UKZN Alumni Band Africa Plus to Perform at Jazz Centre

UKZN Alumni Band Africa Plus to Perform at Jazz Centre
Africa Plus band members (from left) Mr Lungelo Ngcobo, Mr Prince Bulo and Mr Sphelelo Mazibuko.

Three former UKZN Music students - Mr Lungelo Ngcobo, Mr Prince Bulo and Mr Sphelelo Mazibuko - who front the highly talented band Africa Plus, will perform at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music from 6pm on 8 March.

The performance is part of their album launch tour.

The band, formed in early 2013 while the members were studying Music together at UKZN, have been creating waves nationally working with an array of premier musicians in South Africa.

‘We are really looking forward to playing at the Jazz Centre, especially after such a long time,’ said Mazibuko.

‘This album tour launch brings Africa Plus closer to our audiences by sharing our music off the debut album Africa Plus which was released last October. We have all travelled across Africa and lived the African experience and distilled these individual elements and infused them into modern jazz, hence the name Africa Plus,’ said Mazibuko.

Africa Plus is an eclectic genre-crossing band whose parameters are expanded beyond what’s expected from a drums, piano and bass trio.

‘We craft the repertoire from innovative original music as well as creative renditions of covers by some of Africa’s greatest pioneers of jazz. Africa Plus continues to explore the same principles that inspire us, exploring infinite musical forms through the unprecedented exploratory power of jazz.’

Their debut album Africa Plus was recorded live at The Orbit in Johannesburg and later released worldwide.

The Band members are all well established and highly sort after musicians who have produced, recorded and performed with the ‘who’s who’ of the South African music scene as well as international acts.

Some of the artists include Marcus Wyatt, Black Coffee, Standard Bank Young Artists Award recipients Bokani Dyer, Afrika Mkhize, Siya Makhuzeni and Sibongile Khumalo, Lloyd Cele, Joyous Celebration and the UKZN Jazz Legacy which toured the USA in 2013 and 2014.

‘As Africa Plus, we aim to showcase and educate the world about the diverse cultures of South Africa through the medium of song,’ said Mazibuko.

Tickets costing R70 (R45 for pensioners and R20 for students) can be bought at the Jazz Centre on the night. Doors open at 5.30pm and the music starts at 6pm. A cash bar will be open.

 For more information, phone Thulile Zama: 031-260 3385.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Amakhishi Amasha Abafundi Base-O Block

Amakhishi Amasha Abafundi Base-O Block
Abafundi besebenzisa elinye lamakhishi amasha ekhempasini yase-Westville

Click here for the English version

Umnyango Wezezindawo Zokuhlala Abafundi ufake amakhishi ayishuminambili endaweni yokuhlala i-O block ekhempasini yase-Westville.

Abafundi base-O-Block abebephekela ezindlini zokulala manje sebenendawo ephephile yokuphekela ukudla okunempilo.

Umfundi owenza unyaka wesithathu weziqu zokwelapha ngokuvocavocisa, uNkz Kholeka Mhlongo, uthokoze kakhulu ngendawo entsha. Wonke umuntu unokwesasa ngalamakhishi. Bese sifikile isikhathi,’ kusho uMhlongo, uhlele ukupheka i-pasta kule ndawo. 

Ubonge umphathi uNkk Lorraine Khumalo, ‘ngokuhlezi ebaseka’.

Bekhuluma emcimbini wokuvula, ama-DSRA oMnu Sbu Khumalo noMnu Kgotla Marumola bancome imizamo yabasebenzi nabaholi babafundi ngokuqinisekisa ukuthi umsebenzi uyafezwa. UKhumalo ugqugquzele abafundi ukuthi banakekele amakhishi bawgcinele nabafundi abaseza.

UMongameli Womkhandlu Wabafundi wase-Westville SRC uMnu Kwanele Mbatha uthe i-SRC ikubeka phambili ukulekelela abafundi uma kunezimo eziphuthumayo uphinde wabonga yonke iminyango yeNyuvesi ebambe iqhaza.

Oyilungu lekomidi lasezindaweni zokuhlala uNkz Joy Nyuswa uthe uthokoze kakhulu ngamakhishi ngoba abanye abafundi bebephekela ezindlini zabo. Ugcizelele nokubaluleka kokusebenzela inhloso eyodwa.  ‘Sonqoba simunye,’ kusho Nyuswa.

