UKZN Engages Stakeholders on the 90-90-90 Strategy

UKZN Engages Stakeholders on the 90-90-90 Strategy
Participants of the stakeholder briefing with the UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme staff members.

The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme engaged stakeholders in support of the 90-90-90 strategy set by the United Nations, during a briefing session on the Westville campus.

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.

The aim of the session was to thank stakeholders for partnering with UKZN in order to ensure that HIV and AIDS-related services are provided to students, and are in sync with what KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa are trying to do.

UKZN’s Executive Director: Student Services, Dr Sibusiso Chalufu commended the stakeholders for partnering with the University and reminded them that collaboration with UKZN was not taken lightly as it was the only way to achieve a positive outcome.

HIV and AIDS Programme Co-Ordinator, Ms Nomonde Magantolo gave background on the success of the University’s recent 90-90-90 strategy launch and fun run attended by more than 500 guests of whom 350 were students.

However, she said UKZN was still far from achieving the strategy’s first goal and more buy in was still needed from internal and external stakeholders.

Chalufu said there were still challenges around the epidemic. He said men were still using women as proxy by knowing their status through their female partners.

Chalufu said it is not impossible to have an HIV free generation.

Stakeholders in attendance included the eThekwini Municipality, the Office of the Premier, the KZN Department of Health and non-profit organisations.

 

 


author : Sithembile Shabangu
author email : shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

Development Studies Student Lands Coveted Chevening Scholarship

Development Studies Student Lands Coveted Chevening Scholarship
UKZN student Mr Menzi Bhengu being awarded the Chevening Scholarship by the British High Commissioner, Judith McGregor.

Masters student in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, Mr Menzi Bhengu, was recently awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship to study for his degree at Oxford University. This will be his second master’s qualification.

‘This is the fulfilment of a lifelong goal and a momentous occasion in my academic and professional journey,’ said Bhengu. ‘I am excited at the prospect of improving my knowledge and refining my skills through tutelage from the doyens in my field, and broadening my vista by standing on the shoulders of giants at Oxford.’

His current research, which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology – National Research Fund Centre of Excellence (DST-NRF COE), employs a qualitative methodology to ascertain and understand the intersecting dimensions of gender and precarity on the production and sale of traditional vegetables (imifino/morogo/miroho) by women in a rural community in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Bhengu’s passion for Social Anthropology is fired by the Discipline of Development Studies ability ‘to build on the natural curiosity we all have about what it means to be human’. He believes that the Discipline has the ability to ‘undermine our ethnocentric ideas by comparing and understanding various lifestyles as meaningful but diverse responses to common human problems that all deserve our respectful engagement.

‘It is this ethos, this guiding spirit, which I intend to carry with me to Oxford to enable me to glean invaluable knowledge that will enrich my efforts in civil society and in my professional career. I approach this new chapter with confidence. My previous Masters in Development Studies at UKZN has made me conversant with varying discourses due to its multi-disciplinary nature.’

Said his supervisor Dr Mvuselelo Ngcoya: ‘I have had the pleasure of supervising Menzi for the last year or so. He is in the final stages of research titled: “Gender and the Precariousness of Producing and Selling Indigenous Vegetables in KwaZulu-Natal”.

‘He is a rare breed among our students - he is a thinker and gets excited about the idea of thinking.

His passion for intellectual engagement has made him a great pleasure to supervise as he requires little guidance and works well independently. He reads widely and argues intelligently and I have no doubt that he will do himself and us proud during his stint abroad.’


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN and Biowatch Round-Table Discussion

UKZN and Biowatch Round-Table Discussion
Participants in the UKZN-Biowatch round-table discussion on seed systems.

“Strategies to Support Resilient Farmer-Led Seed Systems Through the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Agrobiodiversity”, was the topic for a round-table discussion between staff in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) and Biowatch

A Crop Science research group in SAEES has been working with Biowatch on research related to farmer-selected landrace seeds of neglected and underutilised crops. 

Dean and Head of SAEES, Professor Albert Modi, welcomed delegates and introduced the group of about 26 participants. Modi is recognised for his championing of sustainable agriculture and the value of indigenous knowledge in informing scientific research. 

‘We are honoured that our research group has hosted various organisations, including UKZN Ecological Sciences, the African Centre for Food Security (ACFS), and the Farmer Support Group (FSG),’ said Modi.  

‘We now give a special welcome to Ms Rose Williams and Mr Lawrence Mkhaliphi of Biowatch; Mr Kudzai Kusena of the Zimbabwe Gene Bank; Ms Elfrieda Pschorn-Strauss of  the Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI); Dr Ragassa Feyissa of Ethio-Organic Seed Action (EOSA) in Ethiopia, NGO representatives from Durban and Mr John Wilson, a seed saver who started the permaculture movement in Zimbabwe.’ 

Modi described the importance he has attached to seed science since beginning his career as an agronomist for a seed company and interacting frequently with small-holder farmers, realising that their approaches could be more sustainable than commercial activities. He said an important role for small-holders was the establishment of a gene bank to demonstrate how much ethno-science they possess, which includes acknowledging the extent to which their confidence has been undermined.

The day’s discussions were facilitated by seed saver Mr John Wilson and there were presentations from, among others, Pschorn-Strauss, Dr Maxwell Mudhara of the FSG, Dr Regassa Feyissa from EOSA, and Mkhaliphi. 

Topics discussed included introductions of seed sovereignty frameworks, the need for gene banks, farmer situations, constraints and participation, agroecological approaches for sustainable agricultural development, and climate change. 

The programme included a discussion session where issues raised included the role of traditional tribal leaders in food sovereignty, how to encourage academic institutions to lead in this arena and contribute to knowledge generation, the recognition of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, and the role of researchers and NGOs in community engagement and knowledge transfer. 

Moving forward, Modi emphasised that silos between basic sciences should be broken down and other kinds of knowledge should be included to increase the system’s resilience, achieved through collaboration between farmer and “formal” systems of knowledge in an environment where both parties have more confidence. The purpose of this collaboration would be to challenge food insecurity and making a resilient seed system part of rural economic development. 

