justice (SACJ) in 2016 and his passion for the subject continues to grow.

‘The public order field is an interesting area of the law to be involved in at present, especially in the aftermath of last year’s #FeesMustFall protests,’ said Khumalo.  ‘A number of cases have come before the courts for adjudication and those judgments are now translating into various academic contributions aimed at developing our public order jurisprudence. During the December break, I produced two articles on issues pertaining to public violence and these are being considered for publication.’

Khumalo plays an active role in teaching in his position as a Lecturer in the School of Law and is also a doctoral candidate.

‘The comments I received from the Conference have given me more ideas for further publications in my field.  I am continuing with my PhD thesis which is also in the same area - looking at the constitutionality of South Africa’s existing internal security laws,’ he said.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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Budding Environmental Scientist Wins Award

Budding Environmental Scientist Wins Award
Ms Kaveera Singh with her awards at the Conference.

Masters candidate in the Marine Biodiversity, Aquaculture, Conservation Education and Ecophysiology (MACE) laboratory in the School of Life Sciences, Ms Kaveera Singh, won the award for the Best Novice Presentation at the annual Conference of the Marine and Coastal Educators Network (MCEN) in Durban.

The theme of the Conference was: “Our Changing Coasts”.

Singh, whose research is on innovative strategies to evaluate the effects of plastic pollution in the marine environment, focused her MCEN presentation on the urgent need for effective communication of scientific knowledge as well as innovative ways to spread conservation messages to the public and encourage pro-environmental behaviour.

‘Conventional conservation message formats need to be reinvented,’ said Singh. ‘The identification of a new messenger - not the stereotypical scientist - and the incorporation of new technological trends, such as social media, were some of the topics discussed.’

Singh says social media is an important tool for scientists to directly educate a large group of people quickly. She emphasised the importance of using the correct pitch, terminology and format in order to urge individuals to engage with the information.

‘Our research has found the recipe to drive conservation messages to thousands of people and gain responses from these messages after identifying our key target audience,’ said Singh.

The Conference extended beyond academic presentations with delegates spending a night at the uShaka Sea World Aquarium with the fish and other marine life, visiting mangrove forests in northern KwaZulu-Natal and exploring the iSimangaliso Wetland Park ecosystem.

What stood out about the Conference for Singh was the sense of connectivity among delegates, who are all passionate about enhancing education.

The youngest delegate at the Conference, Singh was struck by the vast years of experience represented at the Conference combined with educators’ humility, enthusiasm and inspiration.

In a fun MCEN competition, Singh won the award for best potjie/bunny chow.

After completing her Masters, Singh hopes to pursue a career in science communication and conservation education. She was inspired to do this by her late grandfather, who taught her about marine biodiversity during frequent visits to Durban beaches, and spent time watching environmental television programmes with her.

‘It is important to emphasise how desperately we need to take care of the natural world around us,’ said Singh, who aims to educate, motivate and inspire today’s youth to achieve a brighter future.’

author : Christine Cuénod
author email :

Matric Achiever Joins UKZN’s Speech Language Pathology Class of 2017

Matric Achiever Joins UKZN’s Speech Language Pathology Class of 2017
Thrilled to join UKZN’S Speech Language Pathology 2017 Class - Ms Joshavia Jade Singh.

Scoring seven distinctions in matric were the rewards for Ms Joshavia Singh’s sleep-deprived nights, hard work and determination.

Singh (18) - who scored distinctions in English, Afrikaans, Maths, History, Biology, Drama and Life Orientation - matriculated at Westville Girls High School and is now studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at the College of Health Sciences on UKZN’s Westville campus. 

‘My family and I are ecstatic about my matric results. I aim to stay on top of my game here at university and complete my degree in record time.’ Singh hopes to go into practice after completing her degree or perhaps study further.

Singh took a shine to Speech Language Therapy after having researched a lot about the programme and a family friend who practised speech therapy became her role model.

At times she would imagine herself in her own practice, helping children with speech difficulties.  ‘I love children and at first I thought this profession deals only with children. Later, I discovered that it cuts across ages as adults face same speech difficulties and also require rehabilitation.’ 

Singh enjoys spending quiet time at home with her mother and brother but occasionally goes out with friends or visits her family in Newcastle. 

author : Lihle Sosibo
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Research Fellow Receives Award at Microscopy Society Conference

Research Fellow Receives Award at Microscopy Society Conference
UKZN award winner, Dr Frederick Oluwasheyi Odun-Ayo.

