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ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT

2012


Focusing on research that is making a diFFerence


CONTENTS 6

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Message froM the rector Prof Jonathan Jansen

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Ufs research at a glance

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Message froM the Vice-rector: acadeMic Prof Driekie Hay

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Making research news

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research that is Making a difference ...

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contact Us

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› In the fight against ill health and disease

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› To building a safe and just society

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› To understanding our past and building our future

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› To education at all levels

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› To our economy

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› To ensuring food security

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› To managing our natural resources

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› To harnessing technology for industry


WELCOME

ReseaRCh that makes a diffeRenCe is, and has to be, boRdeRless.

Prof Jonathan

o

Jansen

Vice-Chancellor and Rector

ne of the most powerful ‘turns’ in social and scientific research in recent times has been a concern with research that makes a difference. Whether it is evidence-based policy-making or practitioner-led research or public interest research or impact evaluations, there is a determined push for research to directly address the most compelling problems facing the planet today. Such pressing problems range from climate change to cultural conflicts to cross-border human migrations to food security to improving schools. The costs of research strain national budgets and the demand for more governmental money invariably comes with more stringent accountability questions like—will this research make a difference?

The University of the Free State is at the centre of the global quest for greater relevance in the research enterprise. The five research clusters, for example, embody our ambition to address serious problems like water supply in arid areas and sustainable crops—issues of deep concern not only in central South Africa but across the world. Our large-scale school change project draws on our own cutting-edge research in education to inform and direct change in some of the most dysfunctional schools in the country. Our health systems research brings together theory, research and practice to address problems at the interface of transdisciplinary (social science and medicine, for example) inquiry. Even our research in astronomy comes with major investments in scientific literacy that open up new universes to scientists and children alike. Our work in legal research addresses such contemporary problems as modern-day slavery and child prostitution. Our political scientists do ground-breaking work in trying to shed light on current conflicts and conflict resolution in the Arab States. Our theologians and psychologists alike grapple with questions of spirituality and human reconciliation in the aftermath of trauma. And so much more. Research that makes a difference is, and has to be, borderless. That is why so much of our research at the UFS is done with international partners from other parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

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Our emerging scholars are consciously placed alongside leading international researchers in their fields so that we can collaborate on common problems using conceptual and methodological tools that learn from each other. Research for the common good is not, of course, some mindless utilitarianism that reduces all research to toolboxes, instruments and methods. Our research remains richly theoretical and intellectually imaginative; open-ended and blue-sky research often provide the bases for questions that allow for informed application of ideas. Whether in philosophy and ancient texts, or in the agricultural sciences and architecture, this research report contains moving examples of work that is both rich in theory and transformative in practice.

I invite you to read and enjoy these portraits of research that makes a difference in the lives of the young and established scholars of the University of the Free State.


oUr research MUst keeP Making a difference Prof driekie

hay

Vice-Rector: academic

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e are all acutely aware of the numerous challenges the world and South Africa, in particular, are facing. It is no longer only global warming and the energy crisis that dominate the agendas of governments, scientific councils and businesses. Equally important are the access to clean water, the intensity and frequency of natural disasters, the spread of disease, access to healthy food, conflicts over natural resources, unplanned consequences of rapid information technology developments, and political stability. Yes, on virtually all public fronts we are looking at a significant shift in the challenges humanity faces. What we need are active, engaged researchers who take coresponsibility for the changes that must occur, and who hold public and private institutions accountable for a transparent, fair, forward-thinking agenda. Therefore, in a true democracy dysfunctional governments and failed states should not be tolerated as they prevent personal and national growth. That is why I am excited about the research done at the UFS: our researchers address issues that matter to all of us – food, water, biotechnology, health, poverty reduction, education that changes lives, and helping our society to heal the wounds of our past. What greater national priority can there be than to educate and empower our youth and give them the chance of a life of hope, a life of purpose, a life of opportunity and a life of intellectual fulfillment?

Louis Pasteur asserts “science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world”. May that also be our researchers’ aspirations to prepare for a future that is inextricably linked to the continent and the rest of humanity. We are proud of you all – may your research change lives and your mentorship become your legacy.

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MAkINg A DIFFERENCE

research that is Making a difference

Dr glen

taylor

senior director: Research development

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s we look back on our research endeavours in 2012 we can do so with no small measure of satisfaction and pride. Research at the University of the Free State continues to grow from strength to strength. This, despite the numerous challenges facing higher education nationally and internationally. These challenges bring about change and this change is taking place much more rapidly than in the past. Institutions that embrace and introduce change that fosters renewal, innovativeness and adaptability to new developments, are those that will continue to lead in the future. At the University of the Free State, we have introduced a number of changes with the aim of improving the quality of research, increasing research productivity, driving innovation more proactively, while also emphasising research uptake and supporting research that makes a difference. Research that makes a difference is more likely to strengthen the foundation on which an institution’s resilience and innovativeness are forged. Striving for relevance does not mean that the pursuit

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of excellence and greatness is compromised. Research that makes a difference enhances the transmission of knowledge without constraining researchers in their pursuit of scholarly enquiry. These are inevitably functions that are central and fundamental to higher education. Our researchers are making a difference through excellence and engagement, providing creative, evidence-based solutions where they are most needed. In this report we have purposely focused on providing a sample of the UFS research endeavours that illustrates how we seek to be relevant to society – grounded in a deepening understanding of the myriad challenges we face, while at the same time highlighting some of the innovation, creativity and professional excellence of our researchers. Ranging from developing state of the art technologies for industry to being a voice for the most vulnerable in our society, our researchers are truly making a difference and changing lives! It is impossible to capture every single research project in a report of this nature, and selection is always a difficult task. But, as you read on in this report, you will get a flavour of some of our research across the full spectrum of disciplines at the UFS. To understand the University’s performance we have also included some statistical information as well as a portfolio of some of the stories that made the news in 2012.


making a difference... In the fIght agaInst Ill health and dIsease

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HEALTH AND DISEASE

Biosensors Bringing BreakthroUghs in the fight against disease In his search for biosensors it seems that Prof Lodewyk kock is prepared to go to the ends of the earth – in 2011 it was the Amazon and in 2012 Mount Everest.

lodewyk kock searching for biosensors on mount everest.

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image on the left: Yeast cells that have been exposed with the new nanotechnology for biology called auger architectomics. here the gas bubbles can be seen as dark red holes inside the yeast. image on the right: a bioassay plate showing yeasts changing to yellow when in contact with sub-lethal doses of the antimalarial drug, chloroquine. This shows that this gold standard

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biosensor is an analytical device, used for the detection of an analyte that combines a biological component with a physicochemical detector. Biosensors are yeasts that undergo a colour change when in contact with compounds with, amongst others, antifungal, anti-cancer and anti-malarial activity as well as compounds that enhance fertility. A multidisciplinary research group at the UFS is undertaking groundbreaking work that will force other academics doing research in biology and medicine to sit up and take notice. A virtual tour on their work is available at: http://vimeo.com/user6296337/videos kock’s group is doing work on biosensor architectomics, aimed at uncovering new cell structures, biosensor development as well as screening for new drugs. Human beings consist of millions of minute cells that are invisible to the eye. The nanotechnology team at the UFS have developed a technique that allows researchers to visualise the atomic architecture of cells using Auger electron optics. This novel nanotechnology will bring major benefits to biology and medicine. Part of the breakthrough was done with the Auger nanotechnology called NanoSAM, acquired with funding from the NRF/DST NNEP programme. The UFS team – consisting of Prof Lodewyk kock (Biotechnology), Prof Hendrik Swart (Physics), Prof Pieter van Wyk (Centre for Microscopy), Prof Jannie Swarts (Chemistry), Dr Chantel Swart (Biotechnology), Prof Carlien Pohl (Biotechnology) and Dr Liza Coetsee (Physics) – found that the inside of cells consist of a maze of small tunnels or blisters. Each tunnel is about 100 or more nanometres in diameter – about one ten thousandth of a millimetre – that weaves through the cells in a maze. It was also found that these tunnels are gas bubbles, also referred to as the ‘lungs’ of cells. These ‘lungs’ will appear on the front page of the highly acclaimed and leading FEMS Yeast Research journal for all of 2013. This breakthrough was also presented on invitation as opening and keynote lectures by kock at many international conferences of repute in the USA, Europe and China.

Current paradigms assume that gas bubbles cannot be formed within yeasts although these workhorses of the baking and brewing industries vigorously produce and release CO2. Research undertaken by the team shows that yeasts produce gas bubbles, which fill a significant part of the cell. The missing link between intracellular CO2 production by glycolysis and eventual CO2 release from cells has therefore been resolved. This new nanotechnology can assist in the study and development of nanomedicine that can be used in the treatment of cancer and other life threatening diseases. The Mayo Clinic, in particular, is presently working with the UFS to study cancer cells in more detail in order to fight this disease. The National Cancer Institute of America has also shown interest. With the new nanotechnology developed by the UFS, it will be possible to do nanosurgery on the cells by slicing the cells

for the treatment of malaria is in fact a potent fertility drug. in nanometre thin slices while the working of the nanomedicine is studied. In this way, it can be established where the nanomedicine penetrates and targets the cell. The research on yeast biosensors for novel drugs revealed some interesting findings. Novel targets and drugs are constantly being sought to effectively combat fungal infections and diseases such as cancer. In this study, the mitochondrion was regarded as such a target. Yeast bio-assays, with the sexual structures serving as sensors, have been developed to select new anti-mitochondrial antifungal and anticancer drugs as well as drugs that may adversely affect human mitochondria and, consequently, health. These bio-assays are derived from the so-called Anti-mitochondrial Antifungal Hypothesis, formulated by Lodewyk kock and co-workers in 2007 and established a link between: (i) yeast sexual reproduction, (ii) the production of 3-hydroxy (3-OH) oxylipins (via mitochondrial β-oxidation), (iii) mitochondrial activity and (iv) sensitivity towards anti-mitochondrial drugs. Consequently, the sexual structures of yeasts (with high mitochondrial activity) were identified as biosensors to screen for various anti-mitochondrial drugs that can be directed, amongst others, against fungal diseases and cancer without posing a liability to humans. Anti-mitochondrial drugs can switch off the power house (i.e. mitochondria) of cells and in this way combat their growth. Strikingly, these biosensors indicated that chloroquine is a potent promitochondrial drug, which stimulates yeast sexual reproduction. This, together with other studies, has shown that the gold standard for the treatment of malaria is, in fact, also a fertility drug. In addition, these biosensors also showed that some Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), anti-malarial drugs, antifungal and anticancer drugs are anti-mitochondrial and may therefore serve multiple purposes i.e. combat various diseases at the same time. These yeast sensor bio-assays may fast track studies aimed at discovering new drugs as well as their mechanisms and should now be further evaluated for selectivity towards anti-/ promitochondrials, fertility drugs and contraceptives, using in vitro, in vivo, in silico and omics research.

lodewyk kock

department of microbial, biochemical and food biotechnology Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: kockjl@ufs.ac.za

hendrik swart department of Physics

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: swarthc@ufs.ac.za

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” - albert einstein

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HEALTH AND DISEASE

the heart defines the Beginning of life and the end of life

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he Unit for Paediatric Cardiology in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health is currently regarded as one of the best in the country. The Unit treats children from the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and kwaZulu-Natal. Approximately 90% of these children are from the public health sector. Over the

years this department has given a better quality of life to many children with heart defects and illnesses, and is now in a position to improve on this proud record. The installation of the first hybrid Cath Lab with ambient experience in Africa will greatly enhance the expertise in the Unit. This innovative technology will allow a cardiac interventionist to work with a heart surgeon to diagnose and fix a heart problem in the same room and during the same procedure. This means safer care, faster healing and better recovery for patients.

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The UFS is the only training facility for paediatric echocardiography technologists. A recent study in this field undertaken by Stephen Brown, Daniel Buys, Salomi Jacobs and Carri-Lee greig, was the first in Africa as well as one of the largest series in the world. Reference ranges for cardiac measurement are available for adults, children and term infants but the same cannot be said for preterm or small for gestational age (SgA) infants surviving as a result of modern intensive care units. No published data of reference ranges for preterm infants exists for the South African population. Infants with congenital heart disease are twice as likely to be small for their gestational age and these reference ranges may affect clinical management decisions, therapeutic response and prognosis of these neonates. The aim of the research was thus to establish reference ranges for cardiac dimensions and functional values for preterm and low birth weight infants for central South Africa, and compare them with international standards. A total of 290 infants of less than 34 weeks of age and weighing less than 2 500 g at birth, were examined during a twelve-month period by echocardiography during the first 0-28 days of life. Standardised M-Mode, two-dimensional and systolic functional assessments (shortening fraction, myocardial performance (MPI)) were carried out according to the guidelines of the American Society of Echocardiography. Exclusion criteria were applied to any condition affecting the size and functionality of the cardiac system. A longitudinal study was also done to examine changes in these indices over the first month on day 14 and day 28 of life.

Differences existed between some of the average South African infant’s cardiac chambers and international values. The Inter Ventricular Septum (IVS) and Posterior Wall (PW) measured thicker and the Left Atrium larger. This could be due to numerous factors that ought to be investigated further. As a result of this study there are now finally normal reference values for the South African population and this can be compared with international standards. It is a known fact that in the developing world the percentage of premature babies and small for gestation babies is higher than other parts of the world. This study therefore has tremendous significance for all children in sub-Saharan Africa. The findings of this research could form the starting block and baseline for future studies.

stephen Brown

department of Paediatrics and Child health Faculty of Health Sciences Email: gnpdscb@ufs.ac.za

The research produced reference ranges of measurements (means and standard deviations) for 3 weight groups namely: <0.999 g, 1 000 – 1 499g, and 1 500g – 2 500g. The median weight was 1.36 kg (range: 0.69–2.50) with a median gestational age of the 31 weeks (range: 26–38). Eighty seven (29%) of infants were Small for gestational Age (SgA). Dimensions of SgA infants did not differ from other infants of comparable weight. Inter-observer variation was less than 6% and cardiac dimensions increased with increase in body weight. A comparison to international reference ranges showed that interventricular septal and posterior wall thicknesses as well as left atrial dimensions were larger (p < 0.01). It was found that the cardiac dimensions showed a proportionate increase in diameter with an increase in body weight. There were no differences in cardiac dimensions between Small for gestational Age (SgA) versus Average for gestational Age (AgA). gender and race played no role in any functional measurements or with the cardiac sizes. Weight correlated well with Body Surface Area (BSA) and the data suggest that weight only can be used to develop tables for clinical use.

excellence is not a skill. it is an attitude.” - Ralph marston

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HEALTH AND DISEASE

at the heart of the Matter

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esearch programmes in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery can be grouped into three major projects. A community/population focused research and development project, the Acute Coronary Syndrome Surgical Project and lastly, the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Valves for Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; project. The wheels of hope focuses on the diagnostic and treatment aspects of heart and lung conditions as well as training and education programmes in central South Africa. One of these aspects is rheumatic fever (RF), which is a delayed sequel to a throat infection caused by a group A-streptococcus. More than one third of affected children develop carditis, followed

by progressive and permanent valvular lesions, known as rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Over a million people live with rheumatic valvular disease in sub-Saharan Africa. However, in central South Africa no information is available on prevalence rates, feasibility of mass programmes for its detection, or on the adequacy or effectiveness of present methods of secondary prophylaxis. It is suspected that several patients diagnosed as having RF or RHD are not under continuous medical care and are not receiving regular prophylactic treatment. Therefore, the aim of the project is to implement a surveillance programme to acquire information on the overall prevalence of RHD and to assess its load on health care services in central South Africa. The study design is a cross-sectional epidemiological study. grade 10 to 12 learners in schools in Bloemfontein, Welkom, Bethlehem and kimberley are screened for RHD. During each visit the following data are recorded: anthropometric measurements, echocardiography, blood pressure, and O2 saturation. So far 804 learners have been screened (2011-currently) and 42 (6.9%) suspicious echocardiograms were referred to Paediatric Cardiology, UFS. Only three learners had confirmed RHD, none requiring surgery. The study will be closed at an initial 1700 learners and then analysed in collaboration with Prof Jonathan Carapetis from Perth, Australia, an international leader in paediatric cardiac epidemiology. This project is sponsored by John Williams Motors in Bloemfontein, Rosepark Hospital and private contributions from our surgeons.

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The development of a cardiothoracic surgical service in kimberley has been hugely successful. In three years, starting with no service or appointees, three hundred thoracotomies are being done, the echocardiography screening programme has been expanded to more than 4 000 adult cardiology patients a year, and a surgeon, Dr Richard Schulenburg, has been appointed in the Northern Cape to coordinate further development. Retrospective analyses of echocardiography data were presented at the World Health Symposium in Berlin 2012. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 ischemic heart disease will be the most important cause of premature death in the developing world. Several aspects of peri-operative surgical risk factors and management are prospectively recorded. The research project on acute coronary syndrome (acs) commenced in January 2008, has a prospective observational study design and runs until

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the UFS is home to the only homograft bank in South Africa and more than 2 400 valves have been processed and more than 1 600 valves have been implanted in several units in South Africa and in germany. Homografts are valves harvested from cadavers, which are sterilized, processed and then cryopreserved. This is an ideal valve transplant, especially in children with congenital abnormalities of the heart. Unfortunately homografts are also affected by the very active immune system of infants and young people. The basis of degeneration remains immunological in character. Research on homografts resulted in a number of postgraduate degrees and, following on to these studies, the department embarked on decellularisation of homografts, with the prospect of reducing immune-based degeneration of these transplants. This has proven to be effective in several international studies, including human implants. The department is developing its own decellularisation technology and animal testing in the sheep model is eminent. The department is also expanding this technology to other tissue, such as pericardium, to explore this technology. Combinations with gluteraldehyde fixation and anti-mineralization techniques are also being investigated.

the end of 2013. The Department of Health Sciences at the Central University of Technology (CUT) is an active collaborator. Some of the data recorded are patient demographics and risk profiles, biochemical profiles (pre- and post-operative), inflammatory markers (including IL-6 and TNF-Îą, pre- and up to 72hr post-operative), near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS; intraoperative), hemodynamic monitoring, arterial blood gasses, intima media thickness (IMT) and clinical outcomes. To date 320 patients have been recruited for the study. The project, which was funded by the NRF, MRC and the CUT, has made a major contribution towards clinical knowledge, higher degrees, capacity building and skills development. Most importantly, this prospective database on coronary artery surgery linked to detailed biochemical and clinical data, will provide study material for years to come. As mentioned above, Africa is home to the largest rheumatic heart disease population in the world. As rheumatic heart disease also affects younger people, valve substitutes in africa are required across all age groups. Although mechanical valves are very durable, they require anti-coagulation, which makes its safe implantation dependent on access to anti-coagulation monitoring laboratories, which are not widely available. Tissue valves, mainly manufactured from treated porcine valves or bovine pericardium, degenerate or calcify in the younger age groups.

Another approach to artificial valves for the young is to avoid biological tissue altogether by using polyurethane valves. The department is currently developing a dip-molded polyurethane valve for testing in animal models. As part of this project a valve testing and evaluation centre has been developed. This facility can evaluate all aspects of biological and mechanical valve development. This includes pulse duplication, fatigue testing, tensile strength testing and the biological interaction of biological valves. It is envisaged that this will eventually evolve into finite element analyses and fluidics simulation engineering models. The focus of the departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s basic scientific research is valve and tissue development for use in a young African population. It is envisaged that the technology developed in the department, in conjunction with several departments in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS, the CUT and several international institutions, will make a contribution to the well-being of a considerable part of the African heart valve population.

francis smit

department of Cardiothoracic surgery Faculty of Health Sciences Email: smitfe@ufs.ac.za

The way to do research is to attack the facts at the point of greatest astonishment.â&#x20AC;? - Celia Green

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HEALTH AND DISEASE

fighting Bleeding and throMBotic disorders The UFS has a long and distinguished history in haemostasis research. The current research, headed by Prof Muriel Meiring, involves a range of different departments and disciplines, and is aimed at improving the diagnosis of haemostatic complications in disease.

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hrombotic disorders are still a major cause of death in industrialised countries and thrombotic complications in patients with HIV infection or Aids are increasing in developing countries, whereas bleeding disorders largely influence the quality of life of patients and are also a burden on health economics. Unravelling the molecular mechanisms underlying these haemostatic diseases will not only lead to a better understanding thereof, but will also lead to the development of novel drugs for treatment. Many haemostatic disorders are still largely under-diagnosed or even misdiagnosed. The research undertaken by the group aims to improve the diagnosis of haemostatic disorders in our country not only by developing and improving laboratory tests but also by improving cost-effectiveness, in order to provide an affordable service to our patients. Exciting developments during the past year relate to work on the role of microparticles in thrombosis and haemostasis and thrombotic complications in HIV-positive individuals. Many illnesses feature extremes of haemorrhage or thrombosis; von Willebrand factor (VWF) contributes to both kinds of haemostatic emergency. Inherited abnormalities of VWF result in von Willebrand Disease (VWD), the most common bleeding disorder in humans. Despite this high prevalence in the population, the diagnosis and classification are often a challenge. This research aims to improve the diagnosis of haemostatic disorders in our country by developing and commercialising cost-effective laboratory tests for the diagnosis and treatment. Two diagnostic assays are in development. These are for haemostatic disorders such as thrombotic thrombocytopaenic purpura (TTP), a fatal thrombotic disease and VWD, the most common bleeding disorder. The group is the first to

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use human antibodies in assays that are produced by phage display technology (a method that allows rapid production of antibodies). The antibodies will be commercialised. Microparticles are currently a novel and exciting field of haemostasis research. Microparticles can be defined as vesicles formed by the incarceration and release of plasma membranes due to internal cellular processes. The role of microparticles in inflammatory and thrombotic disorders is still not fully understood. We know that endothelial microparticle formation is altered in inflammatory and thrombotic disorders like sepsis, atherosclerosis and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. It is, however, not known if these microparticles are the cause or the consequence of these disorders. The research group studies the effect of inflammatory cytokines and coagulation factors as well as combinations thereof on endothelial microparticle formation and on microparticle VWF and its regulating protease ADAMTS13. They also monitor the microparticle thrombin generation in patients with HIV-associated TTP, cardio-vascular disease and renal dysfunction. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura is a life-threatening disease characterised by microvascular platelet deposition and thrombus formation in selected organs, resulting in microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, thrombocytopenia, neurological symptoms and renal failure. Typically a very rare disorder, TTP is seen with increased frequency in patients infected with HIV. Deficiency of the VWF cleavage protease, ADAMTS13, has been implicated as the cause of TTP. However, the pathophysiology of HIV-associated TTP and the thrombotic potential in these patients are not known. From research conducted by the group, they propose that infection with HIV might trigger the disease through the inflammatory process. Inflammatory cytokines stimulate the release of extreme amounts of VWF. Extremely high levels of VWF were found in the plasma of HIV-positive persons who are not on HAART (highly active anti-retroviral therapy), as well as in TTP plasma. The cytokines also down-regulate the release of the VWF-cleaving protease, of which there were very low levels in TTP plasma. This might be sufficient to cause thrombotic microangiopathy and precipitate an acute episode of TTP even in the presence of normal cleaving protease activity.


An important finding in HIV-associated TTP that differs from acquired TTP is the fact that not all patients present with autoantibodies to ADAMTS13. More specific methods might be needed to identify autoantibodies, especially inhibitory autoantibodies, in these patients. Inhibitory antibodies to ADAMTS13 might also trigger the disease. The research finally showed that neither HIV-infection per se, nor the use of HAART, has any effect on ADAMTS13 levels, making it a useful diagnostic tool to diagnose HIV-positive patients with TTP. The increased tissue factor levels in HIV-positive persons who are not on combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) indicate the thrombotic potential in HIV might also contribute to the initial onset of HIV-associated TTP. Since this elevated risk for coagulation is related to increased tissue factor (TF, thromboplastin) expression in persons with HIV infection,

why hiV treatMent fails This study, funded by the European Union, involved researchers from various departments of the UFS Medical School and was done in collaboration with the MRC, Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies and the University of Pretoria. It aimed to describe the resistance mutation patterns found with HIV treatment failure and to establish a Treatment Failure Clinic at the Centre of Excellence at Pelonomi Hospital for referral of patients experiencing treatment failure. In the case of the latter, all went according to plan, and even exceeded expectations. The facility was expanded to include the rest of the Free State by initiating a ‘virtual treatment failure clinic’ where relevant clinical information is submitted with a blood sample to the UFS Virology Laboratory, and following HIV resistance genotyping, the results are then interpreted by an infectious disease physician and returned to the submitting clinician. This system allows a small number of physicians to provide expert opinion for the entire province. The UFS site has also been involved in developing and implementing a low cost HIV resistance genotyping assay, which is approximately one third of the cost of the one originally used. However, some unexpected results emerged from the study of patients with HIV treatment failure, and the researchers gained a deep insight into the socio-economic impact on the success (or otherwise) of treatment.

the group recognised the potential in tissue factor inhibition as a novel approach to antithrombotic therapy, and utilised phage display technology to develop a 26 kD single chain variable fraction antibody fragment that inhibits the action of human tissue factor. Preliminary studies have shown that this antibody fragment has a stronger inhibition effect on tissue factor than other tissue factor inhibitory antibodies in the literature.

