Office of the KZN Premier checks on its bursary beneficiaries

Moshoeshoe, right, and Nkosi, middle, with bursars

The KwaZulu-Natal government’s efforts to improve the lives of its citizens through education was under the spotlight when the Office of the Premier visited MUT to check on the 23 students that the Office sponsors. Belina Moshoeshoe, Assistant Director: Education of Transversal Bursaries, said they wanted to get a sense of what the students were going through, and assist them where it was necessary. “We wanted to check on their progress, and their wellbeing,” said Moshoeshoe.

The students got a chance to inform Moshoeshoe and her team about their academic problems, most of which Moshoeshoe advised that they should be discussed with relevant divisions in the University. “We are going to report these issues to your sponsors,” said Moshoeshoe. Moshoeshoe added that they would attend to the problems that had to do with funding so that students could focus on their studies.

Cynthia Nkosi, Senior Bursaries Officer at the University’s Financial Aid Office, said they worked with the Education of Transversal Bursaries to tackle problems so that the students could have a better chance to succeed.

MUT security assist in nabbing a thief

Nabbed!

MUT security personnel have nabbed a suspended student who stole a cell phone from a library staff member. Taking advantage of the unusual conditions on main campus on Monday, 9 September 2019, a suspended student sneaked into the Library Services’ downstairs offices and stole a mobile phone, which he quickly sold to someone at the nearest shopping centre.

The vigilance of the library staff ensured that the suspected student was caught when he returned for the second time. The suspected student, who enrolled with MUT in 2016, and had been deregistering and registering on a regular basis, had been to the library several times. He was able to steal a library staff member’s laptop at one time for which his father had to pay. Protection Services, whose members have been to the suspected student’s home, said that he could be having a drug problem. “He sold the mobile phone for R620. Fortunately, we were able to get it back,” said Thulani Makhoba, Servest Security site manager. Servest Security are a company that is hired by the University.

Award winning coach makes a mark at MUT within months

Maphumulo, left, standing with his dance team in Kimberley in 2018. Note the winning medals!

Like most boys, Siyabonga Maphumulo grew up playing soccer, a masculine sport! For Maphumulo, dance as a sport, was too feminine. But a sharp eye of Musa Dlamini, a professional dance teacher at Gugulesizwe High School in Scottburgh made Maphumulo change his mind. “Dlamini inspired me; I changed my mind and embraced dance as a sport that I was willing to excel in,” said Maphumulo.

The breakthrough year for Maphumulo was 2004. He enrolled at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. “That’s when I started to do dance full time while I was studying towards my Diploma in Accounting. It was the first thing I looked for when I arrived there. That is where I became popular, especially with the local dance called FEDANSA (Federation of Dance Sport South Africa),” said Maphumulo. In 2007 he became a professional when he represented South Africa in Germany. Maphumulo wanted to duplicate his success through his students. “I have also produced students who have attained national colours. A dance couple, Ronaldo Williams and Kimberlynn Brauns went to Finland where they attained fourth position out of 78 couples. They competed in the youth championships called European World Championship,” said Maphumulo.

From 2013 Maphumulo coached the Sisonke District through the then Kwanaloga Games.  He said the Sisonke District team was still undefeated in 2019. Maphumulo, who is President of SALGA Games, coached Walter Sisulu University (WSU) from 2015-2016. “I took them from last position to second position within a short period of time,” said Maphumulo.

In March 2017 Maphumulo joined MUT, where he hit the ground running. A couple of months later, in May, the MUT team won the Intervarsity Tournament at UKZN’s Edgewood College Campus. “In June my team got third position at WSU in the USSA Games. I received the award for being the Best Coach in Dance. Three of my couples were selected to represent KwaZulu-Natal at the South Africa Championships at Sun City in December of 2017. In 2018 May, we defended the Intervarsity trophy at the University of Zululand.” There was no contest in 2019, so MUT are still champions. In the 2019 USSA Games in July at Sol Plaatje University, Kimberly, MUT got the second position, losing to the University of the Western Cape by a single point. A month later Maphumulo was awarded another trophy for being the most hard working coach.  On 8 April 2019, Maphumulo’s toils paid-off with five of his dance couples making it to finals in the KZN World Trials at Edgewood Campus.  Two of the couples Snoyolo Mbotshwa and Snethemba Simelane, and Ndunduzo Khomo and Phumla Cele won the novice Latin and the pre-champ Latin, respectively. “In July at the USSA Games, at Sefako Mahatle University, we got third position. This was a new crop of students, I had to make sure we remained within the top three,” said Maphumulo. Now MUT is preparing for the KZN Championships on 28 September 2019 at UKZN’s Howard College.

Maphumulo is also a businessman who wants to develop the youth. His fashion design firm has about 50 workers. A huge number of Maphumulo’s models are MUT students.

Department of Environmental Health commemorates World Environmental Health Day

World Environmental Health Day

MUT and its partners; eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Msunduzi Municipality, Alfred Nzo, and IFEH/SAIEH, among others; commemorated the World Environmental Health Day at the University on 3 September 2019. This year’s World Environmental Health Day, which was themed Climate change challenges, time for global Environmental Health to act in unison, was held as a build-up to the World Environmental Day.

Dr Thobile Poswa, Head of Department of Environmental Health at MUT, said that they wanted to create a platform wherein they could share information with their partners, and most importantly, with their students. “We wanted to create awareness on climate change and its effects upon our environment, but most importantly, on human health. Most diseases are as a result of the environment we live in. Humans have a big role in making the environment dangerous to human and animal health. We advocate for a change in lifestyle. For instance, we need to reduce carbon emissions. We can do that by using cars less, and living an active lifestyle,” said Dr Poswa.

Dr Poswa emphasised that they interacted with various stakeholders through intersectional collaborations to get the message across those that need it. This sentiment was echoed by Dr Selva Mudaly, President of the International Federation of Environmental Health, which represents 46 countries, and 60 000 members. Dr Mudaly, who was a guest speaker, made an emotional plea to MUT and guests at the event to promote environmental health wherever they were. Dr Mudaly praised the attitude of the Department of Health towards the profession.

