Theatre Workshop Enlightens Health Sciences Staff

Theatre Workshop Enlightens Health Sciences Staff
Workshop participants feeling energised after the theatrical performance.

Newly-appointed Principal Programme Officer in the School of Health Sciences, Ms Xolile Kunene, recently hosted a dynamic, interactive, team effectiveness event aimed at building a stronger, more compatible unit. 

Participants included Academic Development Officers, Postgraduate Officers, Clinical Placement Officers and Teaching Administrators. These Professional Services staff, based on the Westville campus, play a vital role in ensuring the successful running of the School. 

Specialists in Organisational Development and Soft Skills Training, Vision in Motion, successfully facilitated the theatre workshop, highlighting challenges and possible solutions as mentioned by the team. 

Participants enjoyed the day which provided an excellent opportunity for colleagues to get to know each other better outside the work environment.  

Comments from participants included, ‘We thoroughly enjoyed the role playing as it gives perspective to how other members feel. To be understanding and accommodate diversity and have respect for everyone, irrespective of their position is a huge learning curve. We will certainly implement many of the suggestions in our team.’

author : MaryAnn Francis
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Agricultural Economics Students Shine at Agbiz Congress

Agricultural Economics Students Shine at Agbiz Congress
The winning team: Mr Njabulo Nkosi of UKZN, Mr Luan van der Walt, Ms Carmen van Niekerk and Ms Frieda Scheepers.

One of the three Masters students from the Discipline of Agricultural Economics in UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences who took part in the Student Case Competition at the annual Agbiz Congress was a member of the winning team. 

The students were Mr Njabulo Nkosi (sponsored by Syngenta), Ms Pilela Majokweni (sponsored by FNB) and Ms Nonthando Buthelezi (sponsored by Signa), with Nkosi participating in the winning team.  

Students from several universities across the country were represented including North-West University, the University of the Free State, the University of Fort Hare, the University of Pretoria and the University of Stellenbosch. 

The Student Case Competition involved 16 students, grouped into groups of four, who were required to develop a business plan for a small, medium, and micro enterprise (SMME), in this case, De Fynne Nursery, which sells indigenous plants. 

Within five hours, the teams had to develop a plan that combatted expansion challenges threatening the nursery’s growth potential. Teams presented their strategies and recommendations to a panel of judges consisting of industry executives and leaders.  

Nkosi’s team used their diverse skill sets to their credit, winning the competition. Nkosi was responsible for marketing, advertising and branding within the business plan. 

‘The Congress was a really great experience,’ said Nkosi. ‘It brought together the industry’s most influential leaders and it was an honour to get a glimpse of the direction that the industry is going, with different sectors coming together to plan for the future. It was also a great platform for the students to identify which sector they fit in.’ 

Nkosi and his classmates enjoyed the experience of being exposed to a new perspective of the industry, which they believe will contribute to their future careers. 

Nkosi is investigating links between food security, climate change and the food market value chain in his masters, while Majokweni is assessing the impact of institutional support on smallholder productivity in Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, and Buthelezi is exploring the costs and benefits analysis of investments in environmental infrastructure.

author : Christine Cuénod
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UKZN Researchers find Patients Satisfied with HIV Disease Management Programmes

UKZN Researchers find Patients Satisfied with HIV Disease Management Programmes
Dr Vinor Reddy.

Medical Schemes’ Disease Management Programmes (DMPs) and Designated Service Providers (DSPs) produced satisfactory results for medication delivery and adherence to HIV treatment, a study supervised by UKZN’s Public Health Specialist/Lecturer, Dr Ozayr Mahomed, revealed.

Titled: “Patient Experiences with Designated Service Provider Medication Delivery in a Rural General Practice in KwaZulu-Natal: a Cross-Sectional Study on HIV Patients”, the research aimed to assess the process of DSP pharmacy medication delivery, patient satisfaction and adherence to HIV treatment, whilst receiving medication through a DSP at a family practice.

The study was conducted by Dr Vinor Reddy a General Practitioner in Tongaat as part of his research for his Masters of Medical Science degree.

The study was conducted between January and June 2013 within the designated family practice amongst all HIV patients who were receiving antiretroviral treatment provided by healthcare funders via DSP agreements (Medipost and Direct Medicines). Data were collected using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire as well as a record review tool.

The research found that 77% of patients received their antiretroviral medication deliveries on time, 88% received a reminder before delivery and 77% received correct medications.

