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.”

Accounting student opens Cape’s first township pharmacy

Applying the knowledge obtained from class, a second-year Accounting student, has created a business opportunity out of a community problem.

After noticing how difficult it is for residents in disadvantaged areas such as Khayelitsha and Joe Slovo to access medicine, Thembekile Mahintsho recently opened Mangethe’s Medi Store, the first and only pharmacy in Joe Slovo.

With motivation from this lecturers, including Andre van den Bergh, Widaad Martin and Anthony Ezeonwuka, Thembekile started the pharmacy in June using savings from his study loan.

“Accounting teaches us to think outside the box; the knowledge gained from CPUT is now applied to solve real-life problems,” says the tenacious 22-year old. “CPUT has played a huge role in preparing for this life as an entrepreneur.”

Thembekile’s pharmacy has been mentioned in over ten newspapers. He sells only over the counter drugs and not prescribed medicine.

He adds that he aims to grow the business but first he wants to make it viable.

His range of products on sale includes African traditional medicines because he says that he understands his customers’ needs and always strive to address them.

What gives him a competitive edge over the large supermarkets is that he sells his products cheaper and only charges his customers an additional R10 for delivering their medicines at their homes. He even sells on credit but does not add interest to the prices.

Thembekile adds that when the news about his pharmacy first broke, Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, got hold of him and promised that her office will facilitate for him to be awarded a pharmacy license.

His now awaiting the pharmacy council to visit his store and inspect whether it can be considered for licensing.

“The Cipla Foundation has been sponsoring me with their products, Rabie Property Group Pty Ltd at Century City funded me with R10 000 and the NYDA has approved my funding application which will see them funding me with a brand new motorbike, stock and a cash register machine.

PIONEER: Thembekile Mahintso

Working across disciplines to help learners

Education and Business students recently banded together to work on a literacy project aimed at primary school children.

Learners from the Belhar Pentech Community Care organisation travelled to CPUT’s Wellington Campus for a day of workshops geared around language and literacy.

The five students from the Faculty of Education joined three Business Management students plus a visiting student from Belgium to explore creative ways to engage the 26 learners who ranged from Grade 3 to 6.

Once the students had shown the learners around the Wellington campus they started with icebreakers and then divided the children into groups, rotating them around various stations.

Third year Education student Johan Pienaar was responsible for the debating and critical thinking station where learners were taught how to argue a point and critically question what is being said. He initially thought they would be dealing with older children so quickly had to adjust his methods: “The learners got distracted easily so in future I would look to incorporate more visual and practical resources to retain their attention,” said Pienaar.

Senior lecturer in the Department of English in the Faculty of Education Dr Hanlie Dippenaar said the purpose of the workshop was to give the students a chance to work with learners in an informal setting and to work across disciplines.

“This was a pilot project which might be developed into a longitudinal project. It could be done as a weekend camp in future,” said Dippenaar.

NGO Help2Read, which often partners with the Wellington Campus on Community Projects and Service-Learning, donated a book to each of the learners, who also received stationery from the Community Engagement Unit, which helped to plan the project.

“We would like to thank the CE Unit for the opportunity and we would be interested in doing similar projects that could include more students,” said Dippenaar.

Written by Theresa Smith

Research stars shine at BTech Conference

Students in the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences who are outstanding research presenters won cash prizes during this year’s BTech Conference.

The faculty held the conference on the District Six Campus recently under the theme, driving economic development and empowerment through research and innovation.

The faculty’s Dean, Prof Paul Green, said the conference was the initiative and drive of acting Assistant Dean: Research & Innovation, Prof Chux Iwu.

Green added that the purpose of a conference of this nature was developmental, as well as to stimulate and provoke critical thinking and provide for the extension of learning.

“It is the basis of an academic or anyone pursuing the route of academia,” he said.

He argued that South Africa was calling out for action, particularly in the area of economic development so much that some even argue that economic reform should be done radically.

The prizes for individual presentations were R5 000 for the winner, R3 000 2nd prize and Special commendation R750, while for group presentations the prizes were R8 000 for the winners, 2nd R5 000 and  Special Commendation R1 000.

Prizes for the individual presenters were awarded as follows:

Commendation prizes went to the Retail Business Management, Cost and Management Accounting, Financial Management and Tourism Management departments;

The runner-up went to Internal Auditing Department and the winner was the Sport Management Department.

