MUT staff visit the UK for research and internationalisation

MUT and UJ PhD students, MMU staff, and Professor Babatunde Bakare,  in the UK

Today is the last day of the visit to the United Kingdom, by seven MUT staff members and four from the University of Johannesburg.

The Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Babatunde Bakare, who led the team, said the visit was the result of their response to a call for proposal that was made in 2019. The proposal’s theme was “Sustainable Societies and Disruptive Technology”. The proposal was for a programme that was jointly funded by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training and the British Council under the ‘University Staff Doctoral Programme’.

 

Professor Bakare said the purpose of this collaborative project was “to promote multi- and inter-disciplinary cross-pollination across broad areas of research to increase the chances of community-focused research interventions”.

The programme supports six MUT and four University of Johannesburg staff members through a bursary stipend for research purposes, specialized staff development training that will take place in the United Kingdom and South Africa, and co-supervision support by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University, and promoting internationalization. A collaborative agreement has already been signed by all three Universities involved.

Professor Bakare said the programme sought to develop capacity through supporting 10 University staff for doctoral studies in-line with the project theme. The MUT doctoral staff in the programme are Krishnambal Gonaseelan, a Lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Science; Thobile Zikhathile, a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health; Nomfundo Ndlovu, from the Department of Chemical Engineering; Bongani Qwabe, a Lecturer in the Department of Office Management and Technology; Refiloe Ntoi, a Lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation; and Sanele Mngadi, from the Department of Information Technology and Networks.

The 10 doctoral staff members are already undertaking specialized staff development training and strengthening the internationalization agenda between MUT and MMU, as per programme requirements.

“Delegates from Manchester Metropolitan University would be visiting MUT in the year to further enhance the internationalisation agenda as part of the output of the USDP project,” said Professor Bakare.  The UK visit took place from 2 to 10 July 2022.

MUT study identifies six potentially harmful elements in Krugersdorp water

Dr Maryam Amra Jordaan, NRF Administrator: Research, was one of the writers. She was also interviewed by the media about the paper

In a quest to determine the levels of various elements in toxic wastewater and acid mine drainage (AMD) in the Krugersdorp mining area of the Gauteng Province, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) academics,  Dr Michael Shapi, Head of the Department of Chemistry; Dr Maryam Amra Jordaan, National Research Foundation Administrator and Researcher; Andile Truelove Mbambo of the Department of Agriculture; Professor Theophilus Clavell Davies, Research Professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences; Emanuel Chirenje, Geophysicist at the Council for Geophysics; along with Mpumelelo Dube, Scientist at the Council for Geophysics, conducted the study. The study was titled, Determination of Potentially Harmful Element (PHE) Distribution in water bodies in Krugersdorp, a mining city in the West Rand, Gauteng Province, South Africa. It was published in the Minerals journal.

The study explained that these PHEs are “elements that are toxic at certain concentrations to one or more species, but in many cases are also essential nutrients at lower concentrations”.

The study found the area’s water bodies to have concentrations of silver, arsenic, cobalt, chromium, manganese and vanadium, which were higher than the amount permissible by the World Health Organisation.

“All these values are in excess of the MAC (minimum alveolar concentration) levels set by the World Health Organisation or other accredited institutions for groundwater or drinking water,” the study explained. “These results raise a safety concern as many PHEs are required to be within the recommended limits.”

 

The presence of silver concentration in the water was not surprising given that the element is a by-product of gold refining, and the area is home to two large-scale gold mining outfits: Mintails Mogale Gold and Rand Uranium.

In terms of high levels of arsenic, the study explained that the chemical is usually found in minerals bearing sulphide, such as gold ores. Arsenic in this mining area could be a product of leaching from mining operations into groundwater.

The study also found over three times the WHO maximum allowed concentration of cobalt. The study attributed such a high levels to “physical and chemical weathering of rocks by water and decomposition of plant waste” during the rainy season. High levels of chromium were attributed to mining processes in the area.

The study explained that the high levels of manganese concentration in water were a product of “underground mining activities for the element”.

CEAD introduces a programme to empower learners

CEAD staff, Professor Busi Nkonki-Mandleni, right, and Dr Bonginkosi Zondi

The MUT Community Engagement and Development (CEAD) directorate has created an outreach programme by which the directorate aims to empower the local high school learners to prepare for their post-grade 12 studies.

Talking on MUT Radio on 6 July 2022, the CEAD Director, Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni, said the Nine Tenths Mentoring Programme would prepare Grade 12 learners for their matric examination and would give the learners the necessary skills to make informed career choices when it comes to choosing what to study at tertiary institutions.

“The term 9/10th implies that 90% of the time is about motivating learners to believe in themselves that they can achieve matric with flying colours if they put all their minds and efforts into it. Hence, they are paired with mentors to look up to and get that constant motivation,” said Professor Nkonki-Mandleni.

Professor Nkonki-Mandleni said the initiative was part of the University’s Anchor Strategy, which gives the university impetus to develop local communities.

Professor Nkonki-Mandleni added that her department collaborated with Rhodes University, where the Nine-Tenths programme is an intervention initiative to revive the town’s education. In five years, Nine-Tenths has played an influential role in the improvement of Makhanda’s Grade 12 pass rate, from being the worst-performing city in 2014, to the best-performing city in 2020.

Application forms for the 2023 mentoring programme are available at CEAD offices. Alternatively, students may e-mail Senamile Shabalala, at shabalalaS@mut.ac.za or call 031 819 8422.

From soliloquizing to talking with listeners – the journey of Awethu Kelese

Awethu Kelese in the MUT Radio live studio

In Durban from the Eastern Cape’s Bizana, and being just 14 years of age, Awethu Kelese could only listen to the radio. He formed a connection with the radio that landed him a spot on MUT Radio.

Kelese moved from Bizana in 2014 and enrolled at Durban’s Wentworth Secondary School, where he matriculated.  He said the radio bug that bit him stayed with him. His interest in radio grew such that he found himself soliloquizing in his room.

“I then took part in the conversations that the presenters had on-air, hoping that no one enters the room to find me speaking alone. I used to alternate from one station to another; one of my favourite shows was Sijik’ilanga (SJL) on Umhlobo Wenene FM by Lucky “Luckeez” Mathyolweni and Sphiwo ‘Spitch’ Nzawumbi,” he said.

Kelese says that he loves the radio because it is instant. Radio is more easily accessible than other media platforms. He hosts the Afternoon Hangout on MUT Radio. The show airs from 14h00-16h00 on weekdays. He says that hosting an Afternoon Drive show has always been his dream.

