Focus on Ilanga lase Natal newspaper at 2016 Dube Memorial Lecture

Focus on Ilanga lase Natal newspaper at 2016 Dube Memorial Lecture
UKZN staff and guests with Professor Ntongela Masilela (second left) at the annual John Dube Lecture.

The Ilanga lase Natal (The Natal Sun) newspaper provided the focus for the 2016 John Langalibalele Dube Memorial Lecture which was delivered by renowned South African intellectual and independent scholar, Professor Ntongela Masilela.

UKZN’s School of Education and the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC), in collaboration with the University Language Planning and Development Office, hosted the lecture at the Colin Webb Hall on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Introducing the Lecture, JL Dube Chair in Rural Education Professor Relebohile Moletsane reflected on the past lectures saying: ‘These lectures have contributed to the dissemination of knowledge and we are grateful to the Dube family for their ongoing support.’

Acting Dean and Head of the School of Education Professor Thabo Msibi added: ‘This lecture is a flagship of the College of Humanities and allows for the engagement of the public discourse and the issues of today. These are important conversations to have and we will continue to provide support to the lecture series.’ 

The lecture, titled: “South African Intellectual and Political Culture Enabled by John Langalibalele Dube in founding Ilanga lase Natal (The Natal Sun) Newspaper in 1903”, conveyed the complex mosaic of this historic formation made possible by Dube’s establishment of the newspaper.

Masilela believes that the fundamental contribution made by Dube to South Africa was in having had the foresight to recognise that a newspaper was one of the principal means for forging and coalescing the making of modern political and cultural consciousness.

Discussing the newspaper’s editors over a 50-year period, Dube’s three enlightening essays and the establishment of the Ohlange Christian Industrial School, Masilela linked this to the New African intellectuals of the New African Movement that Dube was profoundly engaged with and its social and political consequences.

Having abandoned English modernity in favour of the Negro modernity ‘Dube never once deviated from this fundamental conviction in the remaining 34 years of life in politically practising and transforming the conservative New Negro modernity into a conservative New African modernity which he felt was a historical necessity for the betterment of the South African Commonwealth,’ said Masilela.

He pointed out that Dube shifted from pedagogical and religious matters to the sphere of political action largely because of the Natives Land Act as evidenced by five articles he wrote denouncing it in his own newspaper and in Solomon T. Plaatje’s newspaper Tsala ea Batho from August 22, 1913 to July 31, 1914.

‘Dube was and remains a great enigma even today because although he had deep empathy for all his oppressed Black compatriots, he seems not to have understood the deep underlying causes and principles, economic, political and social, of this oppression, and more importantly, the political action that needed to be undertaken to overcome or overthrow the foundation of this oppression,’ claimed Masilela.

‘Dube failed to draw the inevitable political consequences of what he understood intuitively: that the working class would be the fundamental determinant of the new politics in modernity not the chiefs and royal families in the rural areas to whom both Dube and Pixley ka Isaka Seme were unyielding loyal.’

Masilela catalogued the political movement of various Zulu intellectuals and political leaders from the central to the regional, offering an indication of the complexities and contradictions and graphic representation of the complexity in the making of modernity in South Africa.

Concluding, Masilela said: ‘The historical achievements and the political paradoxes of John Langalibalele Dube are what makes him our absolute contemporary in the second decade of the 21st Century.’

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Join Forces to Mitigate Food Insecurity and Climate Change

Join Forces to Mitigate Food Insecurity and Climate Change
Delegates at the inaugural IKS BRICS Conference in Durban.

Mitigating food insecurity and the effects of climate change required a collective effort on a global scale, said UKZN’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

Abdool Karim was speaking at the first BRICS countries Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Conference held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The members of BRICS countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The focus of the Conference was on the role of indigenous knowledge and institutions in meeting global challenges of food and global security, environmental governance, climate change and human rights.

The significance of local community engagement using Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and institutions in these global challenges was the major highlight of the gathering.

This was evident through the participation and involvement of traditional leaders and healers, farmers, youth organisations and the inclusion of indigenous languages in the conference proceedings.

Abdool Karim said the Conference themes focused on the critical areas of food security and climate change and working to improve the situation in those areas to protect the earth would require a collective effort at a global level.

The view of the Conference organisers was that global challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation and international terrorism had no boundaries on the adverse effects they had on poverty, food insecurity, forced migration and human rights.

‘The insecurity they cause affects everyone regardless of race, nationality, religion, class and gender. Therefore, its mitigation requires a collective effort within and across national borders,’ the organisers agreed.

The major argument was that although the majority of the population in the BRICS countries still depended on their IKS for a livelihood, these tended to be marginalised in the search for sustainable solutions to global challenges.  Therefore, the significance of incorporating IKS in combating these global challenges was based on the awareness that once people and communities felt they were part of the business of the state, they become inspired and ready to protect the state, resources and the environment in general as a home and place of work. 

Inkosi Winston Themba Mavundla, who represented the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, delivered the opening address in which he emphasised the importance of indigenous institutions and associated principles such as Ubuntu in mobilising communities for the preservation and protection of the environment.

Chief Director of Science Missions at the Department of Science and Technology, Professor Yonah Seleti, said the conference was significant, not just because it was the first of its kind, but ‘the timing is happening after the Paris Agreement where the significance of climate change was highlighted’. Seleti said IKS could be a significant player in managing climate change issues globally.

Director of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Foundation Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Professor Hassan Kaya, said one of the primary aims of the conference was to contribute to priority areas at next month’s 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, India.

Director of the South African BRICS Think Tank, Professor Godfrey Netswera, said the conference allowed academics from the South to ‘come together in order to exchange knowledge.’ Netswera stressed the importance of publishing findings and documenting research on IKS, with a particular emphasis on examples from the South. 

‘It will change the mind-set of the Black child, and of the child from the South, so that we start looking at ourselves as people who contribute to the generation of knowledge… and not just as knowledge consumers,’ he said.

Several academics and postgraduate students from Africa and beyond presented papers on a wide variety of topics. 

The youth forum discussion yielded different perspectives on the role of youth in the promotion and preservation of IKS.  Youth leaders from the South African Institute for International Affairs, Women’s Leadership and Training, Child and Youth Care, Youth Coalition on Climate Change and learners shared their experiences and successful interventions within their national and international networks of young women, men and communities.  They acknowledged their critical role in carrying forward the significance of IKS in alleviating global challenges for all citizens. 

The Conference was hosted by the DST-NRF Centre in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CIKS) at UKZN in collaboration with eThekwini Municipality’s Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE); the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS); the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT); the Africa Programme of the United Nations University for Peace (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); the Durban Chamber of Commerce, and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD).

