Architecture Students among Winners at Interpret Durban Competition

Architecture Students among Winners at Interpret Durban Competition
From left: Ms Jenni McGee, Ms Nadiyah Ismail, Mr Josh Montile and Mr Glen Scott.

Five UKZN Masters students in Architecture participated in the 7th Interpret Durban competition with three scooping prizes on offer in their section.

The students were Mr Glen Scott, Mr Ross Swiatek, Ms Nadiyah Ismail, Ms Jenni McGee and Mr Josh Montile.

Scott won first prize with Swiatek coming in second, while Ismail received the third prize.

The fifth category of the competition featured Architecture alone as a closed competition with representatives of UKZN and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Disciplines of Architecture going head to head in the competition.

The competition brief, written by BESETdurban's Mr Mark Bellingan, focused on the students’ conceptual idea, design and interpretation of Albert Park in Durban, with the idea being to turn it into something worthwhile and positive for visitors and adjacent residents through potential architectural projects.

Scott’s winning plan involved improving Albert Park by giving it value through ‘Trash for Cash’ while Ismail’s design ULWENBU is a social network or “Web” that links people, exploring the relationships between individuals through linkages of space and architecture.

Said Ismail: ‘My plan is to form a more integrated and socially sustainable community, a democratic space for interaction that leads to a versatile yet resilient society. It is a bottom-up approach that deals with street level issues in and around the Durban CBD but could be applied to almost any area in Durban.’

The students are keen to participate in further competitions and are excited about future architectural opportunities.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Imbokodo Initiative Launched at UKZN

Imbokodo Initiative Launched at UKZN
From left: Dr Gugu Mazibuko, Dr Beverly Damonse, Ms Phuti Mahanyele, Professor Cristina Trois, Mrs Busisiwe Ramabodu and Ms Avril Williamson.

UKZN strengthened its commitment to women’s empowerment and advancement with the launch of the Imbokodo initiative which aims to create opportunities for women at the University.

The name Imbokodo, “rock” in isiZulu, was inspired by the 1956 protest march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria by more than 20 000 women singing freedom songs.  The call was: Wathint’ abafazi,wathint’ imbokodo,uza kufa! (When you strike the women, you strike a rock, you will be crushed!).

UKZN’s Executive Director of Human Resources, Ms Avril Williamson, said she was confident the Imbokodo initiative would achieve its goals. ‘This will be a space where women can connect, dialogue, network and inspire each other’.

The keynote speaker at the launch was Ms Phuti Mahanyele, the Executive Chairman of Sigma Capital and former CEO of Shanduka Group, a multi-billion-rand investment holding company.

Mahanyele explored the challenges facing women in leadership and offered coping strategies. Her inspiring address was peppered with sound business and personal advice including: ‘We need to be able to push forward – with or without’ and ‘aim for the extraordinary … despite the circumstances’.

She emphasised the importance of education as being central to the empowerment of young women, saying: ‘Tomorrow’s leaders are in pre-school today.’

She encouraged those present to take charge of their destinies - ‘each and every one of us is the CEO of Me Incorporated … your life is your business!’

Group Executive for Science Engagement and Corporate Relations at the National Research Foundation, Dr Beverly Damonse, echoed Mahanyele’s thoughts on the importance of education. ‘Higher Education is a powerful engine for transformation,’ said Damonse.

However, she emphasised that conversations on women’s advancement should include men.

She shared her experiences about some of the barriers caused by unconscious bias and patriarchal tendencies, saying there was no ‘quick fix’ to boost senior female representation in an organisation. ‘Employers need to take a holistic approach to building a strong and sustainable female talent pipeline.’

Dean of UKZN’s School of Engineering, Professor Cristina Trois, cautioned against ‘people who steal your ideas’, while encouraging those present to work with people ‘who advance you’.

She emphasised the importance of a strong support base and having a vision and a sense of direction in order to survive.

Second-year UKZN Medical student, Mr Siyabonga Sibusiso Shongwe, recited a poem he had written,  Asante Sana Mama, which means ‘Thank you, mama’ in Swahili.

The launch was hosted by the Human Resources Division, with support from Corporate Relations.

Dr Gugu Mazibuko of the School of Arts facilitated the panel discussion while the Director of Human Resources Development, Mrs Busisiwe Ramabodu, was the Director of Proceedings.