It also found that short messaging services (SMS) were the most popular method used to inform patients of an impending medicine delivery with 85% of all respondents reporting they received SMS messages. Some 70% of the patients rated their satisfaction with DSP medication delivery between good and excellent while the remainder rated the service as satisfactory to poor.

‘In 2006, there were over 17 DMPs providing antiretrovirals to patients with five  major players - Aids for Aids (36%), Lifesense (15%), Discovery (11%), Arum Health (11%), and Qualsa (11%) - accounting for the majority of the patients,’ Mohamed said.

The programme consisted of two components - Health Education and Promotion and Therapeutic - which addressed the cost effective treatment of the patients using relevant guidelines and the delivery of patient medication using DSPs.

According to Mohamed, DSP pharmacy services are increasingly being used by medical schemes to provide ART to patients. ‘Successful HIV management is dependent on near perfect adherence to ART, which is in turn dependant on a reliable supply of antiretroviral medications.  With this in mind, the DSPs have employed medical advisors for making treatment recommendations and authorising of appropriate treatment.’

He said case managers provide support and counselling for the individuals in their care and ensure that the patient prescription is forwarded to the drug distributor. ‘In addition, the case manager ensures that the patient receives the monthly supply of medication and establishes monthly contact to counsel the patient and monitor the correct use of the dispensed drugs.’

‘Our study found general satisfaction with the DSP delivery of ART medication. This may be in part due to the higher level of education among participants in the survey. However, it is important that DSP is not considered as a substitute for consulting the doctor and any inefficiency within the system is eliminated as not to compromise the treatment of the patient.’

Mohammed said although the study had been done in the private sector, it had important considerations for the public sector with the implementation of the National Health Insurance and the Chronic Care Medication Dispensing Programme.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : Nombuso Dlamini

Building Teams Through Effective Communication

Building Teams Through Effective Communication
School of Health Sciences drumming team.

Professional Services staff at the School of Health Sciences held a team building workshop at the UNITE building on the Howard College campus designed to evoke and mend communication skills, leadership, trust, and healthy relationships among staff.

Vision in Motion, a Durban-based organisation specialising in team effectiveness interventions, facilitated the event.

Staff were divided into two teams - Team Light and Team Zebra – which competed in mind stretching games such as match puzzles, memory game, human mind sweeper, and toxic containment. These activities required all the participants to activate proper planning and good strategies.

Both teams were committed and there was a high level of competition.

Team-Builder and Strategic Invention Mr Rodney Frank, said unlike other formal team building workshops, ‘our workshop sessions are structured on playful and ice-breaking activities which assist in identifying the essential requirements needed for a team to work effectively. We bring out mind building games and unique activities that simulate real life tasks and good learning outcomes.’

The last session of the workshop included collaborative drumming assisted by Mr Mbongeni Gcwensa, an interactive drumming facilitator. During the drumming session, the team worked together jamming in the sounds of Djembe drums. According to Frank, the purpose of collective drumming is to build unity and togetherness among staff.

After the workshop, Mr Bongani Maphumulo, a Senior Technician in the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, said critical thinking, different ideas as well as new approaches were necessary for a team to function properly.

Said Frank: ‘The teams worked really well and there was positive energy, and interactiveness. However, better communication needs to be applied in the future as well proper strategising,’

author : Lindokuhle Mavuso
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UKZN Dance Theatre Received Standing Ovations in Grahamstown

UKZN Dance Theatre Received Standing Ovations in Grahamstown
Ms Lliane Loots.

“Days like these” - the work of Dance Lecturer in the Drama and Performance Studies Programme on the Howard College campus, Ms Lliane Loots - received standing ovations at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Delighted by the response, Loots said it was ‘a great affirmation that what the FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY and I are doing speaks to a type of zeitgeist in art making nationally’.

Loots also participated in the Festival THINKFEST 2016 programme and delivered a paper in a panel discussion on: “Empowering Women as Cultural Leaders in Africa”.

The panel was hosted by Arterial Network’s gender, arts and community desk and Loots presented alongside NAF’s 2016 featured Director and Playwright, Lara Foot; the NAF Standard Bank Young Artist 2016 winner for theatre, Jade Bowers, and Artists and Art Curator, Earnestine White.

The panel asked the various speakers to use their own ethnographic life stories as case studies of South African women working, researching and making art in the cultural sector.

Loots began her paper with an engagement of what it means to be a feminist art maker in Africa and asked, to much audience applause and laughter, why it is that well behaved women rarely make history?

