Our soccer ace puts in extra training to improve his skills

Kwanele Ngobese

Like a lone ranger, Kwanele Ngobese took to his training alone on Thursday morning. This second year Accounting student said he wanted to focus on what he thought needed improvement with his soccer skills. “I need to improve my accuracy,” said Kwanele.

Kwanele plays just behind the centre forward, no. 9, a good position for a player of his height. A short chat with him revealed that he has enough knowledge to make a mark in football playing in this position. He is aware of what this position needs, and how he can influence the game from it.

Kwanele is a strategic thinker. He self-examines and takes the decisions he believes will propel him forward in his journey to being a professional player. “My plan for now is to gain as much fitness as possible and be helpful to the MUT team in every way,” he said. Like every player, Kwanele would like to win titles with his team.

Looking into the future, Kwanele aspires to play for his hometown team, Maritzburg FC, and move on from there.

“I would like to be a professional player. I have seen many players coming from townships. That gives me the motivation that it is possible to be a professional player, no matter where you come from,” said Kwanele.

Gift of the Givers to the rescue as students lose their food because of power failure

From left, first, Azwi Mufamadi, Director, PR and Branding; third, Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director; last, Zama Sishi, Director, Stakeholder Relations; and staff members of Gift of the Givers, showing some of the donated food. Behind them are the  500 mielie meal (impuphu) for the students

The quick response to MUT by the Gift of the Givers is commendable. Just a quick SMS enquiring if Gift of the Givers could assist students whose food perished after a three-day power failure received a positive nod. “We are saddened about the distress your students find themselves in. Please send us a proposal,” said Mr Muhammad Rayhaan Sooliman, director of projects at Gift of the Givers. Within a few hours, he responded positively that Gift of the Givers will support students residing on campus with tons of food, a much-needed gesture, given that there is a large number of students who are struggling to make ends meet. The following is what was donated: 500 x 10kg maize, 500 x 100s tea bags, 500 x 1L juice concentrate, 3000 x baked beans, 500 x 500g pasta, 500 x 1kg instant porridge, 500 x 500g soup mix, and 500 x 900g jam.

Speaking on the donation, Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Department of Marketing and Communications, said, “The support by Gift of the Givers clearly shows us that it takes a village to raise a child. With friends like Gift of the Givers, we are able to respond promptly to the needs of our students “.

IT&N and MarComms join forces to deliver the MUT Online Radio Project

To go live!

The countdown towards the MUT Online Radio Station going live has started! Suspense is killing everyone walking past the main reception where the studio is located.  This radio station project is a bold step towards enhancing the University’s brand equity.  The success of this mega project required strong internal collaborations, which has seen the Department of Marketing and Communications (MarComms) bringing in strategic partners like the Department of Information Technology and Networks (IT&N), under the leadership of Dr Marlo De Swardt.  “We are very humbled at how Dr De Swardt understands and embraces our unique value propositions. As brand custodians we oftentimes apply unconventional methods to how we deliver MUT to its stakeholders.  The partnership with IT&N has contributed to the radio station project through installation of network connectivity, and bespoke software support. The IT&N department has also installed stricter access control to ensure the safety of the expensive custom-tailored equipment to be installed soon. The IT&N department will also be involved in the installation of the equipment. The radio broadcast is soon to go live,” said Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director at Marcomms.

The MUT online radio will broadcast via an App soon to be available on Play Store and App Store, to be downloaded free of charge, to enable listeners to tune in to the station anywhere as long as they have access to a smart device.  Similar to traditional radio, the listener’s experience will include a phone-in line, as well as an option to send voice messages and WhatsApp messages.  This two-way engagement was made possible by the support from the IT&N department. This department has become a strategic and invaluable partner to MarComms.

The IT&N department support will be the life of the success of the radio station as there will still be more network support and maintenance required.

