UKZN Staff and Students contribute to International AIDS Conference

UKZN Staff and Students contribute to International AIDS Conference
Seen are UKZN staff and students who presented papers at the International AIDS conference.

Four students and a staff member from the Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) within the College of Humanities  made contributions to the 2016 International AIDS conference at the Durban ICC.

They were CAPRISA scientist, Dr Eliza Govender; CCMS lecturer, Ms Phiwe Nota; PhD students Ms Angella Napakol and Ms Yonela Vukapi, and master’s student, Ms Gina Coetzee.

Govender monitored and presented a poster titled: “Influences of Age, Geo-spatial Location and Type of Sexual Encounters with PrEP Use in South Africa: Positioning Microbicides for Better Product Uptake” at the 2016 International AIDS Conference.

This study used the opportunity of post-trial access to tenofovir gel for the CAPRISA 004 women (trial) and non-trial women from three geo-spatial settings - urban, rural and semi-urban. The aim was to identify the profile of women most likely to use HIV prevention technologies, understand what influences user choices and how this contributes to the development of a brand identity that is culturally relevant and context specific.

The study found that most urban women identified ‘confidence, sexiness and classy’ as an indicator of how they would like to brand PrEP, while rural women focused on highlighting that the use of PrEP indicates respect, responsibility and confidence. The majority of urban and rural women in the study correlated adolescent sexual activity as an indicator of product readiness. Various sexual encounters further determined the types of HIV prevention technologies women would consider.

Nota and Vukapi were co-authors on this poster presentation and were also UNAIDS interns for the duration of the conference.

PhD student, Napakol examined how New Vision and Monitor newspapers in Uganda portrayed people affected with HIV/AIDS. According to Napakol, the results of the study indicated a low, albeit gradual, increase in coverage and reference to the affected populations. However, sources for media reports about HIV/AIDS, were invisible.

‘What the media covers, and what/who the media gets information from shapes the content of the message that is eventually produced. Such messages should consider feedback from both the experts and people affected by HIV/AIDS given that their perspectives lend a humane experience and help to create information or policies that are relevant.

‘Agreement remains that the media does set both public and policy agenda. Therefore, in the long run, omitting the voice of affected people during coverage could undermine effective policy development and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts,’ said Napakol.

Dean and Head of the School of Applied Human Sciences Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize said: ‘Well done to all CCMS students and staff. You have done all of us proud.’

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Students Tidy Vegetable Garden for Elderly Women

Students Tidy Vegetable Garden for Elderly Women
UKZN Student YMCA volunteers clear an overgrown vegetable garden in the Quarry Heights community for Mandela Day.

Volunteers from the Student YMCA at UKZN spent their Mandela Day giving back to the community of Durban’s Quarry Heights area by clearing up an overgrown vegetable garden belonging to elderly women in the community.

The garden is part of the Edwaleni Educare Centre which the Student YMCA has worked with for years.  

Programme Co-ordinator of the Student YMCA, Mr Bonga Mkhize, said they chose to clear the garden because the organisation works closely with the Edwaleni Educare Centre and it is a potential area for a food security programme.

Mrs Ethel Ntombela, who is in charge of the Centre, said that the women had been keen to re-establish the garden to provide healthy food for the centre.

Said Mkhize: ‘The Student YMCA is starting a food security programme so we took on the challenge of the garden. Mandela Day was the ideal time to get it done and at the same time to involve the community and reflect on the work of Nelson Mandela. 

‘Clearing the garden took a few hours to complete. ‘It was challenging because it seemed impossible, but as a team we finished.’

The day included a lunch sponsored by Nandos KZN Varsity and Glenwood Spar.

All the student volunteers expressed the desire to go back and do more for the community.  Said volunteer Mr Xolile Nene: ‘I would love to go back there. When we were there I noticed there were a lot of other things we could do to help.’

The women of the community were excited to begin gardening again and keen for the students to return.

author : Nombuso Mlambo
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PhD Candidate’s high quality Research earns International Recognition

PhD Candidate’s high quality Research earns International Recognition
Mr Farai Maunganidze.

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance PhD candidate, Mr Farai Maunganidze, is one of four PhD students from around the world to be awarded a 500 Euro prize for best doctoral presentations at the Sociology of Professions Research Meeting in Vienna, Austria. 

The meeting which debated the theme of professions and professionalism across the globe, received 204 abstracts, 81 oral presentations and 43 distributed papers. 

