PhD Student Receives S2A3 Medal

PhD Student Receives S2A3 Medal
Mr Tawanda Mandizvo.

UKZN’s College of Health Sciences PhD student Mr Tawanda Mandizvo (26) won the coveted S2A3 Medal, a scholarship awarded for the best Masters Dissertation in Science, Engineering or Health Sciences in the University.

‘I am greatly honoured and humbled to receive this award. There is always joy in knowing that your contribution to a successful project is recognised,’ said an excited Mandizvo. ‘I am deeply thankful for the support I have received from my colleagues at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), in particular Mr Ian Maheti Mbano and my research advisor, K-RITH Investigator Dr Frederick Balagaddé,’ he added.

According to Mandizvo, this award is living proof that when ordinary students like himself are given an opportunity, they can make meaningful contributions towards finding solutions to healthcare challenges.

‘By receiving this award I have become certain that there is a place for me to contribute to the advancement of science in southern Africa,’ he said. 

The Zimbabwean-born Mandizvo offered his sincerest gratitude to the Southern African Association for the Advancement of Science for this honour, ‘It is a great honour and has made me more aware of the role I could play, working towards the betterment of the lives of the African people through finding more affordable solutions to healthcare challenges.’

He dreams of a future where an individual technologist will be able to perform hundreds (or thousands) of medical tests at once, using a single microfluidic chip. He says this will multiply the effective output of individual clinical technologists, whilst lowering medical costs and increasing access to healthcare solutions, thus bridging the healthcare resource gap in the developing world.

Mandizvo is currently pursuing his PhD at UKZN, based in the Bioengineering Lab of Dr Frederick Balagaddé at K-RITH. As part of his PhD research he is developing medical microchips that will help to control the devastating HIV and TB co-epidemic in South Africa and beyond.

His research is on the development of high throughput research platforms and scalable diagnostic solutions using microfluidics technology.

‘This is with the aim of providing low-cost, sample-in-answer-out disease diagnostic devices to address the HIV and TB epidemics,’ explained Mandizvo. 

‘This microfluidic diagnostic technology on a chip (and microfluidics research in general) is the first of its kind on the African continent, so I am really thrilled to be part of its pioneering success,’ he said.

Mandizvo said he was conducting his research to acquire expertise on the best and current technologies as well as clinical practices that will empower him to help create a healthier and more economically viable South Africa and Africa as a whole.

‘I plan to have my projects addressing the needs of communities and geographical areas in southern Africa and Africa as a whole. For instance, I would be thrilled to see knowledge and technology solutions that I have helped generate, be translated into new practical solutions that can be adopted in government departments (eg Departments of Health) and thus benefitting the ordinary people that are most affected by disease,’ he said.

Mandizvo has a BSc in Biochemistry and Chemistry summa cum laude (UKZN), BSc Honours in Medicinal Chemistry summa cum laude  (Rhodes University) and a Master of Medical Science degree summa cum laude (UKZN). 

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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MBChB Student Bags Top Award

MBChB Student Bags Top Award
Mr Dimitrije Mamontov.

Mr Dimitrije Mamontov, an MBChB student, says it is an honour to be the recipient of the best single undergraduate award in the entire University, the prestigious Lawrence and Constance Robinson Scholarship.

The award is named after Lawrence Robinson who was the Chair of Council of the former University of Natal.

‘Coming first in my College in 2014 was a huge surprise, but to receive this award for the best undergraduate student in UKZN was truly unbelievable. It is an honour to have my hard work recognised by my institution.’

He said his parents were very proud that he is doing well whilst doing what he loves.

Mamontov has always wanted to study medicine. ‘However, this was almost cut short when all my MBChB university applications were rejected. It seemed like a miracle when UKZN decided to give me a place in the programme at the eleventh hour. As a result, I have always felt like I was not good enough or have something to prove. This scholarship is very important to me as it reaffirms that I do indeed deserve my place and that my hard work has not gone unnoticed.’

Mamontov is fascinated by all areas of medicine and enjoys rotating through the different specialties. ‘What appeals to me most is the art of physical diagnosis. I find it amazing how much we can learn from looking, feeling and listening to the body. There is no thrill quite like solving the puzzle of a patient’s illness and seeing them improve dramatically with the corresponding treatment.’