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
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The UKZN Griot. Of Decolonisation and Freedom

The UKZN Griot. Of Decolonisation and Freedom

Keyan G Tomaselli*

Social media notwithstanding, graffiti remains the subversive medium of choice for any true revolutionary, especially if painted on historic buildings. Forget Twitter and consult the nearest wall. Graffiti on campuses (excluding toilet walls depicting acts that would embarrass Playboy) finally exposes the ultimate culprit. An enemy hiding in plain sight, it has infiltrated everywhere. Our rainbow-tinted exuberance suckered us into believing that apartheid had been the enemy. That once we could establish freedom, democracy, BBBEE, EE, NEDLAC, NEPAD, stricter visa regulations, and a non-racial society, everything would be hunky dory.

How blind!

Vanguardist campus activists have liberated themselves from false consciousness and exposed the true enemy: colonialism.  (This is a one-size-fits all demon that forgets that every society everywhere at every time has been brutally colonised - often successively). This realisation is a game-changer. Transforming from apartheid is first base, building our society was second base, but playing with decolonisation moves into the big leagues.

Transformation just tinkered with racial targets.  But once colonialism is the target, then everything is up for grabs. The ‘decolonising methods’ ball I have been leading enthusiastically in my curriculum reform, in forging new critical indigenous methods and new theories-from-below. Less keen have I been with de-colonising statues and road names, as we need to remember who the historical villains are.

Once decolonisation has replaced HIV as the ‘new struggle’, the National Development Plan can really build progress because, at root, everything in settler economies has colonial origins. A Roman Dutch judicial system undermines government at every turn, and sectors of a hostile Anglo Saxon media are now owned by the state pension fund, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).  Yet, PIC  approved the colonisation of the true blue South African Breweries by nasty imperialist brewers, enabling shareholders to laugh all the way to the bank – until Brexit knocked them to hell and gone.  This capitalist system is linked to a Westminster ‘Parliament’ that is just an excuse to embarrass our President.

And what about those nit-pickety settler folk expecting refugee status in the Western Cape?  The First People in all Capes are largely ignored in their pleas that Afrikaans be recognised as indigenous and no-one talks about restoring their historical claims to most of Southern Africa.  If the First People were indeed the first, disagreements over Homo Naledi notwithstanding, then the rest of us are second, third and fourth, eventually to the power ‘n’.  The further down the time-chain the less rights we should get. In going back this far, the campus decolonisers themselves will need decolonisation.  In the US, the whole point of Trump-o-nomics is to decolonise the USA of Mexicans, Moslems and good sense, to punish American business gone global, to engage in Big Wall tenderpreneurship, and to keep out Mexican narco-colonisers who, unlike Aztecs religious sacrifice, simply kill to secure market share.  Xenophobia and markets knows no bounds, whether in Gauteng or anywhere else. 

In this fiery path to African righteousness, we lose nothing. Our Gini co-efficient reflects barbaric economic inequality. So enthralled are we by economic growth in China and former colonies like Brazil, India and Singapore, that we forgot African solutions to resolve so-called African problems.

To the north, war veterans have proven that the ultimate victory against colonialism is eradication of currency itself, returning to indigenous bartering practices. Unleashing the anti-colonial Genie makes the very concept of Gini a moot point. Without currency it is impossible to measure Gini-co-efficients.  The outcome is to return to a state of timeless nature and ultimate freedom from the yokes of colonialism, imperialism, neo-liberalism, capitalism, and any more re-runs of The Kardashians or the memory of Mzilakazi. This, even as the killers of currency drive through and over their inconvenient serfs, 95% of whom are unemployed,  in expensive bullet proof sedans imported from Europe and protected by bodyguards with imported Russian weapons.

This great victory has restored the dignity of the poorest of the poor.  The obverse, of course, is that the richest of the rich shop in Europe, get medical treatment in Singapore and buy property unaffordable to anyone else in the Western Cape.

Comrades, I leave you with an extract from War Veterans in Zimbabwe’s Revolution, by Zvakanyorwa Sadomba. He poses the conundrum: ‘Zimbabwe’s revolution sets a new agenda and raises anew the intriguing question “what are the people of Africa trying to free themselves from and what are they trying to establish”?’

While we figure this out, the world moves on.  Europe is absorbing millions of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. South Africa resents the thousands crossing the Limpopo, and xenophobia is re-emerging everywhere.  But that’s OK, because we know how to destroy.  Once everything is destroyed, then we’ll have equity.  Except that some folks will have stashed their goodies behind fortified compounds, in Swiss banks while exempting themselves from global institutions of accountability.

Keyan G Tomaselli is a Witsie, a UKZN Professor Emeritus, and a University of Johannesburg Professor.  He can be de-colonised at

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

author : Keyan Tomaselli
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AKM Docrat Collection donated to UKZN Documentation Centre

AKM Docrat Collection donated to UKZN Documentation Centre
From left: Senior Librarian at the Documentation Centre, Mr Thiru Munsamy; Mr Feizal M. Motala, and a member of the Advisory Board at the Documentation Centre, Professor Goolam Vahed.

UKZN’s Gandhi-Luthuli Documentation Centre has received a donation of documents collected by anti-apartheid stalwart, AKM Docrat.

The collection, donated to the University by UKZN alumnus, Mr Feizal M. Motala, includes articles written by prominent organisations during the liberation struggle, such as the Unity Movement and the Natal Indian Congress; reports; official publications; pamphlets and newspaper clippings. Many of these have not been seen before and will prove invaluable to researchers. Docrat, who was banned for 25 years, collected newspaper cuttings on banned persons, their trials and the restrictions they faced. A first edition of Satyagraha, by Mahatma Gandhi, was also donated by Motala.

Motala said while Docrat was banned he lived alone in a one-bedroom flat in Victoria Street, where he was confined for 22 hours a day and was only allowed out for two hours.  ‘During this period he went around selling his books.  I remember him barging into my uncle’s office and throwing books on the table before walking away. This was his manner irrespective of who was in the office - remember, he only had two hours out of his flat,’ said Motala.

Motala tells of Docrat’s determination to fight against the machinery of apartheid, even while he was banned.  ‘His flat was Flat 1, Nirmal Court in Victoria Street.  It was the last flat in the passage and there was a gate which he always kept locked.  He could see the gate from his bathroom window and if you rattled the lock, he would allow you in or not. If he did not want to see you, he did not answer the gate,’ he said.

