iKwezi The Morning Star
Walter Sisulu University
April 2021 Issue 3
CONTENT PAGE EDITORIAL...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 1 ADV. NGCUKAITOBI APPOINTED WSU’s YOUNGEST CHAIR OF COUNCIL.............................................................................................................. 2 WSU APPOINTS FIRST FEMALE VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL..................................................................................................................... 4 INSTITUTIONAL SRC INDUCTION PUTS FOCUS ON STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH..............................................................................................6 WSU LAW FACULTY RESTORED TO FORMER GLORY......................................................................................................................................................... 8 WSU AMONGST FEW UNIVERSITIES OFFERING MOP DEGREE ................................................................................................................................ 10 BUILT ENVIRONMENT DEPT PUSHES TO OFFER ADV DIPLOMA BY 2023.............................................................................................................12 WSU NATURAL SCIENCES FACULTY INTRODUCES EXTENDED PROGRAMMES............................................................................................ 14 WSU COLLABARATION HELPS MANUFACTURE GROUNDBREAKING PRODUCTS......................................................................................... 16 WSU PROF DEVELOPS MATHS EDUCATION FOR EC’S RURAL SCHOOLS............................................................................................................ 18 WSU JOINS WHO IN THE COVID-19 FIGHT............................................................................................................................................................................... 20 WSU COVID STUDY GETS TOP HUMAN SCIENCE NOMINATION................................................................................................................................22 WSU ACADEMICS GET TOP HONOURS FOR RESEARCH INNOVATION.................................................................................................................. 24 WSU INTRODUCES CENTRE FOR STUDENT ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT................................................................................... 26 WSU STUDENTS TAKE CASH PRIZES AT BUSINESS WRITING COMPETITION................................................................................................. 28 TEA PROFESSOR LEAVES SWEET TASTE IN THE MOUTHS OF STUDENTS........................................................................................................ 30 EXCEPTIONAL WSU SCHOLAR OBTAINS SECOND PhD..................................................................................................................................................32 BCC RECTOR AN ESTABLISHED RESEARCHER ACCORDING TO NRF.................................................................................................................... 34 WSU ACADEMIC CROWNED MOST PRODUCTIVE RESEARCHER ON CAMPUS............................................................................................... 36 WSU ALUMNUS SCOOPED BY TOP SNEAKER BRAND.................................................................................................................................................... 38 WSU WELCOMES NEW E-LEARNING PLATFORM...............................................................................................................................................................40 WSU ACADEMIC PUBLISHES NELSON MANDELA BOOK IN ISIXHOSA................................................................................................................. 42 WSU JOURNALISM DEPT PRODUCES JOURNALISTS THAT TOUCH LIVES......................................................................................................... 44 WSU FC WELCOMES SIX NEW LEAGUE PLAYERS.............................................................................................................................................................46 ADVANCEMENT HEAD APPOINTED TO NATIONAL FUNDRAISING FORUM........................................................................................................ 48 WSU VC DELIVERS JOY TO CHILDREN’S HOME................................................................................................................................................................... 50
layout and design by Linda Mynhardt
alter Sisulu University is at the precipice of a new dawn, one which is tense yet exciting. As Vice-Chancellor & Principal, Professor Rushiella Songca, ascends to the throne, she brings new hope for a brighter future for WSU. On the other hand there is apprehension about the changes she will bring. Human beings generally become unsettled with change, sometimes we live in less than ideal environments because we fear change. One thing I know is that the incoming VC wants nothing but the best for our University. She too wants to leave a lasting legacy that she can be proud of. Personally, I am looking forward to what is ahead as she commences with her five-year term from 1 April 2021. People that are interwoven and work towards a common goal will always succeed, that is why we must embrace change and support the leadership on the University. My wish is to see more togetherness, understanding, collaboration and support from WSU stakeholders. For the sake of WSU’s future, we have to pull together. When divided, we will fall and when we fall, nobody will benefit…..not staff, not students and certainly not our communities. We have to change the culture of WSU to be one that fosters togetherness. Each person within the WSU community must play their part to the best of their ability. Of course culture change is a long and involved process but I am confident that we can all contribute to building a WSU that we are proud of. As we forge ahead, let us remain mindful of a few things: • COVID19 pandemic is still a real threat and we must continue to adhere to all protocols for our own safety and that of others. • WSU still has financial constraints and we must be frugal with our expenses and spend every cent as if it was our own. • WSU staff must lift their customer service to students, we must never forget that our salaries are dependent on students. Walter Sisulu University is a national asset with potential for great exploits for the advancement of the Eastern Cape, South Africa and the world. We must all be part of securing its future for the development of our people and the benefit of future generations. I look forward to the era of a “RE-IMAGINED WSU”. Phambili WSU Phambili! Ms Yonela Tukwayo Executive Director: Marketing, Communication & Advancement
ADV. NGCUKAITOBI APPOINTED WSU’s YOUNGEST CHAIR OF COUNCIL
ne magician - two hats: what leadership tricks can WSU expect from its youngest and newly appointed Chair of Council, Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi (S.C) who also happens to be the sitting Convocation president. The legal maestro’s focus for his alma mater has always been on the radical change of WSU’s public image, academic integrity as well as its brand reputation. He comes across as clear, resolute and decisive on how he will steer the institution through policy changes that are of course in line with/ subject to applicable labour laws and the Higher Education Acts. “Mainly the urge for greater and urgent change. WSU is my alma mater; of which I am very proud. I would like to be part of the solution, not an armchair critic. Being Chair of Council puts me in the best possible position to drive positive change,” he said. The curiosity of both young and old has been thoroughly peaked as to how a university Council led by a relatively young African male would translate for the future of a rural university such as WSU. “My sense is a focus on how we transition the university into a rural, ITC-centric university which integrates technology into all its areas of learning,” said Ngcukaitobi. Off the cuff, three themes surface at the top of his
institutional agenda: “First, we need to restore the academic reputation and integrity of the university. We need a proper audit of our academic programmes to see which ones are at risk and which areas need intervention.” “Secondly, we need to focus on financial stability of the university. This means plugging procurement holes, recovering student debt, raising funds from external sources and managing what we have frugally and efficiently.” “Thirdly, student experiences are key. We should focus on making student life better. At the moment, it is dismal. Since Covid we need flexibility about where our areas of spend will be. We should create an ICT centric university. We should build more residences. We should build facilities for student entertainment,” said Ngcukaitobi. The new WSU Chairperson of Council also emphasized that he would be prioritizing the appointment of women into positions of leadership and responsibility. Advocate Ngcukaitobi is also an author of a book titled: “The Land Is Ours” which suggests the redistribution of land to Black South Africans. by Sinawo Hermans
