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Monday, 16 January 2023

CIRAD delegation visits CPUT

In an effort to foster partnership with Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), CPUT recently hosted a CIRAD delegation , through the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Governance and Economics for Water and Sanitation Sector Institutions.

In a space of two weeks, CPUT met with two delegations from CIRAD, France. The main objectives of the meetings were to further exchange ideas concerning the Research Chair, led by Prof Bongani Ncube, and to discuss other potential areas of collaboration with CPUT. In the first meeting, CPUT representatives, Ncube, Prof Veruscha Fester, Prof Karabo Shale and Dr Elma Maleka met with Dr Jean Marc Bouvet, the CIRAD Regional Director for Southern Africa and Madagascar, and Representative of INRAE and Prof Damien Jourdain of CIRAD UMR G-EAU and the University of Pretoria.

Ncube said the meeting was a follow-up on the development of an institutional partnership, which was already in an advanced stage. During the meeting, Ncube gave a presentation on the Research Chair, followed by Prof Fester (Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment) and Prof Shale ( Faculty of Applied Sciences), who both presented overviews of their respective faculties. Bouvet presented an overview of CIRAD, emphasising the importance of water and how it needs to be managed well. Other potential partnership areas were also discussed. Director: Research Directorate, Prof Dina Burger joined the meeting online and also echoed the importance of water, touching on the water-energy links with sustainability, health and economics.

In the second meeting, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor;Reseatch Technology Innovation and Partnerships, Dr David Phaho, paid a courtesy call to the president and CEO of CIRAD, Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin and Dr Philippe Petithuguenin the CIRAD Director of Research and Strategy. Dr Phaho was accompanied by Ncube and Shale.

Ncube summarised the content of the partnership document that is already under development. She said: “The meeting received a positive response, with Petithuguenin assuring the CPUT delegation that the CIRAD was happy to strengthen collaboration, and that water governance is a relevant topic, which had a regional dimension and they gave their support,” said Ncube.

“The work fits well with the CIRAD priorities focusing on knowledge, innovation and impact. There were also brief discussions around further collaboration in food technology/ food processing and they were happy to facilitate further visits to France.”

The Faculty of Business and Management Sciences (FBMS) recently launched the HoD (Head of Department) Capacitation Programme, which is designed to assist HODs to manage and lead, to feel empowered and confident to execute their role.

The event was held at Granger Bay Campus. Prof Renitha Rampersad, Assistant Dean: Research & Innovation, provided the opening and the welcoming of guests. Acting Manager: Strategic Initiatives and Projects Andiswa Mrasi and Black Ops Inc. team founder, Sven Wolf, an Alumni of CPUT, Wolf presented the project’s overview. Wolf and Mandy Jones, HOD: Marketing presented the introduction of module 1, then the User trial (HoDs) which was followed by engagements.

Mrasi said: “As a leader and manager in a particular discipline, the head of department is expected to be actively involved with the management, planning, lecturing and research within the department, as well as ensuring that the mission and the strategic objectives of the University are manifested in set objectives executed at a Departmental level.

“The Head of Department plays a vital role in the University leadership, simultaneously having to understand and shape the "big picture" (vision, goals and direction) of the institution while also giving meticulous attention to the details of running a department.”

Mrasi, who is also the leader of the programme, hailed the feedback that they received from all the HoDs who attended the “successful” launch.

The objectives of the programme are:

  • Capacitate newly appointed HoDs.
  • Can be used as a refresher course by existing HoD.
  • Most of the modules are presented by experienced HoDs in the Faculty. This is aimed at ensuring knowledge transfer and retention.
  • Contribute to positioning the university as an employer of choice.
  • Integrate performance development as a leverage to developing and growing staff.

“We have reached a very important milestone, one that speaks to Focus Area 4 of the Vision 2030 and that is Smart Human Capital. With this programme, our intent is clear as the faculty, we want to ensure that every academic department head is well equipped. Afterall, to achieve our bold objectives, we heavily rely on these very academic departments,” Mrasi continued.

“We wish to thank most sincerely Black Ops Inc. team lead by Mr Sven Wolf for their technical expertise and meeting our demands.”

Lecturer Shamila Sulayman first fell in love with the “beautiful game of rugby” at the age of 11 and her passion and dedication has seen her make her mark in the male-dominated sport.

Last year the freelance radio presenter became the first woman to become president of the Collegians Rugby Club and she was also the first woman to be elected to Western Province (WP) Rugby’s Executive Committee.

Her efforts were recently recognised when she won the Volunteer of the Year Award in the Momentum gsport Awards held at The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg. The gsport Awards are the leading national women’s sport recognition platform.

“It was an absolute honour and a huge privilege to be recognised in this way by gsport when I won the 2022 Volunteer of the Year award. My decades of involvement in rugby and radio sports journalism have been nothing short of amazing! I love serving the communities that I do and I’m thankful and grateful to them for allowing me to do so,” said the Communication Lecturer in the Department of Human Resource Management.