Loots examined the intersection of race, class and gender in leadership in the arts and spoke about the power of mentorship as a feminist strategy for Africa. Alongside this, White picked up the discussions around race and gender relating to her own history as one of South Africa’s only Black female art curators. Foot, author of plays such as “Tshepang – the Third Testament” and “Karoo Moose”, spoke painfully and passionately about how to deconstruct white privilege so that African arts can begin to promote female leadership.

The panel discussion attracted a large audience and the question and answer section involved lively and engaged debate.

The focus of this year’s NAF Festival was specifically on women artists and the panel offered another way for festival goers to engage gender and the arts.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Biochemistry Students Excel at National Congress

Biochemistry Students Excel at National Congress
UKZN prize winners (from left) Ms Shandre Pillay, Mr Shaun Khumalo, and Ms Saffiya Habib.

Three students from the Discipline of Biochemistry on the Westville campus won top awards at the recent South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Congress in East London.  

At the final gala dinner, Ms Shandre Pillay, an MSc student supervised by Dr Mogie Singh, won the first prize in the Biotechnology category, with colleague, Mr Shaun Khumalo (supervised by Dr Karen Pillay and Dr Patrick Govender) placed third. 

The night was not over for the Biochemists, as Ms Saffiya Habib, a PhD student (supervised by Dr Mogie Singh and Professor Mario Ariatti) scooped third prize in the highly competitive Non-Communicable disease category. 

Pillay said the award was a pleasant surprise and thanked her supervisor for her guidance and colleagues from the Non-Viral Gene and Drug Delivery Laboratory for their support and motivation. She will complete her master’s degree this year and intends to continue this research towards a PhD study next year. 

Singh said she was extremely proud of her two students who competed against some of the best in South Africa. The audience included leading minds in the field of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from universities throughout South Africa. She added it was evident that postgraduate research at UKZN was among the best in the country. 

author : UKZNDabaOnline
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Abasebenzi base-UKZN basize Abadala Ngosuku LukaMandela

Abasebenzi base-UKZN basize Abadala Ngosuku LukaMandela
Abasebenzi Base-SCM.

Click here for the English version

Abasebenzi baseSikoleni Sezokwelapha bathole isitifiketi sokubabonga abasinikwe yikhaya i-Aryan Benevolent Home (ABH) Clayton Gardens for the Aged emva kokubamba iqhaza emkhankasweni wokulungiswa kwekhaya labadala e-Asherville eThekwini ngosuku lukaMandela.

Abasebenzi bachithe usuku lwabo lukaMandela bependa amakotishi angama-46 ahlala abadala abaphila ngempesheni.

Abasebenzi base-UKZN bebemenywe uDkt Serela Ramklass, onguSihlalo webhodi yalelikhaya nomsebenzi esikoleni i-SCM ukuba babambe iqhaza kulo msebenzi.

Bapende amakotishi amabili besebenzisana namanya amavolontiya ase-UKZN, izikhungo zezempilo, uMasipala weTheku, abasemkhakheni wezokungcebeleka, nabasemabhange.

Ugogo obebonakala ejabule uMrs Sonia (80) uthe uwuthokozele kakhulu lo msebenzi kanye nokuvakasha. ‘Ngijabule kakhulu ukuthi senisenzele umsebenzi omkhulu kangaka,’ usho kanje. Uthembise ukuthi uzotshela amadodana akhe amabili ngokufika kwe-UKZN.

‘Umzamo nomfutho okhonjiswe yiqembu lamavolontiya ase-SCM kulethe  ukumamatheka kwabahlala kuleli khaya njengoba bebebukele indawo abahlala kuyo ithole impilo entsha nokuqhakaza,’ kusho uRamklass.

U-Ramklass ubonge bonke abebevolontiyile kulo msebenzi waphinde wazwakalisa ukuncoma iqhaza abalibambile ekuthuthukisweni kwaleli khaya. Unikezele ngesitifiketi sokubonga i-Thank You for Responding to our Request for Assistance’ kwabebevolontiyile ebonga endaweni yoMkhandle wase-ABH.

Umphathi we-SCM uNkk Antoinette Botha, uthe uyaziqhenya ngabasebenzi ngokukhumbula uMadiba ngokuvolontiya.

