Page 7 - DUT Conduit Dec21
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 Graduation 2021
DUT Teac’ hing Assistant Awarded Master s Degree Cum Laude
  Tackling Graduate Unemployment
Waheeda Peters
“It is my dream to wear a red
gown one day and obtaining
my Master’s is a step closer
to this goal,” said an elated
Ms Bajabulile (Jabu) Mavundla.
She graduated with a Masters
in Management Sciences
specialising in Public Relations
Management at DUT’s virtual
graduation ceremony on 1
December 2021. Pictured: Jabu Mavundla
Integrated Learning (WIL) as a key driver to address graduate unemployment,” she said. “However, I have witnessed students on work placements given menial duties like making tea for senior staff and doing administrative work.”
Her study examined industry players and students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the WIL programme and
 She added that her family pray for everything and anything. When they received the news their reaction was: ‘God has done a great thing.’
Mavundla’s dissertation is titled: ‘Stakeholder Expectations and Perceptions of Work Integrated Learning: A Case Study of Public Relations Programme at the Durban University of Technology.’
“Unemployment is a global challenge and statistics point to a high percentage of unemployed graduates in South Africa due to the fact that they lack the skills required by industry. The Department of Higher Education and Training and the Council on Higher Education have proposed Work
their views on changes that could be made to improve the curriculum.
Mavundla remarked that it was not easy being a DUT employee, a student and a wife and mother and that it taught her the importance of time management. She thanked her supervisor, Professor Renitha Rampersad, for her support, and DUT for funding her studies as well as the resources available to students.
Mavundla is currently busy with her PhD proposal. Her advice to students is:
“Think like researchers, be critical, be curious and be focused. Make time for yourself and never neglect your family as they are your pillar of strength.”
Simangele Zuma
Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, Mr Raymond Mutanga was awarded
his Master of Information and Communications Technology
He is grateful to his family for being part of his journey from day one and said that they were thrilled when
they heard the news.
Mutanga noted that it was difficult to strike a balance between work and studying. However, midway through his Master’s journey, he adopted the time management matrix
 cum laude and received a Dean’s Merit Award at DUT’s Virtual Summer Graduation on 1 December 2021.
Pictured: Mr Raymond Mutanga
Mutanga’s (35) study, ‘A Comparative Study of Deep Learning Algorithms for Hate Speech Detection on Twitter’ found that variations in parameters do not impact the efficacy of deep learning algorithms by the same proportion. It provides deep-learning practitioners with a better understanding of the adaptation of robust deep-learning techniques for automated hate speech detection tasks.
Speaking of his achievements, he said that they were the result of “hard work, excellent supervision and a conducive learning environment. With that in place the whole world seemed to conspire in my favour.”
and it worked wonders. He has already started working towards his PhD, which is a continuation of the work he did at Master’s level.
“I would like to pass on knowledge to current and future generations. I have been working as a Teaching Assistant at DUT over the past two years and hope to continue advancing my career,” he said.
He expressed his gratitude to his supervisor, Dr N. Naicker and Co-Supervisor, Professor O. Olugbara for their expert guidance and support.
Giving Back
Waheeda Peters
Dr Maleni Thakur graduated with her DPHIL: Management Science specialising in Public Administration with a focus on Peace Studies on 1st December at DUT’s virtual graduation ceremony held on Microsoft teams.
Pictured: Dr Maleni Thakur
whole attention to my studies as my children were now older and more independent. I just hope that my tenacity serves as an example to others, especially women to pursue their life-long goals,” she said.
Dr Thakur’s dissertation looks at South Africa’s water crisis and how local municipalities are finding it difficult to mitigate the gap between supply and demand.
challenging and has contributed to the financial difficulties plaguing both the municipalities and water users throughout the country. I believe behavioural change has a greater potential towards water conservation than punitive measures.”
One of the pivotal goals of her research was to identify water conservation strategies in the form of a behavioural model that could assist the municipality in reducing high water losses and consumption in the low-cost housing areas.
“Despite our progressive water policies, there remains a challenge to effectively manage and control water resources in vulnerable communities. The consequence is that the looming water crisis is expected to have implications on food security and health,” she explained.
