MUT launches two Advanced Diplomas with Department of Agriculture

Prof Msomi, left and Acting Deputy Director General, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in KwaZulu-Natal, Nonhlanhla Zwane-Dlomo, tasting some of the edibles made by MUT Community Extension students

Today MUT launches two new academic programmes in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. The Advanced Diplomas in Crop Production, and Agricultural Extension and Community Development programmes are being launched in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development.

Commenting on the launch of the programmes, the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Prof Alfred Msomi has said what the University was doing is in line with the national agenda. “MUT has a bigger picture as we look into the future. We would like to make a sizeable contribution to our immediate community and beyond. In this we are guided by the University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, part of which is to work with the communities of Umlazi Township. This is part of the Anchor Strategy to revitalise Umlazi Township. The Anchor Strategy responds to the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, which dictates all South Africans must contribute to ridding the country of poverty by 2030.”

Part of the launch was a press conference at the University where the leadership of the Departments of Agriculture and Community Extension addressed the media on the two programmes, and the importance of planting indigenous plants. This will be followed by a visit to Swelihle High School, in Umlazi Township’s Section C, and eKhanana Old Age Home in the same section. Swelihle High School has been identified as a place where most of the high school agricultural activities will take place, since it has large enough land, and it is also central. The Head of Department of Community Extension, Eric Mthembu, also addressed teachers, principals and learners on the importance of Agriculture as subject to study at all levels, and as a source of food for both consumption and commercial purposes. Umlazi Township has 18% of schools that offer Agriculture as a subject.

Some of the spin-offs of the launch will be that the schools can put themselves in a position to produce enough agricultural produce to feed their learners.

Nature Conservation department continues to pave the way

Professors in the Department of Nature Conservation, Georgina Arthur, left, and Roger Coopoosamy, fifth from left, with their Master's graduates at the graduation
Professors in the Department of Nature Conservation, Georgina Arthur, left, and Roger Coopoosamy, fifth from left, with their Master’s graduates at the graduation

The Department of Nature Conservation shone once again for the second consecutive year, during the graduation on Saturday, 13 April 2019. This time around the department graduated six Master’s students, with one student obtaining her qualification cum laude.

Commenting on the success of the Department and its future plans, the Head of Department, Professor Peter Small said his intention was to see the department provide a complete suite of qualifications culminating in a PhD. “My aim is to help the department acquire a PhD in Nature Conservation. I would like to see this happening before I put my feet up,” said Prof Small. The Department of Nature Conservation, with the highest compliment of Professors and staff with doctorates, is more than ready to provide this PhD qualification.  Prof Small also pointed out that MUT will be the first to offer a PhD in Nature Conservation in the country. At the moment the University is the first and only university in South Africa that offers a Master’s in Nature Conservation.

The six Master’s students were part of over 2500 students that graduated at MUT during the five-day event.

MUT pays tribute to security that secures our graduation

Some of the security personnel that ensured that all graduation ceremonies went off without a glitch
Some of the security personnel that ensured that all graduation ceremonies went off without a glitch

Even though the series of graduation ceremonies that took place at the University’s Seme Hall from 9-13 April 2019 saw over 2500 students graduating, and more than 8000 parents descending upon the University to witness the lives of their children changing, the University security systems were able to cope, and ensured the ceremony went on without a glitch.

Working together with the Durban Metropolitan Security and the South African Police Services (SAPS), Sandile Security, which is contracted to MUT helped to provide extra security services for an eventuality. The national and municipality security was there mainly to control traffic outside the University, and to and assist with crime prevention duties.

The MUT Head of Protection Services, Sizwe Nkabinde, said they were grateful to have contributed to the success of the University’s graduation ceremonies. Nkabinde said their security personnel were a professional outfit that was trained to deal with large numbers of excited people. “Our role is to make sure that there is peace and order during all the five ceremonies. In fact, our task regarding graduation started some weeks ago when we held a number of meetings with members of the university management as part of the planning for this event which grows in stature year after year. As usual, we had to call for reinforcements because the numbers keep growing, as it happened this year. MUT graduated 400-700 students a day. If you multiply that by four, you will notice that we had to contend with more than 3 000 people who needed all forms of different space, parking, seats in the hall, and directions to the bathrooms,” said Nkabinde. Nkabinde said that despite the big numbers, they were grateful that the students and parents continue to show respect for security personnel and the event as a whole.

What made it easy for security services was that at MUT parents were given full respect by Management. “We see them dancing and ululating when their children ascend the podium. This makes them relax, and focus on the business of the day – which is graduation,” said Nkabinde, who holds a degree in Law and is completing a Masters in Law.

Security Services is not the only department that shone above the rest. Maintenance staff also continue to make a significant contribution to graduation. “We are pleased to see everyone being comfortable at MUT. Our cleaners and maintenance staff have ensured that our bathrooms and all our surfaces are good enough for all the thousands of people that MUT hosted over five days,” said Jabulani Ellenson, the Acting Works Manager.

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Karate ace takes bodybuilding by storm 

A proud Thembelihle with her medal
A proud Thembelihle with her medal

Thembelihle Cele (22), a Chemical Engineering S4 student, known for her success in karate has now taken another sport by storm. Responding to the Bodybuilding Manager’s call for more female students to join the sport, Cele recently competed in the sport and came up second in her category.

On Saturday, 13 April 2019, Cele obtained a second spot in the beach bikini, over 163cm category in the King Shaka Classic Bodybuilding tournament at Durban’s North Beach.  Although this was her first time, Thembelihle was able to hold her own. “I put in a lot of effort into the practice. I was also mentally prepared.  Our coach Anele ‘Mashisa’ Lugayeni helped us a lot. He gave us guidance, over and above training,” said Cele. Cele also applauded the role played by their manager, Charmaine Kgomo. “Charmaine got us the proper gear for the sport which assisted the judges to make the right decisions. The usual swimming bikini set does not show the body proportion,” she said.

Kgomo said they were encouraging female students to do bodybuilding. She said female students had an incorrect impression that anyone doing bodybuilding would be musclebound. She said categories like Cele’s did not result in that kind of body shape. Kgomo is doing her final year towards Diploma in Quantity Survey and Construction Management.

Congratulations to our newlyweds!

The newly weds!
The newly weds!

This week we are happy to report that a lecturer in the Department of Human Resources and Management, Lwazi Mthimkhulu, got married to Mbali Dladla on Saturday, 13 April 2019. MUT congratulates Mr Mthimkhulu and MaDladla and wishes them well as they embark on a new journey in their lives.

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