Dr Mudaly highlighted the support from the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize. Dr Mudaly said Dr Mkhize’s leadership had given the Environmental Health professionals a chance to make input into the National Health Insurance (NHI). “More than 20% of the diseases that affect humans are as a result of the environment; that is why we, as Environmental Health practitioners, have to be offered a chance to influence the NHI,” said Dr Mudaly. Responding to whether the NHI would be sustainable, Dr Mudaly said government had to find a correct funding model to make the NHI successful and sustainable. Dr Mudaly said that looking after the environment was going to make it easy and cheaper to deal with diseases.

Dr Poswa, Dr Mudaly and Ana Bigara, a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health, emphasised the importance of the involvement of students in all the platforms that discussed the way humans were dealing with the environment. Students had to be brought in for two reasons – students have a fair grasp of Environmental Health issues, and that they become a link between generations. Students are also the ones who could take the message to their communities. The centrality of the students was highlighted by their participation in the event. Students from all levels of study took part in poster and video competitions where they highlighted the damage caused by human action upon the environment, and what could be done to mitigate the problems.

In their messages of support, all the MUT partners sounded a dire warning. Pradeep Bhugwandeen, Deputy Director: Port Health Coastal Region in KwaZulu-Natal, said according to the United Nations Green Panel, the world has only 12 years to prevent extreme heat, drought, flood and poverty.

Phindi Mchunu-Vilakazi, an MUT graduate and   Environmental Health Manager at eThekwini Municipality, appealed to students to take charge and drive programmes that will push back the damage on the environment.

TLDC runs 2nd Teaching with Technology summit

Speakers at the Teaching with Technology summit

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution is uppermost in everyone’s mind because of its impact upon the lives of people, the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) continues to contribute to equip staff with knowledge of the latest state-of-the-art technology in the field of teaching and learning.

On 5 and 6 September 2019, TLDC conducted its second ‘Teaching with Technology’ (TWT) summit off-campus to empower staff and other interested parties with relevant knowledge to help them deal with teaching-related challenges.

Edgar Samkange of the TLDC said the Summit grew out of the imperatives arising from the demands of the digital age.  “Technology has revolutionised every aspect of humanity. Higher Education has not been spared, with various technologies appropriated and developed for use in teaching and learning. Educational technologies are being developed at a greater speed to the extent that there is now an explosion of tools and equipment at the disposal of academy,” said Samkange.

Participants discussed various issues related to teaching with technology including the type of learning management system (LMS) suitable for a particular institution, and cost of the software. Acting Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Professor Alfred Msomi, advised that decisions concerning e-learning should be taken at the highest level of management in higher education institutions. Professor Msomi said institutions of higher learning operate under different circumstances, and had varying experiences about TWT. There has to be a good foundation for e-learning to happen, he said. “We need to encourage staff and students to adopt LMS. Decisions taken about TWT should be informed by the institution’s strategic plan,” said Professor Msomi.

The summit was also meant to highlight the pedagogical underpinnings that related to education and the present era. The Summit is one of many ways that the TLDC is engaging academics in developing both their technological and pedagogical knowledge.

Samkange said academics would be exposed to various educational technologies and tools. Different workshops will also impart skills and knowledge that will help our lecturers to develop the 21st century graduate attributes.

ICT runs a Hackathon to encourage IT problem-solving

Winners at the hackathon

From 30 to 31 August 2019 the MUT’s Department of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) held a 24-hour hackathon where students had to solve IT-related problem. A hackathon, also known as a hack day, hack fest or codefest, is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development attempt to solve a particular problem or problems. The goal of this event was to create a usable software or hardware which could be used to design a functioning product by the end of the event. Students were given workshops on artificial intelligence and natural language processing, which involves training computer systems to understand human language and respond where necessary.

Dr Bethel Mutanga, a Lecturer in the ICT department said the event was meant to empower the students. “The knowledge and experiences gained from this hackathon are crucial as these are aligned to the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is unfolding. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driven by autonomous machines which rely on artificial intelligence (AI),” said Dr Mutanga.

Mfundo Ntombela, an IT expert from AppMade Company, taught students a new programming language and encouraged them to start developing systems to solve problems that require IT solutions. “There is no precise level of education to start coding.  I encourage you to start your own IT businesses. I started my IT Company during my second year of study,” said Ntombela.

At the end of the workshop, students were divided into competing groups to develop a chatbot that could attend to queries made by users and respond to them with the correct information. The task involved developing a software robot that could attend to prospective students by answering questions related to admission and the application process. The first position went to a group of female students who called themselves TMC. The group walked away with prize money of R6000 and a trophy. The second position went to ‘New Era’ who won R4000 and a trophy. The third position went to Game Changers, who got R3000 and a trophy.

Pinky Manqele from the winning TMC group was also voted the best student and got an additional R1500. Manqele said: “The programme helped us to learn from IT experts how to develop chatbots.”

Student Development Officer delivers a research paper in Ethiopia

Mthoko Ntuli in Ethiopia

MUT Student Development Officer, Mthoko Ntuli, presented a research paper at the 17th St. Mary’s University (SMU) International Conference on Higher Education in Africa. The conference took place on 25 – 27 July 2019 in the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The title of Ntuli’s paper was The role of student activism in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). The paper was presented under the sub-theme: “Policies, strategies and practices in Higher Education”. Over 100 participants attended the presentation which was followed by constructive feedback and engagement.

The conference; which was organised in partnership with the African Union Commission, Association of African Universities, The Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education, International Network of Higher Education in Africa and the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy and UNESCO; was themed Higher Education in the realms of sustainable development.

During this period, Ntuli also attended the Second Symposium of the Higher Education Forum for Africa, Asia and Latin America (HEFAALA). The symposium aimed at creating a platform for a wide-range of actors, educators, policy/decision-makers, higher education leaders and partners engaged in the promotion of higher education to deliberate on issues pertinent to the enhancement of quality education in African institutions of higher learning.

