DUT students to vote again

By Sibonginkosi Mabika

The South African Student Congress have confirmed that there will be a rerun of the 2017 DUT SRC elections starting on 11 September.
SASCO Media Secretary Sbonga Shezi confirmed the rerun as the election counting process was fazed with a number of disruptions.
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials who were supervising the counting process were forced to use the back entrance of the Fred Crookes sports centre due to the hostility on the day.

According to IEC official Nontobeko Mkhwanazi, the current student governing body at the institution ANC Youth League (ANCYL) was against the process used to count votes.
“Other students political governing bodies agreed with the system such as Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) and SASCO who were determined that the process being used is correct as it was also used last year,” Mkhwanazi said.

The South African Police Services (SAPS) had to be called to the university during an altercation amongst the students who were threatening each other.
Party leaders encouraged their respective followers to not turn into violence as that will cause more frustration between students.
Handful of students wearing ANCYL t-shirts were spotted trying to stop one of the IEC official’s car as it was leaving.

According to ANCYL Amanda Ngwenya there were two ballot boxes missing and she reckoned it was impossible for SASCO to obtain 100% votes from City Campus”.

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Career Routes

“Young people are full of energy and if this energy is channeled towards something they are passionate about, they can be successful and content.”

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The World of Work 2017 career expo held at Durban University of Technology on the 1st and 2nd of August

By Blessing Nemadziva

I met a former university classmate recently. She was one of those fortunate students to duck the deplorable season of job-hunting that many university graduates unavoidably plunge into soon after graduation. The company she was attached with for in-service gave her a permanent position even before she had finished internship. Along with that was a fat cheque waiting for her every end of month. It was rather surprising to hear that she had resigned. Not that she had found a better offer elsewhere, no, she just handed in her resignation letter because she was tired. She said she would literally cry on a Sunday, because tomorrow was a workday. I congratulated her for such bold decision. Many young people often find themselves in such situations. Life poses serious questions that need answers. Young people are full of energy and if this energy is channeled towards something they are passionate about, they can be successful and content. I felt this was the case with my friend, she was doing something she was not really passionate about.   

With that in mind, I decided to share some thoughts about careers. Here I try to help shed some light on career related questions, and hopefully this may be useful for young people as they prepare for their futures. Basically, the modern education system affords graduates two major career routes: academic or industry based careers. Which one will keep you excited about the next day at work? 

Academic route 

This is for lifelong learners, bookworms and all the nerds out there! Those people who just enjoy learning new things. An academic career is directly or indirectly involved with the education sector. This may include teaching, research and some management roles related to the education sector. Since knowledge is progressive, this career route is far from boring because each day can present fresh challenges that need to be solved. For this route, you need to love studying since that’s what academics is all about. You will have the freedom to keep upgrading yourself by getting your name out there through such things as adding more qualifications, publications, attending conferences and workshops related to your field as well as involving yourself in initiatives that try to bridge the gap between academic institutions and communities.  

Industrial route 

Industry is all about production. Imagine a chef at a top hotel, he just started his off-days, suddenly he gets a call from his manager. There is an emergency, the chef on duty is sick and he must report to work. He may not like it, but he will complain whilst on his way to work. When you are in industry, your own personal privileges may come secondary, but production is primary. When you find yourself in a company making a certain product or offering a service, the primary aim is meeting company goals. Industry is much suitable for teamplayers. Therefore, you have to pull in the same direction with the company. Expect sometimes to be used in a position that doesn’t befit your qualification, when it happens, understand its not for you, the goal is to use what is available to achieve the set targets. Think about Kaizer Chiefs having one of their defenders sent off in the 85th minute and they have to protect a 1-goal lead. The coach will probably hook out the striker, and plug him at rightback. The striker may not like it, but the decision is for the team and he has to make himself useful in that temporary role. Industry is also home to routine work. Procedure has to be followed, nomatter how monotonous it can be. Thus to thrive in industry, enjoy your role, whether small, big or boring, having an understanding that the primary aim is to contribute towards company goals. Usually work experience as well as adding some strategic skills/qualifications to your CV can take you higher in industry. 

Career routes (1)
Photo credits: Doug Linstedt and David Noe on Unsplash

So, there you have it, have your pick. Will you pursue an academic career or you are for industry?   

DUT soccer team all set for USSA 2017.

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There wont be much preparation time left for the DUT men’s side as the USSA’s are just around the corner.

 

By Siphiwe Gabayi

Durban University of Technology (DUT) soccer side has selected a 19 men squad to compete in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) national tournament starting on 03 July 2017.
The annual tournament will be joint hosted by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Wits University, the tournament will feature various universities from across South Africa.
Coach of DUT Nhlanhla Mshibe said, the fitness of the team looks good and the players are ready mentally and physically.
“There is no team that can stop us in the tournament because all my players are injury free heading into the tournament,” Mshibe said.
University of Pretoria “Tuks” will be the defending champions as they won the tournament in 2016, held in Bloemfontein by the University of Free State.
Team Captain Phumlani Mthethwa said, DUT will be taking part for the second time in the tournament as they participated in 2014.
“The guys are excited and the support staff is also ready as we set a goal for ourselves that we want to reach the semifinals of the tournament,” Mthethwa said.
Tuks have won the tournament twice, in 2014 and 2016.
Mshibe said he is not worried about any team in the tournament, he is solely focused on the men he is taking to Johannesburg.
DUT striker Thabani Zondo who is also part of the 19 men squad said, he is happy to be part of the team and is ready to showcase DUT football.
“This will be a major tournament and will be a good platform to show the type of football we play,” Zondo said.
Mthethwa further mentioned that the guys who were not able to make the squad should not be discouraged as there will be another tournament in December and will be a chance for them to make the squad.