he Walter Sisulu University Council officially announced on, 21 December 2020, the appointment of a decorated scholar and alumnus of the institution, Professor Rushiella Songca, as its first female Vice-Chancellor & Principal. Songca who previously held the position of Deputy ViceChancellor: Academic Affairs and Research (DVC-AAR)) is also a founding member and member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinary), and an admitted Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. Over and above her resume and professional achievements, Prof. Songca prides herself as a person of values and principles; mostly owed to personal experiences during an era of oppressive racial and patriarchal systems. “My values are centred around my experiences as a woman and more specifically as an African woman in the academic space. As the daughter of teachers, I have always held education in the highest regard and so my first foray into academia was a shock to me – especially insofar as its then exclusionary practices to woman and to black people. Although my early experiences were traumatic, I am grateful because they created a service orientation which I live by,” said Songca. When interrogating the complexities of leadership, Songca says bending to the pressures of changing forces in her environment has never been her portion. She is decisive and steadfast in her values all-round. “I believe that separating the person from the professional is where we are challenged as leaders. I therefore believe that one cannot separate your professional values from your personal values. Who I am in my personal space is reflected in my professional work and therefore the values I espouse as a human are the same that I take to work,” she said. “I stand for honesty, integrity, professionalism and equality,” Songca added. She has taught at various universities, among them: the then University of Durban-Westville, University of Natal, University of Transkei, University of Limpopo and University of South Africa. “I always wanted to be an academic. I am fascinated by ideas and engaging with phenomena. Moreover, I am passionate about contributing to the general well-being of society through education. I thus have always known that I was a teacher at heart,” said Songca. Records show that Songca has mentored countless academics and created opportunities that they might otherwise not have had. Speaking on her approach when it comes to empowerment, Songca pulls a leaf from the book of sage classics. “In essence, I am a person who believes in building others first. The old saying that a “manger always eats last” is something I practice and implement in my approach to people (staff and students alike),” said Songca,
WSU APPOINTS FI AND PRINCIPAL She has been involved in different projects in different capacities, served on various committees and bodies, and also served (briefly) in the Presidency during the Thabo Mbeki administration. When asked If she were to write her 5-year appraisal report as VC of WSU, what her highlights and achievements would be, the mother of two said she projects: a. Increased cohort of academics with PhDs. b. Improving WSU’s reputation nationally and internationally. c. Instilling a sense of pride, kindness and purpose in our students. d. Enhancing our academic offerings. e. Fulling my vision of being: An impactful technologyinfused African University in pursuit of excellence. f. The Council’s process of searching for a new ViceChancellor and Principal for the next five-year term was concluded over two days of public presentations and closed interview sessions. “On behalf of Council, I congratulate Prof Songca as the Vice-Chancellor designate and wish her a successful and productive term as the next Vice-Chancellor for the University,” said WSU Chair of Council, Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. Songca is a NRF C-rated researcher with expertise in the research area of Children’s Rights. She was also recently recognised as one of South Africa’s most established researchers by the National Research Foundation (NRF). Professor Songca’s role as ViceChancellor and Principal at WSU will officially commence on 1 April 2021. by Sinawo Hermans
IRST FEMALE VICE-CHANCELLOR
INSTITUTIONAL SRC INDUCTION PUTS FOCUS ON STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH W
SU senior management is making strong guidance efforts to orientate the incoming Institutional Students Representative Council on institutional governance and policy.
Underscored boldly in the staff presentations were health facilities provided by the university for students with chronic illnesses and mental health issues. Buffalo City Campus student affairs deputy-director, Ntsiki Nohako-Mtiki pressed emphatically on the importance of mental health amongst all students within higher education institutions. “You may think it’s only old people who get sick. However, we have transferred a lot of students to doctors,” said Nohako-Mtiki. Her sobering presentation saw to conscientise the ISRC about the self-medicating of students with drugs and alcohol as a result of mental health issues. Nohako-Mtiki raised caution that there have been many cases of students who were susceptible to suicide. This was seconded by Mthatha SRC Premier: Litha “Ray” Ngalonkulu who said “Psychology sessions should be available and compulsory for all student leaders. Not everyone can take the pressures of being in political leadership whether they know it or not.” WSU’s Transformation Agenda as presented by the University’s Transformation Manager, Mr Mbongo, at the ISRC induction workshop: 1. Meeting equality targets of gender representation in middle and senior management positions. 2. Put in place a language policy that promotes access and success of all students. 3. A curriculum that is socially relevant and responsible to the department needs of the country. WSU Acting Vice-Chancellor - Prof Songca added to the leadership deliberations with a concern for budding leadership that is not exposed to global perspectives of thought. “Sizalelwa la. Sakhulela la. Sihlala la. We lack a world view. We need to expose our leaders,” she said. “When a woman is in leadership there’s always an expectation of her to coddle people, otherwise you are labled as aloof. Whereas men are expected to roar. As leaders you need to be aware of these nuances,” concluded Songca. by Sinawo Hermans
WSU LAW FACULTY RESTORED TO FORMER GLORY P
rogramme facilitators for the Bachelor of Laws academic programme say they are geared up and ready for their first intake of 1st year students after they received accreditation from the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Both the Dean of Faculty (Humanities, Social Sciences and Law), Professor Sikhumbuzo Mfusi, and Head of Department (Legal studies) Noni Ludidi, assured that the programme has returned stronger than ever, with updated policies which include reinforcement of staff, new teaching and learning strategies and resources. “The accreditation of the Bachelor of Laws programme is exciting for the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences & Law. At WSU, we have always prided ourselves as one of the country’s most successful institutions that produce legal practitioners of the highest calibre,” said Mfusi. He added, “It really is exciting to realize that the programme has overcome the setbacks, and able to again admit students in the 2021 academic year.” The department also prides itself in being a pillar of strength for the community in the legal field, with their Law Clinic providing free legal advice and representation for the community where the matter goes before court. Ludidi said “Community engagement is at the heart of the LLB with community outreach initiatives being offered in all levels of the LLB; culminating in Street Law and Law Clinic in the final year. In addition, our students are trained on social justice matters so that on completion of their degrees they can be an asset to their communities.’ This programme has produced the likes of South African lawyer, public speaker, author and political activist, Adv Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, and Ngangelizwe born Criminal Attorney, Zincedile Tiya, who have become huge players in the legal fraternity. by Ongezwa Sigodi
WSU AMONGST FEW UNIVERSITIES OFFERING MOP DEGREE W
alter Sisulu University (WSU) takes pride in being among the few universities in South Africa that currently offer the Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics (MOP) programme at degree level. This programme which is offered under the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, trains professionals in the rehabilitation of persons with restrictions of movement; mainly people living with disability and those without disability but need orthotic services. The head of department: Rehabilitation Medicine, Mr Luphiwo Mduzana, said; “The amalgamation of subject contents in this programme make the graduate suitable for registration by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Graduating Professionals work with the Rehabilitation Team composed of Orthopaedic Surgeons/Physicians, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers.” Mduzana himself has always had a dream of being able to assist people living with disability. Upon matriculating in 2003, he went to study Medicine at WSU. It was during his years of study at WSU that he got a bursary to further his dreams in BSC Orthotics and Prosthetics in Tanzania, 2006. He studied at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College in Tanzania and finished his studies in the year 2010. “My love for this profession is the instant gratification I get when I see a person who was seated in a wheelchair for years standing up and walking again with the aid of the artificial legs that had been manufactured by my own hands,” he added.
Although the programme was fully accredited in 2019, by both the HPCSA and the Council on Higher Education (CHE), it took its first batch of students in 2015 which graduated through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between WSU and Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Jabu Mbokazi, said; “Even though we have not been fully accredited by both bodies in the past, that has not stopped us from producing good quality graduates from the programme, we have two graduates, Zanodumo Godlimpi and Siphosethu Mgwili who invented a ground-breaking prosthetic leg which will give financial and physical relief to below knee amputation casualties.” Siphosethu Mgwili’s innovation will allow amputees the ability to adjust their own height in their homes to their comfortable and functional height. While Zanodumo Godlimpi developed a pneumatic actuated below knee prostheses that utilizes pressurized air and pneumatic cylinder that can plantar-flex and dorsi-flex to achieve a range of motion of 360 degrees. Mbokazi further gloated that they do not take it lightly that they are currently amongst the few universities offering the programme at degree level such that they employed the best in the field to teach the programme. by Anita Roji
erforming the great trek across the country in search of opportunities for furthering one’s academic ambitions could become a thing of the past for students in the built environment department should aspirations turn to reality in 2023 and beyond.
