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Dear Alumni and Friends, We are happy to present to you yet another exciting instalment of DUT Connect, bursting with inspiring stories about the amazing alumni of DUT, their achievements and the positive impact they are having on society. There is no doubt that studying at DUT prepares you for real world success. The many inspiring stories contained herein are evidence of this. While it may be true that simply having a formal education does not necessarily translate into success, it must be agreed that a quality education can certainly hold you in good stead.The question, however, is what do you do with the tools, skills, knowledge, preparation and investment that has gone into your time spent at University? Now more than ever before, we need South Africans who are going to take ownership of their lives and their destinies, people who are going to explore every opportunity and make the best of what they have and change South Africa for the better.This is the only way we can begin to improve our socio-economic conditions as a country. Our cover story, Dudu Busani-Dube, is one such example of a pioneering individual who decided to impact the world by telling uniquely African stories and tapping into a previously ignored market in the publishing world. Today, she is a successful author with a series of books that resonate with young and middle-aged black South African women in a way that has not been done before. Catch her thought-provoking story on page 2. We are also very proud to feature a story about a recent Diploma graduate who is continuing his studies at DUT while pursuing his entrepreneurial ambitions. The young CEO of Wisolve, Terry Mavundla and a few of his friends started a business while pursuing their diplomas. What is most inspiring about this story is that they developed the DUT APP, which is now an official part of the DUT communication repertoire. In addition to this, the DUT APP is now in the running for the 2017 MTN Business App of the

Year Award in two categories. Read about this inspiring and unassuming young man’s journey on page 18. As an Idols fan myself, I must draw your attention to the feature on Kyle Deutsch on page 4. A young man who needs no introduction, Kyle has made a name for himself in the world of music and entertainment while maintaining a grounded life as a DUT trained chiropractor. What is interesting about the abovementioned alumni features is that they have used their education at DUT to extend themselves beyond the normal configurations and expectations of their academic fields. I believe this is innovation; this is success. I believe that being successful is not necessarily about being the wealthiest, the most beautiful or most popular. Rather, it is about having a vision that you hold firmly within your mind and spend each and every day working towards it until it is achieved, despite the apparent obstacles. In being successful, we inspire others and allow them to be successful as well. Success is a positive energy that is contagious and it should be our desire to infect all those within our sphere of influence that they may also be inspired and motivated to rise to their success. As a University, we understand that as we strive to succeed in helping our students to succeed, we rely on the support of various stakeholders. We must, therefore, continue to express our gratitude and appreciation to the special individuals, companies, foundations and trusts that provide financial and other forms of support to DUT and the various programmes and initiatives that we run. We hope that the magazine and the stories contained herein, inspire, motivate and give you hope for the future because indeed, the future is bright. Sincerely, Zwakele Ngubane Acting Director: Development and Alumni Relations Tel: +27 31 373 3020 | Email: zwakelen@dut.ac.za

DONORS 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

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

contents Telling Authentic South African Love Stories – Dudu Busani-Dube


Making Diversity Sound Sensational – Kyle Deutsch


Sharing Controversial Views on Black People – Mbali Gcabashe


Pouring his Passion into Healthcare – Euvette Taylor


Inspiring the Rural Youth – Lungisani Mavundla


Transforming Students‘ Lives – Theron Rapoo


Becoming the Product of his Choices – Zolani Mbheki


Turning Struggles into Works of Art – Nathi Khanyile


Helping to Make Couples‘ Dreams Come True – Akhona Nkuhlu


Applying IT Solutions to SA‘s Youth – Lindokuhle Terry Mavundla


Shaping the Future for Women in Engineering – Sivanna Naicker


Mbali Gcabashe Applauds Dut 22 DUT Hosts First Donor Recognition Evening


Convocation Golf Day


Missing Middle Campaign Launched


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Durban University of Technology

Editorial Leader:

Zwakele Ngubane

Editorial, DUT:

Zandile Ndlovu

Administration Support:

Amanda Dladla, DUT Development and Alumni Relations

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.

Telling authentic South African love stories Self-published author Dudu Busani-Dube (36), of the hugely popular Hlomu The Wife book series, has cleverly carved a niche for herself in South African fiction by writing stories for a target market largely ignored by traditional publishers – young and middle-aged black women.


here is a perception that black South Africans don’t read,” says Dube.“I disagree.We don’t read because nobody is writing stories that we can relate to. I wanted to write something where readers could easily see themselves, their dysfunctional families, friends and enemies in the characters.”

The series revolves around eight Zulu brothers from Mbuba village in Greytown who relocate to Johannesburg after their parents were killed in a politically motivated mob justice attack. All three books are told through the eyes of the women who fall in love with the handsome and mysterious brothers. Dube’s writing style is raw, she uses lots of slang and writes in the first person. “The whole point of writing anything is for people to read it. I wanted people to be addicted to my books,” said Dube. So addicted are her audience, that many of her over 70 000 fans on social media have been asking about when her books, Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute and Naledi His Love, will be made into a TV series or a movie. It’s hard to believe that such a successful black woman would begin life in humble eNanda. She went to live with her paternal grandmother in KwaMaphumulo with her nine cousins at age four, and when she was eight, she began living with her parents in KwaMashu. At 12 years old, she went to a boarding school in Umlazi where she spent five years. Her father is now a retired primary school principal and her mother works at a clinic as a counsellor. “My mother has always been about excellence so if I have done anything great in this life, it is because I was raised by her,” said Dube. “She didn’t have to encourage me to study, she made it clear that I did not have a choice.” She decided to study Journalism at ML Sultan Technikon fresh out of boarding school because her high school teacher encouraged