Muriel Meiring

department of haemotology and Cell biology Faculty of Health Sciences Email: gnhmsmm@ufs.ac.za

indication of drug resistance. In terms of failing patients who were switched empirically to second line treatment and who were then referred with treatment failure, less than 9% had any significant resistance to the treatment regimen. Failure on the second line is therefore simply a selection bias for patients who struggle to take their medication correctly. It was thus clear that a sizeable proportion of the patients who were failing were doing so not because the virus was resistant to the treatment, but because of patients not complying with the treatment. This must be seen in the context of the majority of patients functioning in a very challenging environment, in the face of huge unemployment and destruction of social infrastructure. Socioeconomic factors thus emerged as the major driver for patients not complying with treatment and ultimate HIV treatment failure. As a result of these findings there was a shift in terms of the approach of researchers – focusing rather on depression and trying to address socio-economic factors that hinder patients from taking their treatment, rather than on only training the Health Care Workers and analysing complicated research reports. This clearly cannot be the sole responsibility of researchers and academics, but a nation-wide one that needs to be tackled from the highest level.

dominique goedhals

department of medical microbiology and Virology Faculty of Health Sciences Email: gnvrdg@ufs.ac.za

cloete van Vuuren

department of internal medicine Faculty of Health Sciences Email: vanvuurenc@ufs.ac.za

Resistance patterns were similar to those found in the rest of the country and the rest of the world. However, of those patients failing on initial treatment, it was found that 11.5% had no

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

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HEALTH AND DISEASE

confronting diseases of lifestyle

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he Assuring Health for All in the Free State (AHA FS) study aims to determine the influence of lifestyle on the development of chronic diseases (such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease) as well as under-nutrition and HIV/Aids in rural and urban areas in the Free State. The UFS Departments of Nutrition and Dietetics, Basic Medical Sciences, Chemical Pathology, Haematology, and Biostatistics joined forces to conduct the study in almost 1000 households from the rural towns of Trompsburg, Philippolis and Springfontein and urban Mangaung. The study exposed participants to high quality health screening at no cost and the results have provided valuable information about the current health, disease and nutrition situation in the Free State, required to plan relevant health interventions in the province. The AHA FS study confirmed a double burden of disease in the Free State, with high levels of under-nutrition identified in children and high levels of chronic diseases of lifestyle occurring in the adult population. This is probably due to the fact that children who are stunted (low height for age) in childhood are predisposed to obesity in adulthood. One in three children was underweight and more than 40% were stunted, while more than 65% of both rural and urban females were overweight or obese (Body mass index (BMI) above 25 kg/m2). In this sample, the most significant co-morbidity associated with obesity was hypertension, occurring in more than half of adult participants. Various factors influence blood pressure, with especially body weight showing a strong relationship with hypertension. In addition to other indices of obesity, BMI and waist circumference were significantly related to blood

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pressure, supporting weight loss as first line intervention for treatment and prevention of hypertension and its accompanying disease burden in this population. Higher blood pressure levels are generally associated with lower levels of vitamin D and low vitamin D levels have been linked to obesity. Although the majority of participants in this study were overweight or obese, almost 96% had adequate vitamin D status, despite expected low vitamin D intakes. HIV status did not influence vitamin D status directly, but through BMI. The latitude and high levels of sun exposure could have been responsible for the favourable vitamin D status in the participants. Results confirm the inverse relationship between vitamin D status and hypertension reported by other researchers, but found that this relationship seemed to be dependent on BMI in this study population. A nutrition transition was identified with information related to the types and frequency of foods eaten confirming that the diet of participants had changed from the healthier traditional diet low in fat and high in fibre, to a more â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;westernâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; diet higher in fat, sugar and salt. Rural adults and children consumed above daily recommended servings of fats and oils, sweets and sugar, and meat and meat products, and ate fewer fruit and vegetables than their urban counterparts. On the other hand, urban adults and children consumed bread and cereals above their daily recommended servings more often than their rural counterparts. At the time that the study was conducted, less than half of all children had been breastfed. High levels of HIV-infection were identified, especially in the urban sample where more than 40% were HIV-infected compared to 17% in rural areas. Logistic regression was used to select significant independent factors (socio-demography, household food security, dietary diversity, physical activity, anthropometry, reported health) associated with HIV. In this sample, the odds of having HIV consistently decreased as age increased. A lower socio-economic status (indicated by being unmarried [rural and urban], spending very little on food [rural], and food shortage [urban]) increases the odds of having HIV. In addition, the odds of having HIV increased as body fat percentage decreased (rural and urban). The results of this study also confirm the higher prevalence of opportunistic infection and associated symptoms (such as diarrhoea and weight loss) that are reported in other HIV-infected individuals. Indicators related to wasting, previous tuberculosis and a lower socio-economic status (indicated by being female [urban] and


candida alBicans

dr Jekyll or mr hyde?

A unmarried [rural], spending very little on food [rural], and food shortage [urban]) increases the odds of having HIV. A vicious cycle develops, with poverty increasing the likelihood of contracting HIV/Aids and HIV/Aids contributing to poverty. The challenge faced by dieticians and other healthcare workers is to develop appropriate educational and health promoting programmes that will assist in prevention of lifestyle diseases in these disadvantaged communities. Relevant and culturally acceptable nutrition interventions aimed at addressing the double burden of disease in the Free State need to be implemented in an effort to address the high risk of chronic diseases of lifestyle as well as the poor quality of diet identified in this sample. These interventions are currently being implemented as part of the community engagement activities of students. Since overweight, obesity and excessive sodium intake are the major contributors towards hypertension in this study population, interventions focus on preventative strategies that create awareness to promote weight loss and encourage lower salt consumption. In terms of HIV, interventions that focus on poverty alleviation can make a significant contribution to addressing HIV in South Africa. These interventions would ultimately improve food security and nutritional status which, in turn, will assist in preventing weight loss, maintaining high levels of physical activity and quality of life. The social and moral support offered by organisations such as churches is invaluable in the fight against HIV.

corinna walsh

department of nutrition and dietetics Faculty of Health Sciences Email: walshcm@ufs.ac.za

lthough you may not recognise the name, Candida albicans is a yeast with which most women are unfortunately all too familiar. It is part of the normal microbes that everyone carries around and normally behaves very well, growing as single cells. But, like the benign Dr Jekyll, it can turn into the nasty Mr Hyde. Then it starts to form filaments that can invade and damage tissue. From here it can spread via the bloodstream (called candidaemia) and infect almost every organ (a condition known as candidiasis). This is particularly a problem for people with a compromised immune system. Candidiasis is one of the main causes of death in people with Aids. One of the ways this yeast can turn into its Mr Hyde version is by using a fatty acid found in the human body and converting it into a signal for Mr Hyde to come out. This signal is called prostaglandin E2. Interestingly, it is also a signal that the human body can make and recognise. It not only changes Candida albicans from the single cell yeast form to the filamentous form, but it enhances inflammation of the infected human cells and changes the individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immune response to allow Candida to cause disease. Prof Carlien Pohl-Albertynâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s research focuses on trying to decrease the production of prostaglandin E2 by the yeast. One way of doing this is to try to understand how the yeast produces prostaglandin E2, since the yeast enzymes responsible for this are still unknown. If we can figure this out, we may be able to find or make drugs that can stop the yeast from making this signal. The research team also looks at the human fatty acid that is needed by the yeast to make this signal. They found that if they replace it with another almost identical fatty acid, Candida albicans as well as the infected cells are not able to produce prostaglandin E2. In addition, they propose to try to use certain fatty acids as natural antifungal drugs to kill the yeast completely.

carlien Pohl-albertyn

department of microbial, biochemical and food biotechnology Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: pohlch@ufs.ac.za

science is simply common sense at its best; that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.â&#x20AC;? - thomas henry huxley

15


HEALTH AND DISEASE

taking on cancer

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he UFS is currently producing the majority of registered professionals in the field of medical physics, and the department is committed to maintaining its standards and long-term viability through conducting research of an international quality.

The research is focused on quantitative radiation dose determination, which is of central importance in all the contexts of medical physics clinical service delivery – nuclear medicine, radiology and radiotherapy, as well as radiation protection in these three clinical areas. The research involves modelling, measuring, calculating and auditing radiation doses over the three clinical disciplines. In radiation therapy cancer patients are treated with high energy X-rays or electrons. Since these rays can damage healthy and cancerous tissue it is imperative that the radiation treatment of the patient must first be planned to achieve the optimal distribution of radiation dose within the patient. A vital component for accurate radiation dose calculation is an accurate beam model, which is able to replicate the radiation beam produced by the radiation machine. In order to perform accurate absorbed dose calculations of the radiation beams traversing the patient, accurate mathematical models are a requirement. In the Radiotherapy division of the department there is significant expertise in the field of Monte Carlo simulation, and this is used to model and simulate radiotherapy beams, so that radiation treatment planning verification can be done independently.

16

Due to this expertise, the UFS has been selected as a collaborating site for a major cervical cancer research project being run by the MAASTRO research group in The Netherlands. Cervical cancer is the most prevalent cancer to affect women in South Africa – where a woman’s risk of developing this cancer is 1 in 26. The cancer is associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and it also appears to be an opportunistic infection among those living with HIV. Radiotherapy is one of the most important treatment techniques for cervical cancer. In the MAASTRO project, the large numbers of advanced stage cervical cancer patients in South Africa are being linked to the records of early stage cancer patients in The Netherlands so as to better understand the various treatment responses and to attempt to predict these responses using all available data. Research in the field of breast cancer imaging is also being conducted with the development of a course for the training of radiologists reading the images recently resulting in a PhD. Image quality and position is being investigated and a test object, or ‘phantom’, is under development for this purpose. Thus both therapy and imaging research are being conducted in the Department.

william rae

department of medical Physics Faculty of Health Sciences Email: raewid@ufs.ac.za


making a difference... to buIldIng a safe and just socIety

17


SOCIETY

ProViding for the socioeMotional needs of orPhans and VUlneraBle children

T

he number of orphaned children in Africa has grown exponentially over the past two decades â&#x2C6;&#x2019; mainly, though not exclusively, due to the HIV/Aids pandemic. It is estimated that approximately 18 million children in Africa under the age of 18 have been orphaned by HIV/Aids, while between 9% and 12% of South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population

will be orphaned by 2015. The devastating impact of this situation poses significant challenges for primary care services in addressing the mental health needs of orphans.

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given the relative lack of skilled clinicians in lowresource countries like South Africa, as well as a general lack of resources to address mental health needs in South African townships, there is an urgent need for the development of culturally appropriate, reliable and valid diagnostic tools for the early detection of psychiatric disorders as a first step towards successful intervention. Early detection of emotional-behaviour disorders (EBD) implies the identification of such problems before the onset of adolescence, because by the time at-risk children reach adolescence, the challenge in changing their developmental trajectories increases substantially. Research undertaken by a multi-disciplinary partnership involving researchers from the Centre for Development Support at the UFS, the University of Houston in the USA and Stellenbosch University, is focusing on the early detection of emotional-behaviour disorders in pre-adolescent orphans. The team is investigating the criterion validity of a brief and easy-to-administer population screen, and the utility value of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in Sesotho schools to detect children with EBD and the association between orphan type (paternal-, maternal-, double-, and non-orphan) and EBD and orphan status, taking into account factors that may mediate these relationships (poverty and caregiver substance use disorder). A further dimension of the study was the assessment of community-based responses to the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and compared these responses with the actual socio-emotional health of OVC. From the

study it emerged that government funding specifications influence how community-based organisations (CBOs) position themselves, presumably to ensure that they obtain funding. Very little mention of the socio-emotional health of OVC is made in either the government guidelines or in the aims and objectives of the CBOs. To a large extent, the government guidelines seem to suggest that HIV/Aids resulted in socio-economic problems that can be alleviated by ensuring that children and families have access to grants, food and clothing. Although addressing socioeconomic needs is important, the study found no statistically significant relationship between these aspects and the socioemotional health of the OVC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; except for food poverty. Determining the validity of the population screen and its usefulness in elementary schools as context for early intervention and prevention of EBD, in addition to understanding the role of poverty and caregiver substance use disorder in the development of EBD in OVC, will lay the foundation for school-based intervention work and offer much needed direction in targeting current interventions more effectively.

lochner Marais

Centre for development support Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences Email: maraisjgl@ufs.ac.za

Research serves to make building stones out of stumbling blocks.â&#x20AC;? - arthur d little

19


SOCIETY

lawyers need to know science and forensic scientists need to know the law

I

nteractions between science and law can be dated back as far as the Neolithic Age. By the seventeenth century, great scientific contributions by, amongst others, Copernicus, galileo, Newton, and Boyle affected the way the world was viewed and what methods were most appropriate for finding the truth and, specifically, altered the thought processes of the entire literate English society, including English jurists. During the seventeenth century in England, the fields of law and science enjoyed increased awareness of the probability of truth, not the certainty of it. The search for absolute truth was thus replaced by probabilistic hypotheses and assessment of evidence to achieve truth beyond a reasonable doubt.

The interconnectedness of science and law diminished over time as contemporary thinking demanded not only greater specialisation in the profession and its subdivisions, but also a greater autonomy of legal thought and reasoning. Practitioners, scholars and authors held the view that legal reasoning is, and should remain, separate from scientific reasoning. Yet when the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America published a research report in 2009 on the operation and value of forensic science in the criminal justice system, both the scientific and legal communities reeled from the implications of the findings. While DNA evidence is considered to be reliable evidence based on sound scientific foundation, traditional forensic sciences, for instance ballistic evidence, fingerprint evidence and bloodstain pattern analysis, is severely lacking in scientific validity. Locally, police investigators and state prosecutors typically rely on eyewitness testimony in both the detection of crime and to achieve successful conviction of guilty offenders. In addition, DNA evidence has emerged as the golden standard of forensic evidence and much reliance is placed on the results of DNA profiling. However, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable and DNA evidence is not the infallible assurance of certainty it was once thought to be. Evidential rules for the testing of scientific evidence in South Africa is inadequate to ensure the exclusion of ‘junk’ science and some

20

doubt exists whether a judicial system that failed to curb the admission of fallible traditional forensic evidence, could succeed in warranting the validity and reliability of DNA evidence. A study by Jo-Marí Visser examines the historical, and sometimes tumultuous, collaboration between science and law, and clarifies terminological ambiguity and inaccuracy. Moreover, through a process of multi- and inter-disciplinary research, it elucidates several traditional forensic sciences versus the golden standard of scientific evidence, namely DNA fingerprinting, and considers the failures and successes of multi-national approaches to legislative and judicial admissibility and reliability considerations. The study concludes that the immense volume of problems relating to the admission of ‘junk’ science in criminal courts can only be addressed by a renewed and mammoth undertaking of multi- and inter-disciplinary research and education. Lawyers need to know science and forensic scientists need to know the law.

Jo-Marí Visser

department of law of Procedure and law of evidence Faculty of Law Email: visserjm@ufs.ac.za


iMProVing tB Patients’ UPtake of hiV coUnselling and testing

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he Centre for Health Systems Research and Development in the Faculty of the Humanities, has been conducting evaluation research to inform the tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) policies and practices of the Free State Department of Health. University Research Co, LLC, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and Right to Care are collaborating as training partners. The project is funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American International Health Alliance HIV/AIDS Twinning Center, and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). The aim is to improve the relatively low uptake of HIV counselling and testing of TB patients in the province through implementing, evaluating and comparing the cost-effectiveness of three different training and mentoring interventions among professional nurses and community health workers. The project takes the form of a quasi-experiment utilising a pre-post intervention comparative design in four local municipalities -Thabo Mofutsanyane, Dihlabeng, Setsoto and Matjhabeng. Measuring the impact of the training and mentoring interventions include interviews with nurses, community health workers and patients at facilities selected for intervention and control; patientspecific and routine programme statistics are collected at clinics

how to reMedy Breach of athletes’ contracts

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rofessional and amateur sport as a bona fide industry has produced its fair share of contractual disputes based on the fact that the playing of sport is considered ‘service of a very personal nature’. Whilst South African courts have made it clear that the remedy of specific performance is a primary one in South African law, also with relation to services of a personal nature, there is still uncertainty as to when the remedy would be a suitable one. The research undertaken by kenneth Mould for his LLD investigates whether the current problem of athletes and their employers committing breach of contract on an alarmingly recurring basis, can be solved if the remedy of specific performance is provided its rightful place in South African law. The question as to what exactly the ‘discretion of the Court’ entails in this regard, is also investigated. In determining the suitability of the remedy of specific performance, it is important to keep in mind that the remedy may present itself in different forms, such as an interdict. A penalty

as well as costing information. Baseline surveys were completed in 2012, involving 1 100 patients, 45 nurses and 206 community health workers who were interviewed and routine data was collected across 38 clinics in the four sub-districts. Three training and mentoring interventions will be implemented in 2013: training and mentoring of professional nurses in providerinitiated counselling and testing (PICT), training and mentoring of community health workers to encourage and counsel TB patients to undergo HIV testing and to teach them to administer and interpret the HIV rapid test, as well as training and mentoring on both of these models. The project contributes to realising one of the stated aims of the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB (2012-2016), namely to initiate all HIV-positive TB patients, irrespective of their CD4 count, on antiretroviral treatment with immediate effect.

christo heunis

Centre for health systems Research and development Faculty of the Humanities Email: heunisj@ufs.ac.za

clause in a contract may likewise result in a remedy of specific performance, and therefore the nature and function of the interdict and penalty clause must be evaluated. It is necessary to establish once and for all that the rights provided by the Constitution in fact demand that an individual be held bound to a contract into which such an individual had entered into freely and willingly, even if the demanded performance by the party in breach would constitute services of a personal nature, such as the playing of sport. The question that must be answered, however, is whether an athlete could readily be ordered to participate if he or she does not want to do so, or has no motivation at all to do so. It is an academic as well as a practical problem, which the thesis attempts to solve. The problem where professional sports persons do not honour their contracts with their employers is a common one, and the time has come that athletes and their employers, realise that a contract is not just a piece of paper, but a juridical act with the purpose of creating order in the community through the regulation of legal relationships.

kenneth Mould

department of Private law Faculty of Law Email: mouldkl@ufs.ac.za

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” - Zora Neale Hurston

21


SOCIETY

helPing the Most VUlneraBle

C

rime in South Africa is a prominent and perplexing phenomenon, and sexual violence against women and children appears to be on the increase. A total of 71 500 cases of sexual offences were reported to the South African Police Services from April 2008 to March 2009; the reported cases in the Free State for the same period were 4 518. Despite the prevalence of rape, it remains one of the most underreported crimes in South Africa – and is definitely even more so in the case of mentally retarded rape victims. There is growing consensus among mental health professionals that children, adolescents and adults with mental retardation and other forms of mental illness are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation than the general population – due to their life-long dependence on caregivers, relatively powerless position in society, emotional and social insecurities and lack of education regarding sexuality and sexual abuse. People with mental retardation are often sexually stigmatised and are either perceived as asexual, sexually incompetent, possessing uncontrollable libido or perverted sexual habits – resulting in them becoming a target for sexual abuse. Their plight is easily kept secret by perpetrators, sometimes with the victim’s own collusion. The psychological evaluation of mentally retarded rape victims in order to determine their competency to testify in court and to ascertain whether they are capable of consenting to sexual intercourse is challenging - particularly if the rape victim is the sole witness against the accused. Historically, criminal justice systems have regarded people with mental retardation as unreliable witnesses, with memories that are inherently defective, as well as concerns that they are susceptible to suggestion and cannot accurately report events which took place. If the mentally retarded rape victim is not competent to testify and insufficient evidence is available, the case will be dismissed and the perpetrator walks free. Failure to prosecute and convict such offenders would allow for continued abuse, without fear of retribution. The plight of mentally retarded rape survivors remains hidden – with only two related research articles having been published in South Africa. This is compounded by the criminal justice system. One of the major difficulties is that different pieces of legislation do not always appear to be synchronous in the terms used to refer to mental illness or mental retardation. In addition, the legislation is not always in harmony with the scientific terms used by clinicians who are required to provide expert evidence in such cases.

22

Furthermore, the South African Police Services Crime Information Analysis Centre does not report sexual crimes against those individuals with mental retardation. This lack of reporting and documentation makes it difficult to estimate the incidence of such crimes in South Africa, and could perpetuate society’s denial of the existence of sexual abuse amongst individuals with mental retardation. At the request of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Free State, Prof Frikkie Calitz has been involved for 10 years, evaluating mentally retarded rape victims to determine their capacity to testify in court and their ability to consent to sexual intercourse. He reports a significant increase in the referrals of mentally retarded rape survivors to the Free State Psychiatric Complex in Bloemfontein – to which all suspected cases in the Free State province are referred. In 2003 there were four referrals, while 90 mentally retarded rape victims were evaluated in 2010. In the descriptive retrospective study conducted by Calitz and his co-researchers on the profile of mentally retarded rape victims referred to the Complex from 2003 to 2009, it was found that by far the majority (94%) were female and the age of victims ranged from 3 to 52 years of age. Most (67%) of the victims were diagnosed with moderate mental retardation, with 18% having severe mental retardation and 15% having mild mental retardation. Only two of the victims were able to give legal consent to sexual intercourse, and only one participant was able to testify properly in a court of law. A clinical psychologist was subpoenaed to testify in court in only 25 of the 137 cases that came before the courts. From the study it is clear that most of the mentally retarded rape victims, regardless of their level of intellectual functioning, were not able to testify in court and were not able to give informed consent to sexual intercourse. This situation accounts for many of the serious challenges facing mental health and the judicial process.

Prof frikkie calitz department of Psychiatry

Faculty of Health Sciences Email: calitzfjw@fshealth.gov.za


making a difference... to understandIng our past and buIldIng our future

23


BUILDINg OUR FUTURE

Understanding eMPathy

P

rof Pumla gobodo-Madikizela studies the dynamics of forgiveness and remorse in the context of victim-perpetrator dialogue in the aftermath of historical trauma. Particularly of interest to her is the study of dialogue between victims and perpetrators in the aftermath of historical trauma, and

the interplay between perpetratorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and victimsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; emotions and how it leads to the development of remorse in the perpetrator, and forgiveness in the victim/survivor. Her research has evolved into the study of empathy and focuses on the web of affective responses and the transformative shifts that emerge in these encounters between victims and perpetrators.

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Professor Gobodo-madikizela leading one of the lectures in the series entitled dialogue between science and society featuring archbishop desmond tutu and University of Cape town’s Professor mark solms.

E

mpathy, the capacity of human beings to share in the emotional experiences of others, has been examined from a range of perspectives, including philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis, and more recently, neuroscience. Prof gobodo-Madikizela works at the cutting edge of research in this field and collaborates with colleagues across disciplines and around the world to study the development of empathy between former adversaries in the aftermath of historical trauma. She is currently involved in two major studies on empathy. The first is a study of empathy in dialogue between adult children of Nazi perpetrators and children of Holocaust survivors. gobodo-Madikizela’s research partners in this study are Persons Affected by the Holocaust (PAkH), a Jewish-german group of psychiatrists and psychotherapists affiliated with the University of Cologne. There is a rapidly growing interest internationally in the psychobiology of empathy. Prof gobodo-Madikizela is Principal Researcher for a second study on empathy based on a pilot study in which video clips from Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) testimony were used to elicit emotional responses from

research participants. The TRC footage proved to be poignant in terms of eliciting real emotions of empathy in viewers. The second study, therefore, uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to study neural activation responses to similar TRC footage, and analyses these responses in order to illuminate similarities and differences in empathic responses in a racially diverse group of participants. Research partners for this study are University of Cape Town Professors Mark Solms (a neuro-psychoanalyst) and Dan Stein (a psychiatrist), and University of Chicago’s Professor Jean Decety (a neuroscientist). Melike Fourie, a post-doctoral fellow affiliated with the project, is responsible for the technical aspects of the fMRI Empathy Study.

Pumla gobodo-Madikizela senior Research Professor

Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies Email: pumlagm@ufs.ac.za

after all, the ultimate goal of all research is not objectivity, but truth.” - helene deutsch

25


BUILDINg OUR FUTURE

listening to the Voices of ordinary PeoPle

The class of 2012.

O

ne reason for introducing the advanced postgraduate research programme, The narrative study of lives, in the Department of Sociology at the beginning of 2012, was to take heed of the South African Minister for Higher Education and Training’s call for action to prevent a state of intellectual stagnation in the humanities and social sciences within South African universities (as expressed in the Charter for humanities and social sciences, Department of Higher Education and Training, 2011). A second important report, also published in 2011, that emphasised the weakening place of the humanities and social sciences in South Africa was the Consensus study on the state of the humanities in south africa: status, Prospects and strategies, commissioned by the Academy of Science of South Africa. Narrative/biographical studies provide a natural platform for establishing and strengthening a significant component of social and human science practice. The very essence of life story research (especially in as far as narrative inquiry, life history and oral history are concerned) is related to a large part of indigenous knowledge, cultural transmission and community engagement.