UMnu Nceba Duma obhekelele ezenhlalo ezindaweni zokuhlala ugcizelele ukubaluleka kokuthi abafundi babe namakhishi ezindaweni zokuhlala. 

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
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Nursing Students Co-Host Mental Health Open Day

Nursing Students Co-Host Mental Health Open Day
4th year Nursing Students.

Bullying in early childhood has a negative impact on the victim’s mental health in later life, says UKZN Bachelor of Nursing 4th year Psychiatric Nursing student, Ms Lindiwe Nzimande.

Nzimande was speaking to Phoenix community members at a Mental Health Open Day at Starwood Psychiatric Clinic hosted by UKZN Psychiatric Nursing students in association with the clinic to commemorate February as a Child and Adolescent Suicide Awareness Month.

‘Bullying increases the risk of suicide, depression and schizophrenia,’ said Nzimande.

The seven UKZN students - Nzimande, Ms Skye Crouch, Ms Nontobeko Jali, Mr Wandile Mthembu, Ms Amanda Ngcobo, Ms Marcel Perumal and Ms Nita Singh, all spoke extensively about mental health, focusing on bullying, suicide, and the stigmatisation of mental illness.

‘Suicide does not discriminate and is preventable,’ declared Jali. She said men were more likely to commit suicide but women were more likely to attempt suicide.

Jali shared the Suicide Hotline number with the community:  0800567567 SMS 31393.

Crouch said: ‘Stigmatisation in mental health is widespread, even in the medical profession. This may come from misguided views about individuals with mental health problems as being unpredictable, violent or bewitched.’  She said there was an urgent need to address stigma in mental health, as it had a detrimental effect on treatment outcomes and effective recovery. ‘Mental health is significant to the holistic approach to patient care. Ensuring health and wellbeing of an individual physically and mentally,’ said Crouch.

The students, who will continue to work at Phoenix until July, are in the process of compiling a community profile and community intervention focusing on mental wellness.

The open day was hosted in collaboration with the Clinic. 

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Education Academic Presents Research at Mathematics Conference

Education Academic Presents Research at Mathematics Conference
Dr Zanele Ndlovu of UKZN’s School of Education discussed the genetic decomposition of Cramer’s rule at the ICME conference.

Education academic Dr Zanele Ndlovu presented her research at the International Conference on Mathematical Education (ICME) in Germany, discussing the genetic decomposition of Cramer’s rule.

This stems from her study which explores pre-service teachers’ mental constructions when learning matrix algebra.

The study was guided by the belief that understanding the mental constructions the pre-service teachers made when learning mathematical concepts, led to improved instructional methods.

‘Background knowledge and understanding of notation are important aspects for students to understand in order to conceptualise the concepts in matrix algebra,’ said Ndlovu. ‘Students who had a weak schema of basic algebra were not able to make the necessary mental constructions or vice- versa. Also, students often made non-standard notation and linguistic distinctions.’

Since difficulties with the learning of linear algebra by average students are universally acknowledged, Ndlovu’s study provided a modified itemised genetic decomposition which is anticipated to help in the teaching and learning of matrix algebra concepts.

‘The aim of providing the modified genetic decomposition is to contribute in the teaching and learning of advanced mathematics as lecturers could use the modified genetic decomposition to analyse the mental constructions of their students when learning matrix algebra concepts.’

Ndlovu believes students need to have a conceptual understanding of the concepts taught in their first major module since these concepts form the basis for other modules they will learn as future mathematics teachers.

‘As future mathematics teachers it is imperative to develop conceptual understanding of mathematical concepts so that they will teach mathematics with confidence and to have the requisite knowledge to help learners at school.

‘If we hope our secondary school learners will develop the sense of mathematical reasoning, then at the outset the same idea needs to be instilled in the teachers.

‘The better place to start is with undergraduate students, especially in their first year. Pre-service teachers need to develop a sufficient sense of dealing with more abstract concepts in order to do justice in the teaching of these concepts at school level,’ said Ndlovu.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Humanities Academic Appointed Research Associate at CREST

Humanities Academic Appointed Research Associate at CREST
Professor Radhamany Sooryamoorthy, who has been appointed a Research Associate at CREST.