Maunganidze’s paper titled: “We Play the Music and You Dance: Perceptions of Engineers to New Managerialism”, is part of his PhD thesis supervised by Dr Shaun Ruggunan. 

The paper aims to address the gap created by the scarcity of empirical work in the human resources management and sociology of work literature on changes in the Engineering profession and its impact on work processes, especially in southern Africa. It achieves this by arguing that human resource practitioners need to be more familiar with the engineers’ perceptions on new managerialism which is a product of the changing environment. 

‘Being internationally recognised brought a sense of achievement on my part and it is a day I will always cherish,’ said Maunganidze. ‘I attribute this recognition to the excellent grooming and guidance of my mentor and supervisor, Dr Ruggunan, who was instrumental in shaping the paper.’

Moving forward, Maunganidze is working on exploring more publication opportunities from his thesis titled: “The Changing Nature of Professional Work in Zimbabwe: Comparative Case Studies of Lawyers, Engineers and Chartered Accountants”.

‘I am working on extracting more papers from my thesis as I have realised it is rich with potential papers. The thesis seeks to investigate how professions and professional work of the above mentioned fields have been changing over time in Zimbabwe,’ said Maunganidze.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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Fine Culinary Skills on Display at UKZN Cook-Off

Fine Culinary Skills on Display at UKZN Cook-Off
The winning team with their array of dishes being serenaded by Ms Janice Pillay.

School of Clinical Medicine Professional Service’s staff donned chefs hats and aprons during a battle for the prized title of Best Cook Off Team, with winners on the day - the Navy Blue Sailors - being applauded for their champion Nando’s-style, chargrilled spatchcock chicken.

Hosted by Panish Food Solutions, teams were required to prepare and cook several dishes on a braai fire. Sauces and spices were provided but the creative preparation and presentation of the end product was left to each team.

The day began with a lesson on scaling and filleting fresh red fish, after which teams were given the following brief: Prepare a full chicken, rack of lamb, wors, burgers or meatballs, chicken sosaties, a cold salad, a hot salad, sauces and whole fresh fish, while incorporating a variety of vegetables and fruit.

Fourteen teams were pitted against each other, including a team of vegetarians. Feeling the heat as they battled it out around braai stands, the teams relied on excellent communication skills to ensure their dishes reflected their personalities and different tastes.

Teams came up with unique dishes. The vegetarian team wowed the external adjudicators with their dishes of vegetarian burger breyani, roti with bean curry, soya fish salad and a caramelised apple dessert…all cooked on open flames. The team won third prize.

Ms Janice Pillay of the Spanish Solutions Team decided to serenade her colleagues who enjoyed the ad lib entertainment.

The external adjudicators marked each team on the unique style of each dish, cleanliness, team work, final presentation and the creative use of ingredients.

‘It was a challenging task given the high standard of dishes and the delicious taste,’ said the owner of Panish, Mr Ishan Panday.

Second was the Black Team, who cooked up irresistible fresh fish with lemon butter sauce and succulent chicken sosaties. 

The winning team, Navy Blue Sailors, comprised Juliet Ngidi, Nozipho Dlomo, Mbalenhle Maseko, Rishi Premjith, Slindile Mncube and Sbonokuhle Cebekhulu.  They prepared a spatchcock lemi-licious Nando’s-style chicken, and Nature’s Garden salad with a secret homemade dressing; admiral’s fillet-o-fish with fishy lemon and garlic butter; sumptuous chicken sosaties basted and grilled to perfection; buccaneer’s spicy lamb burgers; potato salad with boiled eggs; juicy lamb chops; chargrilled wors; fruit salad, sambals and roasted butternut.

School operations manager, Mrs Antoinette Botha, expressed her excitement at managing such an awesome team. ‘I am so proud of you. Our team is unique and I hope that going forward from today we work at keeping this momentum on the up.’

author : MaryAnn Francis
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Special edition of African Journal of AIDS Research launched by HEARD in Durban

Special edition of African Journal of AIDS Research launched by HEARD in Durban
AIDS2016 delegates at the special issue launch with guest editor and HEARD Research Director, Dr Kaymarlin Govender (centre).

A special edition of the African Journal of AIDS Research was successfully launched by HEARD at the recent International AIDS Conference in Durban.

