MUT staff dominate 6th colloquium

From left, Prof Ramogale, Prof Nokwethemba Ndlazi, Acting DVC- Resources and Planning, Dr Makua, and Prof Bawa, at the colloquium

Prof Marcus Ramogale has commended MUT staff who made presentations at the sixth annual three-day colloquium that took place in Durban this week. “MUT staff have shown ownership of the event. This is how seriously they regard the colloquium,” said Prof Ramogale. MUT staff constituted more than 15% of the total number of presenters.  Dr Manyane Makua, Senior Director of the Teaching and learning Development Centre, founder of the colloquium, said one of the high points of the colloquium was that MUT staff were been given space to show their mettle. Some MUT academics presented more than one paper under different themes. The colloquium had a very strong international flavour, with guest speakers from the US. It also enjoyed a huge support from sister institutions like DUT, UNIZULU, UKZN, WSU, UL, UWC, UCT, University of Mpumalanga, among others. There was also Prof Ahmed Bawa, the CEO of Universities South Africa. Prof Bawa said the country’s universities needed to plan their curricula around the students. Prof Ramogale said the colloquium came at an opportune time when it has become important to use technology at this sector. MUT has taken a decision to offer distance learning programmes, so e-learning is going to be more important.

It is also worth noting that the format of the colloquium is indicating that is has taken a slant towards being a fully-fledged conference. The highlight of the second day of the colloquium was the presentation of the VC’s Teaching and Learning Awards to MUT academics that have been chosen by their students as best in the profession.   The colloquium ended on Friday.

Mechanical Engineering graduate goes to Japan

Mkhulumeli showing his belt made in Japan. Note the two gold strips indicating the second dan

Mkhulumeli Cele, a second dan karate fighter, and a Mechanical Engineering graduate, will take part in International Karate Friendship in Tokyo, Japan, on 21 April 2018. Mkhulumeli has had to make a hard choice; he has had to forsake the Mechanical Engineering graduation which will be on the same day at MUT. The tournament takes place every after two years.  Mkhulumeli is confident he will do well in Japan. He is watching his weight, and eating appropriately. He is expecting six fights. There will also be Russians, who are very strong in the kyokushinkaikan karate, the kind of style that will be employed. This is full contact karate. It going to be very hard. “I am going for a win. Nothing less,” said Mkhulumeli, who has been training in this sport since 1997, at KwaMgaye, Mzumbe Municipality. His trainer was his brother, Sensei Kwanele Cele. Kwanele has a third dan.

Mkhulumeli was nominated in 2016 in Manilla, Philipines, after his all-conquering performance. “The final was a sixth fight. The whole tournament happened over a single day. It was challenging. There were just two of us from Africa. All others were Asians. For these guys, taking part in a tournament is life or death. They take losing very hard. They bring their A game.” He said his fighting style had a lot to do with him winning. The South African style confused them. They could not deal with the fact that he kept a distance, kept moving, going in and out as you attack. He mixed the kicks. They had never seen an ‘S’ kick. Most South Africans that went there made a mistake by adopting the Asian style.” The thinking Mkhulumeli said he won most of his fights by knock outs. The final competitor could not deal with Mkhulumeli’s shudan mawashi geri (round house kick to the stomach). A final knock out!

Linda Thoms, Project Manager: AT (SA) Qualifications, said it was wonderful to know there was such great support among educational institutions in Umlazi. “Thank you for your support.”

Proud moment! Ravi, standing, with Prof Haupt

“Prof Haupt changed my life. I am now looking at doing my PhD. But I won’t do it if Prof Haupt is not available. Our Master’s qualifications are at a different level.” This is how Ravi Chetty, HOD, Construction Management, commented about how Prof Theo Haupt, the Research Professor, Faculty of Engineering, has impacted the faculty. Ravi, Jan van der Westhuizen, HOD, Civil Engineering and Surveying, and Sanjivi Naidoo, a lecturer in Jan’s department, are three of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ that Prof Haupt has been supervising. They are all graduating in April with cum laude. Sanjivi said Prof Haupt ignited a potential in him. Prof Haupt, a man with less words, with great deeds, only had this to say about Jan: “It gives me pleasure to inform you that Jan has successfully completed his M.Sc. Eng. at UKZN and has been awarded a 84% cum laude pass.” Ravi’s and Sanjivi’s was M.Sc. Construction Studies.  There are eight others at MUT that Prof Haupt is supervising, two of these are PhD students. Prof Haupt has spent less than a year at MUT. This swift impact is part of a grand plan he is implementing. “I joined MUT because of its potential,” he said. His strategy is that students must take one step at a time, and push themselves and work in groups. Prof Haupt believes in working fast. He said he meets his students even over weekends. He looks at their research needs and then responds accordingly. Prof Haupt also conducts workshops where he teaches his colleagues how to supervise. He is currently supervising more than 20 other students.

