About Ilse Fredericks Kennedij

Ilse is a Communication Officer in the Marketing and Communication Department. She writes stories about general news, and the faculties of Informatics and Design and Health and Wellness Sciences. Tel: +27 21 959 6616 Email: frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za

Staak conquers Athens Marathon

It was a question of mind over matter when Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Prof Anthony Staak, joined thousands of runners from across the world to take on the Athens Marathon.

Staak and his wife Wendy recently conquered the historic marathon, known as The Authentic, and said it proved to be one of their toughest marathons yet.

“But it was well worth the effort. Nothing could beat the finish in the iconic 77 000 seat marble stadium where the race officially ended. Both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the crowd support almost every step of the way, with shouts of ‘bravo, bravo’ to urge you on, the strong international representation and camaraderie that went with it, it was just great being part of this tradition.”

Staak has been involved in athletics and various sporting activities since his early school years. He took up distance running seriously in 1994 when he and his wife ran the Boston Marathon and New Orleans Marathon while he was studying abroad.

He’s lost count of how many marathons he has run but believes it to be close on 30 standard marathons. Staak has also completed 13 Two Oceans Ultra Marathons and one Comrades Marathon.

His favourite, “without doubt” is the Two Oceans Marathon.

“That is why I did it 13 times! It is promoted as the most beautiful marathon in the world. I can attest to that.”

Staak said he decided to participate in the Athens Marathon because of the strong tradition and history associated it.

It is known as the “Authentic marathon” because this is where marathon running has its historical roots. In around 500 BC a Greek soldier ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Greek army over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. The distance was exactly 41,195 km. The standard marathon distance remains 42,2km to this day.”

The race proved to be a challenge and Staak said there was a steady climb from 18km to 32km to an elevation of about 350m.

“I can’t recall any other marathon having such a long steady climb. Legend has it that the Greek soldier died from exhaustion after delivering the victory message!”

Asked about his main takeaway from the experience Staak replied: “Any goal can be achieved with hard work, discipline and commitment. During the race it was certainly ‘mind over matter’.”

Simulating reality to skill future nurses

The Nursing Science Department is staying ahead of the curve in terms of training staff in the latest treatments and technologies.

Students are already reaping the rewards after lecturer Suveena Singh recently attended a simulation course at the University of the Free State.

The department’s Clinical Skills Laboratory also recently received a multi-million rand upgrade.

Singh said participants ran several simulation scenarios during the course.

Among other things her group ran a simulation with a manikin that simulated a five-year-old having an allergic reaction to Penicillin.

Another focus area was on learning how to do moulage.

“This is the art of applying mock injuries for training purposes. I practiced a few of the techniques on myself and I got quite a few stares as I went out in public. Since coming back I used subtle moulage for the practical exams of the students. The course was a great learning experience but more than that I got to meet attendees from different parts of South Africa & Africa. We have now become a simulation family,” said Singh.

CPUT’s green efforts awarded

CPUT’s efforts to green its campuses was awarded during the 7th Annual Green Campus Initiative (GCI) Conference.

The conference was organised by the Association of College and University Housing Officers International (Acuho-i) and was held at UKZN.

CPUT was awarded the Green Award – Diamond for the Most Innovative University.

The SARETEC building and the composition of its materials as well as CPUT’s utilisation of unwanted plastics and recycled materials to establish various useful tools impressed the delegation.

A total of 12 institutions attended the event and the theme of the four-day conference was Land and Marine pollution.

“We are very proud of this award as it recognises our innovative efforts to green our campuses. We hope to build on these efforts in future and establish CPUT as a leader in such projects in South Africa and Africa at large,” said Phillip Chibvuri from CPUT’s Residence Business Unit.

Tech-ing it up a notch

Staff members and students can look forward to enjoying the benefits of a recent major network upgrade when they return in the new academic year.

CTS Network Manager Sam Bimray said all buildings were being linked to the IT centre and Admin centre with new fibre cables, which will increase the speed and result in a major improvement in the performance of the network.

“We are also installing new equipment in different areas to take full advantage of the new fibre installation.”

He said two projects, the wired project on the Bellville campus and wireless project across all campuses, were running concurrently.

“We are trying to make our network as accessible as possible all over the campuses. We want to ensure that every building that we have has full coverage of Wi-Fi. This has been our biggest challenge. Five years ago it was one person per device but now we find that every person has two or three devices. This has required lots of upgrades, switches to more wireless routers and a new server to help us manage the increase of users.”

The department’s Joshua Blanchard said residences were one of the key focus areas: “With the help of external companies we walked through residences with a tool to check the reach of wireless coverage. We’ve looked at what we can do to get signal in the areas that are not reached.”

Bimray said a PABX Software (telephone system) upgrade was also conducted which will enable the use of Skype for business and improve voice quality on the network.

Future projects will include upgrading all the old cabling infrastructure.

Flowers put focus on plastic pollution

The flowers of the Cape served as the inspiration for an installation that provided food for thought on the issue of sustainable development.

Academics and students from the Design Department joined academics from the University of Lapland for a three-day workshop which culminated in the installation being placed on a lamppost in District Six.

Titled Flowers of the Cape, the project saw the participants creating flowers from plastic bottles and bags and other plastic waste.

Prof Satu Miettinen, Dean of the University of Lapland’s Faculty of Art and Design, said the participants had visited Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden to draw inspiration.

“This particular project is about sustainable development and figuring out your individual relationship to recycling and sustainability issues.”

She said it was hoped that the installation would draw some reflections from people.

