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Pulse Walter Sisulu University Issue 34 November 2016



Editor’s Note


e-Skills school educator training


Researches must find solutions for African Strife


A case to be made for new study methods


More psychometric tests on the cards for 2017 intake


Psychology student’s debut novel to strike a chord with readers


Karateka crowned African champ


Hard work pays off for IT students


BTech Fine Art exceeds expectations


WSU All Blacks to challenge fo a Varsity Shield


WSU 2016 in photos


WSU/Univen Research Conference Gallery


Unversity holsts NCOP’s “Taking Parliament to the People”


R92 million health centre for rural Lusikisiki


Championing HIV/Aids curriculum integration


Inauguration of Chancellor and ViceChancellor & Principal


Poor students to be absolved from fee increment


Six doctoral degrees conferred at October graduation


October Grad Doctor Degrees


Graduation Gallery


e-Skills development vital to digital revolution

Yonela Tukwayo

Thando Cezula

Sinawo Hermans

Linda Mynhardt

(Senior Director: MCA)

(Marketing and Communication Officer)

(On-line Communications Officer)

(Graphic Designer)

Pulse is an initiative of the Department of Marketing, Communication and Advancement and is available in print and on the WSU website. We bring you fresh news, updates, events, opinion pieces as well as visuals of Walter Sisulu University. If you have any vibrant and newsworthy stories you would like us to cover from your campus, faculty or department, please contact Thando Cezula or Sinawo Hermans on telephone 043 702 9378 or send an email to 2

EDITORIAL As 2016 draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the year that was. Wow, what a year it has been! I have navigated through media storms, negotiated the rough terrain of student politics and swam through the murky waters of #FeesMustFall. All of this in my first year in the higher education sector. I have been stretched to my limits and grew more than I imagine possible. This has been one of the best years of my life because I thrive in environments that are challenging.

Dr Prince Jaca – Campus Rector: Buffalo City Campus Prof McGlory Speckman – Campus Rector: Queenstown Prof Victor Mtetwa – Campus Rector: Butterworth Mr Sinethemba Mpambane – Executive Director: Operations and ICT Ms Sandra Nduli – Executive Director: Human Resources

Yes, this has been an emotional year too. I have had beamed with elation and pride as I watched almost 6,000 students walk across the graduation stage. I have been pained by the struggles of our students. I have been gripped by the excitement of our rugby team’s excellence that saw them being promoted to the premier Varsity Shield competition. I have been awestruck by the angelic voices of WSU choirs. I have been invigorated by robust discussions at management meetings. 2016 Has been amazing in many ways.

Ms Pateka Ntshusthe-Matshaya – Senior Director: Library and Information Services Myself, Ms Yonela Tukwayo – Senior Director: Marketing, Communication and Advancement The Registra, Mr Khaya Maphinda, Executive Director: Student Affairs, Ms Zoleka Dotwana and Mthatha Campus Rector, Prof Jadezweni retained their positions as their contracts were renewed for another five years.

This has been a year of significant change within WSU leadership. WSU has bid farewell to the Interim ViceChancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and a few other executives. Similarly, WSU welcomed the following Institutional Management Committee members in 2016:

I am certain there are many other WSU Community members that have a turbulent, challenging and fastpaced year. If that is you, I wish you a restful and rejuvenating holiday. 2017 is a few weeks away and we all need to contribute towards lifting WSU to new heights.

Prof Rob Midgley – Vice-Chancellor and Principal

Keep safe and enjoy the festive season.

Mr Andre De Wet - Acting Chief Financial Officer

Yonela Tukwayo Senior Director: Marketing, Communication & Advancement 3



WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley cautioned against research becoming the white elephant of universities, asserting that it should be a vehicle to promote development from within higher education, spreading outwards to surrounding communities.

Vice-Chancellor for the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), Prof Abel Idowu Olanyika, said the nature of the contemporary environment necessitated a much more active response from universities. “Today, universities have additional roles to play, including fundraising for research, evaluating technology, protecting research results, commercialization of research, increased collaboration with industry, entrepreneurship development, IP training for researchers, as well as technology marketing,”said Olanyika.

Speaking under the conference theme “Galvanising Development through Research and Innovation” at the 2nd Univen-WSU International Research Conference held in Polokwane in September, Midgley said true innovation originates from trying to find problem-based solutions from the communities within which the universities operate.

In a sombre reality check, Olanyika highlighted, and cited reasons for, the subpar research output that African universities are infamously renowned for on the global sphere.

“You may be aware of some current popular trends within the South African research context which centre around Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), African languages, Food Security, HIV/Aids and agriculture.”

He attributed the African universities’ poor research output to lack of clearly articulated research priorities; inadequate facilities; lack of opportunities for sabbatical leave, conferences and seminars; weak collaboration between industry and the tertiary education institutions; as well as a general lack of strong academic leadership. Botswana University of Science and Technology ViceChancellor Prof Otlogetswe Totolo, said, the socioeconomic successes of the world’s leading nations can be mostly attributed to large private and government investment into research and development.

