Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Celebrating graduate success

CPUT’s Autumn Graduation series kicks off today and the first ceremony will be a celebration of graduates in the Faculty of Informatics and Design.

 The faculty is celebrating the success of 665 graduands, including three doctoral graduands during two ceremonies today.

The trio includes Laizah Mutasa who had to face several challenges on her journey to completing her PhD in Informatics.

“It was a challenging process to complete my degree during the pandemic. Everything changed, I had to do my proposal defence to the department and faculty virtually and all consultations with my supervisor were also done on Zoom. I also had to deal with losing relatives, work colleagues and friends to the pandemic which made the journey even more difficult. However, the weekly online research forums led by my supervisor, Prof (Tiko) Iyamu were helpful as I was able to get support from other students who attended the forums,” said Mutasa.

Her thesis is titled: Integration of an e-health system within the e-governance framework in a developing country.

Mutasa is a Senior Lecturer at International University of Management, Namibia.

Jane Nelisa Freitas. who was supervised by Prof Johannes Cronje, will be awarded a DTech: Information Technology.

Her thesis is titled: A mixed methods intervention to enhance the mathematics capability of first year Information Technology students at a university of technology.

She said the most challenging part of her journey was the writing of a journal article, having to keep making corrections, “being rejected and having to motivate myself never to give up”.

Freitas is a health care administrator and part-time planner for the City of Mölndal home care unit in Sweden and hopes to complete another doctorate, this time in business.

Completing the trio is Monica Di Ruvo, Head of the Faculty’s Applied Design Department, who will be awarded the degree DTech: Design during the second ceremony of the day.

Her thesis is titled:  Towards resilience in South African craft enterprises, from Design theory to craft practice and her supervisor is Prof Johannes Cronje.

The recipient of the Dean’s medal is Michelle De Kock who is graduating with a Diploma in Architectural Technology.

De Kock, who was born in George and attended Outeniqua High School obtained distinctions in all 15 subjects of the qualification and passes summa cum laude.

*The faculty will be honouring all its graduates receiving postgraduate qualifications during a special robing ceremony tomorrow night.

In an effort to build on and explore partnerships and capacity building in the field of space, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) Space Science and Technology (SST) Chief Directorate and the Department of Defence (DoD) visited the Space facility infrastructure in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (FEBE) recently.

The two government departments were at CPUT to conceptualise and co-design space programmes that are relevant to the national imperatives and societal needs.  The delegation also included delegations from the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and Armscor.

In his welcoming speech,  Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, said: “We acknowledged that the challenges facing the global community are getting more complex and interdependent and thus global partnership between universities, business, industry and government are essential elements for the success of any institution.  Partnership/collaboration, however, is not a given, collaborate or collapse,” Nhlapo continued.

“The facility you are visiting today owes its success to the CPUT, DSI, The French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) that was jointly developed by French and South African Governments, National Research Foundation (NRF) and SANSA.”

The Vice-Chancellor emphasised that it is a mandate of the institution to produce adaptable graduates who are solution driven and can respond to socio-economic challenges. Nhlapo further reiterated the importance of collapsing the boundaries within collaborations to strengthen strategic partnerships and initiatives. He said these can be achieved through continuous engagements with various stakeholders. “We managed to look beyond the hype and mania associated with 4IR (not to mention fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Nhlapo said universities cannot protect jobs which are made redundant by technology – “but they do have a responsibility to their people”. “Protect people (upskilling) not jobs,” he remarked.

“If technology is killing jobs, then it is only technology [that] can save them.  It is the new equation, and we must solve it.”

Research Technology Innovation and Partnerships Assistant Dean, Prof Veruscha Fester and Dr Angus Brandt – FSATI/ASIC, provided an overview of the FEBE and Satellite Programme. Acting Chief Engineer, Nyameko Royi facilitated a tour of the space facilities.