Dudu Busani-Dube DUT Journalism graduate


I believe that the decisions we make and the way we think play an important role in the quality of our lives. Positivity and confidence in oneself is key for success.

her to write. She joined the Drama Society in her second year but didn’t land any major roles because “my acting is as horrible as my singing,” she laughed. In between covering some of the most heinous events in South Africa as a reporter, Dube studied Public Relations at Varsity College and a one-year Introduction to Law course at Unisa, as she was also a court reporter for quite a while. Dube openly admits that she is a workaholic. She works full-time as a news editor for a daily newspaper and rarely leaves the office before 8pm. Her typical day begins with a meeting with reporters to assess what should be covered in the paper, which is followed by a meeting with various editors and departments and another in the afternoon where the final decisions are made. “My job is demanding, but I love the rush and adrenaline,” enthused Dube. “I love how lively the newsroom is and the creative space that we work in.” When it comes to her writing career, her life is even more hectic, comprising readings, pop up book sales and speaking events on weekends. “It has become normal for me to sleep in one province on Saturday night and get on the first flight to Joburg on Sunday morning so that I can make it to the 8.30am meeting,” said Dube. She began working on her first book in 2014 at night, and after her friends’ positive responses to a few chapters, released a quarter of it on social media and through a blog. When she received an overwhelming response on

Dube’s books are available in hard copy through bookshops such as Exclusive Books and Adams Booksellers, www.hlomu.co.za and through email request: hlomuthewife@gmail.com

Facebook, it was the impetus she needed to complete all three books. On going the costly and difficult self-publishing route, Dube said: “It was a decision I made because I wanted to do it on my own without anyone dictating to me how the storyline should go or limiting my creativity.” One of the greatest achievements from these books, according to Dube, is not that over 5 000 copies have been sold, but that people are now buying and reading books. She is currently working on the fourth book in the series. Dube is married without children and when she’s not working, she’s writing. “I hardly have spare time but when I do, I read,” said Dube.

DUTConnect // 3

Making diversity sound sensational Two-time SAMA nominated and MAMA award-winning Kyle Deutsch (30) has come a long way from being a finalist in Idols SA in 2014. Not only does he manage to juggle a successful chiro practice by day and a singing/songwriting career by night, he remains grounded by encouraging children to stay in school.


how did this multi-talented vocalist, who lists winning the Award for Best Pop at the MTV Africa Awards in 2016 as his music career highlight, begin his musical journey? Deutsch learnt guitar in early high school and in 2012, decided to try out at Idols’ Season 8 auditions. He ended up getting through to the top 32 “…and that’s when I realised maybe I was above average,” laughed Deutsch. After that, Deutsch hooked up with high school friend Arnold Phillips (aka Aewon Wolf) who introduced him to producer Sketchy Bongo, who later produced Deutsch’s hit song

Back to the Beach with Shekinah. He also made some music with Charlie Mchunu from Witness The Funk, which ended up on Cassper Nyovest’s Tsholofelo album. The next year, Deutsch tried Idols again and ended up coming fifth, jumpstarting his steep musical trajectory. “Idols helped to create a fan base and some support,” he said. “So when we started releasing our music, people listened and stations started picking it up.” Growing up with his younger brother in a loving home in Westville, Deutsch’s hardworking parents instilled a dual motto of ‘never let an opportunity pass you by’ and ‘live in the moment’ in him from an early age. His dad started his business ‘NUSA Sports’ by selling caps

Kyle Deutsch DUT Chiropractic graduate (MTech)


outside the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium and at flea markets around North Beach when Deutsch was seven years old. The business grew to supply corporate identity and clothing and his mom, who previously worked at a bank, started working for his dad. Asked why he chose MTech Chiropractic at DUT after matriculating from Westville Boys High, Deutsch said: “My mom used to frequent a chiropractor and I was often with her at appointments. Being very sports orientated, I was intrigued by the profession. My parents were very supportive, encouraging and pivotal in deciding what and where to study.” There was never a dull moment at DUT, according to Deutsch, who always found something new and spontaneously challenging. “My fondest memories are of Chiro camp, our endless chats in the health quads on breaks, and the dissection lectures in the anatomy rooms.” Deutsch describes his course as a very challenging one, and time management and hard work were crucial. “I had a great peer group and the class was small, which allowed me to make great friends whom I still keep today.” Deutsch dreamed of becoming a soccer star like his dad (who played for Durban City), and even went on to play professionally with Manning Rangers. Those dreams were cut short, however, when he broke his foot during his studies after transferring to PSL side Maritzburg United. Facing the choice of practicing chiropractic or playing soccer full-time, the incident unfortunately made his mind up for him.

It is very important to give back. I don’t do it for anything other than the enjoyment I get from giving back to those who love and appreciate me and who are less fortunate then than I am.

Spare time is rare for Deutsch, but when he gets a gap, he usually catches up with friends and family or just sleeps. He still plays beach soccer, having made the SA team, whom he travelled with to Morocco and Nigeria. He currently supports COCA, an NPO in Pinetown, and has also visited many schools around the country as part of a community engagement project to sing and encourage children to stay in school.

Watch out for Deutsch’s upcoming multi-genre album, which has something for everybody.

Despite all these challenges, Deutsch’s thesis won first place at the World Sports Chiropractic Congress in 2014. He set up a practice with other holistic health professionals at M&D Health based at Glenwood High School and continues to practice there most weekdays. In the future, Deutsch plans to help other artists in the music industry to perfect their sound, especially Idols’ winners, who often need help with their song selection and song writing. He would also love to make it big internationally. However, Kyle’s current focus is on going to the top of the South African music charts and working with the likes of DJ Maphorisa, AKA and Nasty C. Deutsch has a longstanding girlfriend but no children yet, and definitely plans to travel and have a family in the future. “I really would like to own an old-school Mustang and see Barcelona and Spain. I would love to be a father to a son.”