“Our research at WSU is responsive to these trends in order to find “greener” and comprehensive alternatives that will move our communities forward,” said Midgley. The conference saw close to 500 delegates from 16 countries congregate to present over 470 oral and poster presentations under various subthemes, including “Commercialisation of research findings”; “Innovative application of Indigenous Knowledge Systems”; “Language and educational research”; “Burden of disease”; “Law, commerce and governance”; as well as “Climate change and sustainable development”.

“It’s no coincidence that the leading nations have invested heavily into research and development. They’re smart in putting their money into scientific-based solutions that will see them prevent any imminent threat that could cost them billions in the long run,” concluded Totolo.

University of Venda (Univen) Vice-Chancellor Peter Mbati weighed in on proceedings, pronouncing that the conference was imperative in laying a platform for the delegates gathered at the conference to share and subsequently interrogate and critique their respective findings.

By Thando Cezula

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Prof Abel Olanyika (University of Ibadan,Nigeria); Prof Otlogetswe Totolo (Botswane International University of Science & Technology); Prof Peter Mbati (University of Venda); Prof Rob Midgley (WSU) Prof Frederick Otieno (Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology, Kenya). 4





“TAKING PARLIAMENT TO THE PEOPLE” The NCOP, mandated to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government, comprised of a high level delegation led by chief whip Dr Hunadi Mateme that visited the University’s Potsdam Site on Monday 14 November as part of the body’s “Taking Parliament Back To The People” programme. The programme was in town at Buffalo City Metro to engage with various stakeholders such as universities about the post-school education sector in the region. Following passionate deliberations with students and management from WSU, University of Fort Hare, Buffalo City College, Department of Higher Education and Training, and Sector Education and Training Sector Authorities (SETAs), the group was taken on a tour of the University’s 366-bed residence currently being built at a cost of R100 million. “It’s always fantastic to see the taxpayer’s money making tangible contributions to for the benefit of

our people. This is a truly great intervention which I trust will go a long way providing the requisite conditions and environment for learning,” said Mateme. She said the country’s political master plan; the National Development Plan suggests an education system that strives to improve the quality of education for all South Africans. “It is from this basis that, the subject of our discussions mainly focused on to what extent the public and private post-school education institutions, industry and government departments are responsive to the demands of the market. Likewise, assess to what extent these institutions are contributing towards achieving NDP targets,” she said. Butterworth campus SRC secretarygeneral Nelisa Qomyani, in his inputs, said the country needed to address the issue of commodification of higher education as matter of urgency as it, by virtue of the exorbitant expenses involved, meant the poor are struggling to access the

system and as a result remain largely on the periphery of society. Qomyani said the country needed to focus its energies and resources on finding sustainable solutions that will help expedite the education of the poor black child. “The only way this country can hope to progress as a nation is if we make a concerted effort to fight the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. One of the critical ways in which to achieve this is through education of the poor to include them in the economy,” he said. Buffalo City Campus SecretaryGeneral Sabelo Funa said government needed to accelerate and expand funding in establishing projects and programmes that will improve conditions at universities so as to create favourable conditions for learning. By ?????

EXPLORING CONDITIONS: WSU Registrar Khaya Maphinda (second from right) leads the NCOP delegation on a tour of the Potsdam Site

TOUGH TALKING: NCOP Chief Whip Dr Hunadi Mateme didn’t mince her words regarding critical role stakeholders must play in providing free education for the poor 6


HEALTH CENTRE FOR RURAL LUSIKISIKI A thick cloud of elation and euphoria enveloped the rural town of Lusikisiki as Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle delivered on his mandate to improve healthcare service for the poorest of the poor.

She said the disproportion in standards between the centres would force the department to improve the others in efforts to achieve maximum integration of its integrated provincial programmes.

The province’s first citizen was on hand to unveil in June, together with WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley and MEC for Health Dr Phumza Dyantyi, a golden plaque signalling the official opening of the R92 million stateof-the-art St. Elizabeth Hospital Health Resource Centre (SEH-HRC) strategically housed within the same hospital complex whose name it bears.

WSU head, Prof Midgley said the University was honoured to lend its resources and proficiencies to the community and in turn, producing trained medical professionals. He said the University’s involvement in the programme was testament to the University’s unbending commitment to community engagement and development. “This partnership creates a reciprocal relationship between the community and WSU; for us to learn as we teach and to teach as we learn, all the while servicing these communities,” said Midgley.

“This is a revolution in the making. We’re revolutionising healthcare service in this region through delivery of the best infrastructure and facilities. This intervention will ensure integrated implementation of programmes and services throughout the provincial healthcare centres,” said Masualle.