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
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Law Academic Wins Gold Medal at International Karate Championships

Law Academic Wins Gold Medal at International Karate Championships
Gold medal winner Ms Suhayfa Bhamjee with her karate trainer Sensei Dan Naicker.

Blue belt karateka and UKZN Law Lecturer Ms Suhavfa Bhamiee won a gold medal in the Individual Kata section at the recent Kimura Shukokai International KZN Karate Championships.

Being an academic, a wife and a mother as well as studying for her doctorate means Bhamiee’s life is very full to put it mildly.  Yet amid all of that she still finds time for karate, a sport she is passionate about.

The Karate championships attracted 79 competitors who competed in three categories: Kata (forms); Kumite (sparring); and Unison/Team Kata.

Bhamjee won gold in the Senior Ladies Kata while her team was awarded silver in the Team Kata section.

‘I entered the competition for the experience, never actually thinking I’d get a medal, let alone gold! I’m still buzzing from it all! The ladies in my division were awesome and very skilled karatekas, a testament to the Shukokai style where the focus is on precision and power,’ said Bhamjee.

‘I started the sport three years ago and now there’s no looking back. As a mum, wife, daughter and academic, karate was something completely out of my comfort zone but to be honest it has been a blast!’

The self-confessed nerd is training hard for her next karate grading in October while flat out with research for her thesis titled: “Death and Dying in a Constitutional Democracy- ASSISTED DYING”, which examines legal and ethical arguments in relation to euthanasia. Her work looks at global legislative trends in allowing people to decide the time and manner of their death.

‘I hope to get my purple belt at the next karate grading,’ said Bhamjee, who is preparing conference papers and submitting articles for peer review on the road to being awarded her doctorate.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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Delivering Power in a Modern World

Delivering Power in a Modern World
Professor David Dorrell (centre) with colleagues on the occasion of his inaugural lecture.

‘We tend to take electrical power for granted in developed countries.  In South Africa, load shedding focused our attention on power!’

So said Professor David Dorrell on the occasion of his inaugural lecture at the UNITE Building on UKZN’s Howard College campus.

Dorrell, who is the newly appointed Acting Director of the Eskom Centre of Excellence in HVDC Engineering, situated within UKZN’s School of Engineering, tackled the topic of delivering power in a modern world. 

In his address, he outlined the building blocks of an electrical power system and gave a brief tour through its development, from the battles between Edison’s DC system and Tesla’s AC system, to modern AC systems with embedded AC generation and reactive power control.

The development of modern power systems via distributed alternative generation and new high voltage DC systems were also discussed.

Dorrell said that in South Africa (2012 figures), about 241 398 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy were generated annually, the majority coming from coal (218 212 GWh).

Dorrell covered the subject of power use and described how new technologies, such as hybrid and electric vehicles were being developed, and new materials such as rare earth magnets used for high efficiency electro-mechanical energy conversion.  ‘New battery technologies are encouraging the better storage of energy,’ he said.

‘Many recent technology developments use power electronics, which has led to a revolution in the generation, transmission, distribution and utilisation of electric power,’ said Dorrell.

Dorrell concluded his lecture with a discussion about the road ahead in terms of delivering power in a modern world.  ‘Even though power systems have been around for over a century, new developments are still taking place,’ he explained.  ‘Power electronics is revolutionising power systems and power conversion.  Renewable energy will move power generation to local settings and power will be generated in a distributed manner.

‘The way we use and are billed for electricity in the home will also change,’ said Dorrell. ‘However, we will still need embedded power and the base load.’

Dorrell, who obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge, has held academic, research and managerial posts with British universities such as the Robert Gordon University, the University of Reading and the University of Glasgow, as well as the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.   In December 2015 he took up the post of Professor of Electrical Machines at UKZN and in June 2016 also assumed the position as Acting Director of the Eskom Centre of Excellence in HVDC at UKZN.

He has carried out many consultancies with industry and has published about 100 journal papers and 250 conference papers. He is also the co-author on a book on magnetic bearings and bearingless machines.

Dorrell is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the United Kingdom, and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), USA.

