GEM Schoolwear heeds MUT’s call for donations

Thank you! Zama Sishi, middle, with GEM Schoolwear staff, Petronella Nzuza, left, and Christina Gopul
Thank you! Zama Sishi, middle, with GEM Schoolwear staff, Petronella Nzuza, left, and Christina Gopul

The school uniform outlet, GEM responded to the University’s request to help schools hit by the recent floods that caused massive infrastructure damage in large parts of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, particularly Durban. Early this week the Department of Marketing and Communications (MarComms) at MUT collected uniform and shoes for 15 learners of Isikhwelo Primary School in Umlazi Township’s G-Section. Some of the learners lost everything to floods.

Zama Sishi, Director: Stakeholder Relations, said the gesture would go a long way in helping learners. “Each package had the learner’s name on it. This showed great care on the part of GEM. We really thank them for coming through for us,” said Sishi.

Sishi added that she wished more businesses would follow GEM’s example and donate to those who were affected. GEM also supported the MUT Circle of Excellence, an annual event that MUT hosts in the beginning of the year to recognises and honour top performing schools.

MUT’s academic workload model attracts University of Botswana’s attention

University of Botswana officials, from left, Dr W B Molefe, Dr M Hambira and Prof. Agreement L Jotia, with MUT's Dr Reshma Subbaye
University of Botswana officials, from left, Dr W B Molefe, Dr M Hambira and Prof. Agreement L Jotia, with MUT’s Dr Reshma Subbaye

MUT’s good academic workload model has made an impression upon one of South Africa’s immediate neighbours. On 14 May 2019 the University’s Directorate of Institutional Planning & Research (DIPR) hosted three delegates from the University of Botswana (UB).  The three delegates came to benchmark against the MUT academic workload model. The delegates discussed the design and architecture of MUT’s academic workload model, challenges, and benefits of implementing the model.

MUT Open Day attracts record number of students

Dr Malaza mingling with the learners from different schools
Dr Malaza mingling with the learners from different schools

Despite his busy schedule on Tuesday 07 May, second day of MUT’s Open Day, the MUT Vice-Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza was able to come down to Seme Hall to witness history in the making as thousands of students turned up for the University’s most popular Open Day. This was Dr Malaza’s first Open Day since joining the institution last year.

“I am very impressed by the organisation of the event. Even more impressive was the number of learners that attended the event.  I have been informed that about a 1000 learners attended on the first day. Also, it was nice to know that University of KwaZulu Natal used MUT Open Day as their benchmark,” said Dr Malaza. More than 2000 learners from 27 schools visited the exhibition stands manned by the different MUT academic departments and support divisions.

“The learners can now take informed decisions about the courses they want to study as they prepare for their future,” said Dr Malaza.

Through the Open Day event University creates brand awareness upon the learners, teachers and external stakeholders like DHET, SETAs, CAO, eThekwini Municipality, etc. “In our contact with learners when we do schools visits and exhibitions we always notice that learners do not know much about what happens at schools beyond grade 12.  We use the Open Day to close that gap by giving them as much information as possible. We offer them a chance to get the information from the horse’s mouth as it were, our lecturing staff,” said Zama Sishi, director for Stakeholder Relations Management. “The planning of the Open Day is premised on working smart and saving the University finances. We plan well in advance and collaborate with the Cooperative Unit so that we could share resources. We also collaborate with eThekwini Municipality. In this regard, we got the municipality to transport learners even as far afield as Hillcrest and Umbumbulu. This is very cost-effective”, said Zama Sishi, director for Stakeholder Relations Management.

MUT alumni chooses a local lounge to boost township economy 

Modjadji Baloi
Modjadji Baloi

Universities the world over take pride in their former students, and do their best to stay in touch with them and to include them in university affairs. As a University, MUT is no exception. This afternoon at 1pm the University will be hosting its staff alumni at Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi. “We need our internal alumni to play a bigger part in our activities.  The fact that they are working for their alma mater suggests that they enjoy the relationship with the University. They would like to see it prospering,” said Modjadji Baloyi, the Alumni Relations Officer.

Baloyi said she was happy with the responses from the alumni who work at MUT. “We have received 77 confirmations (RSVPs), which is more than the 50 we expected. During the event, the VC is going to share MUT values with colleagues, and also remind them that they are the ambassadors of the University. They should contribute in lifting the MUT brand up all the time,” said Baloyi.

She added that they decided on Max’s Lifestyle as it was a way to contribute to the township economy, and that MUT’s long-term agenda involved working with and uplifting the Umlazi Township community.   This is part of the Anchor Strategy which Dr Enoch Duma Malaza introduced last year as part of MUT Strategy 2025.

Careers Day brings entrepreneurs to enrich learners and graduates

Fundiswa, right, with Fika, middle, and Dr Makhosi Buthelezi of the University's IRDCE
Fundiswa, right, with Fika, middle, and Dr Makhosi Buthelezi of the University’s IRDCE

As MUT forges ahead with its plan to become an academic institution with a strong entrepreneurship leaning, the Department of Co-Operative Education (Co-Op) has already started laying the foundation for the realization of this vision. During this year’s Career’s Day, Co-Op invited companies that would assist students and graduates with the necessary business skills to become entrepreneurs.

Among the 45 companies that attended the 2019 Careers Day from 9-10 May were small businesses and the Black Management Forum. Fundiswa Nofemela, the Director of the Department of Co-Operative Education said they wanted to contribute to what Prof Marcus Ramogale, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, has been saying about entrepreneurship being the future for graduates. “Prof Ramogale said it throughout the five days of graduation that MUT had graduates that had created their own businesses, and were doing well. The Black Management Forum provided CV clinics to students to maximize the chances of them securing jobs,” said Nofemela.