The narrative study of lives focuses on the biographical descriptions that people give of their everyday life experiences. These descriptions overlap with terms such as autobiography, auto-ethnography, life story and documents of life (such as diaries or memoranda). Research in this field often relies on in-depth interviews that are conversational, dialogical, informal or semi-structured, open-ended, reflexive, collaborative and guided. These in-depth interviews are social encounters between researcher and participant. The participant collaborates in producing accounts or versions of her/his past, present or future actions, experiences, aspirations, thoughts and feelings. Various aspects of the fabric of South African society provide fertile ground for nourishing and expanding narrative studies. These include an increasing awareness of the role that oral history plays in contributing towards a democratisation of

26

knowledge: How do we remember the past? How did we experience the past? How is the past still part of our lives in the present? It is of concern that traditional historical sources did not adequately incorporate the voices of the majority of South Africa’s people because they found themselves on the economic and cultural margins. Because of their political exclusion, they were hidden from historical accounts and their views seldom played a role in the reconstruction and representation of reality. By expanding everyday discourses on issues that reflect everyday life to as wide a spectrum as possible, narrative studies can contribute to greater inclusivity, more opportunities for political and cultural participation and self expression. Some of the research topics of students in the programme cover issues on the lived experience of HIV-positive men on anti-retroviral treatment, biographical studies of identity among specific socio-economic groups, narratives of women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, the voices of upwardly mobile youths from previously disadvantaged groups, experiencing aspects of the crises within contemporary families and life experiences of first generation students at university. Individual voices are not sufficiently heard and particularly those words that express the feelings, thoughts and daily experiences of victims of oppression will give substance and resonance to human suffering that continues to plague our times. By allowing more ‘ordinary people’ to narrate their experiences, the move to expand the relevance of the larger picture will be enhanced. The narrative study of lives hopes to add detail to the broad brushstrokes of contemporary history. A further stimulus for expanding narrative studies is to lay open the deep roots of institutionalised racism, oppression and imperialism in South African society—not only the remnants of the apartheid regime but also those underlying new waves of domination, corruption and self-enrichment in our own society. From the above it is it is clear that one of the primary aims of the programme on The narrative study of lives has been to explore ways to listen to the voices of ordinary people. The programme also attempts to sensitise students to description and understanding of aspects of their own social reality, its unique context and the need to participate in social transformation and reconstruction. In addition, the need for international benchmarking is taken very seriously. One of the ways to increase the quality of training of qualitative sociologists is to draw on internationally recognised experts. The programme benefits from the involvement of world-renowned methodologists as well as high quality postdoctoral fellows.

Jan coetzee

department of sociology Faculty of the Humanities Email: coetzeejk@ufs.ac.za


Understanding oUr Past

africa, empire and international finance Under the broad umbrella of African and imperial studies in the 19th and 20th Centuries, a number of interlinked projects are being undertaken by Ian Phimister.

T

he first of these re-examines the dynamics driving imperialism in the sub-continent from the Cape to the Zambezi-Congo watershed. An important off-shoot of this is an edited multi-volume collection of the papers of Paul kruger, the last President of the Transvaal Republic. No existing study of South Africa for this period has made systematic use of kruger’s state and personal papers, thereby missing an invaluable opportunity to open a window onto the region’s preliterate African societies, as well as the construction of rounded accounts of the interplay between local and regional forces. Examination of kruger’s papers makes possible a nuanced understanding of blackwhite relations and identities in the southern African landscape, as well as the first comprehensive analysis of the nature of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) on the basis of Dutch (Afrikaner) as well as English sources. Reassessment of the patterns of modernisation of the ZAR is likely to recast interpretations of the coming of the South African War. Broadly located, this latter aspect informs research on the making of modern southern and central Africa. The second project deals with the northern ‘frontier’ of this region, that is, the history of Central Africa’s Copperbelts. Its focus is the making and unmaking of what was once described as the ‘Ruhr of Central Africa’ – the huge copper mining complexes and urban areas on both sides of the then Northern Rhodesian/Belgian Congo border – but pays particular attention to the history of copper mining in Zambia. Existing studies are fragmented by period, topic and theme. They have been national(ist) in conception. By contrast, this project looks to identify and integrate the global, regional and local dynamics shaping the copper mining industry’s contested pasts. It seeks to develop approaches that place distinct area specialisations (such as southern Africa) within the context of wider patterns of imperial or metropolitan economic, political, social and cultural expansion, contraction and reconstitution. The close attention paid to the interaction of such wider forces with ‘national’ movements, permits the scrutiny of global themes from a variety of perspectives, while avoiding the parochialism which so often bedevils area studies.

The third project encompasses imperial and international history. While it, too, has a strong African focus, it takes the form of a biography of Sir Edmund Davis, a City of London financier and company promoter who, among other activities, came to dominate the global base mineral industry from the end of the 19th Century until his death in 1939. Davis’ financial and mining interests spanned Australia, Canada, China, New Caledonia, India, South America and West Africa, quite apart from those in central and southern Africa.

More generally, the project explores patterns of City of London investment in overseas mining markets, as well as the apparent contradiction which this generated between informal and formal imperialism. As a business biography, it is an exercise which has the potential to cast new light on the evolution of companies and their institutional forms at the turn of the 20th Century, while as a study of a leading City individual, it engages with debates regarding the nature and significance of ‘gentlemanly capitalism’. In particular, it will delineate key patterns of Africa’s integration into the late nineteenth and early twentieth century global economy. Amongst the published papers stemming from this project are those on ‘Corners and company-mongering: Nigerian tin and the City of London’; ‘The Chrome Trust: the creation of an international cartel’; ‘Foreign Devils, Finance and Informal Empire: Britain and China c.1900-1912’; and, most recently, ‘Making Markets: Base Minerals and the City of London before the Second World War’.

ian Phimister

senior Research Professor Centre for Africa Studies Email: phimisterir@ufs.ac.za

faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. the narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time.” - francis Parkman

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BUILDINg OUR FUTURE

getting into the Mind of the criMinal

N

obody can deny that crime is one of the biggest social problems in South Africa. However, although we are aware of the crime that is taking place, very little is known about the origin and the ways in which to eradicate it, especially within the unique South African context. To effectively eradicate crime, a multi-disciplinary approach is necessary, as crime is an extremely complex phenomenon, which includes multiple facets. Professor Dap Louw, a forensic psychologist from the Department of Psychology, has spent 40 years investigating how the minds of criminals, and particularly murderers, work. This experience, which includes working with people in the former death cells, has resulted in him being an expert witness in numerous trials both in South Africa and Namibia. Louw firmly believes that if we do not do research on the various aspects of crime, we will never effectively combat crime. He likens this to someone who empties numerous cans of insecticide to keep the flies out of the home â&#x20AC;&#x201C; instead of tackling the origin of where the flies are coming from. Although everyone is concerned about high crime figures, there is very little in-depth research on the causes and prevention of crime. Louw is, in fact, surprised that there is not more crime in the country. Scientific research has confirmed that environmental factors play an important role in the development of a person, and the environment in which most South African children grow up is very fertile ground for crime. They grow up in an environment where more than half of our children are raised by single parents, three million go to sleep hungry (and often cold) every night, and sexual privacy between parents and children is largely non-existent because of inadequate accommodation. If nothing is done to address this state of affairs, he feels that 19th Century criminologists were correct in saying that each community has the number of criminals it deserves.

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Prison sentences do not have the deterring effect and rehabilitation value that most people think they do, because up to 80% of criminals in our prisons are perpetrators who have served previous prison sentences. Louw considers the poor rate of rehabilitation of criminals to be one of the social-scientific disappointments of the 20th Century. On the other hand, some people are being sent to jail who could serve a greater purpose with community based sentences, while others are being prematurely released. Although he believes that prisons play an important role in crime prevention, especially for those who present a danger to the community, Prof Louw is of the opinion that there are too many people in our prisons who could be punished in other, more constructive ways, which would contribute more to the community. A system needs to be developed which allows for meaningful community service, and, where possible, compensation to victims. The research team led by Prof Louw is attempting to address some of these issues. One research project is concerned with psychopathy, with the goal of empowering probation boards in order to keep potential reoffenders out of the community. A second project concerns restorative justice, which is also related to Ubuntu principles. A further research area relates to the deterrent effect. This is an extremely complex phenomenon which is currently under-investigated, but one which Louw intends to address in more detail.

dap louw

department of Psychology Faculty of the Humanities Email: louwda@ufs.ac.za


giVing Peace a chance

T

he southern African region has had the misfortune of being host to some of the world’s deadliest conflicts in recent times and there is a relative lack of concern and interest in what is really happening. This despite the fact that over 5.8 million people have been killed since the 1990s (exceeding the number of conflict deaths in World War 2) and that there are over 145 000 refugees, 245 000 asylum-seekers, and 55 000 internally displaced persons in southern African countries. Added to this is a lack of proper governance in a number of countries in the region, as well as a disquieting rise in ethnicity.

There are structures that should be helping to address this – such as the South African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). However, these structures focus on the economic and political issues affecting the security of the region, while ordinary people are still suffering and losing their lives. In December 2011 Prof Hussein Solomon visited the Osaka School for Public International Policy (OSIPP) in Japan. Based upon common interests, the need was expressed for a southern African centre for peace and security studies. While it is acknowledged that there is a great deal of knowledge and experience in matters of conflict and peace in this part of Africa, and that many academics are working on the subject, academics and policy makers are not communicating effectively or sufficiently. A funding proposal was subsequently submitted to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and this eventually led to the formal establishment of the Southern African Centre for Collaboration on Peace and Security (SACCPS), involving a number of academics and institutions in the southern African region. Besides the University of the Free State, the following universities are also involved: University of Botswana, Zambian Open University, National University of Zambia, Copperbelt University (Zambia), University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nzuzu University (Malawi), and the Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations. The UFS Department of Political Studies and governance serves as a cornerstone of the Centre, which is based on a bilateral agreement between OSIPP in Japan and the UFS Faculty of the Humanities. The Zambian Open University has donated a piece of land on its campus in Lusaka, situated close to COMESA, in order to establish a fixed location for the Centre. The proximity of the Centre to COMESA ensures that there is an excellent exchange of information.

don’t find fault. find a remedy.” - henry ford

What started as a loose network is increasingly taking shape. A website was established followed by the introduction of annual regional conferences. In September 2012 the second conference took place in Lusaka, under the theme of ‘Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement in Southern Africa’. The research and studies being undertaken by members of the Centre ensure that relevant material is being produced from our own context and in a way that will be understood in terms of an African ethos – using African examples, created by African scholars.

hussein solomon

department of Political studies and Governance Faculty of the Humanities Email: solomonh@ufs.ac.za

saCCPs Conference in lusaka Zambia (l-r): Prof hussein solomon, Prof Virgil hawkins, Prof Theo neethling.

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BUILDINg OUR FUTURE

in PUrsUit of reconciliation and social JUstice

W

hen is it possible to say that an institution’s identity has been established, that its purpose is clear, that it knows what is expected of it – in a word, that it has been founded? At the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice the answer to these questions is that an institution should remain responsive to its environment. In September 2012 the UFS Council approved and adopted a proposal giving clearer expression to the Institute’s mandate as well as amending its structure and governance. Most notably, the name has changed: the international Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice is now known as the institute for reconciliation and social Justice. These developments reflect efforts to sharpen the focus of the Institute’s work in response to the range of expectations emanating from the immediate university community, and also from the South African context at large. With regard to the Institute’s mandate, it was proposed to divide the work into two distinct but complementary legs: research, and institutional transformation and human rights. These two legs are complementary in that the Institute’s approach to institutional transformation and human rights is informed by its research framework, while its research agenda is responsive to work done in the area of institutional transformation and human rights. In many ways there is nothing new to this proposal. Historically tied to the Reitz incident, the Institute was founded on the desire to relate the University’s academic mandate to the complex South African social context. Thus, the proposal merely reflects the way in which existing expectations and potentialities have found concrete expression within the operations of the Institute. In 2011 the Institute adopted an innovative research agenda consisting of a variety of conceptual strategies and thematic areas. The overarching framework is shared Complicities and mutual Vulnerabilities: democracies of Proximity (social cohesion) and the futures of Justice. This framework takes its primary focus to be the study of structural inequality, everyday violence and disrespect in human relations. Some of the ongoing research projects being undertaken within the Institute are:

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»

The first article on the ‘Reitz Research Project’ has been completed and an occasional paper on ‘Living with difference: Mapping Reitz; the meaning of Reitz’ is being finalised.

»

‘Curriculum as Discourse’ - an NRF funded inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional research project of transformation in higher education, exploring curriculum practices and content as well as the disciplinary traditions in six selected fields of study.

»

An international comparative study on ‘Dignity and Difference’ in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Culture in Bangalore, India and the kosmopolis Institute in Utrecht, Netherlands.

»

‘Humanising pedagogy’ – a large-scale empirical study on the theme of ‘Rights, Citizenship and Social Cohesion/Justice’ in collaboration with NMMU and partners in the USA.

»

‘Diversity in Higher Education’ in collaboration with UCLA, VU Amsterdam and the North-West University.

»

The office of the Executive Mayor of the Dihlabeng Local Municipality invited the UFS to partner it in its endeavour of achieving social cohesion. The Institute agreed to facilitate this process and undertake further research within the community. The first workshop titled ‘Working together to create a caring and proud community’ was held in September 2012.

In 2012 the Institute continued to embark on a number of initiatives that feed into the research project and in so doing treated UFS students and staff to a constant stream of provocative engagements. The critical conversation series aims to provide a space for robust and socially engaged intellectual discussion, and has established the Institute as one of the leading centres for intellectual discussion on the Bloemfontein Campus. In 2012 the Institute was host to a number of highly stimulating conversations. One of the indisputable highlights was a conversation led by the late Dr Neville Alexander, one of South Africa’s foremost intellectuals and a radical participant in the making of South African history, who presented his thoughts on the centrality of the language issue in the new South Africa. Other highlights were Helene Strauss (UFS English Department), who led a discussion on khalo Matabane’s film, Conversations on a sunday afternoon; public intellectual and prominent social commentator, Eusebius Mckaiser, who presented a public lecture and led a conversation on domestic racism and opposition politics; and Ram kakarala, Senior Fellow from the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society in Bangalore, India, who led a discussion on reimagining democratic change in a ‘pluricultural’ world. Other speakers included Leon Wessels, Tim Muruthi, Deborah Meier, Felisa Tibbitts, Stuart Taberner, Libby Roderick, and Zubeida Jaffer. A panel consisting of Prof Philippe Burger (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences), Dr Ilze keevy (Faculty of Law), Prof gustav Visser (geography Department) and Thabo Mongale, from Students for Law and Social Justice, shared their perspectives on environmental justice.


The Institute is working towards analysing the impact of these conversations as a research output in its assessment of transformation in higher education. In 2012 the Institute was involved in the hosting of three high profile public lectures. On 17 April 2012, Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, on invitation from the Institute, delivered a public lecture on academic freedom and corruption in the context of the Protection of State Information Bill. Through a joint initiative of the UFS Centre for Africa Studies and the Institute, world-renowned writer and playwright, Ngugi wa Thiong’o captivated UFS staff, students and members of the Free State community on Africa Day (25 May 2012), which commemorates the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), and is an opportunity to critically reflect on the challenges facing the continent and deepen our commitment to the African Renaissance. On 7 November 2012 Nobel laureate Nadine gordimer delivered the inaugural annual Reconciliation Lecture on invitation from the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen. In her speech gordimer lauded the UFS for its efforts at reconciliation, but she also expressed deep concern about the prevalent violence, corruption and poverty that was deferring the dream of the new South Africa.

In August the Institute held its first annual week of artistic social Justice. This event was initiated with the aim of exploring new and different ways of understanding social relations – an endeavour which is crucial to the Institute’s objective of confronting the histories, policies and practices that have shaped and constrained the intellectual and social mandates of higher education institutions. Highlights included a photo exhibition (the f word: images of forgiveness) and a cabaret (Vagina dentata) co-organised and sponsored by Student Life and Leadership. Research assistants are reflecting on these experiences as part of their master’s studies with the aim of producing journal articles. From 16 July to 10 August 2012 the UFS hosted the international winter school on Pluralism and development for a second time. In previous years it was conducted in the Netherlands (2004, 2005 and 2006), India (2007 and 2008), Indonesia (2009 and 2010) and South Africa (2011).

andré keet Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice Email: keeta@ufs.ac.za

Battle at MaMUsa

T

he study comprises the following chronological sequence of events: The origin of the korana, with its many uncertainties; their early history in the Cape highlighting the fact that they were the first indigenous people to revolt against colonialism; their trek into the central parts of southern Africa in order to escape colonial rule; their establishment in the Western Transvaal; and their interactions with the Batlhaping, the Barolong and the Boers in the interactive border landscape of the Western Transvaal.

An important emphasis falls on the primary role of the korana in the establishment of the Republic of Stellaland by the Boers. However, in the process they were exploited and marginalised, lost most of their land and eventually their independence and freedom. When the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) wanted to beacon off a location for them and made them pay taxes, they no longer wanted to capitulate and the battle of Mamusa ensued. In this mismatched battle, Captain David Massouw Rijt Taaibosch and approximately 150 of his followers died, many of whom were women, children (including two of his sons), old and defenceless people. Societal decimation followed; those not locked up were taken away as so-called apprentices (slaves) who were booked to work on farms. All their livestock, harvests and personal belongings were taken as spoils of war and their land confiscated. This enabled the ZAR to pay its outstanding instalment of the war deficit from the first Anglo Boer War with Britain and to avoid bankruptcy. However, it also meant the end of the last functioning korana polity in southern Africa. The study concludes with the current revival of korana identity. David Massouw’s struggle against racism and oppression, and the role of

The grave of david massouw. women in the korana resistance, serve as inspiration for the korana’s efforts to proclaim their dignity and right to self-determination. After his death, David Massouw was buried at Mamusa. His grave was unmarked and nothing was done to commemorate the awful genocide of the korana. Therefore it was important for Prof Erasmus to find David Massouw’s grave, the ruins of his house and livestock kraals. He was successful in this quest and brought it to the attention of the local authorities. The research team is currently assisting with the mapping of a heritage route in recognition of this important history.

Piet erasmus

department of anthropology Faculty of the Humanities Email: erasmusp@ufs.ac.za

knowledge has to be improved, challenged and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” - Peter drucker

31


BUILDINg OUR FUTURE

Jonathan edwards and his inflUence today

J

onathan Edwards (1703-1758) stands as one of the dominant figures in 18th Century American religion. However, he has grown from an American icon in intellectual history to a global figure of interest in theology, revivalism, philosophy, religious history, history of missions and English literature. Edwards’ intellectual brilliance was evident from an early

age. He started at Yale before he was 13 years old and graduated as valedictorian, and three years later he received his master’s degree. Even though he would go on to study theology for two years after his graduation (at the age of 17), Edwards continued to be interested in science and was fascinated by the discoveries of Isaac Newton and other scientists of his age.

At age 23 he became pastor of the church in Northampton, New England. At the time it was the richest and most influential church in the colony, outside of Boston. Differences related to doctrinal issues led to Edwards’s dismissal from the Northampton church in 1750. His next post was far less prestigious – a small English church in Stockbridge, where he also served as a missionary to the Housatonic Indians. Here he wrote his major treatises of philosophy and theology. In late 1757 he was called to be president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). Unfortunately, his tenure lasted only a few months, as on 22 March 1758, Jonathan Edwards died of fever following an experimental smallpox inoculation.

Edwards’s writings were for the most part ignored in the latter 19th Century, but historians at Harvard and Yale rediscovered him in the 1930s. He is the subject of intense scholarly interest because of his significance as a historical figure and the profound legacy he left on America’s religious and intellectual landscapes. The Works of Jonathan edwards (a 26-volume letterpress series), however, amounts to less than half of Edwards’s total writings. To provide the entirety of Edwards’s corpus on a global basis, the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University has created the Works of Jonathan edwards online (WJe online), a digital research, education, and publication environment, which has led to an unprecedented increase of research and education inquiries around the world, including Africa.

morija museum and archives.

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Photograph courtesy of Walter köppe


1863 issue of leselinyana la lesotho.

In support of the efforts to increase Africans’ access to quality education, Yale University and the UFS strategically partnered to empower aspiring next generation African academics and church leaders with primary scholarly resources for research, education and publication. As a result, the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa was founded in 2009, which has grown to an internationally recognised postgraduate study centre with 14 research associates from Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands and USA supporting over 40 postgraduate students from Botswana, Canada, Lesotho, South Africa, USA and Zimbabwe. One of the primary aims of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa is to investigate the reception of Edwards’s intellectual thought in Africa. Part of this involves searching through archives and primary sources to identify works related to Jonathan Edwards and to make them available and accessible. Currently the Morija Archives in Lesotho is the main focus of this effort. The Morija Archives contains documents dating from as far back as the 18th Century, but those with specific reference to Lesotho begin with the arrival of the French Protestant missionaries in 1833. Many of these are primary source material. One of the most important resources housed here is the newspaper leselinyana (primarily written in Sesotho) dating from its first issue in 1863 to the present. It is without doubt the most valuable single source of information on a wide range of subjects with regard to Lesotho and the Basotho. In order to preserve this fragile printed material as well as manuscripts, a collaborative project, involving the UFS, Yale Divinity School and Brill Publishers Leiden, is being undertaken to ensure their conservation through digitisation, which would also make them available on-line to a much wider range of researchers and academics. The compilation already includes a listing of all diaries, sermons, correspondence, minutes, reports, financial records, and registers specific materials related to various influential missionaries. It also includes additional material concerning over 100 different parishes of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society and Lesotho Evangelical Church covering the whole of Lesotho as well as parts of South Africa. The preservation of these materials has poignant significance in that during the 1858 Basotho-Free State War, the Boer commandos destroyed the entire mission station at Morija. All that remained was part of the church building and the house of missionary Maeder. In the process all archival documents dating back to 1833 and the first generation missionaries, were destroyed. From results of archival research, it is clear that Edwards’s work strongly influenced 19th Century missionaries to Africa. French translations of his works were used in the training of first generation African protestant ministers – who were taught solid quality theology as used in the teaching of ministers in France. A recently discovered notebook in manuscript form at Morija Museum and Archives of Adolphe Mabille (1836-1894) - one of

Eugène Casalis’ (1812-1891) first students at the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society - presents the earliest form of Lesotho’s Christian theology found so far. In this notebook reference is made to Jonathan Edwards. This foundation of early Lesotho Christian theology shows the catholicity of theology rooted in Augustine, advanced by transatlantic and transcontinental theological thought, merging Reformed and Revival theology originating from 17th Century post-Reformation theology, 18th Century New England Congregationalism, and early 19th Century Scottish Presbyterianism and French Protestantism woven together as an ecumenical and evangelical theological enterprise by Mabille, a son of the Swiss Free church. The links between Jonathan Edwards and South Africa go even deeper, due to his profound influence on the theology of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission, who sent, inter alia, Daniel Lindley as a missionary to South Africa. After serving as a minister to the Voortrekkers in Natal, he returned in 1847 to the mission and established the well-known Inanda Institution. The son of the first ordained African pastor spent much of his first two years in the house of Lindley. He was John Dube, who went on to become the first president of the African National Congress. Many future leaders of the nation grew up on mission stations of the American Board, being an exponent of Edwards’s intellectual, theological and education endeavours.

dolf Britz Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa Email: britzrm@ufs.ac.za

there is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” - JJR tolkein

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BUILDINg OUR FUTURE

Understanding the natUre of greatness

bram fischer

Jan smuts

P

sychology is about the study of personality. There are rich and significant personalities and they have something to teach us. With this as his starting point, Paul Fouche has specialised in psychobiography in order “to find the humanity or exceptionality within the person”. Psychobiographical study entails a systematic and descriptively rich case-study of renowned, enigmatic, exceptional or even contentious individuals in socio-historical contexts within a psychological frame of reference. It entails longitudinal life history research into the personality development of exemplary, often unconventional, and completed lives in order to discern, discover or formulate the central story of these lives, in their entirety. Psychobiography is useful in the attempt to understand who makes history and why. Fouche and his colleagues and students have focused primarily on studies of South African political leaders, artists, musicians, scientists and humanitarians – such as Jan Smuts, Bram Fischer, Hendrik Verwoerd, John Vorster, Stephen Biko, Father Claerhout, Helen Martins, Ralph Rabie, Brenda Fassie, Alan Paton, and Emily Hobhouse. Other psychobiographical studies included Dr Christiaan Barnard, Alan Paton and Olive Schreiner. Research currently underway includes studies of the lives of Helen Suzman and Beyers Naude. It seems that some individuals are genetically predisposed towards greatness and genius. However, there are a number of interesting characteristics that emerge from these studies. Leaders and exceptional persons were very often prolific readers, with a passion

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steve biko for reading and literature from a young age. They also often had a love of nature and a sense of the sacredness of nature and the cosmos. In many cases there was a strong partner supporting the leader, while he/she went about the business of governing her/his world. In addition, many experienced the loss of a father at a young age – usually before the age of ten – resulting in the child having to take on responsibility and becoming driven to succeed in order to take care of the ‘clan’. Amongst great women, such as Mother Teresa for example, there appear to be common traits of high levels of spirituality, sense of community, ability to network, and recognition of citizenship of the world. Over the past decade, psychobiography has evolved into an established research genre and has become a methodology used by various academics and scholars in the field of life history research. Psychobiographical studies in South Africa have been nurtured at the UFS, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University and the University of Johannesburg.