Professor Radhamany Sooryamoorthy of the School of Social Sciences has been appointed a Research Associate for three years at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University.

This non-remunerative appointment is in recognition ‘of individuals for their proven specialised expertise in given fields’ of scientometrics, bibliometrics and quantitative analysis.

CREST conducts research in bibliometrics and scientometrics, Higher Education knowledge production, Human Resources in science and technology, research evaluation and impact assessment studies, and the communication patterns of scientists.

Sooryamoorthy will have access to the database and resources of CREST and will work to further establish collaboration between UKZN and CREST and the Centre’s subsequent affiliations.

Sooryamoorthy is keen to conduct research, expand his knowledge base in his field of interest and to partner with other scholars and institutions for research purposes.

‘Being part of CREST allows me to access their database which is an advantage especially for the development of the social sciences and for multiple affiliations,’ he said.

Sooryamoorthy, whose work at CREST is mainly on research methodology, will also share skills and knowledge acquired at the Centre with his students and colleagues at UKZN.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Driving Research to New Heights with NRF Thuthuka Awards

Driving Research to New Heights with NRF Thuthuka Awards
Ms Varsha Bangalee, Dr Bongani Nkambule, Dr Phikelelani Ngubane and Dr Onyameachi Azu.

Four researchers at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences have been awarded grants by the National Research Foundation (NRF) for 2017.

They are Ms Varsha Bangalee, Dr Bongani Nkambule, Dr Phikelelani Ngubane and Dr Onyameachi Azu.

The NRF’s Thuthuka Funding Instrument is a key intervention aimed at supporting emerging researchers who are academics and/or researchers holding academic and/or joint academic and administrative professional appointments at public universities, scientific councils and other public research institutions recognised by the NRF. 

Thuthuka grants provide funding for researchers within South African academic institutions on three stipulated tracks. The first is the PhD Track, the second is the Post-PhD Track for applicants wanting to become established researchers by strengthening their research capabilities, while the third is the NRF Rating Track, which is for applicants keen to apply for a NRF rating within the six-year funding period.

Bangalee’s grant provides funding specifically for teaching replacement during data capture and while she is writing up her doctoral thesis. Bangalee is a Lecturer in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Bangalee’s research involves assessing and evaluating the impact of private sector pricing and supply chain policy implementation on the access to and use of medicines in South Africa, with the aim being to provide case examples for other low and middle income countries as well as to add to the body of evidence on pricing policies.

After 20 years of policy change, surprisingly little monitoring or evaluation of policy impacts have been undertaken to determine exactly how successful these policies have been in reducing inequity.

‘I am extremely proud to receive this grant as it is viewed as a very prestigious award. It also aptly suits my research needs and has afforded me the opportunity to successfully move forward with my research,’ said Bangalee.

‘Post-apartheid, South Africa, has pioneered several interventions to improve medicine pricing and increase access to affordable healthcare.  Despite some clear successes, much work is still to be done, particularly as the country moves toward universal health care coverage.’

She hopes to publish her findings and successfully obtain her PhD.

Dr Bongani Nkambule, a Senior Lecturer in the Human Physiology Discipline within UKZN’s School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, says what makes his research distinct is the fact that his research unit focuses on innovation, collaboration and mentoring. These are key pillars he believes will accelerate research and capacity development in South Africa and Africa as a whole.

‘The grant will help fund work in evaluating the potential therapeutic benefits modulating the immune system in Type 2 diabetes. Understanding the regulators of immunometabolism in chronic disease such as Type 2 diabetes will pave the way for earlier interventions and treatment interventions in prediabetes patients,’ said Nkambule.

Nkambule’s research investigates chronic inflammation and immunometabolism in type 2 diabetes. His study will look at the dynamic reprogramming of cellular metabolism of immune cells in type 2 diabetes. ‘My research group aims to characterise early cellular and genetic modifications that are associated with a shift or switch in normal immune metabolism to pathological alterations in immune metabolism. These will then be translated from laboratory markers into potential point of care tests that will benefit remote communities affected by obesity and at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.’

