Fees Has Fallen at UKZN for Research on Bacterial and HIV Drug Resistance

Fees Has Fallen at UKZN for Research on Bacterial and HIV Drug Resistance
Members of UKZN’s Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit (CPRU).

UKZN’s Catalysis and Peptide Research Unit (CPRU) has received a research grant of about R7 million from the National Research Foundation (NRF) for scholarships towards postgraduate training next year. 

The money will be used to further research in bacterial and HIV drug resistance and also cover student support and running costs of the research undertaken.

‘This is brilliant. The grant will fund five post-docs, 19 PhDs, 24 masters and 21 honours students next year. This is one huge achievement,’ said Professor Rob Slotow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences.

The honours scholarships are non-obligatory and will be awarded on academic merit to students studying Chemistry, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Genetics and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The masters and doctoral training scholarships currently on offer to postgraduates will focus on six specific research areas conducted in the CPRU - Chemical Approaches for Fighting Antimicrobial Diseases; Targeting Drug Resistant TB with Novel ß-Lactams; Chemical Approaches for Fighting Antimicrobial Diseases; Spatially-resolved PKPD Studies for Optimised Prevention of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders; Sulfur (bio) Isosterism in Organic Synthesis and Drug Design, and Applied Organocatalysis.

The Unit anticipates that the number of students will exceed the space available in their laboratories and the CPRU will therefore stretch the remaining funding to other researchers.

 The University encourages South African students to make the best use of this available opportunity and to note the closing date of 30 November this year for applications.

‘We are grateful that the NRF has continuously acknowledged that our research in CPRU has the potential to find solutions for bacterial and HIV drug resistance,’ said Professor Thavi Govender of the Unit.

Said UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld: ‘This grant will allow us an opportunity to further position UKZN’s research at new heights. Well done to you and the team. This is excellent news.’

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research at UKZN, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, added: ‘Well done, Thavi and the team. You make us proud!’

author : Maryann Francis and Lihle Sosibo
author email : sosibo@ukzn.ac.za

Durban Learners Communicate with Robots in Switzerland

Durban Learners Communicate with Robots in Switzerland
Eden College pupils with (from left) Dr Andre Rosendo, Professor Riaan Stopforth and Mr Clay Johannsson of Eden College.

Several Eden College pupils were involved in a world-wide project in which they were able to communicate with robots in Switzerland, thanks to UKZN.

The youngsters sent communications to thymio robots which resemble small flat cars with two wheels that can be programmed and controlled remotely to undertake certain tasks.

The aim is to teach eager young minds exactly how to programme robots and the science of robotics. 

The Eden College learners were given the opportunity to become space-age engineers through a collaboration with a Swiss university of engineering.

They were guided in South Africa by Professor Riaan Stopforth of UKZN’s School of Engineering, who collaborated with Professor Francesco Mondada of Mechatronics Engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EPFL).

Mondada has developed the thymio robot as an educational tool to introduce children to robotics. Through Stopforth, Eden College was identified in South Africa to participate in the learning experience. 

Eden College was chosen for various reasons:  the high standard of its education, its close proximity to UKZN and – most importantly – the fact that it teaches French, the language in which communication between teams was conducted.

The robot’s software has a screen on the side of the graphic programming interface showing its coding.  Learners enter a code on a local computer and transmit it to Switzerland over the internet, and the robot responds to the instructions after a delay.

The delay replicates the situation in communications between earth and the mars mission enabling the youngsters to test their coding before sending instructions to the robots in Switzerland.

Dr Andre Rosendo, a Post-doctoral Fellow from Cambridge University who is based at UKZN’s Mechanical Engineering Department, assisted with guiding the learners on how to brainstorm the solution to ensure their robot responded correctly. 

The South African team got together with 15 similar groups from around the world to test their training.  Using a YouTube streaming video, YouTube Chat, and a shared Dropbox folder, the pupils connected to the other groups and the robot at its home base at EPFL.