Nine Engineering students get financial help from Dube Tradeport

From left, Xolani Sithole, a Civil Engineering S4 student, Cynthia Nkosi,  Phumla, and Solomon Nkosi. Solomon was assisting the student with the paperwork

While so many South African students are struggling to pay their post-matric school fees, either current or historic debt, nine of the University students can consider themselves lucky. These Engineering students have been given full bursaries by the Dube Tradeport for the 2021 academic year. Cynthia Nkosi, Senior Bursaries Officer in the Financial Aid Office, said that the organisation has been supporting the University students from 2014 – 2016 and had a break in 2017, 18 and 19.  “In 2020 they resumed their support for our students. This year they are supporting nine students,” said Cynthia. Cynthia said such help means a lot for her office and the University. “The Financial Aid Office and the University at large is grateful with the support from Dube Tradeport because it targets students from the missing middle cohort.  This alleviates the financial burden to students as they do not qualify for NSFAS funding,” said Cynthia. Cynthia added that now the students would be able to concentrate on their studies “and produce pleasing results.  This has a positive impact in the University throughput.”

Phumla Mtolo, a third year student studying towards a Diploma in Quantity Surveying, confirmed such a sentiment. Phumla, from Mbali Township, in Pietermaritzburg, said she used to be stressed before she got financial help from Dube Tradeport last year. The organisation is settling all her fees, for 2021, and 2020.

Solomon Nkosi, Corporate Social Investment Manager at Dube Tradeport, said the bursary was comprehensive. “The bursary will cover tuition, accommodation, living allowance, and book allowance. The total funding for 2021 is R733 638.00. Solomon said they did not have strict conditions for the bursaries. All the students need to do is to conduct themselves well, and pass well, he said.

Engineering student takes part in international athletics in Poland  

In green and gold! Mildo

From as early as primary school, Mildo Hlatshwayo, from Piet Retief, in Mpumalanga Province, decided he would be a track athlete. In 2016, the second year Electrical Engineering student says he became serious about the sport. This is when he obtained his provincial colours. Such a change has resulted in Mildo obtaining accolades – provincial colours, and national colours! The ‘introvert,’ lanky young man was rewarded by being called into the national team to take part in the 4×400-relay event that happened in Silesia, southwestern Poland, from 1 to 2 May 2021.  Mildo said the team performed very well, and got fifth position overall. Mildo was a reserve in the team. “If by chance any of the four athletes got injured, I was going to take part,” said Mildo.  Mildo said his ambition is to break the 400m world record. Mildo knows this will not be easy. He has to contend with the fact that he does not have enough time as he is still studying, and that he will need lots of support to achieve this goal. Given his nature, he can achieve this goal. “I am a guy who likes to go get his own wings. Running is the best sport career I am married to,” said Mildo.

A front-row rugby player is looking for a team

Olwethu

A front row, rugby player is looking for a team to catapult him to professionalism. Olwethu Mehlwana, (20) a Building (Extended Curriculum Programme) student said until last year, he was playing for Port Shepstone High School. “I would like to play for a professional team. I play any of the front row positions – 1, 2, or 3,” said Olwethu. Olwethu played more than 10 matches for his school. He cannot remember how many tries he scored. Olwethu is well versed with the profession.  “My favourite rugby player is Taniela Tupou, an Australian rugby player. He plays for Queensland Reds as a tight head prop – Number 3. The reason I say it’s him is because for me he is an exceptional rugby player. He is mobile. He is quick for his size. In addition, he is just an amazing player. I can safely say that his type of style of rugby is very exciting,” said Olwethu. Olwethu has submitted his name to the University’s Sport Department.

 

 

MUT mourns the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Mantfombi

Her Majesty, Queen Mantfombi (foreground)

Mangosuthu University of Technology has expressed its sadness on the passing of the Regent of the Zulu nation, Queen Mantfombi Shiyiwe (65). The passing away of Queen Mantfombi, the senior wife of the late Zulu King, happened in just over six weeks after the passing of her husband. The gruesome news was announced last night by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Founder of the University, and the traditional Prime Minister (Undunankulu) of the Zulu nation. Queen Mantfombi, a daughter of Eswatini King, Sobhuza II, took over the reigns after the passing of her husband, His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.

The University extends its deepest condolences to the Zulu Royal Family in this difficult time. We are aware that the Royal Family is going through the “deepest shock and distress,” as was mentioned by His Royal Highness, Prince Buthelezi last night.

The MUT flag will fly at half-mast until Her Majesty is laid to rest.

May Her Majesty rest in peace!

MUT residences ready to host another cohort of students

Gugu Madlala

As more students take up their places in the University residences for the 2021 academic year, they can rest assured that their stay will be a safe and secured one. Superintendent of Housing, Gugu Madlala said all the student residences are in compliance with the applicable COVID-19 protocols.
“The students are screened as they enter, or leave our residences. They also sanitise their hands,” said Gugu.