Some of the companies that talked to students and graduates about business ideas were Mayine Agri-tainment and Zigqaje Trading Enterprise. Duduzile Mtolo, the founder of Zigqaje Trading Centre proudly displayed her beadwork which are used as accessories. She lives at Emhlabeni, an informal settlement a stone throw away from the University.

Fika Khumalo, the founder of Mayine Agri-tainment, said she loved coming up with new ideas all the time. “I am a very creative person. I started this innovative business five years ago,” said Khumalo. Khumalo’s business processes agricultural products from her garden into different end-products.  Some of these are beetroot wine, detox tea, eczema ointment for dry skin, and tissue oil from herbs. She started farming in 2014, and in 2015 she followed it up with processing beetroot into wine. Two years later she started manufacturing skin products. These are the results of the research she conducted for her business despite being an electrician by profession.

MUT launches ground-breaking entrepreneurship programme 

Members of the Wadhwani Foundation (WF) and MUT staff and students during a strategic meeting at MUT recently
Members of the Wadhwani Foundation (WF) and MUT staff and students during a strategic meeting at MUT recently

Professor Marcus Ramogale, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning has always been open about his dream for MUT. His dream of an entrepreneurship programme has been accomplished. This has been close to his heart as part of encouraging and skilling our graduates to become their own employers rather than employees.

On 12 April 2019, MUT launched the Pilot Project of the Wadhwani Foundation (WF) Entrepreneur Skills Training Programme. This is a giant step towards making MUT a fully-fledged entrepreneurship university.  At the event, Wadhwani Foundation was represented by Atul Padalkar, the WF Program Manager for South Africa. Headquartered in India, WF focuses on entrepreneur development across the globe.

The WF Entrepreneurship Training programme is offered to students from the Faculty of Management Sciences. The launch saw the formation of entrepreneurship cells (E-Cells), and the Student Entrepreneur Leadership (E-Leaders).  “E-Leaders will be responsible for promoting entrepreneurship ideas on campus.  They will also interact with entrepreneurs and thought leaders, and participate in programmes that provide entrepreneurial experience and pursue their start-up ideas. This will assist students establish their companies on campus, which is our end goal,” said Ntombi Mthembu, a lecturer in the Department of Human Resources Management.

However, the main part of the project will be the formal training that the students will undergo. The training will be conducted by two seasoned staff members in the Department of Human Resources: Mthembu and Eddie Selebi. The two lecturers underwent a stringent training programme offered by the Wadhwani Foundation. Learning, which will be mostly technology-driven, will take the form of blended learning. Concepts will be delivered by videos and facilitated by trained academic facilitators in the classroom. Students will be encouraged to form practice ventures and will be supported and mentored by entrepreneurs. Teaching and learning will take place via the LEARNWISE platform. This approach will assist the students to understand and discover entrepreneurship, building a strong foundation for students to start, build and grow viable and sustainable ventures, developing an entrepreneurial outlook and mind-set, and identify and mitigate three types of risks: customer, business model and product.

MUT holds parents meeting tomorrow

File picture: Andrew Kubone of FAO addresses parents
File picture: Andrew Kubone of FAO addresses parents

MUT will hold the parents meeting on 11 May 2019 at Bozzoli Hall. The main aim for the meeting is to bring the parents up to speed with what is happening at the University. “The parents are a vital cog in the triangular machine. The other parties are the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and of course the University Management. The student is at the centre of this triangle. Problems occur if one the main parts in the machinery does not play its role. We would like to bring the parents in to fold, and appeal to them to play an active role in the education of their children,” said Zama Sishi, Director: Stakeholder Relations in the University’s Department of Marketing and Communications. The meetings starts at 10am, and is expected to finish at 12pm.

VC thanks university community for voting

South Africans have spoken!
South Africans have spoken!

The MUT VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza thanks all staff and students that cast their votes on 8 May 2019. The votes, explained Dr Malaza, went a long way in strengthening South Africa’s 25 year-old democracy. The sixth administration is already taking shape as votes are being counted. Congratulations colleagues for putting the future of the country on an even more solid ground.

Gift of the Givers lends a hand to students affected by floods

Good samaritans lend a help in hand
Good samaritans lend a help in hand

A good friend of the University, Gift of the Givers wasted no time after hearing about the plight of MUT students whose rooms got flooded at residences on Monday, 22 April at outsourced MUT residences and those residing in informal settlements.

“We called them on Thursday last week, and by Friday morning, the team from Gift of the Givers had arrived; followed by an Eight-Ton truck with substantial aid relief packages. We are deeply heartened by the benevolence of Gift of the Givers”, said Mbali Mkhize, senior director, Marketing & Communications. Popular among the donations were workmen’s boots, jackets and fleece blankets. “The dignity with which Gift of the Givers treated our students is commendable. When people are destitute, it becomes difficult to dictate what they need and the donations were tailor-made for the students’ needs and also conveyed a message of Ubuntu which the Founder of Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman and even his son Muhammad Rayhaan, who has been at the forefront of the relationship with MUT, embody”, said Mbali Mkhize.

A proper assessment had also been made by the SRC led by Codesa Gwala, MUT SRC President. “We wanted to ensure that aid goes to deserving students and we are happy that the University has risen to the call for aid and sought external assistance”, he said.