‘On one occasion a Lt Nayager, who was the highest ranking Indian policeman in the Security Branch at the time, came to visit him in the course of his official duty.  He rattled the gate and A K M Docrat opened it. ‘Unfortunately for Nayager, he forgot his bag in Mr Docrat’s room when he left.   He returned a few minutes later and rattled the gate again.  Mr Docrat answered the gate and asked him who he was. 

Lt Nayager’s response was that he had been there just a few minutes earlier and Mr Docrat knew him.

‘Mr Docrat said: “Don’t you know that I am a banned person and not allowed visitors? How do I know that you are Lt Nayager”.’ Lt Nayager humbly took out his police card and showed it to him to confirm who he was.  Then only did Mr Docrat let him in.’

Motala, who has served as an attorney for 35 years, donated the Docrat collection to ensure it reaches a wider audience. Speaking fondly about his family friend and mentor, Motala said: ‘I hope Mr Docrat will be remembered for what he was, a forthright and dedicated activist, a simple man with profoundly important ideas and an honest, radical and dear friend.’

Motala’s personal collection includes pamphlets and invitations sent to Docrat from the African National Congress, a delegate’s card to the Congress of the People and an invitation card for fund raising for treason trials - ‘some of which I found in his books which he used to hide from the Security Police’.

Docrat’s estate was used to build a Library and Media Centre at Hartley Road Primary School. 

author : Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer
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PhD Student Wins Prize at Research Symposium

PhD Student Wins Prize at Research Symposium
Ms Amanda Wellmann.

PhD student in UKZN’s KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV, Ms Amanda Wellmann, won third prize for her presentation at the College of Health Sciences Research Symposium.

Wellmann received R15 000 to cover the costs of attending a national academic conference of her choice.

Her research presentation was titled: “The Modulation of Innate Lymphoid Cells in TB”.

Directly seeing the impact that TB and HIV have on people really motivated me to get involved,’ said Wellmann. ‘I have always wanted to do medical research but wanted to spend time studying something that hit close to home. Besides this, HIV and TB are both interesting and complex pathogens.’

Wellman’s oral presentation discussed Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs) and their involvement in TB. ILCs are a novel subset of immune cells found in many different organisms, including humans and mice. They have links to tissue repair and remodelling in the lung. They are also central to granuloma formation which together with tissue remodelling are key aspects of TB pathology thought to have a role in the disease.

According to Wellmann they discovered that these cells were found in much lower frequencies in the blood samples of TB patients (with and without HIV) in comparison to the levels seen in healthy patients. When they examined several patients that had been treated for TB (these patients were deemed cured by the clinic) they saw that two subsets of ILCs (ILC1 and ILC3) numbers came back to almost normal. One subset (ILC2s) was not affected by treatment.

According to Wellmann, they are also looking at respected human lung samples from TB patients and TB-negative controls to see if they can detect these cells and whether they are functional.

‘Just to emphasise how lucky we are to have access to the samples that we do, these samples are not available to many other TB researchers globally, which gives us an immense opportunity to do something unique here.’

author : Sinenhlanhla Ngubane
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UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Peer Education Training

UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Peer Education Training
HEAIDS representatives with UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme staff and Peer Educators.

Peer education training conducted by the Higher Education and Training AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) on the Medical School campus in Durban attracted 40 students.

The event was organised by UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme Peer Educaion Training section.

The interactive and fun-filled training was geared towards developing peer mentors and educators who are a key resource for enhancing positive values and encouraging healthy behaviour.

The presence on campuses of the peer mentors and educators cultivates an enabling environment for interventions that address all issues related to HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.

The training was on issues such as Anatomy and Perception; First Things First Methodology, HIV, AIDS, STI Transmission, Condom Demonstrations, Tuberculosis Myths and Misconceptions, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) related matters and Project Management.

This training strengthened the on-going campus education and services to help men and women make good lifestyle choices that will keep them healthy and successful in their studies.

author : Thembani Khumalo
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High Level Recognition of Article by UKZN Academic in Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research

High Level Recognition of Article by UKZN Academic in Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research
Dr Given Mutinta.

An article by a Research Methodology Lecturer in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Dr Given Mutinta, in the 2015 Journal of AIDS and Clinical Research has earned recognition for being the most emailed, viewed, and cited submission in that publication

The article is titled: “An Exploratory Study of the Relationship between Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk Behaviour Among Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal”.

Mutinta’s article enjoyed an impressive total of 11 302 views, 7 559 HTML page views, 3 743 PDF downloads, 240 emails, 276 export citations, and 34 share/blogs.

The article examines the relationship between alcohol consumption and sexual risk-taking behaviour among UKZN students.

The journal publishes high quality research articles related to AIDS and Clinical Research of interest to medical practitioners, behavior therapists, researchers, lab professionals, students, and academics.

‘The study reveals that alcohol consumption is linked to the practice of having many sexual partners and erratic use of condoms with new partners,’ said Mutinta. ‘This phenomenon was common among students who often used alcohol in relation to engaging in penetrative sex.’

Mutinta further found that the relationship between alcohol use and sexual risk behaviour was complicated, and the relationship seemed to be instigated by multisystemic factors including biological, individual, behavioural, and socio-environmental factors.

He also argues that it is not enough to have a university policy that prohibits consumption of alcohol on campuses. Instead, he says, measures should be put in place to translate the policy into practice to prevent the consumption of alcohol on South African university campuses and initiate programmes addressing many health issues, including healthy use of alcohol.

‘The argument the study is advancing is that HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness interventions targeting students need to address the influence of alcohol on sexual risk behaviour on campuses. HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness communication programmes should target students who consume alcohol in relation to engaging in penetrative sex,’ said Mutinta.

Commenting on Mutinta’s article on behalf of the journal’s editorial board, Professor Maria Jose Miguez-Burbano of Florida International University said the article was ‘a feast for our readers’.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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UKZN Students Participate in Young Planners Workshop

UKZN Students Participate in Young Planners Workshop
Students with UKZN academics.

Ten masters students from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies participated in a three-day workshop for young planners.

The Young Planning Professionals’ Workshop brought together young planners from across the globe to discuss solutions to developmental problems facing many countries.

The UKZN students, selected to represent the University and KwaZulu-Natal, are currently studying towards their Master’s degrees in Town and Regional Planning.

‘We are very excited to have been chosen to represent UKZN. We have never had an event like this in the school,’ said Miss Mbalenhle Ngidi.

The group, who felt the event had put the University’s’ Planning Department on the map, said they gained valuable knowledge from the experience.

‘It is refreshing for women to be part of the programme as the field is dominated by men,’ said Miss Zinhle Mnikathi.

