The Making of a Scholar – A RITAL Throwback

In this post I chat to Dr Najwa Norodien-Fataar, chair of the RITAL (Research in Innovation Teaching and Learning) organising committee and Head of Department at Fundani CHED’s Curriculum Development Unit. She shares snippets of her academic journey and reveals the integral role that RITAL and RIFTAL – the fund that makes research in this field possible – have played.

Dr Najwa Norodien-Fataar doing what she does best – presenting.

Najwa’s story starts in 2010 when the very first RITAL Conference was held. Not only was she one of the conference’s first presenters, she was also awarded best paper! Here she shares some tips for delivering an award-winning presentation. It’s no wonder that she now heads up both the organising and funding arms of RITAL. 

Within two years of presenting her first-ever academic paper at RITAL, Najwa submitted it to the South African Journal of Higher Education where it was published soon after. The focus of her research was student engagement at CPUT as it relates to their on-campus stay and use of digital tools. Najwa explained that 10 years ago the need for e-mentoring already existed, made especially necessary by Fundani’s position outside the CPUT structures of faculties and student residences. She discovered that students who felt more socially connected did better academically.

Najwa’s ability to secure RIFTAL funding for her research and her success at presenting lit an academic flame that burns brightly to this day. While her research focus has shifted slightly to focus more on the experiences of CPUT lecturers as opposed to students, the common thread between her academic interest then and now is her agency and capacity to develop programmes and serve. Her initial insights served students; more recently they serve the academics who engage with those students.

“We have to keep up. We’re on this threshold that requires us to change the way we learn, the way we view students. And I’m sure lecturers have done something extraordinary.” 

Dr Najwa Norodien-Fataar

This confidence in lecturers’ capacity to innovate, especially in the past two years, is what excites Najwa for the upcoming 2021 RITAL Conference. In fact, she believes that the focus on digitally influenced pedagogy and lecturers’ experiences will continue into 2022. That will of course mark the 10th year celebration of RITAL as well as its first hybrid iteration. Having presenters and participants join in person as well as from their homes anywhere in the country or the world is an exciting prospect. And a daunting one. But Najwa is convinced that last year’s success with RITAL’s very first virtual iteration bodes well for the organising committee’s future endeavours.

If you’re presenting at the 2021 RITAL conference in two weeks’ time, be sure to take a look at these Tips for Presenting by Najwa. Also check out her numerous publications here.

We are Creating Giants

We are creating giants | Sikhulisa iinganga | Ons skep reuse

Have you, like so many of us, gotten used to the fact that English is the default language of academia? Do you have knowledge of another language, perhaps even more knowledge and fluency in that language than English? Even if you consider yourself monolingual, can you imagine what it’s like to forge creative and convincing arguments in a language you are not most comfortable in?

With these questions in mind the Language Working Group (LWG) has launched a campaign that celebrates the academic achievements of CPUT graduates and postgraduates in spite of or because of multilingualism.

Featured in this blog and on CPUT’s official YouTube channel are the experiences and research foci of graduate and postgraduate students from each of our faculties. Read more about these giants here. And click here for their videos.




New Bachelors of Paralegal Studies offering in 2018

The Unit for Applied Law at CPUT will be offering the new Bachelor of Paralegal Studies degree from 2018.

This HEQC-accredited degree is the first of its kind in South Africa and is designed to consolidate the current fragmented approach to paralegal education in the country.This initiative is in a bid to professionalise the paralegal sector and contribute to the transformation of the legal profession. It will also establish comprehensive paralegal education firmly within the domain of higher education, as well as higher education curricula.

The programme takes three years to complete on a full-time basis and five years part-time, in the absence of any credit transfer or recognition of prior learning.
An APS score of 30 points is required for admission to the degree. However, paralegal practitioners who do not meet the above requirements may seek access as per the RPL and age exemption policy of CPUT.

“Whilst preparing students for existing and future paralegal careers aimed at meeting the primary legal needs of individuals and communities, the programme will also assist with the current challenges in the country’s legal education, by providing a gateway to the LLB degree that serves as both a preparatory and screening mechanism for prospective candidates of the private legal profession,” says the Coordinator of the Unit, Advocate Noleen Leach.