Electrical Engineering student attends summit in London

Lisa, right, and friend

Lisa Von Benecke, a final year Electrical Engineering student is leaving for London on 10 September 2019 for Global Grand Challenges Summit that takes place from 16 – 18 September 2019 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

Von Benecke is among 100 international delegates selected by the Royal Academy of Engineering to attend the event.  She said it was an honour to be included as part of the 2019 cohort.  “This will be a great opportunity to learn and participate in discussions around how AI will transform society and whether we can sustain 10 billion people by 2030,” said Von Benecke. She is also a volunteer for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) outreach organisation called Women (Women in Engineering).

The Global Grand Challenges Summit 2019 will launch a second series of summits jointly hosted by the UK, US and Chinese academies of engineering. The Global Grand Challenges Summit will draw together leaders of high calibre from around the world with the next generation of engineers and change makers to build creative collaborations to help solve the grand challenges facing our future world.

MUT hosts second CERR Congress to discuss environmental degradation

Delegates and organisers at the CERR Congress

Addressing guests at the second Congress on Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Restoration (CERR), Sithembile Nkosi, the Founder of the Congress, gave reasons for the initiative. Nkosi said the Congress was a platform for the University staff and its stakeholders to share information about the status of the environment. Nkosi said as much as there were other platforms at national and international level, like the one in Davos (Switzerland), the problem was that effects of the decisions taken do not reach everyone. In the meantime, the destruction of the environment continues.

“The problems that we face on a daily basis in our immediate vicinity are as important as the glaciers that are melting in the north-pole. We need to do something about the degradation of our spaces, the suffocation of our rivers by alien plants, the pollution of air by mass producing industries, but most importantly, about the lack of knowledge on the part of the people,” said Nkosi. The people cannot take the right decisions if they do not have necessary knowledge, Nkosi said.

The two-day Congress, themed “Working together to curb the tide of environmental degradation”, took place at Seme Hall on 28 and 29 August.

Nkosi appealed to everyone to assist the ecosystem to regain its natural setting. “For ecosystems to regain resilience, degradation needs to be reversed and anthropogenic activities minimized, thereby allowing life support systems such as water cycles, succession, to take place more naturally. This is achieved through the identification and elimination of degradation contributors,” she said.

A number of speakers from the department and industry conducted presentations all aimed at highlighting the negative effects of human activity upon the environment. Dr Kuben Naidoo of the Department of Nature Conservation pointed out the dire consequences of deforestation, agricultural production and overpopulation. Dr Pat Sfiso Mazibuko, a guest speaker from Telkom spoke about how Information Technology could play a role in the ecosystem. “Everyone should take responsibility for protecting the environment. Whenever we dig for network cables we make sure that we do not cause damage to the ecosystem environment,” said Dr Mazibuko.

Students in the department also presented on their research conducted in Mandawe, south of KwaZulu-Natal. Involving students is another way to ensure that the message was carried far and wide. The students are the ambassadors of environmental care. Other speakers were from the KZN Wildlife and eThekwini Municipality, among others.

New hybrid water heating system to save electricity – MUT research

Dr Papi Numbi

In a bid to contribute to reducing electricity consumption within households, MUT lecturer published a research paper proposing a new water heating system (geyser) that would reduce household electricity consumption and alleviate the burden on Eskom.

According research paper; titled Optimal energy management and economic analysis of a grid-connected hybrid solar water heating system: A case of Bloemfontein, South Africa; the new hybrid water heating system would reduce household energy consumption by 75.8% in winter and 51.5% in summer.

The research paper; which was published in the journal of Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments; is part of Department of Electrical Engineering lecturer, Dr Papi Numbi’s research into alternative energy and ways to reduce energy consumption.

According to the research paper, water heating accounts for the lion share of total energy usage of a standard South African household. To reduce this consumption, electricity supplier has often offered incentives for installing renewable water heating systems, such as a solar geyser, eliminating the need for ones that use electricity. However, though the elimination of electricity geysers reduces electricity consumption, it also reduces the availability of hot water.

The solution, according to Dr Numbi’s research paper, is “a hybrid water heating system with an optimal energy control scheme is proposed ensuring maximum energy savings while maintaining the consumer’s comfortable thermal level”.

“The solar water heater, specifically the flat plate collector, coupled to an electric storage tank water heater is concluded to be the most feasible. The feasibility is based on hot water availability and cost saving being the top concern of consumers. The flat plate collector type is approximately 30% less costly to install.”

The research paper was published in collaboration with researchers from the Central University of Technology.

IT&N Senior Director elected to national body

Dr Marlo de Swardt

IT&N Senior Director, Dr Marlo de Swardt has been elected as a board member of the Association of South African University Directors of Information Technology (ASAudit). Dr de Swardt said as much as his appointment was a personal achievement, the value of it was in contributing to the national higher education system.

“Significant in this regard, is to be a member on a platform created for higher education ICT leaders and practitioners to engage and network in order to establish collaboration and skills development. And to also build relationships among higher education institutions, and most importantly, to bring down the cost of IT expenditure for all higher education institutions in South Africa,” said Dr de Swardt. He added that his involvement as a board member was also to promote MUT as a respected higher education institution.

A school from Swaziland visits MUT for its offerings

Melody Kuboni from MarComms explaining MUT offerings

Duze High School from Swaziland visited MUT on 29 August 2019 to find out more about the University and its course offerings. About 50 learners from the equivalent of grade 8 to grade 12 were excited to learn more about future academic choices and their potential career paths.

MUT’s Department of Marketing and Communications team took the learners through details of the courses the University offers and encouraged them to get good grades so that they could enrol at MUT. Learners were also excited to learn about life at MUT and in its residences.

One of the learners, Nosipho Nyawo, said coming on tour was beneficial in giving her clarity in terms of what she wanted to study since she was not sure what she should apply for.

The Principal of Duze High School, Fikile Dlamini, said she had a good experience with MUT and will ensure that the teachers encourage matric learners to apply and put MUT as their first choice.