“I really enjoy its content. I make the show fun and engaging. I incorporate riddles in the show, and together with the listeners, do tongue twister challenges. We also have the sing-along feature, and also cover some exciting topics that all our fellow students can relate to,” said Kelese.

Kelese is also a music compiler for MUT Radio. He says there is a lot that goes into preparing for a show. In addition, the type of music that is played in a particular show must be relevant.

“For instance, a Gospel show must have relevant music. When my radio colleagues ask me to source the music for their show, I must get them what the show requires,” said Kelese.

Kelese is one of the founding presenters of the MUT Radio station.

“Since then, I have learnt a lot in terms of the content that is needed and the style for a show, and the type of content that has to go to a particular show. I have learnt the style of presenting, and using the controls,” said Kelese.

MUT graduate promote youth businesses at the Qatar Economic Forum

Bright Hlongwane, left, with Dubai Property Billionaire, Hussain Sajwani in Qatar

MUT graduate and Youth in Business South Africa Secretary General, Bright Hlongwane, was part of South Africa’s delegation to the second Qatar Economic Forum with a mission to attract foreign investors.

Hlongwane was part of a group comprising 500 business leaders, heads of state, diplomats, and thinkers that met in Doha, Qatar from 20-22 June 2022. The theme of the Forum was Equalizing the Global Recovery.

“South Africa’s youth-owned businesses are open for business and more than ready for foreign direct investment,” explained Hlongwane. “It is also important that foreign investors look at an opportunity to invest in youth-owned businesses in South Africa.”

In his conversation with the SABC,  Hlongwane said what made the Middle East stand out was the leadership in the region. He added that the Qatar expedition was also an opportunity to learn about business leadership in the region and see how these could be replicated in the South African context.

He said the leaders in the Middle East are exemplary and more action-driven; they have a laid out plan that clearly states how they were going to implement the decisions that were taken in previous meetings.

Hlongwane added that they met many potential investors in Qatar, but it was too early for any concrete agreements.

Management Sciences hosts writing retreat to improve research output

Faculty of Management Sciences staff with Solani Ngobeni, second from left, front row
 

The Faculty of Management Sciences is on a mission to improve its research output by empowering Faculty staff with the necessary resources and support they need to publish their academic papers. This time, the faculty hosted a week-long writing retreat to empower staff with research knowledge to help with conducting research for publishing and/or for completing terminal qualifications.

This is part of the acting Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Dr Bheka Ntshangase’s strategic plan for his faculty.  The plan is to make the faculty excel in teaching and learning, research, and community engagement.

Sharing his vision with the 25 faculty members that attended the retreat, Dr Ntshangase said the main objectives of the retreat were to inculcate a new culture of research, academic writing, and publication in DHET accredited journals. Dr Ntshangase added that another part of the training focused on empowering staff with how scholarly publishers conduct the peer-review process, and the guidelines publishers supply to peer reviewers to guide participants on the review process.

“We also wanted to capacitate participants on the process of publishing books and how to identify the right publishers,” said Dr Ntshangase.

Facilitator, Solani Ngobeni, a Director of the Centre of Scholarly Publishing (Pty) Ltd, took staff through various aspects of academic publishing over five days.  Ngobeni said anyone that wanted to publish should first study the guidelines of the journal and use that information to make the necessary decisions.

 

One of the staff members that participated in the retreat was Dr Kevin Ramsarghey, the Head of the Department of Accounting and Law. Dr Ramsarghey observed that the retreat was also giving staff members uninterrupted time to focus on writing a paper and eventually getting it published.

“The retreat provides a platform to encourage and motivate staff members to produce publications and increase the research output for the University,” said Dr Ramsarghey.

Dr Ramsarghey added that Ngobeni provided them with common and individual sessions. The common sessions provided the background to the world of publishing and highlighted the benefits for the academic and the University. The individual sessions assisted the team to identify and solve problems and hurdles, for example, aligning a paper to the correct journal.  The writing retreat ran from 27 June to 1 July 2022.

MUT Radio gives local learners a shot at the airwaves

MUT Radio gives local learners a shot at the airwaves

As part of the University’s anchor strategy, MUT’s Department of Marketing and Communications invited learners from Umlazi Township schools to participate in a project where they can get an opportunity to broadcast on MUT Radio. To qualify, learners had to send an audio recording of their audition. From these auditions, five learners from Ogwini Comprehensive High School and Vukuzakhe High School were chosen and given a chance to broadcast live on MUT Radio giving MUT radio listeners a taste of the young and untapped talent of Umlazi Township. Here is what the young radio personalities in the making said about their day behind the microphone:

Kwanda Majola,

Grade 12 learner at Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School

“Live on MUT Radio, we discussed load shedding, a common topic these days. This empowered me to understand the need of being smart with electronics like keeping mobile phone battery charged and turning off electronic equipment when they are not needed. The discussion aimed at educating the listeners about the importance of what they need to do to deal with the load-shedding situation.”

Sphamandla Mhlongo

Grade 11 learner at Vukuzakhe High School

“I am passionate about radio. It has been my dream to be on the radio. Being given an opportunity to attend the radio training was a great experience for me. What I learned at this radio training was that you need to do your work with a smile if you are broadcasting.  You need to have the right amount of energy to lift the spirit of your listeners. I liked the way the MUT Radio presenters communicated with us; they made us relax and enjoyed being their guests. I literally felt at home. I will use this experience in my professional life, and in life in general. I will apply it in my radio broadcasting career as an upcoming radio personality. I was also impressed by the way, the MUT presenters manage time. It was a great experience for me. I thank the MUT Radio team for hosting us. I love them all.”

Amahle Mhlongo

Grade 12 learner at Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School

“I am from U Section, Umlazi Township. My Highlight of the day was the exposure to MUT Radio equipment. I broadcasted live; that was amazing. I met other young stars from Vukuzakhe and other schools. It was ‘dope’ to hear my father’s voice on the radio; that made me so happy. In addition, the tour to see the Chemical laboratory was very informative. We gained so much experience; now we have a small clue about a real laboratory setup. I would like to thank the Team from MUT Radio for the warm welcome they gave us.”

Nqobile Bhengu

Grade 12 learner at Ogwini Comprehensive Technical High School

“The reason why I sent my demo recording was that my voice matters. I realised that this was an opportunity for me to let the listeners hear me. It was my dream to broadcast live on the radio. MUT Radio gave me that opportunity. Thank you MUT for the opportunity you gave to us.”