Themed: “Fast Tracking HIV Prevention: Scientific Advances and Implementation Challenges”, the special issue includes contributions by international specialists on how the HIV prevention response in the East and Southern African region should be shaped going forward and translates recent developments in science into guiding action that will advance prevention in the new health and development framework.

Guest editors, HEARD’s Executive Director, Professor Nana Poku, and Research Director, Dr Kaymarlin Govender, cited the importance of knowing where new infections were  occurring and the modes of transmission to advance our understanding of the epidemic dynamic and to develop socially inclusive HIV programming.

The 11 papers in this issue were centralised on the key message that although the overall arsenal in the fight against HIV and AIDS is limited, a radical approach in its use is required if the desired outcomes are to be achieved. Additionally, the pursuit of a “quick-fix”,which is often biomedical to prevent HIV, must take into account that HIV is a socio-culturally induced crisis and, as such, a variety of measures are needed at the same time to appeal to different people, groups and circumstances.

Authors’ distinct perspectives on HIV prevention raise the argument that the success of prevention is tied up in complex ways with people’s diverse life situations, with property, kinship, belief systems, gender relations and livelihoods. The fact that the prevention programming has only produced marginal successes demonstrates that ‘one size does not fit all’.

No single modality works, nor does it work everywhere. Context matters! The local cultural, political and material circumstances will influence the content, implementation and ultimately success of any particular programme. 

author : Linda Mtambo
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Law Students join Stop Hunger Now organisation

Law Students join Stop Hunger Now organisation
Stop Hunger Now challenge on Mandela Day.

Two UKZN Law students, Ms Asmaa Farouk Valjie and Ms Shamila Mpinga, have joined the Stop Hunger Now SA (SHN SA) organisation as volunteer ambassadors and participated in the 10 Million Meal Global challenge.

They enjoyed every moment of participating in the events hosted for Mandela Day and are ecstatic about continuing to help eradicate hunger in the world.

SHN SA’s first International Mandela Day challenge in Pietermaritzburg was at the Liberty Midlands Mall which donated funds to the 10 Million Meal Global Challenge as well as opening packaging lines to volunteers, shoppers and the general public.

Nine other generous corporates from in and around Pietermaritzburg participated in the meal packaging event.

Sibaya Casino in Durban achieved their target of 203 000 meals. Approximately 20 corporates participated at Sibaya with Sun International sending 15 teams of 20 people to pack for 67 minutes in honour of Mandela.

The Follow the Sun campaign from 13 July to 20 July was a week dedicated to Nelson Mandela. The idea around this theme, was that countries - the United States, Malaysia, India, Italy, South Africa and the Philippines - and six cities in South Africa - East London, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth - would start packing in the east and end in the west!

‘Not only did our organisation help smash the Global target of 10 million meals but we managed to pack an extra 26 meals,’ said Mpinga.

‘Our meal packs provide a well-balanced diet which is in keeping with UNICEF standards. One meal packet consists of a cup of rice, soya, two scoops of soup and a sachet containing 23 vitamins and minerals vital to the growth of children between the ages of 1-6 years.’ 

Any business or organisation keen to host a packaging event or anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should phone Kim Carrington at 079 897 4330/ 033 346 0400 or Keven Pillay at 079 897 4320.

‘We host packaging events at our warehouse in Pietermaritzburg every second Saturday of the month. Join us on 13 August at Campsdrift Park, Unit 30-32, opposite the China Discount Store,’ added Mpinga.

To view the organisation’s events calendar visit

author : Kim Carrington
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UKZN Music students excel at Idols SA auditions

UKZN Music students excel at Idols SA auditions
Idols SA stars (from top left) Ms Amanda Kunene, Ms Nosihe Zulu and Mr Thamsanqa Mathonsi. (From bottom left) Mr Thamsanqa Mathonsi, Ms Amanda Kunene and Ms Nosihe Zulu.

Three UKZN Music students - Ms Amanda Kunene, Mr Thamsanqa Mathonsi and Ms Nosihe Zulu - won coveted Idols SA golden tickets during auditions in Durban for the TV talent contest.

The three will now compete in the Idols ‘Hell Week’ at Sun City.

‘Receiving a golden ticket was a mind-blowing experience,’ said Kunene. ‘I have been watching the show for ages and always wondered how it would feel to get a Golden ticket. Now I have one and it is a dream come true.’ Kunene performed the song Ndawo Yami by Zama Jobe.