Uma umsebenzi wosuku usuphothuliwe, umholi weqembu uNkk Sagree Pillay waklomelisa uNkz Salome Pillay ngenxa yekhono lakhe lokupenda, noNkz Nomfundo Msomi ngokusebenza ngokuzinikela kanye noNkz Phakama Jika ngokusebenza ngokuzimisela nangokuthula. Umklomelo wokunandisa wona unikezelwe kuNkz Thuli Shezi 

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Growing Research in Economics a Priority for the Macroeconomics Working Group

Growing Research in Economics a Priority for the Macroeconomics Working Group
Macroeconomics Working Group members delivering their presentations at the MBALI Conference.

Eleven members of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s (SAEF) Macroeconomics Working Group (MWG) presented their research at the University of Zululand’s Management, Business, Administration and Legal Initiatives (MBALI) International Conference.

The group of economists comprised academic staff and postgraduate students whose mission is to advance and develop research in the field.

PhD candidates, Mr Adebayo Kutu, Mr Sebuhuzu Gisanabagabo, Ms Lenhle Dlamini and Mr Gbenga Akinola spoke on monetary and economic policy.

“Monetary Policy Shocks and Industrial Sector Performance in South Africa”, was the title of Kutu’s paper, while Gisanabagabo spoke on: “Financial Intermediation and Economic Growth: Evidence from Rwanda” and Akinola on: “Determinants of Higher Education in Nigeria”.

Development Lecturers, Mr Ayanda Meyiwa, Mr Ntokozo Nzimande, Mr Simiso Msomi and Ms Rethabile Nhlapo presented on pricing strategies and purchasing power.

Meyiwa’s paper was titled: “TNPA’s Current Pricing Strategy: The Present Case for Corporatisation”; while Nzimande presented the “Validity of Purchasing Power Parity: Evidence from Energy Exporting Sub-Saharan Africa Countries”, and Nhlapo on “Capital Structure Adjustment and Asymmetries: Evidence Using South African Firms”.

Lecturers, Dr Harold Ngalawa, Mr Chris Tipoy and Ms Nezeka Damoyi presented on capital structure and human capital.

Ngalawa’s paper was titled: “Banking Instability and Deposit Insurance: The Role of Moral Hazard”; while Tipoy spoke on: “Capital Structure adjustment and Asymmetries: Evidence using South African Firms”, and Damoyi on: “The Relationship between Human Capital and Firm Size in South Africa”.

Ngalawa, the founder of the group, said the initiative was part of the team’s long-term objective of developing Macroeconomics as one of the niche research areas of UKZN in general and SAEF in particular.

MWG aims at building capacity in advanced techniques of solving macroeconomics problems and carrying out pioneering macroeconomics research. Members of the group regularly present their research at international academic conferences and publish their work in leading journals. 'In 2016 alone, work from the group has been presented at conferences in Turkey, France, China and the United States of America,’ he said.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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Making a Difference on Mandela Day

Making a Difference on Mandela Day
In celebration of Mandela Day, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld and Professor Anesh Singh were on hand to distribute bunny chows to members of the Cato Manor Informal Settlement in Durban.

As part of its contribution to ‘67 minutes of doing something for the community’ on Mandela Day, the UKZN Foundation, the  Alumni office and the UKZN Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, joined hands - and hearts - to make a difference to 150 lives in the Cato Manor Informal Settlement near UKZN’s Howard College campus.

The team handed out 150 bunny chows and cool drinks to local residents.

According to the Director of University Relations, Ms Normah Zondo, this event was an enjoyable and heart-warming experience.

‘Mandela inspired the nation and the world so we wanted to make a difference in our local community by providing a warm meal to the less fortunate in one of the neighbouring informal settlements,’ said van Jaarsveld.

Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, Professor Anesh Singh, said: ‘It was our way of making a small difference to  the lives of 150 people by giving back to the less privileged, many of whom had probably not had a meal that day.’

author : UKZNDabaOnline
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UKZN Player Makes Netball “Dream Team”

UKZN Player Makes Netball  “Dream Team”
Ms Sanelisiwe Kubeka.

Ms Sanelisiwe Mandisa Kubeka (21), a third year Bachelor of Science student on the Pietermaritzburg campus, has been selected for a “dream team” following her participation in the USSA tournament in Cape Town as part of the UKZN netball side.

Kubeka’s netball journey started in primary school and continued after she enrolled at UKZN.

In high school she was selected to represent the KwaZulu-Natal team at the Netball Schools Tournament and went on to be chosen for KZN at the National Championships at both U-19 and U-21 levels.

She also participated in action netball, a more fast-paced version of outdoor netball, where she was selected for the U-18 team that won gold at the KZN action netball tournament.

This year she participated in the provincial action netball tournament where she played for the U-23 mixed team which won silver in two categories.