Lindani Mzobe

Grade 11 learner at Vukuzakhe High School.

“Visiting Mangosuthu University of Technology for a Radio training really meant a lot to me because I was able to express myself. I was able to speak to hundreds of people who were listening. Not many get an opportunity to provide change. If we can work together, I believe that nothing can stop us from building our world.”

New student maiden group to encourage sexual abstinence

Sphe Shabangu, left, with some MUT maidens, on the evening before their virginity testing

Change can be difficult to comprehend even when it is a positive one. This is more so for students when they transition from high school to university. At Mangosuthu University of Technology, various student structures exist not only to give support to fellow students but to also continue some of the cultural, political, social, and religious activities.

A new student group has been formed at the university to encourage sexual abstinence among students. The new student group, Izintombi ZaseMUT, is for students who are all virgins as per the Zulu tradition of virginity testing. Siphesihle Shabangu, a staff member at the Academic Affairs department said part of the reason behind starting the group was to bring back a sense of pride and joy to the young maidens.

“We preach the idea of self-preservation by staying away from sex and having the mannerism that is expected of a Zulu maiden,” said Shabangu.

She said such behaviour puts a young maiden in good stead as they enjoy a lot of respect from their society. Shabangu called this a ‘social investment’, which will follow the maiden for the rest of her life. Shabangu said there are about 70 known maidens at the University.

Shabangu said the new group would also inculcate the philosophy of respect and remind the maidens that they would need to support each other, and be united, as opposed to competing against each other. Although not yet registered with the University’s Student Affairs Department, the new group has noble ideas to match its intentions.

“We are doing this for the next generations, and the students that will join us next season. We will create a committee that will organise recruitment drives,” Shabangu said.

Shabangu said one of their plans was to take the MUT maidens to the annual Reed Dance at the Zulu monarch’s palace. The Reed Dance was resuscitated by the late King Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu.

MUT boxers dominate Elite Boxing Tournament

Sandile Khumalo at the Camperdown tournament

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) boxers excelled at the KwaZulu-Natal Elite Boxing Tournament that took place on 25 June at Durban’s Camperdown. Lindani Mbonambi, MUT Boxing coach, who is also training eThekwini Elite Boxing team, reported that his boxers won nine gold medals, six silver medals, and a bronze medal.

Sandile Khumalo, an Advanced Diploma in Accounting student, won gold after winning four fights. Khumalo is now a KwaZulu-Natal bantamweight champion. Next week, Khumalo will be taking part in the SANABO Youth and Elite Men and Women Championships, in East London. The tournament will take place from 6 to 10 July 2022.

Khumalo is expecting to win all his four fights and become a South African champion. He is planning to turn professional before the end of the year.

Two other MUT boxers, Zanele Jili, a Junior Heavyweight boxer, and Nompumelelo Mbhele (63 kg), won silver. Jili is a second-year Diploma in Public Finance and Accounting student, while Mbhele is a first-year Analytical Chemistry student.

Mbonambi took 29 boxers with him to the tournament.

MUT Radio celebrates a year of connecting people

Professor Marcus Ramogale, holding a knife, and some of the MUT Radio staff

A very excited Zama Sishi told students, staff members, and other stakeholders that the University’s radio station was going up and up. Sishi, Director of Stakeholder Relations Management at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), was speaking at MUT Radio’s first-anniversary celebration event hosted this week at Anniversary Lane.

The event marked a year of MUT Radio being on the airwaves. The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University, Professor Marcus Ramogale, emphasised the importance of this communication platform by reminding staff and students that the radio station was connecting people. Professor Ramogale said life would be meaningless if a person had everything, but was not connected with other people. He explained that MUT Radio’s role was that of connecting people.

“Life is meaningful if we are connected. This is what MUT Radio stands for. The station has been connecting us for over a year. It has connected students to students, staff to students, and MUT to its community and the world. When we are connected, we stop living in fragments because there is unity. We find meaning when we are connected,” said Professor Ramogale.

Afika Mkhahlela is one of MUT Radio’s longest-serving presenters. She has been with the station since its inception. Currently she hosts Campus voice from 1pm on Monday to Thursday.

“I am grateful to God for this experience and the skills I’ve obtained as a DJ at MUT Radio. The fact that the station is now a year old means that there are growth, success, progress, and opportunities. All these will ensure that MUT Radio continues to play a connecting role in the South African broadcasting industry. Part of the vision I had this year for MUT Radio was to contribute to making the MUT Radio soar to greater heights throughout the year,” said Mkhahlela.

MUT students have embraced the radio as their voice and platform. Since inception the station is run with the aid of student volunteers who do the production, presenting and marketing the radio programme.  The host of the Afternoon Hangout on MUT Radio, Awethu Kelese, said he was proud that he was one of the founding presenters of MUT Radio.

“It has not been an easy journey for me. It has always been my dream to be on a campus radio; almost everyone who is on mainstream radio today started on campus radio,” said Kelese.

Students, staff, and guests shared celebratory cake at the event as they wished their station growth and strength.

Banana peels, one of the effective ingredients in tackling Acid mine drainage – MUT study finds

No more just waste, now also purifiers! The banana peels

Academics from Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) have discovered an unlikely key ingredient for the removal of heavy metals from the highly toxic Acid mine drainage (AMD) into usable water. A study co-authored by MUT academics found banana peels to be a cheap and efficient bio-sorbent for the removal of copper and lead from AMD.

The study, titled: Bio-sorption of a bi-solute system of copper and lead ions onto banana peels: characterization and optimization, was conducted by Professor Babatunde Bakare, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at MUT, Professor Paul Musonge, Research Professor in the faculty, and Durban University of Technology’s Dr Felicia O. Afolabi. The study was published in the Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering.

“AMD is highly toxic water with low pH and increased amounts of heavy metals and salts. AMD emanates from abandoned and ownerless mines or improper or failed treatment methods. It contains heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese, mercury, zinc, chromium, and copper, which are hazardous to humans, plants, and animals,” the study explains.

The study focuses on the mining industry because mining “generates high volumes of wastewater which greatly affect the environment”, with a high treatment cost. The use of bio-sorbents, which are absorbents from natural and agricultural waste, is cheap and good for the environment.

The findings of this study are key to South Africa’s quest for a cheaper alternative to treat AMD. Using banana peels opens the door to the possibility of recycling large quantities of water at a time when the country is facing an impending water crisis.