The programme was designed in consultation with various local and international legal and paralegal practitioners in the field. Including the Association of Advice Offices of South Africa and the National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices.

The academic programme rests on four core pillars of legal education, namely Private Law, Public Law, Mercantile Law and Formal Law. Formal Law has been integrated into the three pillars, where appropriate, and the work-integrated components woven into the programme.
The programme is not only designed for existing careers in paralegal practice but can be adapted to prepare graduates for future careers in paralegal practice, as determined by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.

These include positions such as conveyancing paralegal, legal administrator, legal assistant, debt counsellor, and reviewer or motor vehicle accident claims handling. Graduates will be prepared to represent clients in various adjudicating forums where paralegals have right of appearance.

Pride and excitement at official unveiling of CPUT’s Absa Cape Epic teams

With less than two weeks to go until the start of the world’s toughest mountain bike race, the four riders who will sport CPUT colours in the Absa Cape Epic say they are all raring to go.

Etienne Joubert, Sarita Louw, Mteza Boya and Seraj Abrahams were all given hearty encouragement at last night’s event, particularly from keynote speaker, Vice-Chancellor Dr Prins Nevhutalu.

Speaking at last night’s event, the VC urged the athletes to do the university proud as the national and international spotlight is shone on the beautiful Wellington Campus in the Winelands.

“The magnificence of our campus, which was voted the best host village last year in this world-renowned event, will once again be on display.”

Riders are set to arrive in Wellington on Wednesday, 16 March; this marks the end of stage three of the race. The following day, riders compete in a 71 km stage, also ending at the Wellington Campus. On Friday, 18 March, riders will leave Wellington for Stellenbosch as they set out on stage five of the race.

This year, apart from just being a host village, CPUT has entered two teams. CPUT alumnus and lecturer in the School of Sport, Events, Tourism and Hospitality, Etienne Joubert, is heading up Team CPUT. He’ll be riding with CPUT alumnus, Sarita Louw, in the mixed category of the stage race.

And most excitingly, in what is considered a first for CPUT and the Absa Cape Epic itself, The Professional Provident Society (PPS) is sponsoring a so-called development team, Team CPUT PPS.

Riders Mteza Boya and Seraj Abrahams will race in the Exxarro category, which stipulates entrants must be under the age of 26 and from formerly disadvantaged backgrounds.

img epic launch2

TEAM CPUT PPS: (from left) Gerhard Koekemoer (PPS Regional Manager, Western Cape), rider Mteza Boya, Linda Stanford (Branch Manager, Cape Town), rider Seraj Abrahams, Riana O’Neill (Branch Manager, Tygervalley)

PPS’s Riana O’Neill says “CPUT and PPS are making history with this sponsorship of a development team entered in the Epic. We see this partnership as an ideal vehicle to entrench our business in the growing recreational sport sector. This is a segment in which many of our current clients already participate and many more potential clients are expected to become involved.”

Support our teams on social media: #epicCPUT16 | #teamCPUT | #teamCPUT_PPS

For more photos of the launch event, visit our FlickR album.




The USSA Basketball National Championships held at the University of Pretoria from 30 June – 4 July 2014 were full of exciting moments; from laughter to singing to chanting to crying to bonding.  There was a lot of synergy in the air amongst the team.

The CPUT Cats have created a new culture for themselves.  Suddenly we are now united in song; we are a team that sings and chants together in unison led by Freshman Luthando Limba.  Team spirit vibe is on another level right now.  After Coach Thierry Kita left the CPUT Cats for greener pastures at NBA Africa, who would have thought we would achieve what we have thus far?  Majority of the players from 2013 are no longer part of the student team for various reasons.

I couldn’t have scripted this story any better.  It is just incredible what Coach Masie Ntlali has managed to accomplish since taking over the reigns as the Head Coach of the CPUT Cats.  With 3 senior players and 8 rookies, nobody would have ever thought that our first loss of the year in all USSA competitions would be against the undisputed and defending champions VUT.  Who can be ashamed from loosing to the undefeated defending champions?  We can only be proud of the camaraderie spirit that was displayed on and off the court by our players.

