About Lauren Kansley

Lauren is a Communication Officer in the Marketing and Communication Department. She writes stories about general news and the faculties of Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design. Tel: +27 21 953 8646 Email: kansleyl@cput.ac.za

Emphasis on Diversity

The Fundani Unit recently hosted a high-level delegation of American experts in diversity best practice.

The visit from Diversity Abroad was arranged by Dr Misiwe Katiya a senior lecturer in Academic Staff Development at CPUT after she interacted with many of the experts during conference visits to the US in 2015 and 2016.

Katiya says sharing stories with her US guests and Fundani colleagues made her realise that CPUT can do much more to make our classrooms, offices and shared learning environments more welcoming to the diverse group of staff and students we service.

Katiya runs Xhosa language classes and heads the Teaching and Development committee so is at the forefront of the challenges facing lecturers and students alike.

“Diversity is not a concept of BEE and ticking boxes, it is about true multiculturalism in language, race, gender, internationalisation and ultimately it’s about making CPUT a more inclusive space for all who inhabit it,” she says.

The delegation from Diversity Abroad are professionals from a variety of US educational institutions, government agencies and NGO’s. They also visited Stellenbosch University and UCT during the visit.

Katiya hopes to launch a CPUT version of the delegation made up of like-minded individuals who are passionate about advancing diversity and greater emphasis on inclusiveness.

Contact Katiya at katiyam@cput.ac.za if you are interested in sharing ideas on the topic.


R8 million donation to benefit students

A total of 267 CPUT students will benefit from an R8 million donation received from Absa Bank.

Using a combination of academic performance and financial need CPUT’s Financial Aid office has identified the qualifying students and will disburse the funds after a verification process has been completed.

Many of the qualifying students either have very limited financial resources or fall within the “missing middle” category of students whose parents or guardians can only afford to pay a portion of the required university fees.

The donation was accepted by former Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Volmink, who says it does not just affect the lucky students but their extended families as well.

“You must take the students you are helping then multiply it by thousands because you are creating thousands of opportunities and in fact you will never really be able to calculate the true cost because what Absa is doing is helping to break the cycle of poverty,” he says.


“CPUT attracts rural, economically challenged students who are bright. These students desire the same things that other more affluent students want but what they need most is support both emotionally and financially. That is what you are doing here today.”

The donation forms part of Barclays Africa Group’s 2017 CEO Scholarship Fund which aims to disburse R210 million which will impact around 3 000 university students across the continent. Absa Africa Head of Citizenship Sazini Mojapelo says The CEO Scholarship Fund grew exponentially since its inception in 2016 when it was only expected to affect around 200 students.


“When we saw the Fees Must Fall movement we realised that as a large corporate it was important to answer the call to action. We increased the scholarship programme from 200 to 2000 students and this year we expanded it to 3000 across the continent,” she says.

In 2017 the fund expanded to include the peer to peer mentoring programme Elevate Education which, through a series of workshops, equips students with the skills to not only survive university but to thrive too.


Write during recess


The June/July recess may present the perfect opportunity for university experts to share some of their knowledge with a non-academic audience.

Around 50 CPUT staff members have already contributed popular articles to The Conversation Africa (TCA) website and had the benefit of working with the site’s expert panel of editors to create a popular article which is then republished in mainstream media.

CPUT has officially endorsed TCA since 2015 and views the relationship as an essential arm of university research uptake efforts.

A writing workshop for CPUT staff and co-hosted by CPUT’s Research Directorate and Media Liaison will be hosted later this year but academics are urged to register on the site at https://theconversation.com/become-an-author to start receiving notifications.

TCA is a non-profit, public good agency seeking to mainstream science, increase the engagement between academia, scientists and the wider public. This is done by getting academics, researchers/scientists to write for the general public.

Their team of editors work with the academics to do this, hence their motto – ”academic rigour, journalistic flair”. These analytical pieces are then made available for free and all articles are available for republishing for free, under the Creative Commons licence.


Wind Turbine Service Technicians graduate


A group of 18 wind turbine service technicians are trained and ready for SA’s move into state commissioned wind farms.

The graduates were recipients of fully funded bursaries awarded by Nordex Acciona and the South African National Energy Development Institute. The bursaries covered five months of full time study at the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (Saretec) as well as a two month internship.

Brenda Martin from the South African Wind Energy Association told the graduates that they were uniquely positioned to take advantage of an exciting phase in the country’s expansion into renewable energy.

“There are over 600 turbines and of those employed in the wind sector 47% are youth and women. It is a great industry to join,” she said.