Currently, the majority of students who graduate with a Diploma in Building Technology (formerly the National Diploma in Building) from the university are unfortunately left stranded as they hit the proverbial ceiling owing to the lack of a postgraduate qualification in the department, whilst the remaining minority are forced to pursue their studies with other institutions across the country. “All along, students who completed their diploma in our department enrolled to other institutions of higher learning across the country because we don’t have the postgraduate qualification. And, this was possible only to a minor proportion of students who were lucky to afford life outside the Eastern Cape,” said built environment departmental head Prof Ruben Ndihokubwayo. Since taking charge of the department as acting HOD in July 2020, Ndihobukwayo has made tangible strides in laying a solid foundation from which the department’s aspirations to offer an Advanced Diploma in Building Technology can be brought to fruition in 2023. He says once the initial 2020 cohort (the first to be enrolled in the new qualification) of building technology students complete their studies in 2022, it’s envisaged that they’ll then enrol, for the first time ever, in the university’s building technology advanced diploma. Ndihobukwayo has also been putting in the hard yards, laying the foundation by instituting interventions aimed at seeing the department offering a Bachelor’s and Honours Degree in building technology in the near future. This would serve to enhance its research profile and thereby improve the quality of the programme and its graduates. “We also envisage to incorporate some subjects into our curricula that will enhance employability of our students. Further, the content of some subjects will be refreshed and aligned with the ICT field and 4IR developments. We have identified some niche areas which will focus on which will make our students to be unique,” he says. Not one to disturb the bank only to pay lip service, Ndihobukwayo’s has instituted concrete interventions to fulfil the department’s goals, including: • Improving the staff academic profile by conductingpre-admission coaching clinics consisting of a series or research methodology workshops; • Instituting an ongoing postgraduate studies mentorship programme aimed at currently Master’s degree registered staff members or master degree holders currently registered or intending to register for doctoral studies; • Establishing programs to focus on postgraduate Student Supervision intended to developing supervision capacity of for research supervision for research proposals, dissertations, and theses) research publication; as well as conducting workshops on writing conference and journal papers to boost research profile and increase research output. Ndihokubwayo said a number of staff have enrolled for Masters and PhD’s, including four BCC staffers and one in Butterworth, while three others in Butterworth are currently in the process of becoming bona fide students. by Thando Cezula
BUILT ENVIRONMENT DEPT PUSHES TO OFFER ADV DIPLOMA BY 2023
WSU NATURAL SCIENCES FACULTY INTRODUCES EXTENDED PROGRAMMES
he WSU Faculty of Natural Sciences has introduced three extended programmes under its, B.Sc. Biological Science, to provide necessary support to underprepared and academically disadvantaged students. Unlike mainstream programmes that run for three years; extended programmes are four-year courses for students who meet minimum entry requirements for enrolment into university, but are less likely to succeed and complete their studies. For Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECP), the first year is drawn-out over two years even though the modules, content and credits are the same as those of a regular mainstream programme. Upon completion of the degree, ECP students receive the same certificate as mainstream students. WSU’s B.Sc. Biological Science: Academic development Coordinator, Siyamtemba Madyibi, said; “There are B.Sc. extended programmes in Biological Science, in Environmental Science and in Pest Management. For the ECP, students need to have at least two level 3s and two level 4s in any of the subjects considered for placement (Maths, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and English). They of course need to meet entry requirements into the university with a B endorsement.” The new programmes were approved in 2019 and were first offered in 2020. They were however offered in the
previous years as well, but were found not to be aligned with their mainstream counterparts and had to be realigned and applied for from Department of Higher Education and Training. “The main reason for these programmes is to increase access to university programmes to students who would otherwise not qualify for the mainstream programmes. Apart from increasing access the programme is designed to help improves success at first year level as these students are given extra support in terms of student development programmes and the foundational component infused into their curriculum,” said Madyibi. He further expressed that at the moment they are keeping both the mainstream and the ECP. However, there are suggestions that even students placed in the mainstream programmes are not equipped enough to at least pass the 1st-year without any hurdles, as seen from the poor performances and academic exclusions. Perhaps National Benchmarking Tests being rolled out by the Centre for Learning Teaching Development can give a clearer picture in terms of profiling the students to whether they can cope without any assistance. The introduction of the programmes has improved the pass rate within the department and has created accessibility to the programmes. by Anita Roji
WSU COLLABARATION HELPS MANUFACTURE GROUNDBREAKING PRODUCTS F
rom devices that help maintain electric currents - to cell phone-charging hawker stands - the WSU Institute for Advanced Tooling (IAT) has been an invaluable resource in helping small companies and individuals get a foothold in their respective industries and realize their aspirations.
to fit into a prescribed space but still allowing the functionality of automatically triggering the second fuse contacts. An additional challenge was ensuring sufficient material in critical areas to ensure that the product passed the high voltage tests required for service,” said Newey.
The IAT has been intimately involved in the recent development and completion of the ‘Hawker Trolley’, a mobile push-cart on wheels based on pattern machining that hawkers can store and sell their goods from.
He said pattern machining refers to the machining of large components out of high-density polyurethane foam blocks which involves taking a digital computeraided design (CAD) model and then machining the shape required with a computerized numerical control milling robot.
“It has a solar panel on the roof to allow for cellular phone charging and to sell airtime. The side of the trolley has a lockable door and it has three internal shelves for hawkers to display and sell their goods,” said IAT station manager Kerryn Newey. After laborious efforts to finish the product; the client thereafter partnered with a Pietermaritzburg company in efforts to commercialize the product. The government-funded entity housed at WSU’s Chiselhurst Site in East London has proven instrumental in providing financial and technical support in the development and manufacturing of trailblazing and innovative devices. “As a unit we work primarily with small businesses and entrepreneurs by assisting them with technical development – meaning applied research to develop their products. We do digital design; digital manufacturing and facilitate a process whereby products can be tested in a real world environment,” said Newey. Another successful project the IAT has just completed is the development of the Retrofit Repeater Fuse, an innovative device designed to maintain power supply by automatically replacing the original fuse with a second standby fuse should high voltage power lines be disrupted by a transient fault such as lighting strike. The process, two years in the making, saw the development of a workable digital design that can be manufactured whilst also establishing a process of developing and building a working prototype that can be manufactured in a one-off process that can function as a test piece of the final product. “One of the main challenges was designing the product
Based on part machining, which is where parts are machined via a subtractive process from a solid block of material to a finished state, the rowing tender boat also proved yet another feather in the cap of the IAT as they assisted in cutting the pattern for the boat. Newey said the prototype was complete and had been tested in the water and has been subsequently found to be ready for production. “This project required 14 hours of programming and/or machining for the IAT to complete the work required,” he said. Other projects the IAT have been involved with include producing an aluminium surf-ski mould for a company called Fenn Kayaks to replace their existing process of using epoxy moulds. This was achieved by way of reverse engineering, a process of creating a digital CAD model of a component for which none exists. The world of 3D printing also finds expression in the IAT’s exploits, with the development of a 3D-printed planetary gear system prototype giving rise to this. “3D printing is a commonly used term for additive manufacturing which relies on “adding” material to build up a 3D shape. The process relies on a part being printed, in a process similar to printing in 2D on paper, in very thin layers, layer by layer stacked on top of each other to make up a 3D part,” said Newey. He said the planetary gear system is just a basic set of gears designed for speed reduction or increase and that the system the IAT printed was so the client can build a scale model of a paddle wheel electrical generator. by Thando Cezula page 17
WSU PROF DEVELOPS MATHS EDUCATION FOR EC’S RURAL SCHOOLS
To improve the quality of 21st-century teaching and learning, readdressing the devastating effects of past education and finding new sustainable learning methodologies with increased flexibility to support learning outside the boundaries of traditional techniques.’