The affected students have expressed their appreciation to the VC, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza when he continued where Gift of the Givers had left off because of students’ clashing test time-table at the time Gift of the Givers was doing the formal handover.

Besides assisting students directly affected by the floods, MUT has also mobilised South Africans and MUT staff on social media platforms to come to the fore and drop off donations at MUT. “The response has been positive. We worked with #CountryDuty to reach out to their many followers through social media. On Saturday, we were able to send donations to affected Umlazi residents and we are appreciative on the efforts of many citizens who heeded the call. I am sure we have made an impact in one way or another,” said Mbali Mkhize.

DHET releases Draft Policy to address Gender-Based Violence at TVET and Universities

Dr Naledi Pandor releases Draft Policy
Dr Naledi Pandor releases Draft Policy

In a bid to eradicate Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in institutions of higher learning, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Naledi Pandor, has released a Draft Policy Framework to address Gender-Based Violence at TVET and Universities for public comment. The Draft Policy compels higher education institutions to create awareness of GBV policies and prevent it altogether. In cases where it occurs, the Policy will assist institution on addressing such occurrences. The Draft Policy comes at a time when MUT is still mourning the loss of one of its students, Zolile Khumalo, who was killed by her former boyfriend in 2018.

READ THE FULL POLICY

Eskom visits its students at MUT

Thandiwe Madonda interviews students
Thandiwe Madonda interviews students

As the middle of the year approaches and students begin preparations for their June exams, Eskom paid a visit to their bursary students to check on their progress and to prepare for their Work Integrated Learning.

“The reason why we are here is that first of all we needed to confirm if the student is registered at the university, so this is an audit check-up because we don’t want ghost students. We also wanted to check the progress of the student because they sign a contractual agreement that Eskom will pay for the normal allocated time to complete their studies,” Thandiwe Madonda, Eskom Bursary Officer for University of Technologies in KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonda sat with each one of the students the power utility is funding, asking them questions about their progress, congratulating those who excelled in their exams and asking why some struggled with their causes. So far Eskom is funding a total of 53 students at MUT, and more students in other universities.

“We granted students bursaries in 2017. We are paying for their fees, books and accommodation, as well as their meal allowances,” she said.

Madonda visits these students twice every semester. She explained that part of this round of visits was also to confirm with Eskom-funded students if they have completed the first part of their studies required for them to start with their Work Integrated Learning with the power supply company. To this end, Madonda was collecting clothing sizes for the uniform students will need when they start their training and explaining to students what the training entails.

This training will lay the foundation for the work that the students might end up doing in their careers. Although there are no guarantees of permanent work with Eskom, some of these students might end up working at the power utility as has been the case previously.

Technology to propel Agriculture forward as 4th Industrial Revolution kicks off  

Eric, with a laptop, demonstrating to learners of Swelihle High School, the importance of technology
Eric, with a laptop, demonstrating to learners of Swelihle High School, the importance of technology

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, technology is going to be the major contributor in improving the lives of the people across the globe. Agriculture, as both a human activity and an academic science, is already one of the beneficiaries of technology.

Commenting on the role of technology in Agriculture after the launch of two academic programmes in the Faculty of Natural Sciences on 18 April 2019 at MUT, Eric Mthembu, the Head of the Department of Community Extension, said constant technology development and knowledge production were fundamental for sustainable agricultural food production for South Africa. “Technology development and technology adaptation through agricultural research is indispensable for national and household food security. Food security is part of the vision of the Integrated Food Security Strategy for South Africa and National Development Plan (NDP).”

Mthembu also said that people could now go online and learn everything about the plot of land they would like to use for planting, and the behaviour of the weather in the area. “This information is readily available. It will guide you so that you are able to foresee your yield, and make the right decisions. With this climate technology you are able to download climatic information of your area such as rainfall, temperature, heat units, evaporation, relative humidity and others in computer once you obtain coordinates (latitude & longitudes) of your area using GPS devices right on the spot of the field and have knowledge of crops suitable in the local area. This technology saves time and money as well as creating interests in agriculture,” said Mthembu.

Mthembu added that the whole Republic was covered. And also that people could work with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s laboratory complex called Cedara, in Pietermaritzburg, about agrarian issues like climatic conditions and nature of the soil they intend to use. Mthembu demonstrated this technology to the learners and teachers of the Umlazi Township schools during the launch of the two programmes. The launch was attended by Deputy Director General in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nonhlanhla Zwane-Dlomo.

Zwane-Dlomo said: “The department of Agriculture and Rural Development as a possible employer and agricultural business facilitator must continuously engage MUT on what skills are needed so that MUT’s offerings are tailor-made to respond to market needs.”

Good Samaritans travel from Pretoria to help flood victims 

Act of kindness! Nonele, left, and Yandisa at MUT
Act of kindness! Nonele, left, and Yandisa at MUT

They travelled 627 kilometres for more than six hours from Centurion in Pretoria to Durban’s Umlazi Township to bring donations residents who have been hit hard by floods which ravaged the KwaZulu-Natal Province on Tuesday, 23 April 2019.

Nonele Phangela and Yandisa Madikizela saw a message on #CountryDuty, a Twitter handle belonging to Tumi Sole, about the damage caused by floods at Umlazi Township and decided to land a helping hand.

“I took some items from my closet – shoes, clothes, and some toiletries. I thought we would just drop these off and leave. We did not think we would receive much attention. It is human nature to help,” said Phangela. She said they were aware of the extensive damage in the Durban areas, particularly Amanzimtoti, Chatsworth and Umlazi Township, where some people lost their lives as a result of mud slides and houses falling over them. Tumi, with MUT, will soon distribute all donated items to the affected communities around Durban.