“I often tell my children and students that the accolades and rewards from volunteer work far outweigh any monetary value – to which they normally roll their eyes! This kind of recognition also inspires others to continue to make a difference by serving our communities, whilst unearthing the raw sporting gems that we have within them. “

Reflecting on where her love of the game started, Sulayman said she was 11 when she started watching rugby on TV and later started watching club rugby at the Green Point Track.

“I grew up with three brothers and two cousins who played rugby, but who always kept me out of their rugby conversations, simply because I was a girl! I became even more intrigued and was motivated to learn and know all that I could about the game, fuelling my love and passion for it!”

She said Collegians is the only club she’s ever actively supported for the last 34 years.

Her brothers and cousins played for the club for many years during the late 80s and 90s, as well as her husband, Wajdi, who now assists with coaching the Collegians front rowers.

“Collegians RFC originated from District Six and played in the Western Province Rugby Football Union league at Green Point Track under the auspices of SACOS sport, whose slogan, No Normal Sport in an Abnormal Society, we all ascribed to during apartheid owing to its segregation laws, which kept many of our sporting heroes – of all sporting codes – from participating in provincial, national, and international arenas.“

In 2007 she was invited to serve on Western Province Rugby’s Transformation Committee; a position, which she held for 10 years. In 2017 Sulayman became the first woman in the history of the Western Province Rugby Union to be elected to its executive committee and remains a council member to date.

“My administrative years with Collegians RFC began in 2014, when I was appointed as the club’s secretary. I became the vice-president in 2018, and in another historic moment, became the club’s first female president in its 46-year-old history in November 2021.”

She also works as a freelance radio sports presenter on two shows on Radio 786.

“All of these positions are completely voluntary, driven by passion and serving communities.”

Her journey has however not been without challenges.

“As expected, being a woman in a male-dominated sport like rugby, was never going to be an easy feat, as there were many who were either bemused or simply amused that a woman would dare to enter their bastion, but there were (and are) those who welcomed my involvement, appreciating a fresh female perspective on all matters related to the game. And I was always - and remain driven by my love and passion for the game, whilst providing opportunities for our youth to play rugby and excel at it, leading them to higher honours, both in respect of the game and life, in general. “

She said few women occupy administrative and leadership positions in top-tier rugby.

“ Yet, there are many women who have been serving club rugby in our province for decades and at different levels, whether it is cooking meals for players, being the first aider, the physio, or the doctor, serving administratively as an exco member, covering media, photography, or even leading our clubs (to date, besides Collegians, St Georges RFC in Strand, is the only other rugby club, which is led by a female president). Women and girl’s rugby have also been growing phenomenally, with clubs and schools fielding teams, which feed into the provincial and national set-up. So, with all these girls and women involved in the game, our sporting federations – not only rugby must realise that the time has certainly come for women to take their rightful and earned place in sports leadership and boardrooms.”

Ululations were the order of the day as CPUT and BANKSETA once again showed their commitment boosting students to reach their highest capability when they handed out certificates and tablets to 100 matriculants who were part of the Digital Literacy Project during the BANKSETA Skills for Future Awards ceremony held at Cofimvaba Senior Secondary School recently.

Earlier this year, CPUT launched the Digital Literacy Project with R1.5 million from BANKSETA and Cofimvaba Junior Secondary School, in Cofimvaba, Eastern Cape, was selected because it gave CPUT 102 students in 2022 (30% of their 2021 matriculants). Advancement Department Director, Calvin Maseko said the school is CPUT’s biggest feeder school in the Eastern Cape. He said the project provided digital literacy skills to 100 matriculants and that Bank SETA gave CPUT another R1.5 million to implement the project in 2023.

Maseko said the project was part of BANKSETA’s Skills for the Future Programme. “Skills for the Future aims at providing an opportunity to economically disadvantaged Grade 12 scholars in rural Limpopo and Eastern Cape to acquire demand driven skills such as digital literacy and ICT to enable them to gain entrance in higher education institutions, to pursue careers that support the scarce and critical skills required in the Banking and Alternative Banking Sector in line with BANKSETA Sector Skills Plan, to increase the chances of employability and respond to the urgent need of 4th Industrial Revolution to local and global banking sector.”

The learners acquired skills such as word processing, cybersecurity, digital banking, coding and work readiness. Seventy one percent (71%) of the learners were females.

He said the project was part of the effort of CPUT to increase its footprint in community engagement, whereby the university reaches out to communities and schools where it sources its students to implement community development projects. “CPUT was a project manager, and identified the school, provided the skill and procured the needed material,” Maseko remarked.

Speaking at the event, Dr Kuhle Zwakala, Lecturer: Marketing Department, said CPUT and BANKSETA have a very long relationship. Zwakala said: “We as universities graduate students who do not get jobs and BANKSETA plays a pivotal role in closing that gap and making sure that we produce graduates that have skills that are needed by the industry.”

The Keynote speaker, Nobuzwe Mangcu, Regional Manager, BANKSETA (Eastern Cape), thanked Maseko and his team for keeping their promise to finish the programme by December. “We are looking forward to next year’s programme. We are available if you need funding.”