In providing a broader context, Midgley highlighted that the University and the department had entered into an agreement in 2009 that would serve to intensify their cooperation in teaching, training, service and research; ensuring development of sustainable, equitable, and affordable health services; promoting high quality teaching, training, service and research; and ensuring appropriate utilization of scarce resources.

MEC for Health Dr Dyantyi lauded the great work in building the structure, hailing it an epic triumph that surpassed all expectations. “This is the fifth such centre in the province and it’s by far the best one yet. These centres are strategically placed throughout the province for maximum coverage, with three attached to tertiary hospitals; Nelson Mandela Academic in Mthatha, Frere Hospital in East London, and Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth. The other centre is attached to the regional hospitals; Frontier in Queenstown,” she said.

Dr Dyantyi said after engaging with the community, the department resolved to change the name from the St. Elizabeth Hospital HRC to the Lusikisiki HRC. She also said the library HRC library would be made accessible to the public. By Thando Cezula

PROUD ADDITION: Health Sciences dean Dr Wezile Chitha (middle) with his staff and medical students based in Lusikisiki

MANY HANDS MAKING LIGHT WORK: EC Premier Phumulo Masualle (left) exchanges an MoU with WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley. EC health department MEC Dr Phumzile Dyantyi was there to bear witness. 7


CURRICULUM INTEGRATION Walter Sisulu University is looking to expedite its fight against HIV/Aids through the release of its second guide book developed and aimed at integrating HIV/Aids into the institutional curriculum.

two models. Using the models and other module design criteria, the guide was awarded 16 credits which could be weaved into the programmes as the faculties see fit,” said Twaise.

Centre for HIV/Aids director Nomvula Twaise said the book would prove critical in combating the scourge of new HIV/Aids infections, denouncing stigma and discrimination, and improving the quality of life of those infected by the virus.

She was at pains to stress the importance of the endeavour as it seeks to educate, inform and as a result capacitate students with the requisite tools to protect themselves from infection as a result of varied illiteracies about the virus.

“This is the second edition following the first one which was developed and published in 2012. We have just completed revising and printing the second edition and we’re now ready to disseminate it throughout the University by way of workshops,” said Twaise.

Twaise said even if education were completely successful, teaching and learning about HIV/Aids would still have to be an on-going process as new generations of people become adult and need to know how to protect themselves from infection.

She said faculty representatives who took part in the revision of the guide were assigned to champion the implementation of the integration of HIV/Aids in their faculties by making sure all lecturers get the book and are trained on how to use it.

“The older generations, who have hopefully already been educated, may need the message reinforced, and need to be kept informed, so that they are able to protect themselves and inform the youth and children,” she said. Twaise said the guide will not only benefit WSU but all higher education institutions that come across it.

The guide’s development was steered by two models that were agreed upon by the institution; the integration/ infusion model and the stand-alone model.

She said already there are two universities that benefited in the first edition and Higher Education and Training HIV/ Aids Programme is also planning to use this guide as an example to assist South African universities.

“The guide is not prescriptive - it’s designed flexibly enough to be adopted and adapted by the University’s eleven faculties. Its development was guided by the


TAKING HIV/AIDS TO THE CLASSROOM: Former CHA director Nomvula Twaise has dedicated her University career to raising awareness about social issues confronting WSU students



CHANCELLOR AND VICE-CHANCELLOR & PRINCIPAL On the occasion of their official instalment at the Mthatha Health Resource Centre recently, to the helm of the University’s ceremonial and executive hierarchy, WSU Chancellor Ambassador Sheila Sisulu and Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley called for key stakeholders to stand together in crafting workable and lasting solutions in response to the volatile climate besetting higher education.

“We recognise students’ right to protest and to express their views freely, but assaults on fellow students, looting of premises, damage to property and general intolerance for the views and rights of others are not helpful,” said Prof Midgley. He said in order for the University to fulfil its mandate of being a developmental institution, WSU would need to embark on a reciprocal process of engagement at a variety of levels between staff, students, communities, government and civil society.

The proverbial elephant in the room would always prove too massive to ignore – prompting WSU’s top brass to weigh in on the fee increment discourse currently raging in the country.

Midgley added that creating mutually-beneficial workplace learning environments where students learn on site and at the same time improve the quality of life in communities is an obvious example of such reciprocal engagement.

“Unless we all urgently call a truce or a temporary halt of hostilities and come together – students, University leaders, parents, funders, government and all stakeholders of our institutions to craft lasting solutions, we will parish together and we’ll be sorely judged by future generations,” said Ambassador Sisulu.

Former Interim Vice-Chancellor Prof Khaya Mfenyana, who was honoured by the University for his 28 years of selfless and dedicated service, also added his voice to the national dialogue on higher education.

It was against this backdrop that Sisulu urged the University to double its efforts in keeping the doors of learning open.

Mfenyana was the first Head and Professor of the Department of Family Medicine at Walter Sisulu University (then Unitra) back in 1989. He championed communitybased education and social accountability at WSU, which made the institution the first medical school in the country to introduce a curriculum that embraces problem-based learning and community-based education as the main learning strategies from 1st to final year.

