Human Interest https://news.nwu.ac.za/ en Player joins professional women’s football league https://news.nwu.ac.za/player-joins-professional-womens-football-league <span>Player joins professional women’s football league</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/12/2024 - 14:06</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="text-align-right">By Phenyo Mokgothu and Lerato Tshweu</p> <p>Lebohang Mpakanyane from the North-West University’s (NWU’s) women’s football team has joined Tshwane University of Technology, a team in the Hollywoodbets Super League, which is a professional South African women's football league.</p> <p>She is the second female player from the NWU to go professional, following in the footsteps of Khensani Nkuna who joined the Royal AM team.</p> <p>Lebohang is known for her skills on the field and has had a remarkable journey through the ranks of women's football. Starting her career at a young age, she quickly gained recognition, showing talent, dedication and vision. Her time at the NWU was marked by standout performances, leading the team in many crucial matches and contributing significantly to their successes.</p> <p>She says she is excited about the new opportunity, and thanks her coaches and teammates for their support. “I am looking forward to contributing to my new team and embracing the challenges and opportunities in the professional league,” she adds.</p> <p>Her move is a positive step for women's football, showing the potential for talented players to progress. It also highlights the increasing attention and investment in women's football, contributing to its growth and competitiveness globally. Many are eager to see how Lebohang will integrate into her new team and influence their performance in the league.</p> <p>“I am very happy and excited for her. She is flying the purple flag high even though she is a red army girl now. We are rooting for her,” says coach Azania Moshushu.</p> <p>Lebohang’s journey serves as inspiration to aspiring footballers and reflects the evolving landscape of women's football.</p> <p><img alt="..." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Lebohang%20Mpakanyane-STORY%2BICON.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>NWU player Lebohang Mpakanyane is joining the professional women’s football world.</p> </div> Fri, 12 Apr 2024 12:06:19 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29810 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Dominant victory propels Young Guns into semi-finals https://news.nwu.ac.za/dominant-victory-propels-young-guns-semi-finals <span>Dominant victory propels Young Guns into semi-finals </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Steve">Steve Maphakathe</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/12/2024 - 11:49</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The North-West University (NWU) Young Guns (YG) stormed into the semi-finals of the FNB Young Guns 2024 after demolishing the UWC YG by 41-14 in Bellville on Monday, 8 April 2024.</p> <p>After serving up an electrifying first half, the NWU YG led by 20-0 at the break, with the UWC YG not looking to come back. A thumping second-half display by the NWU YG ensured that they secured the maximum points and extended their unbeaten run – with six wins from six outings. The NWU YG cruised into the semi-finals at the top of Group B, having 29 log points, followed by the Maties YG (17), and the UWC YG (10), while the UJ YG completed the group with 9 log points.</p> <p>Although the match was played under tough conditions, coach Hannes Esterhuizen commended his players’ performance.</p> <p>“Strong wind, it was raining, and we had to play a different game compared to the one we like to play. We usually play a wide and open game, but in these conditions, we could not play that way. The boys adapted very well, and were very disciplined,” said Hannes Esterhuizen.</p> <p>Kraynu Kruger (hooker), Johan Derrick van Zyl (left lock), Jean Jooste (right flanker), Stephen Taylor (number 8), Colen Steenkamp (scrum half), Jay-Tee Goerge (right wing) and Jamaine Dampies (full back) scored the seven tries. The magic boot of Duan du Toit(fly half) located three conversions for the NWU YG.</p> <p>Next, the NWU YG will host the UCT YG at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds on Monday, 15 April. The two sides have not met previously, making this a highly anticipated fixture.</p> <p>“Play-off games are always tough, and what happened in the previous six games will not count on the day because it is a win-or-lose fixture. We have to be at our best if we want to go through,” Hannes concluded.</p> </div> Fri, 12 Apr 2024 09:49:39 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29809 at https://news.nwu.ac.za NWU Chartered Accountancy students excel in 2024 ITC https://news.nwu.ac.za/nwu-chartered-accountancy-students-excel-2024-itc <span>NWU Chartered Accountancy students excel in 2024 ITC </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/12/2024 - 08:57</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The North-West University (NWU) has once again demonstrated its commitment to producing top-tier chartered accountancy professionals, as was evidenced by the outstanding results of its students in the recent South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Namibia (ICAN) Initial Test of Competence (ITC) exams.