MUT and partners assist Umlazi English teachers improve their knowledge

Elet’s Manager for English, Dr Richard Finch, giving a lesson to the teachers

In January every year everyone looks forward to the release of the matric results. But not everyone would think of how much they would have contributed to improving the quality of the education learners are given.  Available evidence shows that so much needs to be done to take the standard of teaching at the country’s schools to an acceptable level. Being aware of this situation, Marcomms partnered with Elet (Environmental and Language Education Trust), to source funding from Sun Sibaya who donated R150 000 for the supply of English education resources and ran a workshop that was held on 1 March 2018. The workshop was attended by 48 English teachers from 27 Umlazi Township schools. Mervin Ogle, CEO of Elet, said they were assisting in improving the English teachers’ level of the knowledge because they believed English was the basis of most subjects. “English forms everything academic that we do.” Elet provided the Educators’ Guides, and learner resources for 30 high schools, so they would be able to improve the level at which they teach comprehension, literature, etc. Sun Sibaya’s HR Specialist/CSI Practitioner, Ntsoareleng Mnguni said contributing to improving the standard of English at the schools was their way of giving back to communities. Gugu Jali, Umlazi District Project Coordinator, said the assistance offered by Elet, Sun Sibaya and MUT was giving learners a chance to improve their level of English.


Nature Conservation’s Master’s programme article does wonders on Facebook

Impressive! Prof Small, closer to camera, and Prof Coopoosamy, checking the performance of the article on Facebook

While everyone went away for the 2015 Festive Season break, Prof Peter Small, Head of  Nature Conservation department, remained a constant sight in his office, crafting a Master’s degree programme. This resulted in the department welcoming the first group of students in 2017, who produced a completed proposal as a prerequisite for the programme. Last week MarComms ran a GnF story about their first Master’s dissertation that was submitted by a student, Sipho Goge. The story was also posted on the MUT Facebook page. It has reached 10 057 people, who Liked, Reacted, Shared, and Commented on the post.  The department has been fielding calls from people from other universities who showed keen interest in the programme. Prof Small highlighted the role played by Prof Roger Coopoosamy who also coordinates the postgraduate programme in the Department. “Prof Coopoosamy supervised most of the six students that are going to graduate in April,” said Prof Small.  The department is known for its ‘firsts’. Among these are B-Tech, Post-Grad Diploma, Master’s and Post-Doctorate in Nature Conservation. The Facebook post can be accessed through the link:


First Master’s graduate in Nature Conservation

Prof Small proudly showing the first Master’s thesis in Nature Conservation

A very excited Prof Peter Small, the Head of the Department of Nature Conservation, got a surprise package from the post office. Thinking that he was receiving an ordinary parcel, Prof Small was pleasantly surprised to realise that the dark green booklet was the first Master’s in Nature Conservation thesis, a degree the department introduced last year. “I am going about bragging. This is our first Master’s thesis. I was ecstatic when I realised it was something so big,” said Prof Small. The first student is Sipho Goge, who is working for the Eastern Cape Parks department.  Peter is expecting about 6 or more students to graduate with a Master’s in 2018.

The Department of Nature Conservation was the first in the country to introduce such a degree among all universities of technology. Prof Small said his next goal is to introduce a PhD in Nature Conservation.

Show me your friends, I will show you who you are!

Chancellor Lindiew Sisulu with DHS funded students

The tradition of honouring people doing well for their country during MUT graduation ceremonies began in 2011. As things turned out this week in parliament, three individuals that are associated with MUT either came back to cabinet, or were moved to more powerful departments as ministers. Minister Pravin Gordhan (MUT’s 2014 honouree) is now Minister of Public Enterprises; Minister Nhlanhla Nene (MUT’s 2016 honouree) has been returned to parliament to serve as Minister of Finance once again. The MUT Chancellor, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, is now the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation. Minister Sisulu’s relationship with MUT has been of tremendous benefit for both research and student development. On the side lines of last year’s graduation; students who had benefited through a bursary spearheaded by her office hosted her to give her a special thank you. One thread running through MUT honouring these MUT honorees and Chancellor is that they are all noteworthy individuals as recognised by MUT since 2011.

MUT Karate athletes off to Japan

Off to Japan! Mndeni, Thembelihle and Zamani

Four karate athletes from MUT Karate Club have been selected to represent University Sport South Africa (USSA) in the Karate Dream Festival 2018 International Championship in Tokyo- Japan, from 23 – 24 July 2018. This announcement was made with ‘great pleasure’ by Willie Mkhwanazi, the Head of the Sport Department. Willie said international recognition was very tough to achieve. “It is not something that comes lightly and is not awarded easily. These four students have all worked extremely hard to get to this stage. They are now among the best 17 players selected from the rest of SA universities.” Willie added that representing one’s country was a massive honour and one they could all be proud of. This was a tremendous honour for MUT and was a reflection of a long tradition of excellence in sport, he said.  The four athletes are Sifiso Gumede, Zamani Lubanyana – chemical engineering, Mndeni Magagula, and Thembelihle Cele, the only female student. MUT karate athletes have represented the country in international tournaments in Japan and Russia.

Clinic expands its wellness period to give students maximum chance

Staff also benefited from health providers. Here, Peter Sibiya, Printing, given a check-up by a professional nurse from KZN Health department

In its drive to make MUT stay a positive experience for the students, MUT Clinic runs a week-long programme in which various health activities are done. The Head of the Clinic, Sister Nomsa Mkhwanazi, said this year they were going to run these for two weeks twice a semester. . This semester’s programme ends today. “Some of our students come from far flung areas where resources are limited. These resources are curative centres. The students would only go to health centres when they are sick. We are promoting preventative health. We focus on health problems that are associated with lifestyle.” The Clinic’s partners in health gave students and staff a range of health checks. There was pap’s smear, testing STIs, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, minor ailments and more.