Issuu on Google+

on Campus Issue 1 • February 2013 • For daily updates visit www.uwc.ac.za

Inside SAARMSTE Conference page 2

Exchange and Study Abroad Student Orientation page 3

SANBI HIV Drug Resistance Testing page 9

De Villiers fever hits UWC page 11

Your Source for University News

Transatlantic Partnership Ghent, UWC, Missouri

Rectors, researchers and administrators from the International Relations Offices of the three partnering institutions

R

ectors of the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the University of Missouri and Ghent University have established international partnerships as a way of advancing the future of these institutions. They assembled at a conference addressing the theme, The Importance of International Partnerships, on the 15 and 16 of January 2013, which was aimed at deciding on the foundations for a common strategy between the three universities. During this conference the heads of the universities held a closed meeting, where they gave priority to areas of collaboration in a trilateral arrangement. This involved them seeking to collaborate and to share expertise between the three universities in relation to the following focal points:

• Joint Summer/Winter Schools for Master’s and PhD students • Joint staff and/or PhD training • Libraries: open access and collection sharing • Research networks: joint research projects in focal areas of complementary expertise After their discussions the Rectors and the representatives of the three universities assembled at the library auditorium where the signing of the agreement took place. This collaboration serves as an opportunity for the three universities to affirm their already existing partnerships and to forge newer ones, specifically in the fields of linguistics, urban studies, physics and graduate studies. The collaboration will also work towards strengthening the position of the individual institutions in their respective countries, through a preferential – yet not

exclusive – partnership for international projects, as well as through common initiatives in education, research and institutional management. The Rector and Vice-Chancellor of UWC, Professor Brian O’Connell, stated that “the partner institutions each deliver an active contribution to the collaboration and consider one another as equals. Thereby, they take up the joint commitment to ensure the sustainability of the collaboration network”. In his speech the Rector of the University of Ghent, Professor Paul Van Cauwen, commented on the impact this collaboration could have. “Gathering and sharing information from three different continents could yield amazing results, and the visibility of this trilateral agreement will be seen all around the world,” said Van Cauwen.


2

News

Staff Orientation points newbies in the right direction

U

WC welcomed new staff members with a staff orientation workshop which was held from 21 to 23 January 2013 at the School of Public Health. More than 50 new staff members attended 30 informationpacked sessions over three mornings, pausing only for refreshments, friendly chit-chat, and the occasional leg stretch. “Everybody has a specific role to play,” said Dr Anita Maurtin-Cairncross, the Manager: Staff Development, who organised the workshop and guided it to completion. “Everybody is a leader in their own field. It’s just a matter of understanding our relation to the Institutional Operating Plan (IOP). The IOP is our drumbeat; we are all marching to it in our own way, and doing our best to help the University to keep improving.” The workshop helped new academic and administration staff get up to speed with the way the University operates, with representatives from departments

and institutes all over campus giving short presentations on the University’s IOP, sporting facilities, maintenance and technical services, evacuation and health and safety procedures (including the stop, drop and roll method, and how to get a panicky friend to play along), recycling and green programmes (the University is, after all, the Greenest Campus in Africa for 2012). Orientation also provided a few eager longtime employees with a chance to catch up

with new developments on campus - such as the role the newly-founded Technology Transfer Office can play in protecting, patenting and promoting intellectual property, or how Information and Communication Services (ICS) hopes to help UWC modernise in the digital era, meeting both student and staff needs. The workshop concluded with a tour of the Library, including the mysterious 13th level (postgraduates will know all about it!). UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian O’Connell, discussed the importance of seeking out and accepting new knowledge and discarding old, outmoded ideas. Instead he urged staff to explore UWC as a model and metaphor for transcending success. “Just ten years ago, they said the University had no hope and should be merged with other institutions. But we welcomed the challenge of transcending the past, and today we have gone far. Welcome to UWC, and God bless.”

21st SAARMSTE Conference: Maths and Science Education come of age

“I

n a country like South Africa, education is a powerful tool for restoring the will of the majority, for reaffirming their humanity, and for deepening and advancing social justice.” Those were the words of Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Deputy ViceChancellor: Academic at the University of Rhodes, speaking at the opening of the 21st annual conference of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE). The conference – addressing the theme Making Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Socially and Culturally Relevant in Africa – was held at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) from Monday 14 January to Thursday 17 January 2013. The SAARMSTE conference aims included the advancement of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (MSTE) in Southern Africa, promoting research to improve MSTE programmes, and fostering a sense of community among researchers in the field. Delegates tackled topics such as the historical and philosophical journey of MSTE in Africa and the role of MSTE in addressing sustainable development, social and cultural barriers to learning and the understanding of indigenous knowledge as it relates to MSTE. Mabizela used his talk to create a space for critical engagement regarding Maths, Science and Technology Education in this country. “The purpose of education is more than just producing a skilled workforce,” he said. “Education serves a much broader purpose – it makes it possible for us to access information and knowledge; it frees us from ignorance; and it frees our intellectual potential.” Since the introduction of Maths Literacy in 2006, he