The connections had five different streams in order to observe what the robots were doing in each country.                                                                                                     

It was the second time Eden College has been involved in the successful programme and the learners thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

Said Stopforth: ‘Team UKZN was able to complete their tasks, and even started to assist other teams in other countries to pursue ways to get their robots to also complete their goals.’ 

author : Prashina Budree
author email : budreep@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Team Designs Crash Test Dummy

UKZN Team Designs Crash Test Dummy
UKZN’s Crash Test Dummy team.

A UKZN team has built an automated crash test dummy and designed an automated control system for a minibus used in an experiment aimed at improving road safety.

The team comprised Professor Riaan Stopforth and Dr Shaniel Davrajh of UKZN, Mr Craig Proctor-Parker of Accidents Specialists, and six Mechanical Engineering students.

The creations were on display at the recent Mechanical Engineering Open Day.

The objective of the project was to make mini-bus taxi drivers and passengers more aware of ‘how easy it is for accidents to happen.’  Toyota sponsored the mini-bus taxi used in the crash test.

A mini-bus taxi was chosen as this is a common vehicle used on South African roads to transport large numbers of passengers.

The project itself was divided into two sections, with two groups of students working together.

Mr Nekhil Singh, Mr Brenton Nagasar and Ms Zamile Ngema designed and built the crash dummy. The crash test automation was designed and built by Mr Brandon Lotter, Mr Kiran Setty and Mr Sylvester da Silva.

The brief was that the crash dummy had to have properties similar to that of a human body.  It also needed to be able to record information during the crash test.

Ngema researched and tested the materials needed to construct the dummy and also facilitated the instillation of a sensor mounting system to capture data. ‘The fact that we were designing a system with the potential to save lives made this project really exciting,’ she said.

Singh designed the mechanical systems and software and was involved with the medical data and experimental work. Nagasar was tasked to structure the accelerometer and gyroscope, which measured the G-force and angular velocity used to assess the severity of the accident.   ‘I was really excited to see how the experiment went because this information can be shared with automotive companies to help improve safety features of vehicles,’ he said. 

Setty’s task was to construct controls for the mechanical steering system and a braking system able to cut the engine’s power in case of an emergency. Lotter was also involved in the brake control system in the taxi as well as working on the accelerator and brake for the back-up vehicle. Mr Sylvester da Silva was responsible for designing the housing for the control system in both vehicles and the steering system for the secondary vehicle.

Project supervisor Professor Riaan Stopforth explained the purpose of the test:  ‘We wanted the vehicle to travel at speeds of up to 110km/h, after which a turning manoeuvre would be performed autonomously, causing the vehicle to roll,’ he said.  ‘Sensors inside the taxi would record the readings of how the vehicle moved and the G-forces experienced. Cameras inside the vehicle would record the event and the effect it had on the dummies.’

Due to wet weather during the experiments, the mini bus did not roll, but instead skidded across the road violently.

‘These results are important,’ said Stopforth, ‘as a test in such conditions has not been performed before according to accident specialists in the USA. The crash dummy was thrown around violently in the vehicle, as was seen in the video recording footage.’

The dummy is undergoing an ‘autopsy’ to identify internal injuries, but Stopforth said there was already evidence of life-threatening injuries.

‘The results have shown that if a mini-bus rolls on the road with no external factors influencing it, then it must be due to the vehicle being poorly maintained. The reason we did not experience the roll was due to wet conditions, and a new vehicle,’ said Stopforth.

A high speed camera recorded the event for future vehicle motion observation at a slow speed. 

‘All the students in this project along with Dr Davrajh worked very hard in bringing it together,’ said Stopforth.

He thanked Toyota for sponsoring the Department with the Quantum that was used and Accidents Specialists for taking part in the project.

author : Basetsana Mogashoa
author email : Mogashoab@ukzn.ac.za

Academics Launch Book on Counselling and Psychotherapy

Academics Launch Book on Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dr Thirusha Naidu and Dr Suvira Ramlal.