In closing, Pschorn-Strauss thanked participants, saying that seed was a gift from nature that multiplied with use - almost a magical thing. She also emphasised the importance of diversity on farms.


author : Christine Cuénod
author email : cuenod@ukzn.ac.za

Izifundiswa eziphezulu ziklonyeliswe nge-CHS Young Researchers Competitive Grant

Izifundiswa eziphezulu ziklonyeliswe nge-CHS Young Researchers Competitive Grant
Kusukela kwesobunxele uDkt Rajshekar Karpoormath, uDkt Yougan Saman, uSolwazi Moses Chimbari, USolwazi Rob Slotow, uDkt Linda Bester, uDkt Pragashnie Naidoo noDkt Bongani Nkambule.

Click here for the English version

Izifundiswa ezinhlanu zaseKolishi Lezifundo ZezeMpilo zihlomuliswe ngomklomelo we-CHS Young Researchers Competitive Grant oyizi-R250 000 ngamunye.

IDini YezoCwaningo uSolwazi Moses Chimbari wethule ngokusemthethweni uhlelo lwe- CHS Young Researchers Competitive Grants olubhekiswe kwabayizifundiswa abathole iziqu zabo ze-PhD eminyakeni engaphansi kwemihlanu edlule. Abawinile abacwaningi oDkt Rajshekar Karpoormath, Dkt Yougan Saman, Dkt Linda Bester, Dkt Pragashnie Naidoo noDkt Bongani Nkambule.

Umsebenzi ophume phambili ngokwababuyekezi bomhlaba kube okaDkt Rajshekar Kapoormath osemkhakheni weKhemistri yezokuThakwa Kwemithi. Isihloko sawo besithi: "Design, Synthesis, Evaluation and Nanoformulation of Potential DNA Gyrase Inhibitors: A Rational Approach to Treating Drug Resistant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis".

Ngokuka Kapoormath isifo sofuba siwumphumela wamagciwane ayimbangelasifo abangelwa yi-Mtb, esihluphe abantu iminyaka eyizinkulungwane ngezinkulungwane futhi esaqhubeka nokuba ngezinye zezinkinga kwezempilo emhlabeni.

Ucwaningo luka-Kapoormath lugxile ekuthuthukisweni kwemishanguzo eqondene nesifongqo ezokwazi ukuletha nolwazi olusha, amaphethenti nokuthuthukiswa kwabantu. Lesi sifundo futhi sihambelana nesihloko esibanzi sokuthuthukisa ubungoti nokugqugquzela ukutholakala kwemithi yokwelapha isifo sofuba nentuthuko ngaphansi kwesihloko "esithi-Nanotechnology Solutions for Infectious Diseases of the UKZN Nanotechnology Platform".

Umsebenzi ophume isibili ubuholwa oyiNhloko yoMnyango we-ENT uDkt Yougan Saman, obunesihloko esithi: "Flow Characterisation in Sleep Disordered Breathing". U-Saman uthi ukungaphefumuli kahle ngenxa yokulala kabi kuthinta izimo ezingaba yingozi njengezifo ezifana ne-obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Ucwaningo lwakhe luzosebenzisa izindlela zokuhlola kustshenziswa ubuchwepheshe benuzi i-Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) ukuze kutholakale isikalo sesimo somgudu womoya ezigulini ezine-OSA okuzoholela ekwenziweni kocwaningo oluphephile lwezindlela zokwelapha ngokusebenzisa amakhompyutha okuzosiza odokotela abahlinzayo ukuba bazi izindawo ezidinga ukwakhiwa kabusha futhi mathuthukise nomgudu womoya okuzoguqula ukuhamba komoya.

Abaphume isithathu ngokulingana kube oka-Bester: "i-Genomic Analysis, Virulence, and Antimicrobial Resistance of ESBL-Producing Klebsiella Pneumoniae and Klebsiella Oxytoca from the Private and Public Sector in South Africa, noka-Naidoo i-Integrated Decentralised Training [iDeCT-UKZN Study]".

Kunethemba lokuthi ucwaningo luka-Bester luzoba negalelo ekutholakaleni kwezindlela zokuqonda izindawo eziyinkinga lapho ukuvikeleka emagciwaneni nezindlela zokulawula isifo ziqalwa khona, inhloso kube kuwukukhuphula izinga lokuphepha kweziguli ezibhedlela zaKwaZulu-Natali. Lokhu kuzokwenziwa ngokusetshenziswa kwemininingo etholakale ngokuqapha isifo. Lolu cwaningo futhi luzohlola ukuzwela kwama-anthibhayothikhi egciwaneni lesifo. Amagciwane esifo ayobekwa ngamaqoqo ukuze kutholakale i-DNA nemRNA kusetshenziswa amakhithi.

U-Bester uthe : ‘lolu cwaningo luzohlinzeka ngolwazi mayelana nokuzabalaza kwesifo uma kusetshenziswa ama-anthibhayothikhi eNingizimu Afrika ukuze kwakhiwe umhlahlandlela we-(1) ukuphathwa kokutheleleka nokuncishiswa komthelela wesifo nezinga lokufa  (2) ukuqonda kangcono ngegciwane nezindlela elizabalaza ngayo okuzoletha ukuqonda mayelana nokwakhiwa kwezinhlelo zokuhloza isifo, izivimbeli magciwane, ama-anthibhayothikhi, izikhucululi, izindlela eziyingxubekwelapha ezisebenza kahle, nezinyathelo zokugwema ukubhebhetheka kwesifo; (3) i-ephidemiyoloji nezimbangela zokuzabalaza kwamagciwane nokusabalala kwezifo ezibhedlela nakwezinye izindawo okuzosiza ekwakhiweni kwezinqubomgomo zokugwema ukusabalala kwezifo ezibhedlela nakwezinye izindawo; (4) uhlaka lwenqubomgomo ewumhlahlandlela kwezokulashwa kwezifo nokuqashelwa kwazo; (5) Nenqubomgomo esebenzayo yezokuqashelwa kwezindawo ekuthelelekeni ngamagciwane.’

Ucwaningo luka-Naidoo luhlose ukulekelela uhlelo lokuqeqesha olusabalele KwaZulu-Natali emikhakheni elandelayo engaphansi Kwesikole Sezezifundo ZezeMpilo: Odiyoloji, Ezamazinyo, Ezokwelapha Emsebenzini, Ezamehlo, Ezemithi, Ezokwelapha Ngokuvocavoca Umzimba, Ezokukhuluma Nolimi, Isayensi Yezemidlalo.