UWC Rector, Professor Brian O’Connell alongside Western Cape Education MEC Donald Grant and SAARMSTE President Professor Mellony Graven pointed out that more learners are passing each year, but that there has also been a noticeable shift towards Maths Literacy, which has limited utility in many careers. It is thus imperative that academically inclined learners be encouraged to opt for Mathematics instead of Maths Literacy – especially as research indicates that a considerable number of those who pass Maths Literacy with 70% or greater could obtain 50% or better pass rates in Mathematics. “We must come to terms with the simple fact that we will not achieve quality outcomes at matric level, if we do not address quality at the foundation phase,” stated Mabizela. “We must acknowledge that some progress has been made. But as a nation, we can do better. And we must do better.”

Producing &

Sustaining

Growing Our

Research &

Attracting

Financial

Profile Internally

Innovation

Excellent Talent

Stability

& Externally

UWC

Offering A

Our Teaching

Our Relevent

takes

Holistic Student

& Learning

pride in...

Experience

Focus

Sense-Making Through Leadership Development


3

News

UWC Welcomes the World!

Exchange and Study Abroad students at their Orientation day

U

WC’s International Relations Office welcomed 60 exchange and study abroad students from the United States, Norway, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands during their orientation, which took place at the New Life Science building, on 23 January 2013. The orientation served as an opportunity for the exchange students to get a sense of UWC culture, to get to know one another and to gain important information about South Africa as well as to learn about how to prosper as students. These students were officially welcomed by the University’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian O’Connell, who spoke to them about the challenges affecting the world at large and the importance of finding new ways of thinking in order to adapt to these challenges. Michael Newkirk, a third year Sociology student from Trinity College in the United

States expressed his excitement regarding his first visit to South Africa. “I had no expectations when I came here, I just believed that it would be good for me to experience the different cultures here. I see this as an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Newkirk. Marie Lofstrand, a fourth year Law student from Linköping University in Sweden expressed how impressed she was with the Rector’s presentation. “He has got me excited, he is very inspiring, and he has a lot of energy and will for development and change,” said Lofstrand. UWC is involved in an array of strategic international partnerships in order to enhance global institutional co-operation and research, some of these comprise of consortia such as Erasmus Mundus Action 2 for South Africa (ema2sa), EUROSA and EU-Saturn, among others.

For further information with regards to participating in these, as well as other, partnerships, contact Professor Lorna Holtman, director of Postgraduate Studies, at lholtman@ uwc.ac.za, or Leolyn Jackson, director of the International Relations Office, at ljackson@ uwc.ac.za or on 021959 3827.

Professor Brian O’Connell welcomes the Exchange and Study Abroad students to UWC


4

Orientation 2013

F

First for the Prodehl Family

or many families sending a child to university brings great joy, but for the Prodehl family of Parkwood, sending their daughter, Ghadijah, to university also marks a family milestone and a very special occasion. Ghadijah Prodehl, is the first person in her family to attend university and says that her excitement cannot be matched to any previous experience. “I am so excited - not only am I the first in my family to attend university, but I know many people who have come to UWC and became very successful after finishing their studies,” says the enthralled student. Enrolled for a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (BCom) General, Prodehl says she intends to make her parents and family proud by completing her studies in record time. Parents, Ridwaan and Fatima Prodehl, accompanied by Ghadijah’s aunt, Ilam Williams, says that their daughter has always been destined for great things. “She was never troublesome. She grew

Parents Ridwaan and Fatima Prodehl, with their daughter Ghadijah Prodehl, accompanied by aunt Ilam Williams on the first day of Orientation up in a supportive home where education is taken seriously and from early schooling she always had good grades,” says Ridwaan. Prodehl’s mother, Fatima, says she cannot

express with words her feelings regarding the progress of her “little girl”. “She grew up so fast. My little girl has stolen my heart,” says Fatima.

First year students excited about University despite financial constraints

T

Former learners of Luhlaza High School, Sibongiseni Poltex and Sipho Ngubentombi, patiently wait for Orientation activities to commence Oliver Mwanda from Khayelitsha ready and set for varsity

he Rector and Vice-Chancellor of UWC, Professor Brian O’Connell, welcomed more than 4000 first year students during orientation. “We can live in uncomfortable situations and make a success out of them,” said O’Connell, encouraging students to give their all to their studies and to make the best of whatever situations they find themselves in. Oliver Mwanda, a former learner at uXolo High School who is joining the University to study Bachelor of Administration (BAdmin), says he chose UWC particularly for its history and contribution to South African politics. When asked who his favourite politician is, Mwanda

says: “I am – I’ll be the first politician to inspire and work for the people; especially the South African youth. My main objective will be to develop the townships so people can have better lives.” Also excited and overwhelmed were Sibongiseni Poltex and Sipho Ngubentombi, who both live in Makhaza and were learners at Luhlaza High School. Despite the fact that these youngsters have no financial assistance, they are eager to study. “We will let nothing stand in our way,” says Ngubentombi. These students want to encourage other youngsters in and around Khayelitsha to work hard regardless of the challenges they are faced with. Ngubentombi lost his father in 1996 and his mother in 2006. He has enrolled for a BSc in Applied Maths and Stats. Just like his peers Mwanda and Poltex, he has applied for assistance to the National Students Finincial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Producing &