‘I particularly enjoy the complexity and challenge that diseases of the nervous system provide, I am also passionate about medical education and passing on knowledge to the next generation of physicians. I hope to one day be a specialist in either neurology or internal medicine, with the long-term goal of becoming a professor of my discipline.

‘Being a doctor is not about showing off,’ declared Mamontov. ‘Taking selfies with your stethoscope and scrubs or thinking a title somehow makes us better than other people. By embarking on this journey, we have accepted a responsibility to hone our skills and to give, to each patient we interact with, the excellence that they deserve,’ commented the previous recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship.

He thanked UKZN for investing in his success: ‘The scholarship has enabled me to set up the perfect environment for excelling in my studies.’

Mamantov was born in Durban, but is the first South African in his family. His parents arrived in South Africa as immigrants from Serbia (then Yugoslavia) about 25 years ago. He matriculated from Durban High School in 2012.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Medical Students Awarded the Prestigious Frene Ginwala Scholarship 2016

Medical Students Awarded the Prestigious Frene Ginwala Scholarship 2016
First year Medical students who received the prestigious Frene Ginwala Scholarship.

First year Medical students Nothando Simelane, Lona Dabula, Londiwe Makhanya, Sinazo Dinga, Celiwe Bhengu and Noluthando Ndlela are the lucky students from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) who received the prestigious Frene Ginwala Scholarship at the Scholarship awards ceremony 2016. 

Frene Ginwala scholarships are special prestige entrant equity awards that are made to the top Black African female entrants coming into the University as new undergraduate students in all disciplines. The award is named after the first Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and the former Speaker of Parliament.

When asked about why they have chosen this career path, the students all seemed to agree with one another that their calling in life was to make a difference and to help those in need. They all sounded passionate and enthusiastic about striving for greatness, serving their communities and leaving their mark on society. ‘Since I was a little girl, I have been always concerned about people’s health, taking care of my parents even my siblings when they are sick,’ said Noluthando Ndlela.

‘The society in which I reside, with its ever growing population and burden of diseases, inspires and motivates  me to strive for excellence and work to the best of my capabilities with the help of God, to bring about change in my society by improving the health status of the people dwelling in it,’ said Londiwe Makhanya.

With such big dreams, the students emphasised that they knew that this comes with hard work, determination, discipline and a whole lot of sleepless nights. When asked what advice they would give to other UKZN students who are looking to obtain scholarships, they all seemed to agree that perseverance, staying focused and hard work is the foundation for greatness.

The students were very grateful to the University of KwaZulu-Natal for awarding them with this opportunity as this will then ease their financial burdens and allow them to focus on achieving outstanding academic results. This is one of the many ways in which the University of KwaZulu-Natal is ‘inspiring greatness’, one student at a time. 

author : Sinenhlanhla Ngubane
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Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship Awarded to Five Students from CHS

Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship Awarded to Five Students from CHS
Mr Eran Taylor, Mr Simphiwe Ndlovu and Mr Gareth Mogambery are three of the recipients of the Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship.

Second-year students from the College of Health Sciences Aziz Mulla (Bachelor of Occupational Therapy), Eran Taylor (Bachelor of Medicine), Gareth Mogambery (Bachelor of Medicine), Simphiwe Ndlovu (Bachelor of Medical Science) and Travis Ajodha (Bachelor of Pharmacy) have been awarded the prestigious Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship at the UKZN Scholarship awards ceremony 2016.

The scholarship is awarded to the five top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from first-year to second-year study in each of the four Colleges. The recipients are therefore the top students among several thousand colleagues in each College of the University.

‘I am pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy because occupational therapy is a very holistic profession and as a therapist, I can assist people and give back to my community,’ said Mulla.

When asked about their recipe for success, students agreed on hard work, believing in yourself, determination, discipline, association with the right people, never giving up and staying committed to the task at hand.

‘Words cannot express my gratitude and I thank God that UKZN has selected me for this scholarship,’ commented excited Adoja. ‘I plan on becoming a researcher in the pharmaceutical sciences. I hope to research and investigate new chemical entities that will help treat and cure diseases that are currently incurable.’

Students expressed how honoured, proud, grateful and blessed they felt to receive such a prestigious award from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Ndlovu stated that this award meant a lot more to him as it proves that your background does not have to determine your future.