‘Lolu xhaso luzosilekelela ukuze zibhekane nesidingo esikhona eSikoleni SeziFundo ZezeMpilo ngokohlelo olusabalele lwezokuqeqesha,’kusho u-Naidoo. ‘Ucwaningo lwakhiwe ngendlela ehambelana nezakhiwo ezikhona nezinhlaka ezakhiwayo kanye nesivumelwano sokusebenzisana phakathi kwababambe iqhaza okunguMnyango WeZempilo Wesifundazwe kanye neNyuvesi YaKwaZulu-Natali. Kubhekwe ukuthi lolu cwaningo lungagcini nje ngokuba nomthelela ekulethweni kwezidingo kubantu ngokohlelo lokuqeqesha olusabalele kodwa futhi lwakhe ubudlelwane phakathi kwezinhlelo zokufunda ngaphakathi kwesikole neKolishi lonkana.’

Ucwaningo lukaNkambule olusihloko sithi: "Immune Checkpoint Modulation and Therapeutic Use of Anti-Inflammatory Synthetic Peptides in Chronic Inflammation", esihlose ukuqagula izinkomba zokuvuvuka okungapheli okuhlobene nokukhula kwesifo sehlule emathanjeni kubantu abanesifo sashukela ne-HIV okuzokwelekelela ekuhlelweni kweziguli ezisengozini yokungenwa yisifo sehlule emathanjeni. 

UNkambule uthi isifo sikashukela siyinkinga emhlabeni jikelele lapho kunabantu abangaphezulu kwezigidi ezingama-258 abanalesi sifo futhi sihlanganiswa nobungcuphe bezifo zenhliziyo nokuvuvuka okusezingeni eliphansi. ‘Ubudlelwano obukhona phakathi kokuvuvuka, ukwakheka kwamahlule kanye namahlule emathanjeni kuyatholakala ezifweni zokuvuvuka ezingapheli neziphela ngokushesha. Ukuvuvuka kuneqhaza elikhulu esifweni sehlule emathanjeni.

Abahlaziyi bomhlaba kanye nabasekhaya babethatheke kakhulu ngomsebenzi abebewubona ungobhalwe kahle futhi ushaya emhlolweni.


author : MaryAnn Francis
author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Yacht Club Raises Funds for Sailors with Disabilities

UKZN Yacht Club Raises Funds for Sailors with Disabilities
UKZN Yacht Club in action against Wits University at the opening of the sailing season in Durban Harbour.

The UKZN Yacht Club recently battled it out against 7 326 sailors worldwide in the annual Bart’s Bash regatta to raise funds for sailors with disabilities.

The regatta takes place in 56 countries at the same weekend, featuring Olympians and world champions, with positions calculated with handicap formulas. 

Braving a downpour in the Durban harbour, the UKZN team managed to finish 54th overall in the worldwide standings and fifth in the Adult (18-35) category. This regatta marked the opening of the sailing season, with the club gearing up for a challenging one, starting with the regular Wednesday night racing, when the club trains newcomers to the sport.

The previous season yielded a number of successes, with the UKZN Yacht Club hosting the Inter-varsity match racing championships, attended by eight universities. The club managed fourth place in their class provincial championships for the prestigious MSC week, five days of gruelling racing along the Durban coast.

The club’s members have also managed a number of podium positions in numerous smaller regattas and provincial championships.

Regular fun training happens on weekdays for keelboats and weekends for dinghies and no experience is needed to go on an introductory sail. 


author : Rudi Fokkens
author email : 215034031@stu.ukzn.ac.za

Good Attendance at Alumnus Event in London

Good Attendance at Alumnus Event in London
UKZN alumni based in London.

More than 80 people attended the annual function of UKZN’s Alumnus Association in Europe held at South Africa House in central London.

Chair of the Alumnus Association in Europe, Mr Bruno van Dyk, welcomed the gathering and introduced the speakers: President and Chair of Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi; Professor Adrian Furnham who delivered the main address, and Executive Director of the UKZN Foundation, Professor Anesh Singh.

In his address, Sibisi stressed the need for graduates to “give-back” to their alma mater and gave an update on the recent student protests.

Furnham provided a most entertaining and thought-provoking address titled: “Money and Motivation at Work”.

Singh gave an update on the role of the UKZN Foundation and encouraged everyone to consider donating to the University.

South African canapés and drinks were served after the talks and guests were able to network and catch-up with fellow graduates. A lucky-draw was held and UKZN specific gifts were presented to lucky winners. Folders with the latest UKZN information and UKZN mementos were distributed.


author : Finn Christensen
author email : christensenf@ukzn.ac.za

Arts and Humanities Journal Alternation Among Best in SA

Arts and Humanities Journal Alternation Among Best in SA
Editor of Alternation, Professor Johannes Smit.

The Alternation – Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa, was recently judged 17th best out of 276 accredited peer-reviewed journals assessed in South Africa.

Alternation is headed by its founding editor Professor Johannes A. Smit of the College of Humanities.

In order to ascertain the quality of the peer-reviewed journals published in South Africa, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) instituted a process where all journals in all disciplines were reviewed.

On Alternation, the review finding was – among others – that Alternation publishes ‘a good sample of the best work done in the country in the different disciplines’.

The review panel was led by renowned academic in research theory and methodology, Professor Johan Mouton.

College Dean for Teaching & Learning Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa said: ‘This is excellent news. We thank Professor Smit for his continued leadership in promoting scholarship at UKZN. The ranking of the Alternation Journal by ASSAF brings honour and prestige to the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics; the College and the University.’

Speaking about the journal, Smit said: ‘Due to its interdisciplinary nature, Alternation is an important journal for the Arts and Humanities, and is at the forefront of knowledge production and knowledge and research transformation. Virtually all its publications are contextually-relevant and impact academia transformatively – they are productively used by scholars, students and teachers alike.’

Founded as a peer-review journal in 1994, during the year of the country’s first democratic elections, Alternation was accredited with the former Department of Education two years later.

Under the leadership of Smit, the journal has grown from strength to strength over the past 20 years. An indication of its popularity with researchers is that it received over 100 000 hits in its first year in 2012 when it started to publish on an open access platform.