Gugu also mentioned that security provided by landlords at private residences was at the required level. He was supported by Jackson Rammala, the Acting Director of Protection Services at the University, who said the security companies at all the 42 outsourced residences met all their requirements.

“They provide the required number of security personnel, and the buildings have security doors, and are fenced. They also have the required CCTV cameras, and all are PSIRA compliant. PSIRA is the private security regulatory body,” said Jackson.

More than 10,000 students are expected to be housed in the University’s 44 residences.

“We are still allocating students. Last year we had 10,552 students living in our residences,” said Gugu.

MUT gears up for orientation of new students

Dr Paulette Naidoo

Every year the University conducts its orientation of new students to introduce them to how the university does things. This year MUT will host its orientation of first-year students on 7 and 8 May 2020.

Dr Paulette Naidoo, Director of Student Counselling, this year’s orientation was going to take place online to abide by the COVID-19 protocols. The programme will happen in real time and speakers will be livestreaming from Council chambers. Students will have multiple platforms to take part in the event. A YouTube link will be sent to students, which they will use to access orientation over the two days.

Dr Naidoo explained that those who are unable to access the programme as it happening will have an opportunity to access all the videos from Blackboard after the event. Blackboard, which is zero-rated will enable students with data constraints to watch the videos. The videos will also be available on Youtube.

New Acting HoD for the Department of Agriculture

Dr Farai Murungu, right, with a student at a graduation

Dr Farai Murungu has been appointed the Acting Head of Department of Agriculture in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. He has been a Senior Lecturer in the Department since 2010. Dr Murungu completed his Doctor of Philosophy (in Crop Science) degree from the University of Fort Hare in 2009. He took over from Dr Malizo Buyeye, who retired.

MUT soccer team forges on in spite of a draw

Mdumiseni “Shaluile” Jiyane

As they always say, it is a lot easier to prepare for a knockout competition because it is usually a few weeks of intensity and focus. With the league it is different. This is a real marathon. The MUT soccer team is clearly aware of this fact. The players have psyched themselves up for a long grinding battle. One game at a time, is the guiding philosophy. Last weekend, amid very difficult circumstances, the team drew 1-1 against M City at Glebelands stadium. The team was missing some of its players who had to leave for home before lectures commenced.

Mfundo Maseko, the team captain, said that it was a hard-fought draw. M City is one of the toughest teams in the league. But the players were up to it. All the players are eager to contribute to pushing the team up in the log standing, said Mfundo, the team captain.

Another highlight of the match was that winger, Mdumiseni “Shaluile” Jiyane, continued with his goal-scoring spree. Shaluile scored his eighth goal. The team played nine matches, and are fourth in the log.

Shaluile agrees with this captain that the match was not easy, and thanked his teammates for supporting him. “I will never have scored without receiving a pass from one of them. The coaches also played a big role; they are patient with all of us. I also thank them for giving me an opportunity. Moving forward I would love to score more goals for the team and help us to win the league,” said Shaluile. He also said he just liked to enjoy the game. “That is the most important thing even over winning.”

Tomorrow the MUT team is playing from home. At 15h00, the team will play against Durban Pioneers at King Zwelithini Stadium’s outer field. On Sunday, at 1h00, the team will take on Chartsworth Rangers at the 1016 Sports ground.

MUT lectures to commence on 26 April

Mike Naidoo

With more than 80% of students expected to have registered by the close of business today (Friday, 23 April 2021), MUT is well on its way to commence lectures for the 2021 academic programme. The total enrolment target is 13 240. So far, the University has registered more than 10 478 students. Mike Naidoo, the University Registrar, said that lectures will commence on Monday, 26 April 2021.

“Those students who still need to register after the closure will be accommodated on the registration amnesty date,” said Mike.

The Faculty of Management Sciences is leading with more than 92.7% enrollment, of its 5385 target. Of these, more than 1 106 are new students, while 3 789 are returning students.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences is second, with more than 79.7% of its 2 047 enrollment target. Of these, 385 are new students, and 1 192 are returning students.

The Faculty of Engineering has registered more than 66.4% (3855). Of these, 624 are freshmen, while 3 189 are returning students. Its target is 5 808, the biggest in the University.

The University set 3 482 first-time entering students target. It has enrolled more than 2 097, which is more than 54.6%.