MUT staff donate to flood victims

Foreground - from left, Phumla, Kwanele and Balungile
Foreground – from left, Phumla, Kwanele and Balungile

In response to a call from the University to support students affected by the KZN storms that devastated some of the residences, MUT staff members are responding with donations ranging from cash to clothes and non-perishable food. Cash has proven to be the most important of these donations for many students who are desperate to replace important items like identity documents, stationery, monthly transport ticket, airtime and others.

Some students lost everything. Balungile Zondo, a student doing an Extended Curriculum programme in Mechanical Engineering; Kwanele Mthiyane, a third-year Marketing student; and Phumla Mkhize, a Pre-Tech Civil Engineering student, lost their food, clothing and books. The students’ situation was made worst by a car that landed on the roof of the house they were staying in and flattened it. “We are all traumatised. We don’t know how the car landed on top of the house,” said Zondo, showing the picture of a car on her mobile phone. All three students are from outside of Durban.

Two other students from nearby the University, Emhlabeni, had to vacate their house at night. When they returned in the morning the whole house had been destroyed.

Office of the VC spearheads MUT’s participation in MILE

Eric, with a laptop, demonstrating to learners of Swelihle High School, the importance of technology
Collin, left, and Prof Ndlazi

MUT is yet again gearing up to sign a third cycle of a three-year agreement with the eThekwini Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE). This is a collaboration of universities in KwaZulu-Natal: Durban University of Technology (DUT), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), University of South Africa (Durban) together with research institutes: Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR).

MILE, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in November this year, will sign this agreement during the Annual Research Symposium. The focus for this year’s symposium is on the Water-Food-Energy Nexus. City practitioners and university researchers will make presentations under the broad theme: “Managing the Urban Nexus-Implications for Durban”. Speaking at a meeting convened by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor at MUT, Collin Pillay, MILE’s Programme Manager for Academic Collaboration said: “The standard of this symposium will be based on evidence produced around the city. We are trying to make the Symposium as home-grown as we possibly can, hence this approach of engaging universities. We hope the Symposium will respond to key questions such as how to better connect the food-energy-water nexus to help rural and urban livelihoods and boost economic growth; and why a circular economy framework could address unnecessary loss of resources, among others.”

Prof Nokwethemba Ndlazi, Executive Director in the Office of the VC, committed to ensuring that MUT becomes an active participant in the MILE partnership and to also drive participation in the Symposium by MUT’s researchers and the students involved in renewable energy, green technologies and recycling.

MUT launches two Advanced Diplomas with Department of Agriculture

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

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

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

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

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

Nature Conservation department continues to pave the way

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

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

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

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

Karate ace takes bodybuilding by storm 

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

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

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

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

Honoree arms graduates with wise words to prepare them for work

Sindi Mabaso-Koyana
Sindi Mabaso-Koyana

Speaking at the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) graduation on Friday, 12 April 2019, Sindi Mabaso-Koyana reminded graduates that receiving a qualification was only the first part of the journey and that they needed more to succeed.

“You have not yet arrived. Now brace yourselves for the next leg of the journey,” said Mabaso-Koyana. “The work life will require the same perseverance, endurance, resilience and hard work you now know you have.”

Mabaso-Koyana explained to graduates that there were other qualities that they needed to learn for the world of employment and that it would have been easier if these qualities were taught at home. These qualities are advocacy, attitude, being an economic and social activist, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, integrity and ethical conduct, investing in yourself and value of abundance, not fear.

Mabaso-Koyana said that although the qualifications would open doors, graduates would need positive and strong attitude to succeed in the workplace. “An attitude that is open to learning, respect, always going an extra mile and showing up at your best and on time,” said Mabaso-Koyana. “Be deliverables focused than a time keeper. Always appreciate the role that your small contribution does to the greater vision of the organisation.”

Mabaso-Koyana, a Chartered Accountant, also reminded graduates to be “advocates of financial discipline without waiting for it to be an instruction from the top”. She explained: “It may be too late by the time people at the top realise the company is battling whereas you had an opportunity to stop it when you could.  That is what will set you apart from the rest.”

As the job opportunities continue to be scarce, Mabaso-Koyana told graduates to become economic and social activists who take full advantage of opportunities around them. “South Africa has a number of youth development programmes. I encourage you to seek these platforms, not just as beneficiaries but also to offer your skills in also paying it forward,” she said. “You are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of tomorrow.”

Some of the most important qualities that the graduates have to embrace, as Mabaso-Koyana explained, are integrity and ethical conduct. “I would like you to remember that whilst corruption gets pinned at government, we need to always remember that the other party to the corrupt transaction is usually business, and the private sector.” she said. “Therefore as you join the business world, whether as an employee or an entrepreneur, remember that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking, always! Your personal worth is more than your material worth.”

As major changes continue to happen I the job market, with technology being the driving force, Mabaso-Koyana told graduates to continuously invest in themselves, not just as a professional exercise but also for self-development which will help improve self-belief and self-worth. Investing in themselves will help graduates seek new opportunities and even become entrepreneurs. “I am pleased to see BEE being reshaped,” said Mabaso-Koyana. “In the early stages of BEE, we focused on ownership, we moved to tenderpreneurship, we are slowly moving into being operators. But this is growing at a very slow pace; you are our hope as the generation that makes things and grow the economy instead of us just playing musical chairs.”