In his welcome address, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Deo Jaganyi, congratulated Dorrell on his inauguration to the professoriate and explained that an inaugural lecture was an important occasion in the life of every professor.  ‘It is a debt he needs to pay to his university, through the articulation of his research focus areas, before he embarks upon his professorship,’ said Jaganyi.

author : Sally Frost
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Umfundi WezeSintu Uklonyeliswe Ngendondo i- Young Achievers Award Yonyaka wezi-2016

Umfundi WezeSintu Uklonyeliswe Ngendondo i- Young Achievers Award Yonyaka wezi-2016
UMnu Sanele Gamede – Oklonyeliswe ngendondo yonyaka wezi-2016 ye-KZN Young Achievers Award emkhakheni Wezobuchwepheshe BezokuXhumana.

Click here for the English version

Umfundi weziqu zeMastazi kwezamaSiko nezokuXhumana uMnu Sanele Gamede uklomeliswe ngendondo i-Young Achievers Award yonyaka wezi-2016 emkhakheni wezobuChwepheshe BezokuXhumana ngenkampani yakhe i-ILada Techonologies.

‘Ngithanda ukubonga bonke abantu abebengisekelile nabakethe inkampani yami. Ukuthola le ndondo kuyinto enkulu kimina,’usho kanje.

Oyi-CEO ye-KZN Young Achievers Awards, uMnu Mthobisi Mkhize, uthe: ‘Sihlonipha intsha yase-KZN ngemisebenzi yayo eyenza umehluko emiphakathini. USanele uyintshisekelo kwabanye abafundi abasha ngoba ungumuntu osebenza kanzima. Sinethemba lokuthi lo mklomelo uzomvulela amathuba.’

Imisebenzi kaGamede kwezebhizinisi yaqala ngenkathi edayisa umoya womakhalekhukhwini ekhempasini. Ngonyaka wezi-2012 wavula isitolo esincane endaweni ehlala abafundi lapho wayedayisa umoya wamaselula kanye namanandi Gamede’s ngaphambi kokunikezwa isikhala esincane sokuqhuba ibhizinisi lakhe ekhempasini i-Howard College ngonyaka wezi-2013.

Intshisekelo nokuzimisela kukaGamede’ kwezamabhizinisi kumholele ekusunguleni nokubhalisa inkampani yezobuchwepheshe ekhanda imishini yamalephthophu ibuye idayise amasha kanye nakhandiwe.

‘Okuhloswe yinkampani yami ukulekelela abafundi,’ usho kanje. ‘Manje abafundi abasidingi ukuthi baye edolobheni ukuyolungisa imishini yabo ngoba kunomuntu osekhempasini ongabasiza ngabakudingayo ngenani elifanele. Abafundi bayasizakala ngoba abakhokhi imali yokugibela futhi baphephile nasebugebengwini,’ kuchaza uGamede.

Unenkampani ethuthukisa abantu ebizwa nge-Career Master ehlinzeka ngokuqeqesha kwezempilo, ezamabhizinisi, ezokudayisa, kanye nezemisebenzi.

Uma udinga imininingwane ngokwenziwa yinkampani ka-Gamede, xhumana naye nge-imeyili ethi:

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Power Line Inspection Robot Runner-up in Newton Fund Competition

The power line inspection robot in action.

The Power Line Inspection robot developed by engineers in UKZN’s Discipline of Electrical Engineering is a runner-up in the Newton Fund Video Competition thanks in part to a video created by one of the developers of the robot, Mr Trevor Lorimer.

Using footage gathered over four years, Lorimer created a video that showcases the robot’s development and design.

As runner-up, Lorimer will attend the Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) Engineering a Better World Conference in London to present the video.

The prize also provides marketing funding to publicise this innovation so Lorimer will use the trip to meet industry leaders in the United Kingdom who are interested in using the technology on their lines.

The robot was developed by the University in collaboration with Eskom, with Lorimer and Mr Timothy Rowell completing masters research on the project. Lorimer is now spearheading the third prototype robot.

Professor Ed Boje, now at the University of Cape Town, has managed the project since inception. Since Boje’s departure from UKZN, Dr Andrew Swanson has performed a direct role in managing the project, with Boje contributing expertise.

The project received seed funding from the Technology Innovation Agency through UKZN InQubate, the University’s Technology Transfer Office which manages the project’s intellectual property (co-owned by the University and Eskom). Inventors are entitled to benefit-sharing from the profits of successful commercialisation of the technology.

The power line inspection robot in action.

The team hopes to begin the final phase of primary development by testing the third generation prototype, preceding the start of limited commercial inspections targeted at niche applications where other methods are too expensive or dangerous to be conducted regularly.