MUT radio studio in last stages of construction

Inside the brand new radio studio

The University will soon be adding one more platform to its communication arsenal. This time it will be a big one, an online radio station. Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications, said they were at the last stages of this project.

“This week saw the installation of the acoustics. This is the mechanism that will make our studio distinct from any other room. It will allow the sound to echo within the studio, and make it a true radio studio. Like any other studio meant for broadcasting, the sound will not be audible from outside the studio. This is marvellous achievement for the University given space constrains,” said Mbali.

Though not yet complete, this studio has already generated a lot of interest among both staff and students who are now seeing themselves behind the mic.

Mbali added that the next stage, which will happen in May, will be the installation of the equipment. This will be followed by the launch of the station, which she said will happen towards the end of May.

The Operations Department commenced the conversion of two former offices with a brief idea and regular meetings with them have led to the structure that is taking shape.

MUT alumnus keeps the braai fire burning

Keeping the fire burning for longer

MUT’s entrepreneurial spirit is spreading. Current students and alumni are not only embracing entrepreneurship but they are also on the lookout for opportunities in every market.

This is the case for Mechanical Engineering graduate, Ntuthuko Khathi. He owns Khathi Lumpwood Charcoal, a brand that is fast becoming a household name in South Africa’s braai community.

“We offer high quality premium charcoal made from lumpwood,” said Ntuthuko. “By it being made from lumpwood means that it is also green efficient which is good for the environment.”

Nthuthuko’s charcoal burns longer and produces less smoke. This not only means that customers can braai for longer but they can do so without having to make a detrimental effect to the environment.

“Producing less smoke means that it produces less gases which harm the environment,” he said.

The business, which is based in Jozini, northern KwaZulu-Natal, employs 15 skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Ntuthuko adds that the production process takes about a week. He goes through a careful process of selecting trees that can be used for producing charcoal. Only trees that are not indigenous are used. This is particularly important given the country’s efforts to preserve indigenous plants whilst also reducing foreign, invasive plant species.

Ntuthuko graduated from MUT in 2020.

Our Dusi star finishes second in non-stop race

Nqobile, front, and Mpilo, on their way to the Durban Lagoon

Nqobile Makhanya, an S4 Chemical Engineering student is recovering from a gruelling one day, 110 kilometres non-stop Dusi Canoe Marathon –  Dusi in a Day, that took place on 9 April 2021. The race started in Pietermaritzburg Camps Drift, and ended in Durban’s Blue Lagoon. “I was going to do it in a single (K1) boat, but a day before Mpilo Zondi, asked if we could partner in a double (K2) and try go for a podium. We had last minute preparation having to fix the boat we were going to use night before the race. Nqobile said they did not get a chance to practice, but they were comfortable in the boat.

“I decided to sit in the front since I’m heavier.” Nqobile said that they just wanted to take it as it came, in the first quarter of the race they were already in second place. He said the race went well, they did not encounter any major problems except “only a bent rider about halfway into the race. This didn’t cost as so much time.”

Nqobile added that they did their best to keep up with the race leaders who were very fast from the start of the race.  This was Nqobile’s first such race.

“We ended up finishing 2nd in a time of 8hrs, 28min, 25sec. Msawenkosi Mtolo and Thabani Msia took first place, for the second time.

MUT soccer team continues its unbeaten run

The MUT soccer team. Mfundo is second from right, back row

The MUT soccer team continues to do well. This augurs well for the teams’ ambitions to win the league. Mfundo Maseko, the team’s captain said their performances in the last two matches played last weekend was an affirmation of this desire.

“On Saturday we won comfortably with a 4-1 victory against Jubilee M Sport. We Had to recover the next day and prepare against tough opponents, Umlazi Young Lions. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. These results took us to the 4th place in the league,” said Mfundo.

The team has played seven matches, winning four, while three ended in a draw. This week they are taking on M-City. Mfundo said they will continue to improve their preparations for matches.

The team is affiliated to the SAFA eThekwini SAB League Central B. Some of the other teams in this league are Jahman Stars, Chatsworth Rangers, M City, Umlazi Young Lions, and Umbumbulu Academy.

Dr Mthembu becomes top reviewer for Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems Journal

Dr Mthembu doing some fieldwork

The University’s research community stands a great chance of benefiting from the vast experience of Dr Bonginkosi Eric Mthembu, the Head of the Department of Community Extension, who boasts a wealth of experience in reviewing journal articles.