Describing his experience of singing John Legend’s You and I in front of the judges, Mathonsi said: ‘It was nerve-racking and surreal. I felt like I was watching them on TV!’

Mathonsi’s passion for music began at the age of 14. ‘My mentor Ndumiso Njapha made me believe that I could do more than just sing in the school choir,’ he said. Mathonsi later enrolled for a BA degree in Music and Drama Performance at UKZN and is currently enjoying the learning experience.

Zulu sang When we were young by Adele. ‘I just kept singing it again and again,’ she said. ‘My brother and I love the song so we know it back to front. We had so much fun singing it together. But performing in front of the judges was such an adrenaline rush but it was an incredible moment. Having my brother there was the cherry on top - made it feel like I was singing to family.’

Zulu, who comes from a musical family, said: ‘I always wanted the lead role for the family functions. My parents used to sing duos together. I was inspired to love music and the older I’ve got the more I’ve pursued it.’

The students are confident and ready to compete, hoping to do their best in the competition while using the publicity from Idols SA as an opportunity to further their musical careers. They advised other music students to work hard, to never give up and to always keep the passion for music alive.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Academic publishes book on African Moral Consciousness

Academic publishes book on African Moral Consciousness
Dr Munyaradzi Murove with his new book: African Moral Consciousness: An Inquiry into Prospects and Perspectives.

Dr Munyaradzi Murove of the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) recently published a book titled: African Moral Consciousness: An Inquiry into Prospects and Perspectives.

It is a follow up to African Ethics Anthology that Murove edited and published with UKZN Press.

African Moral Consciousness invites the reader to experience a different way of understanding ethics. After demonstrating that African ethics is inseparably conjoined to rituals, this book goes on to show that African ethics is marginalised in the world today because of the tendency of conflating modernity with Western culture.

Murove argues that the need to go beyond modernity versus traditionalism is an imperative one for the ascendancy of African ethics, believing that stories and proverbs are integral to the genre of those ethics. The book maintains that since the majority of African people live in traditional areas, their ethical outlook is usually overlooked because of modernisation.

The idea for the book was born when Murove discovered that there was a need for him to continue with further research in the development of African ethics for scholars and students across the world. Now, through his book, he aims to initiate debate among scholars within Africa and other parts of the world where there is intellectual concern and appreciation for African ethics and to allow for the Africanisation of the curriculum at an African university.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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UKZN Alumni tell how they have succeeded in their Chartered Accountancy careers

UKZN Alumni tell how they have succeeded in their Chartered Accountancy careers
Ms Amanda Zuma and Ms Xoliswa Hlongwane.

The shortage of Accounting professionals in South Africa – and, in particular, Black chartered accountants - is an issue of national concern.

In an effort to encourage aspiring chartered accountants, the College of Law and Management Studies spoke to Ms Amanda Zuma and Ms Xoliswa Hlongwane, two young CAs, who hold Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting degrees from UKZN, about how they have reached their elevated positions in the field.

Zuma (29), who is a senior manager at the Office of the Auditor-General of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, said she progressed from a first year student who had to borrow registration fees to her current senior position within a relatively short period of time.

‘I registered for my first year with borrowed money.  I told myself I would focus on my studies and that my results would speak for me. I only received financial assistance in my second year and I had to work even harder to make sure I did not lose that privilege. ‘What motivated me to stay focused was a hunger for success and that was what resonated with me more than the lack of money,’ said Zuma.

‘Getting this qualification was challenging and I needed a positive mind-set at all times. I still reflect on the days when I had to overcome challenges of the “big 4”, which is third year level. This was a challenge I met head on - an approach I use to life in general and to various situations that arise.

‘This resulted in me qualifying as a CA (SA) within the stipulated time preparing me for my postgraduate qualification as well Board exams, which I passed at the first attempt,’ she added.

That hunger for success has resulted in a career progression which has seen Zuma become responsible for developing future CAs.

Zuma says working at the Office of the Auditor-General of South Africa has been the highlight of her career as a CA as it has offered her valuable insight into what the auditing of the country’s basic services means to the South African economy.

‘At the AG’s office we audit predetermined objectives where we focus on usefulness and reliability of the reported information, which is mostly in the public sector. Our trainees get that experience which sets them apart from a typical trainee accountant.

‘My role also entails getting involved in practical experience necessary for a trainee to become a qualified CA. I have also experienced meaningful transformation as our organisation strives to be a leader in transforming the profession through the support programmes offered through bursaries, scholarships and study support,’ said Zuma.