A UKZN Biotechnology Post-Doctoral Research Fellow won first prize for a presentation he made at the recent Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (MSSA) Conference hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

Frederick Oluwasheyi Odun-Ayo of UKZN’s Optics and Imaging Centre in the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences.

Odun-Ayo presented two papers at the MSSA 2016 Conference, receiving the top award for his intriguing presentation of a micrograph (image) showing a single aberrant crypt with weak expression of galectin-3 in colonic neoplasm of a Balb/c mouse model.

This unique micrograph is an immunostaining visualisation and histopathology of colon carcinogenesis at the initial stage showing morphological changes using the Axioscope A1 photomicroscope (Zeiss, Durban, South Africa).

The award was sponsored and named after the IMP Scientific and Precision Innovative Solution, a partner of FEI Electron Optics.

The MSSA Conference focused on the use of conventional and cryo-electron microscopy, In situ transmission electron microscope (TEM), high resolution 2D and 3D TEM imaging and analysis in biomedical research.

The Conference featured cutting-edge workshops and technical forum sessions, with presentations by distinguished delegates, lecturers and presenters from the University of Manchester and King’s College, both in England.

Odun-Ayo was thrilled the Conference provided opportunities for him to socialise and network with researchers which he believes is crucial for a sustainable scientific community. His conference trip was partially sponsored by the College of Health Science (CHS) Travel Award.

‘I cannot begin to describe the feeling of knowing that my research work is being recognised internationally. Whatever you find yourself doing, do it to the best of your abilities, knowing that one day your diligence will be rewarded,’ he said.

author : Lihle Sosibo
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National Health Insurance White Paper Debated

National Health Insurance White Paper Debated
Panel members at the public debate on the National Health Insurance White Paper.

A public debate on the National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper was held at the University of KwaZulu Natal hosted jointly by UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health, the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), the Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics and the University of Witwatersrand.

The discussion focused on whether the NHI White Paper responds adequately to South Africa’s human rights obligations.

The white paper outlines the country’s path to universal health coverage for people over 14 years of age and proposes changes in the role of private medical aids and the National Health Laboratory Services, among others. The NHI is intended to ensure that the use of health services does not result in financial hardships for individuals and their families.

Deputy Director of the FHR, Dr Hanif Vally, said the medical aid system created a divide, as 50% of the country’s doctors and an even greater number of specialists, served around 18% of the country’s citizens. ‘Medical professionals are going into private practice, inequalities are becoming greater and government is finding it increasingly more difficult to maintain the provision of health services as a constitutional right,’ said Vally.

Heath Department Deputy Director-General for Health Regulation and Compliance Management, Dr Anban Pillay, said the provision of universal health care for all citizens was critical. ‘We currently have a system where people access care based on what they can afford. Clearly there are a number of barriers to access, particularly in the lower socio-economic groups.

‘The proposed NHI involves a massive reorganisation of the public and private health-care system.’

Pillay said the poor were often most in need of health care and funding for the NHI would come from taxpayers based on a principal of “social solidarity”.

‘Social solidarity means we all contribute to a fund so that when I am sick I will have access to healthcare. But maybe I may never need to, but somebody else will. It’s not a concept South Africans are particularly used to in the current context. If you look at the medical scheme organisation, which an individual contributes to as an insurance, you have a particular entitlement - it’s your money. This is very different to how the NHI works.’

Dr Mfowethu Zungu, Deputy Director-General for Macro-Economic policy, Planning and the NHI at the KZN Health Department, said only 48% of expenditure on health in South Africa was in the public sector which served 87% of the population. The balance was spent in the private sector, which served medical aid members who comprised around 17% of the population.

Medical Aid Schemes are a ‘crime against humanity’ and should be abolished because they cannot co-exist with the government’s proposed NHI, said SA Health Professions Council President, Dr Kgosi Letlape.

‘There can be no national health if it is not for all of us. You try to engage about NHI with the privileged, and they say “don’t touch my medical aid”,’ said Letlape.

Letlape said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi did not seem to have much support for NHI and people such as parliamentarians and judges also had an attitude of “don’t touch my medical aid”. However, he said it was possible to provide universal health care, which was not a new concept, as the country previously had one of the best health-care systems in the world under apartheid.

The debate was attended by communities which would benefit from the NHI, representatives of non-governmental organisations and the private and public health care sectors, and academics.

Other speakers included medical specialist, Professor Errol Holland; Professor Ames Dhai of the University of the Witwatersrand, and Professor Leslie London of the University of Cape Town.

