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The Faculty of Informatics and Design is celebrating the success of two academics today, both of whom were awarded their doctorates during Monday afternoon’s ceremony.

Nicholas Pinfold, from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, was awarded a Doctor of Applied Arts in Design. His thesis is titled Testing middle ground: Facilitating community transition to sustainable land governance.

His supervisor was Prof Masilonyane Mokhele.

Veronica Barnes from the Department of Applied Design was awarded a DTech Design. The title of her thesis is: Empathy in practice: A grounded theory in Industrial Design.

Her supervisors were Prof LJ Theo and Dr Vikki Eriksson.

Pinfold said doing his doctorate had been thrilling and demanding “with deep reflection and unwavering dedication”.

“I believe finishing my doctorate is a significant way to wrap things up considering I will be retiring next year.”

He expressed his “sincere appreciation and indebtedness” to Mokhele, “for his unfailing interest and his ever-ready guidance and advice throughout my research”.

Pinfold said he spent the initial twenty-five years of his career, working in both the public and private sectors within the geomatics profession before embarking on a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State.

He joined CPUT in 2008.

He said given his academic focus on community engagement, the most rewarding aspect of his journey has been contributing to the development of communal settlements in the Western Cape.

“Community engagement stands as one of the three foundational pillars of higher education in South Africa, alongside research and teaching/learning. I have found great satisfaction in integrating these pillars, through my research in community engagement, and conducting service-learning projects within the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.”

Barnes said completing doctoral studies is a test of endurance, and “a testament to your support network who need to carry you often”.

“I am so grateful for the care I received from my family and friends during this studying period.”

She said studying part-time while continuing her duties as an academic brought its challenges.

“When studying part time as an academic with classes of students, those real people easily demand the best of your attention and it's difficult to prioritise your own studies. However, I love discovering new things, and this is what research is all about. My topic related to empathy and design was vague, contentious and troublesome, and wrangling with that intricacy was very satisfying ultimately (even though it often felt awful in the middle).”

She said her supervisors were excellent at asking difficult questions, which she appreciated.

Graduation is always a family affair, but this morning, a mother and daughter couldn't be prouder of one another as the duo walked across the stage, being awarded their Advanced Diplomas in Human Resource Management Department together.

Nomvuyo Nkani, Secretary at the Department of Maritime Studies & Survival Centre and her daughter, Pamela, have always been close. The pair are part of the 2024 CPUT Autumn Graduation series, which is celebrating the success of 6 373 undergraduates and 735 postgraduates during 14 ceremonies, which started this morning and conclude on 26 April.

Nomvuyo raised Pamela alone since her daughter was five years old, so they've shared “a lot together” but never expected to share this milestone. They've been studying hard during their time at CPUT and now they're getting matching Advanced Diplomas, Human Resource Development for Nomvuyo and Human Resource Management for Pamela.

Nomvuyo said she never studied for a university degree then back in the day, but her daughter gave her the inspiration she needed. In 2016, Nomvuyo enrolled for her Diploma in Office Management. “Juggling the responsibilities of being a full-time working single mother of two while also studying was incredibly challenging. I faced various obstacles, including having to repeat some modules, but through perseverance and hard work, I completed my diploma in December 2020 and graduated in April 2021.”

In 2022, she enrolled for the Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Development, despite encountering similar difficulties, Nomvuyo who was born in Qumbu, Eastern Cape managed to complete the programme in 2023.

Meanwhile, Pamela, 21 started her schooling at Athlone North Primary school and completed her matric at Wittebome High school in 2019. In 2020, she enrolled for a Diploma in Human Resource Management and graduated in April 2023 at CPUT. After that she enrolled for the Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management, which she just completed.

“To be where I am today took a lot of discipline, dedication and my respect for my mother, because I know how hard she worked to provide me the life that I have and by me working so hard is a sign of respect to her but also a sign of respect to myself. Knowing that I can stay disciplined for the things that I want for myself, knowing I have the will and the drive to persevere and having so much discipline that peer pressure didn’t affect my outcome in life,” Pamela reflects.

Her mother says: “Reaching my educational milestones has been particularly gratifying, affirming my abilities and fostering a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment. Each of these experiences has imparted valuable lessons and chances for self-exploration, profoundly shaping my journey.”

Asked about studying with her first child, Nomvuyo says, most of the time, their school schedules matched up. “So, we would regularly remind each other about submission deadlines and check in on each other's progress. It often felt like she [Pamela] was the one supporting me the most. She'd barge into my room and catch me napping, making a fuss, and questioning if that's how I envisioned my future. ‘Wake up, there are no free cattle in the bush,’ she'd say. Despite initially feeling annoyed, I appreciated her encouragement and would get back to studying.”

They always have a friendly relationship. “My mom had me when she was only 20 years old, so in a way we kind of grew up together, learning things together and growing together. We have to keep in mind that we are all doing this life thing for the first time, we might get it wrong a few times but eventually everything will fall into place.”

Talking about graduating with her mother, Pamela says: “It is an indescribable feeling. Knowing where my mom and I started, this achievement seemed so out of reach. Had you asked me this when I was in my primary/high school journey I would have laughed in your face. But now that we are actually here, and it is happening. It’s a joy that is indescribable, a joy that is warm, a joy that makes you smile at random moment which will have you looking like a crazy person, it’s a joy filled with love, a joy filled with gratitude, a joy filled with admiration and lastly a joy filled with endless possibilities.”

Her modest mother says: “I feel extraordinary, like a woman of great value. Achieving milestones like this is incredibly rare, and not every mother gets the chance to experience such a remarkable and thrilling event. I'm ecstatic beyond words.”

To strengthen the Wellington Campus and CPUT’s presence, image, contribution and impact in Wellington and its immediate environment, the Campus recently formed an Advisory Committee, comprising strategic stakeholders and community leaders.