SST Chief Director, Humbulani Mudau acknowledged the continuous partnership DSI has with CPUT. Mudau pointed out that they brought DoD, SANSA and Armscor to allow the opportunity to engage with engineering to understand CPUT requirements. Manager Research Uptake: Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships, Dr Nelisiwe E. Maleka, added that the key message from the engagements “was that creating access to space and building viable indigenous programme is critical for our country”. “Therefore, a need exists to create opportunities within the field of space and explore other ways of increasing SMMEs [small, micro, and medium enterprises], business development and entrepreneurship. Meanwhile SANSA acting CEO, Andiswa Mlisa, said: “More women should be encouraged to join the field of space because transformation is key.”

 It is envisaged that this is a continuing and progressive partnerships between delegates and CPUT.

The second round of CPUT’s Vooma vaccination campaign saw close to 2 000 people receiving their vaccinations at pop-up sites on the various campuses as well as the vaccination centre in Bellville.

Vaccination Manager Benjamin de Waal said 1 992 people were vaccinated including 813 at the pop-up sites and 1179 at the Bellville centre. 

He said much of the success of the campaign hinged on the efforts of Melanie Swanson, Head of the HIV/Aids unit, and their team of peer educators. The campaign was also supported by the Central SRC.

Swanson said that as the head of the HIV/AIDS Unit, she coordinated all the off-campus Vooma vaccination drives to ensure the successful execution thereof.

“The HIV/AIDS Unit team, including peer educators, played a key role in terms of the social mobilising of students to participate in the vaccination programme. We used a similar model we had used in the past for the HIV testing and health screening at our campuses and campus residences. This has proven to work well in the past as well as now for the vaccination drive.”

She added that the HIV/AIDS Unit has also played an important role in terms of PPE (personal protective equipment) supply and monitoring compliance thereof.

The HIV/AIDS Unit initiated the following:

  • Engaged student leadership on a one on one basis regarding the importance of the vaccination programme and involved them throughout the whole campaign. Swanson said they played an outstanding and supportive role in these endeavours.
  • Regularly shared Covid-19 and vaccination information about the campaigns on all their social media platforms (CPUT HIV/AIDS Unit)
  • Initiated a TikTok vaccination competition where students were invited to use educational and creative ways to record their own vaccinations via TikTok. The top four creative TikToks were selected and posted on their social media page. The broader student population selected the best TikTok. These TikToks were viewed more than 5000 times and more than 1000 likes and over 600 comments were received. These are now used on their social media pages to educate students about the importance of being vaccinated.
  • Bulk SMSs per campus were sent to announce the campaigns.
  • Branded shopper bags were distributed to each student who got vaccinated. This consisted of a 16 GB flash drive / EarPods, health information, condoms, leaflets and services offered to students. To date 3 000 shopper bags have been distributed through these campaigns.
  • Vaccinated peer educators were trained on how to mobilise their peers to get vaccinated. Each campus has a representation of peer educators who actively promoted the Vooma Vaccination Drive including door to door visits at residences.
  • Another important factor was having a DJ playing music enjoyed by students. This was a very good drawing card.
  • CSRC provided a lunch pack at Mowbray campus for each student who got vaccinated.
  • On one of the days at D6 a healthy snack was provided to those who got vaccinated
  • A Q&A regarding the vaccination drive that was distributed at almost all campus residences.
  • Bulk printed Vooma Vaccination flyers that announced the different campaign dates and a lucky draw of R5000 that should be announced.
  • During registration, while students waited for their student cards, the unit used the opportunity to engage them.

Peer educators group leader at D6 campus, Siliziwe Nomnqa said it was fun to participate in the campaign and it was well received by students.

“We’ve been talking about vaccination; we’ve been engaging with our peers and I think that’s also the reason why they (students) came in numbers because they now understand what vaccination is.”

The Executive Director in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Driekie Hay-Swemmer, has been re-elected for a third term to serve on the Board of Directors of the Golden Key (GK) International Society.