She said she was ready to roll up her sleeves, using her vast knowledge and expertise in education, to help find a solution to the problems currently confronting the University. In his address, Prof Rob Midgley registered his concern at the hard-line attitudes student leaders have recently adopted with regards to institutional issues, in some instances, even refusing to engage other stakeholders in finding acceptable solutions.

By Thando Cezula

UNCANNY RESEMBLENCE: Long-serving WSU stalwart Prof Khaya Mfenyana was presented with a bronze bust on the occasion of his farewell

CALLS FOR PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS: WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley and Chancellor Ambassador Sheila Sisulu called on stakeholders to stand together in crafting workable and lasting solutions to the fees crisis 9



LIKE BEES TO HONEY: WSU graduates swarmed Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley for a chance to take a selfie with the institutional head

WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley assured the WSU community that the great majority of the students will be absolved from any 2017 fee increment should the institution’s Council resolve to implement such.

approximately 95% of our students and their families will not feel the effect of the increase. Only those whose family income is above R600 000 per annum will be impacted by increased costs,” he said.

Addressing a packed audience at the Zamakulungisa Site in Mthatha during the institution’s October graduation, Midgley said the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)’s commitment to maintain 2017 fees at the 2015 level and to fund any proposed increase in fees had assisted the University tremendously.

Midgely further commended government’s sustained efforts in improving access to education through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which supports approximately 75% of the University’s student populous.

“For this reason, management is able to propose to Council a fee dispensation that will provide additional income to the University but at the same time ensures that

“Education remains a key pathway out of unemployment, because jobs are linked to education levels. This is why we are proud to serve the youth of the Eastern Cape. We are proud that we can give hope to our youth,” Midgley asserted. 10

Addressing the contentious Fees Must Fall campaign, Midgley said the movement was a noble one and had gained a lot of traction as a result of the high youth unemployment rate. He cited, in light of the calls for free education, the “The Economics of Fees Must Fall” KPMG report which highlighted the above-inflation fee increases between 2009 and 2015 due to a weakening exchange rate that severely impacted on students and their families. The University capped 807 students 6 PhDs, 20 Masters Degrees, and 26 Honours degrees. 57% of these were females, whilst 43% were female. By Thando Cezula


Six academics from WSU’s health sciences and educational sciences faculties climbed the academic ladder as they received their doctoral degrees at the institution’s October graduation ceremony at the Mthatha campus recently. The latest achievement brought the number of doctoral degrees conferred by the University this year to 14, following the eight PhD’s that were conferred during the May graduations. A further 20 Masters and 26 Honours degrees were conferred upon postgraduate students out of the total 807 graduands that received their certificates, diplomas and degrees during the ceremony, bringing the total tally to over 5 800 the number of students, including the May cohort, that have graduated from the University this year. “This day we must celebrate the efforts of our academic staff and the students. In our May graduation season, we capped over 5,000 graduands. During our October graduation, we’ve capped another 807. Such achievements do not come in a vacuum and we must say a

special thank you to the sterling effort of the parents, family and friends, and especially the academic staff who supported you along your educational journey,” said WSU Vice Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley. The theses and dissertations of the doctoral degrees and Masters graduates are premised largely on Eastern Cape-based issues and cover varied disciplines namely psychology, physiology, pathology, microbiology, education, chemistry, social work and geography. Some of the research looked at pertinent issues such as: • “Genes encoding antibiotic resistance pathogenicity and phylogenetic profiles of local isolates of Klebsiella species” by Sandeep Vasaiker • “Oxidative stress and antioxidant status in type 2 diabetic patients with retinopathy in Mthatha” by Farzana Ganjifrockwala • “An exploration of the support provided to principles of schools by circuit managers in Ngcobo” by Sakhiwo Mpoposhe • “Facilitating metacognition in Mathematics teachers of the OR

• •

Tambo DM” by Themba Salizwa “The role of biomarkers in the management of premature stroke in the Eastern Cape” by Asongatsha Forka “Blood glucose in peri-operative paediatric patients” Erdee Combrinck “Perceptions of multicultural and western-type approaches to psychology by a sample of EC healthcare professionals” by Ntombikayise Matutu

WSU Spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo was quick to highlight the pertinence of the research being conducted by the graduands. “As a largely rural-based institution working within this context, it is absolutely critical that WSU, through its teaching, learning and research, produces graduates that possess the necessary analytical and research skills and expertise to create evidence and scientific-based workable solutions in varied arenas to confront our social upheavals,” she said.

