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Dear Friends, Alumni and Supporters of DUT Welcome to the Autumn edition of DUT Connect, our first instalment for 2018. Indeed, this year has proven most eventful thus far. On the national political front, we witnessed the swearing in of the new President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, who’s catch phrases, ‘a new dawn’ and ‘thuma mina’, meaning ‘send me’, seem to have gripped the nation with a renewed sense of confidence and hope in the future. We have also witnessed some tragic moments, as more recently, we mourned the passing of towering figures of our political landscape, Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela and Dr Zola Skweyiya. May their souls rest in peace. As a university, we admittedly got off to a somewhat turbulent start to the year due to some industrial action on the part of staff and later some student protests. In spite of these challenges, some of which are beyond the immediate control of University management, the University is now running on all cylinders and the academic programme is back on track. This autumn edition brings with it some interesting slight deviations from the norm. As previously mentioned a few editions ago, we are introducing some changes to the magazine. In the spirit of change, we have an interesting article on pg 20 by Prof Ismail Bux, the Head of the DUT Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology, in which he reflects, as an expert, on the Western Cape water crisis and on water as a scarce and precious resource and how, as a country, we can make some changes to save and preserve it. We have also included an article by Dr Ngxongo from the department of Nursing at DUT on pg 6 on listeriosis. While we remain true to the mission of profiling our alumni who are doing amazing work in their respective fields, we also deem it important to comment and reflect on some of the issues of national interest for which we have the necessary


The Victor Daitz Foundation Toyota The Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation Stella and Paul Lowenstein Educational and Charitable Trust Siemens Sakhisizwe Architects Ruth and Anita Wise Educational and Charitable Trust Richline South Africa (Pty) Ltd Prokon Software Consultants (Pty) Ltd Norman’s Driving School NMI Durban South Motors

expertise. Listeriosis gripped our imaginations for some time as a country as we witnessed the recall of a number of meat products. Dr Ngxongo’s article serves to provide an indepth understanding of listeriosis as a public health concern. Of course, as usual, we have a number of inspiring stories on some of our impressive alumni who are making positive waves in their respective fields and we hope that these features will inspire and motivate you to continue on your journey towards success, however, you may have chosen to define success for yourself. We all get weary at some point along our journey and there is nothing more encouraging than hearing how other normal individuals pushed through the difficult moments to summit the mountain. On the topic of success, it is graduation season and we would like to congratulate and wish the graduating class all of the best for the future as they embark on the next stage of their journey towards their goals. They have toiled and poured over their books and worked dilligently to ensure that graduation day for them becomes a reality and we are confident that they will do their alma mater proud. We would also like to extend our deepest appreciation and gratitude to all our supporters and donors who make it possible for us to do the important work of equipping the next generation with the necessary knowledge and skills to take our country forward. Without your donations and support, many students would not be able to complete their studies and as a university, our vision and mission would be that much more compromised. May the rest of your 2018 be bright and beautiful. Sincerely, Mr Zwakele Ngubane Acting Director: Development and Alumni Relations Tel: +27 31 373 3020 Email: zwakelen@dut.ac.za

Nestlife Nedcor Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust Mentec Foundation Masterskill Logico Creative Solutions IQRAA Trust Investec Charitable Trust Fashion World Bradlow Foundation Alectrix Albert Wessels Trust Adams Booksellers East Coast Radio ABSA

Kingsgate Clothing (Pty) Ltd South African Natural Products Ngubane & Co Fullserve SM Xulu Inc AM PhakaMalele Inc DROS Midrand Bridge Rail PacinaMix ARUP MacDonald Steel SA (Pty) Ltd LignoTech South Africa Minty’s Exclusive Holmes Brothers Julia Ferrandi Designs

contents Developing, upscaling and transforming our

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infrastructure – Prof Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu 2 Shaping vibrant conversations with black women – Ms Bongiwe Tshiqi 4 Unpacking the hysteria behind listeriosis


– Dr Thembelihle Sylvia Patience Ngxongo 6


Inspiring the youth with science and beauty – Dr Zikhona TywabiThembelihle



Persevering despite multiple setbacks 14

– Mr Ntokozo Chonco





Lighting up our tv and movie screens 16

– Ms Thandeka Qwabe Flying the SA flag high


– Ms Leigh Gunkel-Keuler Appreciating water while we still have it

– Prof Faizal Bux 20 South African Fashion Week (SAFW) Showcase 24


Durban University of Technology

Editorial Leader:

Zwakele Ngubane

Editorial, DUT:

Zandile Ndlovu

Administration Support:

Amanda Dladla, DUT Development and Alumni Relations Team

Layout and Design Editorial, Artworks:

Artworks | www.artworks.co.za Gaylene Jablonkay

Disclaimer:This magazine is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure that the information was true and correct at the time of going to print.

message from the vice-chancellor

DEVELOPING, UPSCALING AND TRANSFORMING OUR INFRASTRUCTURE It gives me great delight to write this brief message to our members of the Alumni Association, an important stakeholder. This is my second direct message to all members of this important structure since I last interacted with those who attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 11 November 2017.


y office has reached an agreement with the unit responsible for Alumni Relations that I will use DUT Connect as one among many channels of communication available to ensure that you remain connected to the University. The intention is to ensure that I proactively inform our alumni, particularly those who are not staff members of DUT, about the difficult, yet important work of developing, upscaling and transforming the University. Assuming that the majority have gained a wealth of experience in various professional spaces, one would hope that the information we will be sharing here will empower you to help us arrive at evidence-based decisions that move this University from good to great. Having given this background, I hope you are aware of the tumultuous start we had at the beginning of this year. DUT experienced the longest industrial strike in its history. On the surface, it was a common salary dispute between employer and employees, which resulted in both parties exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights. In this instance, the unions applied for a strike certificate and attempted a total shut-down of the University. Without delving into details, let me argue that beneath its outcropping, the strike represented what in political terms would be characterised as the ‘struggle of the opposites’. There are two protagonists, not human, who are at odds with each other. On the one hand, you have an old culture that incrementally impinges on the sustainability of DUT.