‘Historically, planning was used to segregate South Africa to create what we are trying to recreate as aspiring planners. It is very important to be involved in such a great initiative in order to resolve such issues,’ said another student, Miss Sinenkhosi Dlamini.

The students said that against the background of the recent student protests, the conference had come just at the right time in regard to transformation in terms of access to services and land amongst other issues.

They said planning was not just about the technical aspects but it also fired the economy and society and that it was important for young South Africans, especially young Black men and women, to be part of the industry in order to impact change.

‘The workshop has created an opportunity for UKZN students to network with other young planners across the globe and within South Africa,’ said Dr Hangwelani Hope Magidimisha, an academic in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies and a chairperson of the Young Professional’s Workshop.  ‘I hope they will keep in touch with each other so that they can continue learning from one another.’

author : Reatlehile Karabo Moeti
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UKZN Study Develops New Method to Determine Efavirenz

UKZN Study Develops New Method to Determine Efavirenz
Dr Neeta Thapliyal.

Post-Doctoral Fellow in UKZN’s Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Dr Neeta Thapliyal, has invented a NiO-ZrO2 nanocomposite modified electrode to determine efavirenz.

This followed her study titled: “Highly Sensitive NiO-ZrO2 Nanocomposite Based Electrochemical Sensor for Nanomolar Determination of Efavirenz”, an anti-HIV drug, with the aim to develop a simple and sensitive method for efavirenz determination.

The study developed a sensor for analysis of the drug. ‘Though well tolerated, the drug is associated with a range of side effects. Overdosage may induce toxicity,’ said Thapliyal. 

She said there have been reports on misuse of efavirenz for recreational purposes due to its psychedelic effects allegedly similar to LSD. Analysis of this drug is thus considered essential for quality control, drug screening and to attain optimum therapeutic concentration, while minimising the risk of overdosage.  Hence, the development of a simple and sensitive method for the determination of efavirenz is of high importance and interest.

The study used an electrochemical method for drug analysis, ‘Electrochemical techniques are the method of choice since they are fast, simple, inexpensive, highly sensitive and do not require tedious extraction or pre-treatment processes during sample analysis.’

According to Thapliyal, the study displayed a novel efficient protocol for the sensitive and selective quantification of efavirenz in pharmaceutical formulations and human urine samples.

‘The sensor can be used for quality control purpose and in clinical analysis. Having cheaper but efficient methods of drug analysis would reduce the financial burden on the patients and society, in general,’ she said.

The lab based study was conducted in the Synthetic and Medicinal Chemistry Research Group (SMCRG) Lab on UKZN’s Westville campus.

Thapliyal is currently working on developing a nanoparticles based biosensors for detection of infectious diseases.

India-born Thapliyal enjoys reading books. Spending quality time with her husband, Pankaj and her daughter, Nimisha, keeps her going.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Micronutrients Vital for Proper Fetus Development, Study Finds

Micronutrients Vital for Proper Fetus Development, Study Finds
Ms Cassandra Soobramoney.

An adequate intake of micronutrients is vital for the proper development of the fetus and the overall health of the mother, a study conducted by UKZN masters student, Ms Cassandra Soobramoney, has found.

Titled: “Trace Element Analysis of Nails from Normotensive and Pre-eclamptic Black South African Women”, the study aimed to compare the concentrations of 13 different trace elements in nail samples from pre-eclamptic and normotensive women. It also aimed to find a link between trace element concentration and the development of pre-eclampsia.

Trace element deficiency is a causative factor in a number of pregnancy related conditions such as pre-eclampsia. Its greatest impact is in developing countries, where the dietary intake of essential minerals and vitamins are low. ‘However, the effect of these trace elements on the development of pre-eclampsia has not been properly established,’ said Soobramoney.

The study was conducted at UKZN’s Optics and Imaging Centre using nail samples obtained from Black South African normotensive and pre-eclamptic pregnant women voluntarily enrolled in this study.

Nail samples were weighed and processed using the wet acid digestion method. Samples were analysed for zinc, selenium, lead, nickel, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, calcium, cobalt, cadmium, chromium and arsenic using inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry.

The results showed that the concentration of calcium and magnesium in the normotensive group were the highest whilst cobalt and cadmium were the lowest.  In the pre-eclamptic group, the concentration of calcium and magnesium were the highest and arsenic and cobalt the lowest.

The overall result showed a significant difference between the normotensive and pre-eclamptic group for cadmium, cobalt and manganese, where by these elements were decreased in preeclamptic patients.

Pre-eclampsia is a global problem and is associated with a high maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality rate. It is particularly prevalent in low income countries such as South Africa and the mechanism by which it occurs has not been properly established.

According to Soobramoney, it is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in South Africa. ‘Nutritional deficiencies are predominant in low income countries and this could impact the elemental concentrations present in pregnant women,’ she said.

She believes her study on women’s health and the etiology of pre-eclampsia can help in the proper management or prevention of pre-eclampsia. ‘More extensive studies on the role of trace elements could lead to it being used as a potential biomarker for pre-eclampsia development,’ she added.

Soobramoney (24) is currently completing her MMedSci at the Optics and Imaging Centre and hopes to submit a paper to a peer-reviewed journal soon.

She is passionate about the world of science and learning. ‘I really enjoyed working on this study as it was enlightening, informative and I had the opportunity to work with some really great people.’

Her future plans include conducting research on HIV and cancer.

She has diverse interests, from trying new recipes for her family to reading her favourite authors’ novels and even watching the latest superhero movie or TV show.

‘My family keep me going. They are my support structure, and my biggest fans. Their love and faith in me never falters and this inspires me every day,’ Soobramoney said.

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Call for UKZN Alumni to Take a Stand Against Destruction of University Property during Student Unrest

Call for UKZN Alumni to Take a Stand Against Destruction of University Property during Student Unrest
From left: Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, Dr Prenisha Sewpersadh and Ms Rekha Sugudhav.

A call has gone out for all UKZN alumni to take a strong stand against University property being destroyed or damaged during student unrest.

The call was made by alumnus Dr Prenisha Sewpersadh, who used social media to ask the alumni community to support a letter that she, accompanied by fellow UKZN alumnus Rekha Sugudhav handed over to the Vice-Chancellor of UKZN, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, condemning all violence and destruction of the tools and resources of learning and education.

Sewpersadh’s posts on the UKZN alumni Facebook page elicited varied responses and raised pertinent and relevant issues regarding current student protest actions. Notwithstanding the varied views, the common thread among the majority of respondents was that damage to and destruction of property was intolerable and should be condemned.

This is probably the first time an organised and concerted effort has been made on behalf of the alumni community to denounce the destruction of university property.