SOLUTION-SEEKERS: WSU Vice-Chancellor Prof Rob Midgley and former Interim Vice-Chancellor and friend of the University, Prof Khaya Mfenyana together with graduates in doctoral degree programmes. 11

By Thando Cezula




Doctor Of Philosophy

Doctor of Education

NAME: Sandeep Vasaiker

NAME: Nombulelo Nombona

FACULTY: Health Sciences

FACULTY: Educational Sciences





Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Education

NAME: Farzana Ganjifrockwala

NAME: Themba Saziwa

FACULTY: Health Sciences

FACULTY: Educational Sciences





Doctor of Education

Doctor of Education

NAME: Sakhiwo Mpomposhe

NAME: Mpilo Sifuba

FACULTY: Educational Sciences

FACULTY: Educational Sciences









GALLERY Graduation October 2016



DIGITAL REVOLUTION The upliftment of the Eastern Cape’s poorest communities through digital skills development proved an apt and critical discussion amongst members of the IT fraternity at the Eastern Cape Broadband Skills Development Workshop held in East London recently. About 40 delegates from the public and private sector, including provincial government departments, universities, TVET colleges, telecommunications and IT solutions companies congregated to deliberate on the development of a provincial digital skills plan that will respond to the socio-economic ills of poverty and unemployment. The workshop was hosted by the e-Skills CoLab based at WSU in collaboration with the Office of the Premier Human Resource Directorate, Provincial ICT Working Group and Eastern Cape Socio Economic Consultative Council (ECSECC). “Let us work together to give our people the digital skills and opportunities to rise up from poverty, to rise up from unemployment, to rise up from illiteracy and innumeracy, to rise up from discrimination – to take their rightful place as equals in the new world in the cloud - in the connected world,” said e-Skills CoLab coordinator Lorna van der Merwe. Speaking on behalf of the Provincial ICT Working Group, Chris Motsilili reported on the status of activities in the province related to the broadband roll-out which will initially see the connection of up to 1400 sites in the O R Tambo Municipal District, the majority of which will be schools and clinics.

people to effectively utilise connectivity must proceed even though the implementation is delayed” he said. CSIR Merika Institute’s Zaaid du Toit, a member of the national SIP15 team, said the skills deficit between government’s infrastructure provision and digital skills competencies on the ground must be bridged urgently. Experience has shown that change management training for administrators and managers will be crucial for the success of the project. The significance of up-skilling and re-skilling current and future labour markets in the acquisition of digital skills in the face of an ever-shifting digital work environment was highlighted in an electrifying presentation on what is known as Industry 4.0 and the gig economy. ESECC Sector Development Specialist Tebogo Qholosha said a major and concerted effort was needed to address unemployment by training people with the requisite marketable skills. “The people in the province must be trained to keep up or participate in the ever-shifting paradigm of work that needs and demands e-skills. We must initiate a skills development drive that recognises provincial development priorities and skills needed in the contemporary and future labour market” he said. Newly-appointed NEMISA board chairperson Prof Walter Claassen said e-Skills CoLabs were part of a national programme for e-skills development and work with multiple role-players in achieving their objectives. BY ???

“The development of skills to enable


e-SKILLS COLAB TRAINS TEACHERS In October 2015, President Jacob Zuma launched Operation Phakisa: ICT in Education. The aim is to transform learning and teaching through ICTs, develop ICT-competent teachers and produce ICT-capable learners. Broadband and wi-fi connectivity, tablets and smartphones provide a wide variety of opportunities and innovative products to engage with learners, such as sharing lessons and materials, facilitating discussions, providing off-campus teaching and support and building learning communities. The EC e-Skills CoLab based at WSU is working with the provincial Department of Basic Education to help prepare schools and teachers to make maximum use of this emerging technology and connectivity. (Schools are the priority targets for the initial broadband rollouts). By actively supporting the development of digital skills competencies and digital awareness of the educators, the CoLab is also aiming to contribute to improving the Eastern Cape matric results. Using ICT in the classroom The first programme embarked on in June was the rolling out of workshops for designated district ‘ICT champions’. Teachers were shown how to use social media products which many learners are familiar with as a simple but stimulating way to use ICT in the classroom. Teachers were also helped to make maximum use of the wide variety of resources available on education websites. Enhancing basic computer literacy skills of teachers A second pilot programme embarked on in October involves the training of ‘master trainers’ (e-learning coordinators drawn from throughout the province) to become facilitators of an accredited eLiteracy course for teachers (offered by e-Skills nationally). The plan is for the training to be cascaded down to individual teachers and schools. “The e-Skills CoLab is excited about the enthusiastic response from department officials and educators to these initiatives”, says Ms Lorna van der Merwe, Acting Coordinator. “There are many opportunities to develop this relationship to benefit managers, administrators, teachers and learners at all of our schools”.