One evening at a student fellowship

“It was quite an experience. I went away in awe of how organized young people can be.”

The Tutor Room
The Tutor room cuts a lone figure at the edge of Ritson campus

By Blessing Nemadziva

There is arguably a low activity at DUT’s Ritson Road campus, let alone at night. It’s nowhere near the buzz that characterizes Steve Biko campus, where it’s neither  night nor day. At Steve, as early as 7 am, you see some students already at it with a pack of playing cards, under thick smokes from the fashionable electronic cigarettes. As late as 12 pm, students are still around, mostly ‘cross-nighting’. But with Ritson, there is a general flatness that is associated with it. It is therefore a curious decision for the Student Christian Organisation (SCO) exec to identify this campus as the ideal venue for their weekly student fellowship. If you have ever visited Ritson, most have probably passed by, transcampusing from Steve Biko to ML Sultan, you will notice that the buildings are on one side of the campus. There is a large car park in the middle, followed by a strip of unused wasteland that goes as far as the horticulture gardens on the other side. On this strip of wasteland has been erected a lonely looking building which they call the ‘Tutor room’. It is a typical redbrick that you could see across the country at any public high school. During the day, you wouldn’t really bother looking that direction twice, and on an evening, because that area is barely lit, you may not even notice it. In this building, is where the SCO holds their weekly fellowship. Our MediaTeam pitched up one Thursday evening to witness for ourselves what was happening.

We came in late (apologies), but were just in time to still get a teaching or two from the Holy scriptures, delivered by a young and energetic preacher. I enjoyed it when he suddenly shifted gears, and requested for a translator to be at hand. He would strike out in English and the translator has to be ready, parrying with a Zulu translation. The preacher switches to Zulu and the translator has to stand in ready with an English translation. I have to applaud the translator, for throughout the sermon, he never stammered, the only times he was almost caught off-guard, he had a “thank you Jesus” as a stand-in, much to the merriment of the whole congregation.

It was quite an experience. I went away in awe of how organized young people can be. It takes much time to prepare for the service. The ushers were there, dressed beautifully in white. The choir on the other hand, were donned in black, close at hand to aid the preacher whenever he would request for a song. The walls were decorated very well with white and blue. The preacher’s voice travelled far into the night, thanks to the amplification with the help of a wireless mike and a set of speakers. It showed that everything about the service had been looked into in detail and had been executed with the greatest care. Reflecting on my experience at the SCO student weekly fellowship, I went away an impressed man. The standout quality that I picked from the SCO was teamwork. I believe this is an attribute that makes the SCO one of the most popular and active clubs on campus.

Teamwork has become an important quality in the industrial setup. The traditional hierarchical structures are wearing off as responsibilities are now being decentralized and designated to teams. Taking Unilever as an example, it has various departments focusing on the production of different products. Every  member in each department has the responsibility to contributing towards the success of their department. It is always an expectation by employers that when they recruit a new face into the company, they fit seamlessly in the structures that are already existing. Many companies spent time and money building these structures and they would not like to see them destroyed by incoming employees. Candidates with proven teamplaying abilities thus may have higher chances to be recruited in the job market.

For most students, the only chance they have to work in a team is when they are given a group assignment. As soon as the assignment is submitted for assessment, the team naturally falls apart. There are limited opportunities for students to practice teamplaying. Students therefore ought to explore and actively participate in the various clubs that exist on campus to learn teamwork.

Durban University of Technology holds its 2017 Writing Competition workshop.

This year’s competition is in honour of Africa’s legendary writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o

 

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Dr Gift Mheta, the DUT Writing Centre Coordinator.

By: Mbuso Kunene

The DUT Annual undergraduates Writing Competition has been launched at Steve Biko campus under the theme African heritage, language, culture and society yesterday morning (Saturday 10 June 2017).
This year’s competition is in honour of Africa’s legendary writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o.
Writing Centre coordinator Dr Gift Mheta said that this year’s completion was categorised in several sub themes which includes tradition, religion, love, human rights and modernity under three genres that includes short stories, opinion peace or essays and poetry.

“We encourage all the students who are passionate about writing, because there are fantastic prizes to be won in this completion,” said Dr Mheta.

Third time contender Anelisa Hlongwane who received a special award in last year’s competition is hoping for the best as she advises those who wish to enter to be original.

“It was really challenging from my side, but because I love writing I had to express whatever that I had to share,” said Hlongwane.