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This is reflected in the historical pattern of a consumptiondriven budget, with scant regard for the state of the infrastructure. On the opposing end, you have a new culture that is premised on the fact that higher education is a public good. This inevitably requires that everyone charged with the management and administration of the University assures its preservation for generations to come. As such, the current DUT community of mainly staff and students cannot be selfish and only think for themselves and the here and now. If we want our children and their children to study at this University in the future, we have got to take care of our infrastructure, which is in an appalling state, to say the least.

For the new culture and philosophy to take root, all stakeholders will have to act in concert towards the common goal. It cannot be the task of Council and management alone.


Clearly, we have to improve our engagement with alumni to ensure that they help us to improve, especially in our fundraising and marketing efforts.

The philosophy embedded in the previous paragraph is at the heart of the transformation agenda we are implementing unashamedly, with discernible and disruptive inertia from certain quarters. Essentially, while we all desire a stable University that is incident-free, it is possible that the feud between the old culture and the new culture and philosophy will be a common feature until the latter entrench themselves. For the new culture and philosophy to take root, all stakeholders will have to act in concert towards the common goal. It cannot be the task of Council and management alone. Since taking office as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of DUT in October 2016, I have always emphasised the centrality of (the right) people in the success of organisations, and DUT’s own quest for success. Repeatedly, I have pointed out that people represent everyone in our community, including, principally, our students and our alumni. Clearly, we have to improve our engagement with alumni to ensure that they help us to improve, especially in our fundraising and marketing efforts. Organisationally, we have moved the office from where it used to report in the past. It is now part of the Research, Innovation and Engagement portfolio, to intentionally ensure that they help us to improve our strategic engagement, both internally and externally. It is our fervent hope that alumni will also share their individual professional experiences that will create and add value to our work, including the ongoing important task of curriculum transformation

Prof Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu DUT vice-chancellor & principal

and renewal, which is integral in our quest to produce innovative and entrepreneurial graduates. We are striving for a mutually beneficial relationship between DUT and its graduates. I am certain this is possible. This short message is meant to set the scene for others to follow. The purpose was just to highlight the critical work of developing, upscaling and transforming DUT, and the success of this project hinges on our ability to cooperate with everyone, including our alumni. The next messages will progressively deal with important issues as they develop, and will somewhat share some details, without usurping the powers of the Chairperson of the Alumni Association, who also doubles up as our highly supportive and efficient Chairperson of Council.

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SHAPING VIBRANT CONVERSATIONS WITH BLACK WOMEN Bongiwe Tshiqi, Bona magazine’s Editor since the beginning of this year, describes herself as an inquisitive, fun-loving traveller with a passion for reading and storytelling borne of a childhood steeped in books and board games.


er and her two younger siblings were fed a steady diet of books from a young age.“My parents are big readers and their library always offered up new worlds and experiences to us,” said Tshiqi. “That is what led me to study Journalism. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew it was something media related.” Tshiqi’s father, a retired former Group Human Resources Director of Nampak, and mother, a Supreme Court of Appeal judge, fostered in her a strong sense of self and taught her to believe that the sky was the limit and her dreams were valid. Tshiqi thus left her tightknit extended family in Benoni, and bravely relocated to Durban to study at DUT’s City Campus because she wanted to experience a new city: “DUT was a whole new world for me. Studying was hard but at the same time, thrilling. I loved the fact that my assignments were in the form of practicals rather that textbook-based work.” Tshiqi remembers passionately debating politics, art and topical issues in the media, which opened her mind up to differing views and opinions. “I made wonderful friends who were also in the arts and I started to truly feel like I had met like-minded individuals.”


DUT Journalism graduate (B.TECH) DUTConnect // 4


You can’t give love to anyone in this world unless you love yourself first.

In order to receive her NDip in Journalism from DUT, Tshiqi interned at East Coast Radio in 2006 and was hired permanently afterwards. She obtained her B.Tech Journalism from DUT during this time. After four years, she moved to Cape Town to work for Saltwater Girl and Women’s Health magazines, and joined Bona magazine in 2015 as Digital Editor. “In just one year, I managed to increase website traffic by over 74% in sessions and 76% in users, which was no easy feat,” gushed Tshiqi. “Lots of late nights and constant idea generation did that.” Her second career highlight was landing the job as Bona’s Editor. “I have adored the Bona brand for years. It speaks to black women in an empowering and loving tone, which, sadly, is rarely seen in this industry.” Tshiqi loves her readers and thoroughly enjoys her work. Her days are filled with meetings, cover shoots, proposal discussions, editing, email trawling, content sifting, layout discussions, digital platform analysis, etc. “Each day is actually quite different, which I love. It takes a lot of juggling but I quite enjoy the unpredictable nature of it all. It keeps me on my toes and mentally stimulated,” laughed Tshiqi. “I am proud to have the opportunity to direct this ship and give voice to legends like Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya, our February cover stars, who made my year by agreeing to meet with me.” Tshiqi intends to expand the reach of the magazine and ensure that it becomes the go-to magazine for all black women who want to be inspired, entertained, educated or simply reminded of their value.

Connect with Tshiqi on Twitter: @BongiweTshiqi

Tshiqi is single by choice, having wanted to prioritise her career and achieve her goals. “As much as I respect marriage, it hasn’t been a priority for me. I have a great social life with very close family and friends,” she enthused. “I think I’ve learnt to balance this well and am happy with where I am right now.” Although not a mother,Tshiqi is a doting aunt who likes to spoil her nieces and nephews with educational toys and books to help them think outside the confines of their communities. “I know from my upbringing how powerful it is once you start to open your mind to numerous possibilities and ideas from a young age.” Always on the go, Tshiqi is currently completing the Management Advancement Programme at WITS Business School, but when it comes to down time, she loves to explore.“Travelling is a biggie for me and although budgets don’t always allow, I try and make time to travel, even if it’s to neighbouring cities,” said Tshiqi. “I also love film and dining out with friends.”