The letter, expressing concern on behalf of alumni members about the destruction and violence, was well received by the Vice-Chancellor who also welcomed the support of the alumni community.

Sewpersadh, who is awaiting a response to the letter, thanked alumni members who had shown support and who would continue to uphold, preserve and protect the sanctity of institutions of learning.

She said while disagreements and battles were often a result of competing legitimate interests, any person or party who resorted to violence and destruction as a means of achieving goals, had failed the very cause for which they were fighting.

‘When the properties, resources and tools of respected educational institutions are under siege there is a duty on each and every person who received an education from such an institution to stand up and protect what is essentially theirs.’

author : Prenisha Sewpersadh
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Education Student uses Innovative Teaching Strategies

Education Student uses Innovative Teaching Strategies
Mr Tevin Septoe (extreme left) with learners from Nilgiri Secondary School during a Technology teaching practice.

Final year Education student Mr Tevin Septoe used innovative practical examples to get concepts across during a technology teaching practice at Nilgiri Secondary School in the KwaNdengezi area of KwaZulu-Natal.

The teaching segment is part of the School of Education’s annual teaching practice in which the students visit schools to conduct a four-week formal teaching practice session.

Specialising in Technology, Septoe taught eight Grade 9 classes about the hydraulic system. ‘During the lesson I used two syringes and water to demonstrate how the hydraulic system can multiply a force. I also used a load of bricks to show learners how mechanical advantage can be achieved. They were excited to see how a small force is able to lift up a heavy load,’ he explained.

Septoe believes that technology should be a subject where learners must be hands on rather than have the teacher standing in front of the class for the entire lesson. ‘Many South African schools lack resources, therefore as teachers in training we must use innovative and yet cost effective teaching aids to enhance learning.’

Seeing the need for young, innovative and qualified teachers in his community, Septoe chose to study to become a teacher. ‘I know that I have the discipline and moral grounds to positively influence learners. Everyone has that one teacher who inspired them to do better and become someone great.

‘I really looked up to my school teachers and I knew that one day I wanted to have a positive impact on learners lives, just like my teachers had on mine. Teaching is a calling and I believe that I am one of those who have been called in to this noble profession.’

His advice to other students is: ‘Be disciplined and committed to teaching. Be loyal and honest to the teaching profession as teaching is a complex career, but rewarding too.’  

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Senior Academic Appointed Editor of International Health Research Ethics Journal

Senior Academic Appointed Editor of International Health Research Ethics Journal
The new Editor of the <em>Journal of Empirical Research on Health Research Ethics (JERHRE)</em>, Professor Douglas Wassenaar.

Clinical Psychologist Professor Douglas Wassenaar of the School of Applied Human Sciences, has been appointed Editor of the international Journal of Empirical Research on Health Research Ethics (JERHRE).

The journal is the only one in the field of human research ethics dedicated exclusively to empirical research. Its distinguished editorial and advisory board brings a range of expertise and international perspective to provide high-quality double-blind peer-reviewed original articles. 

Wassenaar stated, ‘It is an honour to assume responsibility for this journal. JERHRE has a unique footprint among bioethics journals because it publishes empirical research relevant to research ethics questions and debates. JERHRE thus aspires to provide an evidence base for many research ethics questions that were previously only addressed conceptually.’

It was a gradual progression from author to reviewer to associate editor over time for Wassenaar. Many of his recent papers have found a home in JERHRE.

‘I have received strong technical and moral support from the outgoing editor Dr Joan Sieber, and from UKZN’s Professor Anthony Pillay, a seasoned editor of another SAGE journal, who has given me valuable advice and reassurance about the responsibilities and many technicalities involved in editing an international journal,’ he said.

Asked about how he plans to take the Journal forward, Wassenaar said: ‘This journal goes beyond debate and principles, which remain important in resolving research ethics issues, and complements these with empirical data.

‘I hope to continue the excellent foundation laid by Dr Sieber, and to increase high quality contributions from developing countries to supplement the journal’s coverage of issues related to health research in the developed world.’

The journal produces five issues a year in print and online. The next issue appears next month.

*Professor Douglas Wassenaar is the Director of SARETI, the South African Research Ethics Training Initiative, a US National Institutes of Health/Fogarty- funded programme offering master’s-degree training in research ethics at UKZN. Wassenaar chaired the UKZN Biomedical Research Ethics Committee from 2008 to 2015 and currently chairs the Human Sciences Research Council’s Research Ethics Committee.

He is a member of the WHO/UNAIDS Vaccines Advisory Committee. From 2003-2012 he chaired the WHO-UNAIDS African AIDS Vaccine Programme’s (AAVP) Ethics Law and Human Rights Group.  He is a consultant to the HIV and AIDS Vaccines Ethics Group (HAVEG) and a research ethics consultant to several African research and ethics programmes. He has conducted ethics reviews for the European Union and served on the Biomedical Ethics and International Public Engagement Committees of the Wellcome Trust.

He has conducted research ethics workshops in more than 20 countries and facilitated a retreat for the Ethics Review Committee of the World Health Organization. He has authored or co-authored more 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, 20 chapters in books and is the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on several research and training grants from funders such as the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health, UNAIDS, EDCTP and the Wellcome Trust.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Abafundi base-UKZN balekelela Ezenhlalakahle eThekwini

Abafundi base-UKZN balekelela Ezenhlalakahle eThekwini
UMnu Mohamed Khan nabafundi emva kokwethulwe kombiko wabo.

Click here for the English version

Uphiko lwase-UKZN lwenhlangano i-Engineers Without Borders seluxhumane nomnyango wezenhlalakahle eThekwini ukuze kucutshungulwe izindlela abangalekelela ngazo nale nhlangano ukuze babe nomthelela obanzi emphakathini.

Umfundi weziqu ze-PhD kuGesi e-UKZN, uMnu Mohamed Khan  uyena obengumxhumanisi phakathi kwalezi zinhlaka zombili.

Abaphathi be-Engineers without Borders bavakashele izizinda ezihlukene ze-CWDD futhi baba nezingxoxo ngezindlela abangalekelela ngayo inhlangano yezenhlalakahle enkulu kunazo zonke ezweni

Enye yemisebenzi ezokwenziwa ukucubungulwa kwezidingo zikagesi ezizindeni ezintathu ezihlala intsha nabantwana abangaphezulu kwe-150 futhi nasemahhovisi ononhlalonhle eThekwini lonke.

Inhloso yalo msebenzi ukunikeza abafundi abangakabi neziqu umsebenzi abazowenza ngesikhathi samaholidi – okuyinto ewumgomo ezifundweni zabo- futhi nokulekelela i-CWDD yehlise izindleko zikagesi namanzi yezinyangazonke.