Paul fouche

department of Psychology Faculty of the Humanities Email: fouchejp@ufs.ac.za


making a difference... to educatIon at all levels

35


EDUCATION

what shoUld 21st centUry PUBlic UniVersities contriBUte?

T

he Centre for Higher Education and Capabilities Research (CHECaR) is concerned with what universities which take human development values and human capabilities seriously, would look like. The main focus of the research is

therefore to interrogate the contribution of universities to advancing social justice both in higher education and in society, especially in relation to severe inequalities in South Africa. It addresses questions about building and sustaining a decent society, and hence what kind of higher education is valuable, relevant and desirable.

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The focus of the sarchI chair in higher education and human development is to generate a research-based understanding of higher education and its contributions both to the human

The research being undertaken by the Centre captures significant aspects of human capabilities and conversion factors of race, gender, social class and disability, which are significant in South Africa but also have international resonance. This duality is seen to be important so that projects can speak to wider audiences as well as national audiences. The research has a strong orientation to inclusive development at universities and in society and is organised within three core interlinked themes: (i) Transitions and trajectories: Access, success and participation in and beyond higher education; (ii) knowledge, curriculum, pedagogies and in/equalities; and (iii) Re-imagining public universities in the 21st Century: From the local to the global. Post-doctoral work and graduate student research projects are all aligned with one of these three themes. Currently there are four master’s and five doctoral projects underway, while two postdoctoral fellows and one researcher work on CHECaR research projects. A seminar and thematic colloquia programme of national and international scholars further underpins the CHECaR research programme. International collaborations support graduate capacity building and research in the Centre and currently include an ESRC-Uk funded doctoral partnership and a British Council funded five-country study of employability and inclusive development – both being undertaken in partnership with the Institute of Education in London. In addition, researchers from the Technical University of Valencia in Spain, the University of Pavia in Italy and the University of Nottingham in the Uk are all involved in Centre research projects jointly funded by the UFS and the NRF through the SARChI Chair. The projects include a tracer study of Free State province students to understand how inequalities are made, remade or dismantled over time, and the role higher education plays; gender, higher education, empowerment and agency; pedagogies of ‘powerful knowledge’ in undergraduate study; ‘capability-friendly’ pedagogies; and a knowledge transfer project extending research done in the Uk by Melanie Walker on professional capabilities.

capabilities of diverse graduates and to the social good; that is, how higher education can contribute to building human capital for a knowledge economy, while at the same time contributing to making lives better by addressing continuing inequalities and poverty. higher education research undertaken under the leadership of the Chair will increase understanding of transformative practices and policies, of inclusive processes across teaching, research and community, and of equitable opportunities and outcomes for diverse students. The core concern of human capital discourses and how they align with equity is a central theoretical issue informing the Chair’s research programme. The research will build innovative and original ‘transdisciplinary’ knowledge in the process. The research further seeks to engage policy makers, professionals and higher education practitioners in the development implications of the research programme.

Melanie walker

senior Research Professor Email: walkerm@ufs.ac.za

What is research, but a blind date with knowledge?” - William henry

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EDUCATION

early childhood deVeloPMent

a critical foundation

T

he international community has accepted the right to a child’s development. The Convention on the Rights of the Child

highlights the importance of early formal child development, saying that a child has a right to develop to “the maximum extent possible.” This is the most important phase for overall development through the lifespan, and investment in early childhood development gives the highest rates of return in education.

In South Africa there are 6.5 million children under the age of six; however, 84% of these children have no access to any form of formal early childhood development. In 2012, Hasina Ebrahim was commissioned by the Bernard van Leer Foundation to conduct an analysis of Early Childhood Family Support Programmes for children and families that are poor and vulnerable. These programmes serve as alternatives to reach children who cannot afford centre-based provision. A qualitative analysis of four such programmes was undertaken in three provinces in South Africa. The findings of the study show that broad-based integrated family support had modest short-term gains for young children and their families in terms of early care and education, parent support, links to services and income generation. The challenges were found to be related to changing of mindsets on child development, erratic participation in programmes, frustrations with slow service delivery, and the implementation of a complex intervention plan by practitioners who were under-qualified and received a meagre stipend. The study draws attention to the need for a policy framework where the family as a unit is the direct target for intervention, the need for professionalisation of the workforce in the early years, and longitudinal studies to ascertain the long-term impact of early childhood programmes on young children and families that are poor and vulnerable.

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The University of the Free State won the tender to develop the first South African National Curriculum Framework for Children from Birth to Four. Hasina Ebrahim worked in partnership with Margaret Irvine on this challenging task which was approached through several steps. A literature review provided insight into key issues and context drivers for early years’ curriculum development in both the minority and majority world contexts. Against this backdrop considerable time was spent on unpacking the type of curricula South Africa needed for its youngest in a maturing democracy. This exercise helped to create a framework that was aligned to the needs of young children in South Africa. guidelines for practitioners were also developed bearing in mind the complexities of practice. In order to familiarise the early years community of practice with the ideas in the draft curriculum framework, presentations were conducted in nine provinces. The next steps involve gazetting of the curriculum and piloting the framework in selected provinces. This is currently being addressed by UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education.

hasina ebrahim

school of social sciences and language development Faculty of Education Email: ebrahimhb@ufs.ac.za


A

high proportion of the world’s children live in rural areas and attend rural schools; despite this, educational and social welfare provision in rural areas often remains a low national priority. In South Africa, which has a high proportion of rural schools, rural ecologies remain disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in urban areas. The Ministerial Committee on Rural Education (MCRE) suggests that in addressing the complexities of rural development, and education in particular, the intervention strategies should aim at ensuring consistency in government’s rural development strategy whereby access to economic activities is expanded in order to reduce poverty, as well as investing in human rights and social justice in order to improve living conditions. The observation by the Ministry indicates a tacit acknowledgement of the lack, as well as an inevitable obligation, in addressing rural education as a social justice issue.

Making rUral schools work

Rural occupation in South Africa is directly linked to apartheid and colonial policies of dispossession, resettlement and systematic exclusion from opportunities. One of the most pervasive features of rural ecologies is poverty, resulting in serious challenges in terms of food security and cost of education. Rural areas are also characterised by high illiteracy levels, compounded by continued under-resourcing of schools relative to need. Attributes of rural areas that adversely affect the quality of education include lack of qualified teachers, multi-grade teaching, unreasonable teacher-learner ratios, irrelevant curricula, and competing priorities between accessing education and domestic chores. In addition staff members seem to be imbued with poor morale and motivation.

success is dependent on effort.” - sophocles

It has long been recognised that enhancement of rural education should be an inter-agency exercise with significant involvement of a nation’s education departments. Various agencies, depending on the unique and relevant attributes of a particular rural community, need to form a consortium or partnership to address rural education issues. However, a pervasive lack of a whole systems perspective in dealing with rural education is evident. Dipane Hlalele is regularly faced with the harsh realities of rural education, and in response has undertaken an in-depth study to understand contemporary rural learning ecologies and to investigate how sustainable and effective rural learning ecologies can be created (from early childhood rural learning ecologies to those of maths and science), and how this can be done through effective policy implementation. The study has taken him to rural and remote milieus of South Africa and Australia.

dipane hlalele

school of education studies Faculty of Education, Qwaqwa Campus Email: hlaleledj@qwa.ufs.ac.za

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EDUCATION

sexUality edUcation

spanning the whole spectrum of discourses, from disease to desire

S

ince the adoption of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE), sex education has become a compulsory part of the South African school curriculum through the Life Orientation (LO) learning area. The stakes for sexuality education in South Africa are high. In many cases it has come to mean the need for appropriate information about HIV/Aids; however, it also has to address other very real issues (unwanted pregnancies, sexual exploitation, sexuality) without becoming filled with doom or overly technical. It has to recognise young people as sexual beings, while acknowledging the diversity of sexual experience. It has to challenge the patterns of imbalanced power relationships between genders. While much focus has been on providing young people with accurate and frank information about safe sex, Prof Dennis Francis and his colleagues question whether school-based programmes sufficiently support the needs of young people. Students desire to learn more from sex education about issues such as homosexuality and to experience more honesty, interactivity and practical work from sex and relationship education. What young people need from sexuality education is a sympathetic recognition of themselves as sexual beings. They should not be subjected to assumptions regarding their experience or lack of sexual knowledge, nor should the focus only be on their concerns in relation to issues of disease and danger. While the school environment may be less than ideal, primarily due to concerns about lack of training for teachers, in practice it offers the best available option. Francis identifies a number of barriers to teaching sexuality education in South Africa. One of the key concerns is the lack of training for teachers, which often results in the aims of the curriculum policy being smudged. In addition the tension between the curriculum content of sexuality education and teachers’ own identity, beliefs and values, can form a sizeable barrier to sex education – sometimes resulting in certain content being left out or passed on to others.

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When it comes to teaching of sexual diversity, the situation is even more serious. While most of the learner population who experience themselves as heterosexual have the support of the dominant sexual culture within and outside school, for those who identify as homosexual or bisexual, the resulting message is that homosexuality is something to be hidden and kept separate from teaching, learning and daily school life – and this means that they usually grow up without teaching and learning with regard to their sexual choice, and they become isolated, further marginalised and vulnerable to prejudice and attack. However, through his research, Dennis Francis found that the teaching of issues related to homosexuality and bisexuality is marginalised not only within the sexuality education curriculum, but also within the school context as a whole. The Revised National Curriculum Statements for LO and Departmental LO Teacher guidelines remain silent on issues of sexual diversity. There are no educational policies requiring schools to become safe places for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth or where both teachers and the curriculum address homosexuality. The invisibility of homosexuality within curriculum policies contradicts the goals of inclusive and equal education. In order to effectively meet the needs of youth, the content of sexual health programmes needs to span the whole spectrum of discourses, from disease to desire. Within this spectrum youth should be constructed as ‘knowers’ as opposed to innocent in relation to sex. How youth are taught, as well as how their own knowledge and experience are positioned in the classroom, is as important as content in ensuring that youth avoid negative sexual health outcomes.

dennis francis Faculty of Education Email: francisd@ufs.ac.za


enriching edUcation throUgh collaBoration with non-Profit organisations

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he University of the Free State has a proud history of being a leader in service learning and community engagement. This is bolstered by in-depth research. Prof Mabel Erasmus is leading an innovative research project in the field of community engagement with a specific focus on non-profit organisations (NPOs), as part of a three-year project funded by the NRF. The project investigates how higher education institutions (HEIs) and the NPO sector can establish long-term, research-based collaborative engagements that will be mutually empowering and enabling through joint, reciprocal knowledge-based activities and capacity building. The contention on which this proposal is based, is that HEIs have limited knowledge of the NPO sector and thus are unable to be fully responsive to the challenges that NPOs face. Furthermore, staff and students from HEIs usually do not have an adequate grasp of the experiential understanding, contextual community knowledge and practical

know-how that NPO practitioners have, and hence do not appreciate the crucial contributions that they can make with regard to meaningmaking processes aimed at improving some of the harsh South African realities. The information generated by the research will be beneficial to both HEIs and the NPOs. knowledge regarding NPOs, specifically their challenges and information about what they are doing, will be invaluable to HEIs. At the same time, the research must benefit the NPOs with knowledge to improve their practice and strengthen their functioning. The research is a collaborative effort, including researchers from the University of Zululand, University of Johannesburg and Monash SA. Staff at NPOs, including REACH (Bloemfontein), Towers of Hope and Shanduka, also form part of the team. Through collaborative knowledge-generation processes, trust and mutual respect are built, which strengthen the relationships between participants and will thus form the foundation for ‘enabling’ research outcomes.

Mabel erasmus Service Learning Division Email: erasmusm@ufs.ac.za

workPlace BUllying in schools

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ullying in schools has frequently been in the news in recent times, but this generally relates to learner-on-learner bullying. However, it seems that workplace bullying in education settings (i.e. bullying of educators) is not uncommon.

Workplace bullying is not about individual, isolated aggressive actions, but rather about behaviour that is repeated and persistently directed at one or more individuals by an individual or a group. It may be the result of intentional harm-doing or unintentional disregard for the victim. Workplace bullying is an issue faced by many workers worldwide, including educators. In the education setting it can negatively influence teaching and learning, and thus have a ripple effect on learners. In a survey of 181 educators, over half described incidences of learner-on-learner bullying from their perspective as educators, onlookers and/or bystanders, while one third reported workplace bullying. A further 10% described educator-on-learner bullying and 7% educator-targeted bullying. The survey revealed that principals are the main perpetrators of workplace bullying in the educational setting, and that they target those with lesser status. Participants wrote of principals who mocked, shouted, threatened and humiliated them. The power of the bully is encapsulated in the following description: “He is not a manager or a leader. He is a boss.” Victims generally lacked job-security, and/or were sole breadwinners, beginner-educators with financial obligations related to their study, newcomers, or pregnant. Victims also seem to be those who do not fit in – because of things such as language, cultural or religious affiliation. Verbal abuse and the spreading of malicious rumours seem to be the most common type of workplace bullying, while threatening

behaviour seems to be a common bullying tactic – ranging from threats to inflict serious bodily harm, to reducing fringe benefits, or to institute instant dismissal. However, threats of physical endangerment are generally a rarity as a form of workplace bullying. Other features of workplace bullying included social isolation, favouritism, and nepotism. The powerlessness of victims of bullying is emphasised in participants’ descriptions of where the bullying took place. Verbal abuse of educators by their principals often took place in their classrooms in front of their learners, during assembly or during staff meetings. Bullying is likely to occur in schools where organisational chaos reigns. Such schools are characterised by incompetent, unprincipled, abusive leadership, and a lack of accountability, fairness and transparency. There is interplay between relational powerlessness and organisational chaos. An issue that still needs to be investigated is the influence of broader societal factors on workplace bullying, for example the influence of violence in the community or corrupt school management still need to be explored. However, schools cannot be allowed to tolerate any level of bullying. Currently there is no legal definition of workplace bullying in South African labour legislation; it will therefore require the Department of Education to take the lead in designing and developing policies and programmes to address workplace bullying in schools.

corene de wet School of Open Learning Email: dewetnc@ufs.ac.za

if i have seen further … it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” - isaac newton

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EDUCATION

changing teaching and teachers

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he research on changing teaching and teachers through peer interventions is currently in its second phase. Phase I of the research sought to understand how teachers can be encouraged to change their classroom practices in mathematics and science using lessons from their relatively more successful peers. Working with a sample of about 50 schools from the province of Mpumalanga, the researchers, led by Prof Loyiso Jita, uncovered the importance of developing what Wenger calls ‘communities of practice’ (CoPs) among these teachers to learn together and engage with the challenges of teaching science and/or mathematics in their schools and classrooms. In the follow-up research entailing a three-year longitudinal intervention, Prof Jita and Dr Lekhooe Letsie, in collaboration with Dr Matseliso Mokhele of Unisa, are extending the idea of changing teaching and teachers through these collaborative communities of practice by examining the leadership practices of the relatively more successful group in helping their colleagues to adopt more progressive pedagogy in their teaching of science and mathematics. This phase therefore explores the leadership practices involved in the shaping of the classroom practices used by many science and mathematics teachers under the guidance of identified (instructional) leaders. The research involves over 200 schools in the Free State and arises out of a partnership with the Free State Department of Education to improve science and mathematics education in the schools. The intervention began with the identification and nomination of instructional leaders of science and mathematics from about 200 schools in the Free State. These are teachers who have demonstrated commitment, competence, performance and other desirable qualities in their teaching and learning of these critical subjects, over a period of time. The selected instructional leaders were invited to a series of workshops on instructional leadership and lesson study over a period of six months at the University of the Free State. The teacher leaders were then assigned a task of setting up lesson study groups in the schools and convening these groups periodically for sustained instructional leadership activities over a two-year period. The intervention thus combines four key principles of successful teacher change initiatives - teacher collaboration through peer learning or mentoring, focus on content knowledge and classroom practice, school or work-based learning, and a focus on learners and learning.

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Through the research and interventions, the researchers are beginning to witness a shift in the discourse around teachers’ classroom practices, away from the dualism of autonomy and control that has characterised and almost paralysed all attempts to understand and influence what teachers do inside their classrooms. While the Department of Education and teachers’ unions continue with their impasse over classroom visits by departmental officials, lesson study groups have in the meantime broken open the doors and walls of the classrooms and made teachers’ practices more visible and amenable to influence. The Japanese Lesson Study (Jugyou kenkyu) has proven to be a useful vehicle for the practice of instructional leadership in the schools. The lesson study provides a platform for the teacher leaders to involve a group of teachers in planning together a series of lessons on a topic, which are then taught to the learners by one of the group members under the careful watch of his/her planning colleagues. Each lesson is then reviewed and revised for better teaching to another group of learners. Lesson studies have therefore become a key platform for instructional leaders to exercise their leadership and for the researchers to study leadership practice for the improvement of science and mathematics in schools. Unlike some other kinds of leadership approaches that rely on the vision and drive of the main leader, such as the school principal, instructional leadership in this case relies on shared cognition and distributed practice by more than one leader in the group. The research is particularly focused on understanding the nature and content of this distributed instructional leadership practice in the context of South African schools.

Prof loyiso Jita

school of mathematics, natural science and technology education Faculty of Education Email: jitalc@ufs.ac.za


making a difference... to our economy

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OUR ECONOMY

sUstainaBle coMPanies and cliMate change

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he UFS is the Africa representative of the Oslo International Research Project on Sustainable Companies. The researchers involved in the project (Prof Johan Henning, Dr Adri du Plessis and Ms Anel Strampe) undertook significant research on sustainable companies, climate

change and corporate social responsibility in South African law.

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O

ver the past 20 years companies have experienced an increased emphasis on corporate responsibilities to the broader society. The interaction between economics and sustainable development is important to all jurisdictions, and is of particular concern to developing countries such as South Africa, where the economic and natural resource bases are often more closely linked than in industrialised nations. The integration of environmental concerns and economic issues has not proved to be an easy task and reflects the difficulty of developing a sustainable development strategy for different sectors of the economy. At the same time, global warming is the single biggest environmental challenge facing the world today, and, according to the World Future Council, Africa is already feeling the negative impacts of climate change, due to the population’s heavy reliance on charcoal and wood. According to the South African Country Study on Climate Change, the country is especially vulnerable to climate change. South Africa has a positive record in terms of proactively implementing climate change legislation, having ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997 and the kyoto Protocol in 2002 and in 2004. Although there has been heightened environmental awareness as well as an increasing interest in sustainability in recent years, in the opinion of the researchers and others, South African companies are still failing to take the matter seriously enough.

does not contain provisions referring to the National Environment Management Act (NEMA), nor does it directly address issues of sustainability and climate change and the mitigation thereof. The king III Code of Corporate governance contains far-reaching sustainability principles. Unfortunately this is merely a code of best practice, without any statutory status, and its ‘comply or explain’ approach is not efficient. Therefore the Constitution, specifically Section 24, is relied on for direct environmental protection. Jurisprudence shows that although there has been some success in enforcing this environmental right, it is seldom brought before the courts. Although NEMA provides for environmental offences and liability, there is still a need to address environmental protection in company law. The work done by Henning and his team illustrates how a ‘scorecard’based economic steering mechanism could possibly be used when designing or formulating concrete measures to internalise issues of climate change, sustainability and environmental concerns within the decision-making processes of companies.

Johan henning Faculty of Law Email: henningj@ufs.ac.za

In May 2011 a new Companies Act (CA) came into force; the interpretation of the Act has yet to be tested. The CA contains provisions that indicate that environmental sustainability is important to companies. For example, Section 7(j) states, as one of the purposes of the Act, that companies must strive to be effective and responsible. Section 159(3)(b) provides for the protection of whistle blowers where the disclosure relates to “conduct that had endangered, or was likely to endanger, the health or safety or any individual, or had harmed or was likely to harm the environment.” Section 72 provides for a social and ethics committee in certain circumstances. However, the Act

the benefit of science, technology and innovation are not only potentially immense for us but also, and more crucially, constitute the pre-conditions for south africa’s development.” - kgalema motlanthe

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OUR ECONOMY

eMPloyMent, incoMe distriBUtion and inclUsiVe growth

A

wide-ranging critical survey and meta-analysis of almost all research on unemployment in the past 15 to 20 years highlighted that the debate on unemployment and poverty is fragmented. The survey, conducted by Frederick Fourie, found that experts on labour markets, poverty and macro-economics all seem to deal with unemployment in some way, but rarely talk to each other, nor are they aware of each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work. An integrated and multi-disciplinary

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approach to the problem of unemployment (which, in turn, is related to inequality and poverty) is required. A similar fragmentation is evident in the policy debate and in government. An integrated grasp of the coherence between unemployment, poverty and inequality is largely absent in policy design and, as a result, most policy proposals are flawed and uncoordinated. As a result of this research, a large multi-year project, funded by the National Treasury, has been launched, involving researchers from a number of universities. The Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive growth will be an important component of the next Carnegie investigation into poverty and inequality, which is being undertaken in collaboration with the National Planning Commission. Prof Fourie has been appointed as the research coordinator of the project, which will be administratively based at the University of Cape Town.

frederick fourie department of economics

Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences Email: fouriefc@ufs.ac.za


learning froM other econoMies

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s part of its research endeavour, which directly impacts on its teaching, the UFS Business School has undertaken a

number of case studies on other economies.

One of the economies studied was that of the republic of ghana, which is widely regarded by international institutions and analysts as an African success story on the back of its consistent and impressive economic growth over the past 10 years. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) World Economic Outlook for the top 20 fastest growing countries in the world with the highest projected compounded annual growth rate from 2013 to 2017, ranks ghana sixteenth. The World Bank also indicated that ghana was the fifth fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012.

Macroeconomic evidence confirms that ghana is a successful growing economy, particularly compared to other African countries. Whether these figures can be trusted, is still an open debate. Critics are increasingly sceptical of using gDP growth as a measure of successful economic development in Africa. Any visitor to ghana is struck by the glaring inequalities. Despite its beautiful high-rise buildings hosting global organisations, large hotels of international standard, impressive government buildings, and the current number of ongoing large construction projects, there are areas with row upon row of shacks where citizens are struggling daily to make a living in the kiosks lining the streets. Even if ghana is doing well economically, does economic growth equal economic transformation? And within an African context, can this be termed a ‘success’? The second country studied was iceland. From the 1990s the country experienced a period of steady growth and increasing prosperity. In 2007 it was the ninth richest country in the world by per capita gDP. However, in October 2008 Iceland faced a major economic crisis, which saw the collapse of its three major international banks, rocketing inflation, the depreciation of the Iceland krona and massive external debt. It was threatened with bankruptcy and faced political chaos. By the end of 2008 it required an urgent bail-out from the IMF and received additional funds from Russia, Norway, Denmark and Poland. Iceland faced the challenges of economic and political restructuring and recovery.

The banks had pursued risky expansion strategies (borrowing in foreign capital markets to finance the aggressive international expansion of Icelandic investment companies) that made them vulnerable to the deterioration in global financial markets. They had also grown too big for the government to rescue. Non-financial firms and households were also vulnerable to the deterioration in global financial conditions. The media referred to what happened as ‘collective madness’, or called Iceland ‘a hedge fund’, a ‘giant Ponzi scheme’ or ‘a casino economy’. Many blamed, not ‘the banks’, but those who had the power of decision in the banks – the new billionaires who were given abnormally excessive loans by the banks to fund their own enterprises and individual expenses. The IMF said that its solutions would help to restore confidence in the economy. However, because the economy was dependent on foreign perceptions for borrowing and investment, it was, nevertheless, set to enter into a severe recession from 2009 to 2010. The IMF warned that its solutions would mean several years of austerity for the Icelandic people. The IMF projections for a gradual economic recovery were relatively positive over at least a five-year term. Many Icelanders, however, thought the worst was yet to come, predicting a wave of bankruptcies, followed by unemployment, recession and general hardship. By late 2011 Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, speaking at a joint Iceland/IMF conference, declared that Iceland’s recovery was gaining momentum. Public finance was on a sustainable path, with economic growth no longer in the red and with job creation in excess of job destruction. Important lessons to be learnt from Iceland’s recovery included: »

Countries with large international banks, relative to gDP, should separate the banks’ essential domestic activities from their global ones.

»

Sovereign credit should never be sacrificed to the creditors of banks.

»

Iceland’s crisis highlighted the question of how small open economies are to manage their relationship with the global financial and monetary systems.

JP landman

in association with Stephanie Townsend and Eulalie Metton UFS Business School Email: jpland@iafrica.com

the true worth of a researcher lies in pursuing what he did not seek in his experiment as well as what he sought.” - Claude bernard

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OUR ECONOMY

BUsiness is oUr laBoratory - creating entrepreneurs

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an you teach entrepreneurship? Prof Van Aardt Smit of the Department of Business Management believes that you cannot, but that you can

reawaken what is inherently there and create a paradigm shift; however, he is of the opinion that current teaching is too structured and inhibits this type of creativity. In response, the UFS Business School and researchers in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences are employing innovative ways to provide important links between study and real world experiences, in order to stimulate entrepreneurship.