</p> <p>In the latest ITC exam results, the NWU's candidates showcased exceptional performance. Impressively, 97% of the NWU's candidates passed the exam, marking the institution as one of the top performers among the 18 participating institutions in the country. The national average pass rate was 67%. In addition, the NWU's ICAN candidates achieved a 100% pass rate.</p> <p>The excellence of the NWU's students was further highlighted by their representation in the SAICA top 10, with two candidates achieving this prestigious recognition. Notably, these two candidates passed with distinction, showcasing their exceptional abilities. Overall, the NWU produced five candidates who passed with distinction – a remarkable achievement considering the rigorous standards of the examination. More than 2 500 candidates wrote the exam nationally, of whom only 24 passed with distinction. Moreover, the NWU's success extends to ICAN, with three of its candidates ranking among the top 5, all achieving distinctions.</p> <p>Prof Heleen Janse van Vuuren, the director of the School of Accounting Sciences at the NWU's Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, attributes these outstanding results to the institution's commitment to academic excellence and the dedication of its lecturers. She emphasises the importance of chartered accountants in driving economic growth and addressing the financial challenges faced by South Africa.</p> <p>Janse van Vuuren underscores the NWU's role in contributing to a better future for all South Africans through its focus on producing highly skilled professionals who can make meaningful contributions to the economy.</p> <p>In summary, the NWU's continued success in producing top-performing Chartered Accountancy graduates reflects its dedication to excellence in education and its contribution to the development of South Africa's economic landscape.</p> </div> Fri, 12 Apr 2024 06:57:12 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29808 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Vanderbijlpark Campus unveils perspectives in support of gender awareness https://news.nwu.ac.za/vanderbijlpark-campus-unveils-perspectives-support-gender-awareness <span>Vanderbijlpark Campus unveils perspectives in support of gender awareness</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Fri, 04/12/2024 - 08:51</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="text-align-right"><strong>By Loveness Hulwane</strong></p> <p>The North-West University’s (NWU’s) Vanderbijlpark Campus is promoting gender awareness from 8 to 12 April to encourage dialogue and foster understanding about gender awareness.</p> <p>Themed “Unveiling Perspectives”, the initiative encouraged faculties and student societies to express their interpretations of gender awareness through artistic mediums such as paintings and collages.</p> <p>During the launch of the initiative at the Books &amp; Beans coffee shop on 8 April, Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, together with colleagues from Corporate Relations and Marketing, reviewed the various art submissions. Finally, they commended the AMINE student club for their depiction of gender diversity and inclusivity. This acknowledgment set the tone for a week filled with engaging activities aimed at promoting awareness and understanding.</p> <p>Reflecting on the significance of gender awareness, Prof Linda du Plessis emphasises the importance of recognising and appreciating individual differences.</p> <p>"Everything starts with the need to understand and value people, and to appreciate and embrace their differences. It is important to acknowledge and bring attention to gender awareness, as there are still huge disparities in terms of gender equality out there."</p> <p>Through dialogue, education and celebration, the Vanderbijlpark Campus continues to be at the forefront of championing gender equality and diversity.</p> <div class="row"> <div class="col-sm-6"><img alt="....." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Prof-Linda-pledge-STORY(1).jpg" title="" /><p><em>Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, pledges her support for gender awareness.</em></p> </div> <div class="col-sm-6"><img alt="....." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Prof-Linda-students-STORY(1).jpg" title="" /><p><em>Prof Linda du Plessis, along with students from the faculties of Law, Humanities, Economic and Management Sciences and the AMINE club</em>.</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 12 Apr 2024 06:51:40 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29807 at https://news.nwu.ac.za NWU Alumni Business Breakfast delves into the impact of macroeconomics trends on SA’s landscape https://news.nwu.ac.za/nwu-alumni-business-breakfast-delves-impact-macroeconomics-trends-sas-landscape <span>NWU Alumni Business Breakfast delves into the impact of macroeconomics trends on SA’s landscape </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Angeline">Angeline Marokoane</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Thu, 04/11/2024 - 10:27</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The North-West University (NWU) values its alumni community and is dedicated to making a positive impact on society.