Sustaining

Growing Our

Research &

Attracting

Financial

Profile Internally

Innovation

Excellent Talent

Stability

& Externally

UWC

Offering A

Our Teaching

Our Relevent

takes

Holistic Student

& Learning

pride in...

Experience

Focus

Sense-Making Through Leadership Development


5

Orientation 2013

Top Eastern Cape learner ready to tackle Varsity Lerato Rapulungoane (in the blue dress) making new friends during Orientation

Chasing their dreams

F

or many people, leaving their homes to pursue their goals is often a scary thought, but for young Mpho Maribe of Calabrie and Lerato Rapulungoane of Merriespruit in Virginia, Free State, that thought proved to be one of adventure. Both eighteen years of age and from different parts of Virginia, these young adults have ascertained that nothing can stand in the way of achieving their dreams. “It has been my long-time dream to study at UWC, because when I used to live in Cape Town (until 2005) many of the graduates in our community of Langa came from UWC. Even though I was younger at the time, I could tell how passionate the students from this institution were, because they kept talking about their assignments and projects,” says Maribe. Maribe has enrolled for the Bachelor of Administration (BAdmin) programme and says that he is glad to have come of age, and that he will strive to inspire others like he has been inspired by those who preceded him. “It will not be difficult for me to adapt because I have lived here (Cape Town) before, but I am just happy to be here (at UWC) finally,” he says. Rapulungoane says that after she had attended the 2012 Open Day at UWC, she knew she had to study here. “I wanted to be far from home, so that I could also learn to stand up for myself. I have enrolled for a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (BCom). I like Cape Town and I know I will be happy here,” says Rapulungoane.

Overwhelmed Luvo Bomvana listens to his peer facilitator on his first day of Orientation

O

ne of the top students in the Eastern Cape has joined UWC in 2013. Luvo Bomvana, former learner at Freemantle High School in Lady Frere, is simultaneously excited and overwhelmed. During orientation, Bomvana felt at ease and asked questions regarding matters he was not sure about. Bomvana was a top performing matric learner in the Lady Frere District for 2012. Because of his drive, passion and hard work towards his academic endeavours, he received a bursary at the Eastern Cape MEC of Education Awards, in January 2013, towards his tuition fees. Bomvana grew up in a village called Bhomeni, situated in Lady Frere on the out skirts of Queenstown. He comes from a family of five and his parents are both unemployed. Bomvana would like to be an Economist one day and has enrolled at the University to study Bachelor of Administration (BAdmin). “Bomvana has the potential to be whatever he wants to be in life. He is a very quiet young man who is focused on his studies. It would be unfortunate if he does not take advantage of the opportunities Luvo Bomvana patiently waiting to be shown presented to him,” says Bomvana’s former around campus principal, Godfrey Madliwa.


6

Orientation 2013

From herd-boy to academic: The Story of Luyanda Dyasopu

A

third year Bachelor of Science student at the University )of the Western Cape (UWC) who lost his family at a young age is committed to changing the lives of high school learners who have similar challenges to those he faced before relocating to Cape Town. Luyanda Dyasopu, from Engcobo, matriculated in 2007 from Mzikayise Dalasile Senior Secondary School situated in his home town. However, he could not afford to further his studies due to financial constraints. His mother died when he was in Grade 6, and his father a year later. Dyasopu and his eleven cousins were subsequently raised by his grandmother. “Growing up was tough,” he says, “Because I was the only one of the children who went to school and even though we did not have food sometimes, I had to complete my household chores, which included herding the cattle and the sheep.” He had applied for a student bursary in 2007 and his application was approved. However, due to financial difficulty, he was unable to enrol at university - he could not afford to pay the application fee as well as the registration fees. “Granny was a pensioner, so she could not afford to take care of all of us and still send me to university at the same time.” He then got a three month contract to work at a hospital as a researcher where he earned money and could now help his granny maintain the household. Dyasopu recalls that his mother’s last request before she passed away, right before his eyes, was for him to remain strong and respectful. He decided to apply to university once more in 2010; he came across UWC while browsing through the different prospectus for various institutions. “I was impressed by the colours, the photographs and just about everything on the prospectus, so I thought I should try my luck again.” “It was a happy day when I found out that I had been accepted at UWC.” However, his excitement was quickly dampened by the fact that he still did not have money to get to Cape Town. “I was very excited