The pilot phase MBA Business Plan competition, sponsored by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), was run at the Business School in 2012. The plan is to roll it out to all universities in future. The Competition is a business plan competition aimed at both start-ups and established businesses based in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The focus of the competition is to bridge the gap between the business plan prepared as part of the course requirements of the MBA degree and the funding of these business ideas. The overall winner of the competition was Ms Landi kieck of Dukathole Brickworks, an existing business proposing to focus on the supply of RDP housing bricks. The business was judged to have good potential for job creation. Over and above the R10 000 prize, the IDC invited the owners to submit the plan for funding consideration and R6.5 million has been granted to Ms kieck for the further development of the business. In another initiative, the Department of Business Management partnered with Ellies, a top performing company listed on the JSE, to provide internships for postgraduate students. Most organisations

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landi kieck of dukathole brickworks (left) and Jeanie britz of ecodeco, winner and runner up of the 2012 idC/Ufs business Plan Competition.

hire graduates who have work experience, thus ensuring that their new recruits have a balance of both theoretical and practical experience. However, this leaves a number of postgraduates in a position in which they are unemployable without practical work experience. Realising this, the Ellies group committed to a formal learnership and intern programme for postgraduate students in 2012. The initiative, which is the brainchild of Prof Van Aardt Smit and Mr gary Wiltshire, the Director of Ellies, started humbly with four students in 2012, but has expanded to an expected 67 students in 2013. The learnership and intern programme involves students at honours, masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and doctoral levels.

Van aardt smit

department of business management Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences Email: smitava@ufs.ac.za

helena van Zyl UFS Business School Email: vanzylh@ufs.ac.za


making a difference... to ensurIng food securIty

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FOOD SECURITY

ensUring africa has wheat

a

recent Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community noted that a near-term supply disruption of wheat production could result when a plant

disease known as Ug99 stem rustâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;already spreading across Africa and the Middle Eastâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;arrives in South Asia, which is likely to happen within the next few years. This confirms the warning about the serious threat that Ug99 would pose to food security, made by Nobel laureate Norman E Borlaug in 2005.

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The UFS’ own Prof Zakkie Pretorius provided the first description of this rust back in 1999/2000, and named it Ug99. This focused the attention of the global wheat community on the threat of the disease. He continues to be at the forefront of research on wheat rusts. The world is faced with ever-increasing food insecurity, with the demand for food expected to grow by up to 70% by 2050; thus there will be growing demands for increased agricultural production. This demand is set against a background of declining natural resources, increasing land marginalisation and the uncertainties of climate change. The development of low-chemical input, sustainable agricultural systems is therefore critical. Along with rice and maize, wheat provides a substantial proportion of the calorific intake of the human population – accounting for one fifth of humanity’s food. Biotic stresses present a major constraint to crop production, with the fungal rust pathogens of wheat being a significant global problem. It is therefore essential that sustainable wheat production systems are put in place. Plant pathologists and plant breeders aim to alleviate the effects of disease by improving the genetic defence systems of economically important plants. These systems are incorporated in plants through a process called resistance breeding – the manipulation of the genotype of a plant to reduce the effects of a pathogen following certain recognition events. Successful resistance breeding relies on detailed comprehension of pathogenicity of the disease-causing organism, the genetic constitution of the host plant and the interaction between host and pathogen. The research undertaken by Pretorius and his group aims to provide a better understanding of pathogen diversity and to identify durable rust resistance and markers to track them in breeding populations. Understanding virulence of rust fungi at a molecular level is important for comparing the evolution of single-step mutants. It is generally accepted that this type of information will lead to improved comprehension of plant-microbe interactions and, eventually, deployment of durable resistance. A project is being undertaken by the UFS, in collaboration with Cengen and Stellenbosch University, to sequence the genome of an important rust pathogen occurring in South Africa. This will establish the necessary next generation sequencing expertise among pathologists, geneticists and bio-informaticians working with cereal rusts in South Africa. Once the expertise has been set up, the system can be transferred to several other rust pathogens held in the culture collection at the UFS. The Ug99 wheat stem rust race is notorious for its broad virulence on global wheat cultivars and breeding lines. Four of the eight variants within the Ug99 race group occur in South Africa. There is a need to develop and employ new DNA marker technology in fingerprinting isolates within the Ug99 race group (and possibly others). Expertise is being established at the UFS by Dr Botma Visser to characterise isolates using SNP technology developed by

Cutting off fundamental, curiosity-driven science is like eating the seed corn. We may have a little more to eat next winter but what will we plant so we and our children have enough to get through the winters to come?” - Carl sagan

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FOOD SECURITY

the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) will allow comparisons of marker information with traditional rust survey data.

understanding of the nature of durable rust resistance. The UFSCengen group has identified an additional two important genes for adult plant stripe rust resistance in a South African context.

Excellent progress has been made by the UFS-Cengen group in identifying sources with potentially durable resistance to stem rust caused by Puccinia graminis f.sp. tritici. Through an association mapping approach, four wheat lines from the John Innes Centreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s (JIC) African Wheat Collection, with high levels of adult-plant resistance (APR), have been identified. Doubled haploid populations of two of these have been developed and targeted mapping efforts will determine the quantitative trait loci (QTL) responsible for resistance. Phenotyping started in 2012 and will be repeated in 2013. This information feeds directly into the industry-funded marker service laboratory of Cengen where research results are applied in all South African wheat breeding programmes.

In a project being undertaken with researchers from the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, the kenyan Agricultural Research Institute and others, a genetic and biological characterisation is being done of a number of sources of novel resistance to stem and stripe rust, which has proven effective against these two diseases in southern and eastern Africa. DNA markers will be developed for each resistance gene using the latest marker technologies, allowing for the development of superior wheat varieties in a much reduced time frame. To ensure that these DNA markers can be used by national wheat breeding programmes within Africa, two marker platforms will be established within research and breeding institutes in South Africa and kenya.

A study defining the genetic basis of APR to stripe rust in the European cultivar Capelle-Desprez was published by the Cengen-UFS-JIC group in 2012. The chromosomal regions of the major QTL have been identified but need to be enhanced through fine mapping, for improved marker-assisted selection. The recent cloning of lr34/Yr18, an important gene for adult plant resistance to leaf and stripe rust, has contributed significantly to our

The sarchI chair in disease resistance in field crops was awarded to Prof Zakkie Pretorius in 2011. he has specialised in genetic resistance to rust diseases in field crops, particularly cereals, for almost 35 years. he was responsible for the first comprehensive characterisation of pathogenic variation in the wheat leaf rust fungus in south africa and has extended this knowledge to wheat stem and stripe rust, barley leaf rust, oat leaf and stem rust, common rust of maize, sunflower rust and soybean rust. building on this proficiency, the main emphasis of the research programme for the Chair will be on wheat rusts.

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Prof Zakkie Pretorius department of Plant sciences

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: pretorza@ufs.ac.za


lUcerne hay qUality grading fibre (NDF), lignin, ash and chloride (Cl) analysis and accordingly for inclusion in quality models. Milk yield (MY) derived from the CNCPS model, by replacing the average lucerne hay in a complete diet with the rest of the 168 samples, was used as a criterion to evaluate and/or develop models for lucerne hay quality grading. The best single predictor of MY was the ADF content of lucerne hay, which explained 67% of the measured variation. The relatively poor performance of CP and other protein related parameters in predicting MY suggested that protein content of lucerne hay is an unreliable indicator of lucerne hay quality.

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he quality of lucerne hay varies considerably and a grading system based on the nutritional value of lucerne hay has been developed by Dr gerrie Scholtz and Prof Hentie van der Merwe at the University of the Free State. This grading system is currently widely used in the South African lucerne hay industry. It is recognised as the official grading system in South Africa and involves accurate sampling, sample handling and preparation procedures, near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) nutrient analysis, a model for quality assessment and quality standards. The system is of particular importance for dairy farmers, who are willing to pay a premium for high quality lucerne hay and therefore need to know what differences in milk production can be expected when feeding different grades of lucerne hay. A study was conducted to evaluate current proposed models for assessing medicago sativa L. hay quality, using NIRS-analyses and Cornell Nett Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS) milk production prediction as a criterion of accuracy. One hundred and sixty-eight samples representing the spectral characteristics of the South African lucerne hay population were selected and chemically analysed. The accuracy of NIRS to predict chemical and digestibility parameters was investigated. The results indicated that the NIRS technique is acceptable for dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), acid detergent fibre (ADF), neutral detergent

The developed empirical equation named lucerne milk value (LMV), including ADF, ash and lignin (Y = 64.18 – b0ADF – b1ash – b2lignin), accurately (r2 = 0.96) predicts MY. Application of the theoretically-based summative total digestible nutrients-lignin (TDNlig) model of Weiss et al. (1992), using lignin to determine truly digestible NDF, explained almost all of the variation in MY. However, several of its components were poorly predicted by NIRS and therefore not suitable for quality assessment. Current available models (forage quality index (FQI); relative forage quality (RFQ); relative feed value (RFV)) for assessing medicago sativa L. hay quality revealed lower accuracies, especially when protein was included in the model (lucerne quality index (LQI); total forage quality index (TFI); r² < 0.49). The empirical equation lucerne milk value (LMV), including ADF, ash and lignin (r² = 0.96), proved to be the most practical, simplistic, economical and accurate quality evaluation model for commercial application. The national grading system for lucerne hay which was developed from this project, is now a statutory requirement for the national grading of lucerne hay in South Africa. The relevant information is now being distributed in popular format across the country. There is also international interest in the grading system and it is already used for the export of lucerne hay.

gerrie scholtz

animal and Wildlife and Grassland sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: scholtzgd@ufs.ac.za

Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure and, fourth, money.” - albert szent-Gyorgyi

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FOOD SECURITY

oUr daily Bread

- making it better

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rof Maryke Labuschagne has been involved in wheat gluten research for many years. She is currently responsible for two projects on

gluten proteins: (i) Protein quality vs protein quantity: can protein quality compensate for protein quantity? and (ii) The effect of abiotic stress conditions on gluten proteins and how this affects baking quality.

dr Joyce moloi and keneoue Phakela.

Approximately two million tons of wheat is produced annually in South Africa, which is used almost exclusively for bread making. A protein content of 12% is required for Class 1 wheat (protein quantity), but so far, in South Africa, the protein quality has not been taken into account. The protein quantity is the amount of nitrogen in the wheat multiplied by a specific factor (5.7) to determine the percentage protein in the wheat. The protein quality, on the other hand, is determined by the gluten composition in the protein. The gluten consists of glutenins and gliadins. glutenin imparts elasticity and gliadin viscosity to dough. The glutenins are polymeric proteins and the gliadins are monomeric proteins. The ratio between the polymeric and monomeric proteins is of crucial importance for good bread making quality. According to published studies it is possible to focus on excellent protein quality, even at lower protein content, and still have excellent baking quality. This study focuses on the protein quality vs protein quantity in South African wheat cultivars, in order to determine whether protein content can be lower in the presence of good protein quality, without a penalty to baking quality. The first project was initiated by the wheat industry in South Africa and is being done in collaboration with the Small grains Institute in Bethlehem, and the Agricultural University of Sweden in Alnarp (SLU). The collaboration with the SLU includes the exchange of students for training purposes. Nomcebo Mkhatywa, an MSc student involved in the project, spent three months in Sweden receiving training in laboratory techniques related to gluten and vitamin E analysis. She will spend a further three months there as part of her PhD training. In the second study, four commercial wheat cultivars are subjected to heat, drought, and cold stress at the soft dough stage (just after flowering), to determine what the effect of these stress conditions are on the gluten proteins, and how this is reflected in the baking quality characteristics of these cultivars. This is very relevant in the context of global warming where heat and drought conditions are becoming increasingly prevalent. This study is being done under greenhouse conditions in order to control the stress conditions. The first season data has now been collected, and the second season planting is ready to commence. Post-doctoral fellow, Dr Joyce Moloi is responsible for this project, together with an MSc student, keneoue Phakela. Novel techniques for gluten analysis, such as amino acid analysis and high performance liquid chromatography, are being used in this study. The outcome of both these projects should contribute to understanding the very complex field of gluten proteins and how they function. With increasingly sophisticated methods of analysis, the puzzle is slowly becoming clearer.

Maryke labuschagne department of Plant sciences

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: labuscm@ufs.ac.za

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coMMitted to food secUrity

r

esearchers in the Strategic Cluster on Technologies for Sustainable Crop Industries in Semi-Arid Regions are

committed to the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s food security. Dr Marieta Cawood is studying the biochemistry of resistance in wheat to biotic stresses and confirmed that, firstly, chitosan oligomers can act as elicitors in the Russian wheat aphid resistance response of wheat and, secondly, polyphenol oxidase plays a role in the defence response of wheat against the Russian wheat aphid. She also convincingly showed that the African wormwood (artemesia afra) might have a dual effect against the Russian wheat aphid by acting as a repellent as well as an elicitor that triggers defence responses in wheat. Dr Marieka gryzenhout is developing DNA barcodes for rapid identification of pathogens and latent pathogens of agricultural crops in semi-arid regions. This technology has great potential for improving crop production and will become crucial in terms of attaining food security in southern Africa. A very interesting and unique facet of her work is the synergy it has brought between various disciplines, namely plant pathology, mycology, agronomy, biochemistry and entomology. This is aptly reflected in a project to evaluate and elucidate the allelopathic potential of the important food crop amaranth, (amaranthus cruentus) to crop and weed species, which is managed by Dr James Allemann. This collaboration forms a crucial part of a consortium (SA-Nugrain), established with the North-West University and the ARC-Roodeplaat, which has considerable commercial potential. Dr Angeline van Biljon studied the genetic diversity and quality characteristics of sweet potato breeding lines developed for the needs of resource-poor farmers. Her research represents the first report on simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers in South African sweet potato breeding lines and is essential for the usage of these lines in breeding programmes for improving quality. Prof Neal McLarenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s research to determine the epidemiological value of resistance or tolerance to principle soilborne sorghum and soybean diseases in South Africa continues to yield important breakthroughs. Analyses for ergosterol (as a measure of active fungal colonisation) and mycotoxin

concentrations indicated a distinct relationship between sorghum grain characteristics and grain mould severity. Ergosterol, extracted as an indicator of fungal colonisation of roots, proved a useful indicator of root colonisation by root rot fungi. genotype response to changing environments was also found to be variable and sorghum lines with stable resistance over seasons were identified.

Marieta cawood

department of Plant sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: cawoodme@ufs.ac.za

Marieka gryzenhout department of Plant sciences

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: gryzenhoutm@ufs.ac.za

angeline van Biljon department of Plant sciences

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: anelize@ufs.ac.za

neal Mclaren

department of Plant sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: mclarenn@ufs.ac.za

the more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems aterwards.â&#x20AC;? - arthur koestler

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FOOD SECURITY

the hUMBle cactUs Pear

- Cinderella comes to the party

e

nvironmentalists tend to frown upon the cactus pear (previously known as the prickly pear) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; considering it an alien. But the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and researchers

from the UFS have teamed up to use it as the basis for economic development.

T

he term prickly pear is associated with the extremely spiny cultivars brought to South Africa by European settlers in 1772. They invaded an estimated 900 000 ha of natural veld, mainly in the karoo and Eastern Cape and had to be eradicated through the use of the cochineal insect and the Cactoblastis cactorum moth. These infestations have now been eliminated. In 1914 the grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute imported 22 spineless Burbank (opuntia ficus-indicus) cultivars, principally as a drought tolerant crop for arid regions. Since then, 78 new varieties have been bred from the original Burbanks, and South Africa is the only country in the world where Burbank cultivars are still found. The cactus pear has long been valued in South Africa for its fruit, and as an alternative cattle fodder. However, although South Africa produces large quantities of the crop, its uses have never been fully exploited, unlike countries such as Mexico, Morocco and Chile where the entire plant (fruit, cladodes and flowers) is used.

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Arid and semi-arid conditions in South Africa present great potential for cactus pear production. Demands on scarce water resources for human consumption and the effects of climate change require the development of alternative animal feed sources, specifically crops that are more efficient users of water. Over the past two decades, fruit production has gained momentum, and as the plants are pruned annually to simulate fruit quality, the pruned cladodes are available as fresh feed for livestock. This opened the way to use sun-dried and coarsely ground cladodes in balanced diets for livestock. The reduction in water content of the bulky, fresh cladodes makes the processed material easier to handle, transport, store and incorporate into balanced diets. Prof HO de Waal and his team have long been involved in research in this area. Research undertaken by Dr Maryna de Wit is aimed at finding additional commercial uses for cactus pears as an alternative crop in the semi-arid regions of the country. Cactus pears contain high

levels of vitamin C, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus and other nutrients. They have between 6% and 14% sugars, mainly in the form of glucose and fructose, and are low in sulphur and high in fibre (3.15 g per 110 g), as well as the anti-oxidant betalains. These characteristics provide great potential for medicinal and human food products. Dr de Wit and her research team are therefore investigating how much of these valuable nutrients are retained after processing – that is in canning, making syrups, jams and chutneys, and drying. Fresh cactus pears are available for only a relatively short period in summer, so if the nutrient levels are retained during processing, these products could become useful as health foods. Further research is being conducted to investigate which cultivars produce the most seed oil, which is sought after by the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. It is the most expensive plant oil in the world. The use of flour made from the cactus pear cladode is the subject of another research project. Cladodes are dried in the sun and milled, and up to 25% of wheat flour can be replaced with cladode flour in baking, with undetectable results. Cladode meal is very high in fibre and is valuable to people who are gluten intolerant. The team is also conducting research on possible uses for the mucilage (the gelatinous substance in the cladodes). These include using it as a thickening agent and emulsifier in mayonnaise, a fat replacer and emulsifier in polonies, amongst others.

The success of the research on the cactus pear that has been done by the researchers at the UFS led to the collaborative project with the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs to develop a cactus processing industry with the Oppermansgronde community near koffiefontein. The first stage of the project entails establishing the orchards; Dr Herman Fouche is responsible for this aspect. He explains that a one hectare well-maintained orchard can produce 20 to 30 tons of fruit, but as this is only available for four to six weeks, the processing of the whole plant must be considered. Prof HO de Waal will be assisting with the formulation of balanced cattle feed for use in the dry season. Dr Maryna de Wit will be involved with processing of the fruit and cladodes, linking it to women’s development in the community. These initiatives promote the cactus pear as a multi-use crop, ranging in application from livestock feed, fresh fruits, seed oil,

human food, and medicinal and pharmaceutical applications. In South Africa the outdated perception of this fruit being the proverbial Cinderella is rapidly being refuted by recognising the role the cactus pear will play as a high yielding, multi-use crop with a very efficient water use capacity. (additional information obtained from farmer’s Weekly 13 april 2012)

Maryna de wit

department of microbial, biochemical and food biotechnology Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: dewitm@ufs.ac.za

ho de waal

department of animal, Wildlife and Grassland sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: dewaalho@ufs.ac.za

herman fouche

department of soil and Crop and Climate sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: fouchehj@ufs.ac.za

the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” - albert einstein

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FOOD SECURITY

disease control in a PostantiBiotic era

S

ince their discovery, antibiotics have been the mainstay of disease control, not only in human medicine, but also in veterinary medicine and in

animal production. However, there is growing pressure to reduce or completely stop the use of antibiotics in animal production. Some years ago, the research group led by Prof Rob Bragg identified the increasing need for disease control options in a post-antibiotic era. The use of Fluoroquinolones in animal production has been banned in the USA for some time and the ban of antibiotics as growth promoters in the EU comes into effect from December 2013. Even without considering the current ban and potential future bans on the use of antimicrobials in animal production, the current high levels of antibiotic resistance in bacteria associated with poultry will also force the industry into a ‘post-antibiotic era’.

fig 1: nanosam photography showing the cytoplasma leaking out of staphylococcus aureus bacteria which have been exposed to QaC based disinfectants. Another main area of research is the use of bacteriophages as a potential treatment of bacterial diseases in poultry (Fig 2). Bacteriophages are viruses which specifically attack bacteria and cannot attach to other cells (Fig 3). In other words, they do not attack poultry and poultry treated with bacteriophages are perfectly safe for human consumption. In fact, the use of bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections in humans is receiving increasing interest, also as a result of the looming ‘post-antibiotic era’. The FDA in the USA recently approved bacteriophages as a ‘food additive’ to control listeria contamination in poultry products. The focus of the research has been on e. coli infections in poultry. In order to properly investigate the possibilities, a full understanding of the virulence of avian pathogenic e. coli (APEC) was needed. In order to do this, multiplex PCR tests were set up to detect 18 different virulence genes in APEC. A limited survey of the main virulence genes in APEC isolated from poultry in southern Africa was undertaken and the results have been published.

fig 2: electron microscope photograph of bacteriophage which is attacked escherichia coli

fig 3: enlarged escherichia coli bacteria which

have been infected with bacteriophages. In response, the researchers have bacteria isolated from chickens. These bacteria are just about to burst open. investigated the improvement of biosecurity in the poultry industry. As part of this project, the In another world first, NanoSAM technology was used to study the group has been investigating resistance to quaternary ammonium interaction between the virus and their bacterial host. The specificity compound (QAC) based disinfectants. The study aims to establish of these phages for the different APEC was also studied and found a system to detect QAC virulence genes in bacteria. In addition, a to be highly specific – in fact too specific. This does not mean that system for the monitoring of the level of resistance genes in the they do not have potential as treatment options, but rather that poultry industry could be offered as part of this project. The use of the identification of the e. coli strain which is causing a particular real time PCR was also used to investigate the expression of QAC problem in a poultry farm will have to be done to a very detailed level resistance genes in bacteria under different conditions. Another in order to get the best results when treating with phages. objective of this research was to investigate the mode of action of the disinfectants and the mode of resistance. In order to do this, NanoSAM technology was used. This was a world first use of this technology on bacteria and very interesting results were obtained. It department of microbial, biochemical and food biotechnology was clearly demonstrated that QAC based disinfectants punch holes into the cell walls of the bacteria, causing the cytoplasma of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences bacteria to leak out (Fig 1). This work has recently been published.

rob Bragg

Email: braggrr@ufs.ac.za

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early warning systeMs for soil salinity and water logging

A

lthough irrigation induces high crop yields per unit area in semi-arid areas, it has a downside as crops can only store a fraction of the salts added by irrigation in its tissues, even with water of a high quality. The rest of the salts will accumulate in the root zone, causing the osmotic potential of the soil solution to lower (become more negative) and increasing the risk of crop water stress. The normal response to prevent water stress is to increase the irrigation to a level higher than the daily crop water demand. By doing so, more salts are introduced into the system, which drive the spiral of salinisation. Not all soils react the same to over-irrigation. Under good drainage conditions, controlled over-irrigation can leach the salts from the root zone, which reduces the hazard of salinisation. On the other hand, uncontrolled over-irrigation over long periods can cause serious water logging and salinisation, even in well-drained soils. This was the case in the red and yellow-brown soils of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme. The loss in yield and income was so devastating that, from 1974 to 1976, the government had to intervene by subsidising artificial drainage systems in order to remove the access water and salts in a large part of the Scheme. The intervention by government probably saved the irrigation scheme from collapsing, but the disaster could have been prevented if an early salinity warning system had been in place. Today, as in the past, soil salinity is treated reactively, on an ad hoc basis in most of the 1.5 million ha of irrigation land in South Africa, and no proactive measures are in place to combat water logging and salinisation of irrigation land. This phenomenon can probably be attributed to the fact that both water logging and salinisation are highly variable in space and time, as they are influenced by climate, soil types, crops, underlying strata and agricultural practices. On the positive side, the Water Research Commission has funded a number of research projects on salinity, which have helped develop an understanding of the biophysical

impacts of salts on the crops, soils and environment, as well as the socio-economic effect thereof. However, not much can be done with respect to the control and management of water logging and salinisation if the nature and the extent of the problem are unknown. Research being undertaken by Prof Leon van Rensburg and his team is addressing this by determining the individual effect of soil temperature, soil water and salt on the EM38 measurements and readings. A method will be developed to apply EM38 in the field to differentiate between the various soil properties. The research is being undertaken on three sites â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one at the Experimental Farm of the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences, which has deep sandy loam soils, another at Oppermans Soils near koffiefontein, which has sandy soils, and the last at the Ramah Irrigation Scheme near Luckhoff, which has clay soils. By investigating the impact of water logging on crop yields, the researchers will be in a position to make sound recommendations on how water table depths should be managed, and if not, what the results will be in terms of yield and income losses. This information will contribute to sustainable management of water table depths, which has been seriously neglected in the past. The electromagnetic techniques being used will, for the first time, enable characterisation of soil salinity in crop fields by mapping the spatial and temporal distribution of salts in both the top and the sub-soils. Best practice will be recommended to reduce or avoid salt accumulation that can harm crops, soils and the environment. In the long term, the researchers propose to develop an early warning system so that proactive management decisions can be made at both field and scheme levels.