</p> <p>To this end, the Alumni Relations office, in partnership with the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the research focus area Afrocentric Governance of Public Affairs, hosted the annual Alumni &amp; Friends of the NWU Business Breakfast on 5 April.</p> <p>The event focused on the topic “Discussing 2024 macroeconomics trends that have an impact on the South African political and business landscape”, and offered a blend of networking opportunities and expert insights, with discussions centred around the analysis of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the National Budget Speech.</p> <p>The line-up of speakers was diverse and insightful, featuring experts from various fields. Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, welcomed the guests, whereafter Dr Jacques de Jongh, representing the NWU’s School of Economic Sciences, delivered a nuanced perspective on the notable uncertainties, risks and opportunities shaping our economic outlook.</p> <p>Phelisa Nkomo, executive director of Abantu For Global Equity, delved deep into the complexities of the South African fiscal crisis, offering a comprehensive analysis that shed light on critical issues impacting our economic landscape.</p> <p>Prof Joseph Sekhampu, chief director of the NWU Business School, provided a sobering examination of the severe socio-economic realities facing South Africa. He emphasised the imperative for collective action, stressing that the responsibility for building a prosperous South Africa does not rest solely on the government but requires active engagement from all citizens.</p> <p>“The significance of such an event cannot be overstated, especially in the current climate where socio-economic dynamics are evolving rapidly,” said Nicolize van der Walt, Alumni Relations section head.</p> <p>“In addition to the intellectual discourse provided by the expert panel, the Alumni &amp; Friends of the NWU Business Breakfast provided a valuable opportunity for alumni, faculty and industry experts to network, connect and discuss potential collaborations,” said Zanele Ngobese, alumni relations practitioner.</p> <p><img alt="..." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Alumni-breakfast-speakers-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p><em>These were the speakers during the recent Alumni &amp; Friends of the NWU Business Breakfast: Prof Joseph Sekhampu, chief director of the NWU Business School, Michelle Groenewald, lecturer in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Phelisa Nkomo, executive director of Abantu For Global Equity, Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, and Dr Jacques de Jongh, programme leader and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.</em></p> </div> Thu, 11 Apr 2024 08:27:36 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29806 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Alumnus to play host at Vodacom Hack-alympics finale https://news.nwu.ac.za/alumnus-play-host-vodacom-hack-alympics-finale <span>Alumnus to play host at Vodacom Hack-alympics finale</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Phenyo">Phenyo Mokgothu</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Wed, 04/10/2024 - 11:43</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Vodacom's Africa Hack-alympics 2024 is gearing up for its highly anticipated finale, and it's all set to be hosted by North-West University (NWU) alumnus and Vodacom cluster specialist Tutu Kgobane.</p> <p>Taking place from 23 to 24 April in South Africa, the event promises to be a showcase of intense coding, problem-solving and innovation.</p> <p>The Hack-alympics is an internal competition for employees across Vodacom Africa. Teams from various markets were tasked with finding innovative solutions under the organisation's three main pillars: simplicity, growth and customer satisfaction.</p> <p>After rigorous competitions in their respective markets, the top three teams from each region earned the opportunity to compete in the final event. This grand showdown will determine the top performers who will represent Africa in the global finale that will take place in June 2024 in Europe.</p> <p>With Tutu set to lead the finale as MC, excitement is building as the Hack-alympics prepares to spotlight the best of Vodacom's innovative talent, driving the company and the continent towards a brighter, digitally empowered future.</p> <p><strong>More about Tutu Kgobane</strong></p> <p>Tutu, a go-getter and hard worker, holds a BComHons in marketing management from the NWU.</p> <p>He was the secretary of the Student Representative Council (SRC) in 2015, and then took the helm as chairperson of the Mahikeng Student Campus Council and secretary-general of the NWU SRC in 2016. He currently serves in the executive committee of the NWU Convocation.