DUTConnect // 5

Sharing controversial views on black people In her revolutionary book Intimate Thoughts of a Clever Black, Mbali Gcabashe embraces the derogatory term that for years was used to silence black people who were vocal, and advocates their recognition as equals in South Africa and the world.


elf-publishing Intimate Thoughts of a Clever Black has to be a highlight of my career life,” said Gcabashe. “It has helped me to become a voice and a symbol of hope for black women and girls who didn’t believe that there are possibilities beyond their current circumstances and helped me to affirm that our gender and skin colour is not a disability, but a source of immeasurable strength.” The book bravely targets the notion of a false ‘Rainbow Nation’ in post-apartheid South Africa and is aimed at starting a dialogue about black on black dynamics, patriarchy, and white dynamics affecting South Africa and the world. Gcabashe published it herself, refusing to forego her power or content to traditional publishers, and to show other black people that they can ‘do it themselves’. Born into a family of six in Dundee, Gcabashe attributes her rebellious streak to her father, a truck driver who didn’t remain in jobs for long. Her mother, a teacher, however, valued education and expected nothing but excellent marks. She grew up in Newcastle when her parents divorced, where her then single mom, dedicated to the well-being of her children, battled to make ends meet. Gcabashe took on part-time jobs such as picking up rubbish on the streets, putting up posters on street poles and stock taking in order to have some semblance

Mbali Gcabashe DUT Public Relations Management graduate (BTech) DUTConnect // 6


Find your inner joy and don’t let your happiness be dependent on someone or something.You are enough.

I was a little black girl at the time and I saw me in the future; I saw possibilities for a young black girl in postapartheid South Africa.” Nolan Vernon presented her with an opportunity to have a career in the radio industry (Vuma FM), and she now hosts a feature called ‘Vuka Darkie’ on Ukhozi FM and is the Managing Director of Shonguni Services and Supplies, which focuses mostly on Public Relations and Management. She is an inspirational speaker on various platforms, particularly those that uphold the upliftment of black people, and the emancipation of women in particular.

of a ‘normal life’ and to have something extra to give her siblings. “Growing up, I was always vocal and curious about how I could use my voice to speak for those who are marginalised,” she said.

Her day-to-day routine includes responding to emails, talking on the phone with clients, and planning dialogues called ‘Intimate Chats’, which she hosts in various provinces as an extension of her book.

Gcabashe studied towards a Public Relations Management Diploma at DUT immediately after Matric and went on to study an LLB after a few years but dropped out in her third year. She graduated with a BTech: Public Relations Management and also studied Media Management Practice as part of her career development.

Gcabashe juggles motherhood, marriage and career with aplomb: “I am married to an amazing man who is my source of strength – he introduced me to a concept of excellent black men and fathers and is my biggest cheerleader.”

Her fondest memory of DUT was of working at the Department of Public Affairs as an intern. “I was introduced to hard work there and I remember working on graduation ceremonies with Vasantha – watching the graduates on stage and listening to the excitement of their families’ voices as their names were called one by one.” A stand-out moment at DUT was when she met Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was the Chancellor at the then ML Sultan Technikon. “I spoke with her for a short while, took pictures with her and watched her on stage.

They have two girls (16 and 4), and two boys (12 and 7). “They are my daily challenge, and they demand that I become a better version of myself everyday,” she said. “I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree there.They are mini versions of myself – real rebels and revolutionaries.” In the future, Gcabashe wants to continue doing exactly what she is doing, only on a much bigger scale. Her motto is: “We are all on borrowed time, surrounded by a lot of inequality and injustices. Make it count and make your mark. It takes all of us.”

Intimate Thoughts of a Clever Black is available online at Afroculture, Amazon or officialcleverblack@gmail.com. Her first book, Unscripted Relationships, is also available online.

DUTConnect // 7

Pouring his passion into healthcare Disciplined dedication to human development and healthcare has rewarded Dr Euvette Cardian Taylor with quite a few prestigious accolades and awards before he has even reached his thirties.


aylor is currently Projects Manager for community health projects for the Faculty of Health Sciences and is a registered and practising doctor in homoeopathy, with a research speciality of public health – specifically reproductive health and community development.

He cites his grandmother as the reason for his decision to follow a career path in healthcare. “I always noted that whenever my grandmother took her medication, she would feel more sick or complain about her liver. She was never happy with meds, so this always troubled me and obviously caused conflict within me.” Unfortunately, she passed away before he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Homoeopathic Medicine from DUT in 2015. After her death, he moved from a small farming town in Underberg to Wentworth and after his dad died at age nine, his mother, who sold arts and crafts made from recycled materials, became his inspiration for attaining his degree. “I discovered Homoeopathy and to me, this made more sense and I loved its approach to health and the treatment of disease. I attended the DUT open week when I was in Grade 11 and spoke to Dr Jabu Ngobese-Ngubane, who cemented the idea of Homoeopathy within the DNA,” enthused Taylor. Taylor loved that Homoeopathy is a very meticulous, gentle medical art that treats each patient as a complete being where each system must be taken into consideration during treatment, with the ultimate goal of finding balance in mind, body and soul. He remembers his time as a student at DUT fondly: “Bonding with our Departmental Secretary Mrs Gillian Clarke was my best time as she has a very warm and caring spirit and always