She was then chosen to represent UKZN at the USSA tournament where she was selected for the “dream-team”, meaning she was in the Top 7 out of 120 players in the B-pool.

Asked how she felt about the achievement, she said: ‘I feel that it’s one step closer to where I want to be in the sport. I’m really grateful to my coaches, they showed immense trust in me throughout the tournament, which in turn boosted my confidence.

‘The more recognition you receive from selectors, judges and scouts, the more grounded you need to be.’

She was happy UKZN hockey was being promoted into the Varsity Cup League which was another development in the university becoming known as an academic and sports institution. She hoped more attention would now be given to other sports codes because previously certain sports received more attention and support than others.

The Pietermaritzburg Campus Netball Committee congratulates Kubeka on her achievement and hopes this is the first of many more!

author : Mpho Radebe
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UKZN Lightens the Lives of the Aged

UKZN staff and students paint cottages for Mandela Day.

In the spirit of Mandela Day, representatives of UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division renovated cottages at the Aryan Benevolent Home’s (ABH) Clayton Gardens Home for the Aged in Sydenham, Durban.

The ABH Council provides preventative and institutional services for the benefit of the aged, disabled, and children in need of social, therapeutic, and developmental care.

The team helped renovate the exterior walls of the cottages with chores for the day including scrapping off old paint, filling in cracks and painting.

Resident at the home, Mr Rajcoomar Sewjugath said what the University had done was wonderful. ‘Thank you for helping us, we really appreciate it. The facelift marks a new future for all of us.’

Sewjugath said he and his wife, who have been at the home for more than 10 years, enjoyed doing their gardening.

Staff from CAPRISA, the School of Clinical Medicine, individual staff members and students also helped with the renovations.

Third-year students Ms Aadila Moola and Ms Ayesha Bobat said they were both grateful for the opportunity to be part of the initiative. 

author : Sithembile Shabangu
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UKZN Residence Life attends Green Campus Initiative Conference

UKZN Residence Life attends Green Campus Initiative Conference
UKZN residence students modelling recyclable material at the fashion show at the University of the Western Cape.

UKZN’s Residence Life section took part in the 5th annual Green Campus Initiative Conference, held at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.  

The Conference attracted 15 universities and colleges which showcased various green initiatives and ideas of how they contribute to a carbon free footprint on their respective campuses. 

It also opened up a platform to engage in dialogue and discussion on various challenges faced by institutions of higher learning in respect of funding and implementing a green campus. 

Residence Life Co-ordinators Mr Julian King and Mr Thabani Chagi headed the UKZN delegation, taking part in the institutional exhibition and fashion show at the conference. 

Chagi said following the success of the conference, more needed to be done at UKZN to fund the Green Campus Initiative to ensure student participation was maximised and developed. ‘Both senior and executive management guidance and support is vital if we are to move UKZN to achieve its goal of creating greener campuses,’ said King.   

Next year UKZN will compete against other universities and colleges for the award of 2017 Best Greening Campus.  

author : Julian Sandreigh King
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Edgewood Residence Life Tackled Mandela Day Challenge

Edgewood Residence Life Tackled Mandela Day Challenge
UKZN postgraduate students and Residence staff with founder and CEO, Dawn Leppan, of the 1000 Hills Community Helpers Centre in Inchanga.

The Department of Student Residence Affairs on UKZN’s Edgewood campus recently hosted a fun-filled and educational day at the 1000 Hills Community Helpers Centre in Inchanga to commemorate Mandela Day.

The UKZN delegation of 30, included both postgraduate students and residence staff.

About 160 children attended the fun day which included song, dance, poetry and painting. The 70 volunteers at the Centre got involved in a Mandela quiz and were treated to a braai in appreciation of their continued support for the Centre and the more than 500 children they look after on a daily basis. 

The UKZN delegation handed over a donation of much needed items from the centre’s wish submitted prior the day.

The home welcomed this support and hopes for continued support from UKZN in coming years.  

author : Julian Sandreigh King
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The UKZN Griot. Of Visas and Trauma

The UKZN Griot.  Of Visas and Trauma


Many of my colleagues gabble on about globalisation.  American and TV dramas show their characters jetting off across the world without the need for visas, queuing for visas, being sent off by embassy officials to get yet more documentation, returning to stand in yet more lengthy queues, getting again yelled at by stressed embassy officials, and paying extortionate rates for the application.

Then waiting for three weeks for their passports to be processed.