The CPUT Cats new generation team have surpassed everybody’s expectations of defeating everybody there is to beat on their quest to the top.  It didn’t come easy for the team to get to where they are today.  It took sheer hard work and dedication to get to this point.

The players are guided by the team principles to do this well.  They played hard, they played smart, they played together, and lastly they had fun.  Winning is just a bonus for the Cats.  As long as they do what needs to be done according to the team principles, all shall fall into place.  The Men’s team scored an average of 68.8 points per game and conceded 51.4 points per game.  The Ladies team scored an average of 81 points per game and conceded 32.5 points per game throughout the whole tournament.

The CPUT Cats ladies team had a great tournament until they met the Wits dream team which eliminated the Cats and went onto win they finals by defeating the defending champions VUT.  The Cats defeated UCT to clinch Bronze medal.  The UCT ladies had a great tournament and shocked a lot of people when they eliminated the hosts Tuks.  It was refreshing to see a different team win for a change for the second time since 2010.  Wits stepped up their game when they came from behind to defeat VUT with only 2 minutes to play.  Their number 10 Modiegi celebrated her birthday in style when she was awarded Most Valuable Player of the tournament.  She was a thorn in the VUT defence.

Veranique #Vee Samuels had a great tournament.  She was voted by other coaches to become part of the 2014 USSA Basketball All Stars.  In Basketball, 5 players get voted as the best of the best throughout the tournament.  The 6th person is voted as the Most Valuable Players of the tournament.  Ms Samuels scored an average of 12.67 points per game throughout the tournament.  Both Chad Smitsdorff and Bonga #Hotstove11 Kalipa from the Men’s team were voted All Stars as well.  Chad had an average of 10.80 points per game and #Hotstove11 had an average of 17 points per game.  The highest scorer in the CPUT Cats teams both male and female was Sophy #Lowizzy Ngobeni with an average of 20.67 points per game throughout the tournament.

Boston Media House almost caused the biggest upset in the history of the game by defeating VUT Men’s team but lack of experience and a bit of excitement cost them the game.  It was their first time taking part in this tournament and they got eliminated in the first round.  The game against VUT was a must win for them to make it into the next round.  This game was one of the most exciting games of the tournament.

CPUT Cats after receiving their Silver Medals #USSA2014

CPUT Cats after receiving their Silver Medals #USSA2014

During Game 1 against DUT both Chad and #Hotstove11 dropped double digits in the bucket.  The biggest highlight is that every single player managed to score in the Men’s team.  Rookie Sifundile Sokujika had a 100% success rate in Field Goal 2 points.  #Hotstove11 had 6 rebounds and Idris #Mon3y Kayembe had 10 rebounds.  It seems like the Cats have started a new tradition for themselves of winning game 1 of USSA National Championships by 20 points since 2013.   Final score was 68-48.  During the ladies first game against UL 3 players dropped double digits. Nomfusi Rewu (11), Vee (12) and Lowizzy (23).  The Ladies won by 41 points margin.  Final score was 73-32.

Game 2 against CUT Men’s highlight is that everybody managed to score and 3 players dropped double digits.  Emmanuel #Ted Tonye (11), #Hotstove11 (12) and Simphiwe #SpinMan Benge (18) were on fire.  Eugene #E-Jay Beya had a career high of 6 rebounds and #Ted had 8 rebounds respectively.  The biggest highlight of the game was the moment Vuyo #Vuzu Vellem hit an ankle breaking in and out crossover on a player from CUT and released the ball to Sifundile who scored a layup.  We caught it all on camera.  Visit our Youtube channel to see the video.  The Cats annihilated CUT with a margin of 56 points.  The final score was 84-28.  The Ladies game against TUT had 4 players dropping double digits Lungile #Lungsta Mtsweni (10), Mpho #AnkleBreaker Seswa (12), #Lowizzy (16) and #Vee (31).  The Ladies won by a humongous margin of 78 points.  The final score was 96-18.