The purpose of the Wellington Campus Advisory Committee is to receive advice from strategic stakeholders within the community to contribute to the future of the Wellington Campus, increase its footprint and enhance its relevance and sustainability, as well as ensure the safety of the Wellington community at large. The committee is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo and members comprise of deans of faculties represented in Wellington (Faculty of Applied Sciences with Department of Agriculture, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences with Tourism and Business Administration departments and Faculty of Education), heads of departments of these faculties, and senior staff members from the campus.

Members from the Wellington community include representation from Wellington schools, museum, the Breytenbach Centre, agriculture sector, safety and security, local government, and local communities.

“This is still a work in progress and we are learning as we go along,” said Assistant Dean: Faculty of Education, Prof Hanli Dippenaar.

Dippenaar said the meetings are held twice annually, in the first and fourth terms of a particular year, on the Wellington Campus. “Particularly interesting at the recent meeting was the official signing of a Service-Learning Agreement with our project partners, Drakenstein Correctional Services. “

“This was an auspicious event and the beginning of further collaboration between CPUT and our correctional Services.”

She said seven years ago (2016), a seed was planted, ironically during the fees must fall campaign.

“Drakenstein Correctional Services (DCS) was approached by Dr Chris Hattingh and Dr Ivan November to offer off campus facilities for Education students to write their exams. From that first collaboration, grew an exciting future partnership, despite the backlash of COVID 19. Currently students are tutoring at the Hawequa Correctional Facility and more projects are in the pipeline with Human Movement Studies and reading programmes.”

The Head of the Centre for Business Innovation and Incubation (BiiC) and Acting Head of the Graduate Centre for Management (GCM), Prof Michael Twum-Darko has been appointed as one of the lead strategic partners for the Africa Tourism Innovation Hub (ATIH).

The Hub is one of the key outcomes of the 2022 Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge, hosted by the Namibian Government under the leadership of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT).

Pioneered by the Africa Tourism Partners (ATP), the ATIH is a physical and virtual hub established in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Durban University of Technology, Namibia University of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism (Namibia) and Cornell University. “As a pan-African initiative, the hub has evolved as a key outcome and implementable project of the Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge. This initiative, which commenced in Durban, South Africa, in 2019, has since been hosted in various African nations, including Rwanda, Ghana, and Namibia,” said Twum-Darko. He said the main goal of the ATIH is to further technological innovation among start-ups within Africa's travel and tourism sector, drive youth employability, and stimulate tourism entrepreneurship development.

Twum-Darko who established the BiiC in 2019, said he felt “honoured to have become one of the lead strategic partners and Director of ATIH to contribute to operationalise the hub’s operations as to tangibly mainstream its programmes. He will be presenting the master plan of the Hub to the 2024 Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and Challenge in Windhoek, Namibia from 29 May to 1 June 2024.

CPUT will be rolling out the red carpet for more than 7 000 graduands during next week’s autumn graduation series.

The University will be celebrating the success of 6 373 undergraduates and 735 postgraduates during 14 ceremonies, which are scheduled to start on 22 April and conclude on 26 April.

On Thursday, an honorary doctorate will be conferred on Desiree Ellis, whose significant achievements as a professional sportsperson and Head Coach of the South African women’s football team, Banyana Banyana, has positioned her at the top of the African and global sport fraternity.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Chris Nhlapo said graduation ceremonies are the highlight of the academic year because they are an opportunity to celebrate your years of hard work.

“You have made a success of your time at CPUT and now you are an inspiration to others who may consider a university education because they saw you succeed. Your CPUT family is very proud of you. For many, the road to this point has been challenging, and it will have taken immense grit to not only finish your course but excel.”

The ceremonies will be broadcast live via CPUT’s YouTube channel.

Thursday, 18 April 2024

CPUT hosts eNCA Townhall Debate

CPUT hosted the live broadcast of eNCA’s Townhall Election Debate, the first in a series which the news channel is airing ahead of the 2024 General Elections.

Prof JJ Tabane host of eNCA’s popular Power To Truth hosted the lively debate, which was held at the Auditorium, Bellville Campus and saw political leaders in the Western Cape having to answer tough questions on their election promises.

This included questions around education, jobs, the economy, crime and several other pertinent issues.

The panel members were Alan Winde (DA), Brett Herron (Good Party), Ferlon Christians (ACDP), Cameron Dugmore (ANC) and Dr Corné Mulder (FF Plus).

Audience members included CPUT staff members and students, several of whom had the opportunity to pose their questions to the panel and the 90-minute debate got heated at times, as panel members tried to state their case.

eNCA Managing Editor John Bailey thanked CPUT for hosting the event, which was lauded as a success.

“We salute you for your professionalism, efficiency and commitment to ensure that our first 2024 elections Townhall Debate was a big success. Thank you to all involved.”

The Townhall Debate series will now travel to other universities and provinces.

Thursday, 18 April 2024

Lecturer wins best PhD paper award

A lecturer in the Department of Medical Imaging and Therapeutic Sciences recently received the best PhD paper award at the International Conference of Work Integrated Learning (WIL24).

The conference hosted by University West, Sweden, in collaboration with Central University of Technology, took place earlier this month and Diagnostic Radiography lecturer, Yanda Peter won the award for her paper titled: Professional socialisation of diagnostic radiography students at a higher education institution in South Africa.

Her supervisors are Prof Penelope Engel-Hills and Dr Kathleen Naidoo.

Peter, who joined CPUT eight years ago, said she was very surprised when she was announced as the winner.

“It gives me joy and a sense of fulfilment and encouragement to know that my research made an impact at such a prestigious international conference with attendees and participants from various professions.”

She added: “I’m grateful to my supervisors for their guidance, support and motivation.”