Luyanda Dyasopu sharing a few laughs with fellow peer facilitators about going to Cape Town and I did not think about everything else. I am a Christian and I believed my faith would guide and sustain me.” He managed to raise the money in order to travel to Cape Town. “Everything was awesome here, but a sad thing happened. Only a few minutes after I got off the phone with my granny to tell her about my journey to Cape Town, another call came in to inform me of her passing. The eleven cousins with whom he had shared his granny’s house returned to their parents. “I had problems throughout my first year of tertiary education, because I had no money for food, toiletries and no pocket money to speak of. Luckily, I had explained my situation to many people and the Financial Aid Office at the University was able to assist me with all my fees.” During his first year, Dyasopu had to deal with his financial situation, the loss of his guardian and his academic career. “The big problem I had was getting stationery and textbooks. “My situation was worsened, because sometimes I did not have any food, so my concentration levels were affected. A Life Sciences lecturer referred me to a therapist so I could get help and improve my marks.” Dyasopu is now involved in the Achievers

Alleviation Programme at UWC, which is aimed at matriculants in the UWC vicinity and offers counselling and advice to prospective students who may be facing a similar situation. “I feel better now, because I no longer have problems with food and such things. I know many people now and some, including my lecturers, have been helping me with food and other daily necessities.” Dyasopu participated in this year’s orientation programme by volunteering to be a Peer Facilitator (PF) for first year students. He says that it felt great to share his story with others. “UWC is a diverse community and all we do here is for the betterment of the country. I tell these first year students my story as a means to motivate them, not because I want pity. My grades are looking good, and I hope I can get a nice job someday to refurbish the home that my parents left for me.” Dyasopu believes that it is not a person’s past that should determine who the person is, but rather the ambitions and the goals he sets for himself. “I am in my final year now and regardless of how bad my situation was when I got to UWC, I will work very hard to ensure that my children and their children learn to respect people as I do that way they will go far in life,” says Dyasopu.

Producing &

Sustaining

Growing Our

Research &

Attracting

Financial

Profile Internally

Innovation

Excellent Talent

Stability

& Externally

UWC

Offering A

Our Teaching

Our Relevent

takes

Holistic Student

& Learning

pride in...

Experience

Focus

Sense-Making Through Leadership Development


7

Orientation 2013

Students from rural Eastern Cape School beat the Odds to enrol at UWC (From left) Landile Cibini, Tshepo Wana, Olwethu Melane and Ntembiso Mpumlo try to find their way during Orientation

A

nother academic year has begun with different students from different places. Joining UWC this year are: Landile Cibini, Ntembiso Mpumlo, Tshepo Olwethu Melane, Mathapelo Klaas and Tshepo Wana from Ncedisizwe Senior Secondary School in Centane, Eastern Cape. Among the thousands of first year students who were overwhelmed and excited, a group of students from the rural village of Centane, near the wild coast of Transkei, were dazed by the glitz of the big city.

These students left their homes in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families. Their maths teacher, Mr Phibion Ngwadzayi, helped them with the application process. They were ecstatic after receiving letters stating that their applications had been successful. All of the students come from homes with unemployed parents and some have lost their parents. Despite the environment they come from, they have attained good maths and science marks.

These students have applied for the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and are awaiting a response. Regardless, of the challenges these youngsters have faced, they are determined to work hard and to make a success of their lives. Wana’s mother passed away during orientation week. However, this will not deter him from achieving academic success; he is determined to work hard and in doing so he will bring honour to the memory of his mother.

Like Father, like Daughter…

H

itesh Prag’s return to UWC for the 2013 Orientation Programme brought him both fond and sad

Although the conditions for students were challenging at that time, Prag persevered and obtained his degree in pharmacy in 1990. He was capped by memories. none other than the late Professor Jakes As a student at the University Gerwel. between 1985 and 1990, ¬at the After graduation his career blossomed height of Apartheid, the campus was and Prag established his own pharmacy, quite different to what it is today, called Vita-care in the Strand. he says. There was no Main Hall, His success has inspired his daughter, the Library building was still under Ashna Prag, to follow in her father’s construction, and most parts of the footsteps. She enrolled, this year, to Alumnus Hitesh Prag and his daughter, Ashna Prag campus grounds were covered with wildpursue a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree growing bush. (BPharm) at UWC, her father’s alma mater. “There was only one entrance then, the one on Modderdam Road, However, unlike her father, when he had registered and was forced to and the police used to barricade it and fire teargas at us,” Prag recalls. find his own way around the campus grounds, Ashna, along with thousands Now a well-known and respected pharmacist in Cape Town, Prag of other first-year students, were properly inducted into the university remembers his friend and UWC residence occupant, Dr Allan Boesak, community. The 2013 orientation programme was geared towards hosting political rallies in order to encourage activism among students. successfully integrating new students, which ensured that students were Sport was popular among students, Prag recalls, with squash being one taken on a guided tour around the campus grounds and facilities, so that of the favourite pastimes. they were able to get a feel of what life at UWC entails.


