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In an effort to enhance a relationship between traditional healers, small scale farmers and CPUT, the Department of Horticultural Sciences recently held a training workshop for these stakeholders.

The workshop was also held to conserve endangered and extinct medicinal plants and promote the organic cultivation of these plants by traditional healers and small-scale farmers,

Professor in Horticultural Science, Learnmore Kambizi said the workshop on Training on Medicinal Plants Cultivation was a huge success. The response from the community members was overwhelming. “We envisaged training a total of 30 traditional healers and small-scale farmers, but the workshop was over-subscribed with some [interested individuals] being turned down. The active participation by PhD students is worth noting,” said Kambizi. He added that during the discussion session after practical demonstrations, there was a huge request by the community for “our department to offer a short course on medicinal plant cultivation. Academics who attended the workshop included Prof Felix Nchu and Dr John October, the head of department.

Kambizi also revealed that he agreed to start working on crafting the short course. “Our department is very committed to work with our communities. In fact, the recent workshop was a follow-up to some that we have conducted previously.”

PhD candidate, Sibusiso Xego, added that the workshop was also part of her project under the supervision of Kambizi and Nchu. The workshop was also a follow-up training session, providing practical demonstrations on techniques to cultivate medicinal plants. The facilitators included Pumla Staffa and Sinovuyo Ncuku.

Xego distributed questionnaires to gather information about the use of medicinal plants in the Western Cape, including the most commonly used plants and the feasibility of cultivating them. The workshop provided practical demonstrations on techniques to cultivate medicinal plants.

“As a token of appreciation, all participants received plant material to start cultivating in their home spaces…” Xego said the workshop demonstrated a “strong interest and need for this partnership”.

The training workshop was also attended by Chief Vulikhaya Sihluku and Dr Mavuso, Gqola, both from the Traditional Healers Organisation. The workshop featured a diverse age range among the attendees, spanning from 16-year-olds to individuals over 60, representing various races and cultures.

The outcomes of the workshop include:

  • Four new medicinal plant gardens will be established in different areas of the Western Cape.
  • Traditional healers will have access to commonly used medicinal plants.
  • Traditional healers' planting and cultivation skills will be enhanced.
  • A relationship between CPUT, small-scale farmers and traditional healers will be initiated.
  • Research collaborations will be initiated to conserve medicinal plants.
  • These initiatives will help reduce the overharvesting of wild stocks of medicinal plants.

The Department of Ophthalmic Sciences is excited to announce the opening of its new Eye Clinic, which will offer a range of essential eye care services to CPUT students.

Situated at the Trafalgar Stone Building on the District Six Campus, the clinic is opening its doors to students from today (5 June 2024). The services offered by the new facility will include free vision screenings, comprehensive optometric examinations by qualified optometrists, and affordable spectacles provided by senior Opticianry students.

Head of Department, Angelique Walbrugh, said the Eye Clinic will operate on an appointment basis, ensuring an efficient and organised service. Students can book their appointments here.

The clinic will be open from 10:30 to 15:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays during the academic term.

A formal community launch of the Eye Clinic is scheduled to take place during Eye Care Awareness Month, which runs from 21 September to 17 October this year. This event will highlight the clinic’s role in promoting eye health and providing accessible care to the CPUT community.

Walbrugh said the new clinic will serve as a supervised training facility, offering invaluable practical experience to students.

Opticianry students are required to compile a 120-case patient record as part of their Health Professions Council of South Africa Board requirements.

“The programme includes a buddy system, where junior students are paired with senior students at each station. This system allows senior students to reinforce their skills by teaching them, thereby enhancing their learning experience.

“The Eye Clinic will not only benefit the students receiving care but will also provide critical clinical and professional experience to Opticianry students across all years of study. Increased patient interaction will help these students develop the essential skills needed in the ophthalmic industry, ensuring they are well-prepared for their future careers,” said Walbrugh.

Monday, 03 June 2024

Serving Up Success

The American Dream has become a reality for one lucky third-year Hospitality Student who has received a bursary to train in the US.

Cwangco Tina was all smiles when he was confirmed as the recipient for the very first bursary from HRC International which offers hospitality management training programmes at top US hotel chains.

The 24-year-old is currently working the front desk of a popular Sea Point hotel and says hospitality is now in his veins, even though it was not what he initially wanted to study.

“I actually wanted to study Education in Mowbray but now I feel so happy that my life took this path because I really enjoy this field,” he says.

“I am very grateful to be selected and I can’t wait to leave.”

Work Integrated Learning Lecturer Beverley Seager says Cwangco stood out from the crowd because of his great marks, positive attitude and generosity.

“He was originally going to pay to be part of this experience, but he had to withdraw because he had financial responsibilities at home. At the time I knew this opportunity may arise so I encouraged him to just keep positive and once we reviewed his marks it became clear that he was the right candidate,” she says.

The bursary is valued at roughly R60 000 and may include flights, visa and the programme fee.

Hotel School Director Dr Oswald Mhlanga encouraged the other students who had gathered to hear the presentation from HRC to travel and see the world.

“When you never travel you will always think your mother’s food is the best. Going out there changes your perspective on the world, this is a travel industry, and you need to see the world and improve yourself. I hope this inspires you to be excellent,” he told the students.