These are motivational aspects stipulated by the mathematics department’s Prof Jogymol Alex whose work on several mathematics projects has brought a positive impact on the teaching and learning for WSU and local schools. “To change the situation, classrooms that create learner fluencies for a sustainable future are needed. Through my teaching and learning, research and community projects, I try my level best to see that we at WSU address the above issue,” she said. In 2018, Alex and the Mathematics Education and Research Projects Centre (MERC) partnered with the Govern Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre in bringing the GammaTutor device to WSU. Designed for Mathematics and Physical Sciences subjects, the device provides a flexible platform where teachers are able to upload diverse ways of learning. “The educational affordance of the GammaTutor include structured video lessons, animated PowerPoint lessons, self-assessments with scoring and feedback, structured exam revision and interactive multiple support function that explains mathematical concepts in English alongside any one of seven other indigenous languages,” said Alex. Five schools were deployed in 2019 to be part of the testing phase of this device and due to the tremendous success of the device, by the end of 2021, it will have been extended to at least 40 schools in 2021. “The future depends on the innovation that is added in education today. The ever-growing need in South Africa to produce a workforce skilled in Mathematics, Science, Engineering and Technology requires radical action from stakeholders in education. Innovation, partnerships, and co-operation are needed for it. If we can contribute towards it, we will have a better South Africa,” She said. Another developmental project that the Professor is involved in is the MERC, that was established in 2018 for the advancement of teaching, learning, research and community service in Mathematics Education.
service mathematics educators within the university and surrounding community of WSU in the Eastern Cape,” said Prof. Alex added that the centre also contributes to national development through established programmes with partners, with a strong focus on the improvement of the achievement of mathematics school learners in the nearby underprivileged rural schools that can create an impact on their lives. One of the centre’s major projects, “The Family Maths Project,” is a community project which, in partnership with the University of Free State, seeks to address challenges of teaching and learning in Mathematics by training foundation phase educators, subject advisors and parents of Grade 3 learners. “The Family Maths Project is underpinned by a social constructivist philosophy of teaching and learning, characterised by hands-on, minds-on activity sessions in a social context.” She added, “The Project has a Memorandum of Understanding between University of Free State (UFS) and WSU. University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN), Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Sol Plaatje University (SPU), University of Mpumalanga University (UMP) and the University of Limpopo (UL) were identified by UFS as other collaborators in their Program.” The professor has also been to another project based in the University of Johannesburg, “The PrimTed Project,” where she is the National Deputy Coordinator for Assessment Workstream to develop a teacher competency assessment for students entering the teaching. WSU will be one of the beneficiaries of the project to develop the capacity for teaching Mathematics in primary schools. “The PrimTEd Project is a component of the Department of Higher Education and Training’s (DHET) Teaching and Learning Development Capacity Improvement Program (TLDCIP),” said Alex. She added, “UJ is rolling out “Maths 4 Primary Teachers” project in response to the call and WSU will be one of the beneficiaries of the project to develop the capacity for teaching Mathematics in primary schools.” by Ongezwa Sigodi
“The primary objective is to improve the content knowledge and teaching skills of pre-service and in-
WSU JOINS WHO IN THE COVID-19 FIGHT
n the global initiative to fight COVID-19, WSU has joined hands with the World Health Organization (WHO) on the Solidarity Trial in search of a COVID-19 treatment.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the new corona virus called SARS-CoV-2. WHO learned of this new virus on 31 December 2019, following a report of a cluster of cases of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. Rated among the top 8 medical faculties in the world for Problem-based Community Learning, the World Health Organisation had proclaimed the WSU Health Sciences Faculty as having “set a benchmark for universities across the world.” WSU Internal Medicine & Pharmacology head of department and Principal Researcher, Professor Thozama Dubula said a team has been working tirelessly for a breakthrough, but unfortunately there have not been any substantive results as yet. “Some of the drugs that have been tested so far include hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug; lopinavir, which is used as a combination drug in the treatment of HIV infection and remdesivir that is used in the treatment of the Ebola virus; amongst other drugs tested. Unfortunately, none of these drugs have proven to be effective in the treatment of severe COVID-19,” Dubula said.
Dubula further added that the advantage of such studies is that they have been able to answer adequately the question of whether these drugs should be repurposed for use in severe COVID-19 infection. Even though the two parties have not yet found a breakthrough in their test, they still have a lot drugs in the pipeline to test as there are currently talks of an impending third wave of COVID-19 infections in the country. WHO was founded when their constitution came into force on 7 April, 1948. There are now more than 7000 people working in 150 countries, with six regional offices and headquarters in Geneva and Switzerland. WHO’s primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations’ system. Scientists say severity of the third wave is still not known, it will depend on future COVID-19 variants. by Anita Roji
WSU COVID STUDY GETS TOP HUMAN SCIENCE NOMINATION
team of Social Sciences researchers from WSU came in 3rd place, nationally, at the annual Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) Medal for Social Sciences and Humanities awards after a recent nomination for their extraordinary research. As the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, a research team led by, Dr Nelly Sharpley, from the Department of Social Sciences undertook a study that focused on the impacts of the lockdown restrictions on funerals and customary practices in rural communities in the former Transkei region of the province. “Looking at the high quality of nominees that submitted for this category, I am humbled with much affirmation that our growth is in the right direction. That as part of the university skills we are as equal as ever to our sister universities in the country,” said Sharpley. She added that “where university skills are concerned we are as equal as ever to our sister universities in the country. We lack nothing to champion competitive scholarship globally and our geographical space is not a disadvantage to who we can be.” The purpose of the research was to advise the provincial government and provincial command structures about measures to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 virus. It was also necessary to develop a deeper understanding of peoples experiences and responses. “When the Covid-19 pandemic came to South Africa in March 2020, Eastern Cape Socio Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC) was called upon to support the provincial government and provincial command structures with effective and efficient decision-making
through providing accurate and reliable data to guide decision-making, planning and risk mitigation,” Said Sharpley. The study specifically focused on funerals which were considered high risk events. The team saw a necessity to enable relevant role-players to develop practices and guidelines that would meet both cultural and health needs of communities. Sharpley said, “I am very excited and overwhelmed about the nomination because, for me, it confirms that the training that we have acquired as researchers from the university is on the right track. I was working with a very gifted team from my department, which proved to me that even with limited resources, we are on the right track.” Working hand-in-hand with the researchers was Professor Leslie Bank from the HSRC, who is also Adjunct Professor of Social Anthropology at WSU. He said, “The significance of the study was to help cut back on the regulations around the conduction of funerals. For people in the rural areas, funerals are very sacred and we documented how the regulations affected the ceremony. Ultimately, it resulted in the reconsideration of the Covid regulations for funerals.” Bank added, “Then nomination is fantastic because for a rural based institution to undertake such as study, (because the story of Covid focused more on big cities), it is very gratifying that as we tried to represented a marginalised group, we got recognition for that.” by Ongezwa Sigodi
WSU ACADEMICS GET TOP HONOURS FOR RESEARCH INNOVATION
SU’s office of the Vice-Chancellor had handsomely rewarded three of the institution’s most exceptional academics in the areas of Research, Teaching and Learning as well as Community Engagement at the annual Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards.
The Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award is an annual award bestowed by the Vice-Chancellor to a staff member to recognise exceptional and proven achievements in innovative approaches that demonstrate impact on the community, students, and the university. Awarded the two top honours for the Research & Community Engagement category was Professor Adebola Oyedeji for her contribution to research in Organic Chemistry -Natural Product Chemistry. Her focus is on terpenoid studies from medicinal plants for economic and medicinal value chain. “Hard work – You must create time to be a successful academic. This is giving extra time outside normal working hours to your academic passion. To success in academia your leisure time will be encroached into.” “All my students have always come from disadvantaged background! Exposure is the key – expose them to what I am doing and how I am doing it, exposing them to know how to handle rejections of proposal and manuscript without giving up,” said Oyedeji. Also a C-Rated scientist, Oyedeji has produced over 100 peer-reviewed articles, 98 conferences papers and seven book chapters. She has also successfully supervised 32 doctoral and Master’s candidates. Trailblazing in the Senior/Distinguished Teacher Category was Professor Alex Jogymol Kalariparampil for her dedication and innovation in teaching of Mathematics to poor performing students in the Eastern Cape Province. Prof. Jogymol founded a Mathematics Education Centre on the Mthatha campus to capacitate and train teachers in order to improve the performance of mathematics education in the country by introducing the Gamma Tutor Device in collaboration with the Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC). The Gamma Tutor device is a flexible plug-and-play Android mini-PC device which can be used with any data-projector, digital screen or smart TV. It comes pre-installed with software that includes the complete TouchTutor® Maths and Science interactive digital package for learner support (from Gr8-12). “I feel so excited and humbled by this accolade. Being recognised gives me motivation and momentum to establish and explore further possibilities. I changed my problems in to projects: studied it, researched on it and came up with solutions. I am very eager to learn and work towards making a difference,” said Jogymol. Last, but not by any means the least was Jafta Malakhiwe who was recognized for his involvement in professional academic development and the use of scholarly work to articulate and complement the teaching philosophy in the Emerging Teacher category Jafta was unreservedly lauded for showing exceptional interest in developing himself professionally as a distinguished academic. He has already participated in credit bearing short courses in the following areas: Mentoring and Coaching, E-teacher training, Development and Implementation of Assessment of Learning in Higher Education; Facilitation of learning using a variety of given methodologies, On-going Wise-Up refresher training. “We then need to keep our benchmarking above par, however do better in understanding our student profiling, in order to continue with flexible, effective and impactful teaching and learning in our spaces within the growing 4IR,” he said. The Excellence Awards were handed over during the University’s summer graduation ceremony on 22 Dec, 2020. by Sinawo Hermans
WSU INTRODUCES CENTRE FOR STUDENT ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT S
mall Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) has partnered with Walter Sisulu University (WSU) to launch the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Rapid Incubator (CfERI) to assist students, alumni and community to develop sustainable businesses. CfERI is a new phenomenon in scholarship and student development in South African universities and colleges that aims to identify and nurture entrepreneurial culture and ability. The idea of establishing a CfERI at WSU started in 2019 when SEDA launched a call for proposal for all universities in South Africa to apply. Centre Manager and Researcher, Dr Thobekani Lose, said: “The programme seeks to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial enterprises and motivating for a culture of entrepreneurship among student graduates, youth, alumni’s and shifting the minds of the youth and graduates to embrace venture creation through the development of Business Concept and Product Design, Organisation development, Business Operations, Customer relations and Business Plan.” He further emphasized that in the past few years they have seen the unemployment rate increase from 25%
to 30% and that this alarming increase called for an emergency to promote entrepreneurship among youth. “We want to nurture entrepreneurial culture and ability among students and the university to be entrepreneurial. All our WSU departments must introduce entrepreneurship subject to students, encourage job creators instead of job seekers,” said Lose. The Centre has just finished its refurbishment and is now busy with the installation of a Wi-Fi network. The marketing and awareness of the centre commenced when the university joined the Student Entrepreneurship Week 2020 (#SEW2020). “Prospective clients should apply online and submit a form indicating their status of the business or business idea, after, the clients will be interviewed to be on our incubation programme,” added Lose. The centre is under the Faculty of Commerce and Administration at the Zamukulungisa site, Mthatha campus. by Anita Roji
WSU STUDENTS TAKE CASH PRIZES AT BUSINESS WRITING COMPETITION
he Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Development Trust (ATMDT) has awarded three WSU female students for their outstanding entrepreneurship essays during its annual memorial lecture held at the University. ATMDT is a South African Trust with objectives to have greater social impact by addressing social economic challenges by providing educational opportunities, skills and entrepreneurial development as well promote health awareness. A call was made to the university’s final year undergraduate and Honours students in 2020 to submit a six-page essay which they discussed leadership values important for the attainment of local economic development in South Africa. The number one contender, Annatoria Ndlovu, a final year student in Environmental Sciences from WSU’s Mthatha campus received a cash prize of R5000 and a WSU trolley bag. “At first I was very reluctant to enter the competition because it wasn’t part of my field of study. However, it gives me great pleasure to now know that I am capable of achieving something like this. It has taught me to take more chances and grab opportunities,” said Ndlovu. In second place was Athabile Kellem who is doing her Advanced Diploma in Public Management at the Komani Campus. She received a cash prize of R3000 and a WSU trolley bag. “My motivation behind the entering the competition was to somehow express my views and opinions regarding leadership values that are expected in leadership roles for local economic development in the country. I was touched beyond words when I heard that my essay was in the top three in the university. It was such an honour,” said Kellem. Coming in third place was Sibabalwe kela, a 3rd year Office Management and Technology student at Ibika Campus who received a cash prize of R2000 and WSU trolley bag. Kela said, “I am very inspired and excited about this achievement. I have realised that writing is something that I would keep as a part of me. I want to continue with it and improve on it.” Adjudicating the competition was Writing Center Coordinator at the WSU Zamukulungisa site, Stanford Matenda, Dr Anthony Masha of the Komani campus and Dr Kin Sibanda. Matenda expressed that he was highly impressed with the quality of writing presented by these three students. “This competition helped me to see that we have a lot of gems in academic writing at WSU,” he said. Dr Masha who was highly impressed with the excellency in writing, added, “Their essays focused on topical issues around Local Economic Development, Leadership and Job Opportunities. They wrote using an academic writing style with a bibliography at the end of each sentence.” Mthatha campus Rector, Prof Mashudu Davhana-Maselesele emphasised the importance of positive competition amongst students in the university, highlighting that it motivates others to want to compete in such highly prestigious academic platforms. by Ongezwa Sigodi
TEA PROFESSOR LEAVES SWEET TASTE IN THE MOUTHS OF STUDENTS O
ne of WSU’s most revered researchers at the Mthatha campus’ chemistry department has built her reputation not only through her academic prowess, but her ability to inspire her students to greater heights. Prof Adebola Oyedeji has, over the years, built a solid research profile thanks to her unrelenting toil to develop a tea that helps with relieving ailments associated with arthritis and mental health issues such as stress. Her vast accomplishments in research has earned the professor a number of awards, including a C3 research rating from the country’s foremost research authority, the National Research Foundation, as well as one of the university’s most prestigious awards, the Vice Chancellor’s award for ‘The most productive researcher in the senior category. Through all this, one thing has become abundantly clear for Prof Oyedeji during her exploits - mentoring and supporting students invariably becomes one of the measurements of one’s success as it relates to the material impact it has on the students. “Mentorship is the bedrock of academic continuity (that is succession plan), students are my footprints and so l take them very seriously. No students graduate from my group without being inducted into some of the academic forums through conference presentations and workshops,” she said. Prof Oyedeji’s passion for mentorship stems
from her PhD supervisor who, she says, supported and encouraged her immensely which helped mould her as an independent person who can square up against any adversity. “I have followed this same pattern and it works. For instance, l don’t need to be on campus to tell you want is going on in my lab because each student has come to realize that they need to develop their competency and be ready to compete within the department, faculty,institution and beyond, she said. Prof Oyedeji said the majority of her students come from very humble backgrounds but through her mentorship, they quickly learn to be independent and self-confident – traits that are fundamental to any student who wishes to succeed in the rigors the natural sciences field. Prof Oyedeji not only walks the walk and talks the talk, but she quite literally puts her money where her mouth is as evidenced by her sponsoring of many students over the years .. to attend local and international conferences. “I support students in various ways using my publication funds to contribute towards topping up their debts to clear their student debt so that they can focus more on their research ,” she said. by Ongezwa Sigodi
EXCEPTIONAL WSU SCHOLAR OBTAINS SECOND PhD
r Anthony Kambi Masha of WSU’s Faculty of Management Sciences recently obtained his second PhD at the University of Fort Hare which focused on youth entrepreneurship, policy, monitoring and evaluation.