DIGITAL INTERVENTION: Some of the Eastern Cape’s ICT fraternity were out in full force to participate in deliberations aimed at finding ways of uplifting communities through digital solutions. 14

By Lorna van der Merwe Acting Coordinator ICT for Rural Development e-Skills CoLab at WSU


a real world decision situation to stimulate an in-depth classroom discussion,” said Prof Gill. He said the principal pedagogical objective of the approach, developed and refined at his alma mater, Harvard Business School, is to help students improve their judgement under conditions of considerable uncertainty and ambiguity. “As such, the case studies developed to support these discussions rarely have a “right” answer and the actual outcome associated with a particular decision tends to be less important that the process through which the decision was reached,” added Gill. The workshop proved highly intricate, with Gill exploring in depth, the case method as applied in various areas, under topics such as “Types of case studies and their applications”; “Facilitating case discussions”; “Developing discussion cases”; “Evaluating learning”; and “Publishing discussion cases”. Coordinator of the e-Skills CoLab, Lorna van der Merwe, said a great opportunity lay in wait for WSU to increase its research output, and make a more tangible difference to the community through research using the case study method. Tourism senior lecturer, Siyabonga Mxunyelwa, a PhD candidate looking at the factors contributing to the failure of small enterprises, was buoyant in mood following deliberations. “The case study has forced me to relook at my research methodology and critique it more acutely. There might be room to improve and expand my research, incorporating this method to reinforce my paper and make it more relevant to the community using info about the community,” said Mxunyelwa.

CHAMPIONING ALTERNATIVE TEACHING METHODS: Prof Grandon Gill’s case study technique is gaining traction the world over Exploring of fresh, innovative ideas and methods of teaching and research recently saw WSU host an American professor famed for his advocacy of the case study method at a two-day workshop held in East London recently.

By Thando Cezula

A collaborative effort by the Eastern Cape e-Skills CoLab (based at WSU) and the United States Fulbright Scholar gave rise to intense discussions between the workshop facilitator and proponent of the case study method, Prof Grandon Gill, and lecturers and academics from WSU and University of Fort Hare.

“This workshop is principally intended to introduce current and future faculty members, and postgraduate students, to the use of case method, both as a means of research and instruction,” said Prof Gill

“This workshop is principally intended to introduce current and future faculty members, and postgraduate students, to the use of case method, both as a means of research and instruction. The method is an interactive teaching technique that involves using a detailed description of 15



IN FOR STRICTER PROFILING: Prospective students from poor backgrounds will receive stricter profiling so as to identify their most critical needs

Prospective WSU students could undergo psychometric testing on a much grander scale in 2017 as the institution looks to pilot a profiling system that will critically assess the needs of students from predominantly disadvantaged educational backgrounds.

student intake who’d written the NBT. Students who wrote the NBT were tested for proficiency in three tests, namely Academic Literacy (AL), Quantitative Literacy (QL), and Mathematics (MAT). AL assesses the students’ capacity to engage successfully with the demands of academic study in the medium of instruction within the context of higher education. QL assesses the students’ ability to manage situations or solve problems of a quantitative nature in real contexts relevant to higher education. MAT assesses the students’ ability to relate mathematical concepts which are formally part of the NSC Mathematics with the curriculum that is relevant to mathematically demanding disciplines in higher education.

The National Benchmark Tests (NBT) Project Collaborative Workshop recently held at the East London Health Resource Centre saw WSU management, academics and staff engage robustly with a trio of delegates from University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Centre for Educational Testing for Access and Placement (CETAP) on the validity and value of the pilot project. “We have to be careful in highlighting that these tests aren’t about testing the student on the assessment itself, but rather about whether they will cope in the system and what requisite support they will need. It’s not an admission or selection exercise, but rather a placement exercise once they’re in the system,” said LTD director Valindawo Dwayi.

Though only for illustrative purposes, and the scope of the analysis representing only about 23% (1730) of the total 7 637 students, the data and information contained in the report made for alarming reading, as it placed 56% of those who wrote the National Benchmark Test in the Basic category (0-37% ave.). A further 29% of those students fell in the Lower Intermediate category (38-53% ave.), whilst only 10% were accounted for in the Upper Intermediate category (54-68%). A measly 3% made up for the Proficient category (69-100% ave.).

He said the workshop was mainly aimed at focusing on the importance of placement tests as measures of student proficiency levels as well as determinants of curriculum delivery, academic development interventions and student success.

WSU Extended Curricular Programmes (ECP) Coordinator Thabile Loqo said the report was a rude awakening that needed quick and immediate attention from all stakeholders concerned with academic development.