Employees in the fibreglass reinforcement industry are choking on plastic – MUT study found

Zanele Zulu

Two academics from MUT and the University of KwaZulu-Natal have conducted a study on fibreglass. The study, which was conducted by Zanele Zulu, a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health at MUT, and Professor Rajen Naidoo of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, was titled Styrene associated respiratory outcomes among reinforced plastic industry workers. The study, which was conducted in Durban, was published in the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health Journal.

Zulu and Professor Naidoo’s study found that “respiratory symptoms’ prevalence increased significantly across low, medium and high cumulative exposure categories.” The study did not find any link between doctor-diagnosed diseases and increased exposure to styrene.

Of the 254 employees who participated in the study, 33 employees in the medium and high exposure to styrene category suffered from chronic cough compared to six of their counterparts in the low exposure category. A total of 32 employees in the medium and high exposure category suffered from chronic phlegm, compared to four of their counterparts in the low exposure category; 14 employees in the medium and high exposure category suffered from breathlessness compared to just two in the low exposure category, while 32 employees in the medium and high exposure categories experienced wheezing, compared to six employees in the low-risk category.

The study was conducted at a fiberglass-reinforced plastics factory in Durban, South Africa. This factory manufactures vessels and tanks.

The findings of this study provide further evidence that health-based exposure standards as opposed to permissible exposure standards are needed to protect the health of employees in this and similar work environments.

The United Nation’s Environment Programme has warned about the threat posed by plastic to the planet.

“Our planet is choking on plastic,” the world body said.

MUT graduate’s Mr SA dream lives on

Sipho Moyana

Former Mr MUT (Mangosuthu University of Technology) (2019) and Advanced Diploma in Public Management student at MUT, Sipho Moyana, is preparing for the next round of this year’s Mr South Africa competition. Taking part in the competition is a dream come true for Moyana who has been looking forward to the opportunity for years.

To proceed to the next stage, Moyana will need as many votes as he possibly can gather. To vote for the Sipho Moyana for the Top 10 of Mr SA, SMS MRSA15 to 40439. SMSes cost R2.

Another busy weekend for MUT Sport teams

The MUT soccer team

Starting tomorrow (Saturday), the MUT Ladies Soccer team will play an Engen Cup match against Pillars at Cato Manor Grounds at noon. The MUT Men’s Soccer team will take on No Noise in a Golden Delight Cup. At 15h30, the MUT Rugby team will host Crusaders. The two teams will be playing a Durban Rugby Sub-Union Walker Cup 3rd Division match. The MUT Hockey team will visit Griffin at Riverside. This 2nd division league game will start at 15h30.

On Sunday, MUT Men’s Hockey team will visit the Crusaders at the Queensmead Stadium for a 2nd Division League match. This match will start at 11h00.

MUT Radio collaborates with Ukhozi FM for Youth Day broadcast

Dudu Khoza, third from left, with MUT Radio DJs and fans

MUT Radio is constantly looking for ways to reach more audiences in its mission to give the youth a voice. As part of Youth Day, MUT Radio hosted the SABC’s Ukhozi FM, which broadcasted its popular show, Jabulujule, presented by Dudu Khoza. The show was dedicated to a discussion on religious issues featuring MUT students from various religious denominations.

The broadcast was also an opportunity for MUT Radio crew members to learn first-hand from Khoza, who is one of the longest-serving Ukhozi FM presenters. Awethu Kelese said that he learnt as much as he could in the three hours that the “legendary broadcaster” was on campus.

“Her presence at MUT and on MUT Radio was a blessing;  June 16 was MUT Radio’s first birthday. I was celebrating my first year as a DJ. I learnt that having a relationship with your listeners on and off-air is very important.  I was so inspired to learn that she always invites her listeners who are domestic workers for lunch at various hotels around KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces. I also learnt that a radio broadcaster must be easily accessible to the community because you are literally the voice to the voiceless,” said Kelese.

Afika Mkhahlela, another MUT Radio presenter, said she was impressed by the level of Khoza’s humbleness.

“I learnt that irrespective of status, money and achievements, it’s important to remain humble, respectful and warm to your supporters. Khoza has such a warm and nurturing aura. I found myself in awe of her grace, and the humility she possesses based on her interactions with the people. I am going to do my best to emulate these qualities for my listeners,” said Mkhahlela.

Both Kelese and Mkhahlela are also doing their internships at the Department of Marketing and Communications at MUT.

EAC euphoria grips delegates as the conference nears

File picture: Some delegates at the 2019 EAC

As the date for the Empowered Administrators Conference (EAC) draws closer, the interest in conference attendance is on the rise. There are now only 30 seats left and the EAC is all set to be oversubscribed.

Jade Mthiyane, MUT Events Coordinator, has been undertaking a series of campaigns and the positive responses have been humbling. She has promised delegates that this year’s programme will take them back to their offices “more equipped than ever. Now that we know how to work under extremely difficult conditions, we want to reassure delegates that this conference will prepare them for their next chapter,” said Mthiyane.

“After two years of EAC hiatus, I am so looking forward to my career renewal. I have looked at the programme and I am confident that there will be many takeaways out of this conference for myself and my employer”, said a delegate from Transnet.

From sister universities, one delegate who referred to the conference organisers as sweethearts, said, “I can only imagine the work that is going in this event. You guys have real class when you have this conference. Keep it up.”

The unprecedented events of the past two years have shown how office administrators are at the centre of making things happen and the EAC programme speaks to this theme.

“We want to ensure that office administrators keep the momentum and are better prepared to rise to whatever occupation that prevails to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in office administration,” said Mbali Mkhize, EAC Founder and Convener. “We are grateful that the work of the EAC speaks for itself. Our EAC alumni are the ones hard at work advocating for the EAC”, she added.

Management Sciences student chases JCI’s Top Ten Outstanding Young Persons of South Africa spot

Lindokuhle Zulu

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) continues to demonstrate that they have what it takes to compete with its global counterparts when it comes to the world of innovation and entrepreneurship. The latest in this trend of success in entrepreneurship came in the form of a nomination by a prestigious business body.

Lindokuhle Zulu, an Advanced Diploma in Marketing student, has made it to the Top 20 of the 2022 Junior Chamber International (JCI) South Africa Ten Outstanding Young Persons of South Africa (SA TOYP) competition.

In a letter to Ntombifuthi Mthembu, Student Entrepreneurship at the University, JCI National President, Keke Kotsokoane, explained how Zulu was nominated.