Golden Key International Honour Society is the world's largest collegiate honour society for graduate and undergraduate students and has strong relationships with over 400 universities around the world.

“I feel indeed honoured as it does not often happen that one is elected for three terms of office. There are so many good people out there who have a wealth of wisdom and knowledge to contribute. Like in the previous terms of office, I learnt a lot about best practices in international corporate governance, the judiciary responsibilities of non-executive directors, especially serving on a non-profit organisation, the importance of ethical and service leadership. By interacting with colleagues across the globe I hope to learn more from them,” said Hay-Swemmer.

She became an honorary member of Golden Key in 2007, based on merit and her contributions towards building the leadership skills of students. 

At the University of the Free State, she served for six years as the Golden Key Chapter Advisor with great distinction.  During this period, the Free State Chapter received several golden awards, based on their contributions to excel in leadership, academically and in community engagement.

In 2015 she was elected to serve as a member of the Golden Key board and her consequent re-election for three full terms – a total of 10 years, will terminate in 2025.  

She is currently the person who represents all universities in South Africa and occasionally serves as a sounding board for the SA Regional Director.

Being involved in service activities has always been a major part of her life.

Hay-Swemmer said her experiences, from serving in advising capacities on both the national and international board, taught her the importance of proper governance principles, ethical lead institutions and to never compromise herself.

“I am the kind of person who would like to see individuals and communities’ lifestyles improving, that they are well looked after and that they have hope.”

She believes that the more you get involved the more you gain.

“There is no doubt that involvement in the chapter committees leads to special experiences and opens processes of thought and learning that would otherwise not be possible in an ordinary academic programme.”

She added that experiences like the service activities offered through Golden Key leave an indelible mark on the thinking of the bright young people that join.

“Two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans GK held an international summit there. Our service project was to help the elderly whose houses had been completely flooded and who had lost all their possessions in the flooding. When they were forced to go back to their old homes which had been lifted off their foundations and shifted by five to 15° by the power of the water, they were too poor to be able to recreate what they had lost. The GK participants at that summit descended upon the area in various working groups. The 600 plus students and a small number of advisers restored overgrown gardens, carried out essential maintenance inside houses, painted and rebuilt damaged parts of homes, but above all through their enthusiasm and warmth gave those left in this area a new sense of hope.”

She encourages students to join Golden Key.  

“Membership entitles students to include the fact that they are in the top 15% of performing students in the range of degrees for which they are registered. This marks them out as potentially high performing future employees. In addition, their involvement in the activities of the GK chapters helps to imbue in them the ethos of service, the importance of leadership, and the beauty of enriching their minds through their academic excellence.

Hay-Swemmer said her dream was that CPUT students will make use of the opportunity “and I would love to get involved as a mentor for our Chapter Advisor”.

Defending champions FNB CPUT have secured their place in the Varsity Shield semi-finals.

The team scored five tries against the FNB WSU All Blacks on Friday to claim a 31-5 bonus-point victory.

 FNB CPUT made their attacking intentions clear from the outset of this contest. An unrelenting approach at the gain line – which was well complemented by the sharp decision-making of flyhalf Feghorn-Leigh Snyders – yielded four tries and the bonus point before half-time.

 The All Blacks fought hard to stay in the game. Their discipline let them down in the latter stages, though, as Thembani Kori and Dale Titus were sent to the sin bin. The bonus-point win sees FNB CPUT leapfrogging FNB UKZN Impi and finishing second in the FNB Varsity Shield standings.

FNB Varsity Shield Round 7 results and scorers:

FNB WSU All Blacks 5 (5) – Try: Khanya Solani.

FNB CPUT 31 (24) – Tries: Keanan Solomons, Keenan Williams, Feghorn-Leigh Snyders, Björkan Hendricks, Ché Klaasen. Conversions: Snyders (3).

FNB Player That Rocks: Ché Klaasen (FNB CPUT)

FNB UFH Blues 26 (8) – Tries: Ryan Maree, Kamvelihle Fatyela (2), Apiwe Sidloyi. Penalties: Keith Chiwara (2).