Nkambule said the grant application was a joint effort between himself and Dr Phiwayinkosi Dluldla of the Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform at the Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa.

Nkambule is set to continue to work towards understanding the dynamics of immune system in metabolic disease. ‘My passion lies in mentoring and motivating young researchers to persist and reach their full potential.’

Dr Phikelelani Ngubane, a Lecturer in the Discipline of Human Physiology, says the grant came at the right time - a year after he received his doctorate. ‘I was so excited to receive the award - it means a lot for my growth and development as I’ve always looked forward to implementing some research ideas independently.’

Elaborating on his research grant he said a large number of people in developing countries did not have access to healthcare facilities so traditional medicine was a long-standing alternative. ‘There is therefore a need to validate these treatments, often prescribed by traditional healers. This so we can help guide and educate people about which plants are useful should they not be in a position to access primary healthcare.’

The study he received the grant for is titled: “The Effects of Medicinal Plants and their Bioactive Compounds on Diabetes Management, which deals with validating therapeutic claims of some medicinal plants and advancing indigenous knowledge systems”.

Medical plants play an important role in the management of diabetes mellitus in developing countries where resources are minimal. The study seeks to invoke more interest in bio-screening of as many medicinal plants as possible for their hypoglycaemic potential by describing the profiles of plants with hypoglycaemic properties reported in the literature.

‘Our research has also reported beneficial effects of a number of plants frequently used in southern Africa on some processes associated with aetiology of diabetic complications. The mechanisms by which these plants exert their therapeutic effects however are not yet fully understood,’ said Ngubane.

‘The overall aim of the study is to investigate the mechanisms by which these medicinal plants and their bioactive compounds exert their hypoglycaemic effects.’

Dr Onyemaechi Azu, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy at the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, said the grant enabled him to investigate the testicular histomorphologic alterations following highly active antiretroviral treatment and the ameliorative effects of hypoxis hemerocallidea in experimental normal and hypertensive models.

‘This is the first report to document the potential for complex interactions between traditional African medicine and ARVs as used in HAART cocktails in normotensive and hypertensive experimental models.’

He said Dr ECS Naidu and Professor Anil Chuturgoon assisted in the grant application.

‘This research award is a great achievement and a starting point for higher pinnacle of research contributions.  We shall be looking at vascular perturbations in a hypertensive mode since hypertension has become a strong co-morbid condition for ART in the regions with very high roll-out of ARVs,’ said Azu.

author : Lihle Sosibo
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Talented UKZN Alumnus set to Perform at Jazz Centre

Talented UKZN Alumnus set to Perform at Jazz Centre
UKZN alumnus Zoe Masuku will be performing at the Jazz Centre.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Tshepo Fela will no longer be playing at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on Wednesday, 1 March 2017.

We are happy to announce that local vocalist Zoe the Seed and friends will be lighting up the stage with her original compositions this Wednesday at 18:00. This gig is a preview of what Zoe the Seeds will be presenting at her Jazzy rainbow (93 Simiso Nkwanyana road) gig on 10 March “A night with friends”.

Zoe the Seed is excited to be back at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music. She is in the process of releasing two singles which will lead up to an album release which she plans for August 2017. This vocalist holds a Bachelors degree in Jazz and popular music. Her Swazi background exposed her to influences like soul and gospel music but upon taking up jazz studies a new perspective and meaning of music was reborn. The sound she’s working on at the moment may be a bit experimental but carries distinct texture of African modal sounds and contemporary jazz. Her vocal expressions tackles the deepest emotion to the listener since her writing is influenced by everyday experiences people go through. The lyrical content promote love, respect and stands against women and child abuse. Fusing different styles like jazz and hip hop beats has been her way to interest and introduce young people to the jazz genre.

Expect vibrant and very expressive African modal sounds. Zoe Masuku (Vocals) will be joined by Bethuel Tshoane (Guitar), Sibusiso Mashiloane (Piano), Dalisu Ndlazi (Bass), Sbu Zondi (Drum) at The Centre for Jazz & Popular Music (CJPM), Level 2 Shepstone Building at UKZN Howard College campus on Wednesday 1 March 2017. Doors open 17:30 and the music starts at 18:00 Tickets will be available at the door for R70 // R45 pensioners // R20 students.

author : Thulile Zama
author email :

UKZN Continues the Fight Against HIV and AIDS

UKZN Continues the Fight Against HIV and AIDS
UKZN - a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

UKZN’s Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), HIV and AIDS programme is at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the disease, continuously introducing game changing efforts to support a more co-ordinated response to address the issues within the University community.