Euvette Taylor DUT Homeopathy graduate (Masters)


told me to ‘smile anyway’ no matter the circumstance presented before me.” Those circumstances included no financial support from home whatsoever. As a first-year student, he had to walk from Cato Manor to DUT every day for an entire year. He began working part-time at Edgars in his third year. “This was ironically the most exciting time of my University life as I could financially support myself. It was obviously difficult but I pressed on and with all the pressure around me, I still managed to receive distinctions in some of my modules,” related Taylor. His strong work ethic has led him to be involved in myriad academic and community projects. He is also Head Clinician for a weekly multidisciplinary primary healthcare community clinic at Mkhizwana Tribal Council in KwaZulu-Natal, a community health project run by the Faculty of Health Sciences. He serves in various community-based organisations, and holds the position of President for the Youth Development Partnership. He is also part of the University Siyaphumelela Project – a national project geared to using student data to inform policy and curriculum design within the University – with the ultimate goal of ensuring a more pleasant university experience, and he is a Residence Advisor to DUT’s residences. Taylor is single and is not a father yet, but if he were, he would tell his children to: “Live a life of purpose. Through understanding of ‘self’, you can better serve your communities and families. I believe education is a vehicle/vessel or catalyst that is merely there as a tool to

AWARDS AND HONOURS 1. DUT’s first recipient of the Top 200 Exceptional Young South Africans of the Year Award, Mail and Guardian Africa. 2017. South Africa. 2. International Scholar Laureate Award (Medicine and Science category), Envision Scholar Laureate. 2017. United States of America. 3. International Golden Key Society. 2015/2016. South Africa. 4. Abe Bailey Fellowship, Abe Bailey Trust. 2013. United Kingdom.

refine and mould the God-given talents that we all have. Education is meaningless without passion, purpose and perseverance.” In his spare time, Taylor loves travelling, listening to music and cooking for family and friends. His plans for the future include working on a proposal for his PhD in Public Health, Community, and Health Promotion. He also hopes to replicate the mobile clinic model, incorporating health sciences and social sciences, and partnering with strategic partners to make healthcare more accessible to underserved communities.

Life is meaningless without God to me. Through the acknowledgment of knowing there is a God, I better serve his creation (people, flora and fauna) with meaning, compassion and dignity as a way of directly worshipping Him for the beauty He has created.

DUTConnect // 9

Inspiring the rural youth Despite being a multi-award-winning author, radio contributor and entrepreneur, Lungisani Mavundla remembers his impoverished childhood, and regards creating opportunities for the black child as central to his life’s mission.


e is the Principal Writer and Contributor for Ukhozi FM, and Producer of Sicikoza Ngosiba (co-hosted with Bheka Mchunu), a slot in the Akulalwa oKhozini FM late night show where he reads his Unyaka Wesithembiso (The Year of Promise) series of books live on the air. When Unyaka Wesithembiso, which addresses various aspects in relationships and patriarchal society, received three awards from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) in two consecutive years (2012 and 2013), it launched Mavundla as one of the greatest South African contributors to the arts. “Partnering with Ukhozi FM was a strategic move because the station commands a massive listenership base,” said Mavundla. “I have since launched different book clubs in institutions of higher learning to encourage emerging writers of the Zulu language and educate them about the writing industry.”

Academic curricula alone is not enough to arm a person; the youth need to learn as much as they can about anything and everything as that can turn into a viable business concept. Lungisani Mavundla DUTConnect // 10

DUT Financial Accounting graduate


He has also published an anthology of short stories called Amangwevu and a novel called uKhabazela. Growing up in Oyaya on the outskirts of Eshowe as the first boy of seven siblings was extremely tough. As Mavundla’s father was unemployed and his mother was a housewife who sold amagwinya in the neighbouring school, the family had no choice but to survive on his grandmother‘s pension. “Growing up in such extreme poverty motivated me to study as hard as I could so that I could escape it,” shared Mavundla. Mavundla remembered when he enrolled for a National Diploma in Accounting at DUT in 2000. “It was an interesting, yet challenging period of my youth – a rural boy who was a first-timer in a far away, urban town,” he said. “I had no money, only the will to make my parents, family and village proud.” Being a jovial type, he made a lot of friends (some of whom turned out to be his current business associates) and participated in student leadership, which involved being Drama Society Deputy Chairperson, Central Housing President and Faculty Representative. His fondest memories of DUT are from the drama sessions that took place every Monday to Thursday between three and five in the afternoon. “These sessions helped me to escape to a world where I could forget about my real misery and create an environment filled with dreams,” reminisced Mavundla. After graduating in 2002, Mavundla worked for FNB Branch Banking as a Multi-skilled Expert as well as Admin Manager (FNB Corporate Card Division) from 20032007. He then worked for Anglo Platinum as Senior Cost Controller till 2011. In between working, he pursued a B.Compt at Unisa. “This course elevated my business skills and advanced my willingness to start my own business,” said Mavundla. “Going to school allowed me to commercialise my every gift. I identify and see business opportunities even for things I never necessarily studied.” Mavundla resigned from Anglo Platinum in 2011 to establish a non-profit organisation to uplift the rural youth through providing information and facilities. It also partners with the Departments of Arts and Culture and Education to develop reading and writing clubs in the

Province. “I started Rural Rigid as a vehicle to unlock everyday dilemmas that the youth, particularly in the rural areas, are facing,” he said. Rural Right, another NPO that he began, prioritises education, arts and sports and has a (tertiary) student wing (Rural Students‘ Association) to reach youth from all corners of KZN and sometimes Eastern Cape. This is achieved through career exhibitions and mentorship to rural schools. A subsidiary to Rural Right is Exemption Matric Centre, which is a matric upgrading tuition centre for all those youth who couldn’t access tertiary education due to not meeting the minimum requirements. Mavundla, who believes in a healthy body and mind, loves exercising, especially gymnastics. He is married with three children. “My work is my life; so there is a balance already there. But I always have to ensure a presence in the lives of those who are dear to me, including my family and kids.” Mavundla’s motto is: “Black Child! You are on your own!” – Steve Biko.