“The final round of judging was performed by a panel of six judges that included past TOYP winners, external partners and JCI SA executives. The combined score of the two rounds of judging was used to determine the top 20 nominations of which you [Zulu] are one.”

Kotsokoane said that individuals in the top 20 nomination list would be allowed to gain even more votes through a public voting platform that will run from 10 June 2022 to 24 June 2022. The final top 10 outstanding persons will be narrowed further with the inclusion of the public vote. The public voting for the 2022 JCI TOYP top 10 will begin on 10 July 2021 using the link: https://forms.gle/JvpB4hpVfnaR6ECM9.

Zulu was recognised for “excellence in community development”. Zulu said these awards are designed for young people whose efforts have an impact on the lives of the communities.

Zulu said he was motivated by what he was seeing in his community in Gamalakhe Township, in Port Shepstone, south of KwaZulu-Natal.

“From a very young age, I observed that grade 11 learners who were condoned had challenges at grade 12. I noticed that there was a gap in what these learners knew. They needed help,” said Zulu. Zulu then started mentoring 27 learners. He said that many of them are graduates from different universities now. “They serve as an inspiration to me,” he said.

Zulu is a co-founder and director of You and I Foundation, founded on 27 August 2020. It is a non-profit organisation that advocates for community projects to give back to communities in the form of addressing social challenges and improving academic excellence among the youth.

The other members of the Foundation, who are all co-founders, are Mnqobi Dube, Treasurer General, Nkosingiphile Mazibuko, Secretary-General of the Foundation, and Senzeni Lushozi, Deputy Secretary, and lastly, Sihle Madondo.

The foundation also assists learners that are upgrading their grade 12 results at Isiqalo Institute in Academics. This institute, which is in Durban, is owned by MUT graduates Simphiwe Goniwe and Bhekuyise Bhengu.

Zulu has also qualified for the regional phase of the EHDE Intervarsity Competition, which will be hosted by MUT in September.

MUT joins forces with Pink Roses Foundation to raise awareness on albinism

File picture: Some of the University’s students with albinism

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June through a virtual event where various individuals shared their experiences of the challenges that persons with albinism face. The theme for 2022 is “United in making our voices heard”.

In line with the theme of making the voices of people with albinism heard, the Student Counselling unit at MUT partnered with the Pink Roses Foundation to highlight the plight of people living with albinism.

The virtual event, which was facilitated by Hlobisile Masinga of the Pink Roses Foundation, covered topics that included Myths, facts and challenges faced by people living with albinism; LivingMyBestLife: Navigating the academic journey as a young person living with albinism; Albinism & the career industry; Realizing your true potential as a person with albinism; Albinism, cultural misconceptions & harmful traditional practices; and Albinism & Self-care.

Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director of the Student Counselling unit at MUT, introduced the dialogue as part of her unit’s efforts to raise awareness on issues that students face as they navigate their way through university.

Aphiwe Mtolo, a graduate of the University of Zululand, shared his experiences of the challenges he encountered as a person with albinism.

“There are a lot of myths around people living with albinism. We have seen many cases of people with albinism losing their lives because of the myths that are there. The most common ones are the ones that say people with albinism are a cure for HIV, they can be used for traditional medicine; they don’t die, they disappear. There are just a lot of myths,” said Mtolo.

Mtolo added that being called names using derogatory terms was also one of the major challenges growing up as a person with albinism.

Phiwenkosi Mjadu, the Disability Unit Coordinator at the University of Zululand, said that students with albinism suffered stigmatization, rejection and fear of being hunted.

Mjadu added that access to information was important in raising awareness of people with albinism and their needs

Sister Bongiwe Sithole of the MUT Campus Health emphasised the significance of protection from the sun for people with albinism.

“The more skin you cover – such as covering your neck up, wearing long sleeves and wearing pants – that would be the best thing you can do for yourself. But that also depends on the weather,” Sister Sithole said.

The United Nations declared 13 June as the International Albinism Awareness Day in 2013 in response to the human rights violations that people with albinism.

MUT Sport athletes excel in their sporting codes

Some of the participants. Zinhle Sithole is in second from right  

On 10 June 2022, four of the University’s bodybuilders took first place in their respective categories as part of the USSA Games at UKZN. Zinhle Sithole, an Electrical Engineering final year student, placed first in the Ladies Beach Bikini. Phindile Ngubane placed second in the Wellness Category. Phindlie is a second-year Agriculture student.

The following students all placed first in different categories:  Nkosikhona Zulu, a final year Nature Conservation student (up to 80kg category); Zolani Khoza, a final year construction student (under 75kg category); and Mvelo Khumalo, a Quantity Surveying student (Men’s Athletic Physique).  MUT were overall winners in these USSA Games at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Men’s overall winner was Zulu.

MUT Boxing team also excelled at Clermont Sports Hall, in Durban. The Boxing Coach, Lindani Mbonambi, was selected to coach the eThekwini elite boxing team. Mbonambi will now take his team to Camperdown to compete against other KZN districts. This will be a KZN Boxing Elite Championship where the provincial team will be selected. Mbonambi says his team will be number one. He says most of the team members will be from his team. One of the team members is Sandile Khumalo, an Advance Diploma in Accounting student, who doubles up as a coach.

In the District Open Boxing Tournament at Durban’s Clermont on 11 June 2022, Sandile, won gold in his bantamweight after beating Azile Ntuli, from Eyethu Boxing Club. He won on points, with all judges giving him a win. Khumalo won gold in the 2019 USSA Games in Secunda, Mpumalanga.

Fighting her first-ever match, Nompumelelo Mbhele, 63kg, won a gold medal. Nompumelelo beat Nozipho Mkhize from DUT. She won on points.

Zanele Jili, the middle heavyweight, also won on points against Asanda Mkhwanazi from Lindelani Boxing Club. Zanele was also selected to represent eThekwini Elite Boxing team.

The University’s Rugby team also did well. On 11 June, the Rugby team took advantage of playing at home and beat Clermont Whales 27-7 in a Durban Rugby Sub Union Walker Cup, 3rd Division.  Also on the same day, MUT Ladies Hockey team beat Varsity College by 2-1 at Riverside Hockey grounds. This was a second-division league game.

The following day the MUT Men’s Hockey team did even better. They beat Inanda Ntuzuma KwaMashu team by 4-2, in a second-division league game.  Still on this day, in a SAFA league game, the MUT Ladies Soccer team drew 3-3 with Inanda Divas at Inanda.