Thirty-one-year-old Hlongwane is ?Deputy Head: Internal Audit at eThekwini Municipality.

Hlongwane says her challenges do not differ much from those of the majority of students who depend on NSFAS for meals and books, etc.

‘I would go on for months with only 10 cents to my name, but lucky to have food in my cupboard.

‘I was also blessed with generous friends. I did not have all the books prescribed for the semester and would have to rely on the library copy which was shared by a lot of people. I also prayed that my great-grandmother would continue being able to sign my financial aid affidavit and she was!’

Her willingness to not give up also saw Hlongwane through the challenging journey of becoming a CA. In between feeling like quitting her articles, her passion for becoming a CA kept her hanging on.

‘What kept me going back to try again was the fact that I knew the reason I was failing my honours degree was not because I could not do it, but I was not focusing on my studies as I should have been due to work deliverables.

‘It is only after I completed Articles that I decided to give honours one more try. That was the year that I made it, and all it took was consistency and exam technique.

‘Being a CA has opened doors to my career. I now possess a powerful combination of skills, experience, determination, work ethic and my CA qualification,’ she said.

Her position as the Deputy Head of Internal Audit at eThekwini Municipality allows her to contribute to the improvement of the overall control environment within the Municipality and its municipal entities through the development and execution of a risk based internal audit plan, delivering on ad hoc requests, audit Committee reporting and staff development and training.

‘I am proud to live each working day supporting the Municipality to deliver on its mandate,’ she said.

author : Thandi Jumo
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Ababengabafundi base-UKZN babenesidlo sasemini eSwazini

Ababengabafundi base-UKZN babenesidlo sasemini eSwazini
Abasebenzi base-UKZN benababengabafundi abangabaseSwazini.

Click here for the English version

Iqembu labangama-51 abavela kulo lonke elaseSwazini ababengabafundi base-UKZN lihlanganele isidlo sasemini nokucobelelana ngolwazi e-The George Hotel kwaManzini.

Bakujabulele ukubonana, ukuxoxa ngokwakwenzeka ngesikhathi besaseNyuvesi nokunikezana ngemininingwane yokuxhumana.

Bekunabantu abasebenza emikhakheni enhlobonhlobo kuhlanganisa abezolimo, abafundisayo, abameli, nabezokwelapha.

Abebehambele lo mhlangano bamukelwe uMqondisi WezoKuGqugquzela Ubedlelwano eNyuvesi uNkz Normah Zondo owethule izikhulumi zosuku uMnu Fanie Sibisi onguMongameli we-Convocation noSolwazi Anesh Singh onguMqondisi Olawulayo we-UKZN Foundation.

Bobabili uSibisi noSingh bakhuthaze ababengabafundi ukuba basize batshale esikhungweni, abanye benze lokho ngokugcwalisa amafomu okuzibophezela ukuxhasa abeyingxenye yokwakunikezwa abebehambele umhlangano.

USolwazi Singh ukhulume kabanzi ngentuthuko eyenzeka eNyuvesi kanye nemininingwane ngesibalo sabafundi, ukukleliswa kweNyuvesi nezocwaningo.

Bekunemibuzo ebibuzwa ababengabafundi eminye iphathelene nokubhalisa nezibonelelo zemali yokufunda kubafundi basemazweni angaphandle ngoba iningi lababekade bekhona bebenomdlandla wokubhalisela izifundo zabaneziqu e-UKZN.

author : Finn Christensen
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KZN Budget Perspectives discussed at UKZN Debate

KZN Budget Perspectives discussed at UKZN Debate
Participants of the KZN Budget public discussion.

“The KZN Budget and its Impact on the Economy of the Province” was the topic at a public discussion hosted by the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.

The panel at the event, which attracted both academics and students, comprised senior members of the Provincial Treasury; economist, Mr Jacob Twala; the Treasury’s Head of Department, Mr Simiso Magagula; Chief Director of Public Finance, Ms Tanya Stielau, and the Deputy Director General of Fiscal Resource Management, Ms Neli Shezi.

The presentation provided insights into factors the Treasury takes into account when drafting the Budget.

Twala’s presentation, titled: “KZN Budget and its Impact on the Economy of the Province”, focused on key issues such as the fluctuating oil price, currency risks, productivity and labour remuneration, an economic review and outlook for KZN, a sector analysis and a global and national economic review and outlook.