Prof leon van rensburg

department of soil, Crop and Climate sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: vrensb@ufs.ac.za

being a scientist means living on the borderline between your competence and your incompetence. if you always feel competent, you arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t doing your job.â&#x20AC;? - Carlos bustamante

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FOOD SECURITY

sUstainaBle graZing

F

or the past six years Prof Hennie Snyman has been intensively researching seriphium plumosum, colloquially known as ‘slangbos’,

‘vaalbos’, ‘bankrotbos’ or ‘bankrupt bush’. This aggressive invader has already encroached productive grasslands resulting in huge production losses, and decreases of up to 80% have already been experienced in certain parts of South Africa. Without knowledge of its actual origin, thousands of rands are spent annually on the chemical control of this plant.

The ecology of s. plumosum is not yet fully understood and therefore requires in-depth research to assist with the control of this encroacher plant. The research undertaken by Snyman has quantified the habitat preferences of the plant in terms of soil fertility, saline/sodic conditions and soil–water relationships. The influence of s. plumosum density on grass production was also quantified. It is clear that the distribution (both occurrence and density) of s. plumosum is associated with soil characteristics. The study indicated the sensitivity of s. plumosum towards wet conditions, perennial and transient water tables, overly high soil pH, clay content, high soil fertility (organic matter and phosphate) and sodium chloride. The deeper the soil profile, the more favourable the habitat for s. plumosum. In an attempt to address its control, the short-term response of s. plumosum to different applications of

60

nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), lime, sodium chloride (NaCl) and a soil-applied suspension herbicide, Molopo (active ingredient tebuthiuron), was examined. The lime and P-fertiliser treatments led to no deaths of s. plumosum for any of the concentrations. The smaller the shrubs, the more sensitive they were to both N and NaCl applications. Molopo successfully killed all shrubs up to a height of 600 mm. Fire as a control measure should be carefully handled because it can lead to increased encroachment of s. plumosum. The results confirm the vulnerability of s. plumosum in semi-arid areas, following changes in soil characteristics, which can be used in the control of this invasive plant. A combination of methods is recommended for s. plumosum control (this sentence moved down). The study also showed that s. plumosum encroachment is not linked to overgrazing. Prof Snyman has also compiled a book on veld and cultivated pasture management principles for sustainable animal production. The purpose of the book is to address many of the unanswered questions surrounding sustainable utilisation of the grazing ecosystem. Although the book has a substantial scientific approach, it can have meaningful practical applications for farmers as well as grassland and livestock students.

hennie snyman

department of animal and Wildlife and Grassland sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: snymanha@ufs.ac.za


making a difference... to managIng our natural resources

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NATURAL RESOURCES

enVironMental water reqUireMents for non-Perennial riVers Very few studies have been completed on non-perennial rivers in South Africa and even less where long-term data has been collected. The Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) is currently engaged in a number of projects to address this.

I

n a project funded by the Water Research Commission, a multi-disciplinary project team consisting of 28 members was appointed for a case study of the Mokolo River. Most of the specialists were from the UFS Centre for Environmental Management, geography Department, Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and Sociology Department, and most had worked on non-perennial rivers as part of previous projects. Specialists from Rhodes University and consultancy firms such as Southern Waters and Watermatters were also involved in the study. As the project progressed it was found that soil scientists were an invaluable addition to the project team, especially when the hydrological modelling was done. Specialists in hydrological modelling (MIkE SHE modelling) from the Danish Hydrological Institute (DHI) were also included at a later stage. A prototype DRIFT-Arid method (adapted from the original Downstream Response to Imposed Flow Transformation (DRIFT)

62

method developed by Southern Waters) for non-perennial rivers was developed in a previous project, using the Seekoei River as case study. The main objective of the current study was to test the prototype DRIFT-Arid method on a variety of non-perennial rivers in South Africa. To test the prototype DRIFT-Arid method the team needed to identify suitable catchments, select sites in each of these catchments, collect field data, identify suitable indicators and scenarios of change. The hydrology for each chosen scenario then needed to be simulated and the DRIFT-Arid DSS (Decision Support System) used to capture specialist knowledge to predict the change in the catchment at each site selected for each scenario chosen. The prototype DRIFT-Arid method was also improved and adapted as the project progressed and a revised DRIFT-Arid method was developed using the Mokolo River as case study. The DRIFT-Arid method has been tested with success on an ephemeral (Seekoei


River) and semi-permanent (Mokolo) river and now needs to be tested on an episodic river. The research team has identified various projects associated with the development of the method. In related projects, the CEM has continued the biomonitoring of the Caledon, Modder and Riet Rivers. This project was originally funded by Bloemwater, but the CEM now funds it and data and reports are housed at the Centre. Eleven sites were chosen (one on the Caledon, two on the Riet and eight on the Modder River) from the sites sampled as part of the Bloemwater contract, and these sites are now monitored three times a year (March, July and November) for water quality, algae and macro-invertebrates.

with funds from the CEM, until September 2012. Surina Esterhuyse has also been involved in interpreting groundwater data.

Maitland seaman

Centre for enviromental management Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: seamanmt@ufs.ac.za

Long-term data collection on the Seekoei River is invaluable to the understanding of an ephemeral (non-perennial) river in South Africa. Marinda Avenant, Marie Watson and Tascha Vos, together with Dr Linda Rossouw sampled the Seekoei River from 2005 to 2010 as part of a WRC project and continued sampling the river,

a scholar must not only be capable of hard, often totally resultless work - he must actually relish it.â&#x20AC;? - Richard d altick

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NATURAL RESOURCES

eMerging contaMinants in drinking water

T

he rapid advances made in improving the sensitivity of analytical equipment and methodologies have allowed

the detection of chemical compounds and micro-organisms, at exceedingly low levels, in drinking water. This has contributed to the detection of an expanding list of compounds that were previously not observed, and has raised a general concern about contaminants for which no regulatory guidelines exist.

These are collectively referred to as emerging contaminants (ECs), and include the partially overlapping groups of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, endocrine disrupting compounds, cyanotoxins, personal care products, industrial and manufacturing chemicals and micro-organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites such as helminths and protozoa. South Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s present knowledge of emerging contaminants is not well-developed and, until now, no comprehensive, national survey has been undertaken on the presence of ECs in drinking water in South Africa, and there is no national programme that reviews their possible health impacts or routinely monitors ECs in drinking water. It has therefore become crucial to significantly and urgently expand our knowledge on ECs in our water resources, and to develop a coherent scientific response to this presence. To address this gap, a Water Research Commission (WRC) funded project has been undertaken. In keeping with the philosophy of the UFS Strategic Academic Cluster initiative, the project was conducted as a collaboration between the Water Management in Water Scare Areas Cluster, which provided expertise on water quality, and the Advanced Biomolecular Research Cluster, which provided the bio-analytic expertise and analysis equipment. The project was led by Prof Hugh Patterton of the Advanced Biomolecular Research Cluster.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States geological Survey (USgS) have programmes to identify ECs. However, since chemicals and microorganisms that are present in drinking water in the EU or the US may not necessarily be present in drinking water in South Africa, as well as the fact that some chemicals, for which guideline values exist, may still be unregulated in South Africa, a limited, qualitative survey on drinking water sampled on multiple occasions in two major cities in South Africa was undertaken, concentrating on the detection of polar, water soluble compounds. This provided a significantly smaller list of contaminants that may be present in South African drinking water. A careful consideration of the severity of the possible health effects of each of the identified contaminants finally provided three chemical determinants with the highest potential of having a negative health impact, namely atrazine, terbuthylazine, and carbamazepine. The first two contaminants are widely used pesticides, while the latter is an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilising drug. These were selected for further study. Water samples were then collected over four seasons at water purification plants in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town at points before the water entered the reticulation system. Tap water was also tested at several sampling points. All the water treatment plants were willing participants in the project. An LC-MS/MS quantitation method was developed and validated for the study, following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines of method validation. In total 34 pharmaceuticals and pesticides from the 618 tested, were detected in the water samples over a four season period. In line with the preliminary screen, atrazine, carbamazepine and terbuthylazine were detected in the highest number of water samples and with the most number of seasonal occurrences. Apart from these compounds, compounds that were detected in three or more seasons included hexazinone, phenytoin, and tebuthiuron (Durban), tebuthiuron (Johannesburg), and fluconazole, phenytoin and tebuthiuron (Bloemfontein). The anti-malarial, cinchonidine, was detected in at least three seasons in each of the seven cities that formed part of this study.

Quantitation of the herbicide atrazine showed that it was present at elevated levels compared to the other cities, in each of the four seasons in Johannesburg. A similar elevated seasonal presence was observed in Johannesburg for the herbicide terbuthylazine. The anticonvulsant and mood-stabilising drug, carbamazepine, was present (at elevated levels) in all four seasons in Bloemfontein. The highest level of atrazine and terbuthylazine determined, were in Pretoria in the autumn. The highest level of carbamazepine was in Bloemfontein in the summer. Thus, the maximum levels detected for each of the three surveyed compounds never exceeded the stipulated maximum contaminant level (MCL) set by the EPA. In fact, the maximum never exceeded 6% and 7% of the MCL in the case of atrazine and terbuthylazine, respectively. In the case of carbamazepine, the highest detected level did not exceed 3% of the MCL. It therefore appears that even the highest recorded levels of the three ECs included in this survey never approached a level where it would be expected to have an impact on human health. Although the quantitated levels of the three most frequently observed ECs were less than 10% of their respective MCLs, the range of ECs observed may indicate a growing problem. A major consideration when determining the observable impact of contaminants in drinking water is not only the quantitated level of the contaminant, but also the size and demographics of the population that would routinely consume the water. This impact is generally expressed as a risk and is a function of the hazard, the vulnerability of the population, and the capacity of the population to overcome the hazard. Very little precise data is available over an environmentally relevant concentration range in the case of atrazine, terbuthylazine and carbamazepine. However, by making use of available data, a hazard risk matrix was developed by combining the severity of the hazard with the frequency of its occurrence. Using banded ranges, the occurrence of atrazine and terbuthylazine in the water sourced from Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg was found to represent a medium hazard. Terbuthylazine was a medium risk in the water from Cape Town. Carbamazepine was found to be a medium risk in the water from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Durban and Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. However, the frequency and level of the detected compounds did not require any specific and aggressive remedial action. The WRC-funded study has provided an important first glimpse into the state of drinking water in South Africa in terms of the presence and levels of emerging contaminants. The study has contributed significantly to the groundwork required to effectively manage emerging contaminants in South Africa. It has also built much needed capacity and expertise.

hugh Patterton Strategic Cluster on Advanced Biomolecular Research Email: patterh@ufs.ac.za

the most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not ‘eureka’, but ‘that’s funny’.” - isaac asimov

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NATURAL RESOURCES

ProViding water for the PeoPle

A

s surface water exploitation in South Africa reaches the limits of the resource, groundwater is increasingly recognised as an alternative source of water, particularly for potable water supply. A common reason for favouring surface water over groundwater is that hydrogeologists often cannot give an accurate figure for groundwater availability, nor for ‘assurance of supply’ – that is how reliable a particular borehole’s yield might be based on regional groundwater availability. There have been various estimates of groundwater availability in South Africa over the years, ranging from about 50 000 mm3 per annum, to less than 5 000 mm3 per annum, with the differences being mainly due to different methodologies employed in calculating availability, and whether or not certain factors, such as a specified minimum groundwater level or extractability, have been allowed. There is a need for a single, widely accepted methodology for estimating groundwater resources available in South Africa which will place groundwater on a par with established surface water methodologies. This will greatly assist in reducing disagreements both within the South African technical hydrogeological community, and between hydrogeologists and other professionals. greater consensus will in turn facilitate more efficient and proactive use of groundwater resources in South Africa, which will contribute to the country’s water resource mix. Such a methodology will also allow groundwater to be easily integrated into resource estimates, which up to now have focused primarily on surface water. Climatic observation data is an integral part of every nation’s wealth; however, in South Africa the data is segmented into purely atmospheric, surface hydrology or geohydrological data for specific areas. In most cases there is no significant

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overlap between the surface and sub-surface hydrological data to ascertain a relationship between these two systems. In the past, water resources were managed as if surface water and groundwater were two separate entities. However, it is clear that these systems affect each other in resource quantity and quality over time. The Department of Water Affairs uses surface water models to predict future availability of water in South Africa; however, one key component is the accurate prediction of groundwater contribution to surface water systems. The hydrological cycle describes the continuous movement of water above, on and below the earth’s surface. The interaction of these three zones plays a considerable part in sustaining life. Thus the understanding and management of surface water and groundwater interaction will play a vital role in our survival on this planet. Climate change will also affect the availability and distribution of surface water and groundwater aquifers. It is expected that the rainfall pattern in South Africa will decrease, with an increase in bursts of heavy rains in the rainy seasons. The combination of these two factors will reduce the availability of groundwater, since aquifers will not receive a high enough recharge. Using a number of test sites along the Modder River, the main processes involved in surface water–groundwater interactions have been investigated, i.e. surface hydrology, evaportranspiration, vadose zone hydrology and the geohydrology. This study enhanced the understanding of geohydrological properties and groundwater-surface water interaction mechanisms along a typical alluvial channel aquifer. In this way, the research provides new information on the geohydrological characteristics of a typical alluvial channel aquifer that is important for optimum development, protection and management of groundwater resources.

gerrit van tonder

institute for Groundwater studies Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: vtonderg@ufs.ac.za


fracking

- the potential impact on the environment and water resources During 2010/2011 various exploration applications for shale gas mining and coal-bed methane mining were lodged with the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA). These applications currently cover almost 31% of the total surface area of South Africa and are located in the karoo geological basin and sub-basins. As a result of public resistance, in March 2011 a moratorium was placed on the further acceptance and processing of unconventional oil and gas mining applications at PASA. During the moratorium a Parliamentary Task Team investigated the possible impacts of unconventional gas mining in South Africa and the report detailing the findings was released shortly after the moratorium was lifted in September 2012. The report emphasised the economic importance of allowing unconventional gas development in South Africa. South Africa is heavily dependent on fuel imports, which as a percentage of total merchandise imports represented 21.4% in 2011. The responsible production of natural gas from shale and coal-bed methane in South Africa has the potential to reduce South Africa’s fuel imports and may aid in job creation. Unconventional resources that can be mined for natural gas may include coal-bed methane, shale gas and tight sand gas. ‘Unconventional reservoirs’ refer to reservoirs where the permeability of the reservoir rock is lower than 1 milliDarcy, where

gas does not flow freely to the surface and has to be stimulated to be released from the source rock. In order to stimulate the release of gas from these low permeability reservoirs, a technology called ‘high volume hydraulic fracturing’ (also known as ‘slick-water fracturing’) can be applied. Other treatments to stimulate gas flow may include acidising to dissolve carbonate materials in the host rock, as well as gel fracturing or gas fracturing. The impacts associated with unconventional gas mining by means of hydraulic fracturing, are related to water, although possible impacts could occur in both the socio-economic and biophysical spheres. In addition, the nature of unconventional gas mining is such that it may have large regional scale cumulative impacts. The impacts are typically inter-related such that water impacts could adversely impact upon water users, the environment and future development potential, illustrating that social and environmental systems are inextricably linked. These anticipated impacts illustrate the importance of rigorous scientific investigation to properly understand unconventional gas mining to ensure effective regulation of this activity in South Africa. A number of researchers from the UFS have been actively involved in pertinent investigations which have contributed significantly to the debate around fracking.

if a scientist is not befuddled by what they’re looking at, then they’re not a research scientist.” - neil deGrasse tyson

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NATURAL RESOURCES

assessing the Potential enVironMental iMPact of hydraUlic fractUring

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n light of the various applications for unconventional gas mining that were lodged with the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA) during 2010 – 2011, the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) was commissioned by the Water Research Commission to undertake a project, with the aim of writing a background review report, developing an interactive vulnerability map of selected aspects, and proposing provisional screening level monitoring protocols for selected aspects. This project focuses on a wide array of biophysical and socio-economic aspects for the whole mining process from exploration through to the post-mining phase.

Examples of water-related impacts for shale gas mining include:

The background review is the first step towards understanding the complexities of unconventional gas mining by means of hydraulic fracturing. It aims to identify possible impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing and will aid government in developing the required regulatory policies and guidelines to effectively manage and monitor unconventional gas mining and hydraulic fracturing in South Africa. The interactive vulnerability map may, in conjunction with the background review report, be used as an aid in decision-making before allowing hydraulic fracturing in certain areas. The aim is to identify vulnerable areas where hydraulic fracturing may cause loss of natural resources and may have far-reaching socio-economic impacts. The data that will be used to compile the vulnerability map will be drawn from currently existing national databases. This map is in its first phase of development and the map should ideally be improved during later iterations by incorporating improved national datasets and by including aspects that are not included at this stage. The development of the provisional screening level monitoring protocol will include a review of international best practice and existing guidelines or protocols with regard to monitoring of unconventional gas mining by means of hydraulic fracturing. The protocol will aim to describe entities and parameters that should be monitored before hydraulic fracturing (to establish a baseline), during and for a time period after hydraulic fracturing, for selected aspects. For the background review phase of the project, the main concerns during each phase of mining for selected biophysical aspects were identified. The largest impacts of unconventional gas mining by means of hydraulic fracturing are related to water, although other impacts could occur in both the socioeconomic and biophysical spheres. Anticipated unconventional gas mining in South Africa may in future include both shale gas and coal-bed methane mining.

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»

Sourcing of water for fracturing operations that could impact on both surface water and groundwater quality and quantity and in turn impact on water availability for current water users and uses. Deteriorating water quality would also impact on the heath of communities.

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Sourcing of sand or clay for proppants could impact on rivers and wetlands and erosion could increase sediment loads in rivers.

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Induced aquifer connectivity could have quality and quantity implications.

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Surface water-groundwater interaction would mean that changes in the quality and quantity of surface water could impact on groundwater and vice versa.

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Solid waste and wastewater disposal could pose problems during the final stages of exploration, during mining as well as post-mining. Wastewater treatment may pose challenges with the management of brine and if wastewater is re-injected into deeper porous geological formations, it may cause geological and aquifer deformation with the associated possibility of triggered seismicity as well as possible fluid migration.

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The abandonment of poorly producing wells and the poor sealing of wells after well decommissioning, may lead to long term groundwater contamination legacy issues.

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Mechanical failure and deformation of wells may represent widespread diffuse sources of pollution over the long term.

Major water-related impacts related to coal-bed methane mining include: »

Large volumes of water that may be produced by the coal seams, even during exploration, with resultant wastewater management problems related to large-scale coalbed methane abstraction.

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In cases where large amounts of water are abstracted from coal seams this may also lead to increased aquifer connectivity and even subsidence of the land surface.

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Solid waste and wastewater disposal and treatment could also pose problems during all stages of coalbed methane mining.

Other biophysical impacts could include possible increases in the level of seismicity during all phases of the mining and the possibility of inducing or triggering a strong seismic event. The


impact on the vegetation of the targeted mining areas could include alien invasive species encroachment, loss of biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, soil compaction and increased erosion areas during exploration and mining. Air quality impacts may include dust pollution and the venting or flaring of gases due to inadequate regulation and/or infrastructure. The primary socio-economic concerns were identified as limited long-term employment opportunities and job losses in the agricultural and tourism sectors – which could possibly not be offset by employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector. In the longer term this could result in increased unemployment and poverty. With regard to health, there were concerns about the impact of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) on the health of populations, with longer term impacts on reproductive health, risk of cancer and worsening of chronic conditions, especially in vulnerable populations. Some chemicals used cause reproductive problems in animals, and crop production could be affected due to dust pollution, water shortages and deteriorating water quality – ultimately resulting in the land being unsuitable for farming after the gas is depleted.

This would have long-term effects on rural livelihoods. There are also concerns that the social well-being and living conditions of the local community could be affected – through fears over the risks of mining, sense of loss, unaffordable housing, and rapid social change, amongst others. All of these highlighted concerns illustrate the importance of the development of proper policy and regulations to minimise adverse environmental impacts. The development of suitable water-related policy that addresses unconventional gas mining is especially important in a water scarce country such as South Africa.

surina esterhuyse

Centre for environmental management Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: esterhuyses@ufs.ac.za

the iMPact of shale gas exPloration on water resoUrces

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he Water Research Commission commissioned a project, undertaken through a collaborative effort involving Prof gideon Steyl of the Department of Chemistry, Prof gerrit van Tonder of the Institute for groundwater Studies, and Dr Luc Chevallier of the Council for geosciences, to investigate the impact of shale gas exploration on water resources. The project considered the shale gas reservoir potential in the main karoo basin and any other potential areas of interest – as the area available for natural gas development is substantially larger than just the geographical karoo, with exploration areas covering six of the nine provinces in South Africa. In addition, the location relative to, and the relationship between the shale gas reservoirs and the karoo aquifer systems were studied and potential impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing and associated processes were identified.

The main socio-economic concerns regarding hydraulic fracturing, identified by this study, include (1) migration of gas, (2) migration of fracturing fluids, (3) water use, (4) surface spills and (5) well construction. Subsequently, these concerns were addressed in a systematic methodology, which highlighted the likelihood of each occurring. Migration of fluids, surface spills and water use posed the most probable points of impact. A fracture treatment of a typical gas well requires about 50 000 gallons (189 m3) of water; in some instances the amount of water needed to fracture a horizontal well may be up to 5 000 000 gallons (18 927 m3) or more. The application of good management practices would significantly reduce these events from occurring. The researchers recommended that the government should proceed with caution, and should hydraulic fracturing be allowed, that very strict best-practice guidelines and controls should be implemented. Furthermore, the entire process should be monitored throughout, but that the most intensive monitoring should occur during the hydraulic fracturing process.

main concerns of fracking, with the highest environmental impact issues in red.

Migration of gas

Migration of fluid

seismicity

desalinasation plant inefficiency

water use

Concerns well construction

fauna and flora

Management of Produced water

identification of additives anthropogenic road traffic, dust, noise

surface spills

gerrit van tonder

institute for Groundwater studies Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: vtonderg@ufs.ac.za

it is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. it keeps him young.” - konrad lorenz

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NATURAL RESOURCES

MiniMising the iMPact of oPencast coal Mines on the enVironMent

T

he Waterberg coal reserves are the only remaining large area with proven coal reserves in South Africa and they are being targeted for large-scale mining in the foreseeable future. This is a direct result of the increased demand for coal in South Africa for growing energy requirements. From local and international experience it is known that coal mining has a pronounced impact on surface and groundwater quality and quantity. Local experience indicates that the influx of water may be as low as 1% of rainfall for deep border and pillar mines with no subsidence, to as much as 20% for some opencast mines. Such differences have significant impacts on the quantity and quality of surface and groundwater resources in a local area and further afield. Most of the mining in the Waterberg area will be opencast mining. Due to the fact that a number of coal seams will be mined with approximately 50 m of interburden between the coal layers, this will result in large volumes of spoils and also discards being handled on surface. The Waterberg coal reserves are situated in a relatively dry area, with different depths of weathering of the karoo formations. In view of the low rainfall and limited surface water resources, it is unclear which level of measures is warranted to safeguard the quality of the existing water resources. A detailed in-depth acid base potential study is being done in the area in order to obtain new information regarding the possibility of acid generation of the overburden, interburden and discards, how spoils should be handled in future by the mining companies, due to the complexity and volume of the spoils and discards. If handled correctly, acid generation can be minimised. This entails static and kinetic tests as well as mineralogy of more than 600 core drilling samples over the area, which will help in creating a model to minimise the influence of acid rock drainage.