‘If you distil the problem of power line maintenance, the value here is in the inspection data itself, and the challenge is to deliver this data to the inspector efficiently,’ explained Lorimer. ‘Instead of transporting tons of equipment across thousands of kilometres, we’ll send out robotic vehicles to transport the cameras.’

The robot performs detailed power line inspections at reduced costs to contribute to properly informed maintenance decisions, in order to ensure the quality of electrical supply. Inspections, important for statutory compliance and asset maintenance, are currently limited to foot and aerial patrols.

The lightweight robot is a platform, controlled from a ground station, to transport inspection sensors, and will comprise instrumentation from a multi-spectral camera to acoustic sensors to resistance and temperature measures. The device uses smaller line crews and could be instrumental in inspecting lines in numerous countries.

Lorimer hopes that the video will generate more publicity for innovations in Engineering at UKZN, and also gather more support for entrepreneurial activities, especially at the University.

Lorimer envisions the development of technology allowing the device to be recharged by the power lines themselves, using machine vision to detect hardware so the robot can self-navigate, and connect to high-speed networks to allow inspectors to access inspection data from an office base.

* Lorimer was recently a guest on Kaya FM Bizz, where he spoke to Thuli Magubane about the technology.

author : Christine Cuénod
author email :

UKZN Alumnus Receives Award from JOMBA!

UKZN Alumnus Receives Award from JOMBA!
Inset Left: Mr Musa Hlatshwayo (right) receives the Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award from CCA Director Mr David Wa Maahlamela. Inset right: Ms Lliane Loots with Mr Musa Hlatswayo and Ms Adrienne Sichel.

JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, has honoured acclaimed Durban dancer, choreographer and educator Musa Hlatshwayo, with the Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award.

The Award, now in its sixth year, is in honour of the late Eric Mshengu Shabalala - a local dancer, choreographer, teacher and one of the founding dancers of the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre in Durban.

Each year, the CCA and JOMBA! present the award to recognise KwaZulu-Natal’s stalwart dancers and dance teachers.

UKZN Performing Arts Lecturer and Artistic Director of JOMBA! Ms Lliane Loots said: ‘This award is given not only in recognition of performance or choreographic excellence, but more profoundly and more importantly in recognition of dance practitioners who have worked tirelessly to help grow a culture of dance and dance training in Durban.  It also recognises those who have supported the growth of dance as an art form at both community and regional levels.

‘The selection of winners of this prize by the JOMBA! Committee also recognises those who make the biggest social contribution to their communities. It looks at those who go beyond the call of duty, often with little or no funding, to put KwaZulu-Natal dancers on the international map. This is the spirit of Eric Shabalala we see living and continuing in Musa’s work,’ said Loots.

Hlatshwayo is a multi-award winning young choreographer, performer, educator, and voice artist with experience in the performing arts and community development. He completed a BA in Media and Communications as well as Drama and Performance Studies at UKZN.  

He trained with the Flatfoot Student Company for two years and received an opportunity to train at the Copenhagen School of Modern Dance. He then returned to UKZN where he received his BA Honours and a Dance in Education postgraduate certificate which he completed while working as one of the founding members of the Flatfoot Dance Company in 2003.

He has also worked with the Fantastic Fish Dance Company, Portia Mashigo Dance Theatre, Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, Phenduka Dance Theatre, First Physical Theatre Company, the Handsfree Puppetry Company, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company and many other independent theatre directors, choreographers and producers.

Hlatshwayo is passionate about the role of contemporary dance in developing communities and the role it plays in fostering dialogue across socio-political divides. He has served in various educational institutions locally and abroad as a tutor, guest lecturer, course co-ordinator and external examiner in the arts departments.

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email :

Dr Kenda Knowles – a UKZN Wonder Woman in Science

Dr Kenda Knowles – a UKZN Wonder Woman in Science
Dr Kenda Knowles.

National Science Week is a countrywide initiative that promotes careers in Science, Engineering and Technology for South African students while National Women’s Day commemorates the 1956 march of 20 000 women protesting against the country’s pass laws.

Both events shed light on important issues, including a skills shortage in Science, Engineering and Technology and the limited presence of women in these fields.

UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science showcased its support for these causes in a series of articles acknowledging its own Wonder Women in Science - all passionate, pioneering and persistent heroines who are “kicking ass” in Science and stand as shining examples for all women.