Ngaphansi kweso lika-Khan, abafundi – uNkz Lindelwa Dlamini, Mnu Phillip Gyasi-Agyei noMnu Jeremy Crichton – bachithe izinsuku ezimbalwa emahhovisi nasezikhungweni zenhlangano besebenzisa izindlela ezihlukene zokuhlonza ukusebenza kwamandla kagesi nokusetshenziswa kwawo. Imiphumela yethulwe kubaphathi bezenhlalakahle embikweni onzulu obuneziphakamiso.

UDlamini no-Gyasi-Agyei bayavumelana ngokuthi lo msebenzi ubanike ulwazi oluningi futhi bawuthokozele kakhulu. Izingqinamba abebebhekene nazo bekuwukuqonda ngendlela okubalwa ngayo isikweletu sikagesi nohlelo lokuqagula isikweletu sikagesi, ukucabanga njengonjiniyela kanye nokucabanga ngendlela evikela imvelo ukuze kutholakale izisombululo ezincane ezingamukelwa futhi zisetshenziswe yinhlangano.

UDlamini uthe: ‘Ingxenye ebimnandi kakhulu ngalo msebenzi bekuwukuqala ukusebenzisa amasu aqhamuka emhlanganweni wokucobelelana ngolwazi i-Human Centered Design EWB  njengezizombululo zobuchwepheshe ngaphambi kokuba kuqale lo msebenzi kanye nokuthi lezi zindlela zizoba namuphi umthelela kubantu esizama ukubalekelela ezikhungweni ezihlukene.’  

U-Gyasi-Agyei uthe: ‘Engikubonga kakhulu ngalo msebenzi ukuthi besinikezwe inkululeko yokusebenza. Besihlonishwa yize singabafundi okuyinto ebalulekile ekuthuthukeni kwethungoba kusinikeze ukuzethemba okukhulu.’

Umsebenzi uholele ekuhlonzweni kweminye imisebenzi emikhulu engagcina ngokuletha ukongiwa kwagesi okukhulu esikhathini esizayo. Ukuze le misebenzi ikhule, u-Khan uhlanganise iziphakamiso zokuxhaswa ngezimali wabe esezithumela ezinhlakeni ezihlukene ezixhasa ngezimali.

Umphathi Omkhulu ; we-CWSA uNkk Shehnaaz Gabru, uthe: ‘Lo msebenzi unethuba lokulekelela kakhulu inhlangano inciphise izindleko zikamasipala ngoba zingezinye zezinkulu ekuphathweni kwesikhungo setsha nabantwana .’

author : Alleyne Coleman
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Entrepreneurship Lecturer Shares Knowledge on Alternative Funding

Entrepreneurship Lecturer Shares Knowledge on Alternative Funding
Ms Lindiwe Kunene.

Alternative funding models for social enterprise were unpacked by Entrepreneurship Lecturer Ms Lindiwe Kunene during her presentation at the Durban leg of the Pathways to Funding Do-Ference.

The event was hosted by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.

The two-day workshop aimed to equip the audience of more than 500 entrepreneurs including investors, lawyers, and business development experts with practical knowledge and tools on how to overcome funding obstacles which is the greatest hurdle they face.

The event achieved this through interactive workshops, specialised one-on-one sessions and talks centred on raising early-stage finance that can advance the growth of a business.

Kunene’s presentation explored the use of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) - which have replaced what used to be Enterprise Development (ED) and Preferential Procurement - in BBBEE to fund social entrepreneurial business.

‘The presentation and the continuing research on this stems from the notion that  days of social enterprises being charity organisations awaiting instructions and funding from some parent corporate or government body are over,’ said Kunene. ‘The reality is that the social enterprises exist in what is referred to as the third sector in our economies. Where the public sector (first sector) and private sector (second economy) have failed to provide for the demands of the people, this third sector comes in,’ said Kunene.

Kunene said there was a call for social enterprises to be sustainable in their quest to fulfil goals.

‘The emphasis of my advice is embedded in social enterprises continuously engaging with their environment, collecting intelligence on who is doing what, where, and why, in order to stay ahead and take advantage of opportunities. This has manifested through work over the years with social enterprises and other organisations. Merging this experience with academic knowledge, uncovers solutions to assist entrepreneurship as a whole,’ she added.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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Music Students Participate in SAXIT Jazz Workshop

Music Students Participate in SAXIT Jazz Workshop
UKZN students with SAXIT band members at the workshop.

UKZN Music students attended a Music Education Workshop held by the saxophone quartet SAXIT at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music.

The workshop, part of SAXIT’s first nation-wide tour, aimed to empower students with skills to develop their own careers and to master their instruments.

The tour was made possible by Concerts SA Mobility Fund and the SAMRO Foundation.

The students got the chance to play alongside the band while topics discussed at the workshop included practising techniques, repair and maintenance of equipment and literature for duos, trios, quartets and saxophone choirs.

First year Music student Mr Dimitri Barry said: ‘The workshop was really great especially working with other musicians and seeing their take on music routines and learning from them. It also allowed us to learn from our mistakes and become better musicians.’

Another student, Mr Siyabonga Mdletshe, said: ‘What stood out for me was that you have to have a passion for music and to continue to work hard at your craft to make it in the music industry. Attending workshops and symposiums like these help one develop as a musician.’

The students hope to attend more workshops and symposiums in the future to hone their skills as musicians, to network and boost their future careers.

author : Melissa Mungroo
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Boost for Transformation in Built Environment Professions

Boost for Transformation in Built Environment Professions
Mr Ravi Pillay (left) and Mr Roger Govender (right) congratulates staffers Mr Thabani Mzizi, Ms Nompumelelo Kubheka and Mr Rendani Nemavhandu on successfully completing the board exams for professional registration as architects and engineers.

Two Black UKZN-trained Architects and an Engineer in Public Works in KwaZulu-Natal are now registered professionals in their fields.

The two architects, Mr Thabani Mzizi and Ms Nompumelelo Kubheka, both originally from Umlazi, have Masters degrees in Architecture and also PrArch letters after their names.

During the recent KwaZulu-Natal Government Lekgotla, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Mr Ravi Pillay, described their achievements as a ‘real boost for the transformation of the built environment professions’. 

Pillay, who spearheaded the recruitment of scarce skills into the public service by making available bursaries and internships through his departments, congratulated Mzizi and Kubheka at the provincial government lekgotla held recently in Durban.