He also emphasized that discipline, consistency and sacrifice, as adage as it may sound, is what got him to where he is. He further explained that he had to constantly read journals, theses and books to update himself on latest literature.
Dr Masha, a Public Management lecturer at Komani campus is a social realist whose bible is education. He is, amongst other things. a Chartered Learning and Development Specialist in the South African Bureau of Personnel Practice.
This eminent scholar said that with his devotedness towards education and research he wants to impact his students with the same mind-set he has.
Though Masha uses a multi-disciplinary approach in his doctorates, both his theses focused on youth matters. His first PhD focused on proactive and contemporary training methods for leadership development training for millennials. “My thesis had a mentoring angle in it, I formulated a mentoring model that can be used by trainers to train millennials by taking into account visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning style,” he said. Masha finished his first Ph.D. in record time of one year and graduated in 2017. His love and passion for research had him pursue his second Ph.D. which he obtained in 2020. “When I was still an undergraduate student at Walter Sisulu University I used to interact with the likes of Prof Peires, Prof Mwamwenda and Prof Norman Hodge and religiously read the prospectus and admired qualifications of most academics. I then made up my mind that that this is a route I was going to take,” said Masha.
“When I joined WSU, I said I will be flexible in my approach since most WSU students come from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, my motto to my students is a quote from Juan Pablo Barahona, ‘Begin today with an end goal in mind’. I tell my students to be futuristic and to be what Prof Nabudere calls ‘Glo-call’ – thinking globally but bringing matters locally,” added Masha. Though Masha’s theses have focused on the youth, he has now gained interest in issues of employee engagement especially in family businesses. “I have already started researching on this and I am thoroughly enjoying every moment of it. I am also researching on Research Methodology matters such as the use of focus group interviews, the use of phenomenology and the use of mixed methods in research.” Masha has built collaborations with Dr Basu in India, Dr Ayansola from UNIZULU, Dr Shava of UJ and Dr Eze in Botswana. by Anita Roji
any years of burning the midnight oil researching evidence-based solutions to one of the country’s greatest challenges have earned a WSU academic a seat amongst the country’s established researchers. The extensive body of work into the dynamics of maths education amongst black learners in the South African schooling system has earned scholar and BCC rector Prof Nosisi Feza her first ever C3 rating from the country’s foremost academic rating authority, the National Research Foundation (NRF). “This was my first ever NRF rating so I was very happy when I received the news. Most importantly though is that this affirms and confirms the international recognition and accolades I’ve already received throughout my academic exploits. It also affirms my meaningful contribution towards teaching and learning of mathematics specifically, for young learners,” she said. It was after obtaining her PhD from the State University of New York in 2009 with a dissertation titled: “Being a sheep in a “cattle’s kraal” does not make you a cow: Black students’ thought processes in measurement activity” that pragmatism invariably saw Prof Feza identifying a niche area and focusing her efforts into researching maths education among black children. Her toils and exploits over the years have seen Prof Feza receiving many accolades, not least of which was the Emerging Diversity Scholar awarded by Michigan University in 2009, as well as the Distinguished Scientist awarded by Venus International Foundation in India in 2016. “Though I’ve won many awards, this NRF rating is most critical because as an academic it positions me amongst distinguished researchers who are grounded in their field. It’s a motivator for me to work even harder and achieve greater things,” she said. Since 2005, Prof Feza has published or co-published at least 22 peer-reviewed research articles; three academic reports; six book chapters; as well as a book released in 2019 titled “Metacognition in Learning”, amongst many other published works. page 34
Her most recent articles include contributions to peerreviewed journals and bear titles such as “Assessment of Students’ Conceptual Knowledge in Limit of Functions”, as well as “Learners’ Conceptual Knowledge Development and Attitudinal Change towards Calculus Using Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Strategy Integrated with GeoGebra”, both published in the International Electronic Journal of Mathematics Education. In asserting the importance of researchers in publishing frequently, Prof Feza recited the old “You publish or you perish” adage, to which most academics are very familiar. “In academia there is no choice you either publish or perish. As an academic it is your mandate to be informed by research in your practice as the quality of your teaching will be informed by current literature and your discoveries. This kind of practice lead to innovations that can later be shared with communities and solve societal challenges,” she said. Prof Feza’s work is firmly intertwined and rooted in her dedication to the community and civil service, an assertion to which her many community projects performed under many names bear testimony. These include writing research reports for the Special Education Government Project; conducting research-based classroom teaching and designing lessons and interview questions under the Fullbright Project; as well as collecting data in schools involved in a mathematics program and conducting surveys for materials use in the maths classroom, a duty performed under the Joint Education Trust Uitenhage Evaluation Project. As an executive manager, Prof Feza is alive and cognisant to the pressures of leading and inspiring others through action. “A leader leads by doing not by saying, you have to walk the talk for people to be motivated. The key in academia lies on leaders who are knowledgeable and of academic standing to keep the quality of the academic project high, so that societal challenges be solved and life style of humans can be enhanced,” she concluded. by Thando Cezula
BCC RECTOR AN ESTABLISHED RESEARCHER ACCORDING TO NRF
WSU ACADEMIC CROWNED MOST PRODUCTIVE RESEARCHER ON CAMPUS P
rofessor Fortune Ganda from WSU’s department of Accounting at the Butterworth Campus was recently crowned as the most productive researcher on campus.
on issues relating to sustainability. I have also published articles in top-tier journals such as Social Responsibility Journal and the Environmental Science and Pollution Research just to name a few,” said Ganda.
Ganda was recognised for his outstanding research work at the last Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Awards Ceremony where the Vice Chancellor recognises exceptional academic and support staff for working beyond their scope of duty and services rendered during the course of the academic year.
Ganda always makes sure that he puts his highest endeavour to assist students and staff with research because of his vision for WSU, to see it one day being named one of the top universities in the country and even in the world.
“I never planned to be in academia, it’s something that just happened by fate because I had other career aspirations for my life. However, I could see my good research competences, skill and abilities when I did my first undergraduate degree.” Ganda who never starts anything without prayer said that in order to reach that level of competency one needs to be disciplined, plan their research and include goals, finish what they have started, take care of one’s self, prioritise goals and avoid distractions. He further explained that research is similar to creating something new, for example, carving a sculpture, one needs to take it easy, take their time and produce something that’s of high quality. “All my research work has enhanced me to achieve this level one way or the other. As regards most citations I could say I have one article that I published in Journal of Cleaner Production arguably the best journal in the world
“I have motivated for the introduction of the PostGraduate Diploma Programme in Management Accounting. This qualification is now expected to be offered possibly in 2022. I am also currently motivating an application for the introduction of a Master’s degree programme in Accounting. These programmes are important to boost the post-graduate level of our students. I also offer support programs strategies such as mentoring and coaching.” Ganda said WSU’s vision which involves developing worldclass human capital from economically disadvantaged areas aligns very well with his vision so tackling issues relating to the sustainability of small and medium business enterprises along with sustainable delivery of services to stakeholders has become his priority. He plans to improve it by undertaking research that engages the communities along with motivating post-graduate qualifications that provide real solutions to real problems affecting the local communities. by Anita Roji
n inspiring tale about a WSU graduate who sketched his way to customize for SA’s top sneaker brand, “Bathu”, begins in the Free State – the year 2020.