</p> <p>Not one to limit his ambitious and adventurous drive, Tutu made his debut as the official NWU Varsity Sports Football MC, a role he fulfilled for two years running.</p> <p>He is also an award-winning MC and top marketer and was part of the team that won the Vodacom Group CEO Award for Best Team: Hackathon in 2022.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="592" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/NWU%20Alumnus%20Tutu%20Kgobane-STORY.jpg" title="" width="389" /></p> <p>Tuto Kgobane</p> </div> Wed, 10 Apr 2024 09:43:12 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29803 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Celebrating progress and innovation: from recruitment to registration https://news.nwu.ac.za/celebrating-progress-and-innovation-recruitment-registration <span>Celebrating progress and innovation: from recruitment to registration </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Steve">Steve Maphakathe</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Wed, 04/10/2024 - 10:31</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>On Tuesday, 2 April 2024, the North-West University (NWU) Student Information System (SIS) project, SIS Eagle, officially launched the Student Client Relations Management (CRM Nexus) module to drive the university’s application cycle for 2025. The CRM Nexus module is designed to streamline the entire value chain from recruitment to application and selections.</p> <p>Several delegates, including the NWU’s principal and vice-chancellor, Prof Bismark Tyobeka, gathered at the Potchefstroom Campus on Thursday, 4 April to celebrate this tangible milestone in the university’s implementation journey. Colleagues from Anthology, the service provider, and other NWU staff participated in the celebration virtually.</p> <p>As the NWU applications for the 2025 academic year commenced on Tuesday, 2 April, a total of 44 000 applications were received on 2 and 3 April. The university is positive about and encouraged by the number of applicants, who are increasing impressively by the minute.</p> <p>Jason Beukes, a senior marketer and project manager for Postgraduate and Distance Learning Recruitment at the NWU, welcomed all the esteemed guests.</p> <p>“As we gather with colleagues from around the world, the NWU can pride itself that the vice-chancellor leads from the top,” said prof Marlene Verhoef, NWU registrar and project sponsor. She also expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Anthology. “Without Anthology it would not have been possible to broaden the university’s competitive advantage across the country.”</p> <p>Mr Clement Manoko, executive director for Corporate Relations and Marketing, told the attendees at the launch: “The team should be proud of the progress to date, and must prepare for the journey until the second phase of this project commences. Our role is to prioritise the university’s value chain by ensuring that the system functions and can be navigated by our stakeholders.”</p> <p>Ashish Mathur, vice-president at Anthology, congratulated the team on their remarkable intervention project and praised the university for being an institution that ensures efficiency in implementation. He further said it was crucial to look at this launch from a spirit of partnership, and the NWU should expect the same level of commitment from Anthology.</p> <p>“I wish to point out how important everybody’s contributions are,” said Prof Bismark Tyobeka. He further outlined how critical it was for the team to remain resolute in their efforts to leverage the system to reinforce the NWU’s competitive edge. “Your role extends beyond merely adapting to the emergence of new technological roles. It involves revolutionising our business model and actualising our quest for automation and self-service through technology.”</p> <p>“Know that the entire NWU community eagerly awaits the outcomes of your hard work. Your responsibility in positioning our university to discover new frontiers and seize opportunities in an ever-evolving higher-education landscape cannot be overstated,” Prof Tyobeka concluded.</p> <p><strong>Critical improvements</strong></p> <p>The CRM Nexus module has prioritised the immediacy of communication and feedback to enhance applicant experience as follows:</p> <p>1. Upon an applicant’s initial contact through the system, an immediate email notification is dispatched to the applicant containing a temporary password. Automated communication will be implemented for password reset requests.</p> <p>2. Following the submission of an application, ongoing acknowledgment emails will be sent to the respective applicants. These emails will confirm the application number, provide the application portal link for status tracking, and provide a link for inquiries to the client-facing team.</p> <p>Another milestone achieved during the NWU’s twenty years of excellence … a hearty thank you to the persistent team who contributed to making this a commendable achievement.</p> <p><img alt="...." class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Group%20photo%20-%20The%20Team.jpg" title="" /></p> <p><em>Heading towards a new future.