‘Countries in BRICS are in recession which is a problem because we trade with these countries and when they perform badly we are also affected,’ said Twala. ‘Our economy is concentrated on the service sector but we are not exporting. Agriculture and manufacturing are the main concerns as their contribution to the GDP is going down. These are the challenges we face and we need to find solutions for our country to move forward,’ he said.

Stielau’s presentation involved a fiscal outlook of KZN’s approach in dealing with the impact of budget cuts.

‘Lower economic growth implies among other things: lower tax revenue collection by government, increase in taxes, rising inflation and interest rates, lower real personal disposable income, pressure on consumer spending, currency depreciation, limited export demand, particularly for manufactured goods, and fewer employment prospects.

‘A reprioritisation exercise required Treasury to look at combating wasteful and inefficient spending to ensure that vital services to rendered people are not compromised,’ she said.

The panel then met with the Macroeconomics Working Group (MWG), a body of economists comprising academic staff and postgraduate students whose mission is to advance and develop research in the field. The group presented research ideas aimed at exploration in collaboration with the Treasury.

Discussed were the negative impacts crime has on economic growth as it discourages investment; education in KZN; a strategy that would modernise economic agricultural activities and employment versus unemployment.

Shezi said the questions raised by the group were highlighted on Treasury’s research agenda and finding answers would assist Treasury in reshaping its thinking.

The School’s Acting Dean, Dr Mabutho Sibanda, said the discussions were vital for cementing relationships between academia and industry.

‘Let us think of ways of building mutually beneficial partnerships. My plea is for us to join forces in research and empower our academics and students through brainstorming and collaboration,’ he said.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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CCS co-hosts Conference on Governance and Politics of HIV/AIDS

CCS co-hosts Conference on Governance and Politics of HIV/AIDS
Participants at the conference on the Governance and Politics of HIV/AIDS.

The AIDS Foundation of SA and the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) hosted a Knowledge Sharing Forum on the Governance and Politics of HIV/AIDS as part of HIV Policy Action.

HIV Policy Action is a collaboration between the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Makerere University in Uganda, UKZN’s Centre for Civil Society and the University of Limerick in Ireland. 

It was developed to explore the role of public administration in the particular context of people living with HIV/AIDS.  ‘It does so because those living with HIV/AIDS clearly face particular challenges, not least the challenge to maintain life, often experienced alongside considerable social exclusion, stigmatisation and discrimination,’ said Acting CCS Director, Dr Shauna Mottiar.

The forum, ran alongside the 21st International AIDS Conference, and explored some of the broader public policy dimensions of efforts to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 

Described as a space to share research, ideas and experiences, the forum introduced the relevance and importance of a stronger focus on public policy and public administration in public on HIV/AIDS. The sessions held included: (i) Different approaches to service delivery and the implications for public administration, (ii) Citizen/Civil Society Engagement and the implications for public administration, (iii) Understanding stigma and its consequences in public policy making, and (iv) Demanding accountability: how citizens can help make rights real?

The forum brought together various academics and PhD students from the collaboration as well as participants from Wits University, the AIDS Foundation, the TAC, Section 27 and Hivos.

The forum concluded with a session discussing collective wisdom and ideas for how public institutions centrally involved in addressing HIV/AIDS could be enhanced. 

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email :

School of Engineering Hosts Career Week

School of Engineering Hosts Career Week
Girls from schools in Durban and surrounds who attended the UKZN School of Engineering’s annual Career Week.

Top Mathematics and Physics Grade 12 pupils from Durban high schools and surrounding areas attended a career week at UKZN where they heard about the many career options the University offers within Engineering and related disciplines.

The three-day event at the flagship UNITE Building on the Howard College campus was hosted by the School of Engineering and attended by 240 learners from 14 different high schools.

The aim was to recruit more learners into the field of Engineering as well as enlighten them on career opportunities available.

UKZN staff members who took part included Professor Graham Smith who spoke on Agricultural Engineering; Electrical, Electronic & Computer Engineering lecturer Tahmid Quazi; and Civil Engineering student Reantha Maistry.

Ms Denise O’Rielly of the College’s admissions office informed learners about what they needed to achieve to be accepted as a student at UKZN.

The last day of the week was dedicated to girls’ high schools as more female engineers are desperately needed. The girls enjoyed the magic show performed by Dr Tanja Reinhardt and appreciated the gifts given to them as prizes.