Over the years Alternation has developed an efficient guest editor system bringing together research groups working on a specific topically-relevant theme. Some groups are attached to annual research colloquia or conferences, whereas others function as research seminars that meet on a regular basis.

These forums already provide platforms for feedback to researchers who make presentations at these events with mentoring also taking place. When the process comes to close – which could take between one and five years, the papers are put through the regular review process before publication.

‘As with its research groups, the Alternation review process is a very empowering process, in that even when papers are not accepted, we still provide feedback so that authors can continue to improve their papers – if there is a possibility for this,’ said Smit.

‘Alternatively, they are provided feedback to improve on the paper and to resubmit for review and publication, after the feedback has been dealt with in the paper.’

Some of Alternation’s highlights include issues that were published with collaborators across university disciplines related to education, the social sciences, language studies, literature, religion, information science, and even management studies.

Together with the guest editor team, Smit plans to continue with the publication of Alternation in its current system and format.

Alternation is published at least twice per year, together with special issues, and is currently hosted on a UKZN open access platform. Back issues can be accessed at: http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/archive


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Prince Claus Chair for UKZN Academic

Prince Claus Chair for UKZN Academic
Professor Fatima Suleman.

UKZN Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor Fatima Suleman, has been appointed to the Prince Claus Chair of Development and Equity, meaning that during the next two years she will conduct research in affordable (bio) therapeutics in collaboration with scholars at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. 

‘I am really looking forward to working with the pharmaceutical policy researchers at Utrecht University. Patients all over the world are in need of affordable medicine,’ said Suleman. 

She will deliver her inaugural lecture next year in the Utrecht University Hall (Academiegebouw). 

Suleman also has ties to Drake University in the United States where one of her research projects is about the pricing of drugs for diseases which cause huge suffering, such as chronic conditions.  

Suleman has taken part in various international commissions on drug pricing. She currently has a seat on a panel at the World Health Organization (WHO) on pricing, health technology assessment and reimbursement.  

She will spend her two-year appointment in Utrecht working within the strategic research theme of Life Sciences. Her Chair will be within the Faculty of Science, in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.  

The Affordable (Bio) Therapeutics for Public Health Chair has strong links to the research conducted in that department, in particular in the Utrecht Centre of Excellence for Affordable Biotherapeutics and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Policy and Regulation. 

The Prince Claus Chair is a rotating Chair with appointments made alternately at Utrecht University and the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. Both institutions use the Chair to promote research and education in the field of development co-operation, in accordance with the views and ideas of the late Prince Claus.  

The curatorium of the Prince Claus Chair is chaired by Professor Louise Gunning; while Queen Máxima of The Netherlands is the patron of the Prince Claus Chair.


author : University of Utrecht PR Office
author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Professor Contributes to International Sustainable Development Goals Study

UKZN Professor Contributes to International Sustainable Development Goals Study
Professor Benn Sartorius.

Epidemiologist in UKZN’s College of Health Sciences and Global Burden of Disease (GBD) collaborator, Professor Benn Sartorius, has contributed to a large scale study with 188 nations that provides a better understanding of progress made by countries in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).  

Recent findings of the study, published in the prestigious journal The Lancet revealed that countries making little progress in reaching the goals were mainly those in Africa. 

The study, titled: “Measuring the Health-Related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 Countries: a Baseline Analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015”, analysed each country’s progress towards achieving health-related SDG targets by creating an overall SDG Index score. Countries were then ranked by their scores to show which nations are closest to achieving the targets. A nation’s SDG index score is based on a scale of zero to 100 with 100 indicating the most progress made. 

Iceland tops the list with a score of 85 while the lowest-scoring nation at 20 is the Central African Republic. The United States has a score of 75, just behind Slovenia, Greece, and Japan, all at 76.  South Africa scored 46 and ranked 134 out of the 188 countries.

Sartorius said significant strides made in health included expanded health coverage, greater access to family planning, and fewer deaths of newborns and children under the age of 5. However, childhood obesity, alcohol consumption, and death caused by violence continued to be significant hurdles many nations were facing as the world reached the end of the first year of the 15-year goals. 

Said Sartorius: ‘This important study suggests that large health gains are being achieved. However, policy makers and other stakeholders need to keep their foot on the gas so to speak to ensure that the ambitious 2030 SDG targets are attained. In some low income settings - especially sub-Saharan Africa - current trajectories are lagging behind for certain key indicators and these settings need to up the ante if they are to successfully attain these ambitious goals.’ 

Kenya’s SDG Index score increased between 2000 and 2015, from 33 to 40. The prevalence of childhood stunting there dropped as a percentage of the population from 39% in 2000 to 26% in 2015. One potential driver of the decrease in stunting in Kenya is the concurrent increase in access to health services. In 2015, 70% of Kenyans who needed an essential health intervention received it, in contrast to just 32% in 2000. 

‘We have concrete examples of countries making important progress on a range of health-related SDG indicators,’ said Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and lead author of study, Dr Stephen S. Lim. ‘We now need to look to those countries that have seen strong progress to find out what they are doing right and how it can be applied more broadly.’ 

The GBD is the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological effort to quantify health loss across places and over time. The GBD enterprise – now consisting of more than 1 800 researchers and policymakers in nearly 130 nations and territories – is co-ordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. 

Sartorius holds a PhD in public health, a two-year applied field epidemiology fellowship - European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training [EPIET]) - and an MSc in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He has wide experience with applied public health research and his current interests focus on non-communicable disease epidemiology, specifically cancer epidemiology research.


author : MaryAnn Francis
author email : francism@ukzn.ac.za

Research Excellence Celebrated at College of Law and Management Studies

Research Excellence Celebrated at College of Law and Management Studies
College of Law and Management Studies Research Day participants.

The College of Law and Management Studies celebrated great strides in research during its recent Research Days which saw over 80 academics and postgraduate students showcasing quality research done in the College’s various disciplines.

The two-day strategic initiative themed: “Stimulating Research Excellence”, which aimed to contribute towards increasing research output within the College, featured research presentations and keynote addresses that covered topical issues. 

There was also a quick fire challenge called the 3-Minute Thesis Presentation in which PhD candidates spoke about their research studies and why they matter. 

