UKZN Graduation 2017: Numbers of Doctoral Graduates on the Up

UKZN Graduation 2017: Numbers of Doctoral Graduates on the Up

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s 2017 Graduation will see 10 148 certificates awarded at 23 Graduation ceremonies, starting on the Westville campus on Monday, 03 April and ending on the Pietermaritzburg campus on Wednesday, 12 April.

The University is especially proud to highlight some of its notable achievements which reflect further advancement of transformation in Higher Education.

There has been a marked increase in Research Masters and Doctoral graduands with numbers having more than doubled over the past five years. Research Masters graduands rose from 260 in 2012 to 625 in 2017, and Doctoral graduands from 150 in 2012 to 350 in 2017. This is largely due to an increase in Doctoral enrolments, i.e. 1 283 in 2011 to 3 051 in 2016.

This growth in the numbers of Masters and Doctoral enrolments and graduands is in response to imperatives set out in South Africa’s National Development Plan and contributes to UKZN’s success in excelling as the No.1 research-led University in South Africa.

Another notable achievement is the increasing number of women who are graduating cum laude and summa cum laude, outperforming their male counterparts in terms of numbers. This has been the trend over the past five years.

Of the 336 cum laude graduands, 62% are women while 67% of the 119 summa cum laude graduands, are women. The percentage of women graduands overall is 61.3% this year.

About 2 043 degrees will be conferred in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, 4 604 in the College of Humanities, 2 339 in the College of Law and Management Studies, and 1 162 in the College of Health Sciences.

Furthermore, 89 graduands with disabilities will be capped.

UKZN will honour four leading South Africans for their significant contributions in the fields of Arts, Social Sciences, Law, and Business. Through their innovation, expertise and intellect in their respective fields the honorary graduands have changed the lives of people both in South Africa and around the world.

Two academics will receive the University’s Distinguished Teachers’ Award for teaching excellence. They are Dr Cecile Proches in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership and Dr Vittorio Tramontin in the School of Engineering.

Two prominent academics, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research; and Professor Rob Slotow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences, will be made Fellows of UKZN. University Fellowships are conferred annually on outstanding academics for research excellence and distinguished academic achievement.

Honorary Doctorates will be conferred on:

Mr Justice Barathanathan (Thumba) Pillay, a highly respected member of the legal profession who has made a lifetime contribution to the struggle against apartheid, the development of a democratic South Africa and to advancing human rights and social justice for all South Africans.
Dr Kumi Naidoo, the Launch Director of the Pan African social movement, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity. He is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the South African struggle for democracy, the international fight against climate change and the struggle against poverty and injustice.
Hugh Masekela, an African Music legend, a world-renowned musician and a struggle icon, whose political campaign through music, contributed to liberation. He is recognised locally and internationally not only as a superb performer and entertainer, but also as an inspiration to all.
Wendy Luhabe, a pioneer in the area of economic empowerment of women. Her revolutionary ideas enabled South African women to become investors. She launched the first R120 million private equity fund that provides capital to women-owned businesses and is recognised for her dedication to the empowerment of African women.

author : Sejal Desai
author email : desaisej@ukzn.ac.za

Ingosi Ehlelwe I-UKZN Ihlinzeke Ngethuba Lokuthi Ungqongqoshe WezeMpilo Aphawule Ngenhlekelele YaseSidimeni

Ingosi Ehlelwe I-UKZN Ihlinzeke Ngethuba Lokuthi Ungqongqoshe WezeMpilo Aphawule Ngenhlekelele YaseSidimeni
Impilo Esidimeni : Inhlekelele Engafanele Ukuphinde Yenzeke, lena bekuyindikimba yomcimbi wesikhumbuzo obuhlelwe yi-UKZN kanye noNgqongqoshe Wesifundazwe WezeMpilo uDkt Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Click here for English version

Ezempilo Yengqondo ziyinto enganakiwe emhlabeni wonke futhi kudingeka izinsiza eziningi ukuze kuqinisekiswe ukuthi abayiziguli banakekeleka ngendlela efanele emakhaya, kusho uNgqongqoshe WezeMpilo KwaZulu-Natali uDkt  Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Ekhuluma emcimbini obuhlelwe i-UKZN wokunikeza i-KZN ithuba lokuphawula ngenhlekelele yaseSidimeni e-Gauteng lapho kwashona khona iziguli ezingama-94 ngenxa yobudedengu nokungaphathwa ngendlela, uDhlomo uxolisile ngale nhlekelele.

‘Okwenzeke e-Gauteng kuyinhlekelele ebuhlungu kakhulu kithi sonke futhi ngixolisela uMnyango wethu. Ukunakekelwa kweziguli emakhaya kumele kwenziwe ngendlela efanele futhi kube nezinsiza ezihlinzekwayo ukuze kusizakale umphakathi.’ kusho uDhlomo.