8

Orientation 2013

Teaching is a Passion “Studying Education should be a passion, not a last resort,” says UWC First Year

Rashaad Hoosain will realise his dream of completing a Bachelor of Education at UWC

R

ashaad Hoosain, from Brooklyn, Cape Town, has made his family proud by becoming the first in his immediate family to attend university. He has enrolled for the first year BEd programme at UWC to realise his dream of completing a Bachelor of Education Degree. Last year, Rashaad graduated from Star International High School, situated in Athlone, with top honours. It was here where his passion for the passing on of knowledge was established, nurtured and set in stone. “My passion for teaching and helping others started when I tutored Mathematics to Grade 8, 9 and 10 pupils. The amazing thing about teaching others is that the tutor also learns a lot during the process,” he says. Rashaad passed matric with flying colours, earning distinctions in

Afrikaans, Life Sciences (Biology) and Life Orientation. He expresses that his aim in becoming an educator is about more than just the passing on of knowledge, it is about creating a legacy for future generations. He hopes to complete his aforementioned degree and to begin his career within the community of Athlone, where he previously attended high school. “I want to make a difference here, so that children who lack positive role models can become inspired to be better, and inspire others,” Rashaad says. Rashaad is positive about achieving his degree and would like to uplift, not only, the Athlone community, but the broader South African community, as a whole, through education. “Many children in this community lack proper guidance and positive role models

in their lives. I want to become a teacher that will change the way things are in our communities,” he says. When asked what he enjoyed most about orientation, Rashaad responds: “What I enjoyed most about orientation was the welcoming speech of my new Rector, Professor Brian O’Connell. His words inspired me to become an agent of change, and I believe that together with this institution, I can make our country a better place.” Rashaad’s determination and inspiration stems from the death of his father, who passed away in May, last year. “My dad was the person I looked up to the most - he did everything he could to provide me with a good education, and with the help of UWC, I will make him proud,” says Rashaad.

Producing &

Sustaining

Growing Our

Research &

Attracting

Financial

Profile Internally

Innovation

Excellent Talent

Stability

& Externally

UWC

Offering A

Our Teaching

Our Relevent

takes

Holistic Student

& Learning

pride in...

Experience

Focus

Sense-Making Through Leadership Development


9

Science

SANBI facilitates low-cost HIV drug resistance testing

T

he introduction of HIV antiretroviral therapy programmes in Southern Africa has substantially reduced the burden of infection in HIV-positive individuals. In fact, the 2012 UNAIDS report estimates that as many as 14 million lives have been saved as a result of the rollout of such programmes throughout the world. There is, however, a problem facing the continued success of ARV therapy programmes: the emergence of viral resistance to ARVs. To date, no cost-effective HIV drug resistance test has been available for routine use in South Africa and other countries suffering from a high burden of HIV infections. Recent advances in DNA sequencing has made it possible to offer a more sensitive HIV drug resistance test at a fraction of the cost (as much as a fivefold decrease). The downside of this approach, however, is that these technologies generate a vast amount of data that needs to be analysed and interpreted in a specialised and expensive manner, and are thus not easy to incorporate into routine testing procedures within South African hospitals and clinics, especially in remote and resource-limited settings. The South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) at UWC has a solution. A team led by Professor Simon Travers has developed an easy-to-use computational tool called Seq2Res that can effectively process this data, meaning that the realisation of a cost-effective HIV drug resistance test is now a reality. Seq2Res is being used routinely within SANBI by bioinformatics practitioners. The team has recently received significant funding from the South African Department of Science and Technology to deliver Seq2Res as a web-based application, which will enable researchers and clinicians to routinely and easily process their drug resistance testing data without needing expert assistance. This development is being undertaken in collaboration with partners at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) genotyping units in Tygerberg (Cape Town), the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School (Johannesburg) and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg. SANBI’s Professor Travers said: “The real value of this approach is that it has been developed in a research environment in conjunction with all of the prospective end users in the South African public sector.” When completed, SANBI will present Seq2Res for clinical, research and surveillance use, enabling the establishment of routine HIV drug resistance testing in Southern Africa.

The SANBI HIV drug resistance team

One of the things that make HIV so dangerous is that it’s a virus with a high degree of genetic variability and a high mutation rate. As a result, viral populations can swiftly evolve to evade the immune system, and also to be tolerant of antiretroviral drugs.