</em></p> </div> Wed, 10 Apr 2024 08:31:20 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29802 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Empowering Africa: the role of AI in economic advancement https://news.nwu.ac.za/empowering-africa-role-ai-economic-advancement <span>Empowering Africa: the role of AI in economic advancement </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Steve">Steve Maphakathe</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/09/2024 - 12:26</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The key challenges that Africa is facing are best expressed through the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, which include no hunger, no poverty, no inequality, climate action, quality education, clean water, and sanitation, among other things. These challenges keep Africans trapped in a cycle of poverty and arrested development.</p> <p>The good news is that digital technology in general, and artificial intelligence (AI) in particular, can assist in making the SDG goals a reality, thereby lifting Africa out of widespread poverty and inequality. This is according to Prof Alistair Mokoena, the country director of Google South Africa, during his online seminar presentation on Monday, 25 March 2024.</p> <p>Organised by the North-West University (NWU) Business School, the online seminar aimed to explore ways in which AI can help drive the African economy. Prof Mokoena said Africa, a continent where 480 million people live below the poverty line, desperately needs exponential growth to achieve economic prosperity, which will lead to significant improvements in the living standards of the people.</p> <p>With over 1,3 billion Africans on the continent, there are an estimated 500 million individuals who are active on the internet. However, approximately 800 million Africans have never used the internet. "We need to bring everyone online. No one should be left behind. We need to solve problems for universal internet access by investing in digital infrastructure, delivering products that are suitable not only for the world but for Africa. We need to ensure that every language and every currency in Africa is represented on the internet. This is why products like Google Translate are crucial,” Prof Mokoena added.</p> <p>As we pursue the roll-out of AI, we need to proceed with caution to ensure that AI is used only for positive and beneficial reasons, and not adapted for disreputable ends. AI therefore needs to be regulated so that all players ensure that it is safe and useful for society. To avoid the potential spread of fraudulent, biased and misinformation, Africa must ensure it builds guardrails into AI platforms.</p> <p>Given that more Africans should become internet users – which will potentially grow e-commerce – cybersecurity needs to be a top priority. To this end, Prof Mokoena said, Google recently launched the Africa Online Safety Platform, and it tackles issues such as cybercrime, online bullying, and phishing swindles.</p> <p>To increase internet penetration and to improve bandwidth on the African continent, Google announced the launch of its Equiano subsea cable in 2022. Next, the cloud region in Africa was launched in 2023. These two infrastructural investments will increase internet speed, reduce wholesale internet prices by 20%, add just over 200 000 indirect jobs – and close to $10 billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product.</p> <p>Over 6 million South Africans go to bed hungry every night, while 10 million tons of food go to waste. Prof Mokoena said digital technology can assist by connecting excess food with hungry mouths. In the same vein, AI is used to drive food security by improving crop yield, helping with crop disease management, as well predicting locust infestation and flood forecasting.</p> <p>Using a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report as a source, Prof Mokoena declared that 50 million African children lack access to education. This is upsetting, considering that 23% of the world’s youth live on the African continent today, and 33% of the world’s youth will come from Africa by 2050.</p> <p>In addition, Prof Mokoena urged that AI should be used to improve educational outcomes, for example, advancing teacher training, and personalising learning to adapt it to each scholar’s learning style.</p> <p>“Through AI, we can place tutors in the palm of each student’s and learner’s hand. The same goes for improving health outcomes,” Prof Mokoena said. He added: “Google’s Alphafold AI platform has made all 200 million known protein structure predictions accessible to a million scientists around the world. This platform helps in the development of medicines to fight antibiotic resistance and diseases like malaria.”</p> <p>Granting that AI will replace selected jobs by automating repetitive tasks, Prof Mokoena stated that the solution lies in reskilling workers and repurposing roles, and not in resisting AI. “You should not fear machines taking away your business, you should fear your competitor using AI better than you. Businesses that have used AI have reported up to a 30% cost reduction and about 20% revenue growth.”