“Waves of Change: Globalisation, Labour Markets and the Future of Work”, was the title of Human Resources Management expert Dr Shaun Ruggunan’s address which was based on his recently published book of the same name. 

Rugunnan’s address looked at the shipping industry and its influence on other industries, the development of technology and its threat to labour, the issue of contractualisation in the labour market and working time versus leisure time.

Law academic Professor Shannon Hoctor’s address was titled “Law is like Love…but is it like poetry?” He explored the connection between poetry and law by highlighting examples of judicial judgments were judges used poetry to interpret their verdict. He even rapped!

School of Management, Information Technology and Governance Dr Mogie Subban’s presentation was titled “Management of cultural diversity for performance enhancement: A case study in eThekwini Municipality”. She discussed how cultural diversity contributes to performance enhancement in an institution.

“Valuation of cemeteries using real options approach” was the title of School of Accounting, Economics and Finances Acting Dean Dr Mabutho Sibanda’s presentation. His presentation looked at the contentious issue of lack of burial space in KwaZulu-Natal with a specific focus on eThekwini. Sibanda highlighted that graves are a cash flow generating asset and that the municipality has the right to re-use the graves after a number of years. He highlighted the problems that arise as a result of cultural practices.

Law academic Professor Nomthandazo Ntlama tackled the issue of “The law of privilege and the Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa’s National Assembly: The Aftermath of the 7th May 2014 National Elections.” She noted the use of privilege in light of the disruptions caused by the EFF in Parliament and how it can be used to make our democracy stronger.

Summarising a PhD thesis in three minutes in a concise presentation using only one slide and in no more than three minutes is no easy feat. Law academic Mr Vishal Surbun, SAF academic Mr Ntokozo Nzimande and HEARD academic Ms Tamlyn McKenzie lived up to this quick fire challenge.  Surbun’s study explores Maritime Piracy while Nzimande’s focuses on Factors Influencing Business Cycle Synchronisation in the SADC Region: A Case of a Monetary Integration and McKenzie’s focused on Measuring disability and its associated opportunity costs using South African household survey data.

College of Law and Management Studies DVC and Head Professor John Mubangizi said it is encouraging to see that College academics and students are prioritising research in line with the University’s goals.

‘This research initiative comes five weeks after the College hosted the Business Management Conference and it is amazing to see that there are over 80 papers that are being presented which is more than I have ever seen at any international conference I have attended. I am even more impressed to see that some of these papers are presented by development lecturers which shows that our College staff is really hardworking and the strategic research initiatives facilitated by the College Dean of Research, Professor Marita Carnelley are bearing fruit,’ he said. 


author : Thandiwe Jumo
author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Professor holds Workshop

UKZN Professor holds Workshop
Professor Kriben Pillay (extreme left) and Mr Bheki Gwala together with other participants.

UKZN’s Professor Kriben Pillay ran a Saturday morning workshop for a recently formed group of professionals who call themselves Paradigm Shift.

Pillay is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership and the Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies. 

Inspired by his exposure to systems thinking in his UKZN coursework master’s degree programme, Paradigm Shift leader, Mr Bheki Gwala, a senior Environmental Officer in the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, put together a group of professionals from different fields and sectors to attend the workshop.

Members of the group want to learn to do things differently in ways that can be shown to bring real world, practical improvements.

Gwala had approached Pillay, who is his master’s degree supervisor, to kick-start the group’s activities by doing a half-day workshop on the Theory U model of personal and social transformation. The group was taken on an experiential journey of the basic principles of the model.

‘This workshop introduced us to a new paradigm of critical thinking, holistic knowing and creative action. Personally it has reinvigorated my ability to look at a problem from a unique perspective,’ said Gwala.


author : NdabaOnline
author email : pillaykri@ukzn.ac.za

Academic at Research in Didactics of Biology Conference

Academic at Research in Didactics of Biology Conference
From left: Clas Olander (Sweden), Anat Yarden (Israel), Dirk Jan Boerwinkel (The Netherlands), Edith Dempster, Bill McComas (USA), Pierre Clément (France), Michael Reiss (UK) and Yeung Chung Lee (Hong Kong).

Senior Research Associate in the School of Education, Dr Edith Dempster, participated in the biennial conference of European Researchers in the Didactics of Biology (ERIDOB) held in Karlstad, Sweden.

Dempster took part in a plenary session identifying future research in Biology Education.

Speaking about her involvement, Dempster said: ‘The Conference is a wonderful opportunity to engage with a group of specialists in teaching Biology. One plenary session was devoted to future directions in research in teaching Biology. I was privileged to participate in this panel discussion.

‘After short presentations from each of the panellists, the convenor Professor Bill McComas identified the common challenges in Biology education. Identifying pedagogical content knowledge specific to Biology teaching was one grand challenge. He said that solutions should be informed by research.

‘The second challenge relates to Biology curriculum. The panel issued a challenge to identify what makes biology unique within science education research. The unique nature of biology should then be used to structure curriculum,’ said Bester.

‘The third challenge identified relates to the preparation of biology teachers. Research should focus on optimal conditions for Biology teacher education including optimal practice teaching.

‘McComas ended by appealing to researchers to replicate novel and effective research studies and work towards generalisability.’

Dempster believes conferences of this nature are important because ‘they bring together researchers who share a common interest in a specialised field’.


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Central to Conference Debates

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Central to Conference Debates
The 2016 Teaching and Learning in Higher Education conference featured various international speakers and presenters.

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning was central to discussions at UKZN’s10th Annual Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Conference which attracted more than 300 local and international delegates.

The three-day conference hosted by the University’s Teaching and Learning Office was themed: “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL): Advancing Teaching Innovation and Research Excellence in Higher Education”, which, according to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, Professor Renuka Vithal, has been developed and sustained for more than eight years at UKZN.

SOTL has underpinned a range of policy reviews and development initiatives, with one such activity leading to access for undergraduate students to postgraduate studies.

The Conference, an annual gathering of academics, researchers and policymakers, showcases innovation, generates debate, theorises opportunities and challenges in Teaching and Learning, and provides a platform for disseminating Higher Education and institutional research findings.

In her opening address, Vithal said this year’s Conference ‘is a milestone in that it represents the culmination of what started from humble beginnings as an in-house workshop on Teaching and Learning barely attracting a hundred academics to a national conference with international participation’.