This year, the programme has aligned its strategic plan to the UNAIDS global 90 90 90 strategy which aims to end the pandemic by 2030. However, among its other goals for the UKZN community are that by 2020:

•           90% of all people living with HIV should know their status

•          90% of all those who are diagnosed HIV positive should be on sustained antiretroviral treatment (ART)

•           90% of those on ART should have viral suppression.

Vital to effectively align to this strategy are high prioritisation and allocation of resources, monitoring and constant evaluation, targeted action research, and intensive and sustainable collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.

The response is in line with Global and National guidelines:

•           National HIV Testing Services (HTS) policy 2016

•           National Universal Test and Treat (UTT)  ART SOP 2016

•           Pre- and Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP/PEP)  - National guidelines 2016

•           Global 90 90 90 UNAIDS 2020 ambitious targets.

Ms Nomonde Magantolo, who serves as the UKZN HRH, HIV and AIDS Co-ordinator, challenged the UKZN leadership during the World AIDS Day lecture on the Westville campus last year to commit in leading the drive, saying ‘we cannot do business as usual’.

This was after Professor Salim Abdool Karim of CAPRISA revealed statistics which show that people in the 15 -25 year age group were the most vulnerable. 

The proposed vision of UKZN’s 2017 HIV and AIDS Programme Strategic Plan is to be the leading provider of HIV and AIDS and related services in Higher Education in Africa.

author : Thembani Khumalo
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First Year Medical Students Attend HIV and Me Course

First Year Medical Students Attend HIV and Me Course
First year MBChB students with one of the facilitators, Dr Nervashnee Maharaj.

First year Medical students at UKZN participated in an HIV and Me programme which covers a range of topics and skills designed to equip them with personal and professional know-how in the field. 

The programme, part of the Becoming a Professional module and convened by the Discipline of Public Health Medicine, introduces a focus on building self-awareness , discovery and creativity, thus initiating a longitudinal learning pathway in educating future practitioners who are socially accountable, creative and adaptive in response to complex challenges. 

Students work in groups to build their social interaction skills, get to know fellow students and discover individual strengths and creative potential.  These skills are harnessed in the creation of “health images” and students crystallise and express their values and hopes for being agents of change within the health system thereby impacting on the health of the nation.

During the most recent programme, each student shared their vision, becoming engaged and energised by new ideas and creativity within the class. 

One of the students created a “running man” taking active strides towards an efficient health system and healthy people within the country.  The work is currently on exhibition in the Medical School library where the creativity of the students is celebrated.

The programme covers HIV myths and realities, attitudes and perceptions including stigma, HIV prevention and living positively with HIV.  During the programme a range of speakers shared real stories with the students and answered questions.

Students applied their knowledge and skills gained in a community service learning opportunity titled “Making a Difference” that takes place as part of the Becoming a Professional module in the first year Medical curriculum.

The Making a Difference community activity involves groups of four students who identify and work together with a community organisation serving a disadvantaged community and find the most appropriate ways to participate in its activities. An important objective of the community service learning activity is to build the health knowledge and skills of their chosen community, including sharing information about HIV and AIDS as well as working together with participants to find new solutions to challenges.

Part of the learning for the students is a focus on the process of community entry, self- presentation and communication skills in order to build good relationships with the organisation and the participants it serves.

Students held discussions about health and learned about the range of different views as a baseline to the development of their plans for their group community service activity.

During this experience, students grappled with learning about determinants of health, leadership and teamwork and also identified their own personal qualities and contributions to the core professional attributes.

A process of structured reflective practice guides students to consider their learning during this experience and the results are presented in summative poster presentations. Students take up the challenge of becoming agents of change in partnership with these communities and in Making a Difference.

author : Nombuso Dlamini and Sandy Glajchen
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UKZN Impi Kick off 2017 in Fine Form

UKZN Impi Kick off 2017 in Fine Form
UKZN rugby players and supporters out in full force to “back their boytjies”.