“I will also document the installation and the work process and the photographs will be exhibited in Finland in the Victor Barsokevitsch Photographic Gallery.”

BTech Surface Design student Nicolene Mulder said when she heard what the project was about she immediately wanted to be part of it.

“I have already been working with plastic. It is important to promote plastic upcycling. I also want to use what people throw away to make the point that they should stop using it.”

The project forms part of the Participatory Development with the Youth (PARTY) Project, an international project which aims to support marginalised youth in developing countries.

Vikki Eriksson, a Lecturer in CPUT’s Department of Research, Innovation and Partnerships, said the benefits of the project included building bridges with institutions elsewhere in the world and fostering relationships on a one on one academic level but also at departmental and institutional level.

BLOOMING BEAUTIFUL: The flower installation was placed on a lamppost.

CPUT hosts successful MACE congress

Marketing, advancement and communication practitioners from tertiary institutions across the country sharpened their blades at the recent MACE Congress hosted by CPUT.

The annual three-day Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) congress was held at the Bellville campus and provided delegates with opportunities for benchmarking, networking and professional development.

This year’s theme was Sharpen your blade – skills for a new reality.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Nhlapo welcomed the delegates to CPUT and said the congress came at a particularly pivotal time in the higher education arena.

“As marketing, communication and advancement professionals you have a critical role to ensure that Higher Education, in whatever capacity you represent it, remains relevant. We can never be caught sitting on our laurels blissfully ignorant to the changing environment around us,” said Nhlapo.

Prof Johannes Cronje, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design, delivered the keynote address while other CPUT speakers included Prof Nirvana Bechan, Head of the Media Studies Department and Lauren Kansley, media liaison.

Sharing knowledge, building networks

Public Relations students were left inspired after a recent event co-hosted by The Public Relations Programme and The Public Relations Institute of South Africa.

The student engagement event, which was held at the Cape Town Hotel School, was aimed at enhancing relationships with alumni and creating dialogue through the theme Building a supportive alumni network.

The event was a second-year student practical.

The four alumni speakers represented, among others, the international non-profit sector, radio and online management. The alumni shared stories about their career paths and milestones, industry expectations and what motivated them to achieve.

The Advancement Department’s Valerie Deelman spoke about the importance of nurturing partnerships with alumni, corporates, government, trusts, foundations and other supporters to help advance teaching and learning at CPUT.

Deidre Porthen, senior lecturer in the Public Relations Programme, thanked the alumni for availing themselves and for motivating the students.

“The session was a success and plans are to make this an annual event.”

Research provides Food for Thought

The Cape Town Hotel School’s recent BTech Conference served a mixed bag of research topics, leaving attendees with much food for thought.

A total of 20 presentations were covered and students were given 10 minutes to present their work.

The event, held at the Southern Sun Waterfront, was attended by several industry representatives, many of whom indicated that they were impressed with the calibre of student and the presentations.

The research topics included: The impact of the VAT increase on restaurant operations in Cape Town, The impact of drought on the ultra-luxury hotel segment in the V&A Waterfront and Diversification of ethnicity beliefs within the working environment.

Senior lecturer Dr Tshinakaho Nyathela said the conference is an annual event and was first held in 2017.

“The main aim is to showcase what we do as the hospitality department and also showcase to the industry and departments the kind of research that our students do as well as the research we do as a department. I was very impressed with the presentations, our students went all out.”

She said the conference was also an opportunity to identify potential candidates for Master’s study.

Student Andisile Mbolompo said the conference was a great learning experience and helped to connect students with industry role players

Design students host First Thursdays event

Design students showcased their creations during a recent First Thursdays event at the Design Garage on Roeland Street.

Fashion, Graphic Design and Industrial Design students as well as students from the Extended Curriculum Programme all participated in the event with the creations showcased ranging from furniture to clothing.

First Thursdays have become popular among Capetonians and take place on the first Thursday of every month.

It allows the public to explore art galleries and other cultural attractions in the city centre.

“I’ve always attended First Thursdays in the CBD. Our building is very isolated from the rest of the university so we don’t really socialise with anyone else, not even with each other in the building. I thought an event like this would be a great opportunity for us to meet each other and see each other’s work and to show it to the public,” said Fashion student Shameemah Martin.

She said the students hoped to make it a monthly event.

Research with an eye on awareness

With the summer season upon us Capetonians will be reaching for their sunglasses to protect them from the sun’s harsh rays. But will any old pair of sunglasses do the trick?

Students Aqeelah Harris and Ayakha Rammbuda recently set out to investigate Patient knowledge About Sunglasses and their UV protective qualities.

They were among the groups of final-year students in the Ophthalmic Sciences Department who recently presented their research findings to their classmates, second-year students and a panel consisting of the Department Head Angelique Hendricks, Prof Peter Clarke-Farr, Michael Jowell and Prasidh Ramson.

Among other things the students found that 38 percent of the participants didn’t know what UV radiation was.

When asked to rate the importance of wearing sunglasses only 26 percent of the participants rated it as very important, 58 percent rated it as reasonably important and 16 percent rated it as slightly important.

Although the sample size was small (50 participants) the students concluded that there was a need for awareness campaigns around the adverse effects of UV radiation, protection practices and knowledge of protective devices.

Some of the other research topics included the Nature of spectacle breakages, mishaps and repairs and The progression of Myopia in young adults.

Hendricks said the panel was very proud of the students and thanked the dedicated lecturers for their hard work.

“I hope you will work with us in future and publish your research,” she told the students.

Clarke-Farr said the research and presentations were getting better every year.

YOUNG RESEARCHERS: The third-year students with the panelists.