Hlongwane further said that she couldn’t explain the feeling of receiving an email informing her that she made it to the final round last year. She said that those entering the competition must be authentic and seek help at the Writing Centres around campuses.
First-year Experience and Residence Education Programme Co-ordinator at the University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) Ntokozo Zulu said that DUT’s vision is to produce individuals that are not only academically trained.

“In these programs we coordinate academic and extra-curricular activities which relates to adapting of students to university and residence life,” said Zulu.

Zulu further argued that one can be respected without being academia but by only through work of literature hence these extra-curricular activities are about that.
This year’s Writing Centre competition will be sponsored by book retailers, Adams Books and Van Schaik Bookstore.

 

Disruptive Innovation: Adapt or be extinct.

“any student extracurricular activity has the potential of equipping young people with a set of skills that can complement the skills they are learning in lecture theatres.”

disruptiv

By Blessing Nemadziva

I remember growing up, a photo shoot would be a special and diarized event. The whole family will dress up for it. When everyone is ready, we will wait for the freelance photographer to come around (riding on his bicycle, with his camera slung across his chest). He will capture our smiles using his sophisticated equipment. As soon as he finishes, he rides on, making rounds among his customers. To some he is delivering the ready photos, to some he is taking photos. It would roughly take about a week for us to get our ready photos (depending on the photographer’s access to photo printing labs).  But what happened to the freelance photographer?

It is just amazing how things change. Freelance photography was a trade that could sustain a decent living, even to the sending of kids to school. But it appears like it has been wiped off the face of the earth. Newer technologies have come and now the services of a freelance photographer have, somewhat been made of little relevance. What he used to do, I can now do. Many a times, when new products and services are being discussed, the term ‘disruptive innovation’ somehow pops up. It appears trending and fashionable, but one has to stop and maybe ask, ‘what is this innovation disrupting?’ It used to take roughly about a week for the freelance photographer to take our photos and then come around with the final ones. Nowadays it’s a matter of minutes. The camera has now been incorporated to one of the closest human companions of this age-the mobile phone. There are now online services to help photo lovers look exactly like they would want to look. So what used to be a paid service has now been reduced to a free self-service. What used to take a week can now be efficiently executed in 10 minutes. This is indeed disruptive innovation. But again, what is it disrupting?

The freelance photographer used to enjoy a stable flow of revenue until the emergence of ‘disruptive innovations.’ If taking photos was all he could do, chances are he suffered a rough patch financially because of the new innovations that moved in to replace him.  Now with the rate in which technologies are evolving, it is always important that individuals are constantly upgrading and developing themselves to keep abreast with the evolving world. It is very easy for what a person is trained for to lose relevance in this age. Many industries are implementing automated systems to what used to be done by human beings.

Universities are quite conscious of these changes and are responding by establishing structures that promote entrepreneurship among their students. Many universities are working to build a culture of industriousness within the university community. By this, they are creating a learning environment both within and outside lecture theatres. How does this help?  Well, let’s talk figures. The SA statistics estimates youth unemployment to be sitting at a staggering 51.14% (2013 – 2016 average). Retrenchment rate in South Africa has been on the rise with 15 000 people losing their jobs in the first 3 months of 2016. From these statistics, it is quite evident that the job market has become more competitive, much for the university graduates who usually come in with only a year of industrial experience. But the universities still recruit more students every year, their business is to sell skills. It is also worth mentioning that the rate of changes in curriculums and skills training at universities is much slower than the changes in technology in industry. There is not much change in, say the skills taught to a civil engineer five years ago, to the skills that a presently enrolled student is being taught. Yet in industries, because of the demands in production and the drastic changes in technology, things are changing fast. We thus have a situation where the universities are mass producing graduates who are likely to join the 51.14% unemployed youths because there are not so many jobs, and also with a set of skills that may no longer be required in industry.

In such situations, it is vital that young people shift their feet. The qualification that the university offers may not be enough to survive in the modern world. One Jack Ma, the kingpin of e-commerce, once said he told his son not to be top in class, he advised him to be average. The reason was that by being average, he will have time to learn other skills that will improve him. This is quite a profound counsel for every modern-day student. The qualification will not be enough. It must be complemented by other skills. That’s why universities are supporting student activism. The Durban University of Technology is promoting the building of ‘sustainable student communities for living and learning.’ The idea is to have activity in and out of lecture theatres, with such activity comes ideas and dreams being expressed. The funny thing about the digital age is that hobbies are being converted into money making businesses, much to the bewilderment of the old generations. Therefore, any student extracurricular activity has the potential of equipping young people with a set of skills that can complement the skills they are learning in lecture theatres. Extracurricular activities can even help students realize their dreams and passions. In the end it’s an all-round preparation of young people for the modern-day industry. If it happens that the skill the university equipped them with has become obsolete because of some new ‘disruptive innovation,’ very well, they can draw from the other set of skills they learnt out of class and remain relevant. Extracurricular activities ought to be taken much more seriously now.  Next time one hears the term ‘disruptive innovation,’ the question must be, “what is it disrupting?” It may be disrupting your trade.