‘I feel honoured to receive this scholarship award because it will give me the opportunity to make a difference in my community because where I am from this does not happen regularly. This is going to inspire others by showing them that they too can achieve anything,’ responded Ndlovu.

‘Had I not received this scholarship, I would have had to pursue other means to fund my studies, such as looking for a student loan or a scholarship from a private company. My father will be entering into retirement soon and this scholarship has definitely taken away the huge financial burden of my studies for this year, and for that I sincerely thank UKZN,’ said Eran Taylor.

Students expressed their gratitude to the University of KwaZulu-Natal as this meant that they could focus all of their attention on achieving academic excellence and not having to worry about tuition fees, but rather working towards obtaining another scholarship next year whilst striving for greatness.

author : Sinenhlanhla Ngubane
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Sporty College of Health Science Students Rewarded

Sporty College of Health Science Students Rewarded


Six College of Health Sciences students; Sarah-lee Gobindlall (Bachelor of Physiotherapy), Buhle Zondi (Bachelor of Speech Language), Anele Ngubane (Bachelor of Sports Science), Joash Beru (Bachelor of Sports Science), Tanne Lee Smith (Bachelor of Sports Science) and Nolwazi Njilo (Bachelor of Sports Science) are recipients of the Prestige Sports Scholarship Award.

The award recipients play different sport codes including table tennis, hockey, squash, athletics, football and netball respectively.

This scholarship is awarded to students who have played sport at provincial, national or international level in the year immediately before registration with the Institution.

‘I have such a passion for sport and receiving such a great award for my hard work makes me very happy as I have always wanted to get something out of playing sport and all the training and commitment has paid off in an amazing way,’ Njilo said.

Njilo’s family is proud of her achievement: ‘They have always supported me in all my sports and right now they feel I am rewarding them by receiving great things such as this sport scholarship.’

Over the years Njilo has been involved in a number of sports ­- hockey, indoor hockey, netball, action netball, basketball and athletics. However, she received the award for provincial netball.

Smith feels honoured to be acknowledged for her sport achievements: ‘As the first girl in my family to make it to university, my scholarship means a great deal to me. It will help alleviate the financial pressures on my mom.’

A future biokineticist and professional soccer player, Smith said: ‘My passion for soccer and anything sport-related keeps me going. I am grateful to the award organisers for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime to further my dreams.’

Smith plays for the the UKZN Ladies soccer team and has been playing club soccer since age six. ‘I have participated and achieved in most of my sports; soccer, gymnastics, hockey, touch rugby and triple jump. I captained the KZN Schools U19 ladies soccer team in 2014 and 2015 as well as the Hillcrest 1st soccer, outdoor and Indoor hockey team in 2015.’

‘Receiving the scholarship has proved to me that one can achieve a lot through sports. We just need to strive and persevere in our strengths and opportunities will reveal themselves,’ said squash player Ngubane.

Her family has never understood why she spent most of her time training and why she always needed a lot of money to go on tours.

‘They are now proud and relieved financially. They finally understand, all the hard work has finally paid off in a big way,’ she said.

Ngubane thanked the funders of the scholarship, saying: ‘I am very grateful. I am more motivated to excel in squash. This scholarship was just a start. I am utterly convinced that greater things are yet to reveal themselves.’ She hopes to be in the Jarvis team next year as it will enable her to compete against top players in the country and her future plans include playing in the 2021 Commonwealth Games.

‘Getting the scholarship is an honour. I'm extremely grateful for the financial relief it provides to my family. For that to continue it means I need to maintain a good academic standing as well as perform well in hockey,’ said Zondi.

The future speech therapist loves playing hockey, but says: ‘Given an ultimatum I would focus on becoming a speech therapist more than on hockey.’

She represented the national side in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Zondi lives with her mother and three siblings. Her father was shot and killed in December 2014.

‘My family is united by prayer and my mother bought us up as proud Catholics and I am in the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students at Westville campus.’

The journey towards obtaining this scholarship has been very humbling for long jumper, Beru.

‘It is an honour to represent the university, knowing that all my hard work has paid off,’ Beru said.  ‘No words could describe the excitement and relief I felt upon receiving this award.’

He acknowledged that he has been given a great opportunity, saying that his love and passion for the sport has grown ever since.