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One of the big issues in coal mining is the closure of such mines after the reserves have been depleted. These mines fill up with water, due to recharge from rainfall, and the opencast collieries and some of the underground collieries will then eventually decant. This water is normally polluted due to acid rock drainage and cannot be released into the streams. In order for the mining companies to obtain closure certificates, a closure plan for the water must be provided. There are various active and passive treatment plans for this water. The most common one currently is to treat the water and then to release it into the streams, or to sell it to local municipalities. The mining companies need to know how much water is available in the planning and design of these multi-million rand treatment plants. Accurate recharge figures are available for underground collieries, but very little information is available on accurate recharge into opencast collieries. The Institute for groundwater Studies (IgS) is currently involved in determining such recharge figures in opencast collieries, researching the influx into 10 different collieries. Discussions were held with representatives of different mining companies to determine suitable sites to perform such a study. These sites are in different stages of rehabilitation and filling up with water; from these various scenarios a programme will be developed to aid in the planning of these treatment plants.

danie Vermeulen

institute for Groundwater studies Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: vermeulend@ufs.ac.za


giraffe also need saVing

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n 1999 the total number of giraffe in Africa was estimated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to exceed 140 000, of which only 40% were found in protected areas. However, current estimates by the giraffe Conservation Foundation (gCF) have the population at less than 80 000 across all sub-species. This is a considerable decline in numbers

during the past decade and poses in the longer term a real threat to the survival of the species. Two of the nine sub-species are already endangered with numbers below 250 individual animals. Because little is known about these animals, especially in arid areas, ground-breaking research is undertaken at the UFS by wildlife researchers Francois Deacon and Nico Smit in the kalahari region bordering Namibia and Botswana. This is the first project ever to succeed in designing and fitting gPS collars for the satellite tracking of giraffe. During a pilot study in 2011, extensive knowledge and experience was gained on how to best construct and fit such gPS collars on giraffe to ensure comfort to the animal and durability of the collar in the wild. Following on the success of the pilot study, eight giraffe have since been equipped with these specially designed collars within the main study area. They were collared in 2012, and will be intensively monitored with these collars until April 2014. Capturing a giraffe is a dangerous task, since a well-placed kick from these large and extremely powerful animals can cause serious injuries. Therefore, capturing a giraffe with minimum risk to both the animal and the people, involves extraordinary skill, planning, and teamwork. The team responsible for this intricate process consists of wildlife biologists and veterinarians who are experienced in catching and working with wild animals. Specialised drugs, administered with a dart gun to tranquilise the giraffe, are used which then allows the fitting of the gPS collars. These gPS collars enable the researchers to record the location of individual giraffe for up to two years, with readings every hour of every day, irrespective of weather conditions. Data can thus be gathered in a very costeffective manner on home ranges, seasonal movements, human

and giraffe interaction zones, as well as migration routes and the duration of the migration process. The true value of this research project lies in the fact that the results can be applied to other arid regions and will also be invaluable to wildlife managers throughout southern Africa. The benefits of using modern technology include a reduction in the extent of aerial surveying and tracking time, less human effort and less disturbance of the animals. Additionally, satellite collars provide extremely accurate environmental data which strengthens the scientific value of the research. Findings from this study will address matters such as the current status of giraffe populations in southern Africa, the adaptation success of relocated giraffe, the impact of these animals on vegetation, seasonal movement, as well as social and population dynamics. The project will make a significant contribution towards informed ecological decision-making, broadening the applicability of the findings to other areas of wildlife management, tourism development, education and community involvement, and improving collaboration in securing the future of giraffe in arid areas.

francois deacon

department animal, Wildlife and Grassland sciences Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: deaconf@ufs.ac.za

somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.â&#x20AC;? - Carl sagan

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NATURAL RESOURCES

droUght haZard indicators

D

ry periods and drought may be the most devastating and least understood of all climate and weather phenomena. They can erupt in a matter of months, or they can gradually creep up on an unsuspecting society over several seasons. They are rarely forecast with any skill, and usually go unobserved by the public until the

impacts of the dry periods have already occurred. Dry periods remain major hydrological and meteorological factors, which have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of most people in South Africa. The water and agricultural sectors, specifically, incur millions of rands in losses every year.

Inevitably, officials charged with mitigating these impacts need to know how a current drought measures up historically to other dry periods. Analysis of dry periods, in terms of areal coverage, intensity, duration and variability at different temporal and spatial scales, provides valuable insights - not only into the historical perspective of anomalously dry conditions, but also into long-term variability of climate in the southern African region. There are many different dry periodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; indicators in use - locally, regionally and globally. Their uses vary; some are more useful for agronomists, some for hydrologists, some for ecologists. Many of these indicators could have multiple uses. The research being undertaken within the Strategic Cluster on Water Management in Water Scarce Areas is evaluating various dry period (drought hazard) indicators individually, and combining them to find the most optimal combination to serve the purpose of drought hazard early warning and, eventually, risk reduction.

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Being aware of an impending dry period, and eventually drought, will be invaluable for water managers to plan for water levels, for disaster managers to provide contingency plans, and for farmers to plan how to prepare for future seasons. A multimedia atlas, containing spatial and temporal analysis and visualisation of historical dry periods using chosen indicators, will be one of the outputs from this important research project.

Maitland seaman Strategic Cluster on Water Management in Water Scarce Areas Email: seamanmt@ufs.ac.za

dusan sakulski Strategic Cluster on Water Management in Water Scarce Areas Email: sakulskidm@ufs.ac.za


making a difference... to harnessIng technology for Industry

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TECHNOLOgY

and then there was light

T

here is a growing demand for energy and electricity production to supply about 10 billion people on earth. The vast majority of energy production is through combustion of fossil fuels. Alternative ways to provide cleaner and safer energy are mandatory because fossil fuels produce CO2, which has a detrimental effect on

the composition of the atmosphere, global temperature, sea levels and weather patterns. In recent years, the search for energy-efficient fuels has spurred on research into nanoparticle catalysts. Solid state lighting has the potential to revolutionise the lighting industry, promising lower energy consumption and environmental savings. Nanotechnology is pervasive in many applications, including light emitting diodes, electroluminescent (EL) devices, nanocatalysts, sensor technology and biomedical probes.

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T

he research, led by Prof Hendrik Swart, aims to develop new highly efficient phosphors that can withstand degradation, another set of phosphors with a long afterglow that will harvest sunlight by day and emit light during the night, small electroluminescent devices to test organic light emitting diode (OLED) phosphors and luminescent materials for photovoltaic (PV) cells, as well as phosphors for ‘up and down conversion’, used in solar cell applications. Different types of semiconductor particles are synthesised to provide specific properties in terms of colour, luminescent intensity, life-time, strength and hardness, enhanced diffusivity, and ‘up and down conversion’ efficiency. These particles can then be combined with other materials for use in different applications. A main challenge is to create and test phosphors that have a long afterglow for infrastructure development. The persistent (long afterglow) phosphors may be mixed with paint that will be used on road surfaces and road signs to glow in the dark for better visibility at night. Sunlight may be used to excite nanoparticles during the day to provide a cost-effective source of light in poor rural and urban areas. Their development and characterisation can also provide tools for high technology applications in infrastructure and industry.

A key factor that will determine the future success of field emission displays (FEDs) as a competitive technology in the flat panel display market, is obtaining a red, green and blue phosphor set that will satisfy a strict set of criteria. The phosphor lining in fluorescent tubes also needs to be improved to withstand degradation. New phosphors will be developed for ‘up and down conversion’ of photons in the UV and infrared spectrum of the sunlight reaching the earth for the improvement of solar cell efficiency. This has the potential to make an invaluable contribution to the existing pool of knowledge on organic-inorganic based solar cell devices. The knowledge of the group on phosphor materials is being used to make a contribution to the development of OLED’s, OPV’s, silicon PV cells, solid state lighting and flat panel displays.

hendrik swart department of Physics

Faculty and Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: swarthc@ufs.ac.za

Prof hendrik swart was awarded the sarchI chair in solid state luminescent and advanced materials. Priority research for the Chair will be the development of luminescent nanomaterials, focusing on different groups of novel solid state luminescent materials and the development of their physical and chemical surface properties. Prof swart and his group gained international recognition for the theoretical and experimental studies on the degradation of field emission display phosphors. a specific strength of the research group is the ability to do surface characterisation studies on phosphor nanomaterials and industrial steel and alloy samples.

innovation is this amazing intersection between someone’s imagination and the reality in which they live.” - Ron Johnson

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Photographs courtesy of mimosa extract Co (Pty) ltd

TECHNOLOgY

froM wattles to leather

O

ver the last number of years Prof Jan van der Westhuizen has been involved in a series of projects to

uncover the mysteries of wattle tannin.

Proanthocyanidin extracts, including wattle bark extract, are used industrially to produce vegetable tanned leather, wood adhesives, water purification resins and for additives in drilling. The South African wattle bark industry exports about R300 000 worth of crude extracts annually. Progress in improving the quality and value of the exported product has been slow, mainly due to the difficulty in establishing the exact composition of the extract and monitoring the molecular changes that take place during the chemical modification of the extracts. This is due to the complexity of the extracts and the difficulty of isolating pure PAS with silica gel based chromatography materials. The research to date has succeeded in unravelling the composition of quebracho and wattle extract to a reasonable degree of certainty, given the absence of internal standards. The research started with the quebracho, as it is a much simpler extract than wattle. The wild quebracho forests in the gran Chaco region of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay have been harvested for more than 100 years as an important source of vegetable tannins, timber and adhesive manufacturing. The research combined established phyto- and synthetic chemistry perspectives with electrospray mass spectrometry experiments and proved that quebracho comprises one catechin starter unit and one or more fisetinidol extender units. The research then proceeded with the more complex wattle extract. Electrospray mass spectrometry combined with established synthetic- and phytochemistry perspectives established that wattle bark extract consists of either a catechin

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or gallocatechin starter unit, or one or more fisetinidol and/or robinetinidol extender units. The research, done in partnership with Mimosa Extract Company (Pty) Ltd and UCL Company Ltd, has now moved on to another phase of refining the analytical methods, in the absence of suitable internal standards, to obtain a better quantitative picture of the relative composition of monomers, dimers, trimmers and high oligomers, and to use these methods to establish the chemical composition of sulfited extracts and monitor the changes that take place during sulfitation. In addition, new plant sources for wattle bark extraction production will be identified, and the chemistry of the proantocyanidins with synthetic chemistry model reactions will be investigated. One important result of improving the analytical methods will be the production of a certificate of analysis that satisfies the requirements of European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances) regulations. Without this the EU export market will be closed to South African wattle extract. Overall the project will assist the industry to improve the quality of their product, improve production efficiency, use alternative sources of bark, and expand industrial applications.

Jan van der westhuizen department of Chemistry

Faculty and Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: vdwesjh@ufs.ac.za


stochastic Modelling for engineering and Biological aPPlications

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rof Maxim Finkelstein is a specialist in stochastic modelling, namely in mathematical theory of reliability and operations research. Apart from theoretical research in the field of stochastic processes, he develops models mostly for engineering and biological applications. During the last few years he has worked closely with Prof Ji Hwan Cha of Ewha Womans University in the Republic of korea, and their most recent work appears in a co-authored book entitled stochastic modelling for Reliability (Springer). Focusing on shocks modelling, burn-in and heterogeneous populations, the book naturally combines these three topics in the unified stochastic framework and presents numerous practical examples that illustrate recent theoretical findings of the authors. The populations of manufactured items in industry are usually heterogeneous. However, the conventional reliability analysis is performed under the implicit assumption of homogeneity, which can result in distortion of the corresponding reliability indices and various misconceptions. stochastic modelling for Reliability fills this gap and presents the basics and further developments of reliability theory for heterogeneous

populations. Specifically, the authors consider burn-in as a method of elimination of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;weakâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; items from heterogeneous populations. The real life objects are operating in a changing environment and one of the ways to model an impact of this environment is via the external shocks occurring in accordance with some stochastic point processes. The basic theory for Poisson shock processes is developed and also shocks as a method of burn-in and of the environmental stress screening for manufactured items are considered. stochastic modelling for Reliability introduces and explores the concept of burn-in in heterogeneous populations and its recent development, providing a sound reference for reliability engineers, applied mathematicians, product managers and manufacturers alike.

Maxim finkelstein

department of mathematical statistics and actuarial science Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: finkelm@ufs.ac.za

the effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.â&#x20AC;? - steven Weinberg

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TECHNOLOgY

enVironMental solUtions that Make a difference

T

he Metagenomic Platform at the UFS, funded by both the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the UFS, has focused on extreme environments and its legacy has been the deep mine projects. However, over the past five years the focus was extended to include other environments, expanding the potential activities to include a much wider set of samples such as environmental samples, libraries, culture collections, etc. Technology developed by the UFS/TIA Metagenomics Platform in the field of bioremediation now offers cost effective and affordable, high tech solutions to a number of environmental problems. The research team, led by Prof Esta van Heerden, has developed a number of patented technologies, currently in different phases of commercialisation, to assist in solving environmental problems. The uniqueness of the technology developed by Van Heerden and her team is that the bioremediation process no longer requires pure cultures to be effective. They have been able to obtain results using mixed cultures that are superior to those associated with pure cultures. Furthermore, the technology is developed using indigenous microorganisms that have adapted to these environmental conditions. Current projects developed past proof-of-concept scale include chrome bioremediation and acid mine drainage multidisciplinary solutions. These technologies now offer solutions to the treatment of Chrome 6, often used in the leather tanning industry for the preservation of animal skins. In the mining industry the rehabilitation of acid mine water comes at great expenses to this industry and the technology developed by the matagenomics team now offers possibilities to smaller mining groups to acquire water licences for their mining operations. Prof Van Heerdenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s team has also researched and found a solution for hydrocarbon metabolism. A large number of microorganisms have shown the ability to utilise hydrocarbons as the sole energy source in their metabolism. Thus these technologies employ novel microbes capable of anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation. Since there is no biochemical agent under anoxic conditions with the same hydrocarbon activating properties as oxygen species

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when under anoxic conditions, these organisms seem to be able to activate hydrocarbons by biochemical mechanisms which are completely different to those described in aerobic hydrocarbon metabolism. This results in anaerobic activation reactions of hydrocarbons which are mechanistically unprecedented in biochemistry. Rather than oxygen, these microorganisms have adapted to utilise nitrate, ferric iron or sulphate as electron acceptors for anaerobic respirations and they also grow in synthrophic co-cultures with other anaerobes. A further study undertaken by the research team focuses on uranium solubilisation and reduction (decontamination or recovery). Uranium is a naturally occurring element that can be found in low levels within rock, soil and water. Uranium is also the highest numbered element to be found naturally in significant quantities on earth and is always found combined with other elements. Uranium occurs in numerous minerals such as pitchblende, uranite, carnonite, autunite, uranophane, davidite and tobernite. It is also found in phosphate rock, lignite, as well as monazite sands, and can be recovered commercially from these sources. Uranium ore is conventionally mined in several ways but the valuable uranium-bearing minerals are mechanically removed, while the remaining radioactive sand (called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;uranium tailingsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;) is stored in huge impoundments. The uranium is extracted from the uraniumbearing minerals by leaching with either an acid or alkali. The leachate is subjected to one of several sequences of precipitation, solvent extraction, and ion exchange. Biological uranium recovery is possible through a process of in situ immobilisation of soluble U(VI) via microbial reduction to insoluble U(IV).

esta van heerden

department of microbial, biochemical and food biotechnology Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: vheerde@ufs.ac.za


at the experimental setup of the high temperature reduction oven for research in heterogeneous catalysis are, front from left: maretha serdyn (mns Cluster prestige Phd bursar), nceba magqi (sasol employee busy with his msc at Ufs Chemistry) and dr alice brink (formerly mns Cluster Post-doctoral fellow and currently lecturer in inorganic Chemistry); and back from left: Profs Jannie swarts (head: Physical Chemistry), andré Roodt (Chairperson: Chemistry and mns Cluster director), and ben bezuidenhoudt (sasol Professor in organic and Process Chemistry).

green PetrocheMicals

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he research groups of Profs André Roodt (Inorganic), Jannie Swarts (Physical) and Ben Bezuidenhoudt (Organic/ Process) in the Department of Chemistry, principal members of the focus area of (green) Petrochemicals in the UFS Materials and Nanosciences Strategic Research Cluster (MNS Cluster), received a grant of R4.55 million from SASOL, THRIP, and PetLabs Pharmaceuticals for the overarching thrust in Organic Synthesis, Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis. The programme focuses broadly on different fundamental and applied aspects of process chemistry, as well as other aspects of fundamental chemistry, but with an applied approach and focus. This funding was granted based on the continued and high level outputs by the groups, which resulted in more than 40 papers during the past year in the international chemistry literature. These funds will enable the three research groups to move forward in their respective research areas associated with petrochemicals and other projects.

Current research includes conversions under extremely high gas pressures (typically 100 times that in motor car tyres) at the molecular level and at preselected nano-surfaces, to convert cheaper feed stream starting materials into higher value-added products for use as special additives in gasoline and other speciality chemicals. The funding support forms part of the Hub-and-Spoke initiative at SASOL under which certain universities and specifically the UFS Chemistry Department have been identified for strategic support for research and development.

andré roodt

department of Chemistry Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Email: roodta@ufs.ac.za

the science of today is the technology of tomorrow.” - edward teller

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AT A gLANCE

Ufs ReseaRCh

at a glance

HISTORY

RESEARCH STRATEgY

Established in Bloemfontein in 1904, the UFS is among the oldest South African universities. Today it consists of three campuses each with its own identity - Bloemfontein Campus, Qwaqwa Campus (in the eastern Free State) and the South Campus (on the outskirts of Bloemfontein). Over 2 700 academic and support staff contribute to the education of over 33 000 students distributed across seven faculties, namely Education, Economic and Management Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and Theology.

The UFS Research Strategy (2009-2014) is led by the undertaking to move the UFS from a research-active to a research-intensive university, recognising the inherent challenges as well as the reasons for a strong emphasis on research – sustaining the professional reputation of the institution in a knowledge-based economy and society; contributing to economic and social developments in the country and region; retaining and improving its position in the higher education system; attracting and retaining high-quality staff members and students; maintaining a cutting-edge curriculum; and creating a stimulating learning environment.

In 2002 the leadership of the UFS took a strategic decision to focus on research; this led to the establishment of the Directorate Research Development. The UFS has committed itself to becoming a research-intensive university – characterised by the quality and impact of the research undertaken, and the role that its research base plays in shaping the nature and content of its teaching, learning and community service.

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The primary goal of the research strategy is to foster a contented, well-connected and vibrant critical mass of researchers who champion the University’s contribution to national growth, regional advancement and global excellence. Central to the strategy are the research clusters – priority areas with particular relevance to the country and the continent, where the UFS has (or plans to develop) globally recognised expertise. There is a strong focus on improving the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, impact and sustainability of our research endeavours.


SUPPORTINg RESEARCH T

he directorate research development provides a hub for the support, facilitation and administration of research. The Directorate has clustered its services into two areas: Research Development, and Innovation and Business Development. The necessity to renew and cultivate the next generation of excellent researchers is a priority for the Research Development arm of the Directorate. It also serves to provide information on all research-related activities, and facilitates funding and partnership opportunities, research training and mentoring, strategic project submissions, and financial and budget services. The research conducted at the UFS should have an impact on broader society, and the commercialisation of products, processes and services are some of the mechanisms from which society can benefit. This is not only about generating additional income for the University, but rather about the transfer of technology to society so that we can make a real impact and difference in the lives of the communities we serve. The Office for Innovation and Business Development assists with managing, authorising and negotiating research contracts. The Office deals with the protection, management and commercialisation of intellectual property at the University and the establishment of spinout companies, thereby stimulating economic growth and job creation. The Office for Student Ideas assists students with good entrepreneurial ideas on a one-on-one ad hoc basis, to, amongst other things, develop business plans, set up websites, develop start up strategies, apply for funding, register patents. The UFS Postgraduate school, the first of its kind at a South African residential public university, was established in 2010 to promote excellent postgraduate education through the development of an empowering environment for researchers and postgraduate students. We believe that postgraduate education includes more than training in a discipline, and the School therefore offers training in research methodology and approach, as well as research practice. Furthermore, in the light of the significance of supervisor support for research education, the School hosts campus-wide discussions and training on supervision.

the important thing is not to stop questioning.” - albert einstein

Postgraduate students’ perspectives are significant to the way in which the School operates. In order to make the School a more democratic space and one which listens to the concerns and suggestions of students, a Postgraduate Students’ Council acts as a forum for postgraduate students and hosts its own programme of academic, cultural and social events. The strategic clusters are areas of focused research activity, which are considered to be important areas with particular relevance to the country and continent, where the UFS has, or plans to develop globally recognised expertise. The five Clusters are: »

Advanced biomolecular research

»

Materials and nanosciences

»

New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development

»

Technologies for sustainable crop Industries in semi-arid regions

»

Water management in water-scarce areas.

The south african research chairs initiative (SARChI) is a strategic instrument of the Department of Science and Technology and the NRF aimed at strengthening research innovation capacity in public universities, enhancing the training of a new generation of researchers and the further development of established researchers in all knowledge areas while responding to national priorities and strategies. The UFS has three SARChI Chairs: »

Chair in Disease Resistance in Field Crops (Prof Zakkie Pretorius)

»

Chair in Higher Education and Human Development (Prof Melanie Walker)

»

Chair in Solid-State Luminescent and Advanced Materials (Prof Hendrik Swart).

In order to address the critical issue of generational replacement of ageing academics, the UFS implemented the Vice-chancellor’s Prestige scholars Programme. This initiative accelerates the pathway to professorship for 25 young scholars with recent PhDs through concentrated intellectual and material investment.

81


AT A gLANCE

RESEARCH PARTNERS AND AFFILIATES The UFS values its research partnerships with business, industry, government, other academic institutions and not-for-profit organisations. Here are some of those we worked with in 2012:

A

B C

Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies African Palm Products Agri-Pedia Agricultural University of Sweden AIHA HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Anglo-American Appalachian State University ARC Artevelde University College ghent BAR-Ilan University Bernard van Leer Foundation Boehringer Ingelheim Brill Publishers Leiden British Council CAH Dronten University Cen gen Center for Disease Control and Prevention Central University of Technology, Free State CEPD Changchun Medical College Charlotte School of Law Coaltech COgTA Cornell University Council for geosciences CSIR

D

Danish Hydrological Institute Department of Justice Department of Science & Technology Dihlabeng Local Municipality

E

East Carolina University Eastern Cape Parks Board

82

Ellies ETDP SETA European Union Ewha Womans University

F

FAO Finnetix Florida State University Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Free State Department of Education Free State Department of Health

G

gALVMed gEO Pollution Technologies gFZ ghent University global University Consortium for Integrated Risk governance golder Associates government of the Republic of Botswana Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism greater Capital

H

Hogeschool van Amsterdam

i

IASA IDC IDRC ILO Institut dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ĂŠtudes politiques (IEP) de Bordeaux Institute of Education, London Intra-ACP Intsormil


j

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science John C Fetzer Institute John Innes Centre John Williams Motors Jönköping University

K

kansas State University katholieke Universiteit Leuven kenyan Agricultural Research Institute khulisa Management Services kings College korone Engineers

l M

Lessius University College LLC MAASTRO Marasarakham University Marine Living Resources Fund Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg Mayo Clinic Merck Mimosa Extract Company (Pty) Ltd Mississippi State University Monash University SA MRC Murdoch University

N

National Institute for Communicable Diseases National Institute of Agricultural Botany National Laser Centre National Museum Bloemfontein National Planning Commission National Treasury Natural History Museum, Vienna NECSA NMMU North-West University NRF

o

Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (Free State) Omni Eko Oppermansgronde Communal Property Association Osaka School for Public International Policy

p

Pearson Education SA PEER Pelonomi Hospital Persons Affected by the Holocaust (PAkH) PetLabs Pharmaceuticals Polytechnic Namibia Poznan University College of Business Princeton University PROBUCON PURIS

q R

Q-point BV Radboud University Nijmegen REACH (Bloemfontein) Rhodes University Right to Care Rockefeller Foundation Rosepark Hospital RUICON

S

SAEON Sambalpur Universith SANParks SA-Nugrain SASOL Senter 360 Shanduka SLOAN Small grains Institute Southern Waters State University of New York at Binghamton Stellenbosch University

T

TB Alliance Technical University of Valencia Technische Universität München Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Texas Agrilife Research Thomas More College THRIP Tilburg University Towers of Hope

U

UCL Co Ltd UMNgA Unisa Universidad Autonoma Agraria Antonio Narro Universitas Hospital University of Antwerp University of Botswana University of Bremen University of British Columbia University of Cape Town University of Chicago University of Cologne University of ghana University of graz University of groningen University of Houston University of Humanistic Studies University of Johannesburg University of kiel University of Minnesota (CIFAP) University of Modena and Reggio Amelia University of Nottingham University of Pavia University of Pretoria University of Strasbourg University of the Western Cape University of Turin University of Witwatersrand University of Zululand University Research Co

V

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Vrije Universiteit Brussel VU University Amsterdam

W

Watermatters Water Research Commission

Y

Yale University (Jonathan Edwards Center)

i believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” - bill gates

83


AT A gLANCE

FACTS AND FIgURES

NRF RATED RESEARCHERS

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS

15% increase

27% increase

PATENTS

PUBLICATION UNITS

from 2011

RESEARCH CHAIRS

from 2011

25 Provisional Completed 9

3

Ufs ReseaRCh oUtPUts 2008 - 2012

11% increase from 2011

nRf Rated ReseaRCheRs 2008 - 2012

55 2008

89

2008

9

2009

19

2010

17

71

2011

17

74

2012

19

60

10

396.13 89 110

2009

469.66

63

11

100 115

2010

13

451.41 107 136

2011

13

511.74 94 2012

126

89

10

566.07

0

84

200

400

600

0

20

40

60

doCtoRal GRadUates

l

C

100% ReseaRCh masteR’s GRadUates

Y

b

PUbliCation Units

80

100

120


TOP 10 UFS DEPARTMENTS IN TERMS OF PUBLICATION OUTPUT UNITS, 2012 department

PoU 2012

rank 2012

rank 2011

rank 2010

Chemistry

69.81

1

1

1

Physics

31.95

2

4

2

School of Education Studies

22.33

3

2

Psychology

19.33

4

6

6

Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences

17.91

5

Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science

16.91

6

Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology

16.34

7

7

8

History

13.83

8

3

5

geography

13.23

9

Linguistics and Language Practice

13.00

10

4

Multiple metrics are required to measure research performance, and it is thus not only about the number of articles produced. In line with national imperatives we also closely monitor the impact of our research. One cannot easily compare the impact of individual researchers in different disciplines; however, based on an analysis of our researchers who have consistently published in higher impact journals, we consider the following individuals to be having the greatest impact in their respective fields:

CHEMISTRY

MEDICAL MICROBIOLOgY

HAEMATOLOgY AND CELL BIOLOgY

Jeanet Conradie Riaan Luyt Johannes Swarts Elizabeth Erasmus

Felicity Burt Dominique goedhals Mittah Mamabolo Inez Rossouw

Walter Janse van Rensburg Johannes Roodt Seb Lamprecht

MICROBIAL, BIOCHEMICAL AND FOOD BIOTECHNOLOgY

PHYSICS

PAEDIATRICS

Hendrik Swart Odireleng Ntwaeaborwa Petrus Meintjes

Ute Hallbauer

Jacobus Albertyn Lodewyk kock Carlien Pohl-Albertyn Alwyn Hugo

not many appreciate the ultimate power and potential usefulness of basic knowledge accumulated by obscure, unseen investigators who, in a lifetime of intensive study, may never see any practical use for their findings but who go on seeking answers to the unkown without thought of financial or practical gain.â&#x20AC;? - eugenie clark

85


MAkINg THE NEWS

Making research news Through the commitment and hard work of our researchers, we are

delivering creative, evidence-based solutions where they are needed. Our people are making a difference, and these are just some of our researchers who made the news in 2012.