Dr Mthembu was declared the top reviewer by the Web of Science (WOS), for the Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems Journal, published by Cambridge University Press. The journal is accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).  “Over and above being ranked first, I have also been declared the Top Reviewer by the Web of Science (WOS), for the Cogent Food and Agriculture Journal, published by Taylor & Francis. This journal is also DHET accredited,” said Dr Mthembu.

Since 2019, Dr Mthembu has been appointed as a reviewer for six highly regarded international journals. He said that since then he has reviewed a total of 23 research papers for the following Journals, all of which are DHET Accredited Journals: Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems Journal, published by Cambridge University Press; Arid Land Research and Management, published by Taylor & Francis; Frontiers for Agricultural Science and Engineering, published by Higher Education Press; Environment, Development and Sustainability, Journal published by Springer Nature; Cogent Food and Agriculture Journal, published by Taylor & Francis; and CAB Reviews, published by CAB International.

Dr Mthembu said he was available to take part in research workshops that are organised by the Research directorate. His main goal is to ensure that the quality of research papers for both his University colleagues, and researchers who publish on the international journals that he reviews, improves. “Being a reviewer of such journals puts the University on a world map,” said an excited Dr Mthembu.

He thanked Dr Anette Mienie, Director: Research, for motivating him to continue reviewing research papers in September 2019. This was at a time when Dr Mthembu informed Dr Mienie that he had been registered as a reviewer by the Environment, Development and Sustainability Journal, published by Springer Nature.

Reacting to Dr Mthembu’s news, Dr Mienie applauded him for “once again doing the University proud. The reputation of a university is only as good as that of her academic staff.  Your contribution does not go unnoticed,” said Dr Mienie.

MUT throws its weight behind #NoExcuses for GBV

Some of the students that attended the R section event

The fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) continues to be at the helm of MUT’s priorities in 2021. The University joined forces with alumnus, Andile Mafa to host a two-day event in Umlazi that anchors a new campaign message, #NoExcuses for GBV.

Mafa, the MUT Accounting class of 2007 is the Umlazi Local Coordinator for Ranyaka, a social enterprise established to provide sustainable, integrated solutions to the challenges facing communities.

The devastating impact of the national Lockdown has given rise to a number of GBV cases. Although GBV affects everyone, women and girls are at an even higher risk. On 7 April 2021, Ranyaka and MUT collaborated in an event at Hope of Glory Ministries, in Umlazi’s R Section.  The event brought together 50 girls including grade 11 and 12 learners from one of Umlazi’s iconic school, Vukuzakhe High School, MUT students and alumni to join in on a conversation about placing the power back into women’s hands. The conversation was led by Miss South Africa 2020, Shudufhadzo Musida and the Kolisi Foundation. The Kolisi Foundation was founded by the SA rugby team captain Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel. Shudufhadzo said, “the country needs to develop an army of empowered women as one more step to fighting GBV”.

To highlight the pivotal role men play in the fight against GBV, 30 budding MUT sportsmen attended the second day of the event that was dedicated to educating them about the significance of mental health and the role sport plays in the fight against GBV.

Mafa facilitated a session which highlighted how being active participants in group sports keeps one’s mind stimulated in a positive manner. Leading a healthy lifestyle contributes to the overall well-being of any individual. Andile said: “This sense of well-being spills over into that person’s relationship with their spouse, partner and family. Finding healthy outlets for stress and frustration is key for ensuring one does not vent towards fellow humans.”

The event brought together an assortment of stakeholders that included Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Njabulo Nzuza, Executive Director of Uyinene Foundation, Masimbulele Buso, and the family of late Uyinene Mrwetyana, who lost her life in 2019 due to GBV.

MUT Council Chairperson appointed interim convenor of Chairpersons of Councils

MUT Council Chair, Mr Morailane

MUT Council Chairperson, Mr Morailane Morailane, has been appointed interim convenor of Chairpersons of Councils at a virtual meeting of chairpersons of councils of 10 public universities on Thursday, 10 April 2021. The meeting undertook to re-establish a formal Chairpersons of Councils structure, which is envisaged to not only be the voice of councils of universities, but also a platform where issues of common interest can be resolved.