‘UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health is pleased to have helped create space for this discussion and hopes it served as a catalyst for future engagements,’ said the School’s Dr Mergan Naidoo.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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UKZN Helps Bring Joy to the Lives of Children

UKZN Helps Bring Joy to the Lives of Children
At the toy handover are (from left): Sky Tshabalala of ECR, Ms Normah Zondo of UKZN, and Ms Boni Mchunu; Darren Maule and Keri Miller, all of ECR.

UKZN staff and students have donated new toys to the East Coast Radio (ECR) Toy Story initiative.

The toys will be handed out to children at orphanages, child-headed households in KwaZulu-Natal, hospitals and crèches.

UKZN’s Director of University Relations, Ms Normah Zondo, said the University was pleased to be involved in the project. ‘The University pulls together every year to contribute to this project as part of our commitment to corporate social responsibility and the community,’ said Zondo.

The Corporate Relations Division drives the project at the University in an effort to make a positive difference to children’s lives.  ‘I hope these toys bring joy and smiles to children in our province,’ she said.

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
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Dedication Ceremony for People who Donated their Bodies for Medical Training at UKZN

Dedication Ceremony for People who Donated their Bodies for Medical Training at UKZN
UKZN staff, families of donors and religious leaders at the Dedication Ceremony.UKZN staff, families of donors and religious leaders at the Dedication Ceremony.

A dedication and memorial ceremony was held by the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy for 20 deceased people who donated their bodies for medical training and research purposes at UKZN.

Religious leaders, UKZN’s Anatomy staff and families of the donors gathered at the Nelson R. Mandela Medical School to honour and respect the 20 “heroes” whose bodies will be used in training and research by Clinical Anatomy professionals and Clinical Medicine students.

‘Donated bodies are exceedingly valued as they are an important resource in health care training,’ said Senior Lecturer in Clinical Anatomy, Dr Onyemaechi Azu. ‘Body donations enable the School to demonstrate practical anatomical examination.  Human life gets improved everyday through such training and research.’

The main objective of the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy is to train Medical and allied health science students in the field. The Department offers undergraduate courses in Anatomy to Medical and allied health professional students and courses are also offered at postgraduate level for Medical Science students.

‘We are exceedingly grateful to donors, donor families and all staff within the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy who tirelessly ensure that the common objective of teaching and learning in laboratories progress smoothly whilst ensuring that all processes and guidelines are adhered to,’ said the Head of UKZN’s Department of Forensic Pathology, Dr Sageren Aiyer.

Speaking at the ceremony, Pastor Ricardo Arjuanan of the Calvery Worship Assembly, said: ‘There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your treasures for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known for the sake of something greater.  Those who donated their bodies are heroes who have contributed immensely to the betterment of education and the lives of others generally.’

* UKZN’s Discipline of Clinical Anatomy, in conjunction with the International Society for Plastination (ISP), is hosting the first ever conference on plastination in Africa to look at new ways and processes to preserve bodies for educational and instructional purposes.  The workshop titled: The 12th International Conference on Plastination and Anatomy Education: Challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa will be held in Durban from 2-7 July.


People keen to donate their bodies to the University should phone Mr Salem Kharwa on 031-260 4585 or email him at

author : Lihle Sosibo
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Edgewood Campus Dancers on their Toes

Edgewood Campus Dancers on their Toes
UKZN dancers (from left) Nontokozo Mbokazi, Nkululeko Sibiya, Tina Dolwana, Thabo Khoza, Nqobile Khuzwayo, Thobani Memela, Okuhle Pahla and Sanele Gumede.

Edgewood Dance Club members excelled at the South African National Championship Dance competition in Sun City, taking top honours in several categories.

Partners Mr Sanele Gumede and Miss Okuhle Pahla won in the Adult Novice section, while Mr Thobani Memela and Miss Nqobile Khuzwayo were placed first in the Pre- Championship section and second in the Rising Star Championship standard. 

Also in the winners’ pen were Mr Thabo Khoza and Miss Tina Dolwana in the Professional Standard category and Standard Basic Slow Foxtrot.

Flying the UKZN colours high were Mr Nkululeko Sibiya and Miss Nontokozo Mbokazi, who finished fifth in the novice standard category.

Said Memela: ‘It was a relief winning because at the beginning of the year I set goals and among those goals was to achieve this. So I am very happy!’

Team coaches, Khoza and Dolwana, said they were extremely proud of their dancers.

‘Our students deserved the results because they were simply getting rewarded for their hard work and discipline. So we were very happy and proud of them for reaching their goals,’ said Dolwana.

The coaches are confident further success awaits UKZN dancers this year.

author : Nomcebo Mncube
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