However, said Vithal, a decade later the context had taken a dramatic turn and a myriad challenges had been in the public domain ranging from free Higher Education to decolonising the curriculum. She said it had become evident that Teaching and Learning had to be engaged, studied, practised and theorised in relation to many aspects of Higher Education.

She highlighted several developments in the University’s Teaching and Learning Office including the introduction of the University Education Induction Programme (UEIP), introduced in 2012, which had been taken by the about 500 academics who participated in its professional development courses.

‘This gives some indication of the extent of reflective practice by participating academics across the University in areas such as Teaching and Learning approaches, assessment, curriculum development and research supervision,’ said Vithal. 

Keynote speaker Professor Lee Shulman of Stanford University in the United States, who is President Emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, commended UKZN for engaging SoTL in ways that exceeded any college of any university he knew of in the United States.

In an interview on decolonising the curriculum, he said there was a world of African literature and changes would include using this literature of books, drama, poetry, visual arts and dance as the centre of the curriculum, for a student in South Africa, with less focus on Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

‘The adaptation to the local cultural norms, interests and passions has to be taken into consideration,’ said Shulman. 

Other keynote speakers included the Chair in Teaching and Learning at the University of Johannesburg, Professor Brenda Leibowitz ; Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ibadan, Professor Ayo Bamgbose; the first African President of the International Association of World Englishes, Professor Ayo Bamgbose  and an Associate Professor at Berkeley, University of California, Professor Sam Mchombo.

UKZN staff among the keynote speakers included Professor Thabo Msibi who is an Associate Professor in curriculum studies in the School of Education; and Dr Langa Khumalo, the Director of the University Language Planning and Development Office (ULPDO).

Dr Rubby Dhunpath, the UKZN Director of Teaching and Learning and Conference Chair, announced that after 10 years as the premier Teaching and Learning conference, from 2017 the Conference will broaden its scope to become a Annual Higher Education Conference with teaching and learning as one of the sub-themes. The theme for the 11th Annual Higher Education Conference, to be held on 27, 28, 29 September 2017, is: “Higher Education Today: Crises, Contestations, Contemplations And Futures”.


author : Sithembile Shabangu
author email : Shabangus@ukzn.ac.za

Prelude Poets on Show at 20th Poetry Africa Auditions

Prelude Poets on Show at 20th Poetry Africa Auditions
Centre for Creative Arts judges and poets at the Prelude Poets programme auditions.

UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), with principal funding from the City of Durban, held auditions for emerging poets keen to take part as Prelude Poets in the 20th Poetry Africa Festival from 10 to 15 October.

The auditions gave the city’s poets the opportunity to compete for the honour of showcasing their work to audiences at the country’s premier poetry festival. Many poets performing in this space have gone on to be invited as festival participants in Poetry Africa and other platforms in subsequent years.

The poets auditioned with performances in areas such as reading their work, performance poetry, slam poetry, musical items and praise poetry. Entrants were required to perform original pieces within a five minute slot.

UKZN student Ms Khuselo Makhanya of Inanda, who considers herself a newbie poet, chose to audition for the programme to kick-start her career in the spoken word scene. ‘I think this is a great opportunity for me to explore and further develop my talents. Poetry is such a meaningful and a deeply profound way to express myself and I want the festival audience and judges to appreciate my work.’

Umlazi poet Mr Mfanafuthi Shaka, is not only an advocate for the Arts but a poet in his own right. This is his second time auditioning. ‘Poetry Africa is a great platform for any emerging poet. I’ve always attended the festival and seen such powerful talent on stage… and I want to be a part of that. Poetry is my livelihood and it’s my passion.’

Judging their work was CCA staff members Mr Sakhile Gumede, Mr Mfundo Hlatswayo, Ms Lungile Ngubelanga and Mr Mncedisi Ndabezitha.

Gumede said: ‘Participants were asked to read from their own works and this was an advantage for them because they were able to prepare in advance for the auditions. They were also given the opportunity to perform in indigenous languages. As judges we looked at their stage appearance, personality and originality.

‘This included how they handled the microphone on stage, their voice projection and whether they showed audience awareness during the performance. We then scored them from 0-10 in all those different aspects. In the end, we applied a mathematical solution and those who had the highest scores were chosen to participate in the main event,’ he said.

The Prelude Poets selected were Khuselo Makhanya, Bright Luthuli, Langelihle Maniza Khuzwayo and Shashi Simelane.


author : Melissa Mungroo
author email : mungroo@ukzn.ac.za

Generous Research Grants Awarded to College of Health Sciences Professors

Generous Research Grants Awarded to College of Health Sciences Professors
Professor Thirumala Govender (left) and Professor Bilkish Cassim.

Professor Thirumala Govender and Professor Bilkish Cassim of the College of Health Sciences have been awarded College of Health Sciences Large Competitive Grants (CHS-LCG) worth R1,5 million each for their research projects. 

At the recent College’s Annual Research Symposium, the College Dean of Research and Chair for the Symposium Committee, Professor Moses Chimbari, said the grants aimed to encourage staff to compete for large grants, interdisciplinary research collaboration and innovation. 

The grants committee received 10 proposals which were reviewed by representatives from America, Australia and Zimbabwe. 

Based on the reviews, two projects were awarded the grants to the value of up to R1 500 000 a project over three years subject to satisfactory performance.

The selection process included an advert that was circulated to all academics in the College. ‘We received abstracts that we internally reviewed and selected four that were workshopped to develop full proposals which were reviewed externally and the two projects emerged as winners,’ said Chimbari. 

The projects are: “Nanotechnology-Based Solutions for Infectious Diseases (NSID)” led by Govender, and “Osteoporosis in South Africa (OsSA)” led by Cassim. 

Govender and her team of project leaders - Dr Raj Karpoormath, Dr Raveen Parboosing, Dr Roshila Moodley, Dr Hafiza Chenia and Dr Roshini Gounden - are focusing on the development of innovative materials, nanosensors and nano drug delivery systems as solutions to overcome challenges with drug therapy and resistance in infectious diseases. 

She thanked Chimbari for the award saying: ‘The College funding contributes to capacity development in nanotechnology for South Africa and Africa and innovative products to improve diagnosis and treatment of HIV and AIDS and diseases associated with bacterial infections.’   