‘I feel honoured to have been chosen above many other applicants who are deserving of this award too.’

Upon receiving the award Beru felt he had done a great service to his family by relieving them of a financial burden: ‘I could see the pride in their eyes and it brought me joy seeing them happier. They are full-time supporters of my progress and have stood by me through my success and defeat,’ he said. He is studying sports science with the hope of becoming a biokineticist.

‘I wanted a practical career, sports-based and that would allow me to improve lives. This field met all my expectations and it’s something I think I could naturally excel in.’

He hopes to make the national team and consistently represent the country on a number of platforms.

Table tennis player Gobindlall, feels elated, honoured and overjoyed by receiving the award. ‘I’m grateful for the award.  It gives me a sense of pride to know that my talent is worth something great enough to support my studies. I achieved this through years of perseverance and I am proud that my sport is paying for my studies.’

Gobindlall’s family is equally happy with her achievement: ‘They feel a sense of pride and honour in that their child is reaping the rewards of her hard work.’ Her future plans include completing her studies, travelling abroad as a sport physiotherapist and continuing to play table tennis.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Pius Langa Scholarship for Medical Trio

Pius Langa Scholarship for Medical Trio
From left: Mr Ishq Pramchand and Mr Sahil Maharaj.

Three first-year Medical students at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine; Mr Sahil Maharaj, Ms Trisaina Govender and Mr Ishq Pramchand; are the recipients of the prestigious Pius Langa Scholarship.

The scholarship is named after the renowned former Chief Justice of South Africa, Pius Langa, the former Chancellor of the University of Natal and the first Ombud of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The scholarships are awarded to new undergraduate students who are ranked in the top 10 in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Education Department National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations or top nationally in the Independent Examinations Board matriculation examinations.

‘I feel honored to receive such a scholarship as this achievement symbolises a future in my desired medical career. My parents, who are both doctors, and my twin brother, who is also studying medicine with me at UKZN, feel exactly the same way,’ said Pramchand.

His long-term goals include specialising in internal medicine. ‘However, owing to the variety of equally interesting topics at the moment, I still need time to decide which specialty suits me.’

Pramchand is grateful for the award. ‘I must emphasise my sheer gratitude to those who have awarded me with this scholarship. I will treasure such an achievement and will continue to strive for excellence,’ he declared.

Maharaj said he was extremely grateful to have received the scholarship: ‘It is indeed an honour to have been awarded such a prestigious accolade. I am ecstatic. It is humbling to see my hard work being paid off with this handsome reward.’

‘I have never won anything in my life,’ revealed an excited Maharaj. ‘To be awarded such a substantial amount of money is almost surreal. This scholarship definitely helps relieve my family’s financial stresses,’ he added.

To Maharaj the award signifies the collective sum of all the hours of hard work that he put into the last 12 years of his schooling life.

‘My grade 12 year was definitely the most gruelling. This scholarship is testament to the motivation and determination with which I worked to achieve the marks I did and be accepted into Medical School. I am appreciative of the fact that UKZN recognises hard work and celebrates it accordingly. This scholarship serves as motivation for me to continue reaching for new heights and setting greater goals in my career.’

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Soaring to New Heights through the CHS DVC’s Scholarship

Soaring to New Heights through the CHS DVC’s Scholarship
College of Health Sciences students who received the 2016 College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship.

Medical students, Mr Dimitrije Mamontov and Ms Kellicia Courtney Govender as well as Pharmacy student Ms Laya Arra Nadia Mohideen, received the 2016 College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship.

College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships are awarded to the three top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from second year to subsequent years of study.

‘Being the recipient of this prestigious scholarship is a great honour for me,’ said Mohideen. ‘I am appreciative of this award as it has given me inspiration, motivation and confidence to continue to work hard in my final year and further on in my future goals.’

Mohideen’s family is unequivocally happy about her achievement. ‘Seeing the excitement and the proud look in my parent’s eyes was priceless. They have been the greatest support structure throughout my studies and truly deserve the credit more than I do,’ she said.

During the past three years of her studying, Mohideen has put in every effort to put her best forward.

‘Receiving this academic achievement has been an incredible experience and a step closer to achieving my academic goals,’ she declared.