The UKZN Impi beat the University of Fort Hare 16-10 in their first home game of 2017 in the Varsity Shield rugby tournament played on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

UKZN’s Ayanda Ndlovu said the Impi came third overall in last year’s competition, losing just one game. ‘We were the champions in 2015.’

Ndlovu says he is confident the Impi will do well in this year’s tournament. ‘We believe we have a good enough team to win it! 2017 is a year of building a team for 2018 as that is when promotion/relegation takes place.

‘We have a very young team with a lot of first year students who are playing Varsity Shield for the first time,’ he said.

Ms Lindelwa Gwala, a second year Computer Sciences student and a team member of the UKZN women’s rugby team, says she fell in love with playing the sport because ‘those involved are very pleasant’.

Another player, third-year Medical Science student, Ms Cebo Nsindane, got involved in the sport after playing touch rugby at school. She invited other UKZN students to support the UKZN rugby teams and get involved in the team spirit.

Maritime Economics honours student Mr Kwazi Makhathini encouraged UKZN students to support the team by wearing an Impi T-shirt, which is available at the UKZN Westville campus Sports Centre for R50. 

To find out about playing rugby for the University, phone Mr Ayanda Ndlovu on 031 260 2286 or email:; or phone Mr Zilungile Ntombela on 033 260 5937 or email:

Supporters can find fixtures and more info on the team at Sport Administration departments on all campuses; the UKZN website; the Varsity Cup website, and posters around campus.

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
author email :

Mars One Project Astronaut Candidate Speaks at UKZN Alumni Forum

Mars One Project Astronaut Candidate Speaks at UKZN Alumni Forum
Dr Adriana Marais with young fans.

Mars One Project astronaut candidate and UKZN alumnus, Dr Adriana Marais, was the guest speaker at the first UKZN Durban Alumni Association gathering this year.

Marais, who spoke to a packed house on the Howard College campus, is currently one of 100 Mars One Project astronaut candidates in the running to travel to the red planet around 2026. She hopes one day to continue her research on Mars and possibly contribute to the discovery of evidence that life once existed there.

In an informative and entertaining presentation, Marais discussed the current new era of innovation in space exploration and explained the detailed planning required for a journey to Mars, outlining the funding and research involved, the travel arrangements and what life on the planet could possibly be like.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session and then much discussion over snacks and drinks in an adjoining venue.  Guests, who were mostly UKZN graduates, enjoyed an impromptu photo opportunity with Marais.

The Durban UKZN Alumni Association plans to arrange several talks and tours this year. 

author : Finn Christensen
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UKZN Accounting Programmes Retain SAICA Accreditation

UKZN Accounting Programmes Retain SAICA Accreditation

Accounting programmes run by UKZN’s School of Accounting, Economics and Finance remain accredited by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) following a recent review by the Institute.

The SAICA review was held to assess whether the accounting programmes still met all the requirements for continuous accreditation.

The result of the review was provided in the form of a detailed report released to the School this month.

‘The outcome of the SAICA review was a rating of 2, meaning the School’s Accounting programmes remain accredited,’ said the School’s Acting Dean and Head, Dr Mabutho Sibanda. ‘The School is pleased with the outcome but expected a higher rating.’

SAICA ratings range from 1 to 3 - 1 is full accreditation with no improvements required, 2 is accredited but requiring improvement and 3 is accredited but needing immediate improvement.

Sibanda said the School was working on various additional interventions to not only improve throughputs but to ensure the School attains a No 1 rating.

‘We shall continue to strive for excellence in all aspects relating to the accreditation of the programmes and we hope to receive a rating of 1 in the near future,’ he added. 

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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International Relations Student Presents Research Findings in China

International Relations Student Presents Research Findings in China
UKZN’s Mr Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu and a Research Assistant at the China Institute of International Studies, Mr Cui Xiaotao, at the conference in Beijing.

PhD Student in International Relations, Mr Clayton Hazvinei Vhumbunu, presented an overview of his research findings at the China-Africa Co-operation on Production Capacity and Industrialisation conference in Beijing.

The outcome of the forum was an exchange of ideas and research findings on China and Africa’s industrialisation and development experiences, and proposed thoughts and insights to further China-Africa Co-operation.