DUTConnect // 11

Transforming students' lives Theron Rapoo (31), is ploughing back time, money and inspiration into the lives of students from his childhood community despite his humble beginnings in Rustenburg.

Theron Rapoo


DUT Photography graduate

apoo, who holds a National Diploma in Photography from DUT (2009), worked for Royal Bafokeng Sports for three years as a Communications intern before joining Platinum Stars Football Club as the Brand Marketing Manager. He also owns Theron Rapoo Public Relations & Events, through which he manages artists and authors, and organises corporate events, public relations campaigns and corporate photography, among other services. He has a passion for community engagement that he draws from the Corporate Social Investment projects he manages within the club. He has assisted over 10 learners to acquire bursary funds, and managed to assist one learner to secure funding to study Medicine in Cuba. Some learners are doing Actuarial Sciences, Industrial Engineering, Bachelor of Sciences, to name a few. This is done through his consulting company, Senka Bokgoni Consulting, translated to ‘seek talent’ in Setswana, with his best friend. “During my spare time, I make sure that I give back to the community that raised me. My former high school was struggling with pass rates in Grade 12 and the first year I launched the ‘Learner Assistance Programme’, they went from a 74% to an 85% pass rate and the principal was happy with the results,” said Rapoo. The programme has grown and received support from a group of doctors around Johannesburg and Rustenburg.Together with his friend, he visits schools on weekends and conducts life coaching exercises, team building and motivational talks. They also assist the Department of Social Development Services to teach learners how to continue living in the circumstances they find themselves in. “I am proud of what we have achieved during the first year since the launch, and we keep reaching new heights daily. My plea is for potential donors to assist and invest in the programme to turn it into a bigger project,” said Rapoo. He has travelled throughout Europe and the USA in a quest to enhance his Branding and Public Relations skills. Currently, he is pursuing his second National Diploma in Public Relations Management with UNISA, and he has registered for his Advanced Diploma in Brand Innovation for 2018 through Vega School of Brand Leadership. Rapoo plans to study further till he achieves his PhD in Public Relations Management, a dream he holds close.

DUTConnect // 12


Becoming the product of his choices Being born dirt poor in a small rural town called Tsomo in the Eastern Cape didn’t stop Zolani Mbeki from not only studying towards being a chartered accountant, but also becoming an inspiration to thousands of disadvantaged South African learners through his foundation.


Zolani Mbeki

DUT Financial Accounting graduate aised by his unemployed single mum, he often attended school without shoes or a uniform. After acing Matric, his uncle, who lived in Durban, offered him a place to stay and study further. Mbeki was accepted into DUT to study a National Diploma in Financial Accounting.

During his second year of studies, Mbeki was awarded a bursary from Eskom and completed his National Diploma in 2009. In 2010, he was employed as a Principal Clerk at Eskom. In 2013, he was promoted to Assistant Officer Project Accounting and relocated to Gauteng. At the same time, he enrolled with UNISA for a Bachelor of Accounting Science. He completed his B.Compt degree in 2015 and in 2016 was promoted to Officer Litigations at the Eskom Finance Company. He is currently doing his Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Accounting Science. During holidays while at DUT, Mbeki visited his high school to assist students with Accounting and Mathematics and to present motivational talks.After helping a youngster from his school with a uniform, books, university applications and aquiring a bursary, he began thinking about other learners from his town with similar challenges. Mbeki began visiting schools and identifying needs in 2010 and by 2014, he registered the Zolani Mbeki Foundation. “I remembered when I had to walk 10kms to school and back each day, without proper shoes. So I decided that my first project would entail raising school shoes for underprivileged pupils in East London,” said Mbeki. He requested donations from colleagues, friends, acquaintances and Eskom Guardians in KZN, East London and Johannesburg and was able to raise 4 000 pairs of school shoes for seven schools in East London, with his high school playing host and local celebrities giving motivational talks. Through his foundation, Mbeki facilitated a market day in the Western Cape for 30 schools, raised 8 000 pairs of school shoes, organised a matric dance where each year he selects a different region, plus sanitary towel drives. He has also been involved in the adjudication of the 2016 Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP) Project, where he joined the Department of Education in giving motivational talks to students nationally. Mbeki’s motto is: “Never give up. Even when things go wrong, make use of that pain by taking a lesson from it.”

DUTConnect // 13

Turning struggles into works of art DUT Fine Art lecturer Nkosinathi Isaac Khanyile went from sleeping in the passage at home and walking to school barefoot, to earning his Masters in Fine Art, travelling, exhibiting and lecturing extensively overseas, and winning national and international awards.