Mangcu also provided career guidance to a group of leaners present at the fully packed event. Her address to the leaners focused on choices, alternatives, and possibilities at their disposal. She also urged the leaners to stay away from criminal activities while studying as that might negatively affect their future employment ambitions. “Avoid criminal records while studying, otherwise no employment at BANKSETA. Avoid peer pressure and think on your own. You must respect your parents. Make your parents proud because they have sacrificed a lot for you,” Mangcu urged the leaners.

“I beg you not to give up on life.”

The overwhelmed school principal, Naniswa Sabata, said her “transformation values” have been boosted by the CPUT and BANKSETA partnership. “They have added another source of values to what I am pursuing, which is social transformation. Now I have other pillars of strength in changing people’s lives for the better.”

Addressing the learners, Maseko said: “This programme is not only about education but for community development. “We are waiting for you at our university.”

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Interior Design students rake in awards

The 2022 Advanced Diploma in Interior Design class continues to shine and has raked in yet another award – the fifth this year.

Jaime Scholz was recently announced as the winner of the category: “Desk lamps, Floor lamps” in the LIT Lighting Design Awards 2022.

She won this prestigious prize for a floor lamp she designed called KLOK.

Her classmate, Lebogang Raphiri, received an honourable mention in the mood lighting category for the table lamp she designed, called Lesedi. Lesedi, was designed specifically to address users suffering from seasonal affective disorder.

The award is the second Jaime has won this year. She was also recently announced as the winner of the category: Jury’s Favourite in Interior Design – Institutional in the BLT International Built Design Awards.

“I feel honoured to be selected as a winner and I am very grateful to be nominated and motivated to enter these prestigious competitions, by Colleen (Cocotos), our Advanced Diploma in Interior Design, programme coordinator,” said Jaime.

“KLOK is derived from the timeless African sunset. This light clock mimics the sun by supporting the occupants’ circadian rhythm by automatically allowing the colour temperature of the LEDs to adjust to an appropriate day/night setting, in either cool white or warm white. The intention was to innovate a new source of light to merge with a new source of time. KLOK’s timeless design explores a whole new concept, promoting the function of a freestanding clock/ light.”

Senior Lecturer Colleen Cocotos said Jaime’s achievement as winner of the LIT award and Lebogang’s honourable mention for the design of her table lamp, “demonstrates the creativity and innovation of these students in the fields of interior design and lighting product design.”

“The Advanced Diploma in Interior Design class received several wins this year, as they were invested in the enjoyment of the design process. Their goals of achieving improved well-being were met in the outcome of their final products.”

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

FID celebrates postgraduate graduates

The Faculty of Informatics and Design celebrated the success of their Master’s and Doctoral graduates during a robing ceremony on graduation day.

Four Master’s graduates and three Doctoral graduates were honoured during the event where they and their supervisors shared the journey they undertook to graduation day.

Loved ones were given the opportunity to symbolically robe the graduate.

The Information Technology Department’s Prof Johannes Cronjé, said the event also gave the graduates the opportunity to thank their loved ones who supported them during their studies.

Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design, Prof Tembisa Ngqondi, encouraged the graduates to continue on the journey of lifelong learning.

The three doctoral graduates were:

Jolanda De Villiers Morkel (Doctor Technologiae: Design), who was supervised by Cronjé. Her study is titled: An Exploration of the student-tutor interaction in the live online architectural design critique.

Emmanuel Udekwe (Doctor of Philosophy: Informatics), who was supervised by Prof Chux Gervase Iwu, Adjunct Prof Andrè Charles de la Harpe and Prof Justine Olawande Daramola. His study is titled: Effective utilisation of human resource information systems in the South African health sector

Ernest Etim (Doctor of Philosophy: Informatics), who was also supervised by Daramola. His study is titled: e-Readiness of the South African informal sector for electronic portal technology support.

The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment once again demonstrated its commitment in supporting students to achieve their highest potential when it delivered its first woman to graduate with a Doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering.

Nomzamo Tshemese-Mvandaba was one of the PhD candidates from Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment [FEBE) who obtained their Doctoral degrees during the one-day Summer Graduation today, 13 December 2022, at Bellville Campus. Her research title was: Modelling and controller design of a flotation column. Tshemese-Mvandaba’s doctoral study addressed the advanced controller design for a multivariable system. Advanced controllers are needed to address the intricate interactions that characterise complex industrial processes.

Tshemese-Mvandaba who was born in Tsolo, a small town in the Eastern Cape, attributed her success to her late supervisor, Prof Raynitchka Tzoneva. “I have mixed feelings, I am very excited but at the same time I am very emotional right now. I always dreamed that she [Tzoneva] would be here to witness and celebrate with me, however it wasn’t meant to be. We always discussed my future, we both decided that at 35 I must have PhD, and it really happened,” Tshemese-Mvandaba reminisces.

“I believe she is currently looking at this moment from above and congratulating me. Thank you to all my colleagues at DEECE [Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering].”

Tshemese-Mvandaba also acknowledged the role played by her co-supervisor. and colleague. "I would like to thank Dr Mkhululi Mnguni for his dedication and support throughout my work, especially during the writing-up process and when Prof's health started to be a challenge. Last but not least, I thank Dr Carl Kriger for his leadership and the excellent job that he accomplishes today."