For the presenting groups Commendation Awards were given to HR Management, Business and Information Administration and Hospitality Management departments. The Entrepreneurship and Marketing departments were awarded runners-up and winners, respectively.

Sibusiso Zondi, of Emerald Group Publishing, which was one of the conference sponsors, said 37 CPUT authors are published through Emerald and that the group offers annual research funding awards.

Enabling environmental health practitioners

The Environmental Health programme recently said goodbye to the last third year students for the course in its current format.

On the last day of their exams, as the programme came to a close, the staff threw the 35 students a small party.

In addition to the surprise party the students also received their Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) certificates. [The HPCSA is a statutory body which aims to protect the public by investigating unethical conduct by qualified practitioners and regulating the training of Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), medical Doctors and other health professionals.]

Acting Head of Programme: Environmental Health Michael Agenbag said it made the day very special because the certificates would enable the students to register for community service.

“To illustrate the importance of these certificates and their implication for our students, our cohort of the 2015 Environmental Health students who are currently doing their BTech could not get placement for their compulsory Community Service this year at the Cape Winelands District Municipality because they did not have their HPCSA student registration certificates,” said Agenbag.

Community Service is not a requirement to graduate, but it is expected of EHPs to give back to the country. “The authorities determine where the biggest needs are, in particular in underserviced areas where the country struggles to retain health professionals,” explained Agenbag.

The current cohort of 1st and 2nd year Environmental Health students at CPUT has been studying towards a four year professional degree known as Bachelor of Environmental Health since the start of 2017.

“This degree will now become the minimum requirement for students and qualified Environmental Health Practitioners to register with HPCSA as EHPs to work within the scope of the profession,” explained Agenbag.

The new professional degree students would also have to register as student EHPs to do community service. Though the Professional Board for Environmental Health within the HPCSA has asked that students handle their own registration Agenbag says CPUT’s Environmental Health programme has decided to step in to help with administrative arrangements.

Written by Theresa Smith

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

Starting a foundation of hope

Student organisation The Hope Foundation donated clothes to Khayelitsha residents who lost their homes in a recent fire.

Sparked by a news report that more than 1 300 people had been left homeless after hundreds of shacks were destroyed in a blaze, The Hope Foundation teamed up with student organisation Nika Foundation to help the people in need, despite all the students being busy with November exams.

“The organisations collected 70 bags of clothes and a few bags of food from some of the CPUT residences. This was done by organisation members and volunteers by way of a door to door collection,” explained The Hope Foundation co-founder, second year Accounting student, Ntombozuko Bota.

She said they laundered and sorted all the clothes at night in a very short time frame, leading to some sleepless nights for volunteers. “It was a lot of work to do but we managed as the aim was to give within a reasonable timeframe, while people are still in need,” said Ntombozuko.

The Hope Foundation was founded in 2017 by Ntombozuko, Maphelo Tshapile and Sinethemba Mabovu and it has grown to include not only CPUT students.

“We started by looking for sponsors to help children whose families were affected by the fire in Philippi at the beginning of this year. We then donated school shoes to an orphanage in the Strand and this donation to the people of Khayelitsha is our third project.

“Our projects are dependent on donors and sponsors and we are currently looking for sponsors and donors to help us help the children of an orphanage with Christmas clothes and school uniforms for January. Our mission is to be the voice of the disadvantaged, to restore hope to hopeless souls,” said Ntombozuko.

She pointed out the most recent collection for Khayelitsha residents was a huge success only because of the students who opened their hearts to donate and the volunteers who put a lot of effort into the project.

Written by Theresa Smith

Planning the modern African city

Urban and Regional Planning students recently shared their views on the making of modern African cities at the Young Planners Colloquium.

The Colloquium is a side event of Planning Africa – the largest conference of its kind on the African continent.

The CPUT Planning School was one of the hosting partners.

“This year’s theme ‘The making of modern African cities’ resulted in one of the hotly debated issues: namely what is our vision for African cities, is it Dubai-like, and if not, what does the modern African city then look like. How do we stay authentic and contextually sensitive within a highly technological world that is driven by the global North,” said senior lecturer Belinda Verster.

She said the third term was devoted to challenging students to respond to the conference theme and produce posters of their vision.

Third-year student Alica Jooste’s poster project was selected for presentation.