Sometimes securing a visa can take multiple hours of form filling, and stupidly, the requirement by many that applicants turn up personally as embassies for biometric surveillance and proof of existence.  Apart from Australia, which does the process electronically without even holding one’s passport, the rest of the world remains in the dark ages.  Actually, it’s the age of modernity that is the problem as the dark ages never required anyone to have passports, to get permission from their employers to travel, did not insist on travel insurance and return tickets, bank statements or proof of financial probity.

Attila the Hun had nothing on an Italian Embassy official I had to endure in Washington DC in 1990 when I was returning from a sabbatical.  I was inquiring about a day pass on a stop-over in Rome. Followed by two minions, she ranted and raved at all the folks in the waiting room, demanding to know why they wanted to visit Italy.  She threw out most of us – especially those who seemed to be North African.  When I got to Rome, on applying for a day visa, I was interrogated by a police officer on why I could not speak fluent Italian.  Sounds like home!

I have previously commented on my experience with the Norwegian Embassy [1].  Now, South Africa has surpassed this insanity with its own.  It’s tit for tat.  That’s what the prominent notice states in the Russian Embassy in Pretoria.  We treat South Africa in the same way they treat us.  With contempt. One would think that the BRICS countries would ease up on the humiliating visa ritual.  

But Ruth and I did have a wonderful 40 minute conversation with Ahmed Bawa on the pavement while we waited for the Russian Embassy gates to open.  We talked about fallism, insourcing and associated high costs and that fact that Brazil no longer requires visas from us.  Something positive has thus fallen. Inside in the Embassy, we all had to deal with polite and sometimes seemingly impolite officials who were mystified why the documentation our respective hosts had sent them could not be found.  Mentions were made of telex reference numbers (remember that technology?), emails taking three days to arrive, etc.  One Russian official was exceedingly polite, while the other barked, yelled and commanded all the while gesticulating wildly.  He was not being rude, that’s perhaps the stereotypical Russian way.  Or, maybe he’s watched too many Hollywood movies with Russian characters?

Getting a UK visa is worse, even if the agents bristle with barely concealed polite officiousness.  The last time I went to get a visa the new agent was in Overport.  It did not start well.  My appointment for an ‘interview’ was 11am.  At 10.30am, I got a call from someone who told me that she had found my passport pack on a ledge at the centre.   Having recovered from my astonishment, I asked her to take them to my visa agent on the 5fth floor who had lost them in the first place.  When I arrived, the building was under reconstruction and I could not find the lifts.  Having finally been taken there by a guard, I walked slap bang out of the lift into throngs of people all milling about in the corridor, waiting for their 9am interviews at the British Consulate.

I struggled through this mass and found the visa agent, who was unrepentant on losing my documents.  I then scrummed my way into the Consulate’s visa agent offices, where, in front of everyone (standing, seated, muttering) I declared that I was there for my 11am appointment.  I was told by the officials to get to the back of the queue that snaked along the outside corridor back to the lifts.  My response was to offer a short tutorial on Britishness and punctuality - theirs.  This raised applause from inside the seated massed would-be travelers, and their muttering got louder, especially when I queried their extortionate fee from the country that made the Empire rich during colonial times. 

Fearing the beginnings of a riot, I was whisked away into a booth, finger-printed, eye-printed and printed in every which way.  I then gave another tutorial on the unfairness of queue-jumping, and was whisked out lest the applause develop into a full-blown riot.  My subsequent entry on the Consulate agent’s website inviting customer experience did not even merit an acknowledgement.   So much for British efficiency, fair-play and level playing grounds.

The Ethiopians have the right idea.  They mix extortion with efficiency and pragmatism.  Unlike Home Affairs that has been known to jail incoming billionaire investors because they did not have sufficient blank pages (sic), the Ethiopians herd visa-seekers  into a room on disembarkation:  i)  show you passport here, ii) they stick the visa into the passport over a previous one if no blank pages iii)  pay your US dollars at the next station, iv) exit to the passport officer, then v) to baggage claim, then vi) scanning, and then exit.  Then, if you are in luck, get mobbed by a 100 screaming taxi drivers all desperate for your fare.  And, don’t even think of finding a taxi that is even minimally roadworthy.  The whole process takes less than an hour.

Some African countries are indeed very efficient.

·    Keyan G Tomaselli is UKZN Professor Emeritus and Sometime Fellow.  For the rest of his time he is writing war stories about visa applications.