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Unpacking the hysteria behind listeriosis DUT Connect asked Dr Thembelihle Sylvia Patience Ngxongo, HOD for the Nursing Department at DUT, to unravel both the controversy and the facts behind a bacterium that has recently caused the worst listeriosis outbreak in the world and raised some serious questions about food security in South Africa.

What is listeriosis?


he Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines listeriosis as a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is a harmful germ that is found in soil and water but can hide in many foods such as: vegetables that are contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertiliser; processed foods, such as soft cheeses and cold cuts contaminated after processing; and unpasteurised (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurised milk contaminated with the bacteria. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. The disease (listeriosis) can be fatal, especially if not treated.

It’s rare for people in other groups to get sick with a listeriosis infection.The CDC estimates that 1 600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The listeriosis infection is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the United States. Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are especially at risk from listeriosis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than healthy adults. When Statistics South Africa tracks and reports the country’s leading causes of death, foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis are not at the top of the list, which may be the reason why these conditions don’t receive attention until they hit a country hard.

Why South Africa had the worst outbreak in the world According to CDC, when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne disease outbreak. Outbreaks of listeriosis in the 90s were primarily linked to deli meats and hot dogs. However, nowadays, listeriosis outbreaks are often linked to dairy products. Investigators have traced recent outbreaks to soft cheeses, celery, sprouts, cantaloupe and ice cream. Peter K. Ben Embarek, who manages the WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network, confirmed that South Africa has had the biggest listeriosis outbreak in the world that resulted in

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more than 180 deaths to date. It was also reported in the Food Safety News that the South African listeriosis outbreak is the deadliest in recorded history, following the world’s largest previously reported listeriosis outbreaks in the United States in 2011, and in Italy in 1997. According to Macharia and Heiberg, South Africa blames food firms for the world‘s worst listeriosis outbreak. However, Lise Korsten, a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology and Co-director at the Centre of Excellence in Food Security, University of Pretoria, blames this on several challenges regarding food safety in South Africa. There is a critical shortage of regulators, inspectors, laboratory personnel, scientists and auditors in South Africa. Furthermore, pieces of legislation that manage how food safety is handled, remain outdated. Therefore, industry has relied on self-regulation for food safety and control. Due to the gaps in the system, companies can become complacent and provide sub-standard products if not pressured to effectively self-regulate.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than healthy adults.

Lise Korsten highlights that product recall is also not common, despite being a requirement in food safety systems. These shortcomings, according to Korsten, were evident in the extensive delay (14 months) between the first reported case in January 2017, the announcement of the outbreak in December 2017, and the source being identified in March 2018. The delay in intervention sadly resulted in more than 180 deaths and close to a 1 000 affected people. She concluded that a food safety outbreak

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was imminent and the scientific community was aware that it could happen – but not on this scale. Furthermore, South Africa was ill-prepared for this devastating food safety outbreak, which is perhaps a reflection of the weaknesses in the whole food system.

What contributed to its growth/lack of containment and why did it take so long? The South African government suspected that a food source was responsible for the outbreak that had touched all nine of the country’s provinces. Government officials began visiting homes to help people remember to practice basic food safety measures and report illnesses as a strategy to contain the outbreak. It was also reported that South Africa’s 23 private food testing labs and labs operated by the South African Meat Processors Association, South African Milk Processors Association, Milk South Africa, Consumer Goods Council and the National Laboratory Association all agreed to help in the investigation. However, the source of the deadly pathogen could not be identified soon enough because of the variable incubation period for listeriosis – the time from exposure to experiencing symptoms – which can be as long as 70 days after exposure.This makes the investigation and identification very difficult because it is harder for people to recall possible food sources.

What Government could have done differently Government is acknowledged for having responded to

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the outbreak, however, the old saying that prevention is better than cure is never more true than in the case of listeriosis. Considering the report from some specialists such as Lise Korsten, it is evident that the government has a major role to play in preventing the reoccurrence of a similar or worse disaster. This, in my opinion, is one huge instance where Government failed the country.

What the crisis says for food security in South Africa This crisis sends an important message about food security in South Africa: There is a missing link that needs to be identified and closed. The country is struggling to fight poverty as one strategy to achieve health for all. However, this important goal cannot be achieved if issues of food safety are not addressed.

What role public ignorance played It is natural and acceptable that some people are ignorant about selected health related issues at a given point. What becomes important is how do knowledgeable people assist these people to overcome their ignorance? It is only now (after a disaster has happened and lives have been lost) that selected, critical precautionary measures are being emphasised to the public such as food hygiene, food storage and foods to avoid. These are messages that so many people have not seen or heard in their lives. Either they are not written anywhere or are written in very small print, making it hard for the community to recognise.


How to prevent such a crisis from happening again in SA The outbreak in South Africa sends an important wakeup message to healthcare workers, environmental healthcare officials and other relevant officials in the country to revisit the issue of food safety. South Africans are being urged to practice hand washing before and during food preparation; separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods; and cook meats, poultry, eggs and seafood thoroughly. Consumption of unpasteurised, raw milk and its products is also discouraged. Verbal communication is the key to conveying messages. Very few people like to read, especially small/fine print. It is, therefore, imperative that written messages are written in a manner that stimulate an interest to read. Other means of communication such as radio and TV should be used to convey health messages to the community. Academic institutions, including DUT, also have a major contribution to make. Departments such as Nursing, Environmental Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Food and Nutrition in the Faculty of Applied Sciences should have programmes to prepare graduates who are able to deal with and respond to all healthcare demands. One of the major roles of academic institutions is community engagement. This affords DUT and other academic institutions an opportunity to create community awareness regarding this dreadful bacterium.