Retsang “Rezz” Morake, born in Bloemfontein and raised in the capital city of the Eastern Cape, Bisho, obtained his National Diploma in Fine Arts from WSU in 2019. And when an opportunity from the local shoe brand, Bathu, presented itself, he swung and hit. “After graduating in 2019 I relocated to the Western Cape, I was called for a job interview. Unfortunately, I couldn’t start working due to the Covid 19 pandemic so I had to come back home and figure out what to do,” he said. As the store was opening its branch in East London, Morake came across a post on Facebook, where the store was look for young designers who would work as ‘Customizers’ at the branch. “I saw a post on Facebook where Bathu was looking for artists to work as Customizers. I saw it as an opportunity and posted my work in the comments and that’s how I became part of the brand.” Growing up, Morake had an immense love for arts as he would often polish his skills by sketching wrestling characters. He, unfortunately strayed from his passion as he was growing up.
WSU ALUMNUS SCOOPED BY TOP SNEAKER BRAND
“In the year 2013, I decided to go back to sketching after I was inspired by the artworks of Mzuvukile Mbanga, a Visual Artist from Bisho. After I matriculated in Bisho High School, I decided to pursue Fine Arts at WSU.” he said As a student based in the BBC campus, Rezz would often associate himself with extra curricula activities such as being a studio assistant at Art Versatile where he learnt skills of entrepreneurship, under the mentorship of Litha Ncokazi, CEO of the company and WSU alumnus. Rezz said one of his most interesting work as a Customizer was doing the “Izikhokho Cartoons” as it was the most relatable for him. “To work for Bathu is like a dream come through. I’m very passionate about local brands and in the past few years I’ve also associated with the MoFaya brand which is owned by one of my inspirations, DJ Sbu,” he said. For Rezz, becoming the artist he is today was the result of networking as much as possible, spending his spare time perfecting his craft and using his social media platform to promote his work. “I aspire to be an entrepreneur, especially in the field of Arts. I would like to also write a book about my life one day, to share my ‘rags to riches’ story with other artists.” In a recent post on Facebook, Rezz shared a photo of his proudest work, customizing the “Izikhokho Cartoon” on a pink Bathu sneaker with the caption “Uzophangela phi ngale Fine Art yakho?” which was a token of motivation for other upcoming artist. by Ongezwa Sigodi
“To work for Bathu is like a dream come through. I’m very passionate about local brands”
WSU WELCOMES NEW E-LEARNING PLATFORM M
oodle, a Learning Management System (LMS) designed for various teaching and learning goals, is well on its way to being introduced as one of the E-learning programmes used by WSU. LMS are software applications designed to execute learning, teaching and administrative programmes electronically. In particular, Moodle enables lecturers to create online course content, add assignments, create tests/quizzes and monitoring students’ projects. Munienge Mbodila, E-Learning task team member, said “In the current e-society the use of technology has taken the lead and changed the way teaching and learning is taking place. For many years, WSU has been encouraging all its staff to make use of technologies for teaching and learning”. The program comes after traditional teaching and learning procedures of the institution were disrupted due to the covid-19 pandemic which prompted a negative impact across institutions in the country as classes and administration were suspended with immediate effect in March of 2020. “For WSU, moving to Moodle is still in line in enabling the use of new technologies to promote excellence in teaching and learning using technology,” he said. The university has just adopted to being a technology driven university and Moodle will act as a more technologically diverse platform, enabling them the freedom to customize their platform and integrate branded content, innovative plugins, third-party tools, and eLearning best practices into their learning strategy
to create a custom learning solution that will meet their specific learning goals. Mbodila said the platform would differ from other platforms as it offers features that allow academics to create their own private websites with dynamic tools to develop courses that extend learning for students anytime and anywhere. He added, “Moodle, which is the LMS we use – is going to become central to the blended learning approach at WSU. It is essential that students and staff familiarise themselves with the platform.” The program also allows lecturers to communicate with their students and encourage communication between them in forums and discussions. So far Mbodila and the E-Learning Task Team are in the beginning stages of introducing the program to the university. They will further provide training for lecturers and learners of the university. “As an institution we are looking for ways to improve the use of our LMS, optimize early adoption and smooth implementation as well as create a perfect user experience for as long as the LMS is in operation.” Said Mbodila. by Ongezwa Sigodi
WSU ACADEMIC PUBLISHES NELSON MANDELA BOOK IN ISIXHOSA T
he author of Nelson Mandela: The Black Pimpernel, Dr TT Mudau approached Walter Sisulu University’s isiXhosa lecturer, Dr Monwabisi Macabela to rewrite the book in the Xhosa language without quoting it word for word. Macabela, who hails from a small village called KwaNikhwe in Mbizana with more than 10 years of teaching isiXhosa and leading as a principal in the area before joining the department of Humanities & Creative Arts Education in WSU, jumped at the opportunity as his passion is to promote the Xhosa language. “The book is about the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and the events that took place before, during and after his incarceration. It is about the audacity of hope that stood the test of time,” said Macabela. Macabela who has experience in writing and completing books in a duration of a year or two, was given a two months’ deadline by Scorpion Publishers to write and complete the book. The book is a reminder to all South Africans and the global community to value the freedom that they have because of the sacrifices that were done by the South African leaders in the liberation struggle. Macabela has written before books such as Ndingamis’isibozo ngokuphatha, a novel which is about the challenges of being a school principal, Kuba mnyama kube mhlophe, short stories with the aim to encourage people not to despair when there are storms and Hamba bhekile which contains isiXhosa poems. “I learned the art of character portrayal, the conflict and social setting and how to write different genres from the likes of SEK Mqhayi, WK Thamsanqa and others whom I read their books a lot,” To place an order for the book, you can call him directly on 0733253514 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org by Anita Roji
WSU JOURNALISM DEPT PRODUCES JOURNALISTS THAT TOUCH LIVES
he pens and mics of WSU’s most decorated journalism graduates have not only served to expose the most sensational of scandals, but more importantly, they’ve restored parity in the justice system and led to real and tangible change in society. One such story was covered by Sunday Times multi-award winning journalist Sabelo Sikiti in 2016 about a paralyzed man from the Eastern Cape who was defrauded by an unscrupulous lawyer in a multi-million Road Accident Fund pay-out. Though he’s laid bare some of the country’s worst kept secrets in recent South African history, some of which are a subject to on-going criminal cases and interrogation of a commission, Sikiti highlights this “lowly” tragic story as the one which carries most significance to his journalism career due to its deep impact. “The story came to us in December of 2015 via a heartwrenching letter sent by fax. Stories and ideas had dried up so I thought I might as well take this story up and do a little exposé about how this lawyer stole Christmas,” said Sikiti. The story turned out to be a massive success as more people who were owed money by the lawyer came out of the woodwork and would eventually, thanks to the exposé, get their settlements. The exposé has indeed also had a material impact on the young man, who eventually received his settlement and has since made sound property investments, gone to school and bought himself a car.
News reporter for almost five years, cites a story laden with utter despair and hopelessness as one that stands out in her career. The circumstances of Mantashe’s story choice are a cocktail of misery – statelessness, homelessness, hunger, disease, poverty and lack of education. “This story was of a family of six representing three generations that lived close to a tipping yard on the outskirts of East London. Poverty reigned supreme as the family was suffering from malnutrition, one of the children was HIV-positive, the grandchildren dropped out of school, they couldn’t get access to social grants because they didn’t have any form of identification,” she said. Clearly still affected by that story, Mantashe narrates a dire situation that had the family rummaging through leftovers dumped at the tipping yard in search of food. “Following our coverage we were able to get social development involved and they were able to organize food parcels for the family. The home affairs department also played their part by providing the family with the necessary identity documents. We literally changed people’s lives, and that’s what journalism is about” she said. The benevolence continued as good Samaritans, upon hearing of these tragic circumstances, banded together and built a home for the family.