lthough born in Umlazi as a child who, according to African and Afrikaner folklore would be endowed with special insight and intuition, Khanyile’s childhood was wrought with difficulty. The last of five siblings fathered by an Engineer who died at age 25, he was a sickly child who contracted polio. His mother remarried and began working as a domestic worker when two more siblings were added to their already cramped two-bedroomed home. Khanyile’s first exposure to arts and crafts was in Std 5 in Umzuzu Primary School, where he met Pat Khoza. She taught him how to create animals and pots from local clay and how to burnish them with stones and shine them with animal fat. In Std 9, while working in the garden of a white lady on the Bluff, he heard his ancestors say that he would become a teacher. He decided to learn to speak English, even to his teachers and friends, and he began a debating society in school. After matric, a multi-millionaire benefactor (Mr Musa Dumisa) made it possible for him to train as a teacher, specialising in Geography and isiZulu, at Esikhawini College in Empangeni from 1988, where he received six distinctions. After working as a teacher for a while, his ancestors told him to resign and go to Natal Technikon to study. He was accepted into both Fine Arts and Drama Studies, but chose Fine Arts, and enrolled as one of five black among 22 white students and allwhite lecturers. He remembers taping each lecture as discriminatory

Nathi Khanyile DUT Masters Fine Art graduate


‘Our Heritage Image‘ Award in Pietermaritzburg in 2000, was nominated for the 1999 Avita Award, and received the 2012 DUT Top Creative Output of the Year Award.

Life is a struggle that you have to face every day. Don’t dare turn your back against it nor give up on yourself.

things were being said that made him very upset. A classmate tried to steal his tape recorder but was unsuccessful. “I was very talkative and I would just go on the attack when necessary!” said Khanyile. “I was known as an activist and people didn’t like it. I stood my ground on what I was making. My work was, and still is, on African culture, religion and tradition.” He saw visions and dreams and heard instructions on how to do his artwork. “My art became the vehicle to heal the self and others and follows the ubuntu philosophy.” After finishing his diploma, he was the last black person in the class. In deciding whether to do his BTech, Khanyile said: “It was now me taking the responsibility of representing my people, whether I liked it or not.” He became a Graduate Assistant during this time, teaching students Fine Art at Natal Technikon, and made history by becoming the first black artist to win the Volkskas Atelier Award, which took him to Paris. He had numerous national and international exhibitions (Germany, Lithuania, Mexico, Boston, California, Los Angeles USA, France and the Netherlands) and was invited to work in Bonn, Germany.

Khanyile began teaching Fine Art (specialising in sculpture and ceramics) at DUT in 2001. When he offered to pay back his benefactor, he was told to “just walk, let’s see”. “This was very smart as since then, I’ve been paying him back in supporting young artists,” laughed Khanyile. This was through paying for some students’ fees and transport, art materials, working longer hours, and providing holistic support to students and parents. Khanyile hopes that DUT will replace him one day with another local teacher, and is doing all he can to raise up students who will carry on his legacy, both in promoting local art and culture and in teaching well. Khanyile spends his spare time treating patients as a traditional healer, designing interiors, shopping for antiques and renovating his home. He has been married to Nombuso (originally a nurse and now a specialist researcher in HIV/AIDS) for over 20 years. They have two adult sons – Sandile, who suffered epileptic fits from a young age and has thus never attended mainstream school, and Sbusiso, who is working with financial investments and still deciding what to study at university.

He returned to do his Masters at DUT and won the Commonwealth Art and Craft Award in 1999, which thrust DUT into the limelight. He had a choice of which Commonwealth country to work in, so he chose Perth, Australia to exhibit and to lecture in three universities. He also became the winner of

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Helping to make couples' dreams come true A new mother herself, embryologist Akhona Nkuhlu, now based at the well-known IVI Middle East Fertility Clinic in Dubai, can’t help but feel a great sense of accomplishment every time her patients fall pregnant.


rowing up in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape as the seventh of eight children, Nkuhlu set her sights on becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, her diabetic father, who worked as an administrator, died when she was in Matric. Her mother, who had always been a housewife, became her inspiration to work hard and study. Her mother completed Matric in night school after having her last child, and went on to obtain an accounting degree while working full-time and eventually became a State accountant. After Matric, Nkuhlu went to live with her eldest sister, Nosisa, in Durban and due to financial constraints, she worked full-time at ABSA bank for two years to save up enough money to register for a course. Nkuhlu’s eldest brother, who especially encouraged her to study, died then, just four years after her father. A lady from her church worked at DUT and organised an interview and she was accepted into the Clinical Technology: Reproductive Biology course. Since she had missed the Medical School deadline, it was the closest thing to Medicine at the time. “I wanted to be an Obstetrician and I guess being an Embryologist is probably another form of being an Obstetrician, well in my head at least,” laughed Nkuhlu.

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She worked weekends at ABSA bank after she resigned and went to study full-time, which helped with pocket money when she moved into the university residence. In her second year, she moved back to her sister’s place since she needed to focus and her mom couldn’t afford the res anymore. “My sister was like my second mom. I had to study very hard because I knew that my younger brother was going to start varsity soon so I had to finish in record time. It was challenging but I was determined.” She describes her years at DUT as good, with only a few disruptions now and again. “The lecturers taught substance and covered the topics in great detail.The crew I hung out with was also quite focused on school work and amagwinya (staple food) for students.” Nkuhlu did her in-service training with Groote Schuur Reproductive Unit and was with them for two years before she moved to Sthemba Fertility Centre in Rustenburg as a Junior Embryologist. After a year, she moved to Johannesburg to sperm bank Androcryos, and in 2012 joined VITALAB Centre for Assisted Conception as an Embryologist after obtaining her postgrad degree from DUT. She was promoted to Senior Embryologist and then to Laboratory Manager before she left at the beginning of


2016. “This opened a lot of doors for me. After I gave birth in 2016, my husband, our baby and I had to move to Dubai. I then worked for Bourn Hall Fertility-Dubai, and now I work at IVI Middle East Fertility Clinic. Both are international and well-known IVF centres.” Despite having gone international, she counts her stint in management at VITALABS as her greatest career success, mostly because “the fertility issues/patients that go there are very complex and you feel such a sense of accomplishment when the patients become pregnant,” she said. Her typical workday involves quality control checking of all the incubators in the lab, collecting eggs, transferring embryos, stripping the eggs with a special enzyme, and intracytoplasmic sperm injecting. “After injection, we leave the injected eggs in the incubator for 18 hours and the next morning we check for fertilisation,” explained Nkuhlu. “Then the embryos will be assessed daily to check for development. The embryo transfer will then be scheduled for Day 3 or 5 after fertilisation.”