Dr Thakur further said that overall, this study showed that water authorities responsible for water management policies within low-cost housing areas in the eThekwini municipality, need to establish appropriate communication strategies aimed at changing behaviour in water usage, and focus on changing water user attitudes, as well as pay attention to factors emanating from the social environment.
“The community-based behavioural model proffered in this study identifies factors such as education and community engagement on water consumption, pricing and the importance of water conservation for economic and social development. More so, an important aspect of the proposed model provides for the use of incentives as nudging tools,” she said.
After her stint at working part-time at DUT, she now been awarded an NRF post-doctoral fellowship for 2022.
“I look forward to working with my supervisor Professor Geoffrey Harris to explore water and conflict in the South African context,” she said.
 “I was overjoyed when I learnt I had passed. It was also a really humbling experience. Definitely a hard road with many obstacles, but I stayed strong and persevered. My advice to fellow postgraduate students is to surround yourself with the right people, individuals who will support and challenge you. The postgrad fraternity at DUT has a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie. This introduced me to contemporaries like Dr Stanley Onwubu, Dr Lavanya Madhura, and Dr Ajay Rane, who are now lifelong friends of mine. As we interact intellectually, our friendship continues to have scholarly implications. Other postgraduate students should take advantage of this postgraduate engagement, as well,” said Dr Thakur.
Dr Thakur, said the decision to undertake postgrad studies comes from the belief that education is the cornerstone to development, regardless of age, and is one of the most important factor in personal and professional growth.
“I started pursuing postgraduate studies after a long hiatus, being a stay-at-home mum for 17 years. It was only when my eldest child was complete with her schooling that I undertook the Master’s degree and graduated in 2017. My youngest is in his final year at university, and I have now graduated with a doctorate. As a matter of fact, my kids and I were pursuing tertiary studies at the same time. This timing worked for me since I was able to devote my
“Although the government’s policy to allocate a basic supply of free water per month to poor communities is commendable, the rapid exhaustion of the free supply by low-income communities necessitated a tariff applied for additional water consumption. Whilst this consumption-based tariff is used to encourage conservation, it also suggests that there is little economic reason for households to limit their use of water,” she stressed.
Working on the belief that behavioural change has greater potential than punitive economic measures, Dr Maleni investigated the attitudes and behaviour of households in Waterloo, north of Durban. She found that increasing household knowledge about water and engagement of the community in finding solutions were key ways forward and that these could be strengthened by appropriate ‘nudges’ on the part of the government.
She explained that she chose such a topic because she was curious about the consequences of the issue of providing free water as a basic human right versus the responsibility of the user to use the water judiciously.
“Arguably, we appear to be more aware of our rights than of our responsibilities. Free water does not imply an endless supply. Whilst access to water is acknowledged as a basic human right to address the inequalities of the past, recovering the full cost for the excess water used over and above the free basic supply is
Simangele Zuma
At just 25, Andile Masuku from Vryheid in northern KwaZulu- Natal was one of the youngest graduands to obtain a Master’s degree at DUT’s Virtual Summer Graduation on 1 December 2021.
Pictured: Andile Masuku
 Masuku who is a Student
Development Officer in the Department of Student Governance and Development at DUT, was awarded a Master’s of Health Sciences. His dissertation was titled, ‘The psychosocial effects of teenage pregnancy on high school learners in the Vryheid District, KwaZulu-Natal.’
“I chose to do this research in my home area as I witnessed how teenagers were becoming pregnant. It was a way to give back to my community,” said Masuku.
His journey at DUT began in 2016 when he enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Care which was awarded cum laude. He registered for Master’s studies in 2020 and commented that he received overwhelming support and guidance from his research supervisors.
“I would not have completed my study without them encouraging and motivating me. My family has also always been supportive and they are very happy with my achievements,” he added.
While the journey was not always easy, Masuku said that he was inspired by other young people who showed him the value of education. “Given that I am a Student Development Officer, I aim to develop myself and contribute to knowledge and processes which will have a meaningful impact on students,” he said.
He advises students to set their own goals and plan how they will achieve them. They should always remain focused and cultivate strength and resilience to cope with challenges that arise along the way.

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