Dr Thembelihle Sylvia Patience Ngxongo Dr Ngxongo is currently employed as Head of the Nursing Department and a senior lecturer at DUT. She holds a doctoral degree in Nursing and is a registered nurse and an advanced midwife who has been involved in maternal and childcare services almost throughout her nursing career. She has worked as an advanced midwife in a number of hospitals and clinics (both private and public) in the eThekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal, as a quality assurance manager and a coordinator for maternal and childcare services under the eThekwini Municipality Health Unit. She is actively involved in nursing research, has published a number of research articles and has presented papers at national and international conferences. Her research deals with maternal and childcare issues focusing mainly on safety during pregnancy and childbirth.

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All your listeriosis questions answered How listeriosis affects the human immune system It is important to note that certain medical conditions and treatments can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get sick from contaminated food. If that is you, take extra precautionary measures to protect yourself. Selected drugs and treatment such as steroids and chemotherapy can also increase the chance of listeria infection because these drugs/treatments make it more difficult for your body to fight off illness.

What are the typical symptoms to look out for? The common symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhoea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur. The CDC warns that listeriosis can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected. Symptoms in people with invasive listeriosis, meaning the bacteria has spread beyond the gut, depend on whether you are pregnant. Infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness such as fatigue and muscle aches. Nevertheless, infection during pregnancy can lead to serious complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. If you are not pregnant, you could experience headaches, fever, muscle aches, neck stiffness, confusion, a loss of balance and convulsions. People with invasive listeriosis usually report symptoms starting one-to-four weeks after eating food contaminated with listeriosis; some have reported symptoms starting as late as 70 days after exposure or as early as the same day of exposure.

How is listeriosis diagnosed? Listeriosis is diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. History taking should include questions about symptoms, foods that you have recently eaten, and your work and home environments. Diagnosis is established by culture of the organism from blood,

cerebrospinal fluid, or other sterile body fluid. Therefore, laboratory investigation, which includes blood tests and/ or spinal fluid tests, are done to confirm the diagnosis.

How is it treated? Person-to-person transmission does not occur, therefore, isolation precautions are not necessary. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases provides clinical recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of listeriosis. An otherwise healthy person who is not pregnant typically does not need treatment. Symptoms will usually go away within a few weeks. However, gastroenteritis due to listeriosis (if you have underlying risk factors such as pregnancy, malignancy or if you are undergoing chemotherapy or are elderly) may be treated with standard doses of antibiotics for 3-7 days. If pregnant, antibiotics are always prescribed to prevent infection of the foetus. Babies who have listeriosis receive the same antibiotics as adults. If you become seriously ill, you will require hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics.

How can listeriosis be prevented? You are advised to shop, prepare, store, cook and serve foods safely, follow labels on food packaging and when in doubt, throw it out. If you are pregnant or high risk: do not eat hot dogs, luncheon or deli meats (unless they are reheated until steaming hot), soft cheeses (unless the label states they are made from pasteurised milk), refrigerated pâtÊ or meat spreads and refrigerated smoked seafood (unless it is an ingredient in a cooked dish such as a casserole). Also, do not drink raw (unpasteurised) milk or eat foods that contain unpasteurised milk and avoid eating salads made in a store such as ham, chicken, egg, tuna or seafood salads.

What should you do if you experience any of these symptoms? Visit a doctor, clinic or any nearby health institution immediately to get screened.

inspiring the youth with science and beauty Besides being the youngest woman scientist in South Africa and the only black woman lecturer and researcher in the University of Fort Hare’s Chemistry department, Zikhona Tywabi-Ngeva is also a semi-finalist in the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa Top 100 for 2018.


ywabi-Ngeva lists the following as her best achievements: Masters cum laude, Mail and Guardian 200 Young South African 2017 and KZN Gagasi FM Shero Award 2017 (both in the category of Science and Technology), and also being nominated for the 2015 PhD Fellowship in Women in Science. As a child, however, she felt like a misfit. “Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I lived in isolation because of my fair complexion and hair texture,” reminisced Tywabi-Ngeva.“Kids used to make me feel so different; they would constantly touch my skin and hair and call me names like ‘albino, semi-white kid, mixed race or coloured…’” Tywabi-Ngeva’s late maternal grandparents raised her in a small village called Macibini outside of Queenstown, Eastern Cape, as her mom fell pregnant with her in Grade 9, resulting in her thinking that she was actually her sister. Tywabi-Ngeva proved to be a top student in primary school, mastering Mathematics and enjoying athletics. She later moved to Secunda, Mpumalanga, to live with her aunt and attend a multiracial school. Since Tywabi-Ngeva dreamed of becoming a doctor, she applied to UKZN’s Medical School, but having not received a timeous response, she enrolled for an ND: Analytical Chemistry at DUT in 2004. “In this case, I guess, it is safe to say that the Chemistry field chose me!” “DUT is a very welcoming place, and from the first day, I felt at home,” said Tywabi-Ngeva, who remembered being stranded without a cell phone or money after rubber bullets scattered rowdy students at a Fresher’s Bash at Curries Fountain. A DUT security guard gave her taxi fare and accompanied her to her res. “His act of kindness assured me that, indeed, DUT is a home away from home.”

Dr zikhona tywabi-ngeva

DUT analytical chemistry graduate (phd) DUTConnect // 12


I had to study very hard and had to learn to manage my time wisely. I did not find time to do any extramural activities; I was so determined to complete my diploma in record time.