A delayed start doesn‘t mean the end. I had a two-year gap due to financial constraints but I am here now and I‘m happy where I am.

Akhona Nkuhlu DUT Clinical Technology: Reproductive Biology graduate

Akhona has been married for almost five years and takes lots of photos in her spare time. “I work every day and I also study (MSc in Clinical Embryology with the University of Leeds, UK). I would say I do have a work/life balance as my family is very important to me, but I also enjoy what I do for a living.” She gives back by mentoring two DUT students in her field. “Study something that will make you an asset to your employer or you can be an entrepreneur in the future. Always, always have more than one skill set!”

Applying IT solutions to SA's youth Lindokuhle Terry Rolihlahla Mavundla, better known as ‘Terry’, never would have dreamed that one day he would be the CEO of an up-andcoming IT company – a far cry from his childhood dream of becoming a professional soccer player – but the makings of a business mogul were evident in his life from early on…


have never worked for anyone in my life; I’ve always generated money through business. I sold Russian rolls in my Matric year and sweets and chips in the lower grades,” said Mavundla.

The eldest of two children, he was born in Gauteng, moved to Newcastle to live with his grandmother, then moved to Empangeni where he attended Empangeni Prep and Empangeni High School. His mom, a municipality worker, encouraged him the most to study, saying that once he obtained a qualification, the sky was the limit. Mavundla studied Public Relations Management at DUT because it was one of the career paths that had a wide range of job opportunities and he enjoyed meeting new people and going places. He continued playing soccer and was elected into res leadership as Project Officer where he used his PR teachings to plan and execute res programmes. “I fondly remember Campbell Res and all my fellow res mates because they played a big part in who I am today. Many took notice and looked up to us at res because we made things happen,” reminisced Mavundla. “The movie American Pie gave me an idea of what a tertiary institution would be like, or so I thought... which wasn’t the case, but DUT opened so many doors,” said Mavundla. “If I could go back, I would go just to take advantage of all the other opportunities I missed that the Institution created for us.” Wisolve was one of the opportunities that Mavundla did manage to take advantage of at DUT. The IT business venture began at the DUT Campbell Hall residence because he and his friends Nhlaka Mzobe, Mfundo Ntombela, Njabulo Shezi and Msi Ndlela were frustrated with always missing out on important programmes that happened around campus due to a lack of advertising.

Lindokuhle Terry Mavundla DUTConnect // 18

DUT Public Relations Management graduate


“We approached the Housing Department at DUT and asked them why we didn’t have a system that could send SMSs directly because the buzz of smart phones and the use of apps wasn’t as important as it is now,” reminisced Mavundla. “We also considered students who couldn’t afford smart phones, so we thought of an SMS gateway where if anything happened at DUT, it would send an SMS, and from that idea, it started.” From there, they took their fledgling company and working prototype to DUT Executive Management with the help of Alan Khan, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs, and Mr Ngubane, Mavundla’s HOD, to support their idea for a DUT app. They were allowed to make a DUT application for their start-up through ‘Istudent’, which allows all universities to connect with their students. From this, the DUT app was born, where students can access any DUT information on their mobile phones. Mavundla regards Wisolve as his greatest career success because he gets to utilise his skills as an entrepreneur and as a Public Relations professional at the same time. The start-up provides IT solutions and support, as well as designs and develops mobile apps, websites, company logos and even profiles. “I still want to continue studying PR to PhD level. I believe communication is the most powerful tool and I want to be able to share my ideas through my findings,” enthused Mavundla. His typical day begins at 6am with an hour-long jog and

You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great. It’s always better to be prepared and not have an opportunity, then to have an opportunity and not be prepared. – Les Brown

by 9am, he shows up at InvoTech, an Innovation and Technology Business Incubator that is supported by DUT and funded by Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), and which currently supports and houses his business. In his spare time, Mavundla, who is still single and free of children, plays soccer and supports and engages young entrepreneurs through the Wisolve Foundation, which aims to build more youth-driven companies. He also attends numerous events to create more opportunities for himself and the company to grow. To the youth, Mavundla has this to say: “Information is not power, information that is applied is the real power. Learning is not figuring things out, it’s about creating a relationship between the known and unknown.”

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Shaping the future for women in Engineering Hard work and determination are just two tools used by Chemical Engineering trailblazer Sivanna Naicker, who won one of six International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics (IACT) poster awards in China last year, to secure success in a male-dominated field.