Mr Morailane said in a statement: “As governing bodies responsible for exercising general oversight over our universities, including the implementation of DHET policies, Councils of universities are not only the highest decision-making organs in universities, but are an essential cog and enabler in seeking effective solutions to problems that affect their universities. It is for this reason that their voices need to be heard when solutions are being crafted, and where appropriate, their participation and collaboration becomes essential.”

The establishment of this body comes at a time when public universities across South Africa have seen weeks of student protest over issues of student funding and demands for the eradication of historical student debt.

Mr Morailane explained that a meeting of all chairs of universities will be called within a month to formalise the new structure and contribute solutions to the issues at hand.

Two MUT players join Sharks female team

Nobuhle, left, and Anesipho at the Sharks’ training ground

Two of the University female rugby players are now part of the senior Sharks team. On 31 March 2021 Anesipho Malgas and Nobuhle Mjwara trained with the rest of the Sharks team. The second year Accounting and Office Management and Technology students respectively, said they were very excited about getting an opportunity to play for the Sharks. “We are very happy. We love this game,” said Anesipho. Anesipho plays scrum half (10), while Nobuhle plays flanker (6) and a second-row forward (4). Nobuhle has to jump and grab those throw-ins from the hooker during the lineout. Anesipho has to deal with so much focus as she kicks the conversion after a try has been scored. These are usually match winners.

This news will not come as a surprise to their coach, Thabani ‘Sgebengu’ Yaka. Sgebengu was emphatic that Anesipho and Nobuhle were going to make it. Both players have been playing rugby for some time, despite their ages. Anesipho said she started playing rugby in 2016, while Nobuhle started in 2015.  “I fell in love with the sport. My family supports me,” said Anesipho. Anesipho lives in Umlazi Township’s S section with her grandmother. The rest of her family is in Queenstown, Eastern Cape. Nobuhle lives with her family in the township’s V section.

Acting VC welcomes Class of 2021

Professor Ramogale 

MUT Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcus Ramogale has warmly welcomed new students that enrolled with the University during the course of this week. Professor Ramogale thanked the freshmen for choosing the University. “Thank you for choosing MUT as an institution where you will begin your journey to being a professional,” said Professor Ramogale. He appealed to the students to support the University’s efforts in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and highlighted that there have been some gains in these efforts. “While the Coronavirus is still waging its war against all of us, we have learnt to refuse to let it triumph over our lives. With this in mind, I trust that things will be much better for us all in the coming year,” said Professor Ramogale. Professor Ramogale said that the University also took advantage of its size, and the prevailing atmosphere. “We treat each other as one big family. Just as we care about all of you, we would like you to show that you care for your fellow students by continuing to put each other’s safety first this year,” said Professor Ramogale.

Professor Ramogale informed students about how well the University prevented the spread of COVID-19 in residences. This was mainly as a result of the University’s campaign to “save lives, save the academic year”.  “We shared messages everywhere and tightened our security systems to ensure that the virus was not imported into our residences.”

Professor Ramogale added that the University management also ensured that all the required protocols were adhered to, and that they worked with the student body to shield the students, and everyone from the pandemic.

He also highlighted the role played by academic deans in ensuring that students were not just taught online, but that the new delivery mode was effective and favoured students. Coupled with this form of teaching, the Acting Vice-Chancellor said the University added a platoon system as part of its teaching and learning. “This is a great asset towards assisting you to study independently. You are on a new journey to make history for yourselves and for the future, so embrace the opportunity with grace and a positive spirit. I look forward to engaging you online and I am hopeful that you will also support our efforts to save the 2021 academic year and to save lives. Please remember to always ‘mask up’, maintain social distancing and sanitise your hands always,” said Professor Ramogale.

MUT registers 2400 new students and counting  

University’s fresher

This week MUT reached a milestone in its efforts to register new students for the 2021 academic year. The University has now registered about 2400 students and counting. Among the new students that registered with the University this week were Siyabonga Zulu, from Inanda, north of Durban, and Wendy Ndimande, from the Folweni Township in the south of Durban. Siyabonga joins the University after being out of the school system for a couple of years. Siyabonga is very happy to have registered with MUT for a Diploma in Agriculture (Animal Production), while Wendy will spend the next three years studying towards a Diploma in Public Administration. The two are excited to call MUT their academic home for the next few years.