Ms Kelly Berry, a school guidance counsellor, was delighted to join in one of the experiments, which involved setting her hand on fire (safely!).

‘We thank everyone who took part in helping us host another successful Career Week,’ said event organiser, Ms Prashina Budree.

author : Basetsana Mogashoa
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Edgewood Library Staff Support Rural School

Edgewood Library Staff Support Rural School
UKZN staff and students pictured with learners of Kwabazothini High.

Edgewood Library staff donated 26 wooden book shelves and 360 books to the Kwabazothini High School as their contribution to the 67 minutes Mandela initiative.

The school, at Manyuswa in KwaZulu-Natal, has 506 learners and 18 teachers with most of the pupils supported by single mothers and grandmothers while learners are often part of child-headed households.

The school, founded in 1978, has no library, laboratories, kitchen, or administrative block.

Edgewood Library staff assembled the library shelves and organised the books so the learners could have easy access to them.

Library members have formed a partnership with the school to support its development and to ensure the library operates efficiently. 

Among challenges faced by the school are classes of up to 62 learners, poor ablution facilities, broken windows, and no running water or electricity.

It is a no fee school and there is a Government-funded feeding scheme.

Library staff were inspired by this quote from Nelson Mandela:

‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’

author : Susheila Naidoo
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UKZN PhD Astronomer Finds New Radio Halo

UKZN PhD Astronomer Finds New Radio Halo
Composite image of the cluster region showing data from three different wavelengths. The background colour image shows the galaxies (optical) in the region, with those belonging to the cluster appearing yellow. The hot cluster gas (X-rays) is overlaid in pink, and the newly detected radio halo in green. By combining the information from these datasets, Dr Kenda Knowles was able to estimate for how long the cluster has been merging, and at what stage of its evolution the radio halo is being observed.

Dr Kenda Knowles, a Claude Leon post-doctoral researcher at UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit, has found evidence for a new radio halo in a low-mass galaxy cluster.

Her paper on the detection, based on her PhD thesis work, was published last month in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, an international peer-reviewed astronomy journal. 

Radio halos are large regions in clusters of galaxies which emit radio waves. To date, they are only found in a small fraction of merging galaxy clusters and are transient objects, with the radio emission brightening during the merger and then fading away on timescales of a few billion years. Due to the radio emission being very faint, detection requires sophisticated data processing techniques.

Knowles, who received her PhD from UKZN earlier this year with funding from the Square Kilometre Array South Africa bursary programme, said: ‘Radio halos are fascinating objects to study as they probe the non-thermal components of galaxy clusters, such as magnetic fields, which are difficult to study at other astronomical wavelengths. Their link to merging activity of the host galaxy cluster makes them a powerful tool to investigate the physical processes that occur during these energetic events.’

Knowles and her collaborators used data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India to detect a region of very faint, diffuse radio emission in one of their target galaxy clusters. The emission was classified as a radio halo based on its physical properties, making this galaxy cluster one of the lowest-mass systems known to host a radio halo. The sample of galaxy clusters targeted by Knowles was discovered by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, a project in which the UKZN group is closely involved.

‘We targeted this galaxy cluster because we knew it was undergoing a merger, based on existing X-ray observations, which gave it a better chance of hosting a radio halo,’ said Knowles, winner of a 2015 Department of Science and Technology Women in Science Doctoral Fellowship.

She added that although the detection itself was exciting, the new aspect of their paper was the estimation of a timescale for the radio emission.

Using multiwavelength data from X-ray and optical telescopes, they created a model of the cluster merger and used it to estimate the duration of the merger. Comparing this to computer simulations they were able to estimate at what point in its lifetime the radio halo was being observed.

UKZN’s Professor Kavilan Moodley, a co-author on the paper and Knowles’ PhD thesis advisor, commended her work. ‘By combining observations of this galaxy cluster from telescopes operating at three different wavelengths, Kenda was able to deduce that the radio halo we detected is a relatively young one, and has still to reach its maximum power,’ he said.

The MeerKAT telescope being built by SKA South Africa in the Northern Cape will allow for exciting new developments in this area of research because it will provide excellent sensitivity to faint sources and the opportunity to make many new detections of radio halos.

author : Mr Strini Rajgopaul
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UKZN Academic Co-author of startling International AIDS Study

UKZN Academic Co-author of startling International AIDS Study
Professor Benn Sartorius.