The Conference was attended by academics and researchers from think tanks and universities in China, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Vhumbunu’s address was titled: “Unlocking Greater Value from the China-Africa Productivity Capacity and Industrialisation Co-operation through Investment Policy Reforms in Africa: Potential and Challenges”.

He argued that the agreement reached at the forum was a game changer and an opportunity for African ‘industrialisation renaissance’.

‘African countries need to strategically review and adjust their investment regimes in such a way that ensures high-end industrial value addition, transfer of sophisticated technology, compliance with local content requirements, and optimal exploitation of their respective comparative and competitive advantages.’

Vhumbunu said that just like in any commercial partnership the benefits to be accrued by African countries would be determined by how they defined, structured, promoted and protected their economic interests.

‘The Conference was a unique opportunity for continuous learning and network expansion. It gave me exposure as we also managed to participate at the 2nd Investing in Africa Forum in Guangzhou, and also went on study tours to Chinese high-tech firms in Beijing and Shanghai,’ he said.

Vhumbunu thanked the Public Governance discipline and his supervisor, Dr Joseph Rukema, for support, encouragement and inspiration.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Peer Educator Tells About Her Experiences at UKZN

Peer Educator Tells About Her Experiences at UKZN
Peer Educator, Ms Pamela Sibusisiwe Makenete.

Ms Pamela Sibusisiwe Makenete on her experiences as a Peer Educator:

The day I realised and appreciated my contribution and commitment to peer education was when I was standing in a queue with friends waiting to order at the KFC opposite the Howard College campus. A person in the queue tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I ‘was the girl who delivers female condom tutorials in the Shepstone Building foyer’. My friends burst out laughing but I said with pride: ‘Yes I am!’

I regret not having as much time as I would like to involve myself in peer education activities. I really am keen to attend every residence visit and event organised by the Campus HIV and AIDS Support Unit (CHASU) but unfortunately living at home restricts me in the amount of work I can put in.

My most profound moment this year was when I went to have my regular HIV test at the school clinic and the councillor, whom I know from CHASU, asked me to conduct the pre-test HIV counselling on her instead of in the usual way. This same counsellor is responsible for also having made me realise the importance of students, especially young women, not only protecting themselves against pregnancy but also realising the high HIV stats at UKZN. I realised that even though we as female students are aware of the horrifically high incidence of HIV at the University, we still fear pregnancy more. We also shy away from the probability that those who we are sexually active with, may have other sexual partners and therefore the chances of them infecting us are high.

Once when I offered a young woman a condom and an HIV test, she replied proudly: ‘I am married’. This made me think back to the “lecture” I received from a counsellor who played the greatest role in me wanting to become a peer educator. It is young men and women like this particular lady counsellor who trust their partners are faithful and they themselves in return are monogamous.

Being a peer educator has taught me a great deal regarding sexual health, sexuality and ways in which sexual diseases can be prevented. Through informative training, I have learned about the different contraceptive methods available and also the different ways in which sex can be initiated depending on the preference of persons and their gender identity. I have met and come to understand different people who identify themselves as different gender groups from the usual male/female. We strive as peer educators to deliver the knowledge we have gained on HIV prevention to our fellow students at UKZN in the hope we can help statistics of HIV on our campuses to stop rising at such a fast rate.

Though we preach abstinence before all else, we realise it is almost impossible to convince students to follow this guaranteed contraceptive method. We then try to influence their behaviour by promoting condom usage, having one sexual partner at all times and getting tested with their sex partners.

I have become more aware of the harsh reality of the HIV epidemic on my campus, and in my province, country and Africa. Through the many issues I have been exposed to through being a peer educator, I have become more educated on HIV and AIDS-related matters. I realise there are a whole lot of these issues which are not debated sufficiently.

I also realise the importance of my role in influencing my peers and in turn them influencing others to change their behaviour which is seen as contributing to the spread of the HIV epidemic.

The first time I was asked to distribute condoms on campus I felt embarrassed about what people would think and how they would perhaps associate me with a certain lifestyle.  However, what surprised me as I distributed condoms was the large number of students on campus who are sexually active. The most innocent looking young girls would ask me to secretly slip condoms into their bags but others would refuse them in of fear of what their parents would do if they found them.