Cassim’s project focuses on osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. 

Cassim thanked Chimbari and the Committee for the grant, and encouraged academics to apply for such grants.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

Developmental Lecturer Scoops Top Prizes at CHS Symposium

Developmental Lecturer Scoops Top Prizes at CHS Symposium
Professor Rob Slotow and Mr Themba Ginindza.

‘I am humbled and I hope to use my award profitably,’ said credentialing staff member in Public Health, Mr Themba Ginindza, after he won prizes totalling R60 000 at the College of Health Sciences’ Annual Research Symposium. 

Ginindza won first prize for both his Oral and Poster presentations based on his PhD project titled:  “The Burden of HPV Infection and HPV-Related Conditions Among Sexually Active Women in the Kingdom of Swaziland: Its Implications During The Era of the HIV Epidemic”. 

‘It was a great honour to win two awards which I hope will help me to attend international conferences and share my study findings,’ he said. 

The objective of the study presented on his poster was to describe the distribution and trends of VIA-based cervical abnormalities in Swaziland by reviewing records of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) examinations performed at two main hospitals in Swaziland between 2011 and 2014.  The study concluded that the high VIA positivity rates observed may reflect prevalence of cervical abnormalities, in particular, in HIV positive women.  

‘VIA is not a robust screening test but it can play a major role in strengthening and expanding the cervical cancer screening prevention programme in resource-limited countries,’ said Ginindza. 

The oral presentation looked at how epidemiological data on prevalence, distribution of HPV types and HPV-related conditions are vitally important to reduce the burden of cervical cancer by guiding the introduction of prophylactic vaccines, strengthening the screening programme, promoting the development of cancer registration, and initiating a national cancer prevention and control policy discussion. 

He said the main aim of this study was to estimate prevalence and identify associated determinants of hr-HPV, including HIV infection, among reproductive aged women in Swaziland. ‘We concluded that the prevalence of hr-HPV infection is high among sexually active women. HIV was significantly associated with hr-HPV infection,’ he explained. 

According to Ginindza, the study has provided essential information about the HIV link with HPV infections which may explain the high incidence. ‘This can contribute to policy development and planning of prevention strategies incorporating HPV infection prevention especially among the youth and HIV infected people,’ he said. 

Held at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine campus in Durban, the symposium attracted presenters from across Africa. 

The event attracted 100 oral and poster presentations delivered by staff and postgraduate students from across the Schools, Disciplines and affiliated research centres, including international students. 

The Symposium Committee received a remarkable 117 submissions for presentation at the two-day event. From this number only a 100 presented; 70 were oral presentations and 30 were posters delivered as three-minute speed presentations.  

College Dean of Research and Chair for the Symposium Committee, Professor Moses Chimbari, said the event contributed significantly towards the achievement of College Strategic Goals; student centeredness and excellence, research intense through PhDs and health sciences research leadership.  

‘The intention of the Symposium is to coach students on how to write abstracts, prepare and present oral and / or poster presentations; and how to deal with scientific criticism.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Invades Epithelial Cells - Study Finds

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Invades Epithelial Cells - Study Finds
Mr Thabiso Dlamini.

A study conducted by a UKZN master’s student, Mr Thabiso Dlamini, suggests that Mycobacterium tuberculosis invades epithelial cells with the aid of one of its major adhesions, M. tuberculosis Curli Pili (MTP), which induces differential host gene expression and immune response in those cells.

Titled: “Whole Transcriptome Analysis to Elucidate the Role of M. tuberculosis Curli Pili (MTP) on Host Gene Regulation in a Pulmonary Epithelial Cell Model”, the study aimed to understand mechanisms, especially bacterial structures, used by M.tuberculosis to interact with human host cells, which as a result leads to the cause of Tuberculosis (TB).

Dlamini presented his findings of the study at the TB 2016 International Conference, which was part of the AIDS Conference in Durban earlier this year.

Dlamini said about 1.5 million people worldwide died from TB every year while nine million new cases were reported. ‘HIV/TB co-infection and the emergence of MDR and XDR TB infections, have added a further load to already overstretched health facilities, making it more difficult for this disease to be controlled, especially in developing countries.’

Under the supervision of Professor Manormoney Pillay, Dlamini and his research group have identified MTP as a potential biomarker and novel target for TB vaccines and antimicrobial drugs. ‘We have previously shown the role of MTP in biofilm formation as well in adherence to and invasion of host cells such as macrophages and epithelial cells.’

The study used RNA-sequencing, a latest technique in transcriptome analysis, in order to elucidate the role of MTP on host gene regulation in an epithelial cell model where the team infected A549 epithelial cells with the wild type strain and the mtp-knockout mutant strain of M. tuberculosis.

‘Our findings showed that MTP plays a very important role in gene regulation of host cells where it was shown to be used by M. tuberculosis as an invasin and a strong inducer of a host immune response,’ Dlamini said.

According to Dlamini, the findings added to the growing evidence that M. tuberculosis uses MTP as one of its virulence factors during infection of host cells.

‘An abstract of this study has also been accepted for poster presentation at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance which will be held from 4-7 November 2016 in Vienna in Austria.  

He is currently working on two manuscript publications that will emanate from his study. ‘I’m also looking at adding a few more objectives, which I believe are worthy of being explored further in order to convert the study to PhD.’

Dlamini, who is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, holds a BSc degree in Cell Biology and Microbiology and an Honours degree in Medical Science. He is a recipient of the UKZN Special Honours Scholarship, UKZN Postgraduate Scholarship and NRF Innovation Masters and Doctoral Scholarships.

Born in the rural town of Ingwavuma in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Dlamini is the first person in his family to attend varsity full time.

He keeps fit by going to gym and jogging and loves listening to music. He currently lives in Durban with his mother, stepfather and two siblings.


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

Kenyan PhD Student Presents at CHS Symposium

Kenyan PhD Student Presents at CHS Symposium
Ms Isabella Moraa.

A Kenyan study presented at the UKZN’s College of Health Sciences Research Symposium indicated a greater risk of malaria and rift valley fever (RVF) outbreaks in the low lying regions of Baringo County in Kenya. 