1. Of Visas and Travels.

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


author : Keyan G Tomaselli
author email :

PhD Student Awarded 2016 Victor Nell-SACNA Endowment

PhD Student Awarded 2016 Victor Nell-SACNA Endowment
Ms Adele Munsami, who was awarded the 2016 Victor Nell-SACNA Endowment.

A PhD student in Psychiatry under the auspices of CAPRISA, Ms Adele Munsami, is the 2016 recipient of the Victor Nell-SACNA Endowment for the Study of Neuropsychology in South Africa.

This endowment is a one-time bi-annual grant aimed at providing financial assistance in support of postgraduate studies towards a qualification in Psychology.

Munsami, who also holds a Masters in Research Psychology (cum laude) from the College of Humanities says she is grateful to the SA Clinical Neuropsychological Association (SACNA) for recognising her research and acknowledging her potential to make a special contribution to the area of neuropsychology in South Africa, a relatively new and challenging frontier in addressing the HIV pandemic in the country.

‘This award creates an opportunity for me to develop locally relevant and culture specific neuropsychiatric tools that can be used in a South African health care setting. This award is especially humbling as it aims to honour the work of Professor Victor Nell by building capacity in the field of cross-cultural neuropsychology in South Africa.

‘I am especially grateful to have the opportunity to interact with some of the leading minds in this field and to develop under these auspices as an early career scientist. This award marks the beginning of a challenging but extremely rewarding road ahead and will serve as my motivation to strive for and achieve excellence in my contribution to the field,’ she said.

The Endowment will be used as a seed fund to adapt and contextualise a cognitive reserve and health literacy uptake of psychometric tools that will be translated into isiZulu, and used in a South African setting.

It will allow suitable neurocognitive tests to be contextualised and used in this setting as well as broaden the neuropsychological knowledge base within the context of HIV and AIDS in South Africa. This will subsequently assist in tailoring successful and sustainable prevention and treatment programmes.

Munsami is currently a Study Co-ordinator in the Advanced Clinical Care Programme (ACC) at CAPRISA, which aims to establish regional health centres and high level capabilities for advanced management of patients with HIV and AIDS, TB and drug resistant TB, in all districts in KwaZulu-Natal and the North West Province.

‘I currently oversee monitoring and evaluation of activities in the ACC. In addition, I am also a co-investigator on a file review currently being conducted in KwaZulu-Natal and am actively involved in data management and analysis using statistical analysis software, to produce outputs of study related data.

‘I also assist with the training and mentorship of intern psychologists at CAPRISA.’

Her qualifications include: Bachelor of Social Science – UKZN; Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Research Psychology – UNISA, and Masters of Social Science – Research Psychology (cum laude) – UKZN.

She is currently a Doctoral candidate under the College of Health Sciences’ School of Clinical Medicine Discipline of Psychiatry under the auspices of CAPRISA.

She is supervised by Professor Jonathan Burns from UKZN’s Psychiatry Department and Professor John Joska of UCT’s Division of Neuropsychiatry and the Mental Health Research Unit.

Accolades include the 2014 Columbia University-Southern African Fogarty AITRP Traineeship (CU-SA Fogarty AITRP) (CAPRISA Fellowship) and in 2015 she graduated with Masters of Social Science (Research Psychology) – cum laude.

Melissa Mungroo

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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College of Humanities hosts Workshop on Bilingual Teaching

College of Humanities hosts Workshop on Bilingual Teaching
Tutors at the bilingual workshop.

The College of Humanities recently hosted an exciting workshop on bilingual teaching, organised by the School of Applied Human Sciences under the leadership of Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize.

 The workshop was facilitated by the College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa, isiZulu Lecturer in the School of Arts, Dr Gugulethu Mazibuko, and the Co-ordinator of Academic Monitoring and Support on the Howard College campus, Ms Zanele Hlophe.

Hlongwa believes the workshop was relevant because of the University’s bilingual language policy. ‘Tutors from the School of Applied Human Sciences were taught about the goals of tutoring and the roles and responsibilities of the tutor and the importance of bilingual teaching, which enhances student performance. The workshop was conducted in isiZulu and English.’

Tutors were introduced to approaches such as translanguaging, which is where information is received in one language and then used in another language. Tutors learned about the importance of terminology development, translation and interpreting in preparation for bilingual teaching.

‘This is important because for tutors to be able to conduct bilingual tutorials they need to have terminology available in isiZulu for that specific field. Translation can be done before the tutorial as well as during the tutorial,’ said Mazibuko.

Code switching was introduced to the tutors as a way of mixing two or more languages during the tutorial. They were taught about the resources that are important in a bilingual class which include, bilingual term lists, bilingual glossaries and bilingual dictionaries.