MUT Entrepreneurship coordinator wins Wadhwani Foundation award

Ntombifuthi Mthembu

Ntombifuthi Mthembu, the Entrepreneurship Coordinator and Lecturer in the Department of Human Resources and Management at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), has won the annual ‘Start Me Up Award’ from the Wadhwani Foundation. The announcement was made on 2 June 2022.

“It is the quality of the students’ submissions that earns you this award. Nothing makes a person content than being recognized for one’s efforts,” said Mthembu.

Mthembu said the event was about recognizing and celebrating the efforts of top lecturers facilitating the Wadhwani Entrepreneurship globally.

The awards were divided into three regions, namely, South East Asia (SEA), India, and Africa. Mthembu was recognized in the Africa Region as one of the lecturers who excelled and contributed positively to the development of entrepreneurship education for the year 2021.

MUT offers the Wadhwani Foundational Entrepreneurship Course that is computer laboratory-based. All assessment submissions (or Milestones as they call them) are uploaded on the LearnWise Platform for evaluation purposes. The very same Milestones are further adjudicated by a jury which could be located anywhere in the world. This jury validates the submissions in terms of quality and the potential of turning the students’ venture (Practice Venture) into a real venture, should the student pursue it beyond the classroom.

Six MUT students qualify for the regional EDHE competition

Ntombifuthi Mthembu, right, with the winners

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) continues its efforts to inculcate the culture and spirit of entrepreneurship within its students and staff. On 27 May 2022, the University ran the internal round of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Entrepreneurship Intervarsity Competition.

For this internal round, MUT received 48 submissions and 45 were shortlisted. On the day of the competition, 24 students took part.

The winners were Lungelo Sithole, and Siphosethu Mathonsi – Existing General Business category; Mthandeni Mzobe, and Lindokuhle Zulu – Existing Social Impact category; and Bongumusa Makhathini and Sphamandla Mtolo – Innovative Idea category.

These winners will progress to the Regional Round of the EDHE Intervarsity Competition, where they will compete against students from UKZN, DUT and the University of Zululand. The Regional Competition will be held from 12– 16 September 2022. The winners of the internal round will undergo pitch readiness training in July.

Ntombifuthi Mthembu, Entrepreneurship Coordinator and Lecturer in the Department of Human Resources and Management at MUT said the overall purpose of the competition was to identify the top student entrepreneur at each of the 26 Public Universities in South Africa.

“The competition also provides an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs in the ideation phase to pitching their innovative business ideas. Students with existing businesses are also afforded an opportunity. In the process, universities will have an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial talent and demonstrate how they support and grow the next generation of business leaders,” she said.

MUT Africa Day webinar shines the spotlight on food insecurity, teacher education and marginalisation of indigenous peoples

Dr Xolile Mkhize

A panel of three experts from universities in Botswana and South Africa took the audience through insightful presentations focusing on the various ways in which Africa continues to be marginalised. These experts were speaking as part of the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Africa Day webinar.

Dr Xolile Mkhize, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Community Extension at MUT; Professor Jane Iloanya from the Department of Education and Language Skills at Botho University in Botswana; and Dr Godson Gatsha, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Services at Botswana Open Air University and Research Fellow at Unisa; shared thought-provoking presentations on the nutritional value of indigenous foods, infusing African principles in teacher education, and marginalisation of indigenous peoples of Africa.

For Dr Mkhize, the focus was on nutrition and the marginalisation of indigenous food. Her presentation came just a week after the United Nations highlighted food insecurity as a problem that Africa and other parts of the world continue to contend with.

“The availability and diversity of indigenous foods can address some of the challenges of food insecurity in Africa,” Dr Mkhize said.

Dr Mkhize noted that indigenous African foods were not popular despite their nutritional benefits. Some of the benefits of these foods include medicinal and anti-ageing properties. She explained that the packaging of these foods was also not as sophisticated.

Dr Mkhize said that indigenous foods were marginalised through four systemic factors, which are colonialism, globalisation, urbanisation and socio-economic status. She explained that it was not too late to reclaim indigenous foods.

“Behavioural shift is required if we are to reclaim our indigenous foods,” said Dr Mkhize as she concluded her presentation.

Professor Iloanya’s presentation focused on teacher education as key in efforts to reclaim our Africanness. Paying attention to teachers, she explained, created an opportunity to promote African ideals in their teaching. This, she explained, would be possible because teachers were the implementers of the curriculum.

Professor Iloanya reminded the audience that African principles were just as important as the Western alternatives and education should reflect both.

“I simply do not want to forget or neglect my roots,” said Professor Iloanya. “All must co-exist.”

Dr Gatsha, who kicked off the webinar, took the audience through a presentation which drew continuities between colonial and post-colonial marginalisation of various indigenous people across the continent.

“Given the suffering of marginalised peoples of Africa across the continent, the marginalised indigenous people are still downtrodden,” said Dr Gatsha. “The agenda has not changed.”

MUT Library training on research databases usage empowers researchers

Daneshree Moodley

The Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) Library continues to affirm its responsibility to provide a foundation for all aspects of academia at the Institution. The Deputy Director of Library Services, Bongiwe Nyide, said that the MUT Library had “a critical role in empowering our organisation and library users to access information and create research culture with a lasting impact upon our staff and students”.

In line with this dual mandate of promoting access to information and creating a research culture, the MUT Library provided hosted Scopus and Science Direct training to empower staff to use the online databases efficiently. The training, which took place on 2 June 2022, was led by Daneshree Moodley, Customer Consultant, at Elsevier. Elsevier is a Netherlands-based academic publishing company specializing in scientific, technical, and medical content.

The purpose of the training was to showcase the benefits of using both Scopus and Science Direct databases effectively and to encourage their optimal usage by the University community. Both these databases can be accessed on the Library Website under the Electronic Resources tab.

Moodley gave details on how the users can benefit from using the database suite. Referring to some parts of the suite, Moodley said Scopus was a search engine that gives the user peer-reviewed material, and that users could download material from Scopus, and store it in Mendeley, to create a digital library. Mendeley can be downloaded and stored on the laptop, or desktop. This facilitates the next step, which is writing, she said.

“It (Mendeley) does referencing for you. But you have to give it the correct instruction,” Moodley said.

Moodley said another added benefit of using the suite is that it has Science Direct, which has 25 million visitors. She said this would make researchers’ work more visible. There are 7 000 journals indexed on Scopus, she said.