CETAP tabled, in this regard, a rather damning report wherein the organization had analyzed the student proficiency levels of the University’s 2016 first-year

By Thando Cezula



A love for telling tales recently saw a WSU student put pen to paper and publish a fictional novel chronicling the tragic end to one woman’s tumultuous journey amidst a muck of strife and uncertainty. Titled “To The Bitter End”, 28-year-old Mbizana-born Psychology (Honours) student Simcelile Rubela’s debut offering traverses from bitter start to bitter end the unenviable story of Betty Dlamini, a young girl who, together with her younger brother Thando, is orphaned after her mother’s death and abandonment by her father. “The title is very appropriate as it represents the attitude of the protagonist to fight through difficult conditions in order to achieve what she wants to achieve. This story represents the struggles of the majority of young people, especially in our former Transkei region. It resonates with the target audience and it is meant to inspire them,” says Rubela. After being taken in by her grandmother, Betty virtually single-handedly cares for the household, nursing her ailing guardian and nurturing her younger sibling. A 20-year-old WSU student outfought, outthought and outmuscled his way to collect first prize at a karate tournament held in Zimbabwe in August. Anele Madlala, a BSc chemistry student at the University’s Mthatha campus, represented South Africa with great honour as he reigned supreme in the under 67kg category at the annual All Africa Karate Tournament held in Harare. He was one of four WSU students selected in a 20-man Proteas University team that squared up against teams from Zimbabwe and Malawi. The team was made up of competitors who’d triumphed in the University Sports South Africa (USSA) Games held in March 2016.

Eventually, the inevitability of a chance to attend University eventually comes to pass, and forces Betty to make the hard but necessary decision to leave her family and go to the University of Transkei to pursue her studies in an effort of loosen the tight grip poverty has on her family and community. Rubela’s anecdotal account, which he began in August and finished in December 2015, has gone down so well with the market that he’s been invited to talks, at numerous media platforms, including SAFM, Power FM, Cliff Central. His biggest achievement yet however, he hastens to highlight, was at the launch of the book at the WSU Mthatha Campus. “That day just laid bare the fruits that I’ve worked so hard for – it was quite emotional.” “I urge anyone with a burning desire and ability to pen something down on a paper to do it, and difficulties of the publishing industry must never discourage them because technology has made it possible for self-publishers to spread their

WORDSMITH: Simcelile Rubela’s debut offering is available upon order

work to the world without succumbing to constraints created deliberately to keep us out of the creative economy,” said Rubela. He attributes some of his prowess to the literature and English subjects which he took during his undergraduate studies. By ????


“Not only was I representing my country, but I had to make sure that I carry and wave the WSU flag high as well. This was a great outlet for me to hone my managerial skills,” she said.

“Of course this goes with accessibility to basic equipment and enhancement of infrastructure to enable our sport to attract numbers, and thus grow the sport,” she said.

Ntongana, herself a brown belt, encouraged students to participate in karate because of its positive influences in terms of promoting a healthy lifestyle, discipline, self-defence skills, and spirituality.

WSU’s three other competitors added to the medal tally, with ladies Zinhle Nhlumayo (3rd in under 55 kg), Ziyanda Sityatha (2nd place in under 65 kg) and Xolelwa Fulinzima (2nd place in ladies Open division).

“The competition was tough, with technically and tactically gifted opponents making for interesting rivalries. So I had to draw on all my limited experience and employ the tactical and technical training the coach had taught me,” said Madlala. An ecstatic Madlala, who only took up Karate in 2005 because of his inefficiencies as a footballer, said he felt proud to have represented WSU, on such a grand scale. WSU sports administrator and team manager Yonela Ntongana said the tournament contributed handsomely to her expertise as a sports manager.

SQUARING UP: WSU’s Karateka team that represented the Proteas in Zimbabwe 17



Cries of elation reverberated from the WSU’s Chiselhurst Site canteen in East London as students cheered on their peers at the IT department’s academic awards held recently.

WSU BTech Fine Art students opened their annual exhibition with mind-arresting pieces at the Ann Bryant Gallery in recently. The spiritual and culturally conscious works on display reflected on modern-day social confusion in race and religion.

No better motivation could have come for the students ahead of the final exams as over 40 awards, including trophies, medals and certificates were presented to various students for their irrepressible roles and excellence in leadership, academics and service to the department.

Some aesthetic and yet arousing pieces on show included Andisiwe Diko’s “Empty Spaces”, which interrogates people’s internal convictions as a result of South Africa’s dark past, education and social stratification.

“We’ve been through a lot this year as a collective, and to come out on top the way we have shows the spirit and resolve we have as a department to overcome all obstacles. It’s in this spirit that I thank you for giving it your all and never taking your eyes off the ultimate prize, which is to pass the year and progress to the next step,” said departmental head Jose Lukose.

“In my painting and research thesis I showcase different interior spaces. These are the spaces where my ideas of beauty where formed, such as in salons, TV and conversations with my mother,” said Diko.

Final-year student and IT Society Organiser Avile Sibozo praised the initiative’s role in promoting excellence and healthy competition amongst students for the overall elevation of the department’s standards.

“The study contemplates the interface between Christianity and Ukuthwasa, reflecting on how the Xhosa ethnicity has been reformed to accommodate modern society,” Nethi said.

Another captivating collection is that of a talented print artist, Luzuko Nethi, titled Ubizo: A combination of rituals and healing practices of traditional healers and those of the Zion Christian Church.