Mabaso-Koyana closed her addressed with a stern reminder that there is an abundance of business opportunities that graduates should take advantage of. “Go out there knowing that amidst the challenges of this world, this world is your oyster and presents a number of opportunities.

“Approach the world and your daily life with an attitude that says: “There are so many life challenges to be solved.  Which ones do I want to take on? Roll up your sleeves and shake off the sense of entitlement. Let’s not scramble in trying to slice the pie into many pieces, but go out there and make many pies,” said Mabaso-Koyana.

64 year old graduate brought the house down at MUT graduation

Mrs Sizakele Ngcobo
Mrs Sizakele Ngcobo

Mrs Sizakele Silungile Ngcobo, MUT’s main Student Residence official, endeared the whole audience made of parents, students, high school learners, guests, executive management, staff and lecturers when she walked up the stairs to receive her Diploma in Office Technology. She is 64 years old and very proud that she has achieved; a dream of setting an example for her children and grandchildren.

She has travelled her own journey having to raise five children by herself after the passing away of her husband in the early 90’s.  She has done an exceptional job as a single mother with two of her children also having graduated at MUT. Her elder daughter, Amanda, obtained a diploma in Electrical Engineering and her son, Phila, graduated with a diploma in Mechanical Engineering.  Both have secured good employment and this has given Ngcobo the relief to focus on her studies.

“I initially registered at MUT in 1997, but had to put my studies on hold because at the time my children were still in primary school.  I had to see my children through school and university. Once that was achieved I would then have time and funds to finish my studies, age was never an issue.  My classmates some of whom are the same age as my children and grandchildren were very good to me, they understood my pace as a mature student and were always there to remind me of outstanding assignments,” said Sizakele.

At her graduation on Wednesday, 11 April 2019, the stage had earlier been set by Prof Ramogale, acting Vice-Chancellor with his announcement that she is an exceptional graduand.  When she got on stage, the house came down. The confidence she showed, made everyone realise that the qualification was never by accident. It was intentional and will be used fruitfully. She is an inspiration to all. “The University is very happy about this achievement, thank you Sizakele for reminding us that education knows no age and that those who study remain young,” Prof Ramogale said.

 

New MUT Student Counselling Director to promote social transformation and redress

Dr Paulette Naidoo
Dr Paulette Naidoo

In a bid to offer students quality services and support to enable them to complete their studies and have a rich experience of the Institution, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has recently recruited a new Student Counselling Director.

Dr Paulette Naidoo joined the MUT family in the Department of Student Affairs on 1 April 2019. “MUT has a lot of potential in terms of being accessible to students from historically disadvantaged communities. MUT as an institution is representative of academic and socio-economic transformation and redress,” said Dr Naidoo. “I believe that joining MUT would enable me to assist in supporting students to succeed in higher education and thereby promote social transformation and redress.”

She brings a wealth of experience and expertise in student counselling environment. A Counselling Psychologist by profession, Dr Naidoo holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has 19 years’ experience as a registered professional with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), and has worked in the student counselling context for close to 12 years at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the University of South Africa (UNISA).

MUT students will benefit from her approach to student development. Dr Naidoo believes in a “holistic approach to student development and well-being that encompasses both problem-solving and solution-focused support services, as well as skills development initiatives that enhance students’ emotional intelligence, acknowledges student resilience and promotes self-reliance and adaptive coping”, said Dr Naidoo.

Dr Naidoo is passionate about community psychology, with a particular focus on the experience of first-generation students from disadvantaged communities, issues of social justice and psycho-social factors that impact on student admission, retention and throughput rates in South African higher education. Her areas of special interest include “mental health awareness and promotion, gender-based violence, career development and employment preparation for students exiting tertiary education”.

Community outreach in the context of career guidance and skills development for learners and Life Orientation educators in local, historically-disadvantaged schools and communities is close to Dr Naidoo’s heart. She is also passionate about student mentoring and leadership development, and is excited at “the prospect of working together with MUT student structures and the broader student community on projects and programmes that will empower them to be socially responsible, effective global leaders and representatives of both MUT, and the social communities from which they come”, said Dr Naidoo.

Research is another interest area and priority for Dr Naidoo. Her area of special interest is the experience of professional identity and practice as it unfolds in the context of organizations such as higher education, public service and social communities in South Africa.

As Director of Student Counselling, Dr Naidoo hopes to use her research background to stimulate a research momentum amongst student counselling staff, with the aim of producing research outputs relevant to student counselling, that inform best practices and help to showcase MUT as a leading University of Technology at local and international platforms.

Dedication and hard work pays dividends for Chemistry’s Dr Gumede

Dr Njabulo Gumede
Dr Njabulo Gumede

Hard work has borne fruit for the industrious Dr Njabulo Gumede, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry. Dr Gumede has been awarded by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) for the two patents they lodged in the past four years.

“We started with one provisional patent in 2015. Then in 2016 we lodged a Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT). This patent was protected globally during that time and was lodged in the Australian International patent office,” said Dr Gumede. He added that they modified the patent as per request from the international office.  “The international patent office examined the patent and requested that we separate the patent into two because eight of the compounds have different chemical scaffolds while the other five compounds share a similar scaffold.” They revised the patent and divided it into two patents with different claims. They then submitted the patents.