UDhlomo uthe uzothembela kuSolwazi Bonginkosi Chiliza oyiNhloko YezezeNgqondo e-UKZN okunguye obehlele lo mhlangano obuseThekwini wokukhumbula abehlelwe yile nhlekelele ukuthi ameluleleke ngezindlela zokuvikela lesi simo e-KZN. 

Umbiko ngale nhlekelele obhalwe uMvikeli WezeMpilo Yomphakathi owayenguSekelashansela NoMphathi wase-UKZN uSolwazi Malegapuru Makgoba, uveze isithombe esingesihle neze ngezindawo zokunakekela lezi ziguli ezisemphakathini ezikhombisa ukungakulungeli nokungabi nezinsiza ezidingekayo ukuze zinakekele iziguli ezinezifo zengqondo.

UMakgoba uthole ukuthi inyumoniya, elandelwe ukudlikiza komzimba bekuyikho okubangele ukushona kweziguli.

Umbiko kaMakgoba uphinde ubeke ukuthi isinqumo esathathwa uMnyango wase-Gauteng WezeMpilo sokuqeda futhi kususwe iziguli ezindaweni zokuhlala ezingaphansi kweSidimeni sasisibi kakhulu, singaphusile futhi singenabo Ubuntu. Emva kwalesi simemezelo uNgqongqoshe wase-Gauteng wezeMpilo ushiyile esikhundleni sakhe uMnyango uqinisekise kwabayizizalwane zabashonile ukuthi uzosilungisa lesi simo.

UChiliza uthe:  ‘Okusithintayo thina njengodokotela bakulo mkhakha ukuthi uNgqongqoshe wase-Gauteng WezeMpilo akazange azithathe izeluleko zodokotela. Singaluleka kanjani ngokuhlukunyezwa kwabantu futhi siqinisekise ukuthi sisebenza ndawonye ukuze kutholakale isixazululo?’

UDkt Suvira Ramlal uphawule wathi ngesimo sokwelashwa kwabagula ngengqondo  eKZN : Kunenkinga uma kunakekelwa abagula ngengqondo. Kunemibhede ebaliwe, nezinye izinsiza. Sisengcupheni enkulu futhi kumele siyixazulule le nkinga.’

UDhlomo ela base-UKZN umeme abamabhizinisi angasese ukuba balekelele ngezimali nodokotela base-UKZN ukuba bameluleke ngemithi ebalulekile engaholela ekulashweni kweziguli.


author : MaryAnn Francis
author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Commemorates Israeli Apartheid Week

UKZN Commemorates Israeli Apartheid Week
Seen are some of the activities from Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) 2017.

UKZN commemorated Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an annual international series of events including rallies, protests, lectures, cultural performances, concerts, films and workshops held in more than 250 cities, communities and campuses across the globe.

Political Science Lecturer Dr Lubna Nadvi said: ‘Many of us support the Palestinian struggle for political self-determination and freedom. Every year the global Palestine Solidarity movement hosts a range of activities as part of this solidarity campaign, including Israeli Apartheid Week.

‘At UKZN, staff and students participated in a range of activities across the city and in KwaZulu-Natal.’

As part of his South African tour for IAW 2017, Mr Pedro Ferraracio Charbel, Co-ordinator for Latin America of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), spoke at a public seminar at UKZN.

Charbel shared victories, successes and current campaigns coming out of Latin America as well as exploring ways to strengthen relations between South-South partners and between activists from BRICS countries on the issue of BDS and Palestinian solidarity.

At another seminar at UKZN, scholar Dr Felipe Buttelli spoke on whether Israel is a state of exception through reading a Palestinian perspective by Giorgio Agamben.

Other main IAW 2017 events included a film screening/discussion of 5 Broken Cameras, artwork exhibitions, spoken word poetry sessions around a “wall” exhibit, several radio interviews, and a one-hour radio discussion featuring UKZN Lecturer Dr Clint Le Bruyns’s segment on Radio Al Ansaar. Le Bruyns was in conversation with students, sharing their shifting perspectives on Palestine/Israel through the impact of IAW 2017.

Said Le Bruyns: ‘Roadmap to Apartheid was also screened on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg campus with students from various Schools and Disciplines visibly emotional about what they saw and learned about the daily plight of Palestinians.’


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Kingsway High School Pupils Visit UKZN’s Killie Campbell Collections

Kingsway High School Pupils Visit UKZN’s Killie Campbell Collections
From right: Mr Abikal Borah, a researcher from India and Mr Senzo Mkhize, Senior Librarian Campbell Collections with Kingsway High School pupils.

Pupils from the Kingsway High School in Amanzimtoti visited UKZN’s Killie Campbell Africana Library as part of Library Week.

The library, which was among those specifically chosen by the Kingsway pupils and teachers for a tour, contains rare Africana books, manuscripts, travel diaries, photograph collections and other Africana material.

During the visit, learners were introduced to various resources in the library and were shown how to use them to find rare Africana collections. The youngsters were very excited to learn how to locate information using inventories to the archival collections, old card catalogue systems, indexes, and the World Share online cataloguing system.