Hands up if your teacher ever caught you daydreaming during a boring lesson and told you to come back to earth. Okay, put your hands down! Dr Kenda Knowles turned her day dreaming into reality by making space and all its wonders the centre of her career. As a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), Knowles is a star on the rise in the field of radio astronomy.

Her fascination with the night sky started when she was just 10-years-old. While on a Brownies (girl scouts) excursion, the constellation of Orion was pointed out to her and she learned about the clusters of stars close to it known as the Pleiades. ‘I remember feeling a sense of awe and amazement which got me hooked,’ said Knowles.

This interest coupled with an aptitude for Maths and Science led to her receiving her PhD earlier this year with her doctoral research resulting in the discovery of a new radio halo -- large space regions which emit radio waves - in a low-mass galaxy cluster.

Knowles explained that our solar system contains a set of planets orbiting around the sun - which is a star. However, the universe is made up of many stars each probably with its own set of planets. A large group of stars makes up a galaxy, and a large group of galaxies is known as a galaxy cluster. Knowles’ work focuses on understanding the merging of these clusters by studying the radio emissions which appear bright during energetic mergers and then fade with time.

She was selected to attend the 2015 Nobel Laureate Meeting as a Young Scientist and won a Doctoral Fellowship at the 2015 DST Women in Science awards. Despite her exceptional achievements, Kenda says she has struggled with ‘imposter syndrome’. ‘This is when everyone thinks you’re great but you think you’re not good enough and feel like you are faking it. But you just have to fake it - your confidence - until you make it,’ she explains.

Knowles says more women are needed in science to show the world they are just as good as their male counterparts. ‘Science was believed to be a man’s field because women were considered to be less capable. We’re just as capable, so it’s high time the balance is corrected.’

To help restore this balance she is involved in astronomy outreach for ACRU, giving talks to the public and to high school students. Her advice for budding scientists is: ‘Dig in and go for it. The only thing holding you back is yourself. Science can be challenging but it can also be really rewarding and provide a great sense of achievement.’

Knowles says the next generation of scientists has a lot to overcome, including a lack of qualified high school science teachers and a curriculum that does not adequately prepare students for university. However, she feels the government’s investment in Science and Technology education/careers is a move in the right direction.

For Knowles inspiring greatness means practicing what you preach by inspiring others to do better and be confident of their abilities. She respects her supervisor, Professor Kavilan Moodley, describing him as an excellent researcher who takes time to mentor his students.

Her immediate plans include staying in academia and working towards a post-doctoral fellowship at the Square Kilometre Array - the large multi radio telescope project involving South Africa and Australia. But not knowing what’s written in the stars, she leaves a window of possibility open. ‘I’m open to new experiences so who knows what I’ll be doing in 10 years!’

We asked Knowles to create a “super hero profile” for herself through answers to our questions:

Q. What would your super power be and why?     

A. Invisibility because anonymity can be bliss - I realise how ironic that is given this is an interview! Also teleportation to eliminate 17-hour flights!


Q. What would be your theme song?

A. Hells Bells by AC/DC, because as with most of their songs it makes me feel powerful and like I can take on anything.


Q. Who would be your sidekicks and why?

A. My best friend Susan Wilson - together we can always find an adventure and really have some fun.


Q. Where would your secret lair/ hide-out be?     

A. If I told you then it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it?


Q. Describe your happy place.       

A. Any place where I could have a Great Dane…or two…or three! 

* View previous UKZN Wonder Women in Science articles


School of Maths, Stats & Computer Science

author : Sashlin Girraj
author email :

UKZN Academic Presents Paper at Workshop in China

UKZN Academic Presents Paper at Workshop in China
Dr Thea van der Westhuizen during her visit to Lenovo’s headquarters in China.

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academic, Dr Thea van der Westhuizen, presented a paper at the Strategy and Marketing for Emerging Countries workshop held in China.

Van der Westhuizen was awarded a scholarship to attend the programme which focused on business opportunities, marketing, logistics and structures in the context of emerging economies and analysed success case study stories in countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

Her paper titled: “A Systemic Approach Towards Responsible and Sustainable Economic Development”, illustrated how entrepreneurship, systems theory and socio-economic momentum play an important role in giving momentum to responsible and sustainable economic growth.