The International Search Report (ISR), together with the Written Opinions (WO) rendered the claims as innovative, inventive and with industrial applicability. Dr Gumede said there were some claims that the international patent office found not to be innovative but with industrial applicability. The two PCTs were published by the international patent office in April 2017. In 2018, the two PCTs were lodged in the national phases in South Africa, the United States, the European Union and Canada. The patents will be granted in these different due restrictions in 2020/21.  Ending his glorious story with great excitement, Dr Gumede said: “The NIPMO and DST are now acknowledging and rewarding our efforts as we have reached a milestone that was not reached before. It is rare for a first patent to be rendered as innovative, inventive and with industrial applicability in due restrictions with stringent protocols like the US and the EU regions.”

NIPMO was established as a Specialised Service Delivery Unit (SSDU) with effect from 13 December 2013.  NIPMO relies on the Department of Science and Technology for all support services.

The award did not go unnoticed. Writing to Dr Anette Mienie, Director of Research at MUT, Vishen Pillay, a partner at Adams & Adams congratulated the University for receiving the award. “On behalf of the partners at Adams & Adams, I’d like to congratulate your institution as well as your office on being recognised as having produced and supported some of the Top Intellectual Property Creators which were celebrated at the recent IP Creator’s Dinner hosted by the Department of Science and Technology and NIPMO,” said Pillay. 

“Your institution’s as well as your office’s outstanding contribution to innovation in this country has not gone unnoticed and we commend your support to solving some of South Africa’s economic and social challenges through innovation.”​

Inkosi Madlala visits his alma mater for son’s graduation

From left, Inkosi Madlala, Freedom, and Undlunkulu at the graduation
From left, Inkosi Madlala, Freedom, and Undlunkulu at the graduation

For Inkosi (Prince) Mntwana Ngamizizwe Madlala his son’s graduation meant a trip down memory lane to his own stay at MUT when he was still a student. His son graduated with a Diploma in Electrical Engineering this morning (Wednesday, 10 April 2019).

Inkosi Madlala and his wife, Ndunkulu Nkanyiso Madlala were at one of the five MUT graduation ceremonies to witness their son Mthokozisi Lungelo Freedom Kukhanyakwezwe Madlala going through the illustrious rite of passage as he was becoming an MUT graduate. Inkosi Madlala’s Traditional Council is under Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, in the Ugu Municipality in the south of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Inkosi Madlala became chief in 1994 after the passing away of his father. However, Inkosi Madlala had long been acting on his father’s behalf as his father was already too old. His father was more than 100 years old when he passed away.

Inkosi Madlala holds his status as an MUT alumnus to high regard. “There it is, Undunkulu (Queen) says I graduated in 1991. I studied towards a Diploma in Public Administration when the Vice-Chancellor of the Institution was Professor Vos,” said Inkosi Madlala, with a wide smile. “We are not supposed to put ourselves on a pedestal. I am glad to hear that my son was keeping a low profile while studying at this University. I would not be feel right if he was always on a high horse.”

Inkosi Madlala is a direct descendent of the Zulu Royal House. He can recite the history of the Zulu nation, going back to its foundations. He is very proud of his royal lineage. But the Prince does not lead with this fact, lest it put him above all others.

The humble Inkosi Madlala visited MUT at the time when the University celebrates 40 years of existence, and on the year in which the University graduates more than 2000 students. “Among them are six students with disabilities whose graduation is a testament that where there is will there is a way,” said Prof Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor. Also to graduate during the 2019 graduation season will be a 64 year old Sizakele Silungile Ngcobo, Sizakele graduates with a Diploma in Office Management and Technology. “We thank Mrs Ngcobo for reminding us that anyone who keeps learning becomes young,” said Prof Ramogale. Prof Ramogale also told the full house that MUT was graduating a record number of SRC leaders.

Proud parent cries tears of joy as son graduates

Sanele, graduates with a Diploma in Chemical Engineering
Proud mum with Sanele graduates

The passing away of her husband did not dent Tholakele Khumalo’s zeal to put her children through university. On 10 April 2019, Khumalo left Newcastle at 4am for MUT to see her last born son, Sanele, graduate with a Diploma in Chemical Engineering. In tears after ululating and performing a Zulu dance up and down the narrow corridor in the Seme Hall where the graduation ceremony took place, Khumalo whispered into the ear of her son: “What would your father be saying if he was still around. My child I am so grateful.” As she said this Khumalo was receiving a tissue paper from one of the cleaners to wipe her teary eyes. She said her son showed her great respect, and did not take advantage of the fact that his father was no longer around.

The ‘drowsy’ Khumalo said she battled to make ends meet. “But Sanele’s brother, Sibonelo, and the government help through NSAFS helped me a lot,” she said. Khumalo said what made her proud was that Sanele focused on his studies and did not do anything that would embarrass her. “I did not even know where he was staying in Durban. I am so proud of him.”

Sibonelo graduated at MUT with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. He has since furthered his studies through Unisa. Sibonelo now holds an M.Tech.

International students graduate at MUT

Mbole Ntunka, international students graduate at MUT
Mbole Ntunka, international students graduate at MUT

Je suis veru en Afrique du Sud quard J ovosis 12 ons (I came to South Africa when I was 12 years. So said Mbole Ntunka, a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) national who graduated with a Diploma in Chemical Engineering. Ntunka is one of many international students that graduated during the Faculty of Engineering ceremony on Wednesday, 10 April 2019. Mbole, who comes from the DRC’s Lubumbashi, one of the big cities in the DRC, said she came to MUT because she believed the University offers better qualifications. Mbole is now a research assistant at the UKZN’s Howard College campus where her brother is a lecturer.

Another international student that graduated was Hermenegildo Dos Santos Fernando. Gil, as he is affectionately called, graduated with a Diploma in Electrical Engineering. Gil (26) is from Angola’s capital, Luanda.