After her first semester, she obtained a scholarship from The Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority (CHIETA) and was told to up her game to keep the scholarship and continue with postgraduate studies. Tywabi-Ngeva began her in-service training with Dunlop Tyres (Apollo Tyres) as a chemistry trainee after completing her diploma and after a year, enrolled for her BTech degree in Chemistry at DUT, which she completed in a year. She achieved her Masters in Chemistry from DUT cum laude in only two years. She then did an internship with CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and during her induction, told her boss about her plans to pursue a PhD degree, which he supported. She completed her PhD in the record time of three years through DUT, CSIR and the University of Alabama, and presented her work at national and international conferences. Her work day always begins with reading and responding to emails, after which she could be doing anything from preparing or delivering lectures, demonstrating in the teaching labs, to working in the research lab, writing research proposals/papers or doing admin work. She keeps fit by playing wing defender for the University’s netball team. She is married and is the proud mother of an eight-year-old girl and three-year-old boy.“I try so hard to have a work/life balance,” she sighed. “I have always been in a long distance marriage and my kids still live with my parents; I visit them every weekend.” On being selected as a semi-finalist in the 2018 Mrs South Africa pageant, she said that although the experience so far has been overwhelming, she considers it a good platform

Get in touch with Tywabi-Ngeva via Facebook: ZicoTN;Twitter: @nadatywabi or Linkedin: Dr Zikhona Tywabi

to meet others with the same ambitions, and she hopes to empower the youth and create change. “I am stepping out of my comfort zone and I am proud of myself.” Tywabi-Ngeva is part of the PhumlaniM Foundation and Women4Women Foundation. She is also starting her own science education engagement programme (Ezinkeva Science Outreach), which will support high school science teachers and learners by providing curriculum-based activities. It also aims to share scholarship opportunities in South Africa, and assist the youth to fill out application forms and write motivation letters. Tywabi-Ngeva’s advice to students is to make studying part of their daily routine and write major deadlines on a calendar. “Eliminate distractions – cell phones, Facebook and TV can quickly interrupt a productive study session.”

Vote for Tywabi-Ngeva To vote for Ngeva, like her official photo on the following Facebook page: dr zikhona tywabi-ngeva tammy taylor mrs sa semi-finalist 2018. Also like the Mrs South Africa page for the like to count as a vote or SMS ZIKHONA TYWABI-NGEVA to 35959 at R3 per SMS.

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Persevering despite multiple setbacks From finding jobs to pay for school fees and not being able to afford his tertiary education, Ntokozo Chonco, HOD: KZN Department of Arts and Culture and DUT’s ex-Deputy President of Convocation has certainly come a long way.


orn the third of five children to a factory worker and a housewife in Mpumalanga Township near Hammarsdale, Chonco’s father died while he was in Std 7 during the political violence in 1988. “My father was not educated but he would make sure that he checked our reports every year, ask questions and also encourage us to study and represent the family.”

Chonco went on from a local school to study for a National Diploma in Public Management and Administration then B.Tech Management at DUT. Law was his first choice and Journalism was his second. “Unfortunately, my mother could not afford to take me to university and I also could not get the space to study Journalism.” Chonco describes his time at ML Sultan and DUT as “an enjoyable rollercoaster”. He attended after he was elected as an eThekwini Municipality councillor and his salary made it easy for him to pay for his studies and look after his mother and siblings. “Studying was not at all challenging for me,” said Chonco. “I guess serving as a part-time councillor and studying balanced everything. The theory I was learning at school, I was actually doing practically as a municipal councillor.” His lecturers regularly asked him to present before his peers on local government at the time. “Standing in front of students and giving a lecture on local government and

Ntokozo chonco

DUT public management and administration graduate DUTConnect // 14

public administration will always be a lasting memory,” reminisced Chonco. “The Institution shaped me to be the man that I am today.” Since graduating, Chonco obtained certificates in Local Government (UDW) and Benchmarks for Quality in Government, from Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He is currently busy with his Master’s degree proposal through UKZN and his aim is to complete it in record time.

“Don’t stress about things you don’t have control over.”

He enjoyed an illustrious career within the eThekwini Municipality, having worked as Acting Head in the Speaker’s Office, elected as the Deputy Mayor for the Durban Outer West Local Council in 1999, moved to Regional Centres Unit, then Durban Solid Waste in the position of Deputy Head. He was appointed Head of Community Participation and Action Support in 2007, until his departure in 2011. Chonco’s extensive experience in government led to him being appointed as Deputy Director-General: Traditional Affairs within the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. In 2013, at the invitation of the United States’ Government, he attended the International Visitors’ Leadership Programme in the USA. Chonco’s workday involves attending meetings of the Executive Council with the committee of HODs of departments (COHOD) and at national government level. He is responsible for the strategic direction of the department, monitoring and evaluation, risk management and infrastructure projects. Chonco lists his career successes as his appointment to his current position and within two months, his appointment to Acting HOD: Sport & Recreation. “It has never happened in the history of the democratic era that one official has been appointed the Accounting Officer for two departments.” Chonco is married to Siziwe: “My wife is my pillar of strength; without her I would be nowhere near where I am career wise and life in general.” They have two children: daughter Siphe and son Phiwenhle. Siphe is doing her first year in Stellenbosch University and Phiwenhle is in Grade 7 at Sarnia Primary. His life’s ambition is to see his children growing up and standing on their own. “We must encourage them to be the best that they can be. They must also understand that their competition is themselves.”

Chonco served as Deputy President for Convocation for five years. His vast experience in student matters led to his election as Chairperson of SASCO; a SRC member and also a member of the DUT Council. He has held other leadership positions such as Council Member for Technikon Natal and Board Member for the eThekwini Business Development Centre

Chonco does not have too much spare time, but when he does, he watches soccer as an avid Manchester United and Kaizer Chiefs supporter. “Spending time with my family is priceless.”