UKZN academics Dr Thirusha Naidu and Dr Suvira Ramlall launched their book, Talk Therapy Toolkit, at the second annual Durban Mental Health Symposium.

The Symposium was held to commemorate 2016 World Mental Health Day and was themed: “Psychological and Mental Health First Aid”.

The book deals with psychotherapy in the South African context and addresses emerging areas in the realm of psychotherapy and counselling, including reflective practice, basic techniques, supervision, and the social determinants of mental health.

It also explores the neuroscientific basis of psychotherapy and the role of spirituality in psychotherapeutic practice.

Naidu is a Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Behavioural Medicine while Ramlall is a Psychiatrist and Acting Head of the Department of Psychiatry.

The authors said they developed the tool kit in response to the absence of text that was relevant to counselling and psychotherapy in the local context.  ‘Psychotherapy is seen as a Euro-American practice with available texts written by and based on people and cultures different to that in South Africa,’ said Naidu.

Psychotherapy chapters, which include a step-by-step breakdown on how to apply different modalities of therapy, are written by clinical psychologists who have practiced in the public sector.

While the step-by-step approach might be contrary to purist recommendations of psychotherapy practice, the editors have found in their experience as teachers that this is required to facilitate teaching and learning of counselling and psychotherapy in the South African milieu. Each chapter includes composite case studies based on real experiences of clinicians as well as diagrams and tables that outline and explain key elements of the theory and practice of psychotherapy across contexts and modalities.

The authors were keen to produce a practical accessible text that would guide emerging therapists in South Africa and possibly other countries in Africa and the developing world. ‘The book was inspired by our teaching of psychiatrists and psychologists who we found were ignoring their rich, real-life personal, contextual and community experiences in working with clients in favor of what was recommended in Western texts,’ they said.

‘The book is intended to encourage and support practitioners to develop their psychotherapy, counselling practices and perspectives that are reflective of and responsive to contextual issues, social determinants and the real life and real world needs of the people they support.’

The book will be available electronically and in hard copy at Van Schaik Publishers this month.

The launch formed part of the second annual Durban Mental Health Symposium, hosted by the KZN Mental Health Advocacy Group - a newly formed umbrella platform aiming to unite all stakeholders working in mental health in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Symposium speakers included Chair of the HPCSA Board for Psychology, UKZN’s Professor Basil Pillay; Director of Special Needs Education Services, Mr Niranjan Bridglall; a social worker in private practice, Dr Cathy Hasleau, and Acting Head of Psychiatry at the King Dinizulu Hospital Complex, UKZN’s Dr Saeeda Paruk.

The keynote address was delivered by the National Director of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Department of Health, Professor Melvyn Freeman.

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

Final Year Students Hold ADHD Workshop

Final Year Students Hold ADHD Workshop
Participants in the ADHD Workshop.

Final-year UKZN students in the Departments of Occupational and Speech Therapy held an Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Workshop for the community of Mariannridge near Durban.

The workshop, which targeted parents or anyone interested in ADHD and other learning disabilities, dealt with intervention strategies to assist children learn, adapt and continue with their everyday activities, in spite of ADHD or any other learning disability.

ADHD is a mental health disorder that can hamper children’s progression at school and their relationships. Children who have ADHD are usually unable to follow instructions, unable to complete tasks (at home and school), and have disruptive behaviour and their performance suffers in school and at home.

ADHD children are sometimes aggressive and may have poor social skills causing stress for their families. Due to lack of knowledge or insight into the condition, parents often handle the situation badly, sometimes leading to the affected children becoming isolated.

A sensory diet is one of the activities designed for an individual child to help modulate their “arousal” level.  This is a daily routine that incorporates various calming and organising activities.

Sensory integration is the second technique used by occupational therapists to help those who have a sensory processing disorder. In this technique, the therapist helps to reorganise the child’s sensory system, by applying deep pressure, such as a massage or the use of a weighted vest or blanket.  A rhythm and repetition of movements on a swing, trampoline or an exercise ball can be used.