Her future plans include completing her degree, internship, community service and thereafter consider furthering her studies at UKZN.

‘My key goal is to start giving back to the community and to help many more children to have the opportunities I have had,’ said Mohideen.

Govender commented on receiving the scholarship, ‘I was pleasantly surprised and I’m extremely grateful and privileged to be the recipient of this scholarship.’

She said it was pleasing to know that her hard work and dedication were recognised. ‘This spurs me on to do better in the future. My goal is to graduate from Medical School being the best possible doctor I can be and I plan to specialise someday.’

Govender said she was most fortunate to have the opportunity to study something that she was truly passionate about.

‘Medicine is such a dynamic field and it’s richly rewarding when you’re able to put knowledge into practice and have lasting positive effect on someone’s life.’

She encourages her fellow students to work hard consistently, maintain a positive attitude and persevere, and their efforts will be rewarded eventually.

‘It’s also imperative to find a balance as solely focusing on academics can easily become overwhelming.’

She expressed her appreciation to the funder of the scholarship for recognising her academic achievements and allowing her to realise her full potential.

‘I am an avid reader. Apart from reading medical textbooks, I enjoy watching series, playing with my dog and spending time with my family who’ve been my greatest support system over the years,’ she said.

Mamontov is the former recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship and is receiving the College Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship Award for the second year in a row.  He also received the prestigious LC Robinson Scholarship.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Talent Equity and Excellence Scholarship Awarded to Master’s Student

Talent Equity and Excellence Scholarship Awarded to Master’s Student
Mr Siyabonga Shezi.

Second-year Master of Sports Science student, Mr Siyabonga Shezi, has been awarded the Talent Equity and Excellence Scholarship – the only representative of the College of Health Sciences (CHS) to receive the honour at the UKZN 2016 Scholarship Awards ceremony.

Requirements for the Scholarship include being in the final year of an undergraduate degree at honours level or at masters level; being a Black African South African citizen, and having an 75% aggregate cum laude or summa cum laude.

How does he feel about being selected for the award? ‘I am very grateful to UKZN for investing in me. I believe it is a step in the right direction towards the achievement of my goals.’

Shezi, who is a firm believer in giving back, said he was actively involved in fund raising initiatives such as the CANSA shave-a-thon and was also a regular blood donor.

He advised other students aiming for scholarships from UKZN that as academic excellence was a basic requirement for scholarships anywhere, they needed to focus and apply themselves on their studies.

‘My advice is to surround yourself with those who seek similar goals and are willing to help you achieve yours.’ 

author : Sinenhlanhla Ngubane
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Vincent Maphai Scholarship awarded to Pharmaceutical Chemist

Vincent Maphai Scholarship awarded to Pharmaceutical Chemist
Ms Kimberleigh Govender.

Master’s in Pharmaceutical Chemistry student, Ms Kimberleigh Govender represented the College of Health Sciences at the recently held Scholarship Awards ceremony 2016, by being the only student at UKZN to receive the Vincent Maphai scholarship.

The award is given to the top-ranked masters student in the entire University, and was, named after the first Chairman of Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation at SA Breweries, and former Chairman of BHP Billiton South Africa and holder of many other high corporate offices, Dr Vincent Maphai.

Ms Govender has also been awarded the following scholarships by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014), Maryam Babangida Scholarship for best female undergraduate going into honours (2015), Zac Yacoob Scholarship for the best honours student in the year 2015 and summa cum laude Scholarship (2015).

‘If I had to describe myself in five words it would be dedicated, hard-working, reserved, humble and witty,’ said Govender. Govender attended Kharwastan Secondary School, based in Chatsworth and matriculated in 2011. According to Govender she always wanted to become a medicinal chemist, researching and developing new drugs and treatment. ‘I have a passion for helping people and I find that this is an interesting way for me to do so’.

Govender informed us that she is greatly inspired by her parents as they are constantly encourage her to do her best in everything that she does. ‘I am truly grateful for having received this scholarship and see it as motivation to continue to do my best in my studies,’ commented Govender.

When asked what advice she would give to other students who are looking to obtain a scholarship from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Ms Govender, emphasised that they really need to put in a lot of hard work, as rewards come to those who are not afraid of hard work. ‘You have to give your best in order to get the best.’

author : Sinenhlanhla Ngubane
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