Student Counselling empowers housing staff to help students at risk of suicide

Some housing staff that attended the workshop

Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director: Student Counselling, said that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that close to 800 000 people die every year as a result of suicide. “Suicide is a global problem affecting people of all ages, races, class and social backgrounds. Research and clinical statistics reveal a link between depression and suicide,” said Dr Naidoo.  Mangosuthu University of Technology is not immune to the problem of depression and suicide, with the monthly statistics of the Student Counselling unit reflecting high numbers of depression and suicide risks, especially amongst students in the residences.

Student Counselling reaffirmed its commitment to dealing with these challenges by organising a Depression and Suicide Awareness and Prevention workshop for wardens and residence assistants. The workshop was initiated by Dr Naidoo, in collaboration with Gugu Madlala, Head of Student Housing, and the Dean of Students, Thembi Kweyama. The workshop, which took place on 7 August 2019, covered various aspects of depression and suicide identification and management. Workshop highlights included experiential exercises, group dialogues and brainstorming sessions, with group participants demonstrating commendable teamwork and enthusiasm.

According to Dr Naidoo, University life poses academic and social adjustment challenges, especially for first-years. “Students can become emotionally and academically overwhelmed, leading to feelings of hopelessness, despair and suicidal thoughts,” said Dr Naidoo. Dr Naidoo added that certain triggers appear to increase student susceptibility to depression and suicide at tertiary institutions. She said those include adjustment difficulties, lack of social support, poor academic performance, and a mismatch between study choice, interests, preferences and academic potential. “Relationship and family problems also feature prominently in the profiles of depressed and suicidal students at MUT, as well as reports of historical and recent trauma and abuse, victimization and discrimination, loss and grief, inadequate social support systems, low self-esteem, poor coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills.  Other contributing factors included financial difficulties and substance abuse,” said Dr Naidoo.

Dr Naidoo added that the stigma attached to mental illness and the negative stereotypes associated with seeking professional help, perpetuated a culture of silence that deters people from getting help. “In addition, there is a tendency to minimize the importance of mental health and its link to overall well-being and holistic development,” said Dr Naidoo.

Despite the grim statistics on depression and suicide, Dr Naidoo believes that the problem can be tackled through a combination of responsive and proactive methods, and the collective involvement of the entire MUT community. To this end, the Student Counselling team have committed to increasing awareness and understanding, empowering staff and students on the early detection and management of depression and suicide risks, as well as preventative measures that include workshops for students on problem-solving, coping skills, stress management and self-esteem.

Suicide Awareness posters were put up at strategic points on campus and all the residences. The posters contain information on common symptoms of depression and suicidal symptoms, as well as emergency contact numbers and resources which students can access. Due to the high demand for training and support in this area, Dr Naidoo is exploring partnerships with mental health NPO’s in the community as part of the unit’s stakeholder engagement strategy.

MUT takes a firm stand against gender-based violence    

Dr Zaheed Khan addressing the student

On 20 August 2019 the MUT students benefited from the immense knowledge on gender-based violence (GBV) from a number of professionals from Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC), based at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, in Umlazi Township, and the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza.  Delegates from TCC came from a range of professional fields such as medicine, law, the police services, social work and public service. They all wanted to create awareness and disseminate vital information to students to systematically help them reduce GBV on campus, in residence and in their communities. Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director in the Department of Student Counselling, said the continued prevalence of GBV and the reluctance to report such incidents, especially among young people in higher education, prompted them to initiate a proactive, multi-disciplinary response to the problem.

Addressing students, Dr Malaza said that GBV was a global problem that permeated every sector of society. “Gender-based violence knows no boundaries. It affects all races, genders, cultures and social classes. MUT is not immune to the problem.” In 2018 the University experienced GBV first hand. A first year quantity surveying student, Zolile Khumalo, was tragically gunned down by her former boyfriend. “Zolile’s demise brought home to us the reality of gender-based violence in our community, on our campus, and in our residences,” said Dr Malaza. Dr Malaza said that such a tragedy reinforced the need to take action against gender-based violence as it manifested itself in many different ways.

Dr Malaza said that GBV was a problem that required collective action and collective solutions. “As the community of MUT, we all have a responsibility to stand in solidarity against gender-based violence, and to strive for a society based on mutual respect, tolerance and support of each other,” said Dr Malaza.

Dr Zaheed Khan from TCC, gave a medical perspective on the problem. Dr Khan emphasized the need for proper knowledge about gender-based violence. He said knowing about it may lead to prosecution of the offenders. “In most cases people are violated by people they know, like family members. A person that has been sexually violated should report the incident as soon as possible. But what is most important is to know that you are a crime scene, so don’t do anything that will remove the evidence. Call the ambulance. It is important to report to the police, or the TCC within 72 hours so you can get the necessary help. Bring as much evidence as you can,” said Dr Khan. Dr Khan takes the evidence from the body of the victim, and hands it to the police, who then investigate the incident. Both Dr Khan and Jabulisile Langa, TCC’s Site Manager, emphasized the need for bringing accurate information when victims report the cases to them.

Advocate Vuyisile Mafuna, prosecutor from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), attached to the TCC, told the students that the legal system needed the victims to prove that what they were saying was true. He said the Roman-Dutch Law that South Africa inherited says a person is innocent until proven guilty. “This places the burden of proof upon the victim,” he said.

Marvin Qhobosheane from Ethekwini Safer Cities, said communities must take a stand against GBV by reporting such matters instead of protecting perpetrators. All professionals from the TCC, including Nozipho Majola, a social worker from the centre, said TCC’s main goal was to help the victim get back to normal life. In some cases that would require that the victim be taken away from their family, and be given shelter somewhere else.

Role models teach students to be respectable men and women

Menzi Ngubane addressing students

On 21 and 22 August 2019, the Department of Student Counselling had its two flagship events Brotherhood and Sisterhood. The main aim of these annual events is to empower students by giving them information that would make them better men and women from whom society can benefit.