Language-based learning disabilities are problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, and/or writing. This disorder is not about how intelligent a person is – most of those diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence. The goals of speech and language treatment for the child with a reading problem target the specific aspects of reading and writing that the student is missing.

The Workshop presented the following tips for parents with ADHD children :

Specific legislation has been enacted over the past several decades to provide specialised academic support and services for children with ADHD and other learning disabilities.

‘Two of those laws, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), entitle children to a free academic evaluation that determines whether they qualify for special support or even an individualised education programme (IEP), tailored especially for learning-disabled students,’ said Ms Chantel Christopher, the Senior Tutor at UKZN’s Department of Occupational Therapy.

author : Lihle Sosibo
author email : sosibo@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Academic Co-Edits Book on Children in SA Families

UKZN Academic Co-Edits Book on Children in SA Families
Professor Ernest Khalema who has co-edited a new book: <em>Children in South African Families - Lives and Times</em>.

Professor Ernest Nene Khalema of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies has co-edited a book titled: Children in South African Families - Lives and Times.

Khalema’s co-editors were Professor Monde Makiwane of the Human Sciences Research Council and Professor Mzikazi Nduna of the University of the Witwatersrand.

The book covers both conceptual and theoretical questions which explore the context of children’s experiences, especially in diverse family formations and non-marital childbearing and diverse parenting situations in South Africa.

The book even uses examples from a range of primary and secondary data sources to illustrate how resilience in children faced with adversity could be nurtured, demonstrating the links between theory and practice. It also critically comments on questions of epistemology by drawing on research with children within different African social and cultural contexts.

Khalema said: ‘While the book affirms the complexities of explaining child adversity or privilege, it stresses the diversity of South African children’s experiences and the importance of adopting both children’s rights and Afro-centric perspectives to account for the commonality and diversity of childhood and children’s empowerment in diverse family systems.

‘The contributions also provide recommendations on how to respond and intervene in children’s issues, from both practical and policy levels, in a dedicated manner to ensure that children are protected from harm, nurtured to succeed, and assisted during and after traumatic experiences,’ he added.

The book represents a valuable resource for scholars, policy makers, child practitioners, and students in the broad areas of the humanities, social sciences, and public health.

The book is available from Cambridge Scholars Publishers Amazon.

* Khalema is an Associate Professor and Academic Leader of Community Development in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies. He is a former Chief Research Specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council and former Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Calgary in Canada. Before joining UKZN, he taught social science, social work, community development and public health at numerous institutions in Canada. He is a co-editor of several books and has written widely in the areas of African development and population studies, sustainable development, African diasporas, migration, and community health.

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

Umklomelo Ophezulu Kwezokufunda Nokufundisa Ozuzwe Yisifundiswa Sase-UKZN

Umklomelo Ophezulu Kwezokufunda Nokufundisa  Ozuzwe Yisifundiswa Sase-UKZN
UNkz Rosemary Quilling.

Click here for English version

Unyaka wezi-2016 ube unyaka wempumelelo enkulu kofundisa ngezoChwepheshe BezokuXhumana uNkz Rosemary Quilling.

Uklonyeliswe ngendondo kathisha ovelele i-UKZN Distinguished Teacher’s Award ne-Council on Higher Education kanye  ne-Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa National Teaching Excellence Award.

Umcimbi waminyaka yonke wokuklonyeliswa owaziwa nge-National Teaching Excellence Awards ubalula iqhaza elibalulekile elibanjwa abaklonyeliswayo kwezoKufunda nokuFundisa kwezemfundo ephakeme eNingizimu Afrika.

‘Le ndondo ihlonipha ukusebenza kwami njengothisha okuyigugu kubafundi bami nemikhakha abaphetha ngokusebenza kuyo. Nokuthi kubhekana nenselelo yokuba nesidingo lapha ekhaya kanyeba seqophelweni lomhlaba,’ kusho u-Quilling.

