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UKZN Hosts Successful 2017 Parents Day

February 09, 2017

Parents Day a resounding success at UKZN.

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
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s 2017 Parents Day held on the Howard College, Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses was a great success.

The annual event allows University staff to engage with parents and share useful information about the support given to their children while at the University.

Parents also heard about the various scholarship packages and funding options available.

Among parents and eager first year students at Parents Day at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science on the Westville campus was Ms Zethethelo Mjwara of Umbumbulu who - after matriculating at Adams College – was all set to start her BSc, focusing on Biological Sciences. 

College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Bala Pillay, and Dean and Head of the School of Life Sciences, Professor Ade Olaniran, were on hand to give her encouragement and advice.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, advised parents/guardians to encourage their children to start studying immediately as the University was committed to equipping graduates with relevant education in an environment conducive to excellence.

Dean and Head of the School of Applied Human Sciences Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, spoke about the importance of the Humanities saying: ‘The Humanities are the foundations of society and at the College of Humanities we train critical thinkers to address the social ills of society and contribute to the humanisation of the technical sciences.’

Mrs Adelaide Mqadi of Imfume on the South Coast believes her daughter, Londeka, will do well in her first year of a Bachelor of Arts degree. ‘She has worked hard in matric and she will work hard here at University. I am proud that she has come this far. I’m really looking forward to see Londeka graduate - I will be there in the audience telling everyone that she’s my daughter!’

Registration, housing and funding were the key areas of discussion at the College of Law and Management Studies’ Parents Day. An information sharing session held on the Howard College, Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses enlightened parents keen to know how the College would support their children.

During his address at Howard College campus, UKZN’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, assured parents that they had made the right choice in supporting their children to pursue a qualification at an institution with a rich heritage of scholarly excellence.

He said the University was committed to teaching and learning, despite the challenges of the nation-wide #feesmustfall protests. ‘One of the challenges we face in our current climate, and a concern for many parents, is the possibility of national student protests. Rest assured, UKZN’s management remains committed to ensuring a safe teaching and learning environment for all our students and has engaged with government and other stakeholders to do all we can to make sure this happens,’ said van Jaarsveld.

At Westville campus, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of College, Professor John Cantius Mubangizi, addressed parents’ concerns with the help of academics, representatives from Teaching and Learning and Student Funding. The team spoke about important issues including the state of student residences and student protests.

‘At UKZN we are serious about teaching and learning and are fortunate to have dedicated lecturers who go above and beyond the norm to provide students with the best learning experience,’ said Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Rob Slotow during his welcome address to the parents of Health Sciences students.

‘Entrance to the University of KwaZulu-Natal is highly competitive and we have a proud legacy of attracting high performing and gifted learners – from both urban and rural schools.’

Slotow assured parents that they had made the correct decision to enroll their children at a university which has held the number one position in South Africa in terms of research output for three consecutive years. ‘We are also currently ranked the number one University in the country in the disciplines of Physical Sciences and Engineering.

‘We produce true innovators. People who will question the world and look within themselves to change it for the better. Research shows that 84% of our graduates are employed within six months of completing their respective qualification. Our graduates are therefore highly sought after both locally and internationally.’

Academic Leader: Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences (Sport Science), Professor Johan van Heerden, shared with parents and guardians the College’s general academic rules for degrees, diplomas and certificates, among other issues.


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