Academic Leader of Research in UKZN’s School of Nursing and Public Health, Professor Benn Sartorius, is a co-author of a study which has found that 74 countries experienced increases in age-standardised rates of new HIV/AIDS infections between 2005 and 2015.

The study from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) collaborative –  which Sartorius is involved in - was published in The Lancet HIV and released during the recent 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban.

The 74 countries include Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mexico, and Russia.

The announcement comes amidst an ambitious goal that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV should know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and that 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

 The study found that new HIV infections fell by an average of only 0.7% a year between 2005 and 2015, compared to the 2.7% annual drop between 1997 and 2005.

Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and founding Executive Director of UNAIDS, remarked on the paper’s findings: ‘This study shows that the AIDS epidemic is not over by any means and that HIV/AIDS remains one of the biggest public health threats of our time. The continuing high rate of over 2 million new HIV infections represents a collective failure which must be addressed through intensified prevention efforts and continued investment in HIV vaccine research.’

The study also found that more - up to 50% - HIV positive women than HIV positive men were accessing Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. However, in some Eastern European and South Asian nations, the situation is very different, with 50% more men using ART than women.

Another finding of the study is that women tend to die at younger ages from HIV than men, due likely to age-disparate relationships in which men have sex with younger women. In total, about 1.2 million people died from HIV in 2015, down from a peak of 1.8 million in 2005.

Said Sartorius: ‘Tremendous progress has been made in the global attempt to curb the HIV epidemic. However, of concern are the increases in rates of new infections between 2005 and 2015 in many countries. The new United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Target 3.3, has proposed the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. If this ambitious goal is to be achieved, momentum has to be increased moving forward.’


* The Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 provides national estimates of levels and trends of HIV/AIDS incidence, prevalence, coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and mortality for 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015.  



author : MaryAnn Francis
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Sexual intercourse between young women and older men under spotlight at International AIDS pre-conference

Sexual intercourse between young women and older men under spotlight at International AIDS pre-conference
Professor Beverley Haddad presenting at the workshop.


A workshop titled: “Sugar Daddies and HIV: Religion as a Resource for Social Change” was presented in Durban at the HIV Interfaith pre-conference: “Faith on the Fast Track”.

The workshop was organised by the Ujamaa Centre for Social Research and Development and the Collaborative for HIV and AIDS, Religion and Theology (CHART), based within the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, in the College of Humanities.

The event, attended by 65 people, focused on age disparate sex between young women between the ages of 15-24 and older men. Age disparate sex has been shown to substantially increase the vulnerability of young women to contracting HIV, and so the workshop explored how religion could be used as a resource for social change within this key population.

Professor Gerald West of the Ujamaa Centre showed how the Contextual Bible Study method could be used to provide a safe space for young women to explore and discuss their risky sexual behaviour.

Ms Bongi Zengele, also of the Ujamaa Centre, spoke about her experience of working with young women in communities and how this experience had influenced the structure of this methodology.

The workshop heard from Professor Beverley Haddad of CHART about the latest research findings on age disparate sex. 

The workshop stimulated further discussion as to how this issue could be taken up within faith communities, a strategy which could ultimately contribute to the mitigation of new HIV infections among young women.


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Goodwill Ambassadors Lunch at UKZN Foundation

Goodwill Ambassadors Lunch at UKZN Foundation
The first UKZN Goodwill Ambassadors.

A selected group of senior graduates re-connected with their alma mater and fellow graduates at a lunch hosted by the UKZN Foundation.

The newly-appointed Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, Professor Anesh Maniraj Singh, addressed the group of retired graduates in a vibrant information sharing session during which the purpose and function of the Goodwill Ambassadors Programme was explained.

Singh invited this initial group of senior graduates to become the core Goodwill Ambassadors by espousing goodwill on behalf of the University through their own networks and personal interactions with others thereby generating a more positive base of support for the Institution and its activities.

Promoting UKZN’s ongoing innovations, developments and achievements, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, updated the group on the latest developments taking place at the University and concluded his address by endorsing the Goodwill Ambassadors Programme initiated by the UKZN Foundation.

The group of graduates enjoyed the opportunity to meet and engage with the Vice-Chancellor.

The event ended on a high note with the retired, yet still very active graduates, willing to be involved in the initiative being driven by the UKZN Foundation.

author : Nadia Paul
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