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Fall in Love with Maths – Accounting Academic

February 28, 2017

Accounting academic Dr Msizi Mkhize engaging with Inanda Comprehensive High School pupils.

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
Fall in love with maths and you’ll never suffer from a broken heart!

That was the gist of the message on Valentine’s Day from School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s Lecturer and Thuthuka Project Co-ordinator, Dr Msizi Mkhize.

Mkhize, who dubs his initiative: “Love Mathematics Day”, spent two hours conducting an interactive maths show with young learners of Inanda Comprehensive High School by linking mathematics with the worlds of the youngsters. The event was so successful that it even made the front page of Isolezwe newspaper.

Mkhize says learners and teachers were amazed to see how their daily lives and bible verses can be linked to maths.

‘My aim in conducting the maths shows is to encourage learners to be interested in maths at an early age because this will open up more career options since many careers require maths,’ he said.

Mkhize believes that encouraging creativity in Basic Education has the potential of not only improving education, but also empowering learners and teachers with a special type of thinking and generations of ideas and algorithms.

Looking to the future, Mkhize - who is currently working on a Mathematics Stage Play - plans to continuing sharing his innovative and creative mathematics teaching and learning strategies. He is further looking forward to accepting invitations from schools and churches where he demystifies maths.

His next stop is at St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Pinetown later this month.

Photograph courtesy of: Doctor Ngcobo, Isolezwe newspaper.

Thandiwe Jumo

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