Tutors were then given practical work and training on bilingual teaching and assessments. ‘This was crucial as sometimes teaching can take place in the two languages but if assessment is in only one language, it defeats the purpose for bilingual teaching,’ said Hlongwa.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Visual Arts Student Wins Standard Bank Ovation Award

Visual Arts Student Wins Standard Bank Ovation Award
Ms Kristin NG-Yang’s work BIRD/FISH.

PhD student Ms Kristin NG-Yang of the Centre for Visual Art (CVA), who had a successful solo exhibition at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, won the coveted Standard Bank Ovation Award for her work BIRD/FISH.

The award is given for artistic innovation, excellence, the exploration of new performance styles and the courage to open new conversation through the arts.

NG-Yang’s work was the only art exhibition selected by a jury of critics, journalists and theatre makers at the National Lottery Fringe at the Festival.

The inspiration for her work BIRD/FISH was from a Chinese musical composition and legend in which a bird becomes captivated by a fish. The theme is deployed metaphorically - the suspended fish/birds painted on plexiglass, allude to that which is elusive - to disparate realms and difference. The work also reflects on flawed perceptions of racial and cultural homogeneity, and on tainted histories of former encounters and power relations, then and now.

According to reviewer, Mr David Fick, the drawings and watercolour prints comprise a series of shadow-like figures. Some are reminiscent of dancing figures, fish and birds while others are abstract shapes that seem to disappear into the paper on which they are drawn or printed.

NG-Yang thanked the School of Arts and the CVA for their support for the BIRD/FISH installation at the National Arts Festival. ‘We have received two very good reviews and are thrilled that we won this award from the Festival conveners for best Fringe exhibition. We are delighted and had good audience attendance and excellent support from both local and international visitors.’

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Jazz Drum Showcase at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

Jazz Drum Showcase at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music
UKZN Drum Lecturer Bruce Baker.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music presented the Jazz Drum Showcase - featuring first to third year students and a few alumni who are prominent faces on the Durban and South African music scene - from 18h00 on July 27.

Drummers played putting their instruments in the forefront and also performed drum solo compositions of icons such as Max Roach and Tony Williams.

Some of the pieces were from the students’ exam repertoire ranging in style from Bebop to Big Band to Contemporary Fusion. Other items were the students own ideas and compositions.

The drums mostly occupy a rear-guard role, in that they provided the timing, groove, feel, and dynamics of the band.

The showcase offered an opportunity to see, hear and feel drums in a more upfront role and gave context to the many skills a modern drummer needs.

This concert is a part of a series of instrumental showcases planned over the course of the year.

*The Centre for Jazz and Popular music (CJPM) is on Level 2 of the Shepstone Building on Durban’s Howard College campus.

Phone Thuli on 031 260 3385 or email for more details

author : Melissa Mungroo
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New Home, New Life, New Hope!

New Home, New Life, New Hope!
The Africa Centre Facilities Team behind renovations and building a kitchen at the home of the Mcambi family.

The Africa Centre for Population Health celebrated Mandela Day by responding to a request to improve the home and living conditions of 63-year-old Mrs Gogo Bongisiwe Mcambi of Machibini near Mtubatuba.

After assessing the very difficult life circumstances of Mcambi, who supports her four grandchildren and her disabled son using her old age grant, the Facilities Team at the Africa Centre decided to pledge more than just 67 minutes!  Instead they renovated two houses belonging to the family and built them a kitchen.

 After three days of wall plastering, floor tiling, and window repairing the homestead took on a totally new look.

The Mcambis now have a home they can be proud of.

Donations from Africa Centre staff included beds, bedding, a fridge, furniture, toys, clothing, and groceries, among other items.

‘We couldn’t just turn a blind eye - even with the limited resources we have, we knew something could be done to bring a smile to the faces of this wonderful rural family,’ said Facilities Manager at the Africa Centre, Ms Rene Stroebel.

‘I am lost for words,’ said Mcambi. ‘The Africa Centre has drastically improved my life. I now have a comfortable home and new furniture. My grandchildren now have enough to eat.’

The Community Engagement Unit (CEU) which organised the Mandela Day initiative was pleased with the outcome. ‘Nelson Mandela once said: “It always seems impossible, until it’s done”,’ said ecstatic CEU Co-ordinator, Ncengi Mthethwa. ‘The Africa Centre and the community proved today that it can be done!'

author : Lihle Sosibo
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