Their UKZN colleague, Mr Rendani Nemavhandu, a Mechanical Engineer with a BSc degree (Mech Eng), boasts a PrEng registration after successfully completing the Engineering Council of South Africa Board exams. 

Nemavhandu, who was born in Tshisaulu in Venda, said growing up in a remote rural area, he was inspired by Professor Tshilidzi Marwala who went on to graduate with a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge. 

Mzizi and Kubheka credit their school teachers for having encouraged them to join the Architecture profession. Kubheka started out with ‘a natural ability to draw’ and honed the skill at Brettonwood High School. She now speaks of using her skills ‘to influence socio-political change in the landscape’. 

That creative spirit is echoed by George Campbell Technical High School old boy, Mzizi who ‘likes to capture the experience of what I see’. 

Their paths were not easy with each having struggled to fund their studies through various part bursaries and parental support.  KwaZuluNatal’s Public Works Head of Department, Mr Roger Govender, said Grade 12 learners keen on careers in the built environment could apply for bursaries funded by the Department. 

Information is available on the Departmental website and will be advertised in the media.

author : NdabaOnline
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UKZN Students attend Joint Genetics and Bioinformatics Conference

UKZN Students attend Joint Genetics and Bioinformatics Conference
At the congress are (from left) Mr Mongezi Mkonyeni, Ms Bongekile Ngobese, Ms Farzeen Kader and Dr Meenu Ghai.

Three students in the Genetics Department in the School of Life Sciences on the Westville campus attended the 2016 joint conference of the South African Genetics Society (SAGS) and South African Society for Bioinformatics (SASBi) held on UKZN’s Medical School campus.

The biennial SASBi and SAGS congresses are the premier national scientific meetings uniting scientists working in the overlapping disciplines of bioinformatics and genetics in South Africa.

SASBI-SAGS-2016 provided an exciting opportunity for participants to learn about cutting-edge research in both disciplines, and to network with members of the societies and with leading international scientists.

PhD student Ms Farzeen Kader presented her masters research titled: “Methylation Profiling of Saliva from the Diverse South African Population using tDMR-Based Markers”.  Her presentation outlined that the significant difference in DNA Methylation levels could potentially assist forensic analyses in future, not only to accurately identify saliva but also to narrow down the search for sample donors.

Kader’s supervisor, Dr Meenu Ghai, who is a Lecturer in the Genetics Department on the Westville campus, chaired a session under the theme: “Functional Genomics”.

Also at the congress were Mr Mongezi Mkonyeni, who is an Executive member of SAGS and a third year BSc Genetics and Chemistry Student at UKZN. Mkonyeni was part of the planning committee for this Congress.

Another UKZN student there was Ms Bongekile Ngobese, a local SRC member on the Westville campus and a third year BSc student majoring in Genetics and Biochemistry.

author : NdabaOnline
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Writing for Self, for Others and for PUs!

Writing for Self, for Others and for PUs!
Professor Manoromoney Pillay (left) with Professor Maheshvari Naidu.

“Writing for yourself and writing for others” was the topic of a thought-provoking talk given by NRF-rated scientist and Senior Lecturer in Anthropology in the School of Science, Professor Maheshvari Naidu, to the Women in Leadership and Leverage (WILL) from the College of Health Sciences.

‘I have always liked writing, words and the craft generally,’ said Naidu.

Her recent research focuses on women’s health issues which she considers to be her core emerging research focus within and against her landscape of work in feminist anthropologies and female body construction.

Naidu has been in UKZN’s Top 30 Researcher rankings on three occasions in the past four years, while in 2015 she received the College of Humanities Excellence Award for being the Top Emerging Researcher.

In her address, Naidu told the women that when they were writing for themselves or for academic purposes (PUs) they needed to constantly be thinking about whether people would read their work. ‘Writing is creative and constructive. You collect your data, you analyse it and then create meaning by putting different pieces of the puzzle together.

‘Good writing aims to answer questions. Writers need to use their research to communicate with their audience by writing things that people will want to read.’

She gave an example of how losing her mother to cancer had influenced her to conduct research on issues pertaining to cancer patients and also how women dealt with losing body parts that were part of their identities.

Naidu advised the women to use their past experiences when conducting research so that they got an opportunity to write about something they were passionate about while at the same time getting answers to queries they may have.

author : Sinenhlanhla Ngubane
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Research on Late-Cycle Chlamydial Gene Expression

Research on Late-Cycle Chlamydial Gene Expression
Ms Gugu Mzobe.

Mid and late-cycle chlamydial gene expression levels are different to the published research conducted in HeLa cells at 37degC, a UKZN doctoral study found.

Presenting her findings at the College of Health Sciences Research Symposium, Ms Gugu Mzobe said the study also found that ‘temperature has an effect on the level of gene chlamydial gene expression when grown in keratinocytes (human skin cells)’.

Titled: “Temporal Gene Expression of Chlamydia Trachomatis in Keratinocytes at 37degC Versus 33degC”, the study aimed to investigate chlamydial gene expression in a keratinocyte cell line at both core (37°C) and skin (33°C) temperature in an attempt to understand what happens in vivo.

Mzobe looked at the changes in gene expression associated with chlamydial differentiation and replication in human skin cells at 37degC (temperature of the inguinal lymph nodes) and 33degC (temperature of human skin. Keratinocytes are the first port of entry for Chlamydia trachomatis of the lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) biovar which causes LGV. LGV is an invasive, sexually transmitted disease of humans which begins as an ulcer in the genital region. 

‘LGV penetrates the breaks in the dermis and underlying tissues and migrates to the inguinal lymph nodes where it causes lymphadenopathy,’ Mzobe explained. 

According to Mzobe, this ground breaking study provided powerful findings about gene products that regulate the different stages of the chlamydial developmental cycle in keratinocytes.

‘This is the first study to investigate chlamydial gene expression in keratinocytes, which are the first target of infection for organisms of the LGV biovar,’ she declared.

The study showed a different pattern of expression to that which occurs in HeLa or Hep2 cell lines which are the cell line most commonly used for chlamydial gene expression studies.  This was the case even though these are not the wild type host LGV pathogenesis and gene expression studies are usually performed in cells which are not the native host cells, ‘The initial site of infection, the skin, and the secondary site of infection, the inguinal lymph nodes, have different temperatures,’  she said.

The temperature of human skin is 33degC, while the temperature of the inguinal lymph nodes is 37degC.  She said previous studies have only focused on the latter temperature – 37degC. 

‘Joubert and Sturm (2011) have demonstrated that C. trachomatis does infect keratinocytes in vitro both at 37degC and 33degC, although they replicate much faster at 37degC than at 33degC,’ she stated.