The pupils, in their roles as library monitors and assistants at their school, play an active role in promoting, protecting and preserving Kingsway School library books.

The youngsters asked many questions, including queries on the library collection management, temperature control, user services and digitisation.

Visits by local schools and members of the community show that the Killie Campbell Library is more than just a place where rare collections are kept – rather it is an integral part of the society it serves!

Library staff go out of their way to provide users with information, resources and a connection to the world at large. They are also on hand to offer guidance to students and others doing research on almost any issue.


author : Senzo Mkhize
author email : Mkhizese@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Library Celebrates Library Week

UKZN Library Celebrates Library Week
UKZN libraries celebrated the South African Library Week throughout all their campuses.

In celebration of South African Library Week, the UKZN Library hosted an event to market its services and create awareness among staff and students of the libraries on the various campuses. Events were held at all campuses with the main event being held at Howard College.

Celebration Co-ordinator Ms Goitsemang Ncongwane said under the theme, “My Library, Your Library”, the event showcased the libraries from the four Colleges serviced by librarians, Circulation Desk, Special Collections and Research Space. Other services included the Research commons available to masters and doctoral students, student discussion rooms and several other facilities.

The aim of the event was to make the students aware of the importance of the library during their studies and all the services available to them.

Cultural and Media Studies Masters student, Mr Sanele Gamede, said he received ‘awesome help from UKZN Library staff members’. Mentioning that several things had improved in the library, he praised it for having the Academic Reserve book section where a book can be borrowed for two hours and the Research Commons. ‘This is especially useful for students unable to afford to buy prescribed books,’ said Gamede. 

In her welcome, KZN LIASA Chairperson, Ms Nonhlanhla Ngcobo said the South African Library Week was initiated in 2001 to be a commemorative period recognised by Government. She said libraries across the country used it as an opportunity to market their services in an effort to contribute to the understanding of the role libraries played in society, such as advancing literacy, making the basic human right of freedom of access to information a reality, and the promotion of tolerance and respect among all South Africans.

Guest speaker and Senior Lecturer in the School of Law, Mr Adrian Bellengère, whose parents were both librarians, said the library was the equivalent of the labs other Schools had. Referring to the destruction of the library during unrest, he advised students not to take the libraries for granted. ‘Treat it like a member of your family’ said Bellengère.

UKZN’s Ms Roshini Pather in her talk mentioned refurbishment plans in the pipeline which would include new signage, new furniture, new social spaces to accommodate students, more plug points and sound proof flooring. 

The Library also held an amnesty week to encourage staff and students to return outstanding books and library material.

Ncongwane said the Library would soon launch a revised code of conduct. 


author : Sithembile Shabangu
author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

Jokes and Jazz at UKZN

Jokes and Jazz at UKZN
Stand-up comedian Troy Tesla.

UKZN’s School of Arts presented Jokes and Jazz hosted by stand-up comedian Troy Tesla at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on Tuesday, 28 March.

Jokes and Jazz is a new comedy series designed to celebrate the merging of two art forms that rarely combine, comedy and jazz. The musical interlude was provided by UKZN Music students.

The comedy section was hosted by international comedian Troy Tesla supported by a stellar line-up of comedians including Masood Boomgaard, Tyson Heffer, Kwanda Radebe and Mo Vawda.

Troy Tesla is a stand-up comedian and sit-down Law academic who has impressed audiences. He has appeared with some big names in South Africa comedy including John Vlismas, Loyiso Gola and Carvin H Goldstone. Tesla is currently developing a TV show.

UKZN PhD candidate Mo Vawda, a rising newcomer on the scene, has featured on Vuzu Amp and Mzansi Magic on DSTV, and has performed with a variety of South African comic greats.


author : Slindile Mkhize
author email : Mkhizes14@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Academics are Contributing Editors of New Book Challenging Higher Education Curriculum Norms

UKZN Academics are Contributing Editors of New Book Challenging Higher Education Curriculum Norms
UKZN academics who are contributing editors to a new book Challenging Higher Education Curriculum Norms (from left) Professor Nyna Amin, Professor Michael Samuel and Dr Rubby Dhunpath.

Three UKZN academics are among 17 national and international scholars who have contributed to a book: Disrupting Higher Education Curriculum: Undoing Cognitive Damage (Sense Publishers, 2016), which aims to ‘develop an alternative discourse to understand Higher Education curriculum transformation in its multiple facets and formations’.

The three are education specialists, Professor Michael Samuel, Professor Nyna Amin and Dr Rubby Dhunpath, who is UKZN’s Director of Teaching and Learning.

Giving background, Dhunpath lamented that to date the ‘furious and sometimes frivolous higher education policy process has been accompanied by a range of regulatory institutions, systems and frameworks. Despite these grandiose installations, the Higher Education sector lacks systemic coherence, characterised by curriculum tinkering which has not provided a foundation to escape our past or to refashion a viable future devoid of violence and intolerance’.