</p> <p>The youth are digital natives, and they want to compete with the rest of the world. Making technology affordable and accessible will grant them that opportunity.</p> </div> Tue, 09 Apr 2024 10:26:19 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29801 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Plastic pollution is the downside to celebrations https://news.nwu.ac.za/plastic-pollution-downside-celebrations <span>Plastic pollution is the downside to celebrations</span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Zeno">Zenoyise John</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/7924" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MARELIZE SANTANA</span></span> <span>Tue, 04/09/2024 - 09:38</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Ten million tiny pieces of plastic are estimated to be lying on the lawn in front of the North-West University (NWU) Law Faculty in Potchefstroom, and the soil in the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds also has high levels of plastic pollution. This is the downside of the celebrations that are often held in these spaces, where glitter poppers and fireworks leave a lasting legacy – unpleasantly so.</p> <p>In preparation for World Environment Day on 24 June, a team from the Research Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management conducted a study at three different sites to identify and quantify plastic particles and other pyrotechnics used in celebrations. The findings confirm the necessity for the NWU to reduce plastic pollution on its grounds and to respond in all earnest to the call made last year by Prof Bismark Tyobeka, vice-chancellor, to combat plastic pollution and minimise the use of plastic. </p> <p>The research team comprised three students, Raeesa Bhikhoo, Lohan Bredenhann and Francois Bothma, and supervisors Prof Henk Bouwman and Prof Carlos Bezuidenhout. They set out to obtain soil samples from sites where poppers are frequently used, to identify and quantify plastic particles in the soil, evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning up the plastic poppers, and identify and communicate possible interventions to reduce plastic pollution on the NWU grounds. </p> <p>Prof Bouwman says inadequate waste management practices in natural environments have caused plastic to become a frequent sight in cities. "Plastic is widely used for packaging and clothing, as well as for decorative purposes like confetti and glitter in ceremonial confetti poppers, and reflective plastic strips used in fireworks during sports events." </p> <p>Owing to the durability of plastic, it remains in the environment for a long time, negatively affecting the environment and the residing organisms – and potentially damaging human health.  </p> <p>"Contact with and/or ingestion of plastic can cause a false sense of satiation, intestinal blockages, reproductive impairment and death in organisms,” Prof Bouwman says. “Both confetti/glitter poppers and fireworks are based on pyrotechnics, which also carries inherent health risks, such as eye damage, skin damage, and hearing damage.”  </p> <p><strong>What the study showed  </strong></p> <p>Sampling was conducted at three different sites on the Potchefstroom Campus at the NWU.  </p> <p>"Two of the locations were chosen based on the usage of glitter poppers and fireworks during ceremonies and sporting events, with the third site in the NWU Botanical Gardens, a control site where poppers and fireworks are not used,” says Prof Bouwman. </p> <p>Six soil samples were taken per site using a core sampler. The soil samples were sifted using two layers of sieves, with the top mesh sieve size being 1,25 mm and the second mesh sieve size being 500 µm. Larger pieces of plastic were hand-picked from the soil. </p> <p>“The sifted soil from the steel 500 µm sieve was then separated using a density-separation technique, as plastic is normally lighter than water and floats. The pieces can then be collected and counted,” he says.</p> <p>Density separation entails adding iodine salt to water. Iodine salt is heavy and makes the density of the solution heavier than that of water or most plastics. The soil is then stirred into the solution and left for the soil particles to settle out for 24 hours. The plastic floats to the top layer. The top layer containing the plastic particles is then filtered through steel sieves of 25 µm mesh.</p> <p>The particles were then counted under a microscope, enabling the students to estimate that the lawn in front of the Law Faculty contained approximately 10 million small pieces of plastic. Plastic particles were also present on the sports grounds, as well as in run-off areas, from where they will enter streams, rivers, stormwater pipes and groundwater. The soil from the Botanical Garden contained far fewer plastic particles. </p> <p>The study showed the presence of enormous amounts of plastic in the soil, providing a baseline for future research and interventions to reduce plastic pollution on the NWU grounds. The use of confetti poppers and fireworks in celebrations has been normalised, but it is still a form of littering. Other bio-friendly alternatives are possible, such as dried flower petals, paper confetti, or digital effects, although these also have their own problems.