Former Dean of Management Sciences congratulates ‘star employee’

Slindile Hlongwane (right) with flowers at her graduation
Slindile Hlongwane (right) with flowers at her graduation

Former first Dean of Management Sciences turned entrepreneur attended Mangosuthu University of Technology’s (MUT) second graduation ceremony to congratulate ‘star employee’.

Nana Ngobese attended the second MUT graduation on Wednesday, 10 April 2019, to surprise her ‘star employee’, Slindile Hlongwane, with flowers at her graduation.

Hlongwane is employed as a junior Quantity Surveyor at Oro Projects, Ngobese’s company.

“She started with us a year and a half ago. She is absolutely amazing because she is one of the youngest working for us in our department as a quantity surveyor,” said Ngobese. “It is a new department.”

Ngobese has a long history with MUT through her and her husband’s work as academic staff in the University. It was through their stay at MUT that they identified the qualities that they like about the University’s students.

“We only take Mangosuthu students because I worked here in Mangosuthu in the 20s. I was the first Dean of Management Sciences and my husband was a Mechanical Engineering lecturer,” said Ngobese.

“We run an engineering and construction company and we only take Mangosuthu students. We have a very close relationship with MUT, which still has the best students that you could ever have in terms of attitude, hard work and they understand the African environment where we work. We don’t have to explain to them that they have to be respectful and they have to work with local people,” said Ngobese.

This quality sets MUT apart from its peers. “What Mangosuthu University of Technology is doing is total different from other universities who don’t have community understanding because their students don’t have the community touch,” said Ngobese. “I think Mangosuthu students do that better”.

Ngobese’s company employed 25 MUT students for Work Integrated Learning but the project finished. “We were forced to take some students from Vaal because the project was in Vaal,” said Ngobese.

“When we are in KZN we always take MUT students because there are no restrictions there” said Ngobese. “When we go to another area the municipalities will always say they want their local people.”

MUT student astounded by mechanical engineering award

Perfect Mgwenya
Perfect Mgwenya

As celebrating excellence grips MUT at this year’s graduation, a Mechanical Engineering student took this message of excellence a step further.  Thembinkosi Perfect Mgwenya received the South African Institute of Mechanical Engineering (SAIMechE) Meritorious Student Award.

Ngwenya did not believe that he indeed was a recipient of the SAIMechE Award. Even as he handed over a piece of paper for the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering to announce that he has been awarded with the prestigious award, he could not string together sentences to describe his joy. After some time, all he could manage was – I am very happy.

Ngwenya earned his award. He was perfect in his approach to his studies. “I associated with the correct people.  We worked hard. We focused on our studies” said Ngwenya. He has more people to thank. “When I joined MUT I lodged with my cousin. Also, my family played a very big role in my success. My brother, who was essentially our bread winner, supported me financially. All this help made it easy for me to study,” said Ngwenya.

In the letter to Ngwenya, the SAIMechE Chief Executive Officer, Vaughan Rimbault, said: “it gives pleasure to confirm that you have been selected by the Mangosuthu University of Technology to receive the SAIMechE Meritorious Student Award for 2018 for the National Diploma programme in Mechanical Engineering. SAIMechE congratulates you on your outstanding achievement.” The award was accompanied by a medal, certificate and cash prize of R1 000.

SAIMechE is a senior body representing the discipline of Mechanical Engineering in South Africa. The institution is now more than 100 years old. It aims to further education through career guidance, technology awareness programmes, liaison with universities and universities of technology. It also provides its members with news of the latest developments in technology. The institute is a platform for publication of papers through various seminars and conferences.

Ngwenya is now working at the ACTO John Thompson where they make and maintain boilers. He is hoping to be fully employed with the firm. In Ngwenya, Mangosuthu University of Technology has indeed empowered a nation, as was said by Prof Marcus Ramogale, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, during the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Engineering on 9 April 2019.

Faculty of Engineering celebrates graduation in style

A very happy parent at the  Faculty of Engineering Graduation - 9 April 2019
A very happy parent at the Faculty of Engineering Graduation – 9 April 2019

Highlights of the event – 9 April 2019

The first 2019 Faculty of Engineering graduation ceremony took place at the University’s iconic Seme Hall saw a full house of parents and guardians from all over the Republic as they bear witness to the highlights of their children’s academic journey. The parents, whom the University respects and revere for the support of their children and their trust in the fact that MUT can change their lives for the better, came to witness a life-changing event for their children.

For as long as necessary, the parents sat quietly, listening to the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Marcus Ramogale, the Honoree of the two Faculty of Engineering ceremonies, Nondwe Monyake, as they addressed the audience. This silence was not going to last for long. As students received their qualifications, parents broke out in songs and ululation, accompanied by whistles, as the names of their children were called out to come to the stage and be capped. The different cultural and religious dances that were performed on stage were a strong indication of how African MUT graduation ceremonies are. Thembinkosi Majozi who graduated with a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering even called out a war cry, Hebe! Usuthu!!

MUT changed their lives, and it cannot be denied that their lives have changed for the better. As was announced by Prof Ramogale, MUT graduates are playing a big role in the economic sector, as employees, and job creators. The recently graduated students will eventually land jobs. They will also do well to take Prof Ramogale’s advice to look for work, not jobs. Meaning, they should think long and hard about creating their job opportunities, by creating their own businesses, as has been done by former students like Zenzele Dlomo, a goat breeder in eMakhabeleni, in Kranskop, central KwaZulu-Natal. Zenzele benefited from the knowledge he gained when he was studying towards a Diploma in Accounting – Public Finance more than 10 years ago. Other former MUT students that the graduates would do well to emulate are Thandeka Ellenson, the Acting CEO of the Moses Kotane Institute, and Thabang Mofokeng, the founder of the SAMAC Engineering Solution, to name a few.