The 2019 Brotherhood event that took place on 21 August 2019, aimed at appealing to male students’ ideas of what it means to be a man. The theme for the day was ‘How to be a real man’. Despite the event happening during the day when lectures were in progress, over 200 male students attended the event. Speaker after speaker drove home the message that real men do not harm women. Instead they protect them by behaving and by being honest.

Pastor Abel Masinga spoke to students about the importance of having a good character. “God gave you a gift. But if you don’t have character, your gift is not able to benefit you,” said Pastor Masinga. For Pastor Masinga, character should form the base for everything people do. Part of good character was treating women well, he said.

Menzi Ngubane, one of South Africa’s most notable actors, told male students that “a real man controls his emotions and does not raise a hand over a woman. Being strong does not give you a right to hit a woman,” said Ngubane.

Khetha Sokhela, a second-year Accounting student, said he learned a lot from the Brotherhood programme. “To be a real man is to learn to control your emotions as they are the source of gender-based violence towards women and other people,” said Sokhela. Sphesihle Zulu, a first-year Marketing student said he learnt the importance of walking away from someone if there was an argument.

At the Sisterhood event the following day, female students were addressed by DUT’s Student Counsellor, Zola Mdlalose; author and entrepreneur, Ntombizodwa Sibanda-Letlojane; poet and motivational speaker, Sindiswa Zulu; life coach and psychotherapist, Beverly Mothlabani from the #TotalShutDown organization; and popular radio and television show host, Somizi Mhlongo.

Speakers appealed to the female students to stay woke as women.  Mdlalose spoke on the importance of self-validation, “knowing and understanding that you were beautiful and enough even if the next person hasn’t said so”.  Sibanda-Letlojane touched on how students should embrace differences, and should not mind being a sore-thumb. “Queens don’t fit in, they stick out,” she said.

Mothlabani, who is also an activist against gender-based violence, gave students a lecture on the dos and don’ts in life. Zulu spoke about the talent of accepting rejection and understanding that requests held up are not requests denied. Mhlongo summed up the day with a speech on the importance of working hard and not looking for shortcuts and connections.

Agriculture students visit dairy farm in Creighton

MUT staff and Burnview farm manager (third from left)

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is an important part of MUT’s curriculum. In a bid to introduce students to what they can expect when they joined the world of work, the Department of Agriculture – Animal Production took its Milk Production students to Burnview Dairy Farm in Creighton, near Ixopo, in the south of KwaZulu-Natal. Burnview is one of the largest dairy farms in KwaZulu-Natal with 2000 dairy cows that produce 60 000 litres of milk daily, and supplies Clover, one of the largest dairy producing companies.

“The purpose of this trip was to expose our students to the practical aspects of dairy farming because we don’t have a farm as a University,” said Karabo Molomo, a Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture – Animal Production. “We only teach the students theory and sometimes it is difficult to explain some aspects of farming without experiencing them,” said Molomo.

The visit, which was conducted on 21 August 2019, was a welcome experience to students. Fantastic Kunene, who was part of the students who went on this trip, said the experience further enriched his study of Agriculture. “It was a nice experience personally, an important one academically as we are subjected to theory; seeing how things are done on the farm helps us enjoy the module itself even more and the field of Agriculture in general,” said Kunene, who added that the experience made them love Milk Production even more.

Another student, Ayabulela Njeje described the experience as one of his best days. “Being on the farm and learning about farm activities is far better than only doing theories in class,” said Njeje. Zweli Mhlongo plans to use the lessons from the field trip in the beef production module as well.

MUT empowers women at the Imbokodo Experience

Some of the MUT women that attended the Women’s Day event

MUT hosts an Imbokodo Experience to empower and honour its women for their contributions to their institution, their areas of expertise and their respective communities as part of Women’s Month.

“History is littered with evidence that women have always been a backbone of every society. Their efforts at developing the society in general has always been a yardstick by which socio-economic progress has been measured.  MUT executive management recognises the battles that women face – emotionally, financially, physically and professionally,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Department of Marketing and Communications at the University. “We know there are young and old women who face bigger battles either at MUT or externally. In celebrating our Women’s Month, we were happy to make a significant contribution to the rape survivors.”

The Imbokodo Experience, which was held on 13 August 2019, was taken to a conference site at Zimbali away from their day-to-day work at the University. Mkhize explains that the choice of venue was to ensure that participants are physically away from their jobs so that they can fully immerse themselves in various topics that were being discussed as part of the Imbokodo Experience.

Participants listened to presentations by esteemed guest speakers; Fikile Magubane, a motivational speaker and author; Thandeka Ellenson, Acting CEO of Moses Kotane Institute; Nothando Magewu, Executive at eThekwini Municipality; and Arthie Moore, Founder of Ki leadership Institute. The guest speakers’ messages found a pride of place in the hearts and minds of women and encouraged women to look at themselves critically, to improve themselves, and to value themselves and their contributions professionally, personally and within their communities.

In an effort to highlight the significance of freeing oneself, Magubane talked to women about the talent of letting go of past and negative events. The core of her message was that women had to make peace with the past that ruffled their lives, and live a life that is governed by peace and love for humanity and for themselves. Magubane emphasised forging ahead with what was good, and not allowing negative events in their lives to hold them back.

Ellenson highlighted the value of being financially stable. “Most households are headed by women. For any home to prosper, there should be a proper way to handle cash. Women have always been shrewd financial investors. We want them to continue that way. Most importantly, we want them to learn new ways of saving cash, such as only buying what they need, and investing the rest of their cash where it will grow. The new ways of saving must match the current challenges they face every day,” said Ellenson.  She appealed to women to have “a good relationship with finances.”

Furthermore, Ellenson pointed out that women were still facing gender-related challenges in a world that still favoured men. She said in some cases women were still paid less than men even when everything about the jobs they are performing was the same.

