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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.”

Wednesday, 17 April 2024

CPUT opens doors for SMMEs

Agri Food Technology Station (ATS) recently hosted a Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) Symposium at Bellville Campus, where numerous emerging entrepreneurs shared their experiences on available channels to get their products to the retail shelves.

The symposium with the theme: How do you get your products to the retail shelves, was attended by representatives ranging from the corporate industry, government and small businesses. This included: Standard Bank, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), Technology Innovation Agency, Western Cape Provincial Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development and Tourism

The SMMEs included: Spicy Bulldog, Ubuntu Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) who shared their experiences into getting products in Spar and Woolworths shelves respectively. ATS manger, Ndumiso Mshicileli, who welcomed the guests hailed the success of the event, which they consider as part 1, with part 2 that will be planned in the second half of the year.

“The end goals were achieved as the purpose was to create a networking platform, knowledge and information sharing on funding vehicles, technology transfer services etc.”

The presentations included two entrepreneurs who shared their experiences on having their products on supermarket shelves. “The session’s objective was in turn to create opportunities for collaborations and largely for SMMEs and entrepreneurs to access services of Agrifood Technology Station (ATS).”

Mshicileli was also impressed by the interaction between the audience and the speakers which was “inspiring and shared invaluable information to the attendants”.

“ATS hopes to start more projects with those who attended to assist them to develop and innovate new products that could eventually feature on the shelves for consumers.” The event not only provided access to knowledge to the attendants but also helped to showcase technology, equipment, and instrumentation ATS has within the Department of Food Science and Technology. “It also indicated what CPUT can offer and contribute to the economy of the Western Cape and the rest of South Africa through supporting the SMMEs, entrepreneurs and various communities through ATS interventions.”

Delegates also gave CPUT a thumbs up for the great opportunity that was provided by the institution. Enterprise Direct Manager at Standard Bank, Siphiwo Mbande, said they came to CPUT to honour the invite and had a discussion with the entrepreneurs whilst they were able to position the banks’ Customer Value Proposition and “the end goal was to create opportunities for both the entrepreneurs and the bank”.

“The organisation was great and the presentation from TIA stood out. “[CPUT] continue with the initiatives to create opportunities and look for bigger venues and a formalised approach.” Loyiso Manga, founder of Ubuntu Extra Virgin Olive Oil brand, the first black-owned brand of extra virgin oil in South Africa, said: “I was keen to tell my journey to emerging entrepreneurs, network and learn from other speakers who were invited to speak. All was achieved.”

Manga said the event was “well organised and informative, [however, it] needs to strengthen the virtual connectivity as many people wanted to be a part of the great programme”. “Job well done; they [organisers] should do this more often.”

Moerida Morat, a delegate, said: “To CPUT, thank you for the opportunity, if it wasn’t for you, I would be stuck in my business. You opened up doors that were previously closed. It’s really big for me.”

Information Technology Department lecturer Waldon Hendricks has earned a spot in the Global Finals of the Most Valuable Instructor Contest, scheduled to take place in China in May.

Last year Hendricks was the coach and mentor of the South African Network Track global finalists for the Huawei ICT Competition 2022-2023 Global Final and his team bagged first prize.

He said the Most Valuable Instructor (MVI) was a new contest that has been added to the competition.

Hendricks qualified for the global finals after showing his outstanding skills during the regional stages.

He said he felt honoured and proud to showcase the work of the Information Technology department in the Faculty of Informatics and Design.

“We have added value to our graduates by providing them with extra achievements to compete in competitions while they continue to study and learn about the industry and future trends."

Director: Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute (AMHBI), Prof Jeanine Marnewick, a guest speaker at the Cape Branch seminar series of the South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) at Bellville Campus, said diet plays an important role in disease prevention, and antioxidants form an important part of “our diet”.