UWC Nanoscience student hangs out with Nobel Prize winners

L

ast year, UWC Materials Nanoscience PhD student Zebib Yunus Nuru was one of the elite young scientists who was invited to attend the 62nd annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, a week of lectures, discussions and social activities that took place in the small town of Lindau in southern Germany. Each year, the conference allows budding young researchers to meet Nobel laureates in a particular field of research. In 2012 the meeting focused on Physics, and was attended by 27 recipients of the Nobel Prize for Physics and 592 junior physical scientists from 69 countries. Topics discussed at the meeting included cosmology and particle physics, dark matter and supersymmetry, the future of physics, climate change and alternate energy sources. Zebib’s research, undertaken under the supervision of Professor Chris Arendse and iThemba Labs, focuses on multilayer solar absorber materials for high temperature applications - Zebib synthesises and tests

materials that are combined so as to absorb solar energy more efficiently. “I’m interested in working in the field of nanotechnology, particularly as it is applied to solar energy solutions, because of the global energy crisis that we now face,” she explains. “I deal with solar energy because it’s available everywhere, it’s environmentally friendly, and it’s free of charge. South Africa enjoys more than 2500 hours of sunshine a year, so it is worthwhile to work on nanomaterials for solar energy applications.” Not only did she get to attend lectures (not all of which she could understand fully, naturally) by such renowned laureates as James Watson Cronin, Robert Laughlin, who received the 1998 Nobel Prize and William Daniel Philips, she even got to talk shop with them. “I had a few conversations with James Cronin, and I was so inspired by his personality. He was keen to find out about my background and my current research interests and projects. He happily shared a number of wise words with me that will help me to carry

on my research and to achieve further success in my career.” Zebib is continuing her work at iThemba Labs, and is still excited that she gets to fabricate or synthesise material in the lab and to study its physical, chemical, optical and other properties at the nanoscale. “I don’t know where I’ll be in ten years,” she says. “Hopefully I’ll be leading a research group somewhere, still working on materials science. I’m very comfortable with experimental work, now that I know I have a talent for that. I’d also like to teach at a university level, to advise and supervise and offer my knowledge to others.”

Want to learn more about the Nobel Laureates in Lindau meetings? Website: http://www.lindau-nobel.org Blog: http://www.lindau.nature.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!lindaunobel Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ LindauNobelLaureatesMeeting


10

Science

IUPAC award-winning chemistry Fundi at UWC

“A

Chemistry PhD student Waheed Saban alongside his award winning poster

UWC hosted the launch of the National Nanoscience Postgraduate Teaching and Training Programme (NNPTTP), a collaborative initiative between the University of the Western Cape (UWC), the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of the Free State (UFS), the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the Department of Science and Technology in September 2012. The aim of the NNPTTP is to grow the number of South African scientists in the field, and UWC, NMMU, UFS and UJ are now the only institutions to offer a registered MSc Nanoscience degree with specialisation in Nanochemistry, Nanophysics or Nanobiomedical Science.

Established in 1918, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists is composed of national societies, academies of science, and other bodies dedicated to the study of chemistry. IUPAC is the world authority in setting standards for naming chemical elements and compounds, and also has publications in many fields, including chemistry (naturally), biology and physics.

ny truly promising research should aim to improve mankind’s basic necessities.” That’s University of the Western Cape (UWC) chemistry PhD student, Waheed Saban’s, motto - he believes that science, if used correctly and with good intentions, will uplift nations both physically and spiritually. Case in point: Waheed’s current research, under the supervision of Dr Salam Titinchi, focuses on nanotechnology, and involves using magnetic nanomaterials to remove toxic heavy metals from wastewater - thus producing clean and purified water for humans and the environment. Heavy toxic metals (lead, zinc, cadmium and others) are a waste product of a high-tech society, but can be a serious problem when recycling waste water, and especially when they enter the human body. Waheed has devised a method for the synthesis and development of robust nanostructured materials with highly active surfaces that can trap or destroy even minute quantities of these toxic elements. The magnetic nanostructures can be easily separated after purification using a permanent external magnet. Waheed had the opportunity to present his research at the XXIV International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists (IUPAC) Symposium on Photochemistry held at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, from 15 to 20 July last year. One of the world’s most prestigious conferences, the event was attended by over 600 participants from 53 countries, and explored how photochemistry is employed in very different areas, from solar cells to the manipulation of nanostructures, to the restoration of art, and many more. As the only South African at the symposium, Waheed was honoured to attend. “It was a great opportunity for me to travel abroad and to share my research with renowned international academics, young

and old,” he says. But that meant that the pressure was on: “I worked hard to obtain good results, so that I could showcase some of my research at this prestigious event.” His hard work paid off when his poster, “Magnetic nanostructure for removal of heavy metals from waste water”, was awarded the Best Poster Presentation, out of over 400 presenters, emphasising how UWC and South Africa are at the forefront of nanotechnology research. “I was approached by senior members of IUPAC and top academics from various European countries,” says Waheed, “and I was humbled by the way they complimented my research. They made me feel that the impact of research in South Africa cannot be ignored.” Waheed made the most of his time in Coimbra. “It’s a very beautiful city, peaceful and tranquil, with many ancient buildings. I visited many places, some being very old and traditional - Coimbra University is the third oldest university in Europe - and some being very modern - like the research labs and the extremely efficient public transportation network.” Waheed will be presenting a followup poster, “Functionalised magnetic nanoparticles for heavy metal removal from waste water”, explaining how some of his research has progressed, it will be showcased at the upcoming IUPAC Workshop and Conference on Macromolecules & Materials in Stellenbosch. Waheed is still enjoying his work (“I am still continually amazed by what chemistry allows us to do”), but he is already planning for what he’ll do once he completes his PhD. “My ultimate goal in this long journey is to take the knowledge and skills I have acquired over the years and to plough it back into our communities, so that I can make a contribution to research and also to the development of our young potential scientists.”