Nyide said that the MUT Library aimed “to educate the next generation of students, researchers, and academics. With this in mind, the library organised this event for the University community; the programme hopes to bring about awareness of Scopus and Science Direct, which are part of the suite of databases that the University Library subscribes to and promote their usefulness to the academic success of our staff and students.”

Staff and students can request this, and other training sessions by contacting Andisiwe Magocoba, at Magocoba.andisiwe@mut.ac.za.

Community Extension hosts roadshow for work readiness

Dr Ndou, second from right, with some of the partners from the said organisations

Students in the Department of Community Extension at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) are getting ready to join the agriculture sector. The University is preparing these students in all areas of work beyond what they learn in the classroom.

This week, the Department of Agriculture, and its partners, the South African Society of Agricultural Extension (SASAE) and the South African Council for Natural Sciences Profession (SACNASP) conducted a roadshow at the University’s North Campus to impress upon more than 80 students of the significance of having the right attitude and behaviour in the workplace.

SASAE’s Thulani Masondo said they came to MUT to share the benefits of being part of the South African Society for Agricultural Extension with students.

“The purpose is to promote norms and standards of the extension officers. We need to prepare them for the realities of the world of work,” he said.

Masondo said they needed to properly mentor students so they would be ready when they take over reigns. He said during apartheid agriculture was not given the status it deserved.

“Even the qualification was not recognized. Now we say take it seriously,” he said.

Masondo emphasized the importance of being professional in the field and having a good working relationship with all involved in the profession.

Central to their message was the concept of an extensionist. This is an individual that embodies all the professional qualities that are required in the profession. This is individual’s main goal is to share correct information with the farmers and everyone involved. Some of these important points were made by Dr Vince Ndou, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Community Extension. Dr Ndou told students that Agriculture affected everyone, irrespective of their profession.

National deputy chairperson of SASAE, Phumezile Garane, emphasised the significance of registering with professional controlling bodies – SASAE and SACNASP. Garane said members of these bodies had access to vital information needed to understand the dynamics of the profession. He said the professional bodies emphasized the need for everyone to be professional so that they can meet the expectations of the profession and be able to make positive contributions to the profession.

Cebo Mngoma, a student from the Faculty of Management Sciences at MUT, said the programme was “fruitful” for students as they were “future economy developers”.

“We now know the importance of registering with SASAE and SACNAS,” said Cebo, who is the founder of Cebo Farm Holdings.

MUT Student Counselling hosts two dialogues to raise awareness of LGBTQIA

Some of the students that attended the dialogue, listening to one of the presenters

In its efforts to empower students and raise awareness on critical issues, the Student Counselling unit at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) organised a two-day (31 May to 1 June 2022) LGBTQIA dialogue.

Dr Paulette Naidoo, the Director of the unit, said the purpose of the two-day event was to increase LGBTQIA-related issues awareness and visibility on campus. She also said that they wanted to promote a culture where all would enjoy equal rights.

“We also wanted students to participate in LGBTQIA-related activities in all aspects of life on campus,” said Dr Naidoo.

Some students who belong to the LGBTQIA community used the platform to raise some of the challenges they experienced.  Mlamuli Tenza, a second-year Marketing student, highlighted the need for facilities that cater for students who belong to the LGBTQIA community. Tenza said he found it difficult to walk into male bathrooms because some male students made hurtful comments.

“They make comments that would be considered wrong,” said Tenza. “This could be considered harassment.”

Tenza explained that he also experienced harassment in his residence, and when waiting for buses.

“Now my boyfriend does not want to visit me if he will not go into the residence. You end up not being comfortable,” he said.

Thandokuhle Makhanya, third-year Mechanical Engineering, said the challenges were similar

Tenza said they were trying to build a support system that would make it possible for students in the LGBTQIA community to voice their views and talk about the challenges they experienced.

Two MUT academics selected for Biogas Technology training

Professor Paul Musonge

Paul Musonge, a Researcher Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, and Pretty Gqamile Mthiyane of the Department of Agriculture, have been selected for a training course on Biogas Technology, Rural Energy and Environmental Protection for Developing Countries.  The online training will take place from 7 June – 6 July 2022 and will be hosted by the BIOMA.

Busy weekend ahead for MUT Hockey and Soccer teams

Sharpay Ndebele, MUT Hockey player and coach

The University’s Hockey and Soccer teams have matches tomorrow (Saturday, 4 June 2022). At 14h00, MUT women’s Hockey team will take on the Crusaders at Crawford College. At 9h30, on Sunday, the men’s Hockey team will take on Riverside, at Riverside Stadium. These are KZN Hockey Association Second Division matches. Again, on Sunday, the MUT women’s Soccer team will square up against Lamontville FC in the SAFA Regional Women’s League.

MUT’s Self-Evaluation Report reveals great progress in advancing the University

Professor Marcus Ramogale, seated, middle, with the other stakeholders that met to discuss the Self-Evaluation Report

It is a Wednesday of the 25th of May, on Africa Day, at a conference venue where Dr Makua, DVC Teaching & Learning (T&L) has invited all MUT’s strategic stakeholders to participate on a journey to further evaluate MUT’s self-reflection report (SER). The document almost has 200 pages composed of evidence-based evaluations of work accomplished since the last audit of 2011. This SER is in preparation for the Institutional Quality Audit (IQA) by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) scheduled to take place from 14 to 18 November 2022.

The meeting included the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale, the University Executive Management, the MUT Senior Management, Council Chairperson, Morailane Morailane, representatives of Council, Convocation Executive, and the Student Representative Council.

The presence of these stakeholders was to ensure that every stakeholder engaged with the document drawn from input submitted by team convenors and other strategic leaders who are managing the project which is being led by the Office of the DVC T&L, Quality Management directorate, DIPR, and others.

The SER reveals the work of people at grassroot levels; some of whom we do not know, those who prepare the classroom to be conducive, the laboratory to be functional, a student to be educated and to be absorbed in the world of work. Further, the SER includes the hard work of the Task Team convenors and their team members who worked tirelessly, sourcing various information from different University stakeholders. While for some, the SER reflects all the hard work, let the deep meaning of collaboration and success not be forgotten. It is the essence of what makes MUT tenacious and thrive in success.

At MUT, ensuring a consistently high quality of input is the responsibility of all stakeholders as is the drive for continuous improvement. The process of developing the SER thus involves the participation of the entire University community.