The Department of Architectural Technology and Interior Design celebrated Africa Day with an exhibition titled: Tribal Identities of South Africa.

Held at 80 Roeland Street, this vibrant event provided students with a platform to connect with fellow artists, faculty members, departmental lecturers, and visitors, while sharing the rich narratives and artistic journeys of their cultural tribes and identities.

The exhibition sought to honour the diverse cultural heritage of South Africa's tribal communities, which are a vital part of the nation's identity. Visual artists from the department were invited to participate in this unique showcase of artistic expression and cultural appreciation.

The preparations for the exhibition sparked significant interest among students, eager to express their cultural identities through art. This enthusiasm was palpable at the opening, where the audience warmly received the artworks, igniting curiosity about future exhibitions.

Staff and students shared their positive experiences. Staff member, Rezah Mogamat commented: "I think it was an awesome initiative. One of the students came to chat to me in private afterwards to say how glad he was to partake in this initiative. The hidden talent hey!!"

Students also reflected on their participation. Raeesah Toefy remarked: "It was overall a great experience. I feel like I could've spent more time on making my art piece look better, but I had fun painting it and researching about my culture. It was a learning curve for me which I enjoyed."

Raeesah added: "Yes, I would participate again. Life is all about risks and experiences, and exhibiting artwork is a fun and great experience. Even if you're new to the field or not too confident about your art pieces, you'll only get better at it."

In his opening address at the exhibition, Head of Department, Rayner Moodley, said: “As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, ‘We are not people of one book, one truth, or one way. We are people of many books, many truths, and many ways…”"

Moodley thanked students for their enthusiasm in partaking in this exhibition and encouraged them to embrace their heritage and let it inspire their creativity and innovation.

The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) wrapped up Africa month with a celebration at the Granger Bay Campus, including an exhibition of African artefacts.

Guests proudly donned their diverse tradition attires while information sharing about the importance of the Africa Day was also on the agenda.

The DSA’s intention with hosting Africa Day was to commemorate and affirm the Division’s commitment to the CPUT vision 2030, in promoting the ‘oneness and smartness’. Commemorating Africa Day was crucial given that it allowed a platform for conversations. “In our quest to partner with relevant stakeholders to build relationships and enhance strong relationships between local and international students, Africa Day provided a platform to engage on common continental issues, this was done through conversations, exhibitions, learning from each country and providing opportunities that can benefit students and staff,” said Njabulo Maphumulo, Deputy Dean of Student Affairs.

The outdoor festivities included performance by a marimba band, African traditional dance groups and African countries craft stalls and exhibition. There was a screening of the “Preserving Khwe/Xam Heritage, a creative expression.

In his opening address, Vice-Chancellor, Prof Chris Nhlapo, said Africa Day was an exciting annual event where the institution joins other Africans in celebrating the mother continent, its rich resources, its astonishing beauty, and its profound cultural diversity. “This is an important day to us as it gives us a very rare opportunity to reflect and to talk about issues affecting us as Africans. It’s an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to work collectively with other institutions on the continent and promote responsible internationalisation.”

Prof Simphiwe Sesanti from the Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape, also took to the stage and shared his views on: Contextualising Africa Day and its meaning in the Higher Education Context. There were also messages of support from the diplomatic community, which included Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola.

The keynote speaker, Honourable Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister, International Relations and Cooperation, delivered his presentation on celebrating Africa Day through education, innovation and culture”. Alfonce Ngasirmoi from Kenya and Milka Bazeka, a Democratic Republic of Congo native, both shared their experiences of students and staff in a higher education context.

Reflecting on the event, Maphumulo said it was a major success, given that it was a unique project that combined the academic project by the Cape Town Hotel School Hospitality students who showcased their culinary skills as they prepared African cuisine during the day. “The event was further a success as it showcased the rich culture and diversity of our students who displayed their talents through music, traditional dance and cuisine.”

Staff wellbeing and health were at the centre of the recent Staff Wellness days, which were held at the District Six, Bellville and Wellington campuses.

Hosted by the Human Capital Department, the wellness days offered staff a range of treatments and activities, including health screenings by Discovery Health, HIV testing and information on Momentum’s services.

Many staff members took the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing massage while others joined in activities such as Zumba, self-defence classes and giant chess.

Information on Financial Wellness and psycho-social support services were also provided.

A dynamic dance duo recently scooped first prize in their category at the Western Province Majorettes and Cheerleading Association (WPMCA) regional competition. Lithemba Buqa and Liyakhanya Matika took top honours for CPUT in the Performance Cheer, Hip Hop Duo category.

They both joined the CPUT Dance Society in 2022 but the competition was the first time they danced together as a duo.

“We were confident because we had put in the hard work and we were super excited when we won,” said Lithemba.

Sports Management student Liyakhanya said much of their preparation for the competition took place online.

“We did meet a couple of times but it is exam season so we mostly sent each other videos and did our choreography.”

The duo has set their sights on competing in more competitions.

Cherice Mangiagalli, Student Development Officer: Sport, Arts and Culture, said she was extremely proud of Liyakhanya and Lithemba's performance.

“They worked together like a well-oiled machine, expressing pure enjoyment, talent and absolute commitment. What a joy to watch them reap the benefits of their hard work. I look forward to what the future holds for this dynamic duo!"