Game 3 for the Men was their quarterfinal match against UKZN who were determined to cause an upset.  Sarp #Bart Sozeri played his best game since joining the Cats with a USSA career high of 14 points and 9 rebounds.  Other players that brought their A game were Matthew Metz on defence; #Mon3y with 6 rebounds; Chad with 15 points and 5 rebounds and #Hotstove11 with 15 points and 7 rebounds.  Cats won with a margin of 25 points.  The final score was 78-53.  The Ladies had an interesting game against UFS.  #Vee dropped 11 points, #Lungsta 14 points and #Lowizzy dropped 31 points.  #Lowizzy was like an inferno against the UFS ladies.  Ladies team won with a margin of 35 points.  The final score was 74-39.

Game 4 for the Men was their semifinals against UJ whom we defeated in game 1 in 2013 by 20 points so they had a score to settle with their new coach.  The Cats proved that they were mentally strong so they came prepared for war.  Cats beat UJ with a single digit margin of 9 points.  The interesting thing is that their team didn’t change much from 2013 and we beat them with our new team of 8 rookies and 3 senior players.  Final score was 64-55.  #Bart was out with an injury caused by a spider so the guys dedicated the win to him.  This game was the Ladies’s quarterfinals against a relentless UJ team that became known as that team that comes back from behind and win with several seconds left.  Our Ladies were ready for these tactics and managed to hold them to a 55-29 and qualified for the semifinals against Wits.  Cats won with a margin of 26 points.  Only #Lungsta (13) and #Lowizzy (19) managed to score double digits in this game.

Game 5 for the Men was their Finals match against the defending champions VUT.  This was for the second time Cats face VUT in the USSA National Championships Finals since 2010.  As a team the Cats everything there is to achieve until thus far.  Majority of the VUT players currently play in the BNL which is a professional league in South Africa.  On the day only Chad and #Hotstove11 managed to show up.  They delivered an impressive performance which caught the attention of other coaches, players and the Basketball community at large.  #Hotstove11 hit the only slam dunk of the game.  He scored 17 points and made 8 rebounds.  As a captain he led from the front. Chad pulled off some amazing jump stops and drove in to score some difficult team in VUT.  He scored 13 points in the finals.  Cats lost by a margin of 23 points and the final score was 50-73.  This was the Ladies semifinals against Wits.  The Ladies from Wits brought their A game on the day.  They had a well balanced team.  Our Ladies struggled against Wits suffered their first loss in all USSA competitions since January.  Final score was 44-54 and they lost with a margin of 10 points.  #Vee scored 11 points and Wits managed to contain #Lowizzy on defence to score a tournament low of 13 points.

CPUT Cats Ladies team with the SRC Members

CPUT Cats Ladies team with the SRC Members

The Cats Ladies regrouped and played a Cape Town derby for the 3rd and 4th play-offs against UCT.  Nandipha #Speedy Tshali showed up with a tournament high of 12 points.  #Lowizzy was back doing what she does best with a total of 22 points in the bucket.  Cats beat UCT 60-23 to clinch bronze, one position lower than 2012 and 2013.  With teams that we have, we have done extremely well with the limited resources at our disposal.  The presence and support from our Local SRC was felt and we highly appreciate it.  They sang their lungs out and chanted day-in-day-out until the last day.

The future of Basketball and the CPUT Cats looks bright indeed.  Our Sport Administrator Ms Annelie Swarts deserves a special mention.  She has been there for us since day 1.  Now we need the full support of the CPUT Management as Basketball is the Flagship Sport of the Institution.  We continue to shine and fly the CPUT flag high.  The technical team have built a solid foundation for both the teams to thrive.  CPUT Cats family is an Elite organisation thanks to those who have come before us.  We are what we are because of other people.  From the female Team Manager Rebecca Moloto; to the newly appointed SA Ladies National team head coach Kimathi Toboti; to the men’s  Assistant Coach Myc Makada; to Comunication Officer of the team Matome #CoachDukes Mokoena and lastly the Under 20 Men’s National Team Head Coach Masie Ntlali all have done a sterling job in carrying on the CPUT Cats Legacy forward.

I guess it is safe to say Basketball is alive and well in CPUT, Cape Town, South Africa!