nderstandably, Naicker has strong views on education and women in Engineering: “Education is a pivotal step in acquiring skills that can open doors to a world of opportunity. I would strongly urge the youth to empower themselves with education, and would especially recommend more females to take up Engineering and help shape the future.” Growing up in a suburb of Isipingo Beach, Naicker, along with her two younger sisters, was motivated and

encouraged by her parents from a young age to excel academically throughout her school career and to never limit her potential. Naicker then studied towards a National Diploma in Chemical Engineering at DUT, where she completed two years of course work and thereafter a year of in-service training, which was conducted at the Thermodynamics Research Unit (TRU) at the University of KwaZuluNatal. “Engineering, being at the forefront of modern day innovation and advancement, is something that I always had a keen interest in,” said Naicker. “Chemical Engineering, in particular, had always intrigued me as it is a diverse field, where one can acquire a broad range of skills that can be used in various sectors – from the petroleum industry to the manufacture of pharmaceuticals.” After completing her National Diploma, she went on to pursue her Bachelor of Technology degree part-time while continuing to work at the Thermodynamics Research Unit. Completing her Bachelor of Technology degree was challenging at first, as she had to strike a balance between working and studying. “However, ultimately this helped me to acquire better time management and multi-tasking skills.” She graduated this year with a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from DUT. Working at the Thermodynamics Research Unit sparked an interest in research and inspired her to pursue her Masters. Her research topic was titled ‘The development of a new static synthetic

Sivanna Naicker DUT Chemical Engineering graduate


apparatus for phase equilibrium measurements’, where phase equilibria is used for the design and optimisation of industrial separation schemes. “I found the postgraduate experience to be one that instills discipline and builds character, and I would strongly recommend it.” She was selected in August last year to present her Masters research at the 24th International Conference on Chemical Thermodynamics in Guilin, China, which DUT funded. “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I was given an opportunity to interact with fellow researchers on an international scale and learn more about global advancements in the field,” said Naicker. “The highlight for me was winning one of six International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics poster awards and having my research recognised at such a high level.” Naicker also participated in the DUT annual Institutional Research Day, where she presented her research alongside fellow postgraduate and staff members across all disciplines within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. “It was quite an interesting experience as it broadened my understanding of the progress and developments being made across all sectors of Engineering,” said Naicker. “The cherry on top was being awarded the best oral presentation in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, which is one of my proudest achievements at the Institution.”

memories made, which also went hand in hand with the support they provided one another when it came down to studying and thriving for excellence. “My campus experience was an excellent transition between school and the working world, and better equipped me for challenges I may encounter in the future.” She is currently employed full-time as a research assistant at the Thermodynamics Research Unit at UKZN. Her work consists of experimental measurements as well as simulations for local and international projects of industrial significance. Naicker is currently in a long-term relationship and manages to maintain a healthy balance between her personal life and professional advancement. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fictional novels and has recently started painting as a hobby.

She remembers her time on campus quite fondly, being a part of a large group of friends from all aspects of Engineering. There were many adventures and fond

I believe that the decisions we make and the way we think play an important role in the quality of our lives. Positivity and confidence in oneself is key for success.

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MBALI GCABASHE APPLAUDS DUT DUT alumnus Mbali Gcabashe, a graduate of the Public Relations Management department, applauded DUT for offering opportunities to students from all walks of life during the 2017 Development and Alumni Relations Women’s Month Fundraising Gala Dinner held on 25 August 2017 at The Square Boutique Hotel in uMhlanga.


he event forms part of the many initiatives by the Development and Alumni Relations office to raise funds for students. Proceeds went to the ‘‘One Meal, Once a Day’ and the bursary fund.

In his vote of thanks, Development and Alumni Relations Acting Director Zwakele Ngubane acknowledged the need to do more in reaching out to DUT alumni and to fundraise so that more students can benefit.

Siyabonga Radebe-Mthembu (Programme Director) and Mbali Gcabashe (Guest Speaker).

When donating, choose between the bursary fund (alumni bursary) and food security programme (‘One Meal, Once a Day’). For more details, visit: http://www.dutalumni.com or like the Facebook page: DUT Alumni.

DUT hosts First Donor Recognition Evening The Development and Alumni Relations office held its first Donor Recognition Evening at Ritson Campus in September 2017.


he event, a first of many more Donor Recognition events, was held to recognise and express appreciation and gratitude to the donors that contribute to the University and to cultivate and nurture a lifelong relationship between students and their alma mater. In attendance were members of the DUT Council, donors, DUT staff and SRC representatives. There are approximately 109 donors to date, including corporate companies, trusts, foundations, individual donors and staff donors, and the money collected goes straight into the bursary or food fund programmes.

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CONVOCATION GOLF DAY This year marked the sixth President’s Cup Convocation Golf Day, which was held at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in October. Despite concerns about the weather, it turned out to be a fabulous day for 70 golfers.


rogramme Director for the prizegiving and dinner Mr Koos Radebe regaled golfers with his jokes and Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Thandwa Mthembu provided an update on developments at DUT. The President of Convocation Mr Wiseman Madinane thanked all golfers for their continued support over the years and informed golfers of the fundraising initiatives by the Development and Alumni Relations office, namely the ‘Adopt a Student’ campaign. Funds generated from the golf day are channelled into the Alumni Bursary Scheme, which augments the NSFAS allocation and the ‘One Meal, Once a Day’ food security initiative – the University’s feeding scheme campaign.

From left to right: Bricks Mhlanga, Theo Magangoe, Wiseman Madinane & Jaco Nel.

Missing Middle campaign launched The Development and Alumni Relations office launched the Missing Middle campaign in Pietermaritzburg recently.


he aim of the event was to encourage students to donate to their peers who fall between the cracks of either being ‘too rich’ to receive NSFAS or ‘too poor’ to afford university fees themselves. The event also created awareness about development, alumni relations and the functions of the Office. In attendance were the 2016 alumni bursary recipients and the programme director Ntokozo Dlamini as well as the Radio DUT Team.

DUTConnect // 23

Profile for DUT Alumni

Dutconnect Spring 2017 issue  

This is the official DUT Alumni magazine DUTCONNECT

Dutconnect Spring 2017 issue  

This is the official DUT Alumni magazine DUTCONNECT

Profile for dutalumni