MUT soccer team aims for maximum points in their match on Monday

The MUT team preparing for the Monday match

The MUT soccer team is ready for its fourth match, which captain Mfundo Maseko said “is a must win, as we are chasing the league”. The team is playing Adams Academy on Monday, 5 April 2021, at 3pm. So far the team has five points from three matches. A very confident Mfundo said all the players were ready for the match. Mfundo said they had a big pool of players who wanted to make a mark. The team won its last match against Magabheni Stars with two goals to nil.

The University team is affiliated to the SAFA eThekwini SAB League Central B. Some of the other teams in this league are Jahman Stars, Chatsworth Rangers, M City, Umlazi Young Lions, and Umbumbulu Academy.

MUT first-year registration takes off to the delight of students

Thobani Gumede, right, from Jozini, north of KwaZulu-Natal, has registered for the Office Management and Technology, while Ayanda Gwala has registered for a  Diploma in Agriculture

This week, Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) started the registration of first-year students for the new academic year. Prospective students have approached the decision with enthusiasm and have started booking their places at the university.

Zolisa Gqamane, Deputy Registrar: Academics Affairs, said the number of students who are registering at the University are increasing by the day despite slow pace of first-year registration across the country.

To ensure that no student is left behind, MUT has also decided to open its gate for prospective students who are unable to register from their respective homes to come and register on campus. So far, over 1500 first-year students and counting have registered.

Zolisa explained that the University was still not opened to walk-ins but the institution was giving students who applied and were accepted an opportunity to register on campus instead of doing it remotely.

Prospective students that have been offered places to study at MUT are encouraged to register with the university.

Civil Engineering and Surveying tutors make a positive impact on students

Dr Bwapwa, middle, with Ngcebo, left, and Minenhle

The role of tutors at the University is becoming more prominent. Dr Joseph Bwapwa of the Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying said his six tutors played a major role in decreasing his heavy load and had a positive impact upon the performance of students. Dr Bwapwa teaches about 400 first semester students. He said that his tutors play a supporting role.

“They are able to articulate to the students the manner in which the lecturers would like to get the message across to the students. They effectively compliment the lecturers’ work,” said Dr Bwapwa. Dr Bwapwa added that the tutors are able to emphasize the practical part of the course, and give more attention to the particular issues that may be bothering the students. They also give us the real picture of what is happening with the students as well as give our feedback to the students.

Two of these tutors are Minenhle Ximba and Ngcebo Kunene. Both are on the exit level. Minenhle completed his S4 in record time; now he is looking for in-service training.  He has been a tutor for three semesters. He said that being a tutor can be challenging, but he was prepared for the job. Minenhle learnt time management, communicating well with students, and has sheared stage fright, which he said was his weakness. Both Minenhle and Ngcebo said they have learnt a lot from Dr Bwapwa, what they have learnt is now benefiting the students.

“We are now able to handle student issues, listen to students, and give them space and freedom to talk to us as equals,” said Minenhle. Minenhle said that the good relationship with Dr Bwapwa started when he was doing S1. He said that it was the one word that Dr Bwabwa said which did the trick, “Commitment”. Now both Minenhle and Ngcebo said they see the value of investing more time in their work, just like Dr Bwapwa, who leaves the office very late.

They spend more time with their students and they are also on WhatsApp with them to ensure the students’ problems are attended to in time.

Friendship brings two learners from KwaMaphumulo to MUT

Bongeka, left, and Nobuhle, at MUT

The friendship of two young learners from KwaMaphumulo in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, has seen them registering to further their studies at MUT. Bongeka Buthelezi and Nobuhle Mthiyane have enrolled for Marketing and Accounting, respectively. Both girls said they were happy with their decision to study at MUT. Their hard work paid off. More than 40 000 prospective students applied for the limited places at the University. To finally hold that student card which is proof that they are now bona fide students of the University brought big smiles upon their young faces.

The two met in Grade 10 at Vukile High School in KwaMaphumulo, and they put plans in place for their future together. They studied together during the hard Lockdown in 2020 and still managed to ace their matric. They plan to shape and own the future together. They have committed to helping each other with their studies and maintain friendship until they enter the workplace.

The two friends wish to one day make a difference in their community and encourage other learners to focus on their studies and make their parents proud. Nobuhle could not wait to go back to KwaMaphumulo and show her parents that she is finally a university student.