Van der Westhuizen said the workshop helped her gain valuable insights into entrepreneurship which would be of benefit in her post-doctoral studies.

‘We heard from world experts in strategy and with the programme being a BRICS initiative there was a diverse mix of participants resulting in a sharing of cultures and perspectives on strategy which was phenomenal,’ she said.

During her month-long stay in Beijing, van der Westhuizen visited the headquarters of the Chinese multinational technology company, Lenovo, as part of the programme’s practical element. She also visited the Great Wall of China and experienced the city’s culture and cuisine.

‘Lenovo is a brand I have read a lot about and it was incredible to see innovators hard at work when we toured the company’s research and development unit. It was amazing to see their walls decorated with hundreds of patents and observe how their strategies have led to the innovation of technology.’

author : Thandiwe Jumo
author email :

Workshop on Terminology Development

Workshop on Terminology Development
UKZN’s Terminology Development workshop on the Howard College campus.

UKZN’s Language Planning and Development Office recently hosted a workshop on the Howard College campus titled: “Terminology: Fundamentals for Practice and Research”.

The workshop was facilitated by the Chairperson of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Cape Town, Professor Bassey Antia, who was acknowledged for his expertise in multilingualism and terminology by the Director of UKZN’s Language Planning and Development Office, Dr Langa Khumalo.

Bassey said UKZN’s focus on the issue of language and its role in transformation had been applauded nationally and internationally. ‘This workshop on terminology is very central to that vision. Epistemological access is a critical component of language-based transformation in Higher Education in South Africa,’ said Bassey.

He said making knowledge available in a language which the students were proficient in was consistent with ‘language-based transformation intended to foster epistemological access.

‘Students are frequently unable to access the knowledge on offer, in part because of the language in which that knowledge is presented,’ he said.

Bassey emphasised the fact that terms were the central pieces in the construction of knowledge. If the terms in a text were unfamiliar, that text was meaningless. ‘Terms are the building blocks of specialised knowledge,’ he said. 

He said producing lecture materials in indigenous languages on the basis of the terminology created, did not necessarily guarantee ‘integral understanding of the material in the home language’. Illustrating this point, Bassey said: ‘Scholars have pointed out that academic language is no-one’s mother tongue. So the fact that I grew up speaking English as a home language does not mean that I would understand a text written in English on the subject of Nuclear Physics - I have to be taught.

‘So by the same token, no-one should assume that because we have created terminology and text in isiZulu, students should automatically understand one hundred percent. We need to go a step further and create academic literacy programmes in isiZulu, just as we have such programmes in English, French and German,’ he concluded.

The workshop included sessions on term spotting, theoretical foundations for terminology practice and the contextualisation of terminology within Language for Special Purposes.

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
author email :

Empowering Hands that Rock the Cradle!

Empowering Hands that Rock the Cradle!
Women Empowerment Seminar.

The Department of Student Residence Affairs on UKZN’s Edgewood campus hosted its inaugural Women Empowerment Seminar to uplift the spirits of female residence students.

In celebrating Women’s Month, the seminar aimed to promote the strengths of women in various sectors, highlighting the endless opportunities for them to advance.

The event attracted 200 students who participated in essay writing prior to the event which provided the opportunity for expression of views on what women empowerment means. Their inputs earned them attendance at a dinner held after a seminar that concentrated on various aspects including the abuse of women, HIV and AIDS awareness, cancer awareness, and women in leadership.

The event ended with the declaration: ‘Here’s to strong women: May we KNOW them, may we BE them, and may we RAISE them!’

Organisers of the event emphasised the need for further similar functions to be held and committed to ensuring this happened.

author : Jennifer Sheokarah
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UKZN Clinical Sociologist Speaks at Soroptimist International Event

UKZN Clinical Sociologist Speaks at Soroptimist International Event
Dr Mariam Seedat-Khan with learners at the Soroptimist International Durban Adventure into Womanhood event.

Clinical Sociologist and UKZN academic Dr Mariam Seedat-Khan, gave a motivational talk to an audience of Grade 11 learners during the annual Adventure into Womanhood programme presented by Soroptimist International Durban.

The event is designed to inspire, motivate and empower girls who come from schools based in historically disadvantaged communities in and around Durban.

Seedat-Khan, who was among speakers who identified important skills necessary for the girls’ academic journey, said: ‘Learning is a lifelong process that begins at birth and ends at death. Learning educates us and helps us change the world. Without learning we would have no progress.’