Anna Henschel from Nordex Acciona congratulated the group for persevering and urged them to concentrate on the next phase of their careers.

“The question to ask is what comes next for you and also for us. Continue being passionate, enthusiastic and remember you are good in the space you are in. Be open to learning more and consolidating all that you know,” she said.

Saretec Director Naim Rassool says future plans for the Wind Turbine Service Technician qualification is to create short courses which service the wind industry.

“The ultimate aim it to be a global leader in renewable energy training for that reason we are constantly benchmarking ourselves,” he said.


Young judge represents CPUT

A fleeting mention on radio has resulted in a CPUT alumnus nabbing a sought after spot in the Young Judging Panel of the 20th PRISM Awards.

Lukhanyo Mpumela heard the nationwide call for young Public Relations professionals to apply on Radio 702 and instantly knew he was a deserving candidate.

PRISM awards are the most sought after Public Relations Industry awards in Africa and the entered campaigns go through a rigorous final selection process each year.

The 25-year-old, who has a diploma and BTech in Public Relations from CPUT, says he applied and a short while later was pleasantly surprised to receive a letter saying he had been accepted as a Young Judge and also for the year-long mentorship programme that accompanies it.

For Lukhanyo the experience of being behind the scenes of the PRISM awards and interacting with captains of industry was life changing.

“I was on the judging panel of the Pan African and Network of the Year categories along with the Marketing and PR heads of companies like MTN, M&CSaatchi Abel and PR Worx,” he says.

“I learned so much from them and they were also pleased to listen to my opinions.”

Lukhanyo says he was also thrilled to represent CPUT in the judging and the event because it validated the institution as a true player in the industry.

“They were really happy to have someone from CPUT represented because the industry values the graduates CPUT produces,” he says.

Lukhanyo currently calls Pretoria home and is completing a stint in the graduate programme of the National Lotteries Commission Brand Management department. He is also furthering his studies with  a Post Grad Certificate in Brand and Marketing Management.

Transplant Athlete needs a sporting chance

This first year Management student looks the picture of health but one glance at his toned stomach reveals the scars of over 25 operations.

Martinique Du Preez was once dubbed the Miracle Boy by surgeons at Groote Schuur Hospital because he beat the odds to receive not one but two kidneys. His miraculous story is even more special because he then went on to earn his place on the South African Transplant Games team and last year broke five SA Transplant records in one day.

Martinique says he astounded even himself when he broke those records at the Transplant National Games. The sporting codes he broke are 100m sprint, 200m sprint, javelin, long jump and ball throw.

“I just went to enjoy myself and as I kept breaking the records I felt that it couldn’t be me doing these things,” he says.

“It was even more surprising because in the past I have struggled to qualify for the team.”

Martinique says the standards for Transplant Athletes are equally stringent to that of regular ones.

“The standards are always high whether you are a transplant or paraplegic athlete. So the athletes you see at these games are the best of the best,” he says.

Martinique was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure when he was 13 years old. He received his first kidney donation from his mother however that organ was rejected after only six hours.  The likelihood of finding a second suitable donor was slim because of his rare blood type AB+. Then news came that he was a match for a donor kidney from a young man his age who was fatally shot on the Cape Flats.

Martinique is now raising funds to attend the World Transplant Games to be held in Malaga Spain in June.


Caro Wiese awards now open

Applications for one of the most generous student funding opportunities is open and CPUT students are being urged to apply.

The Caro Wiese award is sponsored by SA business tycoon and CPUT Honorary Doctorate recipient Christo Wiese and his wife Caro.

Worth R70 000 each the Caro Wiese awards are bestowed on two students (one male and one female) who have achieved academic excellence despite extreme personal hardship.

The Caro Wiese awards are almost one year old and the 2016 recipient was Matthew Benjamin, a Sudanese refugee who walked to SA in 2011 and arrived in Cape Town speaking very little English and with only R200 in his pocket.

Determined to study he taught himself English using YouTube videos and eventually enrolled for a Masters course in IT. Matthew successfully graduated last year and thanks to the generous award was able to continue his studies.

Convener of the award Prof Janet Condy says that while the award is partially based on academic excellence the focus is on the applicant’s personal story.

“CPUT students who have achieved excellent results relative to the opportunities they have had, and who have a track record of high achievement despite the most formidable social, physical, or other personal challenges, are eligible,” she says.

Visit http://www.cput.ac.za/study/funding/caro-wiese-award for more information on how to apply.

Applications close on May 19.