The ceremony was also attended by the KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Surveyor-General, Thamsanqa Phakathi. Phakathi is a product of MUT. “My office is indebted to Professor Koos Landman for this gem,” said Monyake.

The ceremony was dedicated to Monyake, the Surveyor-General of KwaZulu-Natal Province with more than 20 years’ experience. Monyake holds a B.Sc (Surveying) from the University of Cape Town. She is one of 41 black surveyors registered with the South African Geomatics Council. Her message to the graduates was simple – the value of integrity.

“You need to have strong moral values. Integrity is forever,” said Monyake. She appealed to graduates not to disappoint their parents by lacking in integrity. “Go out there and be Wendy Okolo who has become the first black woman to get a doctorate degree in aerospace engineering at the tender age of 26 and now works for the American Space Administration (NASA). Show South Africa what you are made of,” she said.

The ceremony was closed by what has now become a signature tune for all the University graduation ceremonies – the Last Dance, which is a symbol of the ceremony as a rite of passage.

MUT honouree and KZN Surveyor-General reminds graduates to act with integrity

Surveyor-General of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, Nondwe Monyake
Surveyor-General of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, Ms Nondwe Monyake

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) honorary fellowship recipient has reminded graduates to act with integrity in their respective careers to set an example for younger people who see them as their beacon of hope.

Speaking at the first MUT 2019 graduation ceremony on Tuesday (9 April 2019), Surveyor-General of the KwaZulu-Natal Province, Nondwe Monyake, told graduates that integrity meant acting ethically and doing the right thing at all times.

“Integrity is about doing the right thing even when it’s not acknowledged by others, or convenient for you,” she said. “Building the reputation of integrity takes years but it takes a second to lose it.”

This is followed by respect for time as a virtue, an important practice especially for graduates who are about to enter the world of work where they are expected to be on time.

“Be always on time for meetings. This is a clear sign of respect, not only for the people you are meeting but for yourself,” said Monyake. “Being on time shows that you are dependable and trustworthy and makes one earn people’s respect.”

However, integrity stretches further to the character of individuals and how they should carry themselves.

“People with integrity are humble, they have a strong sense of self, they have high self-esteem, and they are self-confident. These characteristics are important because sometimes, you, as young people, will be under intense pressure from your peers to make the wrong choices and decisions,” said Monyake. “Learn to be assertive so that you can defend an ethical position and not succumb to peer pressure.”

Signs of integrity are often mundane activities that are taken lightly and treated as not being important although they say a lot about the individual.

“When you replace printer paper after finishing the paper for the next person not to be inconvenienced. When you sign the correct arrival time in the work register rather than the time you are contracted to arrive at and working that time you owe your employer by working overtime,” said Monyake. “When you allow the security guard to search your bag and make you sign the register even though you are the boss in your company; he is just doing his job. When you submit your leave form without having to be reminded to do so.”

Her message comes at an important time in South Africa where the country is witnessing a leadership vacuum characterised by business and political leaders being hauled to courts and commissions of inquiry over allegations of corruption, unethical practices and lack of integrity.

Monyake dedicate her MUT honorary fellowship to the Chief Surveyor-General, Mmuso Riba, whose dedication to transformation has shaped the relationship between MUT, other universities and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

“In 1994 there was no black woman Professional Land Surveyor in our country,” said Monyake. “But 25 years later, through Mr Riba’s vast contribution, this country has got 41 members that are registered with the South African Geomatics Council.”

Getting an MUT honorary fellowship was a sentimental moment for Monyake because of her father’s friendship with Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, MUT’s founding father.

“What is humbling the most for me is the fact that this University was founded by one of our own, Nkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The good Prince, not only was he my father’s good friend, Nkosi Kaiser Daliwonga Matanzima, but is also a close family friend,” said Monyake.  “I truly admire the legacy he left behind for the future generations to enjoy. My father would have been very proud to witness this day, particularly at this university.”

Inseparable twins graduate with HR diploma

Zinhle and Ziningi collecting their graduation tickets
Zinhle and Ziningi collecting their graduation tickets

Parents can’t wait for the big day

The parents of twins, Ziningi and Zinhle Mbona cannot wait to come and see their daughters ascending the stairs at MUT, and hearing Prof Chandra Jinabhai, the Acting Dean in the Faculty of Management Sciences, calling their names. Ziningi and Zinhle will be graduating with the Human Resources and Management Diploma on 11 April 2019. It is only then that the parents will believe that their last born children will be graduating. The twins said their hard work was made a little lighter by the fact that they were studying the same programme, and worked together as a team.

“We had other students studying with us. But we were mostly on our own,” said Zinhle, the less-reserved of the two. The KwaMashu girls agree that what they achieved was not usual. “In most cases twins would not go this far. At least one would progress, while the other would show less interest in studying. We kept our focus,” said Ziningi. They both said they could barely wait for their graduation day. “We are not sure if we will be able to sleep on the 10th. That is how excited we are about graduating, the outcome of our hard work!” said Ziningi.

The twins have a separation anxiety. They fear that graduation excitement will soon be replaced by separation as they are likely to secure jobs at different places. They do not have the experience of being apart since they met in the womb. However, they both think that regular communication will smoothen the rough experience.