Nanoscience is the study of and development of materials at the nanometre scale (about 1/1000th the diameter of a human hair). This knowledge is applied in nanotechnology and the development of nanomaterials – materials with at least one external dimension in the 1-100 nanometre size range.

Producing &

Sustaining

Growing Our

Research &

Attracting

Financial

Profile Internally

Innovation

Excellent Talent

Stability

& Externally

UWC

Offering A

Our Teaching

Our Relevent

takes

Holistic Student

& Learning

pride in...

Experience

Focus

Sense-Making Through Leadership Development


11

Sport

We’ll make you proud, says UWC Vice-Captain Fred Muller

F

NB UWC Vice-Captain, Frederick Muller who is playing for the UWC squad for the third consecutive year, wants to help take the team to Varsity Shield success. The talented scrumhalf, who has never played competitive club rugby before, says that UWC is the perfect place for a young player to develop into a strong, well rounded rugby player. “I remember my very first game I played for UWC. It was against Macassar RFC, and it was not my best. I had eight stitches in my head after the game. I was a bit nervous after that incident, but my team mates motivated and supported me through that time as a rookie,” says Muller. Muller echoed the sentiments of his coach, Peter de Villiers, and Rugby Manager, Mandisi Tshonti, in saying that UWC has what it takes to top the 2013 FNB Varsity Shield Competition. “We want to win and it is possible to reach this goal. We have talented new players and the combination of new and old is what makes the difference in winning this competition,” he says. Muller adds that having Peter de Villiers as a coach is fantastic. “He knows his game and there has been a definite improvement since his arrival.” De Villiers who also played as a scrumhalf when he was younger, motivates Muller to be the best in his position. “One of the outstanding things De Villiers taught me is to be strong in my role and to be a good link between the forward and the backline players,” says Muller. On 17 January 2013, UWC faced the World Champion South African Under-20 side (Baby Boks) at the Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch, and lost 65-7. Despite the loss, Muller believes that this game served as valuable preparation. “Even though we lost, I believe we played well. We dominated in the first 30 minutes of the match. We learnt that making crucial tackles can change a game and we will use this to play well in the Varsity Shield,” he says. Muller says that crowd support also plays a vital role in their performance. “Please come and support us; we will make this University proud when we lift the Varsity Shield,” says Muller. Vice-captain Fred Muller in conversation with rugby director Peter De Villiers, at a practice session before the opening match

(Above) FNB UWC vs FNB TUT go head to head in the exhilarating opening match of the Varsity Shield Tournament (Right) FNB UWC showcase their spectacular defence moves, leaving FNB TUT empty handed

De Villiers fever hits UWC

A

s the head of FNB UWC, Peter de Villiers could not have dreamt of a better start to his career at this institution than the game against FNB TUT Vikings of Tshwane University of Technology, which took place on 28 January 2013. His side surpassed their opponents, with a score of 42-4 in the opening game of the Varsity Shield competition the massive crowd at UWC Sports Stadium was vociferous and supported their team throughout the match. Similarly, the entertainers who were present for the festivities didn’t disappoint either. It was De Villiers’ first game since he resigned from his position as national Springbok coach in 2011. An ecstatic De Villiers described the victory against TUT as bigger than the Boks triumph over the mighty All Blacks of New Zealand, while he was still at the helm. “We played against a respected side with more talented players and better physiques than us, but we beat them,” he said after the game. Although the Pretoria side enjoyed territorial advantage in the first half, with the wind at their backs, they couldn’t break through UWC’s strong defence and entered the half time break with a meagre 4-2 lead. Whatever De Villiers told his men at half time worked, as the home side came back into the game fired up with right lock, Mthetheleli Fuzani touching the line within two minutes. While Fly half Charl van Vollenhoven, who enjoyed a remarkable 100% conversion rate, did not make the mistake of putting the ball over to make the score 10-4. Frederick Muller sent the fervent home crowd into raptures when he extended UWC’s lead to 14 points by scoring an opportunistic converted try before left winger, Minentle Mthethwa brilliantly ran down the line, sidestepping the last defender, before touching down for a third try. Right centre Kenwin Weiner wrapped up the bonus points by grabbing five points, which shot the homes side to the top of the log standing. FNB UWC’s next game will be against the University of Fort Hare in Fort Beaufort on 18 February 2013.