U-Quilling usesebenze iminyaka engama-20 emkhakheni wezemfundo ephakeme manje wenza izifundo zobudokotela kwezemfundo.

‘Intshisekelo yami selokhu kwaba ukuzama ukwenza ngcono ismo sami nabafundi bami ekilasini. Ngiyazibala nami ngoba othisha babuye bazizwe benesithukuthezi noma bengakwazi ukuxhumana nesifundo. Ngihlale ngigqugquzelekile futhi nginomdlandla uma ngibona abafundi bebhekana ngqo nezimo eziyinselelo.’

Uselindele ukubamba iqhaza emcimbini ozayo obizwa nge- College of Law and Management Studies Teaching and Learning Day nokuqhubeka nokuzama izinto ezintsha. Ngokuqhubeka kwesikhathi ulindele ukubheka amathuba angawathola ngokuzuza le ndondo. 

‘Ngithanda ukubonga ozakwethu engisebenze nabo abangilekelele ukuthi ngibe uthisha engiwuye kanye nabaphathi nabanye ababambe iqhaza bangaphandle kwesikhungo abebesekela izindlela zokufundisa ebezibukeka sengathi zinciphisa isilinganiso sokungazuzeka,’ usho kanje.

author : Thandiwe Jumo and Andile Mcineka
author email : Jumo@ukzn.ac.za

Rites, Rights and Riots performed at Jazz Centre

Rites, Rights and Riots performed at Jazz Centre
UKZN Jazz Lecturer, Pianist and Composer Neil Gonsalves.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music recently presented a performance of Rites, Rights and Riots by UKZN Jazz Lecturer Neil Gonsalves.

Pianist and composer Gonsalves performed excerpts from two open-ended song cycles: F(r)ee Fall and Scenes from a Wedding.

F(r)ee Fall comprises a collection of pieces that were composed during a 10-year period - a musician’s diary of the order, disorder and reorder of things in academic and other confined spaces.  Scenes from a Wedding is inspired by a series of family weddings and the celebrations and busy preparations that accompany them.

‘This ritual of communion, which occurred at the tail end of a six-week expedition of North America, is set against the backdrop of Trump’s wall, BREXIT, gun violence in the United States, #Blacklivesmatter, and Elon Musk’s self-driving cars and mission to realise human life on Mars,’ said Gonsalves.

The performance featured three short sets, highlighting different combinations by drummer and drum instructor at UKZN, Bruce Baker; current drum students Riley Giandhari and Jude Kenrick; UKZN alumni Ethan Naidoo (guitar) and Natalie Rungan (vocals); former student and bassist, Llewelyn Chetty; current students Phumlani Mtiti (alto saxophone) and Mokgethisi Nkotsi (trombone), and alumni and current students, Xolisa Dlamini (vocals) and Siyanda Zulu (trumpet).

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

Academics Become Teaching Advancement at University Fellows

Academics Become Teaching Advancement at University Fellows
New TAU Fellows (from left) Professor Suzanne Francis, Professor Oliver Mtapuri, Professor Fatima Suleman and Dr Rubby Dhunpath.

Three UKZN academics recently participated in the South African Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Fellowships Programme organised by the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).

They are Professor Suzanne Francis and Professor Oliver Mtapuri of the College of Humanities and Professor Fatima Suleman  of the College of Health Sciences.

The academics are now members of the expanding TAU network which comprises distinguished academics from South African universities.

The programme sought to build a cadre of teaching fellows in a wide range of disciplines in an 18-month programme involving block week units, individual projects in the Fellows’ own teaching and learning settings, and group research projects conducted under the guidance of TAU advisors.

Mtapuri said: ‘Participation in the programme provided a space for the cross-pollination of ideas encapsulating pedagogical and praxis issues focusing on alternative academic literacies, graduate attributes, barriers to success, bi-literacy development, research methodologies, the mid-point of PhD, case studies and the facilitation of epistemological access.’

He believes the TAU sessions charted a new trajectory of multi- inter- and cross-disciplinary collaboration across institutions.