The mission of the KZN Department of Arts and Culture To provide world-class services in arts and culture for the people of KwaZulu-Natal by developing and promoting arts and culture and mainstreaming its role in social development; developing and promoting previously marginalised languages and enhancing linguistic diversity; collecting, managing and preserving archival, museum and other forms of information resources; and integrating and providing seamless art and culture services to the communities.

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lighting up our tv and movie screens Although only 25 years old, Thandeka Qwabe is quickly becoming a household name in South Africa with her break-out performance as Thandi Thabethe in the TV series Isibaya.


he drama series, set in Egoli against the backdrop of the taxi industry where two young lovers are torn apart by a centuryold feud between two powerful families, airs Monday to Friday on Mzansi Magic. It is owned by Bomb Productions, one of the biggest production companies in the country. Qwabe also graced our screens earlier this year as the leading character in a short film, Unkosikazi Wokuqala, about a greedy father who sells off his daughters to a rich family. From a young age, she was always fascinated with how television came about. Without understanding its logistics, she just knew that she wanted to be inside it. “My curiousity drove me into this career field; as soon as I understood how I was going to be on TV, I did what I had to do and followed my passion,” said Qwabe. Qwabe grew up with her sibling, Maphindi, close cousins and mom, Lindeni (her best friend), and dad, Nkosinathi, in Eskhawini Township in Richards Bay and attended the Richards Bay Christian School. Her parents questioned the wisdom of her choice to study drama, but remained supportive throughout. “Sometimes I wished I had listened to them when things became challenging!” laughed Qwabe. “I went through a phase of thinking I was going to study law, because I was accepted for it and it was something I loved.” However, Qwabe went on to complete a three-year Drama and Theatre Diploma at DUT. “You can direct,

thandeka qwabe dut drama & theatre graduate

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write scripts, produce, do voice overs, go into radio and so forth,” she said, highlighting the versatility of her qualification. “My experience at DUT was the best; I got to do practicals and theatre. In my second year, I did dance, singing and scriptwriting, which I enjoyed the most.” She said that she had the best lecturers at DUT who always reminded her that once she left campus, she would need to work even harder to showcase her talent as an actress. She also directed her own production, scripted two award-winning short plays, and was selected for an internship at the Playhouse Company before studying for her B.Tech in Film and Drama at Tshwane University of Technology. Qwabe began her career as a continuity trainee (director’s right hand man) in Isibaya in order to break into directing, something she sees herself doing in the long run. “I would travel from Pretoria to Soweto to learn more. At some point, they had a part for a young girl and I was asked to audition.” She landed the role as Thandi Thabethe easily: “It was initially supposed to be a small role of about five scenes, but they fell in love with the way I played the character on screen and were happy to grow the role.” Qwabe’s typical workday when working behind the scenes is hectic as her call time is at 6am and she works till 6pm, whereas with acting, it’s slightly less hectic. “It’s fun getting to explore being someone else, even if it’s just for a few hours – that’s what I love about acting; you lose yourself, but in a

Dream so big that even you are shocked and remember, God has got your back. Go for everything you want no matter what it takes, which means hard work is a MUST. You are responsible for your own dreams – make them happen.”

good way that teaches you to forcefully see life from a perspective that you’d never think of being you.” Qwabe is also a continuity presenter for M-NET and wants to one day own her own production house. “I want to direct; I want to be a powerhouse as a businesswoman.” Qwabe is single and lives in Johannesburg. She loves playing hockey and chess, is currently learning how to ice skate in her spare time, and she enjoys going to theatres and cinemas. “I love travelling too – it frees the mind and broadens your knowledge.” 

Productions Qwabe has performed in • • • • • • • • •

iPuppetry directed by Clinton Marius Evita Clockwork Orange directed by Marcia Peschke Ntombazi directed by Siza Mthembu Dance Umbrella directed by Mdu Msthali Sarafina For Coloured Girls Welcome to Rocksburg The Hill

She recently shot a short film for young adults through the NFVF Youth Filmmaker Project in Durban that will air later this year where she played one of the leading ladies.

Connect with her on Facebook: Thandeka Qwabe, and Instagram: thandeka_q

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Flying the SA flag high Leigh Gunkel-Keuler flew in the face of stereotypical expectations when she went from attending a community school to paying her own way through her tertiary studies, to launching her own public affairs agency and becoming the voice of the busiest airport on the African continent.

I work both hard and smart and given this commitment and passion for what I do, strategic opportunities have always presented themselves to me.


s the ACSA Spokesperson for OR Tambo International Airport, which boasted over 21 million passengers over the past year alone, she spends a lot of time putting out fires, driving its reputation effectively, and ensuring that its narrative is understood at a national level. As her role does not allow her to keep normal office hours,

Leigh Gunkel-Keuler

dut PR & Communication science graduate

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her and her corporate affairs team is based at the actual airport for maximum effectiveness. “I always loved the ability to be an effective communicator. I love developing strategies and driving compelling narratives,” said GunkelKeuler. Her strong work ethic was instilled in her from a young age, growing up as the eldest of four siblings in Wentworth, Durban with a strict father and a no-nonsense housewife for a mother. “My parents were great advocates for education. I also knew from a young age that only through doing well at school was I possibly going to be able to escape a community existence.” She matriculated in 1992 and registered for Natal Technikon’s NDip in PR and Communication Science. In her initial interview, her soon-to-be lecturer stated to her mom: “Your daughter is meant to study at this institution because merely listening to her, I can see she has what it takes to do well in whatever she chooses to study.” It was a huge transition from township schooling to a previously white institution, but she was a diligent student and given the fact that she was paying off a student loan, she knew that she had to pass well each year in order to qualify for the loan for the following year. It took her just over five years to pay it all back. She did her internship at The Playhouse Company in Durban in PR and less than two years later, she was promoted to Projects Co-ordinator. She stayed for almost six years and when she left, she was the Corporate Affairs Executive. “I was able to travel the world as part of my work and given my age when I began my career at The Playhouse Company (20), this was a dream come true for me,” said Gunkel-Keuler. “It enabled me to develop an unshakeable sense of confidence and achievement rather early on in my burgeoning career.” She then became the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry, moved on to Netcare from 2006 to 2009 as a Regional Manager for the Coastal Region for Marketing & Communications and was then promoted to Netcare’s Head Office as Group Manager for Marketing & Communications. In 2010, she became Director of Public Affairs, Policy & Communications at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. At the end of 2015, she successfully