“That young man’s dignity has been restored and he’s now enjoying his independence and living his dream,” concluded Sikiti.
Another one of the country’s most iconic stories, penned by BTech journalism graduate and former Daily Dispatch writer Siphe Macanda, was the investigative piece into procurement irregularities involving a multi-million-rand sanitation tender in the Eastern Cape.
Multi-award-winning journalist Msindisi Fengu, who graduated in 2007, has also etched his name in WSU journalism department folklore following his 2012 Daily Dispatch exposé titled “Hostels of Shame” which investigated the conditions of some of the hostels housed across numerous schools in the Eastern Cape.
“Critical to that story was for me to expose the power people enjoy and influence they have when they have the right political connections. This is of course undesirable as it discriminates and disempowers other competitors because of irregular procurement procedures,” said Macanda.
He says following the exposé, the provincial education department was immediately responsive and visited all the hostels in question to assess their condition.
He says following the exposé, the appropriate department and section 9 institution instituted their own investigations and corroborated the evidence as reported by the paper.
“Thanks to this story, the department repaired some of the hostels while also making a decision to build hostels in other schools that were in need,” said Fengu. Gleeful in his reminiscence, Fengu chronicles the extensive travelling, meticulous planning and in-depth investigative skill that was required to pull off that “oncein-a-lifetime” exposé, and the subsequent accolades and exposure that followed. Beyond just winning awards, the story opened up doors for him which saw him participating in the CNN Fellowship Program where he received rigorous training in all this journalism.
He says a lot of taxpayer’s money was saved and a lot of inadequate workmanship was exposed in thanks to the investigation. “Those series of articles earned me a lot of prestigious accolades, including the Standard Bank Sikuvile Award for Best Investigative Journalist, as well as being runner up at the Taco Kuiper Awards, which are the most prestigious awards in the country. I wouldn’t be here today had it not been for WSU training and honing my skills as a journalist,” said Macanda. by Thando Cezula
Effervescent 2014 graduate Busisiwe JemsanaMantashe, who became a household name as a SABC TV page 45
WSU FC WELCOMES SIX NEW LEAGUE PLAYERS
alter Sisulu University Football Club has officially announced the signing of six new players into the team in preparation for the start of the season in the South African Breweries Regional League (SAB). WSU FC announced on Monday, 15 February 2021 at the Zamukulungisa Site the welcoming of Maqhawe Xola, Luthando Luno, Masipumle Seplane, Thando Zungu, Lwazi Ndikinda and Tshepo Joseph. WSU FC Chairman, Siyabulela Tshangela said: “I intend to build a strong and solid team that plays good and solid football. We still need two more strikers to add value in the attacking department, three more under 21 players that will create a balance between you and experience.” He further added that though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the fitness of the players, the team is determined to play well in coming opening season. Head Coach, Samkelo Shibe said; “Consistency has always worked for us and that’s the strategy we are taking forward entering this season. Our team is doing well, in 2019 we were playing in the LFA league and we qualified for the SAB league, I am not ashamed to say we are going to the play offs.” Though the team management has confidence in the players they however acknowledged that this will not be easy as they are not popular in the SAB League.
“Teams always want to beat us at all costs, some of them utilize dirty tricks. Remember, most players are students therefore they have to learn to manage their time correctly for social, sports and academic activities,” added Tshangela. WSU FC’s newly signed goal keeper, Tshepo Joseph said; “I am very honoured by this opportunity. I have always just played for community soccer teams and in the residence team on campus, SAB is a huge milestone in my soccer career as I plan to play nationally one day.” The team has also signed its youngest Left Back, Maqhawe Xola (21) who is also the only one in the newly signed players who has previously played in the Local Football Association and SAB League through his former team, Bafanaz FC from Port Shepstone. “Soccer is my first love and I want to see myself playing for Sundowns one day, I have no doubt that I will make the starting 11 when we go for play offs, without blowing my own horn but that is the reason they spotted me on the Freshers’ Tournament.” Tshangela said they have developed a sport safety plan outlining clearly health protocols that have to be adhered to by all role players in their space. by Anita Roji
ADVANCEMENT HEAD APPOINTED TO NATIONAL FUNDRAISING FORUM
n appointment to the country’s foremost universities’ association will see one of WSU’s most dynamic managers using his knowledge and insight to help assist Universities South Africa (USAf) in its endeavours to raise funds. WSU institutional advancement director Silvanus Welcome will serve on USAf’s fundraising executive committee for at least two years following his election into the forum recently. “I feel extremely excited about it. Not only is it an achievement, but the confidence that was bestowed upon me by my counterparts and other fundraisers was indeed a humbling feeling,” said Welcome. His career in higher education fundraising spans almost a decade – a period in which he’s worked in related fields such as alumni relations, donor database management, effective and sustainable relationship building and solicitation. Welcome’s decade-long exploits in the industry have earned him great respect amongst his peers, an important attribute, according to him, that he trusts will pay off when the implementation of fundraising plans and strategies begin in earnest for the exco. “I’ve raised funds for multiple projects while being in the sector with my exceptional relationship building techniques which I like to refer to as “friend-raising”, he said. As the first ever director for the university’s institutional advancement office over the past three years, Welcome effectively had to build the office from the ground up with
limited resources. In that short space of time he has made many a pivotal gain in laying a platform from which the university can start trying to raise funds, including the installation of a donor management database system. “This system ensures streamlined donor management. Having systems in place makes your solicitation efforts credible to prospective donors,” said Welcome. The intervention closest to his heart however is the ‘Staff Giving’ campaign, wherein, on a monthly basis the university’s staff donates via payroll to assist final-year students who owe the university. This massive effort assists students to graduate and get their certificates. Welcome lauds the benevolence of WSU’s staff whose efforts ensured that at least hundreds of students have been assisted by having their debts cleared. He said central to his duties will be to ensure that the Higher Education Fundraising Forum provides an opportunity for fundraisers working in the higher education sector to collaborate, network and share knowledge on issues of common concern. “Some of my main objectives in line with the forum is to promote fundraising best practice through sharing of information and knowledge resources; promoting collaboration between higher education institutions in South Africa; addressing local, regional and global challenges of research, innovation and development; as well as promoting joint academic projects,” he concluded. By Thando Cezula
“I feel extremely excited about it. Not only is it an achievement, but the confidence that was bestowed upon me by my counterparts and other fundraisers was indeed a humbling feeling” page 49
WSU VC DELIVERS JOY TO CHILDREN’S HOME T
he newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Rushiella Songca, visited Bethany Children’s Home, in Ikhwezi Township, Mthatha, to give warm clothes to children for the preparation of the in coming winter season. As a continuous initiative, the Professor prided herself in carrying on the tradition which has been part of the university’s community engagement project. It was a day filled with joy as the VC personally handed out the gifts to the children. Bethany Home, which was founded in 1991 by a group of Catholic nuns to shelter abandoned, neglected, abused
and orphaned children, is home to a number of 75 infants and toddlers. In previous years, the home also offered shelter and care to mothers with HIV positive infants to educate them on infant care. It was, however, turned into a full-time care for children by the department of Social Development, to shelter who were rescued by the Child Protection Unit of the police. In the year 2020, the visit was put to a standstill when the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, nevertheless, Prof Songca made a point of bringing joy to the orphanage when the Covid-19 restrictions were loosened. by Ongezwa Sigodi