The study titled: “Distribution and Variability of Malaria and RVF Vector Species in Baringo County, Kenya”, investigated the altitudinal distribution and variability of RVF and malaria mosquito vectors in Baringo County. 

The research was done by Ms Isabella Moraa, a University of Nairobi PhD student, who conducted a longitudinal entomological survey to collect and identify mosquito vectors of malaria and RVF from houses made of different wall and roof materials. 

The longitudinal study also surveyed the larval habitats to determine preference by different mosquito species, ‘House type influence on indoor resting mosquitoes and their abundance were also assessed.’ The study monitored presence, diversity and seasonal population dynamics of vector mosquitoes. 

‘Despite the fact that Rift Valley Fever outbreaks are sporadic, vectors responsible for RVF virus transmission are present in the area. Malaria vectors were collected at an altitude of up to 2,250m and this was also contrary to the general assumption that they are not found in the highlands,’ said Moraa.  

Due to differential abundances of mosquitoes in the four altitudinal zones, her study suggested that: ‘people living at lowlands and riverine areas need to be given priority in malaria control strategies targeting the vectors and these should include outdoor disease-transmitting mosquitoes as well’.

The ongoing surveillance study is yet to test malaria vectors for presence of plasmodium parasites.

Moraa is enrolled at the School of Biological Sciences and is currently doing her project laboratory work at the Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (UNITID), College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi in Kenya.  

She was born in a rural village where her community believed science was for boys. ‘I was the first girl to pass with very high grades at primary school and when it was time to choose subjects  in high school I was advised to take social sciences which were considered easy for girls,’ she said. She insisted on three science subjects; Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and specialised in Biological Sciences at university.  

‘I am passionate about science,’ said the mother-of-three. ‘I am persistent in what I want and believe if others have done it before, I can also do it so I rarely get discouraged.’


author : Nombuso Dlamini
author email : dlaminin10@ukzn.ac.za

High Tea Celebration for Book Publications

High Tea Celebration for Book Publications
Publications celebrated at the High Tea.

The College of Law and Management Studies recently hosted a Book and Book Chapters High Tea Celebration.

The aim of the event was to celebrate all books (accredited or non-accredited) including textbooks and book chapters authored by staff members in the College from 2014 to 2016. This included seven books and over 30 book chapters on a variety of topics including  law, good governance, information technology and research methodology to name a few.

College Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head Professor John Mubangizi who contributed a chapter titled: “The Ombudsman: Promoting Accountability and Good Governance” published in the book titled: African Accountability: What Works and What Doesn’t which focuses on political and social aspects to assess the current state of governance and accountability and features a foreword written by Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela said that it important for academics to expand their research profile.

‘For this book, I was asked to write a chapter about the role of Congolese men in accountability in Africa and I accepted because it is important for one to diversify their research by going beyond journal articles,’ he said.

College Dean of research Professor Marita Carnelley authored a chapter titled “Maintenance Offences” in the book titled: SA Criminal Law and Procedure Volume III: Statutory Offences. She encouraged academics to not only look at publishing as a way of generating productivity units but a vital tool of ensuring that the knowledge of their disciplines is continuously up to date and available to the stakeholders.


author : Thandiwe Jumo
author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za

Doctoral Graduate Presents Research Findings at Swaziland Conference

Doctoral Graduate Presents Research Findings at Swaziland Conference
Dr Paulette Naidoo (right) with Dr Saloschini Pillay at the 37th annual SAACDHE Conference gala evening in Swaziland.

UKZN graduate in the School of Psychology, College of Humanities, Dr Paulette Naidoo, recently presented her PhD findings at the annual Southern African Association for Counselling and Development in Higher Education (SAACDHE) Conference held in Swaziland.

The theme of the Conference, “From Business as Usual to ‘Business Unusual’: The Role of Student Counselling in Higher Education”, was aimed at generating innovative, cutting-edge ideas and strategies around enhancing student counselling services in Higher Education. 

Naidoo presented two papers, drawn from her PhD study, which sought to encourage critical reflection and debate around how student counselling is conceptualised and enacted within the realm of Higher Education as well as the ways in which value is assigned to both student counselling services and the practitioners who render this crucial service.

Naidoo’s first paper, titled: “No Longer Business as Usual: Viewing Student Counselling through the Lens of Community Psychology”, highlighted significant parallels between community psychology and student counselling practice, particularly in respect of social relevance and engagement, service diversity and accessibility, client empowerment and broader community engagement.

Naidoo highlighted the various ways in which student counselling practice challenged traditional psychological models of training and practice, with the student counselling context necessitating a more progressive, contextually-relevant approach commensurate with the systemic nature of student profiles and challenges.

The second paper, titled: “The Student Counsellor as ‘Institutional Step-Child’: The Case for a More Inclusive Model of Student Counselling, Development and Support”, drew attention to student counsellors’ perceptions of themselves as an institutional “step-children” in Higher Education. This was exemplified in perceived discriminatory institutional practices such as ambiguous role expectations and institutional titles, restricted funding and resource allocation, limited career advancement opportunities as well as significant remuneration and benefit discrepancies between psychologists in student counselling, academia and public service.

The implications of this “step-child” status for service delivery, impact, efficacy as well as the attraction and retention of professional staff in student counselling, was further highlighted.

According to Naidoo, fellow delegates at the Conference agreed that disparities between psychologists in Higher Education and those in the public sector, was shocking and unacceptable and needed to be addressed at the highest levels. Delegates were committed to working together in bringing the status, benefits and remuneration of student counselors on par with psychologists in public service.

Dr Naidoo is of the opinion that the annual SAACDHE Conference provides the ideal platform for student counselling practitioners to engage, network and collaborate with colleagues across institutions of higher learning. She therefore believes that all practitioners should attend this annual event.

Dr Naidoo expressed her sincere appreciation to Dr Chalufu, Executive Director of Student Services, for assisting her with the funds necessary to attend the Conference in Swaziland. Dr Naidoo also expressed her gratitude to Dr Saloschini Pillay, member of the Executive Management Committee - SAACDHE and Manager: Student Support, College of Health Sciences (UKZN) for supporting and encouraging her to showcase her research at relevant platforms such as SAACDHE.


author : NdabaOnline
author email : Naidoopl@ukzn.ac.za