He said the recent dominant narrative in Higher Education transformation, encapsulated in the violent resistance to western and colonial symbols in institutions, appeared to detract from the more fundamental crisis of indolence and ‘our failure to confront the real challenge of an alienating, unresponsive curriculum’.

Samuel indicated that the book, conceived in response to the calls to ‘envision an alternative emancipatory curriculum, explores the historical, ideological, philosophical and theoretical domains of Higher Education curricula, past and present’.

He suggests that while the book does not presume to offer curriculum solutions and recipes, ‘it contemplates the project of undoing cognitive damage, offering glimpses into what it means to redesign curriculum in the 21st century.

‘The contributors - international scholars and emergent and expert researchers from different nationalities, orientations and positions - constitute an interdisciplinary ensemble, which collectively provides a rich commentary on Higher Education curriculum as we know it,’ said Samuel.

‘The edited volume is a catalytic vehicle for transformational thinking about disrupting canonised rituals of Higher Education practice.

Amin says the inspiration for the book is from Gayatri Spivak’s notion of cognitive damage, which encapsulates the ways in which individuals, both privileged and maligned, become complicit in their own subjugation and subjugation of others as they enact obedience, capitulation and servitude to organs of power.

Cognitive damage, the authors argue, is perpetuated by universities through indifference and insensitivity to pervasive symbolic violence, race categorisation, gender inequality, poverty, rising unemployment and cultural hegemony all of which are the overt and hidden pillars of curriculum.

Amin says the book pulls together conceptually from discourse, representation, ideology and hegemony.

The authors argue that distorted realities and fractured rationalities allow cognitive damage to persist and entrench, individually, and structurally, through knowledge domains and practices.

Comprising three overlapping sections, the book engenders a vocabulary with which to talk about cognitive damage and the Higher Education curriculum.

Part One, “Philosophical Musings”, explores the ways discourse, social structures, distributions of knowledge and power are implicated in producing cognitive damage in education curricula.

Part Two, “Curriculum Shifts”, offers insights into varied classroom environments and explores how emancipatory curriculum changes are enabled and constrained within education curriculum spaces. It also explores the notion of curriculum beyond the classroom, as well as ways in which space and spatiality communicate a value-laden curriculum.

Part Three, “(Mis) Direction?”, offers the first steps into developing a borderless curriculum. Instead of conceiving curriculum simplistically as legitimated bodies of knowledge, a curriculum without borders is contemplated to activate systemic reform where uncertainty is valued for curriculum theorising and design.

Curriculum, the editors contend, should transcend the narrow prescripts of content and pedagogy and should also expose the institutional conditions that support or inhibit intellectual labour.

The editors hope the book will stimulate debates about the crucial intellectual project of re-envisioning curriculum as ‘we enter a critical, even dangerous, period of ideological warfare being waged on university campuses. Through our damaged lenses, clouded with murky thinking, out of sync with the aspirations of contemporary youth, we have to reflect candidly on whether we have grasped fully the underlying motivations for the incessant attacks on Higher Education.

‘As curriculum designers, we need to consider whether we are attuned to a pedagogy of listening: of being sensitive to the pernicious effects of state technologies acting as agents of instrumentalism, but to also acknowledge that students may be similarly seduced by simplistic econometric and individualistic rationalities in their demands for a new order.’


author : Rubby Dhunpath
author email : Dhunpath@ukzn.ac.za

Initiative Underway through UKZN to Provide Affordable Vision Correction

Initiative Underway through UKZN to Provide Affordable Vision Correction
From left: Mr Lumkile Mtolo of Essilor: Mrs Priscilla Sewambar, Ms Tuvia Manuel and Dr Diane van Staden, all of UKZN; Mr Vivasan Pillay of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, and Mr Sagaran Govender of UKZN.

Representatives of the Discipline of Optometry met with role players to explore ways to improve access to affordable vision correction for patients attending the UKZN Eye Clinic

The role players included Mr Vivasan Pillay of the Brien Holden Vision Institute’s Global Resource Centre, and UKZN alumnus Mr Lumkile Mtolo of Essilor’s 2.5 New Vision Generation project.

The Discipline’s Academic Leader, Mrs Diane van Staden, said through this initiative the cost of spectacles the Discipline offered could be significantly reduced with schoolchildren receiving a free pair.

‘UKZN Optometry is excited about being able to make spectacles more affordable so that we can better serve patients accessing our clinics,’ said van Staden.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Students Doing Research on Elite Athletes

UKZN Students Doing Research on Elite Athletes
Working together for the good of KwaZulu-Natal athletes (from left) Mr Brendon Goodenough, Ms Masisy Mbanjwe, Ms Sindy Shabalala, Dr Takshita Sookan, Dr Rowena Naidoo and Ms Bronwyn Sheppard.