JANUARY

african Union acknowledges one of our own

The African Union awarded the African Union kwame Nkrumah Scientific award in the category Life Sciences - Continental level, to Maryke Labuschagne, professor in Plant Breeding. The award, the highest level of this prestigious award programme, was awarded for her contribution to science in Africa.

dean appointed chairperson of education deans forum The Dean of Education, Prof Dennis Francis, was appointed as the Chairperson for the Education Deans Forum (EDF) of South Africa. The EDF is a national forum established under the auspices of Higher Education South Africa (HESA), to share experience, expertise, and concerns related to the responsibilities of faculties of education.

FEBRUARY

Prof van coller receives prestigious scholarship Prof Hennie van Coller, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, german and French, received the European Institute for Advanced Studies (EURIAS) Scholarship. He is one of 17 candidates from all disciplines to be awarded the Scholarship, which includes a 10-month residency at the Flemish Academic Centre for Science and the Arts (VLAC) in Brussels, one of the 14 institutions involved.

Three from Theology accepted at global institute of Theology HelenĂŠ van Tonder (left) and two students from the Department of Church History, Michelle van Tonder and Andrew Barnard, were among 50 students worldwide accepted to the global Institute of Theology. The Institute gives theology students and faculties an opportunity to learn, teach and practise theology in an intercontextual and ecumenical way, situating the theological task in local, regional and world contexts.

Ufs part of project to translate Bible into sign language The project is the first of its kind in the country and representatives from various church denominations and deaf-friendly local and international organisations met on the Bloemfontein Campus to take the project forward. The translation project is expected to be completed in five years. Bloemfontein was chosen as the venue due to the work that has already been done by UFS staff member Susan Lombaard, of the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment, who did her masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree on the need for a Bible in Sough African Sign Language.

86


Ufs Business school in top ranks of survey The UFS Business School was ranked amongst the top business schools in South Africa in a survey by finweek and MBAConnect.net. There were 1 575 respondents, half of whom were in senior executive positions. Ninety-two percent of UFS alumni indicated that they had definitely made the right choice in doing an MBA (2nd place) and 80% said the MBA was worth the price paid (shared 1st place). Respondents rated the Business School as follows: » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » »

Leadership effectiveness: 3rd (with score of 8.9) Decision-making effectiveness: shared 1st (9.4) Credibility in business: 2nd (8.9) Impact of an MBA in changing industries: 3rd (8.3) Influence of MBA in starting own business: 2nd (8.5) Changing outlook of students: shared 1st (9.3) Improving people’s views of own potential: shared 1st (9.5) Helping people become better leaders in personal lives: shared 3rd (8.3) Helps keep business knowledge up to date: 3rd (6.5) Provides networking opportunities: 1st (7.3) Informs about business events: 2nd (8.9) Communicates regularly: 1st (9.2) Helps access MBA-level jobs: 2nd (6.2) Helps build personal brand: 1st (5.2) Helps start or grow own business: 1st (5.2) Shortest payback period: shared 1st (1.1 years).

Three new sarchi chairs The NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) awarded three research chairs to the UFS. SARChI received 406 applications from 22 universities. The chairs were awarded in the fields of solid-state luminescent and advanced materials (Prof Hendrik Swart), higher education in human development (Prof Melanie Walker), and disease resistance in field crops (Prof Zakkie Pretorius). The grants amount to R7.5 million per year for the next ten years.

MARCH

yeast genus named after Prof lodewyk kock A yeast genus has been named kockiozyma in honour of Prof Lodewyk kock of the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, for his contributions to yeast systematics. The genus is a member of the family Lipomycetaceae, which is regarded as a primitive group of yeasts. The family is usually studied for their evolutionary status and development.

lecture series on reconciliation and empathy The Dialogue between Science and Society Lecture series, hosted by Prof Pumla gobodo-Madikizela, brings together different disciplines to explore the broad field of reconciliation and empathy. Prof Jean Decety, a leading scholar in the field at the University of Chicago, delivered the inaugural lecture, speaking on the social neuroscience of empathy and moral reasoning. from left: Prof Pumla Gobodo-madikizela, Prof Jean decety, dr melike fourie and Prof driekie hay.

information wants to be free.” - stewart brand

87


MAkINg THE NEWS liezel herselman re-elected President of sa Plant Breeders’ association Prof Liezel Herselman, Head of the Department of Plant Sciences, was re-elected as the President of the Southern African Plant Breeders’ Association at its ninth annual congress held at kruger gate. She had previously held the position from 2010. The Southern African Plant Breeders’ Association is dedicated to the promotion of the science and art of plant breeding as a profession through proactive communication among private and public sector institutions, emphasising the need for cooperation and maintenance of high ethical standards and norms, thereby contributing toward stable, sustainable agriculture.

andré Venter appointed to Premier’s advisory council Prof André Venter, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, was appointed by Mr Ace Magashule, Premier of the Free State, to serve on the Premier’s Advisory Council. This council has advisors in various categories and Prof Venter is tasked with policies on health matters of the province.

APRIL

doctors make history with unique heart operation Academics from the Faculty of Health Sciences made history in Africa with the implant of a special pulmonary valve. Prof Stephen Brown and Dr Danie Buys placed the Medtronic Melody pulmonary valve in two young patients at the Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein – the first time this was done in Africa. The Medtronic Melody valve is delivered percutaneously through a catheter from the groin, in an operation that is designed for children and young adults who are born with a malformation of their pulmonary valve.

children’s author donates material for research Well-known children’s author and former kovsie, Jaco Jacobs, donated more than 70 of his books, manuscripts and translations, to be included in the authors’ room of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, german and French in the UFS Sasol Library. The donation will be very valuable in terms of research, providing insight into the writing process.

double achievement for Prof Paul grobler Two journal editions in Europe featured cover photographs based on papers by Prof Paul grobler of the Department of genetics and his collaborators. These papers stem from collaborations with Prof gunther Hartl of the University of kiel and Dr Frank Zachos from the Natural History Museum in Vienna. Both papers cover aspects of the genetics of southern African antelope species. The first paper (genetic structure of the common impala (aepyceros melampus melampus) in South Africa: Phylogeography and implications for conservation) appeared in the Journal of Zoological systematics and evolutionary Research, while the second paper (genetic analysis of southern African gemsbok (oryx gazella), reveals high variability, distinct lineages and strong divergence from the East African oryx beisa), appeared in mammalian biology.

Martin ntwaeaborwa elected as chairperson of sani At the 4th International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NanoAfrica 2012), Prof Martin Ntwaeaborwa from the Department of Physics was elected as the new Chairperson of the South African Nanotechnology Initiative (SANi). Two UFS physics students, Jack Madito (PhD) and Leon Wessels (MSc), were elected to serve in the executive council of the SANi student chapter, and three other students, gH Ndlovu (PhD Physics), MM Duvenhage (PhD Physics) and k Dithebe (MSc Microbiology), were among the winners of student prizes for best presentations at the conference.

88


MAY

devil’s worm on list of top 10 new species Each year experts of the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) evaluate the hundreds of new species that have been nominated for inclusion on the list of Top 10 new species. In May 2012 it was announced that the halicephalobus mephisto, commonly known as the Devil’s worm, had been included on the list. This small worm, found at a depth of 1.3 km in the Beatrix goldmine near Welkom, was discovered and researched by a project team led by Prof gaetan Borgonie from ghent University, in collaboration with researchers from the UFS (under the leadership of Prof Esta van Heerden) and Princeton University. Measuring about 0.5 mm in length, these tiny nematodes are the deepest-living terrestrial multicellular organisms on earth. This species is remarkable for surviving immense underground pressure as well as high temperatures (37o C). Carbon dating indicated that the borehole water where this species lives had not been in contact with the earth’s atmosphere for the last 4 000 to 6 000 years. The discovery of h. mephisto in earth’s deep subsurface is also significant because it may have important implications for the discovery of life at similar subterranean depths on other planets. An article on the new species appeared in nature in June 2011.

academic receives stals Prize The Stals Prize for Economic and Management Sciences was awarded to Prof Dave Lubbe of the Centre for Accounting by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en kuns. Prof Lubbe is the first chartered accountant to receive this prestigious award.

JUNE

olihile sebolai one of 200 most influential young south africans The mail & Guardian included Dr Olihile Sebolai, of the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, on its list of 200 young South Africans (35 years and younger) who are likely to play an important role in South Africa’s future. Olihile, who was selected in the health category, made international headlines in 2005, at the age of 26, for a groundbreaking discovery concerning future nanotechnology. He is now focusing his research on the war against Aids, in particular on the yeast pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the cause of life-threatening Aids-defining illnesses such as meningitis. Olihile is one of the participants in the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme.

JULY

two prestigious appointments for James du Preez Prof James du Preez, Chairperson of the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, was appointed joint Editor-in-Chief of biotechnology for biofuels. This is an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal with an impact factor of 4.15, featuring high quality research on technological and operational advances in the production of biofuels from renewable biomass. The other three joint Editors-in-Chief are all from the USA. Prof du Preez was also appointed to serve as a member of the Applied Life Sciences and NonMedical Biotechnology panel of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council. This panel evaluates grant applications to the council.

Research is a ceremony. and so is life. everythng that we do shares in the ongoing creation of our universe.” - shawn Wilson

89


MAkINg THE NEWS department of Physics excels at saiP2012 At the 57th Annual Conference of the SA Institute of Physics (SAIP2012), hosted by the University of Pretoria, the UFS Department of Physics was judged the second-most productive department in terms of publications, after Wits, from 2009 to 2011. Prof Hendrik Swart was recognised as having the highest publication output in the country over this period. His phosphorous group received the prize for the largest number of MSc students delivered during the past year as well as the prize for the largest number of publications. This department has put in place a nanotechnology machine worth R9 million, which complements the R23 million machine already in place.

AUgUST

two Ufs academics contribute to book on The story of life The story of life and the environment: an african perspective sounds a warning about our human impact on the planet. The book is a celebration of the earth’s rich and wonderful diversity and of nature’s resilience. It unpacks the three major ecosystems: fresh water, the ocean and the land, and discusses evolution and the ever-branching tree of life; how systems work, how populations expand and contract, and how all the elements of life interact. The book, which took five years to complete, is also about responsible planning and management of our environment and natural resources to redress damage and ensure sustainability. Prof Jo van As of the Department of Zoology and Entomology was the compiling author, with Prof Johann du Preez of Plant Sciences, Prof Leslie Brown of Unisa and Prof Nico Smit of the North-West University as co-writers. The book is a sister publication of The story of the earth and life by Prof Bruce Rubidge, which was published in 2005. An Afrikaans version of the book will be made available in e-format.

University hosts international winter school The UFS once again hosted the annual International Winter School on Pluralism and Development. Participants from India, Indonesia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands attended. The International Winter School, organised by the University of Humanistic Studies in The Netherlands, is held in partnership with the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice. The School brings together an international group of staff from civil society based organisations, activists, and graduate students who engage in critical thinking about issues such as ethics, human rights, political theory, sustainable development, governance, gender, and education.

andré roodt leads european crystallographic association Prof André Roodt, Chairperson of the Department of Chemistry, made history in being elected as the first non-European president of the European Crystallographic Association (ECA). He was elected as the new president of the ECA for 2012 to 2015 at the 27th European Crystallographic Meeting held in Bergen, Norway. The ECAs national membership includes more than 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and covers research on all aspects of pure and applied crystallography, including intersections with biology, earth sciences, mathematics, physics, chemistry and materials science.

SEPTEMBER

University helps design new test of academic literacy for postgraduates The Inter-Institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment (ICELDA), of which the UFS is a founding partner, has secured a joint agreement with the Language Centre at the Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands to design another test of academic literacy for postgraduate students. The design will focus mainly on diagnostic purposes and follow in the footsteps of TALPS, the current test of academic literacy for postgraduate students at the four multilingual South African universities which form the ICELDA partnership, namely UFS, Pretoria, Stellenbosch and North-West. TALPS has been the topic of a redesign and in-depth analysis undertaken by Colleen du Plessis, a junior lecturer in the Department of English. She will be involved in the project together with Rebecca Patterson and the project leader, Tobie van Dyk.

90


eight from Ufs elected to assaf Eight UFS academics have been elected as members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), joining seven other colleagues who were previously elected as members of the Academy. The new members are Prof Driekie Hay, Prof Melanie Walker, Prof Ian Phimister, Prof Pumla gobodo-Madikizela, Prof Lodewyk kock, Prof Hugh Patterton, Prof Heidi Hudson and Prof Odireleng Ntwaeaborwa. ASSAf was established in 1996 with the mission of using science for the benefit of society. New members are elected after nomination by four existing members. ASSAf has some 350 members and represents South Africa in the international community of science academies.

OCTOBER

Ufs hosts Mandela rhodes scholars and welcomes its latest Some of Africa’s top young minds gathered at the UFS to discuss new ways of thinking about education on the continent. About 50 current and past recipients of the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship from across the continent attended the Community of Mandela Rhodes Scholars Summit. Joanie van der Merwe has been awarded the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship for 2013. Joanie, who holds a BA Honours in Psychology and a BA Honours in Communication Science, will study for her master’s degree in Media Theory and Practice at the University of Cape Town.

Prof Philippe Burger serves on international advisory panel Prof Philippe Burger, Head of the Department of Economics, was elected as a member of the Advisory Panel on Budgeting and Public Expenditures of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD promotes policy to improve the economic and social welfare of people worldwide. The new panel consists of the organisation’s senior budget officials, distinguished academics and other experts.

elzmarie oosthuizen receives international award Elzmarie Oosthuizen of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences was awarded the Patricia k Elder International Award by the National Association of Economics Educators and the Council for Economics Education in America. The award gives recognition to individuals whose outstanding and committed service makes a meaningful impact on the delivery of economics education worldwide. elzmarie oosthuizen (middle) with Prof John brock of Colorado University and Prof Claudia Parliament of minnesota University.

University part of international network for young researchers Following the arrival of Prof Melanie Walker at the UFS, the University has become an associate partner of the prestigious EduWel Initial Training Network. generously funded by the EU Commission, this innovative research capacity building programme focuses on the development of 15 early-stage researchers, supported by senior researchers in nine countries. The early stage researchers work on the common theme of ‘education as welfare’.

health and health care in south africa It has been eight years since the launch of the first edition of health and health Care in south africa. While still encompassing the original substance of the first edition, the book, edited by Prof Dingie van Rensburg and published by Van Schaik Publishers, describes the major health and health systems trends and changes that have taken place in South Africa during the past decade. It explicitly aims to historically and globally contextualise the evolving health system and its changes and challenges with a critical overview. The book provides a sociohistorical perspective of developments in the health system, analyses post-1994 reform policies and legislation, and reviews progress, achievements, constraints and deficiencies in past and current health performance. The book consists of 12 substantially revised and updated chapters by authors from the Centre for Health Systems Research and Development (CHSR&D), the UFS Department of Sociology, and authors from the Universities of Antwerp, Cape Town, Pretoria and the Witwatersrand. The 12 individual chapters each do research. feed your talent. Research not only wins the war on cliché, it’s the victory over fear and its cousin, depression.” - Robert mckee

91


MAkINg THE NEWS portray a coherent whole that illustrates the complexity and diversity of health and health care in South Africa. Conceptually the book is divided into five themes, which cover (i) South African health care in global context, (ii) the South African health care system and its transformation, (iii) the health conditions, health and health status of South Africans, (iv) the main components of South African health care and their transformation, and (iv) ethical perspectives on health care in South Africa.

NOVEMBER

Prof doreen atkinson to chair national Museum Board Prof Doreen Atkinson, Director of the Strategic Cluster on ‘New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development’, was elected as the Chairperson of the Board of the National Museum in Bloemfontein. She will hold the position for three years.

diachrony in Biblical hebrew Since late antiquity, readers of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) have observed that its language is not uniform – there are differences in vocabulary and grammar in different parts of the Bible. However, the interpretation and significance of these differences in language of Biblical Hebrew is currently hotly debated. Do these differences reflect stylistic differences of the various authors? Or do they relate to language change over time and, if so, can their relative age be determined? The first view holds that no linguistic change can be detected in the Bible - what appears to be differences between various parts of the Bible relates only to the style of the author. Therefore, the Hebrew Bible was written long after the events portrayed in it. The second view holds that linguistic change can be detected in the Bible through sophisticated linguistic means so that early texts can be differentiated from late texts. As a result it can be concluded that some of the biblical text was written during the period of ancient Israel. This debate has most recently been furthered through the publication of diachrony in biblical hebrew, edited by Cynthia Miller-Naudé and Ziony Zevit. The book originated in a series of sessions at the National Association of Professors of Hebrew in 2009 and 2010 and contains (among others) papers by Miller-Naudé, Jacobus Naudé, and research associate Dean Forbes, all in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies. This question has been researched at the UFS since the late 1990s when Naudé was one of the earliest researchers to examine the problem in his research on changes in Hebrew from the time of the Bible to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Future research at the UFS will examine how syntactic features can contribute to an understanding of language change in ancient Israel.

nano research breakthrough to feature on front page of prestigious journal A colour-enhanced nano-micrograph from an article in FEMS Yeast Research 12 (2012): 867 by the authors CW Swart, k Dithebe, C Pohl, HC Swart, E Coetsee, PWJ van Wyk, JC Swarts, EJ Lodolo and JLF kock, was selected for the cover for all the 2013 issues of FEMS Yeast Research. The micrograph was obtained by nano-scanning Auger microscopy linked to argon etching in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) mode, showing gas bubbles inside the cytoplasm of a fermenting yeast cell for the first time.

DECEMBER

The UFS hosted the first Southern African Young Scientists Summer Programme (SA-YSSP) from December 2012 to February 2013. This forms part of an annual three-month education, academic training and research capacity building programme, jointly organised by the NRF, the Department of Science and Technology, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) based in Austria. Aligned with the YSSP model that is presented by IIASA in Austria annually, the SA-YSSP offers scientific seminars covering themes in both the social and natural sciences, and aims to broaden the participants’ perspectives and strengthen their analytical and modelling skills. keynote lectures were delivered by national and international leaders in their respective research fields, partly drawn from IIASAs widespread network of alumni and collaborators, as well as from the extensive international networks of excellence of the NRF. Participants included 19 young researchers from 17 countries, including South Africa, Egypt, China, Italy, Sweden, Iran, Hungary, India, USA and Indonesia.

92


INAUgURAL LECTURES

Prof cathy Beukes

Prof stephan Joubert

Prof cynthia Miller-naudé

Prof Jimmy claasen

department of anatomical Pathology faculty of health sciences

department of new testament faculty of Theology

department of Classical and near eastern studies faculty of the humanities

department of Private law faculty of law

2 february 2012

9 may 2012

25 june 2012

1 august 2012

The autopsy in the 21st century

Not by open dialogue, nor by order of simplicity: The ‘Metanoetic’ presence of the kingdom of god in a fluid new world

The interplay of syntax and stylistics in the creation of meaning: The case of ellipsis in biblical Hebrew

Once again – Cession in securitatem debiti

Judge carol lewis

Prof hussein solomon

Prof Pieter duvenage

Prof greg Barz

department of Private law faculty of law

department of Political studies and Governance faculty of the humanities

department of Philosophy faculty of the humanities

odeion school of music faculty of the humanities

22 august 2012

10 october 2012

31 october 2012

12 november 2012

The uneven journey to uncertainty in contract

The challenges confronting political science in the 21st century: A South African perspective

Practical wisdom (Phronesis) in a divided society

Responsibilities in the academy: Music, advocacy and activism in contemporary scholarship

a university is a place … in which the intellect may safely range and speculate. it is a place where inquiry is pushed forward, … discoveries verified and perfected, and … error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge”. - John henry newman

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CONTACT US ManageMent Vice-rector (research)

Prof Corli Witthuhn email: witthuhnrc@ufs.ac.za

Vice-rector (academic) Prof Driekie Hay email: hayd@us.ac.za

directorate research deVeloPMent director Dr glen Taylor email: taylorgj@ufs.ac.za Website: http://research.ufs.ac.za

deputy director (innovation and Business development) Mr Werner Nel email: nelpw@ufs.ac.za

deputy director (research development) Mr Nico Benson email: aanb@ufs.ac.za

school of open learning Dean: email: Website:

Prof Daniella Coetzee coetzeed@ufs.ac.za http://openlearning.ufs.ac.za

Ufs Business school Director: email: Website:

Prof Helena van Zyl vanzylh@ufs.ac.za http://bus.ufs.ac.za

strategic clUsters Manager: Mrs Eleanor van der Westhuizen email: vdwesthd@ufs.ac.za Website: http://research.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?dCode=Z14

advanced Biomolecular research Director: email: Website:

Prof Hugh Patterton patterh@ufs.ac.za http://research.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?dCode=Z12

Materials and nanosciences Director: email: Website:

Prof AndrĂŠ Roodt roodtda@ufs.ac.za http://research.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?dCode=Z13

facUlties faculty of economic and Management sciences

new frontiers in Poverty reduction and sustainable development

faculty of education

technologies for sustainable crop industries in semi-arid regions

Dean: email: Website: Dean: email: Website:

Prof Hendri kroukamp kroukhj@ufs.ac.za http://econ.ufs.ac.za Prof Dennis Francis francisd@ufs.ac.za http://edu.ufs.ac.za

faculty of health sciences Dean: email: Website:

Prof gert van Zyl vanzylgj@ufs.ac.za http://health.ufs.ac.za

faculty of the humanities Dean: email: Website:

Prof Lucius Botes boteslj@ufs.ac.za http://humanities.ufs.ac.za

faculty of law Dean: email: Website:

Prof Johan Henning henningj@ufs.ac.za http://law.ufs.ac.za

faculty of natural and agricultural sciences Dean: email: Website:

Prof Neil Heideman heidemannj@ufs.ac.za http://natagri.ufs.ac.za

faculty of Theology Dean: email: Website:

Prof Francois Tolmie tolmief@ufs.ac.za http://theology.ufs.ac.za

Director: email: Website:

Director: email: Website:

Prof Doreen Atkinson atkinsond@ufs.ac.za http://research.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?dCode=Z10

Prof Wijnand Swart swartwj@ufs.ac.za http://research.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?dCode=Z11

water Management in water-scarce areas Director: email: Website:

Prof Maitland Seaman seamanmt@ufs.ac.za http://research.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?dCode=Z09

PostgradUate school director

Dr HenriĂŤtte van den Berg email: vdberghs@ufs.ac.za Website: http://postgraduate.ufs.ac.za

international affairs assistant director

Mrs Dineo gaofhiwe-Ingram email: gaofhiwed@ufs.ac.za Website: http://supportservices.ufs.ac.za/content.aspx?id=189

Prestige scholars PrograMMe coordinators

Prof Jackie du Toit email: roosnd@ufs.ac.za Prof Neil Roos email: dutoitjs@ufs.ac.za

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acknowledgeMents The UFS acknowledges the work of its researchers and various research teams at different levels. The Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Research Report 2012 is the product of the concerted effort of everyone involved. A special word of thanks is due to the deans of the seven UFS faculties, all the individual researchers, staff of DIRAP who assisted with data collection, and the staff of DRD.

issUed By

design and layoUt

Directorate Research Development University of the Free State

Maryke Venter SUNMeDIA Bloemfontein

creatiVe and editorial direction Cheryl Lombard

editorial teaM glen Taylor Cheryl Lombard Eleanor van der Westhuizen

PhotograPhs Contributions from researchers UFS Strategic Communications Anja Aucamp Walter kĂśppe (p. 32) Mimosa Extract Company (Pty) Ltd (p. 76)

A detailed list of the UFS 2012 research publications is available on: http://supportservices.ufs.ac.za/ content.aspx?id=161


www.ufs.ac.za research at the UniVersity of the free state

focusing on research that is making a difference


University of the Free State Annual Research Report 2012