</p> <p>The study recommends interventions to reduce plastic pollution on the NWU grounds, such as promoting the use of bio-friendly alternatives, implementing proper waste management practices, and raising awareness among students and staff. </p> <p><img alt="" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/Potchefstroom/students-pollution-STORY.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>Students Lohan Bredenhann, Raeesa Bhikhoo, and Francois Bothma was part of the research team.</p> <p><iframe align="middle" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400px" src="https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/CE/2024/Vol1-24/Video1.mp4" title="YouTube video player" width="260px"></iframe><iframe align="middle" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400px" src="https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/CE/2024/Vol1-24/Video2.mp4" title="YouTube video player" width="260px"></iframe><iframe align="middle" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400px" src="https://www.nwu.ac.za/sites/www.nwu.ac.za/files/files/i-news/electronic_newsletters/CE/2024/Vol1-24/Video3.mp4" title="YouTube video player" width="260px"></iframe></p> </div> Tue, 09 Apr 2024 07:38:16 +0000 MARELIZE SANTANA 29800 at https://news.nwu.ac.za Paving the way to a brighter future https://news.nwu.ac.za/paving-way-brighter-future <span>Paving the way to a brighter future </span> <div class="field field--name-field-writer field--type-list-string field--label-hidden field--item">by <a href="https://news.nwu.ac.za/news-team#Angeline">Angeline Marokoane</a></div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/32504" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">BELINDA BANTHAM</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/08/2024 - 14:52</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Lightstone, a leading provider of real time data and analytics insights to the property and automotive industries, has always placed great emphasis on investing in the future generation.</p> <p>One of its subsidiaries, Loop, has recently taken a step further in this direction by donating laptops and laptop bags valued at approximately R100 000 to eight deserving students from the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Vanderbijlpark Campus on 5 April 2024.</p> <p>The students, who are enrolled in IT and computer sciences programmes, were elated to receive the much-needed equipment that will aid them in their academic pursuits.</p> <p>As part of this partnership, Lightstone has already provided partial bursaries of about R300 000 to six students from the Vanderbijlpark Campus who are pursuing IT and finance-related programmes.</p> <p>Nhlanhla Mabuza, head of human resources at Lightstone, says the company has always been committed to empowering the youth by investing in their education and skills development. “The partnership with the NWU’s Vanderbijlpark Campus is a step towards achieving this goal. These bursaries will help deserving students pursue their dreams and build a successful career in the fields of IT and finance.”</p> <p>Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations says the NWU’s collaboration with Lightstone has a longstanding history, dating back to 2016.</p> <p>“Throughout the years, this partnership has been fortified, reflecting a steadfast dedication to mutual growth and support. A pivotal factor contributing to the success of this partnership lies in the shared vision and values that serve as its foundation, ensuring a brighter future for our students,” she adds.</p> <p>Nhlanhla says the donated laptops and partial bursary contribution by Loop will go a long way in bridging the digital divide and enabling the students to access online resources, conduct research, and complete assignments more efficiently. “The laptops are equipped with the latest software and hardware, ensuring that the students have access to state-of-the-art technology,” he adds.</p> <p>Overall, Lightstone's support and investment in the future of young students is commendable and sets a shining example for other companies to follow.</p> <p><img alt="......" class="img-responsive" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" id="" src="/sites/news.nwu.ac.za/files/files/institutional/Pic%201.jpg" title="" /></p> <p>In the front left to right are IT and computer science students and laptop recipients Xoliswa Bekana, Oratile Khechane, Izwelethu Gamede and Vezulwazi Hlabangane.</p> <p>In the back from left are Prof Linda du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, Nhlanhla Mabuza, head of human resources at Lightstone, Musa Radebe, human resources business partner at Lightstone, Silvanus Welcome, NWU director for development and fundraising, Katlego Radebe, a representative from Loop, and Balisa Mancayi, senior fundraising specialist at the NWU.</p> </div> Mon, 08 Apr 2024 12:52:46 +0000 BELINDA BANTHAM 29799 at https://news.nwu.ac.za