Marnewick, who is also a Research chair: Biotechnology at the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute, presented an update on this, as a follow-up from her first talk she did in 2014. “Antioxidants remain a ‘hot’ and relevant topic attracting much attention.” The title of her talk was: Dietary antioxidants: do we really need them: an update and Rooibos perspective, as this indigenous herbal tea contains unique antioxidants and contributes significantly to our daily antioxidant intake,’ she says.

Marnewick, a NRF rated scientist, has been in the field of medicinal plant research for more than 25 years. Her focus is on innovative prevention strategies using medicinal plants and phytochemicals aimed at non-communicable diseases, with a focus on cardiometabolic disease and cancer. Elucidating bio-activities of and substantiating health claims around the South African herbal teas, Rooibos and Honeybush and the fact that the prevalence of cancer and heart disease (both involving oxidative stress) in South Africa is increasing, stimulated her research.

The studies she and her team have conducted resulted not only in the first scientific evidence on the chemopreventive properties of Rooibos and honeybush, but also on the first clinical evidence on Rooibos and the promotion of heart health. She is the winner of the NSTF/South 32 Awards 2020 in the Category Science Communication, for leading a team that promotes rooibos as a health promoting option, supported by science.

“From all the scientific evidence thus far, it is clear that dietary antioxidants could play an important role in promoting human health, thus enjoy your daily cuppa Rooibos.”

Lecturer & Curriculum officer: Department of Food Science and Technology (DFST), Dr Vusi Mshayisa, who is also a member of the Cape branch committee, played a critical role in ensuring the event's success by bringing together DFST, SAAFoST and Agrifoods Technology Station (ATS). Mshayisa said the event was the first hybrid meeting of this nature. “At DFST, we are committed to fostering industry partnerships to enrich our student's learning experiences through engagement with professionals in the field.”

The event started with a warm welcome address by Dr George Charimba, DFST acting head of department, who underscored the significance of bridging the gap between academia and industry. Meanwhile Ndumiso Mshicileli, Manager from Agrifoods Technology Station (ATS), “our generous sponsor”, shared insights into the station's pivotal projects and their future aspirations.

Mshayisa added that he was impressed by the captivating presentation by Marnewick on dietary antioxidants. “Her expertise sparked engaging discussions among the attendees, providing valuable insights into the subject matter. Overall, the event was a success, and we hope to have more events of this nature in the future.”

In an endeavour to implement the University’s policy of multilingualism, the Institutional Language Unit recently hosted a SWiP Project Workshop at Bellville Campus.

The SWiP (SADiLaR-Wikipedia-PanSALB) is a collaborative initiative by the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR); the free encyclopedia (Wikipedia) and the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB).

The project was officially launched on 20 September 2023 at the University of South Africa. While the SWiP launch event shone a spotlight specifically on isiNdebele to encourage the Ndebele people to actively participate in contributing content to Wikipedia, the SWiP project is aimed at promoting all South Africa’s indigenous languages online. It does so by bringing together communities of indigenous language users and giving them the skills to create and review content on Wikipedia. In doing so, they collectively increase their respective languages’ digital footprint.

The delegation included representatives from CPUT, Wikipedia and PanSALB.

Dr Kabelo Sebolai, Head: Language Unit, said they were asked by SADiLAR to be the hosts of the workshop and that they were among the 10 universities selected from the 26 to do this. On the first day of the workshop, Wikipedia delegate, Michael Graaf provided a presentation on:

  • History of Wikipedia
  • The five pillars of Wikipedia
  • The Wikimedia Community support and projects

On the second day of the workshop Graaf started with a recap from Day1 which was followed by training in editing/improving an article, translating an article and article creation. Sebolai said the workshop was a success. He said: “We learned how to use Wikipedia for translations into and editing African languages. As part of language policy implementation, the bulk of the work we do in the language unit involves translation and editing.”

He enthused: “The workshop introduced us to strategies for language and writing development using Wikipedia. The strategies will be useful in our ongoing endeavour to implement the university’s policy of multilingualism”.