Two UKZN Masters students, Ms Masisy Mbanjwe and Ms Sindy Shabalala, are conducting research on elite athletes in KwaZulu-Natal.    

The research has been made possible by a collaboration between UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, the Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences (BELS) Discipline, the Prime Human Performance Institute and the KZN Department of Sports and Recreation.

Top athletes from different sporting codes in KwaZulu-Natal are identified and recruited into the Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP) in which Mbanjwe and Shabalala track performance indicators, including the functional movement screening patterns of the sportsmen and women.

The programme, developed by the KZN Department of Sports and Recreation, is managed at the Prime Human Performance Institute by a team of professionals, including Sports Scientist, Ms Bronwyn Sheppard.

‘We provide the athletes access to training facilities, medical practitioners, biokineticists, physiotherapists, sports psychologists and dieticians,’ said Sheppard. ‘Some of our athletes have already competed internationally - for example at the   Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil - and through the EADP we hope to elevate more athletes to this level.’

‘The aim of the EADP is to enhance the level of performance of athletes. Through research, the Masters students hope to assist with identifying key areas that can contribute to this outcome,’ said Sheppard.

Mbanjwa and Shabalala, who are still in the early phases of their research, meet with gatekeepers and gain exposure and insight into the programme from the Prime Human Performance Institute team. ‘We are happy to be a part of this programme and we believe our study is novel as it is the first of its kind in South Africa,’ said Shabalala.

‘We hope it will help more athletes to compete internationally,’ added Mbanjwe.

The students are supervised by BELS Academic Leader Dr Rowena Naidoo and Lecturer and Research Co-ordinator, Dr Takshita Sookan. ‘Collaboration like this promotes growth for our Discipline and provides opportunities for both staff and students in the areas of research and experiential learning,’ said Naidoo.

Sookan believes the research is crucial for students to gain empirical knowledge and provide evidence-based support. ‘Allowing our students to engage with the Prime team and get exposure to this type of programme can show first-hand how research can translate into practice.’

‘We are excited to be collaborating on this project which sees the Provinces sports stakeholders working together to support athlete development.   Integrating Sports Science research into high performance sports programmes will help our athletes to reach their full potential on the local and international stage,’ said Prime Human Performance Institutes Managing Director, Brendon Goodenough.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

Anthropology Professor Presents Teaching Seminar in Switzerland

Anthropology Professor Presents Teaching Seminar in Switzerland
UKZN’s Professor Maheshvari Naidu outside the United Nations.

Associate Professor of Anthropology at UKZN’s College of Humanities, Professor Maheshvari Naidu, held a postgraduate teaching seminar at the Gender Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre engages in transformative research that questions gendered power relations in development and international relations.

The seminar, which Naidu was invited to present at, was in a Masters level module: “Anthropology and Sociology of Development”.

Subtitled: “Gender, Culture and Power”, the seminar examined how gendered hierarchies intersect with other systems of domination - race, class, age and sexual orientation - and probed the underlying mechanisms of discrimination and exclusion.

The module invited the students to revisit the work of a number of referential social scientists who have theorised the concept of power (Weber, Bourdieu, Durkheim and Foucault) and to reassess the theories from a critical feminist and gender perspective.

Through a number of reflexive exercises, students translated the abstract concepts of gender, culture and power into observable social interactions and lived experiences.

Organised by the core Lecturer of the module, Professor Fenneke Reysoo, the curriculum of the module was aimed at allowing ‘creative and critical class dynamic theoretical thinking’ and to demonstrate how this articulates with everyday empirical evidence in order to ‘think’ transformative actions.

Naidu’s seminar taught how a ‘White and western’ Foucauldian lens could be applied to an African context.

She drew on her early research (Anthropology Southern Africa, 2009, 32) showing how she used ‘White’ and male Foucault to read ‘Black’ female African bodies.

Naidu worked with the Swiss students to show how the ethnographic vignettes in the article allowed a Foucauldian reading to be applied in a non-western and African context.

‘The ethnographic material allowed a glimpse into the materiality of a particular category of African female workers (and their bodies) who have been, in a sense, rendered docile by the disciplinary inscription of what they have to wear as they “produce their labour” as cleaners,’ said Naidu.

Naidu’s seminar “troubled” the potential hegemony and use of classical and so called western notions of culture and power and questioned whether these theories ‘are lost in translation as we attempt to twist them to fit ethnographic realities that are from the global south’.

In keeping with the design of the class, Naidu also worked with exercises and embodiment practices that attempted to further disrupt the power dynamics inherent within the researcher/researched relationship in the context of “doing” work on gender, culture, and power.

The response from the group of Masters students was extremely positive and Naidu said the exchange was engaging and fruitful.

‘It was wonderful engaging with the students, some of whom were from Tonga, Australia, Brazil, India and France. They were extremely receptive in their comments and questions,’ said Naidu.

She also did a public presentation on her recent research at the monthly Gender Seminar Series organised by the Graduate Institute. The Gender Seminar Series was open to the entire faculty and students and broader Geneva intellectual community.