I then took the initiative of teaching myself how to demonstrate the use of a female condom and would walk around with an open condom showing girls how to use it, and trying to persuade them to always have it in case their partner didn’t have one or didn’t want to use a male condom.

Being a peer educator has been a great, awakening experience. I have grown as a young woman and become more confident thanks to peer education. I will without a doubt continue as a peer educator for as long as I am a student and if I do ever move to another varsity that doesn’t have such an initiative, I will strive to introduce it.

I am absolutely ready and cannot wait for the challenges I may face as a peer educator, striving to make a difference in ensuring that my fellow youth also contribute towards the movement of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic one day in the future. 

author : Pamela Sibusisiwe Makenete
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UKZN Scientists Produce Widely Acclaimed Paper

UKZN Scientists Produce Widely Acclaimed Paper
UKZN scientists (from left) Dr Linda Bester, Ms Christiana Shobo and Professor Sabiha Essack.

Scientists from UKZN’s Antimicrobial Research Unit recently conducted a study, the results of which produced what has been labelled as the ‘most read paper’ on

The paper was the first published by Nigerian-born PhD student Ms Christiana Shobo, who is the first author. It was featured in the peer-reviewed: Journal of Infection in Developing Countries.

Shobo’s study, supervised by Dr Linda Bester and the Director of UKZN’s Antimicrobial Research Unit - who is also the SARChI Chair in Antibiotic Resistance and One Health - Professor Sabiha Essack, investigated the antibiotic resistance profiles of Campylobacter species in the South African private health care sector. Campylobacteriosis is the most common bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis in the world causing 400-500 million cases of diarrhoea each year.

Campylobacter infection is primarily a zoonotic disease as it is found in food animals, particularly poultry, which serve as the main reservoir for human infection. Other sources of transmission include water, milk, and animal meat products. Gastroenteritis may be characterised by watery, non-bloody, non-inflammatory diarrhoea progressing to a severe inflammatory diarrhoea followed by abdominal pain and fever.

In South Africa, there is insufficient data on clinical Campylobacter, particularly in the private healthcare environment, which prompted the study. Seventy-two clinical isolates from patients with diarrhoea/dysentery were collected from a private laboratory in Durban and analysed between October 2013 and September 2014.

Infection was seen to be higher among male patients (63.9%) compared to females. The most affected group were infants and toddlers under two years old. This is in line with international studies which indicate that infants with developing immune systems are more prone to infections than adults. Older patients who were also immunocompromised had increased infection rates. The majority of the samples were also collected during spring.

Of the total patients, 47.2% had severe infections that warranted hospitalisation. Increasing antibiotic resistance to Campylobacter has become a substantial and significant public health concern in both developing and developed countries. First line antibiotics are usually prescribed and those with macrolides (erythromycin), fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin) and tetracycline are recommended.

In South Africa, other studies have observed a steady increase in macrolide, fluoroquinolone and tetracycline resistance in Campylobacter. In this study, authors found a 23.6% resistance to ciprofloxacin and 8.3% to gatifloxacin. A further 33% resistance was recorded to erythromycin. Multi-resistance presents a risk to humans by limiting the therapeutic choice of antibiotics.

The Campylobacter bacteria is usually found in the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals such as poultry and pigs, and frequently detected in foods derived from these animals. According to the World Health Organization, the burden of food-borne diseases, including Campylobacteriosis, is substantial: every year almost 1 in 10 people fall ill and 33 million of healthy life years are lost.

Food-borne diseases can be severe, especially for young children. Diarrhoeal diseases are the most common illnesses resulting from unsafe food, with 550 million people falling ill annually. The species can be killed by heat and thoroughly cooking food. To prevent Campylobacter infections, basic food hygiene practices need to be followed when preparing food.

First author Shobo completed her Higher National Diploma (Microbiology) at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY) in Nigeria before joining UKZN’s College of Health Sciences where she obtained a scholarship for her Masters degree in Medical Sciences and for her PhD.

Shobo and her team, led by Dr Linda Bester, are recipients of the College of Health Sciences Young Researchers Competitive grant of R250 000 awarded to young researchers with novel studies.

author : MaryAnn Francis
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