One of the speakers was Ms Kiara Nirghin, the regional winner for the Middle East and Africa and one of 16 global finalists in the Google Science Fair’s Community Impact Award. Nirghin, from St Martin’s School in Johannesburg, will travel to the Google headquarters in California for the awards ceremony this month.

author : Melissa Mungroo
author email :

Dietetics Student in Miss Cameroon SA Pageant

Dietetics Student in Miss Cameroon SA Pageant
UKZN’s Ms Joan Akob, an entrant in the Miss Cameroon South Africa pageant.

Postgraduate Diploma student in Dietetics in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences Ms Joan Akob is participating in the Miss Cameroon South Africa pageant, demonstrating her strong sense of national pride, patriotism and appreciation for her home country of Cameroon.

The pageant, initiated in 2015 by Tswelopele Rural Community Outreach, aims to promote, celebrate, educate and seek global advancement, cultural exchange and social cohesion in South Africa in the aftermath of xenophobic attacks in the country.

Two winners are crowned: Miss Cameroon South Africa - a Cameroon citizen living in South Africa, and Miss South Africa Cameroon - a South African motivated by promoting social cohesion and unity.

After the crowning ceremony on 30 September, the winner of the Miss South Africa Cameroon contest will become a finalist in the Miss Cameroon 2017 pageant, and together with Miss South Africa Cameroon will travel to Cameroon as a VIP queen in the Miss Cameroon competition, thus strengthening SA-Cameroon relations.

Akob believes the event will spark dialogue among Cameroon citizens in South Africa in connection with culture, their nation and how they can use their skills to make a difference in communities in both countries.

Akob has lived in South Africa for nine years after moving with her parents and two sisters from the country of her birth.

Having enjoyed watching pageants as a child, Akob decided to enter the pageant to display her confidence, intelligence and eloquence, and now hopes it will accelerate her growth as a leader, role model and ambassador.

She is currently completing her food service internship as part of her studies.

‘What we eat impacts greatly on our health. In addition, following the correct diet can control and even heal lifestyle conditions,’ said Akob. ‘Diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and strokes are among the top 10 causes of death in Cameroon. These are all conditions which can be treated, prevented or controlled with the right nutrition.’

Akob, in partnership with her parents and older sister, Faith, is a co-founder of a nutrition centre in Bamenda, Cameroon, called Nutrition and Wellness Associates (NAWA).

‘I intend to give back to my nation, Africa and if possible, the wider world through the knowledge I have gained,’ said Akob.

Akob says her Christian faith and values are a constant inspiration, and her family’s successes spur her on.

In June, her sister, Elma, attended the Global Young leaders Conference (GYLC) in Washington becoming the first Black woman to be appointed Chair of the organisation, while Faith is lecturing and running the NAWA in Cameroon.

author : Christine Cuénod
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Accounting Students Benefit from Extra Tuition Programme

Accounting Students Benefit from Extra Tuition Programme
Extra tuition classes participants.

Giving up spare time at weekends to get extra tuition is a sacrifice but also an investment some UKZN Accounting students make in pursuit of academic excellence.

The extra tuition programme, which began in March, is currently run by the UKZN School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in partnership with SAICA’s Thuthuka and FASSET.

About 100 second and third year Accounting students attend the academic support classes on the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses every Saturday. The students are assisted in getting textbooks.

Project Coordinator and Accounting Lecturer Dr Msizi Mkhize said the initiative was created to improve the academic results of the participants to enable them to advance to the next level of studies as well as to develop study skills and improve their self-image and self-confidence.

‘The project’s objectives are not only to improve the pass rate but to also promote both equity and excellence, and attract and retain students who have experienced gaps and disparities in both education and life experiences,’ said Mkhize.

Students Ms Nongamso Cokotho and Ms Thozama Joyi said the project had helped them identify their weak areas and provided them with solutions to overcome challenges.

‘This project has been very informative and has added value to my life as it improved my academic performance for the first semester,’ said Cokotho.

Joyi added studying in a smaller group made her feel less intimidated when getting clarity in areas she did not understand properly.

‘Being around my peers in a non-intimidating setting has helped me better understand the pace at which I have to move. After studying alone for so long being part of a group has been an eye opener as it has taught me the value of sharing challenges and solutions,’ she said.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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