Professor Fenneke Reysoo of the Graduate Institute and the Scientific Director of the Gender Centre, hosted Naidu.

Reysoo has had ties with South African Higher Education Institutions for over a decade. She taught between 2004 and 2013 at the South Africa Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development (SANPAD) Research Capacity Initiative where she was involved in qualitative methodology training workshops.

Through an Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellowship, she was a visiting professor at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in 2015 teaching on Culture and Power to postgraduate students in Political and International Studies.

Reysoo and Naidu will continue their teaching and research relationship and include their postgraduate students within a teaching exchange relationship.


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Number of Disabled People in the World Predicted to Rise

Number of Disabled People in the World Predicted to Rise
UKZN Medical students with visiting United States scientists Dr Judith Holt (left) and Dr Michelle Larsen.

The number of people living with disabilities will rise in future due to improving life expectancy across the world and early and effective treatment of infectious diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) in developing regions.

This is according to Dr Judith Holt of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University in the United States, who presented a lecture at UKZN titled: “Disability and Society: Beyond Treatment”.

Holt and Dr Michelle Larsen of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York were hosted by the UKZN branch of the South African Medical Students Association (SAMSA) which is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA).

Holt’s presentation focused on the societal perceptions of disability and the lack of opportunities for people living with disabilities from the level of policy development to implementation. Highlighted was that the global disability burden is about 15-20%, meaning that a large percentage of patients seen by medical practitioners will have disabilities requiring optimum interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary management.

She predicted that the number of people living with disabilities will further rise in the future due to improving life expectancy across the globe and effective and early treatment of infectious diseases, including HIV and TB in developing countries.

Holt emphasised that the environment was the key mediator in a person’s functional capacity and should be optimised to ensure people living with disabilities function optimally in society.

Larsen’s lecture was titled: “A Journey of TB and HIV Vaccine Development”, which explained the arduous process of pre-clinical research and vaccine development trials using animal models. She said mother-to-child-transmission of HIV by breast-feeding remained a major obstacle in the eradication of HIV infection. ‘Although in South Africa we have seen a remarkable decline in HIV transmission to newborns - down to less than 2% - other countries such as Ethiopia do not share the same success story. Compared to adults, HIV-infected infants have more rapid disease and show higher susceptibility to co-infections such as tuberculosis,’ said Larsen.

‘Although the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can be administered at birth to protect against TB, BCG can disseminate in HIV-infected infants and increase mortality.’

Towards the goal of developing a paediatric combination HIV-TB vaccine to prevent both oral HIV acquisition by breast-feeding and TB infection, Larson’s study tested and optimised an immunisation regimen using a novel live attenuated mycobacterium tuberculosis vaccine engineered to express simian immunodeficiency (SIV) antigens followed by heterologous MVA-SIV boosting in the infant macaque model.

Larson said a single oral dose of the attenuated Mtb-SIV vaccine strain mc26435 during the first week of life was sufficient to induce persistent TB-specific immune responses. Importantly, in addition to plasma SIV-specific IgG and IgA antibodies, infant macaques developed mucosal SIV-specific IgA in saliva and intestinal IgA and IgG.

The President of SAMSA, Mr Kapil Narain, remarked: ‘We appreciate these scientists’ expertise, time and efforts in making the lectures a success. This is certainly a riveting inception for SAMSA 2017!  We seek to generate awareness of HIV and highlight major health concerns in this country. I believe it is imperative for students to be au fait with high levels of academia. Ultimately, I endeavour to do everything within my power to inject a thirst, a passion, and a fervent frenzy for research among Medical students at this University.’

Final year UKZN Medical student, Mr Kumeren Govender, commended Larsen on her lecture saying it was extremely relevant as South Africa has the highest rate of TB and HIV co-infection in the world and is still using a TB vaccine (BCG) nearly a century old! 

‘An efficacious TB and HIV vaccine is the holy grail of cures and it was certainly enlightening to view the progress of various experiments and animal models developed,’ said Govender, who has strong interests in research and has so far published three peer-reviewed articles while at Medical School.

First-year Medical student, Ms Christine Schmidtgen, said it had been an honour and a privilege to host scientists all the way from the United States. ‘Dr Holt illustrated the importance of society in eliminating the stigma surrounding disabled individuals. Disabled people should still be treated with respect and dignity.

‘The talk on disability opened one’s eyes to various legal, social and environmental aspects concerning people living with disabilities in our society.’

Schmidtgen, originally from Germany, said she was finding medicine in South Africa particularly interesting.


author : Kumeren Govender
author email : kumereng@gmail.com

Student Nurses Pamper the Elderly on Human Rights Day

Student Nurses Pamper the Elderly on Human Rights Day
UKZN Nursing Psychiatry Lecturer Ms Charlotte Engelbrecht, Nursing students and members of Hepburn House at the Natal Settlers Memorial Homes in Durban.