The purpose of the Stakeholder Engagement was to ensure transparency in the preparation of the SER, to provide opportunity for the University stakeholders to make input into the document, thus ensuring that there has been a wide consultation on the SER, and that it includes the voices of all the University stakeholders. The workshop also ensured that the document in question was a true reflection of MUT and one that the University is proud to own.

Both the Acting Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Professor Ramogale and the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Dr Manyane Makua, appealed to all stakeholders to be honest with their interaction with the document. Dr Makua made a special appeal to the stakeholders to read the document, and familiarlize themselves with its content.

Dr Suri Moodley, Director of QMD, said it was critical that all the aspects of the SER, including the MUT Institutional Profile and Focus areas standards, were addressed completely and critically with recommendations for improvement.

“Furthermore, the Stakeholder Engagement provided a platform for the University Community to engage with the findings and decide on the ratings for each standard. We deemed it appropriate that we should use the dedicated time to refine the responses to the Focus areas and get consensus around ratings and claims made in the standards as we are entrusted to produce a complete, critically reflective and evidence-based SER for the CHE audit,” said Dr Moodley.  While the process of developing the SER is ongoing, it has provided the opportunity for staff to gain a better understanding of our university.

“This will certainly hold us in good stead going forward,” said Dr Moodley.

Giving the background to the audit, Professor Ramogale said that now there should be a balance between the autonomy of the institutions of higher learning, and the fact that they now have to be accountable to their primary funder, the taxpayer, via the government. Professor Ramogale said the audit gives institutions of higher learning an opportunity to look at themselves. Institutions of higher learning have to ask these questions: How are we doing things? Where are our strengths? Where are our weaknesses?  Where do we fall short?

“We need to begin to think about the processes we have put in place. There is nothing to worry about; we just have to account for what we do. In whatever you do, you need to ensure that there is quality. You must create your own system for quality,” said Professor Ramogale.

Africa Month Public Lecture speaker calls for the Africanisation of the curriculum

Professor Molebatsi Nkoane, left, and Professor Marcus Ramogale, during the presentation of the public lecture
 

As part of celebrating Africa Month, the University hosted a public lecture as part of its activities, which were held day after Africa Day. Professor Molebatsi Nkoane, Head of the School of Education Studies at the University of the Free State, was the keynote speaker, while MUT Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcus Ramogale set context in his introductory speech. Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manyane Makua, was the facilitator.

In his speech, titled Africanisation of the Curriculum as a Celebration of Africaness, Professor Nkoane said that the aim of the exercise was “to amplify the discourses on Africanisation of curriculum, and not necessarily blindly join chorus of voices calling for decoloniality”.

He pointed out that African forms of knowing were grounded in the geo-socio-political fabric of African people. African forms of knowledge construction map out humanity from an African epistemological perspective, which influences what is worth knowing and how we make sense of knowledge system.

Delving into the issue, Professor Nkoane pointed at the damage that has been made by the forces that were applied by the colonisers of Africa, and that part of these forces was to nullify the African way of doing things. Such forces were colonization, imperialism, apartheid, neo-colonialism, he said. These sought to marginalise and construct ‘other’ forms of knowing as unscientific, pathetic, appalling and puzzling, and that they should be subjected to cleansing by global north epistemological devices. Professor Nkoane said that needed to be reversed.

“Africanisation of the curriculum intends to challenge the dominant global north discourses,” he said.

Professor Nkoane challenged the hegemony of the colonisers’ way of thinking, particularly about African knowledge. He said that the “boundaries of hegemony over ‘other’ forms of knowing could be ruptured in pursuance of equality and justice.  Africanisation of curriculum in this piece is about counter discourse and creating an alternative equal intellectual space for self-consciousness,” he said.

Pointing how dominant the colonisers’ way of thinking still was, Professor Nkoane reminded his audience that Africans had organised their knowledge before the arrival of the colonisers. “How do we explain the existence of the mammoth pyramids in Africa, without referring to the knowledge that the Africans had? he asked.

Laying the context before Professor Nkoane’s speech, the University’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Ramogale said that it was most appropriate to talk about the problems associated with how Africans regarded each other, at the time when Africans were turning against each other. “The subject of this lecture is also of significance to our youth, especially during Youth Month, at a time when unemployment has gone rampant even among those who hold university qualifications. Not surprisingly, this period has also seen the resurgence of xenophobia and Afrophobia in its many forms. When economic opportunities shrink, the struggle for resources often turns into hate and scapegoating,” Professor Ramogale said.

Professor Ramogale added that education was the only viable ticket out of poverty. However, he warned that “we must also recognise that our education system is part of the legacy of our colonial and apartheid past, where education was designed to entrench unequal power relations and privileges for a minority white population.”

“While there is general agreement on the need to decolonise, the debate on how to decolonise knowledge and the curriculum has been fierce and contentious. I suspect this is because for many of us, this project is about knowledge redress, and we have assumed the roles of activists against cultural and knowledge imperialism,” said the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Professor Ramogale said that didactics would add value in efforts to decolonise the curriculum.

MUT art exhibition showcases Umlazi’s artistic talent

Professor Molebatsi Nkoane, with one of the Umlazi Township artists at the exhibition

As part of its Africa Month celebration, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) hosted an exhibition to showcase art by Umlazi artists.

Speaking during the opening of the exhibition, titled iGalari yobuCiko, Dr Xolile Mkhize, lecturer in the Department of Community Extension, said the exhibition was also an opportunity to remind ourselves that Africa was still marginalised and that we needed to reclaim our Africanness.

Dr Mkhize, who is also an expert on nutrition and indigenous food, explained to the audience that there was a link between art and indigenous food.

“As we continue to celebrate Africa Month and our theme being “Food and nutrition”, let us also remind ourselves that our indigenous food is not just nutritious, but it is also art. Just as art plays with your senses, food also plays with your senses. It captures your eyes and moves your spirit. That is why it is called culinary art,” said Dr Mkhize.

One of the artists who exhibited, Khulekani Mkhize specialises in spiritual art. Mkhize had been doing art for 10 years.

“At Umlazi there is limited exhibition places,” he said. “No studio at Umlazi and no points of sale.”

Hlobile Maphumulo, another Umlazi artist who exhibited work at the exhibition, studied art at eThekwini College and the Durban University of Technology. Maphumulo said she was inspired by Vincent van Gogh. She said she runs away from realism, she instead does post-impressionism art. Although she exhibited in many places, Maphumulo said there is limited market.