She said the model was used to investigate changes in gene expression associated with chlamydial differentiation and replication in keratinocytes at 37degC and 33degC.

The lab based study was performed on adult human skin cells (HaCaT cells), chlamydial reference strain (L2), clinical isolate from patients presenting in the primary stage of LGV at the Prince Cyril Zulu Communicable Diseases Clinic in Durban. E strain was isolated by Maleka and coworkers (1996) in the laboratory from a male patient presenting at the same clinic with urethritis.

Mzobe, a PhD student in the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences under the Discipline of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, is currently working on her thesis.

Born in Ndwedwe, Mzobe loves research and it keeps her going. ‘I’m the first grandchild at home to go to university. My grandmother and my late grandfather were always a great inspiration for me to go this far with my studies.’

author : Nombuso Dlamini
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Accounting Lecturer gives Career Guidance to KwaMashu and Pinetown Communities

Accounting Lecturer gives Career Guidance to KwaMashu and Pinetown Communities
Dr Msizi Mkhize addressing the congregation.

Career guidance was at the centre of presentations by School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s Thuthuka Project Co-ordinator Dr Msizi Mkhize to audiences in Pinetown and KwaMashu.

Mkhize spoke to parents and their children in the parishes of St John’s Anglican Church in Pinetown and Ekuvukeni Anglican Church in KwaMashu.

He emphasised the importance of choosing Mathematics in Grade 10 - Mathematical Literacy as a last resort – and planning now for a career rather than later!

‘It is important to stress that there are many opportunities waiting for learners after Grade 12 but they need to think about the future now,’ said Mkhize.

‘To do a BCom degree at UKZN a student must have matric level Mathematics so this has to be taken into consideration when choosing subject combinations in Grade 10.’

Having recently graduated with his PhD, Mkhize also touched on studying Accounting using parts of his doctoral thesis which was titled:  “The Influence of Attitudes Towards Mathematics on Learning Accounting Amongst Pre-service Accounting Teachers”.

He also demonstrated some innovative and creative mathematics teaching and learning strategies.

St John’s Anglican Church Education Committee Chairperson Dr Rejoice Ngcongo thanked Mkhize for giving up his time to address the parish and learners, while the church’s Education Committee Secretary, Ms Bonisiwe Ngema, said the address needed to be heard by wider audiences as parents often had a negative attitude to Maths because of the perception that it was a ‘hard subject’.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
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SA National AIDS Council supports UKZN’s 90-90-90 UNAIDS Strategy Implementation

SA National AIDS Council supports UKZN’s  90-90-90 UNAIDS Strategy Implementation
Ms Steve Letsike, South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Co-Chairperson.

The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has applauded UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme for implementing the 90-90-90 UNAIDS strategy and pledged to assist with its roll out.

That’s the word from SANAC Co-Chairperson, Ms Steve Letsike, who congratulated the University for launching the strategy which comes in the aftermath of the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban.

UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme notes that South Africa:

•           Is the Global epicentre of HIV, AIDS, STIs and TB infection - with HIV accounting for up to 20% of the world’s 35 million people who live with the disease

•           Has over 6,4 million people living with HIV

•           Has the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world

•           Has an adult prevalence rate of 17.3%

•           Has over three million PLHIV on treatment making it the biggest ART programme in the world

•           Has 2 363 young women aged between 15 and 24 contracting HIV every week

•           Records that nearly 40% of all new HIV infections in the country occur among people aged between 15 and 24

•           Records that awareness of HIV and AIDS among students is high, however, knowledge does not necessarily mean change in behavioural practices.

The programme notes that HIV infection fuels the tuberculosis epidemic, with more than 70% of patients co-infected. The highest prevalence of TB infection is among people aged 30 to 39 who are living in townships and informal settlements.

South Africa currently ranks the third highest in the world in terms of the TB burden, with an incidence that has increased by 400% over the past 15 years.

The programme says that while STIs such as syphilis have decreased in most provinces over the past 10 years, the prevalence of herpes simplex, which is a co-factor in the acquisition for HIV, is still high in many sectors of the population.

SANAC’s vision is a long-term one to ensure a healthy life for all South Africans. Its vision is underpinned by the commitment to ZERO new HIV and TB infections, ZERO preventable HIV and TB deaths and ZERO HIV and TB discrimination.

The 90-90-90 strategy aims to ensure that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV will be in receipt of sustained ART, and 90% of those receiving ART will have viral suppression.

author : Thembani Ntobeko Khumalo
author email :

ZaZi Campaign on Medical School Campus

ZaZi Campaign on Medical School Campus
Ms Nomonde Magantolo: UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Co-Ordinator.

UKZN’s HIV and AIDS Programme hosted the ZaZi Campaign at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Durban attracting more than 300 participants - staff and students - from all five campuses.

The event included motivational and educational talks, performances by students, dialogue and entertainment.

ZaZi is an exciting campaign designed for girls and women in South Africa, providing an opportunity for young women to know themselves and their values in order to stabilise and overcome the challenges they face in HIV Prevention, Gender Based Violence and Reproductive Health Rights, among others.

The aim of this event was to empower women to know their sexual reproductive health rights and to promote self-confidence so they could rely on their own strength to make sound decisions for their future life.

The campaign supports women having greater access to key services and commodities that can help stop new HIV infections.

UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme Co-ordinator, Ms Nomonde Magantolo said ZaZi was an Nguni word which meant ‘know your strength’.

‘UKZN uses the ZaZi Campaign as an initiative to empower youth within its community both students and staff to know their strength as that will assist them to make right decisions,’ said Magantolo. She assured participants that the University would continue to support students through Campus Health Clinics, HIV Counselling and Testing Services (HTS) and through different forums within Campus HIV and AIDS Support Units.

Magantolo emphasised that students should take care of their health, know their status, do routine check-ups to test for other diseases, and live a healthy life.

Senior Manager at Forever Living Products: Business Woman in Marketing, Ms Nomathemba Madlala, said: ‘Young women must have goals at a young age; they must know who they are and what they want in their lives.’ She highlighted the importance of working hard, making sacrifices and having patience. She said it was crucial for women to build their own business and have the patience to watch it grow bigger.

Advocate Busi Mngoma of UKZN’s Ombuds Office spoke about the different substances young women use and how dangerous they are. She said drugs like nayope (whoonga), marijuana (dagga), cocaine and alcohol were very addictive and posed a threat to a person’s life. Mngoma said women should not sell themselves short because of material things. They needed to be responsible women, take care of themselves, be independent and work hard to achieve their dreams.

author : Makhaola Diako
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