Fourth year UKZN Psychiatry Nursing students celebrated 2017 Human Rights Day by hosting a Pamper Day for the elderly at Hepburn House at the Natal Settlers Memorial Homes in Durban.

The students educated the elderly on their Human Rights and interacted with them in group and creative activities such as painting, colouring in, puzzles, ball skills, musical entertainment and dancing.

Each resident received hand and foot massages, manicures and were treated to delicious snacks.

‘For many elderly people, living in a nursing home can be a very emotional and stressful time,’ said student nurse, Ms Halalisile Buthelezi. ‘The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”.’

Buthelezi and four other students - Mr Thabani Dlamini, Ms Olivia Gopaul, Ms Nomzamo Gumede and Ms Leashni Moodley - addressed the elderly and their care givers on the importance of holistic care.

‘The right to health care is about more than the right of access to medicines and doctors – although this is very important,’ said Gopaul. ‘It is also about the duty to ensure that people live in conditions that do not harm their health, but rather promote and fulfil it. This duty to respect the right to health does not lie only with governments but with health care providers as well.’ 

The team believes that holistic care is a model where a care givers’ behaviour recognises a person as a whole and acknowledges biological, social, psychological, and spiritual aspects. ‘Unfortunately, healthcare providers often neglect this model and consider patients’ physical needs only,’ said Moodley.  

Due to lack of holistic care, the students have developed and started implementing the Impilo 360 Project. ‘The project aims to improve and stimulate physical, mental and social health and well-being at Hepburn House through education provided to nursing personnel and the integration of physical and cognitive stimuli in the daily lives of the residents,’ said Gumede.  

‘Living in nursing homes can be very lonely and stressful for many of our senior citizens. However, when appropriate interventions are implemented, these elderly people can enjoy the final chapter of their lives with a sense of dignity and self-esteem, enhancing their quality of life,’ said Dlamini.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

Music Lecturer’s Band Launches Album at Jazz Centre

Music Lecturer’s Band Launches Album at Jazz Centre
UKZN Music Lecturer Dr Sazi Dlamini (far left) and his band, SKOKIANA.

UKZN’s Music Lecturer Dr Sazi Dlamini and his band SKOKIANA launched their highly anticipated album at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) on Wednesday, 29 March.

SKOKIANA performed numbers from the album, composed and arranged by Dlamini and recorded in Durban in 2011.

The CD, titled SKOKIANA, will be available soon online at iTunes, Google Play and other streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify.

SKOKIANA, founded in 1991 as a quartet, plays in the jazz-influenced township tradition. The original members were Dlamini on guitar, the late Leonard Rachabane on tenor saxophone, Bongani Sokhela on bass and Jabu Dube on drums. At the time, they were all Music students at the then University of Natal in Durban.

Over the years, student talent in UKZN’s Music Studies programmes have sustained the longevity of SKOKIANA. At the end of their studies, members invariably depart for Johannesburg’s musical horizons, thus making way for younger players to join.

Said Dlamini: ‘The band has always had UKZN Music students as members – when some graduate, others take their place in the line-up. UKZN alumni who have played for SKOKIANA include Thami Mtshali, Sthembiso Ntuli, Maynard Mabatle, Geoffrey Tracey, Carlos di Stasi, Christopher Mashiane, Nkanyezi Cele, Lebohang Mothabeng, Phiwe Solomon, Mfana Mlambo, Fezile Faku and Dumisani Nxumalo.’

The sessions released in the CD were recorded in June 2011 with the following line-up: Sazi Dlamini (composition, voice, guitar, kalimba, isigubhu and percussion), Sithembiso Ntuli (tenor saxophone), Sakhile Simani (trumpet and fluegelhorn), Sibusiso ‘Bernard’ Mndaweni (bass) and Kgosietsile ‘Paki’ Peloeole (drums and congas).

‘Since its founding, SKOKIANA has always performed live, as a band of variable size – from a trio up to a 17- piece. I hope this is the first of many recordings of an extensive repertoire I have composed specially for this ensemble over the years,’ said Dlamini.


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

The UKZN Griot. Of Whispering and Deconstruction

The UKZN Griot. Of Whispering and Deconstruction

Just past Pinetown on the M13 towards Hillcrest a billboard suggests:  “Try to be the person that your dog thinks you are”.  This got me thinking about the recent ‘species turn’ now belatedly appearing in academic research.  Our dogs put up with their owners, no matter how badly treated.  They pine, they get depressed, and often die when their owners precede them to the happy hunting grounds. In contrast, cats just change allegiance.

The dog’s-eye view of us is not new in academic work, though it has been very sparse until recently. Human-animal relations, the relationship between nature and culture and critical approaches to scrutinise scientific and modernist thinking, have been increasing themes over the years, especially in sensory multispecies ethnography.  Books like Lawrence Anthony’s The Elephant Whisperer, and films like The Horse Whisperer, suggest that we humans are complete anthropocentric amateurs when it comes to communicating with non-human animals.  Imagine the utter frustration of your dog when you fail him?  He can bark, growl, bite and scratch, run around, bang his head, and chew his tail, until his human gets the idea.  Why can’t humans just think like us?