Ellenson’s views were supported by Magewu who emphasized the need for training women so they would be able to perform their obligations well. For Magewu, nothing had to be left to chance. A knowledgeable woman could take bold steps, which included breaking free from stereotypes. From Moore, women learned that it was vital to clearly define themselves, and let their psychological needs govern their lives. Such needs had to be the centre of a woman’s life, and should give definition to how a woman relates to her environment, which included men. A woman should not come out second best in any relationship, of whatever nature, Moore warned.

The 241 MUT women that honoured their invitation to the Imbokodo Experience were joined by guests from the KwaZulu Natal Department of Education, Iqraa Trust, Marriott International, Mancosa and the MUT VC’s wife, Mrs Yolanda Malaza, among others.

MUT bids farewell to Professor Ndlazi

Staff bid farewell to Professor Ndlazi

On Thursday, 15 August 2019, MUT bid farewell to Professor Nokwethemba Ndlazi after over 20 years of service at the University in various capacities, with the final one being that of Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor (OVC). She leaves MUT to join the University of Fort Hare as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Institutional Support.

In an event, hosted at the MUT Council Chamber, staff took turns expressing the difficulty of bidding farewell to a colleague of over two decades who has contributed to their professional lives in her many responsibilities.

MUT VC Dr Enoch Duma Malaza thanked Prof Ndlazi for her contribution to the University over the years.

“In the short time I have spent with Prof Ndlazi, I have had time to have a little glimpse at what she could do. Prof Ndlazi has left a footprint at MUT. I appreciate the time I have had with you in my office, and also being a member of the EMC. You were open-minded, and valued others’ opinions. We differed several times, but we reached a compromise on issues. We dealt with complex issues at MUT. Things are not always clear-cut. I am happy that you are embracing change. It is said that the average person changes six or seven times, it’s time for you to grow,” said Dr Malaza.

Dr Malaza explained that he hoped to meet Prof Ndlazi at the higher education meetings and platforms since she will still be in the higher education sector.

Professor Ndlazi reminisced about her time at MUT and the various leaders she served under.

“When I joined MUT I was a young lecturer and now I leave a different person,” said Prof Ndlazi. “I have been blessed to serve under great leaders. I thank my colleagues who never treated me like a woman.”

Prof Ndlazi explained how she has served the institution in many various positions; starting as a lecturer and moving up to the positions of Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Resources & Planning and Teaching and Learning, ending with her current position of Executive Director in the OVC.

“These acting positions helped me interact with various people,” said Prof Ndlazi.

Her former direct line manager of over 10 years, Professor Ramogale found it difficult to say goodbye but mentioned: “how great a team player, rational and level-headed, Prof Ndlazi was”.

MUT hosts second Congress on ecosystem rehabilitation and restoration

Workers clearing invasive plants

In its continued attempt to highlight the importance of the rehabilitation of the environment, and the mitigation of the effects of climate change, MUT’s Department of Nature Conservation will host its second Congress on Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Restoration (CERR) from 28 to 29 August 2019 at Seme Hall.

The theme of this year’s Congress is: “Working together to curb the tide of environmental degradation”.  The vision of the CERR is to be an internationally recognized Congress affording scientists a platform to present high-quality research that contributes to improving ecosystems functioning and sustainable utilization.  Given the multi-facetted global changes that cause shifts and realignments in both human communities and ecosystems, there is an urgency to address pressing environmental issues such as climate change, degraded ecosystems, desertification and the loss of biodiversity.

Delegates to the CERR will benefit from presentations from the following leading keynote speakers:  Dr P. Mazibuko, Group Executive for Corporate Safety, Health, Environment, Security and Forensics at TelkomSA; Mr M. Dopolo, Marine Ecologist and Director of Earth Systems Strategies at the National Department of Environmental Affairs; Dr M. Masubelele, Landscape Ecologist at South African National Parks; and Mr S. Kubheka, Freshwater Ecologist at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

The department urges staff to register and be an integral part of this initiative.  Please access the website (https://www.2019cerr.webnode.com) for more information and online registration or alternatively email the Steering Committee at Ecosystems@mut.ac.za.

MUT adds a sparkle to Dloko High’s matric dance  

Some of the learners dressed by MUT

Just a month before matriculants start their trial exams, what better way to cool one’s mind than having a day at a gala dinner with all the glitz and glam! Umlazi Township’s Dloko High School offered its most senior class this honour when it hosted its annual farewell Matric Dance ceremony on 7 August 2019 at Coastlands Hotel in Durban.

As part of the Anchor Strategy, MUT played a big role in bringing a smile to some of the learners. Three weeks ago, Accounting teacher Thokozani Ndinisa, requested the University to assist learners who could not afford gowns for their matric dance. MUT staff rose to the occasion. The University’s Department of Marketing and Communications received dresses for 11 learners. These learners are among the top achieving students in matric this year.

Dloko High School is among the best performing schools in KwaZulu-Natal. It was one of the awards recipients of the University’s annual Circle of Excellence awards in March this year.

The school’s principal, Happy Sishange expressed his gratitude to MUT about the gesture. Addressing learners and other participants, MUT’s Nature Conservation lecturer Sithembile Nkosi, shared her life journey, and related it to the theme of the day, which was ‘growing up, and not giving up’. “You can’t change the situation, but you can change the way you react to it. You don’t stop when you’re tired, you stop when you’re done,” said Nkosi. Nkosi emphasized the importance of respect, and the necessity for learners to focus on their work. Nkosi was one the guest speakers.

The Prom Queen and King were Nomthandazo Cele and Junior Ntsele.

On a mission to promote hockey, meet Sanele Madida

Madida, middle, and his team

For Sanele Madida, the love affair with hockey started at a very young age, more than 20 years ago. In 1997, Madida started playing hockey as part of hockey development which was driven by Skemma, a production company.  His passion for the sport saw him transition from player to coaching young players, which he has been doing since 2001. His main focus was primary school pupils at Mandeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Madida said that the hockey development he was part of was under the iLembe Municipality. “The KwaZulu-Natal Hockey Association also helped.  Some of the players I developed were snatched by the provincial team and they are doing well,” said Madida.

