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Exciting Orientation Week for First Year students

February 09, 2017

UKZN hosts exciting Orientation Week for first year students.

Winning the annual Ellie Newman Moot Court competition, beating 320 participants by showcasing outstanding legal skills, is a sure sign that fourth-year Law student Mr Elisha Kunene is equipped for success in the legal profession.

Kunene competed in the Moot final - hosted by the School of Law in Durban - alongside finalists Ms Jolene Thompson, Mr Andile Mabaso and Mr Connor Alexander.

The finalists displayed their legal prowess in front of judges, Law School academics Professor Karthy Govender, Ms Lindiwe Maqutu, Professor Tanya Woker and Mr Vishal Surbun as well as family and friends.

A highlight at the final was third-year Law student Mr Andile Mcineka being awarded the Yunus Mohammed Public Interest Law Award by Madam Justice Dhaya Pillay for his article: “Winnie Getting the Short End of the Stick”, which was published in The Sunday Tribune.

The award recognises Mcineka’s valuable contribution to knowledge in the field of public law.

‘There was depth in his argument; he drew on judgments in a coherent manner; it was a pleasure interacting with him…’ these were some of the comments made by the judges on Kunene’s performance before his announcement as the winner which was greeted with resounding applause and a standing ovation from the audience.

‘Winning the Ellie Newman award means the world to me. It’s literally a dream come true. My time in ‘varsity has been quite difficult in a number of ways but I was determined to finish strongly and I sort of viewed this year as a rebuilding period,’ says Kunene.

‘Earlier in the year a good friend of mine and I won the Southern African National Debating Championships and I ranked first in the country. So I really feel like God is with me on this winning streak.’

The great debater who used his skills to coach school debating teams to generate funds for his university tuition got academic merit scholarships from UKZN for his first and second year. However, monetary challenges nearly saw Kunene being financially excluded in his second year.

‘In a remarkable turn of events I was able to stay and complete my studies thanks to a generous intervention by Norton Rose Fulbright. The firm and I parted ways this year but I will always be grateful to them and to everyone else who have contributed to keeping me going,’ he said.

Looking to the future, Kunene said: ‘I have been granted the great privilege of being accepted to clerk for Justice Raymond Zondo at the Constitutional Court next year.’  His long-term plans include becoming an advocate.

Thandiwe Jumo
First year students were welcomed to UKZN through a comprehensive, action-packed orientation week at the four Colleges.

A busy programme saw students being briefed on relevant topics such as campus safety, student support services, student governance, how to use the library and the LANs, student housing and residence life, sports facilities, student funding and, most importantly, essential university work habits for success.

First years at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science enjoyed fun and interactive science shows. Ms Sibonokuhle Gumede of Pinetown Girls’ High said she was looking forward to starting her BSc degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, while Ms Fundiswa Msomi of Nsikayethu Comprehensive Secondary School was happy with her choice of studying for a BSc Agriculture degree.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, advised first year students to be open-minded, to participate in community development and to experience the diversity of UKZN. ‘Have a vision and goals. Work towards the goal of graduating. See it, believe it and do it,’ said Potgieter.

SRC President on the Howard College campus, Ms Kuhle Ntuli, encouraged students to avoid procrastination, to join clubs and societies and to always strive for excellence. ‘We have an open-door policy and we are here to equip you for the outside world and to ensure you graduate.’

First-year Psychology student Ms Bronwyn Olivier was excited about studying at the College of Humanities. ‘I’ve always wanted to be a psychologist and UKZN is the best institution for me to pursue my dreams.’

Ms Saiyuri Govender, who aims to be a criminologist, was also thrilled to be studying at UKZN. ‘There’s no other place I’d rather be than at UKZN.’

The College of Health Sciences held a series of orientation programmes for its first year students and those moving to the next phase in the College. The programmes were held in different venues, including on the Westville campus, at the Medical School and on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

College students, including those at the School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing, were given a warm welcome on the Westville campus where they were introduced to some of the College staff members.

First year MBChB students took the Hippocratic Oath as a landmark event on their journey to qualify as medical doctors. ‘Being a medical doctor is not about driving Lamborghini cars, rather it’s about adhering to a calling to save lives,’ said Dean of School of Laboratory Medicine & Medical Sciences (SLMMS), Professor Musa Mabandla, during his address.

Orientation for the School of Clinical Medicine’s fourth-year and fifth-year students took place on the Medical School and Pietermaritzburg campuses. The students were then transported to Empangeni as part of the College’s Decentralised Clinical Training Platform (DCCTP) facilitated by DCTP Manager, Mrs Siphiwe Mathonsi.

Mathonsi assured the students that the University and the Department of Health had taken all the necessary measures to ensure that their stay at Empangeni would be comfortable. ‘The University has provided safe accommodation, transport, internet access, video conferencing and a student counsellor,’ said Mathonsi.

On the academic development front, students were advised by Academic Development Officer, Ms Amanda Xulu, to take ownership of their academic progression and seek help if they were not coping.

Clinical Medicine Paediatrics and Child Health Head of Department, Professor Refiloe Masekela , assured fourth-year students that that they were about to begin the best years of their studies where they would meet real patients and use stethoscopes. She encouraged them to conduct themselves in a professional manner by ensuring that they dressed appropriately and treated their patients with respect. ‘The days of casual wear are over, lets respect our patients,’ said Masekela.

All students were encouraged to manage their time effectively and that if ever they needed assistance the administrative staff was always available.

First year College of Law and Management Studies students were given practical tips on ‘how to survive’ and achieve success during their academic career at their orientation events held on the Howard College, Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses.

Students were addressed by summa cum laude graduate, 2016 Ellie Newman Moot Court winner and Emma Smith Scholarship recipient, Ms Kriyanka Naidoo, who gave them advice on how to be a top achiever.

‘I am passionate about law and I love this degree. The Law School is an amazing place and you have great lecturers so use your potential and do great things,’ she said.

Another speaker was Law graduate, Mr Amin Matola, a former Moot Court finalist, a qualified attorney of the High Court of Zimbabwe, and recipient of several prestigious Scholarships. Matola shared some of his experiences of being a Law student and getting a master’s degree and his passion for teaching and learning which has seen him join the Law School as a Lecturer.

Students were also encouraged to look into value- adding, extra-curricular activities such as joining student societies like the Students for Law and Social Justice, Black Lawyers Association, the Debating Union and the Student Law Review, which broaden understanding of law and also equips them with vital leadership skills.

On the Management Studies front, students heard from Alumni, Ms Carley Jane Cumming, who completed her articles, qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte and went on to work for the company’s Canadian branch. She is now a Lecturer at UKZN.

After the formal proceedings, the students participated in an upbeat programme during which they played interactive games and went on a tour of the campus to familiarise themselves with its layout.

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