Animals catalyse social interactions, healing and community. Just visit any dog park where their humans think of them as people, rather than brutalising them through lack of care and attention. Bored dogs are indicative of just another back up to your armed response alarm system. The ontological distinction between humans and non-humans is being increasingly questioned in what is called critical animal studies, from anthropology to organisational sciences.  A social justice perspective on human-animal relations tries to contribute to an intellectual argument to take non-human animals more seriously as “co-citizens” in the (organisational) life world. This may have wide ranging implications for the life styles, ranging from the types of food we eat, to liquids we drink, to the ways we think about the human superiority in this world, says Harry Wels of the Free University of Amsterdam.  Is this what our dogs are trying to tell us?

Did we have to wait for French deconstructionist Jaques Derrida to tell us that most if not all European philosophy has been biased and speciesist in its assuming and sticking to the positivist distinction between human and animal?  Remember the Homo Naledi furore, which angered prominent politicos who misunderstand evolution, and who chauvinistically refuse to de-centre humans in the broader scheme of things.  Is this rejection not another form of othering, of apartheid, based on species rather than just race? A new inclusive paradigm is emerging.

In the modern world animals are confined to reserves, cages, hunted, branded, and are bought and sold, just like slaves. Animals are assumed to lack affective capacity – even as our dogs welcome us home, lick us, paw us and lie with us.  Anyone who reads Anthony’s book cannot but be astonished at our dualistic human narrow-mindedness that prevents humans from entering into the metaphysical realms of animals, as crazy as this sounds.  It is only crazy because contemporary conventional science has no way to explain it, to verify it, or to mathematise it.  Also, many who proselytise such encounters are probably a little dotty. But, then, crazy is a relative term, culturally specific and neurologically indeterminate.  Hearing ‘voices’ may be diagnosed as schizophrenia by modern psychiatry, but as the ancestors or ghosts speaking by subjects of different ontological frameworks. 

This inversion of relationships with non-human animals could not be more urgent in the light of current global debates concerning the increasing rapidity of what is known as the sixth mass extinction that started with the spread of mankind 80 000 years ago and which reached a tipping point in 2016. Natural causes are not the sole explanation this time. Solutions that address the natural deficit by working with the ‘species turn’ by anthropology and organisational studies especially, is way overdue.  As the planet faces catastrophe, new paradigms are emerging, but can they travel sufficiently fast and get accepted quick enough by scientists and politicians to make a difference? These include the proposal that it may be fruitful to treat non-human animals as actual agentic stakeholders in research and analysis. How does one request consent from animals if one is not a qualified whisperer?

How would our pets (or wild animals) qualify us? Now, there’s a conundrum. Just read Anthony’s or Ian Player’s books for a new paradigm. Problem is, there are no university courses in ‘whispering’, so only those in the know know.  But there is hope.  Horses are now being used by their whisperers to teach management communication [1]. Correspondence courses are springing up everywhere. All the while horses continue to be mistreated well into the Enlightenment [2].

While the bodies of knowledge and associated bodies of practice relating to multi-species ethnographies are relatively new in the Western academic enterprise, they have of course a long history amongst indigenous people who relied on their knowledge of the environment and fauna and flora, the seasons, climate, and astronomy, for their survival and livelihoods.  But positivist science delayed the development of this intuitive knowledge in the industrial academy, to the detriment of non-human species and the environment in general. Even so, once hunting communities adopted western weapons, the environment often paid the inevitable price.

The topic is ‘hot’, says my Bayreuth University colleague, Vanessa Wijngaarden. This is due to recent developments concerning animal communicators in South Africa and beyond, but also due to the theoretical discussions in the wider social sciences.

Is there a reason why “pet” and “pest” are so similar in their spelling?  Are we humans not the pests? After all, we’ve destroyed nearly all original habitats of undomesticated animals and shot and sold most of the rest.   We have denied animals consciousness-awareness-just-like-us, as Stephen Hawking and others have acknowledged [3].

Us humans really need to listen to animals more. Wels calls this “whispering empathy”.

1.Read more at:

http://www.festo-didactic.co.uk/gb-en/open-courses/all-open-courses-dates/people/management/horse-whispering-leadership-lessons-in-coaching.htm

2.See Avaaz, Stop the Pregnant Horse Trade

https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/horse_blood_loc/?tOJDIab&v=500274238&cl=11597066168&_checksum=8a9a26b14375df54d6bb5e0709cb2c896cc258924ecfedeff7e6104826

3.       http://io9.com/5937356/

* Keyan G Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor, University of Johannesburg and a Professor Emeritus at UKZN. He once rode horses and likes cats.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.

author : Keyan Tomaselli
author email : TOMASELL@ukzn.ac.za