launched LGK Consulting (Pty) Ltd, a black-owned public affairs agency, which is still operational. “I saw a gap in the market and took it. Also there was support from several quarters for me to go this route,” said Gunkel-Keuler. “Unfortunately, like all small owned entities, cash flow became a challenge and thus I was compelled to re-enter the formal world of work. Notwithstanding this, the ability to run this agency remains a key passion of mine.” Gunkel-Keuler met her soul mate in 2006 and has been married for nine years.They have two boys under the age of five. “They keep my spouse and I rather busy, but we love them dearly and enjoy watching them both become great individuals.” When it comes to her precious time away from work, Gunkel-Keuler loves travel, her family and various media: “A beach holiday is a great way in which I relax. I love spending time with my family, reading political biographies, and watching documentaries (when I have the time). I especially enjoy the genesis of religion and WW2 archived material.” Gunkel-Keuler had a lot to say to the youth about education:“Follow your heart and your passion but ensure that you further your ambitions through the world of study and work because without education coupled with the necessary experiences for growth and development, you will never reach your full potential.”

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Appreciating water while we still have it The saying: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is never more true and arresting than when considering what would happen if we totally ran out of water. DUT Connect interviewed Prof Faizal Bux, Director of the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology at DUT, to get his views on the current drought crisis in South Africa and how to preserve our most precious resource.


ooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize declared the drought and water crisis affecting the Western Cape‚ parts of Northern Cape‚ and Eastern Cape as a national disaster on 13 March this year. This will mean funnelling dedicated funding assigned to national disasters to farmers who are struggling, and investing in alternative technologies such as desalination, groundwater abstraction and waste water reuse. According to national government, the drought afflicting the Western Cape province is expected to cut agricultural output by 20% this year, decimating the wheat crop and reducing apple, grape and pear exports to Europe. Cape farmers abandoned at least a quarter of their highvalue vineyards and deciduous

We don’t appreciate the value of water – only when there is none will we realise its true value.

fruit orchards when they reached their water allocation limit in late February, which will cause the loss of an estimated 30 000 seasonal farm worker jobs during the harvest season. Thus, the drought threatens to slow South Africa’s economic rebound, which has been fueled by an upturn in agricultural production – Cape town generated nearly 10% of the country’s total gross domestic product in 2016. Although Cape Town has managed to postpone Day Zero this year because of the cuts to agriculture, water donations from farmers, and the huge drop in consumption by Capetonians, the region will have to maintain this level of consumption and dams will need at

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least an above average rainfall this winter to avoid a Day Zero scenario at the end of the year or in early 2019. It is unbelievable what Capetonians achieved when their backs were against the wall: “There was a reduction in water consumption of 50% – in industry, agriculture and domestic consumption! Fifty percent!” emphasised Prof Bux. “So my question is: If you can do it now, why didn’t you do it when there was ample water?” Unfortunately, South Africa has a model of bulk water suppliers that sell water to municipalities, who in turn sell water to consumers at a profit, so when consumption goes down, so do the profits. Thus, consumers are only half-heartedly encouraged to save water until a crisis erupts. The lessons that can be learnt from Cape Town’s water crisis, according to Prof Bux, are that: people need to be educated on water conservation – if they can do it, we can do it; there needs to be coordinated efforts and communication between national, provincial and local government; and government and individuals need to be proactive and plan at least five years ahead for these events. Prof Bux’s proactive ideas for government include making it mandatory that all new housing and industrial developments have pipes installed for drinking purposes and tanks installed outside to harvest rainwater and piped separately into buildings for flushing toilets and washing. In fact, all existing houses and factories should also have tanks installed as a necessity. “You have to take ownership of your own water,” said Prof Bux. “There’s going to come a time when you as a family will have to have systems in place in your house to ensure that you have adequate water. Even a simple Jo-Jo tank – that’s not highflying science and engineering!” People only use 15-20% of their water for drinking; the rest is used for washing and flushing toilets, so they don’t need

You can do without electricity – you have gas to cook with, sunlight and candles to see with – but you cannot do without water.

pristine water for all of their water usage. People are flushing potable water – the same water they drink – down the toilet every day, which transports their waste to waste water treatment plants. This needs to change. “There needs to be a radical change in our attitude towards water conservation,” enthused Prof Bux. “That also goes for industry and agriculture.” With regard to KwaZuluNatal, Prof Bux said that since there has been decent rainfall, the Province will be alright till 2019, even if it doesn’t rain again this year. The Umgeni, north and south systems in KZN are still healthy for now. After 2019, though, there will be concerns. Because of changing weather patterns due to climate change, there will also be more extreme weather patterns such as flash flooding on the east coast as opposed to drought on the west coast. According to Prof Bux, eThekwini Municipality is currently partnering with the Japanese to develop a remix project on a demonstration scale

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This is a resource we have been given by the Almighty but we have abused it. We are wasting water! If we try hard enough together we can reduce consumption by at least 50%.

strict specifications to ensure that it satisfies the South African national government standards for potable water quality before the consumer uses it for drinking purposes. According to Prof Bux, there’s no shortage of water technology in the world, but it comes at a hefty price and is extremely energy intensive. There are also ethical and religious concerns about waste water reuse, and Prof Bux is working closely with religious organisations to try to help them make informed decisions

where they are mixing waste water with desalinated water, treating it and sending it up to a reservoir or dam, then into taps. The project still needs to overcome a few challenges before it can be rolled out at full scale. The Eastern Cape is also apparently looking into using this technology, and Richards Bay is making use of desalination technology. Groundwater, desalination and waste water reuse are also being considered very strongly in Cape Town. Waste water is being mixed with other water and treated to

How waste water is reused Our waste is discharged to, for example, the waste water plant in Pietermaritzburg, which treats the water under stringent government prescribed conditions, releases it into the rivers, and then this water flows into the dams. It is then directed into a water treatment work for further treatment, into a reservoir and finally, it is pumped into our taps.