Mtapuri plans to implement elements derived from mathematics and drama into his teaching praxis in Development Studies while moving towards a discourse of innovation and excellence which incorporates augmented reality for scholastic success.

Suleman believes that TAU provides a platform to critically engage on discourses on Higher Education, teaching philosophies and teaching style, bringing together academics from different disciplines and diverse backgrounds to create a rich environment for learning, collaboration and networking.

‘It is important for academics to have this kind of platform for engagement on issues of Higher Education and leadership as it is often quite common to get caught up in day-to-day activities of an academic and to forget about the bigger environment in which we find ourselves.

‘It has also changed the way I view Higher Education - I now finally view myself as an academic and a professional. Having been exposed to the different theories on teaching and learning, I hope to now spend time getting a more in-depth understanding of these theories and to start assessing my teaching style more critically. I hope it will make me a better educator, researcher and leader for my Discipline, if not my Institution,’ said Suleman.

UKZN’s Director of Teaching and Learning and TAU Advisor, Dr Rubby Dhunpath, echoed the views of Fellows, adding that they have the capacity and vision to contribute to regional and national dialogues on teaching and learning while also providing leadership for systemic development of Higher Education.

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

Sanitary Pad Awareness Event on Edgewood Campus

Sanitary Pad Awareness Event on Edgewood Campus
Edgewood campus Residence Life Section members handing over pad hampers to learners at Pad Drive.

The Residence Life Section on UKZN’s Edgewood campus organised a Pad Drive to increase awareness regarding problems and concerns about sanitary pad use as well as hygiene and cancer.

The event was attended by 150 women of different ages, including Grade 8 learners and teachers of KwaSanti Secondary School, and members of the Residence Life staff on the Edgewood campus.

The programme started with a tour of Edgewood campus during which the youngsters were encouraged by mentors to complete school and strive to attend university.

The tour also included a talk on various activities the campus offers and a dance routine.

Participants then took part in a forum regarding menstrual cycles and related concerns. There was also PowerPoint presentations, speeches, drama, and poetry reading.

Teachers from KwaSanti Secondary School expressed their thanks to the Residence Life Section for implementing the initiative.

Pad hampers were handed out to the young women and that was followed by a lunch which ended proceedings on a high note.

author : Jennifer Sheokarah
author email : Sheokarahj@ukzn.ac.za

UKZN Alumnus Honoured by US Healthcare Organisation

UKZN Alumnus Honoured by US Healthcare Organisation
Mr Marios Damianides.

UKZN alumnus Mr Marios Damianides is being honoured by the Lighthouse Guild in the United States for his work in helping provide integrated vision and healthcare services to the blind and visionally impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions.

As a result of the Guild’s work, many sufferers are able to lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives.

Damianides is being recognised by the Guild as the Visionary of the Year at a gala dinner in New York.

Born in Cyprus, he immigrated to South Africa in 1973, and studied at the then University of Natal, later graduating with a degree in Business, Economics and Accounting.

He is now a partner at Ernst & Young LLP in New York.

The Lighthouse Guild Light Years gala dinners salute individuals and organisations whose vision and philanthropic spirit transform lives.

The Guild is a leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organisation, with a long-standing heritage of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. Through the integration of vision and healthcare services and the expansion of access through education and community outreach, the Guild’s innovative and comprehensive approach helps people achieve and maintain the highest possible level of function and independence.

Damianides is a pioneer and published author, whose thesis research and findings on the Access Path Methodology were published in several technical periodicals as well as in technical reference series published by Ernst & Young, including Demystifying IBM’s Alphabet Soup and Access Methodologies. His work on data protection via layered access management routines focused on the most complex systems of the time and was regarded as groundbreaking.

He is married to Anna and they have two children, Eleni and Andreas.

author : NdabaOnline
author email : marios.damianides@ey.com

PhD Engineering Student Presents Award-Winning Paper at London Conference

PhD Engineering Student Presents Award-Winning Paper at London Conference
PhD student Mr Daniel Kubelwa received the best student paper award at the 2016 International Conference of Applied and Engineering Mathematics, World Congress on Engineering.