12

Sport

Beauty pageant tests students’ personalities

S

hervonne Reent describes herself as a vibrant girl who wants to make an impact wherever she goes. Her enthusiasm and gusto is evident from the activities she is involved in at UWC – she is a netball player, has served as the secretary general of the University’s Netball Club, and is a coach for the Club’s third team. These sort-after qualities are what set her aside from the rest of the competition when she won the inaugural Miss Varsity Shield pageant last year. “That’s how I got to be Miss Varsity Shield 2012; I was so involved at the University in comparison to other girls,” Reent explains ahead of the start of this year’s contest. Miss Varsity Shield is a contest between the five universities competing for the Varsity Shield rugby title. The competition includes UWC, the University of Fort Hare, the Tshwane University of Technology, the Central University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The winner of the pageant gets her modelling career propelled forward, along with impressive prizes and tons of publicity. However, the Piketberg-born, 22-yearold Reent, who grew up and still lives in Kraaifontein, warned aspiring Miss Varsity Shield contenders that the contest is not only about winning or about beauty, height and weight. It’s about your personality and what you do for your University, she says. “You can have all the looks, but if you don’t do

Miss Varsity Shield 2012, Shervonne Reent, addresses the crowd at the UWC Sports Orientation anything for your University, it’s not going to work,” Reent noted. “It’s about creating and leaving a legacy, the prizes you win are just extras.” As the reigning Miss Varsity Shield, Reent, who is graduating this year with her BA in Psychology and Afrikaans/Nederlands, will form part of the organising team for this year’s contest, and is co-ordinating this year’s Miss UWC Varsity Shield sub-pageant . The contestants were introduced during the opening Varsity Shield match between FNB UWC and the FNB TUT Vikings on 28 January 2013. Eliminations will take place after every home game, with the judgement taking place in between games.

The finalists and the winner of this year’s Miss UWC Varsity Shield sub-pageant will be announced during the last home game against the University of Fort Hare on 25 March 2013. She will then represent UWC in the national contest. This year’s contestants are Melissa Meyer, Faith Poonah, Hen-Lin Titas, Samantha Dyani, Anathi Sigadla, Noloyiso Fondini, Aziphele Bhekele, Lauren Lubbe, Candice McKlevey, Tyla Augustine, Notolene Gwacela, Tina Willard, Kayla Provins, Zizo Songelwa, Andisiwe Mfingwana and Nalika Naidu. Reent advises the contests to stay positive, to enjoy themselves and to use this as a learning curve.

FNB UWC supports Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, with its Pink Shorts campaign

2013 FNB Varsity Shield fixtures at UWC Stadium Monday, 28 January 2013: FNB UWC vs FNB TUT Monday, 11 February 2013: FNB UWC vs FNB UKZN Monday, 04 March 2013: FNB UWC vs FNB CUT Monday, 25 March 2013: FNB UWC vs FNB UFH

U

WC showed that it is not all about rugby during the 2013 FNB Varsity Shield tournament by choosing to support a worthy cause. The Pink Shorts campaign has been successful in highlighting the plight of violence against women and children to the younger generation of South Africa. Through this campaign the FNB Varsity Cup, in collaboration with UWC, wants to use rugby as a platform and create awareness regarding the abuse of women and children in South Africa. Each Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield participating team has been allocated a funding donation, which will be awarded to a charity of their choice. However, the charity should be specifically dedicated to caring for those affected by violence and abuse.

FNB UWC will support the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, engaging with the Centre through volunteering their time: this will include assisting the Centre with any maintenance related projects for which they may require assistance. FNB UWC will also extend invitations to home games to the residents at the Centre throughout the year. As a Pink Shorts initiative, UWC will auction four large pink rugby balls which have been autographed by the FNB UWC squad, in aid of raising additional funds for the Centre. The Rugby Club is not the first UWC division to engage with the Saartjie Baartman Centre. The UWC Gender Equity Unit has a longstanding relationship with the Centre, through advocacy and training workshops. This opportunity will be great platform to strengthen the existing partnership between the Centre and UWC.

UWC MEDIA OFFICE Do you have any important UWC stories to share? Do you know of an event on campus that you’d like to see featured? Have you heard of UWC alumni who’ve done amazing things, which you think the world should know about? Or maybe you have a few suggestions, comments or questions about something in this newsletter? Whatever the case may be, the UWC Media Office would really like to hear from you. Just email us on ia@uwc.ac.za , call us on 021 959 3637, or drop by our offices. UWC

Offering A

CONTRIBUTORS takes Holistic Student Matthews Mfubu pride in... Nastasha Crow

Our Teaching

& Learning Focus Experience Notukela Mzilikazi

Aidan Van Den Heever

Our Relevent

Producing &

Attracting Myolisi Gophe Excellent Talent Innovation

Research &

Yolanda Makosi

Sustaining

Growing Our

Financial

Profile Internally

Nicklaus Stability Kruger & Externally Luthando Tyhalibongo

Sense-Making Through Leadership Development


On campus issue 1 2013