Phila Phaliso’s thought provoking ceramics work titled Crippled Minds explored the relationships between genders using a bullfighting analogy. “These relationships are defined by power,” she said.

“It’s imperative, in order to maintain and improve standards within the department, to ensure that we reward those that have worked hard throughout the year so as to motivate them to improve and inspire to aim higher,” said Sibozo.

“Given the billions of people around the world with different races and languages, it is inevitable that complex power relationships will spill over to other sexual orientations,” Phaliso added.

An ecstatic Phaphani Tyatya, a third-year student who sits on the society executive as treasurer said he regarded positive academic performance a critical and necessary attribute in any leader’s armoury so as to lead a constituency by example.

The students’ work was assessed by two external moderators to ensure the standard of art is of industry quality. “I love precision and emotions that have been put into the works. A lot of work was put into these pieces as best as they could. And that is all that one need to do; to do the best you can, as you can,” said student supervisor, Dr John Steel. The exhibition ran until 16 November.

A top achiever in the Project Management 3 category, Tyatya said he was completely overwhelmed by the award. “This prize makes me realise and appreciated the old adage of hard work pays off. I’m truly humbled and motivated at the same time to do more achieve my goals, and hopefully inspire others in the process,” he said.

By Sinawo Hermans

By Thando Cezula

FRUITS OF OUR LABOUR: BCC IT students proudly display their trophies following exceptional academic performances this year 18



STANDING READY: WSU All Blacks are ready for whatever awaits them in next year’s Varsity Shield competition An impromptu ‘Haka’ sees WSU’s premier rugby side, the All Blacks, pump themselves up, shouting scorpion-bite like induced incoherent ramblings of madmen - a sight that invokes pride and confidence in any onlooker looking forward to the 2017 FNB Varsity Shield rugby competition.

completed in October and thus lessened in intensity. He says the focus has shifted in the pre-season to the more technical and tactical aspects of the game, with more attention being dedicated to on-field related sessions like skills coaching, modified games, patterns of play, and again, highly intense conditioning.

It’s an October morning, the excitement, though guarded amidst on-going final exams, is palpable and the eagerness written in the eyes of the young men congregated at the University’s Potsdam Site for a photo session ahead of the looming deadline for submission of players’ head and shoulders shots to competition officials.

“After exams we will be going to the in-season where our major focus will be on full contact with more skills work, more intricate patterns of play, after which, in January 2017, will be playing friendly matches against the likes of Nelson Mandela University, Central University of Technology and Rhodes University. We are in the process of negotiating these warm-up fixtures,” says Metula.

As the last player dusts himself off to have his picture taken, his teammate, half-dressed, swings his rugby jersey around and breaks out into song and is duly joined by a bass and tenor devoid of any coherence or technical ability – but the cohesion in spirit and hunger is unmistakable.

He says the team has nothing to lose and everything to gain going into the tournament, from personal and team development to the exposure and experienced to be gained in the semi-professional set-up that the tournament is organised with. Metula makes a reassurance that the WSU All Blacks will play hard, impassioned and attractive rugby that will gain the University respect and exposure.

“As you can clearly see, the boys are rearing to go come Varsity Shield 2017. The spirit is there, the talent is abundant, and the passion and drive is irrepressible. We will make WSU proud,” says team coach Sipho Metula. He is quick to credit and attribute the current successes to “warriors” that have left it all on the field and proven instrumental in laying the platform for the current crop to display their talent in.

“We’re not going there to merely make up the numbers. We are there to fight for every inch to ensure that we do ourselves and the University proud. We are there to challenge for the title,” concludes.

“It is a great feeling not only for me as the coach, but the entire coaching staff of WSU across campuses, not forgetting the players, especially those that have laid the platform for this team to be the true champions that have put WSU on the map by working very hard to achieving all the goals that we’ve set for them,” adds Metula. He eases doubts and concerns by assuring that preparations are on track, with off-season training that concentrated on conditioning having been recently slightly

A mammoth task awaits the All Blacks as they’ll be pitted against the likes of Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Rhodes University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Fort Hare, University of Kwazulu Natal, and the University of the Western Cape. By Thando Cezula


Traditional wear proved the most apt mode of dress at the Joan Broster Collection launch

WSU Mthatha Campus hospitality students impeccably dressed

BCC rector Dr Prince Jaca with the Department of Science, Engineering and Technology dean Dr Siswana during Arbor Day WSU Council chairperson Judge Nambitha Dambuza

WSU 2016

A BTech IT student cuts a stern figure as he receives an academic award for his dedication. With him is a staffer within the department

WSU together with the EC health department opened the Lusikisiki Health Resource Centre amidst great fanfare WSU sports enthusiasts braved the cold to show their support to their counterparts who took part at the SAUSSA Games hosted by the institution 20

Issue 34 nov 2016  

The latest in WSU's official newsletter, Pulse.

Issue 34 nov 2016  

The latest in WSU's official newsletter, Pulse.