What doesn’t kill you

Crime has touched his life intimately on more than one occasion but CPUT student Zamile Maqwathini is determined to rise above it all and succeed.

Last month his best friend and renowned puppet maker, Ncedile Daki, was cruelly gunned down in a hijacking. Ncedile achieved world-wide acclaim for making the puppets used in the stage production War Horse and Zamile is still grieving the loss of his talented friend.

In 2015 while sleeping alone in his Masipumelele home, Zamile nearly lost his life when a burglary took place.

“They obviously came thinking that no one was home because there was often no one home. At the time I was a boxer so I was very fit,” says the 32-year old Travel and Tourism graduate.

Zamile says four of the attackers ran away when he fought them off but one had a chilling message for him as they tussled outside on the street.

The attacker plunged a dagger into his left eye and fled the scene as Zamile collapsed in a pool of blood. He became blind in that eye and had to navigate life with a new disability.

“One of my lecturers referred me to Student Counselling, and initially I didn’t want to go because these types of things are not part of my culture,” he says.

“Today I can say that those sessions saved my life because it helped me come to terms with what happened to me and to move on.”

Another productive change was connecting with CPUT’s Disability Unit where they assisted with most of his study needs.

“Through all of that my wound was still painful and I had to have many frustrating hospital visits but I will always be grateful for the help of those two units,” he says.

Despite this major setback, Zamile has recently graduated with two distinctions, and says he hopes his story will inspire others to overcome life’s challenges.

“Today I can say I am definitely a different person. This could have killed me but it actually made me a better person,” he says.

Educator with special needs returns to his school

A journey to being an educator has taken one CPUT graduate right back to where it all started, his own primary and high school.

When Taswell Mabutha was a learner at Jan Kriel School in Kuils River he dreamt of the day he could finally matriculate and leave behind the stigma of being a pupil at a school for children with special educational needs.

Mabutha has severe dyslexia and struggles to understand what he is reading. It was a condition he initially masked well as a child but which later became apparent as he matured.

“Basically I can’t understand words and my spelling is very bad. When I was very young and reading Cathy and Mark I used to manipulate the system and pretend I could read,” he says.

As he moved into high school and became a teenager, Mabutha says he would act out in an effort to show he wasn’t “slow or special needs.”

“A lot of the time I think some of these kids can be part of a conventional school system, it’s just how you deal with them. I am not trying to change the curriculum I want to change mind sets,” he says.

Mabutha also wants more of these children to access university education, like he did at CPUT, and not be restricted to studying trades at vocational colleges.

He ended up studying Professional Cooking for five years at CPUT’s Granger Bay campus and successfully graduated in 2016.

The qualification took longer to complete because Mabutha did not acknowledge his learning disability initially and only sought out the help of the disability unit much later than he should have.

After graduating from CPUT in 2016 he worked as a professional chef working in upmarket resort kitchens but later returned to his alma mater to do a postgraduate teaching qualification.

This month Mabutha joins thousands of CPUT graduates as he attends his second graduation ceremony but he is already hard at work changing lives back at Jan Kriel where he now teaches Travel and Tourism.

Coffee painting wins big

An emotive image painted entirely out of coffee has earned two CPUT Graphic Design students the top prize in a national art competition.

The Nestle Art Competition challenged learners from primary school into tertiary institutions to create a unique artwork that celebrates the company’s 100 year anniversary in Africa.

CPUT students leaped at the opportunity and came up with everything from Andy Warhol inspired images of company founder Henry Nestle to depictions of how the company has helped small business flourish.

In the end six CPUT Graphic Design students were invited to the finals in Johannesburg and second year students Kyron Damon Green and Natalie Gendron won the R50 000 prize in their category.

CONGRATULATIONS: Six students from CPUT made it into the finals of the Nestle Art Competition

CONGRATULATIONS: Six students from CPUT made it into the finals of the Nestle Art Competition

Kyron says the judges seemed pleasantly surprised that the image, measuring 1m by 1 m on paper, was created using Ricoffee.

“We did one version first and then when we saw that the idea could work we perfected it in a final version,” he says.

His design partner Natalie says they wanted to communicate that Ricoffy is so much more than just coffee.

“After brainstorming, we decided that what better way was there to express this concept than to use actual Ricoffy as the medium for the painting. We added coffee cup stains around the page to enhance the effect of the coffee,” she says.

Lecturer Edwin Peacock says the students fitted the winning work in and amongst a loaded project schedule.

“They were given this brief while they were busy with other stuff which makes this win even more special,” he says.