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that are not based on sensationalism. Public consultation is part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process, which is mandatory before authorisation is granted for large-scale projects to be rolled out. In conclusion, South Africa needs to treasure its water resources, be pro-active, educate and inform the public, cut down on domestic, industrial and agricultural water consumption, and adapt cheap alternative water supply technologies for local application as a back up. People on an individual level also need to change their behaviour radically. “Let’s work together; let’s save water and change our habits,” pleaded Prof Bux.


Prof Faizal Bux Prof Faizal Bux has been instrumental in establishing the research niche area of Wastewater Technology and turning it into the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology. He has more than 20 years service at higher education institutions and has received numerous institutional awards, including the Vice-Chancellor’s and University Top Senior Researcher awards. Mainly due to his efforts, the Institute has recently been awarded a National Research Foundation Research Chairs intiative chair. His primary research areas are: wastewater biotechnology, bioremediation, algal biofuels research and biotechnology, constructed wetlands/rhizofiltration and rainwater harvesting. Prof Bux is ranked as the most published researcher at DUT. He has supervised over 50 masters and doctoral students and 10 post-doctoral fellows served their tenure under his guidance. He is the current editor for Clean Soil Air Water (John Wiley & Sons, Germany), Environmental Science and Health Part A (Taylor Francis, USA) and is a reviewer for 28 international journals and has contributed 60 journal articles, six book chapters, nine technical reports (Water Research Commission, South Africa), 70 conference presentations (national and international) and has edited two books. His citations are in excess of 800 with an H Index of 16.

Scientific Program Committee/Advisory Board and been Chairman of and invited speaker to various national and international conferences. Prof Bux is a member of many professional bodies nationally and internationally. He has served as a reviewer of many international funding agencies and is currently involved in two bilateral projects with universities in India and Egypt. He serves as scientific advisor for various NGOs, both in South Africa and abroad, especially with regards to water quality issues. He established an extensive network of collaborators based at universities, both nationally and internationally, with active student and staff exchange for team members at the Institute.

Prof Bux has attracted in excess of R78 million in external funding from a variety of funders. He is an invited member of the Management Committee of the International Water Association (IWA) specialist group (Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering (MEWE) and is actively involved in coordinating activities of MEWE globally. He is a Fellow of the Water Institute of Southern Africa and has served on the

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South African Fashion Week (SAFW) Showcase

DUT: Rise of the OXX

DUT Fashion students proudly showcased their exceptional talent recently at South African Fashion Week (SAFW), held this year at Protea Court, Sandton City.


nder the expert creative direction of Durban-based fashion designer Gideon, the select students’ ranges had just the right aesthetic for the SAFW market. Gideon devised a hair look that unified all the ranges and created a common thread to bind together the many different looks. For the make-up, he devised something that would transcend gender, race and identity, allowing both male and female models to share a common look, adding to the unifying look desired for the show. The audio-visual presentation that opened the show gave the audience a view into the mindset of the students. Postcards and an A4 image board with student images and contact details were given to all members of the audience, and the 2017 yearbooks were handed to all major media players, fashion stylists, buyers and designers. One of the most encouraging comments after the show was that they could not believe the work showcased was

Alexia Robert

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that of students. This platform has provided some DUT students with incredible opportunities, as outlined below: •

Alberta Swanepoel is an SA designer residing in New York. He has showcased at SAFW for many years and is a highly acclaimed designer overseas. He has approached DUT student Michaela Pollard to work on a collaborative collection to be shown at New York Fashion Week in September 2018.

Both Sipho Mbuto and Fikile Sokhulu (DUT students) have had garments from their ranges selected for upcoming campaigns and photoshoots.

DUT students Sipho Mbuto, Fikile Sokhulu and Courtney Hunt have received confirmed sales and orders of their collections.

Students who showcased Tamara Hoggarth, Michaela Pollard, Zane Ngwenya, Ashley Igesund, Alexia Robert, Sipho Mbuto, Saudah Ballim, Courtney Hunt, Noreen Maphumulo and Fikile Sokhulu.

Ashley Igesund

Courtney Hunt


Fikile Sokhulu

Michaela Pollard

Noreen Maphumulo

What the Development and Alumni Relations Office had to say The Development and Alumni Relations office is proud of the presentation and performance of the Fashion students who participated in the SAFW. The Office is also happy to have provided financial support to 10 students, which enabled them to participate in this fashion showcase.This would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors and supporters.

SAFW is a highly rated event for the fashion industry in South Africa that is a platform to showcase up-and-coming and established designers to the public and industry players. DUT is the only educational institution with a platform at SAFW. The DUT showcase has been praised as one of the most creative and exciting collections showcased. Sauda Ballim

Sipho Mbuto

Tamara Hoggarth

Zane Ngwenya

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Profile for DUT Alumni

Dutconnect Autumn 2018 issue  

This is the official DUT Alumni magazine DUTCONNECT

Dutconnect Autumn 2018 issue  

This is the official DUT Alumni magazine DUTCONNECT

Profile for dutalumni