Chemical Engineering student takes part in annual Dusi Marathon

Nqobile, front, in the last Dusi

An S4 Chemical Engineering student has made the University proud by placing 11th position in the annual Dusi Canoe Marathon that took place from 18 to 20 March 2021 in Umsunduzi and Umgeni rivers.

Nqobile Makhanya, who is from KwaXimba near Cato Ridge in Durban was taking was participating in the Dusi Marathon for the 11th time. Commenting on his performance, Nqobile said he was not happy with his performance. He had a few problems on days one and two. At one time his 12kg kayak got stuck in the rocks, and Nqobile had to spend valuable time pulling it out. His kayak also capsized as Nqobile was trying to put the splash cover on.  He said he had to swim to get himself to a safe position. In the meantime, five participants peddled past him. But he was able to peddle past at least three of them. Nqobile said he wanted to be part of the top 10.

“The last day was fine, there was no problem. I got positon 11,” he said.

Nqobile started canoeing in 2008. Two years later he took part in his first competition. He said he decided to take up this kind of sport as it is very popular in his area, KwaXimba, also home to former MUT canoeist, Mzamo Zondi.

MUT on a road to transform the culture of teaching & learning

Dr Makua

Dr Manyane Makua, Acting DVC: Teaching & Learning, presented his landmark assessment of the MUT online teaching and learning agenda at the virtual Senate meeting held on Thursday, 18 March 2021. The presentation follows one of the drastic steps that he is taking to transform the culture of teaching and learning. In trying to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of online teaching, Dr Makua spearheaded a measurement and evaluation of his portfolio. Based on this, he presented a few reflections that will ensure that online teaching must be more student-centric and with more quality assurance mechanisms. Dr Makua emphasised the need for a more effective and customized online content.

“We need to deploy appropriate interventions so as to assist our students. We cannot put content will not be discernible to our students. We must guide the students on their online journey, and we must put ourselves in the shoes of the students as they navigate the online milieu by thinking carefully about the target group, content, learning outcomes, pedagogical approach, how we organize the content, learning resources, and assessment of the teaching and learning resources. Do not deny yourselves opportunities to move with the times. Keep on reading so you can adapt to the new normal as it is here to stay”, said Dr Makua.

The SRC welcomed the presentation and applauded Dr Makua’s office for the support it has given students as they navigate online learning. Dr Bheka Ntshangase, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, also expressed positive sentiments. Dr Ntshangase indicated that as a faculty, they now realise the gap and what is required for an interactive online approach to work.

 

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Faculties ready with their plans

File photo: An excited first year student

MUT’s academic deans have confirmed that their faculties are all set to adapt to the new normal, thus ensuring that even if Lockdowns occur MUT students will not be disadvantaged. At the virtual Senate meeting held on 18 March 2021, all three deans presented their faculty plans. The plans serve as a blueprints on how each faculty will onboard new students to digital learning and reiterate online training for returning students.

In addition, the plans also provide mechanisms on how the platoon system will be delivered. Though each faculty may have its unique approach to the platoon system, it is a fact that there will be a bespoke platoon system for each faculty. As part of the faculty plans, there are also procedures for how mainstream assessment and continuous assessment will be conducted. This is a great stride for the University as it lays a foundation for the new normal.

MUT to distribute laptops to non-NSFAS funded students first

Students will receive laptops same as these shown by IT&N staff, Sylvester Mchunu, left, and Nkosi Mnguni

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) is ready to distribute laptops to all its 2021 registered students starting with those not funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The laptops are part of the plan to distribute devices to aid students as they take-on blended learning that universities around the world adopted with the advent of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The university will be distributing laptops to non-NSFAS funded students whose laptops have already been procured and the process for distribution established,” said Dr Marlo de Swardt, Senior Director: Information Technology and Networks (IT&N). “The process for NSFAS funded students will start in April after the NSFAS contracts with the University and students have been finalised.”

Speaking at the meeting of the Executive Management Committee on 17 March, Dr de Swardt explained that the University had developed and tested a system for students to apply for laptops online on the ITS i-Enabler system.

The total cost of the laptop is R5,341.75, which will be charged to the students’ accounts. Non-NSFAS funded students have to pay a deposit of R1,335.44 (25%) before they receive a laptop. Students will have until they complete their studies to settle the balance of the laptop.  Students can only apply once and applications open after registration, which starts on 23 March.