Madida has been coaching primary schools at Umlazi under the KZN Hockey Association since 2013.  He has  a level zero coaching qualification, which is for coaching children. He plans to acquire further qualifications – from level 1-3. Madida has also been coaching the MUT teams – both male and female, for nine years. He has been working well with the students, but would be happier if more attention was paid to the teams at primary level. Madida said it is easy to teach youngsters at that level; they go on and do well at senior levels. Some of these players have been taken by INK (Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu) team, which plays in the super league. The INK team has been to England.  One of these players is Sisipho Mokoena, who was Madida’s player.  Mahlapang Mokoena, one of the development players at Mandeni received a scholarship to Nelson Mandela University. Mahlapang is now doing her second year.

Madida said his ambition was to get more support for children as hockey is an expensive sport. A hockey stick alone costs R2 000. “I also wish to see people changing their views of hockey. It’s not for white people only,” said Madida.

Madida said he was very optimistic about MUT teams. “The future of the MUT teams is bright. The players are determined. However, every year I have to work with new players as players come and go every year. But this is nature of things,” he concluded.

Communications academic obtains PhD in linguistics and literacies

Dr Mgijima at his graduation

As MUT continues to strengthen its academic offerings and increase its research output, it requires that its academic staff obtain the highest qualifications to respond to the University’s goal of excellence in teaching and learning. Dr Vukile Mgijima, a lecturer in communications department, has responded to this call for academic excellence by graduating with a PhD in linguistics and literacies from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Dr Mgijima’s study investigated the effects of translanguaging techniques on the reading abilities of bilingual learners in Grade 4. Translanguaging is the process whereby multilingual speakers utilise their languages as an integrated communication system. The study focused on the influence of translanguaging on the learners’ ability to recall information, their text reorganisation skills, and their ability to make predictions and draw inferences when reading texts. The study was prompted by the researcher’s observation about the Grade 4 learners’ low reading abilities.

The findings demonstrated that translanguaging techniques in which two languages (the learners’ home language and first additional language) are used simultaneously in one lesson have a positive impact on the reading comprehension skills of the learners. The findings also indicated that reading comprehension is determined by a number of factors, which include the reader’s familiarity with the content, the context of the reading text, the vocabulary used therein, and the reader’s writing skills in general.
Through his study, Dr Mgijima recommends that “teacher training institutions, curriculum designers and educators in South Africa and elsewhere should create an enabling environment for learners to freely use their tongues and minds. It is only when the linguistic barriers are removed that bilingual education can truly enable multilingual learners to acquire knowledge and express the same using various languages and semiotic repertoires”.

IT&N builds-up towards Cyber Security Month

Njabulo Xaba promoting cyber security

August, September and October 2019 are going to be crucial months as far as cyber security is concerned at MUT. The University’s Information Security Officer, Njabulo Xaba said that IT&N department wanted to ensure that they closed all the gaps that expose the University’s network and computing to cyber-related threats. “The first two months are a build-up towards the Cyber Security Month, which is October. Our drive is meant to ascertain whether staff are paying attention to cyber-related information we relay to them. For instance, we have posted a set of top 15 tips on all the University’s strategic points, and have sent out messages to inform our staff as to how they should structure their passwords,” said Xaba.
Xaba said that this month, they will be giving away prizes to staff who comply with cyber security messages and instructions. “In September we will have interactive discussions with all departments around cyber security. Our main goal is to make our staff aware of the threats that exist on the cyber space. Then in October, for the whole month we will be running a cyber security campaign. Reputable cyber security vendors will be invited to share their knowledge with MUT staff,” said Xaba.
He added that as much as the University had a cyber-resilient infrastructure, which is a proven fact considering the ongoing information security assessments performed, the human error remained the weakest link in the cyber space.

Electrical Engineering student wins SAIMC

Mahlobo, right, and Lonappan

On 7 August 2019 Lungelo Mahlobo, an S4 Electrical Engineering student at MUT received a SAIMC (Society for Automation, Instrumentation, Measurement and Control) award, accompanied by a certificate and cash prize, for being the best student in design projects III. Mahlobo received the certificate at Durban Country Club after attaining the highest marks out of over 300 students.
Mahlobo designed an automated irrigation control system. He presented his design to the Durban branch of SAIMC on the same date. Anil Lonappan, a lecturer in the department and mentor to Mahlobo said that the project was relevant to the KZN Province given its water challenges. Mahlobo said he was excited about receiving the award. “I achieved this through hard work and consultation, particularly with my mentor,” said Mahlobo. Lonappan said he was impressed by Mahlobo’s proposal, but did not think it would win him an award.

Eastern Cape school impressed by MUT’s academic programmes

Palmerston High learners and teachers, with Bulose, left

This week Palmerton High School from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape paid a visit to MUT to learn about its academic offerings. Ayanda Bulose, a School’s Liaison Assistant, who delivered a presentation and took the learners on a tour of the campus and laboratories said the learners were impressed. “Even the teachers were impressed by MUT’s programme offering. They encouraged their learners to apply at MUT, said Bulose.

Bulose’s presentation focused on programmes offered by the Faculties of Engineering and Natural Sciences, which correlates with the visiting learners study streams.
Bulose said that school visits were one of the core focus areas of positioning MUT to potential students. He said interacting with learners about MUT’s offerings helps them make an informed choice about what to study. He said they host an average of 30 schools per year.

TRIBUTE: She is gone but will never be forgotten by the women of SA, too!

Toni Morrison with former US President Barak Obama – picture courtesy of the BBC

Toni Morrison, novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus has been a global inspiration to women globally. As SA celebrates its Women’s Day, on 9 August and a month-long celebration of women, we are proud that there lived a woman called Toni Morrison, whom we sadly lost on 5 August 2019. For shaping the lives of women, giving them confidence and wit; we are happy she had an impact on South African women too. “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” Toni Morrison. May she rest in eternal peace!