UKZN PhD Engineering student Mr Daniel Kubelwa received the Best Student Paper Award at the World Congress of Engineering’s (WCE) 2016 International Conference of Applied and Engineering Mathematics in London.

The Conference was organised by the International Association of Engineers (IAENG) - a non-profit international association for engineers and computer scientists.

The three-day paper presentation held at the Imperial College’s South Kensington campus, attracted 385 participants from about 50 countries.

Co-ordinated by an IAENG committee, the Conference was co-chaired by Professor Alexander M Korsunsky of the University of Oxford, Professor Andrew Hunter of the University of Lincoln, Professor David WL Hukinsn of the University of Birmingham, and Professor Len Gelman of Cranfield University.

According to Kubelwa, the Conference serves as an excellent platform for the international engineering community to meet and exchange ideas. ‘The conference also strikes a balance between theoretical development and applications,’ he said.

In his paper titled: “Statistical Modelling of Bending Stress in ACSR Overhead Transmission Line Conductors subjected to Aeolian Vibrations-I”, Kubelwa explained a new and simple model ?to assess the bending stress in power transmission line conductors, which was developed using experimental data and statistical techniques.

‘The bending stress of a power line conductor is an important factor in the evaluation of its life expectancy, given as half a century by the Poffenberger-Swart Formula (idealised model),’ said Kubelwa.

‘Previous research raised some concern as to the accuracy of this latter model as observed when compared to experimental data.’

The experimental work was performed at UKZN’s Vibration Research and Testing Centre (VRTC) and on four of the most used overhead line conductors in South Africa.

Kubelwa’s trip to the Conference was financed by a grant he won at UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Postgraduate Research Day as well as a travel award he received from the College.

He thanked his co-authors, VRTC grant holder Dr Richard Loubser and Dr Konstantin Papailiou of CIGRE in Switzerland.

He also thanked VRTC lab technician Mr Pravesh Moodley, Mr Logan Pillay of the ESKOM academy, and Mr Thabani Nene of Pfisterer SA.

author : Alleyne Coleman
author email : colemanad@ukzn.ac.za

Ecotourists Contribute to Elephant Conservation

Ecotourists Contribute to  Elephant Conservation
Ecotourists as well as community-based nature tourism contribute to elephant conservation, according to new research released by UKZN scientists.

While elephant populations are declining at unprecedented rates in Africa due to their illegal slaughter, many populations of the animal on the continent are stable or increasing, research by a UKZN team has revealed.

According to a new paper by the researchers (https://peerj.com/articles/2581), this could be due partly to the benefits local people generate from nature-based tourism.

The team of researchers from UKZN’s Amarula Elephant Research led by Dr Jeanetta Selier of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, analysed which factors affected elephant numbers in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area - spanning South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana - between 2007 and 2014.

The researchers found that elephant numbers were limited by the increasing human population and expanding agricultural land but were positively correlated with the increasing number of tourists visiting the country.

‘Our results highlight that an increase in human population, coupled with the need to produce more food, will affect elephant numbers even more negatively in the future,’ said Selier.

‘If this happens in southern Africa, where elephant populations are currently doing much better compared to the rest of the continent, then the picture is grim.’

‘With the increasing demand for land for human settlement and agriculture, co-ordinated legislation and policies across national boundaries are needed to improve long-term land use planning,’ said Director of the Amarula Elephant Research Programme, Professor Rob Slotow. ‘This will ensure the survival of the elephant.’

‘Local communities often pay the costs of elephant conservation without tangible benefits,’ said co-author of the paper, Dr Enrico Di Minin. ‘Making sure the benefits generated from nature-based tourism, such as ecotourism safaris, are shared with communities who co-exist with elephants remains crucial to ensure the long-term persistence of this iconic species.’ 

author : Jeanetta Selier
author email : j.selier@sanbi.org.za