Verster also presented her paper titled Collaborative planning and learning in collaboration: a theoretical perspective at the conference.

The paper argues for foregrounding value attributes in the planning curriculum as a lens for contextualising content and skills knowledge.

“My biggest take away from the conference is the renewed sense of hope in the profession, that urban planners are central to making the changes our country so desperately needs and that planning education is key to realising our professional responsibility.”

Two other staff members, junior lecturer Rayner Moodley (as a South African Planning Institute representative and part of the organising panel) and technician Mzee Muluse (as photographer and programme manager) were also involved in the conference.

Students donate canned food to orphanage

A group of Public Management students recently visited Baphumelele Children’s Home in Khayelitsha to donate almost 55 000 non-perishable healthy food items.

Situated in the Litha Park area, the Home takes care of children who have been affected by HIV/Aids through abandonment, abuse or neglect or were orphaned when their parents died from AIDS related complications.

Lecturer Mbuso Tshaka, who co-ordinates the community engagement project, says credit should go to his students who worked tirelessly to make the day a success.

“We just did it for the love of it,” says Tshaka. “When I asked an eight-year-old boy what he’d like to become in life, he said he wants to become a pilot. When I asked on whom does that depend he said firstly God, secondly Jesus and the next person is himself.”

The students were able to collect so many items by requesting donations from retail stores with an official letter from the project manager. “This was aligned to their subject Project Management’s learning outcomes with assessment criteria and method,” explained Tshaka.

The Home’s management and staff thanked CPUT for the donation. “We acknowledge receipt of the donation made to us on the 22nd September 2018 of boxes full of tinned stuff. We very much appreciate your generous contribution. Continue helping us to provide and protect these innocent children,” reads a letter signed by Rosie Mashale, the Home’s Managing Director.

The students said they do not wish to forget what they experienced at the Home as it was beyond anything they had imagined. “The shelter’s caregivers were friendly and helpful, the children were happy and playful,” said student Asanda Mgutsi. “We were given a tour around the premises. We were taken to the children’s rooms which are designed to cater for the various age groups of the children and discovered that the rooms were of a high standard and quality.”

A senior caregiver explained to the students how the Home is run and they enjoyed the whole experience.

“The experience taught me to appreciate what I have as the next person might be less fortunate. There we had young boys and girls who had no family support or structure that we as students take for granted,” said Asanda.

Poster children for food safety

Two groups of Environmental Health third year students were recently invited to present projects at the City of Cape Town’s World Health Environmental Day (WEHD) celebrations.

The students presented on their Work Integrated Learning (WIL) projects which they implemented while working for the City Health department. The projects had to focus on the 2018 WEHD theme “Food Safety and Sustainability”.

First the students presented their projects to academic staff and their mentors during their WIL excursion and the group who articulated and presented the best project was invited by the City of Cape Town to present their projects at the annual WEHD celebrations.

The group who went to the Lakeside office were placed first while the group who went to the Kuilsriver office came second.  The group who came third, who worked in the Parow office, went along to the presentations at the Civic Centre to watch their fellow students present their posters.

Environmental Health lecturer Michael Agenbag said this year the City of Cape Town allowed two WIL groups to present their projects as opposed to previous years when only the winning team were invited to the WEHD celebrations.

Their topics were “Food premise identified using alternative water source while implementing the project life cycle” (Lakeside) and “Hygienic storage and usage of municipal water” (Kuilsriver).

Agenbag explained their food lecturer had expected them to select food premises that made use of alternative water sources because of the drought in the Western Cape. “As part of their project she expected them to develop a teaching poster that they had to use during their training session with the food handlers.”

He said what made the two groups stand out was the way they interpreted the assignment and integrated project management phases to ensure the successful implementation of their projects. “Also the crossfields integration of subject matter between food and management practice.”

Third year student Nonkosi Somwahla, of the Parow group, said one of the biggest lessons they learned was proper time management skills. She appreciated not only the practical experience but also being able to apply all the theory they had learned in class.

“For me presentations is one of the stressful things that I still need to master but what I’ve learned is that your audience gets an opportunity to learn through what you are presenting. Through their feedback you also learn a thing or two. I think if presentations were done on a regular basis to academics that would make students like me more fond of doing it rather than just to get a mark next to your name,” said Nonkosi.

Written by Theresa Smith