Netball is my first love – MUT coach

Foreground, Hlongwa, left, with a teammate

Phumelele Hlongwa spent this week in Gauteng playing for the Ethekwini Metro Netball team. Her team is taking part in the National Spar Championship. “Netball is my first love”, she said. Hlongwa went to Gauteng as a player – she plays centre and wing defence, but she is MUT’s netball team coach, a job she started this year.

Hlongwa, who is from Umlazi Township’s R Section, defined 2019 as the best year in her short netball coaching career. “I have the best players; they are passionate about the game. They show commitment. My plan for the MUT netball team is to move from Section C, to Section A, but we will take one step at a time,” Hlongwa said. Also, as part of her plan, she is going to study towards a qualification in netball.

Hlongwa has been playing netball since her primary school days. It was instilled in her by her teachers at Mthethweni Primary School in P Section, Umlazi Township.

MUT welcomes new students

Dr Malaza addressing new students

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) welcomed its mid-year intake students during an Orientation programme at Bozzoli Hall on Friday, 2 August 2019.

Speaking at the Orientation, MUT Vice-Chancellor Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, congratulated students for choosing the University and for working hard to get the marks that booked their place at the University. He reminded the new students that making it in was only the beginning of the journey and that their fate was in their own hands.

“We expect that you will be the principal author of this new chapter in your life,” said Dr Malaza. “You will have the opportunity to determine the direction, plot and tempo of your life. The great thing is that you will be doing something that you chose.”

Dr Malaza gave students advise on three areas as they prepare to start their university careers at MUT. First, said Malaza, “You must take responsibility for your learning.” Dr Malaza explained that the new students were coming from a background where most of the learning had been structured for them and was intended for them to get good marks at matric.

“The life you are starting now is less structured than you are used to. You have greater freedom and with that freedom comes greater responsibilities. You will now be expected to be more self-reliant. You are accountable to yourself. No one will chase after you,” said Dr Malaza.

Second, Dr Malaza reminded students to make the most of their time at MUT and to take full advantage of all the extramural opportunities that the student structures offer. He also encouraged the new students to take advantage of opportunities to give back to the community.

“You are here to assist the community that is less fortunate than yourself,” said Dr Malaza. “Get involved and help others along so that you can enhance your learning.”

Third, Dr Malaza encouraged the new students to embrace diversity. “It will be a loss of opportunity to stick with people who are the same as you all the time,” he said. “Knowing others and understanding them will help you grow as a resilient person.”

Mthokozisi Ntuli, MUT Student Development Officer, added that the other issue students had to keep in mind as they start their university studies was to choose the right kind of friends that would propel them into the future.

Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academic Administration, reminded students to carefully read the rule book that they had to adhere to and to check that they were registered for their modules, and that they attended the lectures.

Gqamane also warned students about the dangers of attempting to cheat on tests and exams. “Should you be caught with notes or textbooks you will be taken to disciplinary hearings and be possibly expelled,” he said.

Curriculum Development Workshop to strengthen MUT’s academic offerings

MUT academics and education experts

In its continuous efforts to offer quality education to students, MUT hosted a Curriculum Development Workshop for staff to strengthen teaching and learning and to improve its academic offerings. The workshop, which was held from 29 – 30 July 2019 at Zimbali, Durban, empowered the University’s academics with the required curriculum knowledge so that they would, in turn, empower their students.

Dr Manyane Makua, Senior Director: Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) said that the main aim of the Curriculum Development Workshop was to empower academics in their respective fields. While Prof Marcus Ramogale, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, said that the workshop would directly benefit the students and increase their employability. “Our students are now going to be able to ply their trade anywhere in the world,” said Prof Ramogale. He added that some MUT academics did not come from a teaching background and that they needed the technical knowhow, which the Curriculum Development Workshop provided. Prof Ramogale said the Workshop was also preparation for the new academic programmes that the University would introduce.

Prof Mahlaphahlaphana Themane of the University of Limpopo’s Department of Education Studies said that MUT academics would now be able to meet the minimum standards when it comes to curriculum development. Prof Themane said the ultimate goal was to improve all academic programmes so that the students would benefit.

Dr Makua added that they were planning to make the Curriculum Development Workshop an annual event wherein they would invite academics from the country’s higher education institutions, particularly the universities of technology.

The Workshop was well-received by MUT academics. Prof Koos Landman of the Department of Civil Engineering, said he learned how the principles of curriculum development could be applied to teaching and learning. “Now we have a greater insight of the requirements of our students,” said Prof Landman.  Xolile Mkhize, a senior lecturer in the Department of Community Extension, said she gained more clarity on curriculum development.

The meeting gave the excited academics a chance to discuss some of the issues they encounter as part of teaching with experts in the fields of teaching and education. Dr Siphiwe Gumede, Deputy Director: Teaching and Professional Development Unit at TLDC, asked what could be done in a case where there was a strike that interfered with the curriculum. Prof Themane advised that there should always be contingency plans.

MUT embraces National Science Week

Students were shown how some gases pollute the air

MUT once-again embraced the National Science Week’s (NSW) invitation to participate in the annual science activities. A number of the University’s departments were engaged in various science-related activities on and off-campus throughout the week.

Prof Alfred Msomi, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, led the University’s participation in the NSW, which started on 29 July 2019 ending on 3 August 2019.

For the first session of MUT’s NSW schedule, Prof Babatunde Bakare of the Department of Chemical Engineering delivered a lecture on the effects of the earth’s greenhouse gases on air temperatures to his class. He demonstrated his point by conducting an experiment with water and carbon dioxide mixed to show how the climate changes from human factors such as the smoke from factories and emissions from cars. Prof Bakare then elaborated important solutions that can be implemented to reduce the devastating effects of climate change.

Nomfundo Mthuli, an S4 Chemical Engineering student, said she gained valuable insight from the lecture.  “I am excited to learn about activities that we, as human beings do in our daily lives that affect our ozone layer, and result in climate change.”

This was one of the 11 activities that the University undertook in campus and as far off-campus as Jozini in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, and Port Shepstone in the south coast of the province.