FNB Player That Rocks: Kamvelihle Fatyela (FNB UFH Blues)

 FNB TUT Vikings 10 (10) – Try: Laro Delport. Conversion: Ayabulela Koza. Penalty: Koza.

FNB Rhodes 11 (11) – Try: Uzuqaqambe Nyanda. Penalties: Jano Roux (2).
Note: Match abandoned at half-time due to lightning

Don’t miss the FNB Varsity Shield semi-finals at Fort Hare’s Davidson Rugby Field next Thursday. Both matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Semi-finals (Thursday, 14 April)

  • FNB CPUT vs FNB UKZN Impi (17:00, Davidson Rugby Field, SuperSport channel 207)
  • FNB UFH Blues vs FNB WSU All Blacks (19:15, Davidson Rugby Field, SuperSport channel 207)

Click here for fixtures, results and log.

Written by Varsity Shield

Friday, 08 April 2022

FNB CPUT to face FNB WSU today

Round 7 of the FNB Varsity Shield is scheduled for this afternoon and defending champions FNB CPUT will be facing the FNB WSU All Blacks.

Kick-off is at 17h00 at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane (East London) and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport channel 207.

The other round 7 games are as follow:

FNB UFH Blues vs FNB DUT (15:00, Sisa Dukashe Stadium, SuperSport channel 207)
FNB TUT Vikings vs FNB Rhodes (17:00, TUT Stadium)

Round 7 marks the end of the round-robin phase of the competition and the top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals.

The semi-finals are scheduled for April 14 and the final for April 22.

Click here for fixtures and logs.

Wednesday, 06 April 2022

CPUT awarded 20 000 pounds grant

Dr Michael Twum-Darko, BIIC project manager is over the moon after the Business Innovation and Incubation Centre won a grant of GBP 20 000 to implement a community-building programme.

The Business Innovation and Incubation Centre (BIIC) has won a grant of GBP 20 000 to implement a community-building programme called Inclusive Technopreneurship Forum/Conference (ITF). The ITF is intended to bring African universities together in 2022 to share research output, learning, teaching and assessment experiences as well as community engagement activities to develop African graduates to become technopreneurs.

This is an additional grant to the GBP 100, 000 granted to the BIIC to implement an inspiring-based pedagogy to develop graduates as technopreneurs – sustainable inclusive industry-linked graduates technopreneurship development infrastructure. This CPUT/ Faculty of Business and Management Sciences /BIIC initiated projects with Manchester Metropolitan University (as a United Kingdom partner) and Snake Nation (Ecosystem Partner) have received global recognition.

While each participating Innovation for African Universities (IAU) stakeholder will feature on the ITF programme flyer CPUT and Manchester Metropolitan University remain the convener and organiser Institutes, respectively to ensure a responsible sustainability plan in the foreseeable future. The ITF was designed using the International Conference on Business and Management Dynamics framework, and the co-partners are Durban University of Technology , Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), University of Venda , Kenyatta University (Kenya) and Industry partners from FinTech, GovTech, WineTech and Telco global players.

“We have already received enquiry from leading publishing houses in UK to publish the proceedings of ITF,” said Dr Michael Twum-Darko, BIIC project manager.

However, CPUT and Manchester Metropolitan University remain the convener and organiser institutes respectively to ensure a responsible sustainability plan in the foreseeable future.

Dean of Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Prof Paul Green, said the grant was some exciting news which is aligned to Vision 2030 of One Smart CPUT.

Industry and ecosystem partners will be invited to participate and sponsor the annual ITF . Future editions of the annual ITF will be planned at least two years in advance to mitigate any potential risks associated with it. Technical and non-technical keynote speakers wil be invited to the ITF.

A dedicated database and email updates subscription will be explored to establish the world’s first inclusive technopreneurship community of practice (ITCoP) that works collaboratively with the IAU CoP.