Ranking African universities: hypocrisy, impunity and complicity

Damtew Teferra, University of KwaZulu-Natal Nearly ten years ago I confronted an expert about what she claimed was an “African phenomenon” in higher education. She was reluctant to provide me with the raw data upon which this “phenomenon” was premised, so I vigorously contested her claim. Later I managed to access that data through a …

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What ancient African fermentation techniques reveal about probiotics

Paul Mokoena, University of KwaZulu-Natal Humans may not know it, but we are full of lactic acid bacteria. It may sound scary, but these bacteria make up a significant component of any healthy person’s gastrointestinal tract. They are responsible for fermenting food as it passes through the gut, particularly in the intestines. Fermentation perpetuates the …

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How technology can open up South Africa’s universities

Craig Blewett, University of KwaZulu-Natal There are two revolutions happening in South Africa’s universities. One is very public and hard to ignore. In 2015 the country saw the emergence of energetic, organised student movements demanding wholesale changes in the sector. On the face of it, these protests are about visible issues: statues that honour colonialists; …

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The quest to find affordable and sustainable sanitation solutions for Africa

Santiago Septien, University of KwaZulu-Natal Around 2.5 billion people in developing countries do not have access to basic sanitation. This is the cause of some of the biggest environmental and health problems facing people living in poor communities, including water pollution and the transmission of diseases and infections. But installing and operating sewage and wastewater …

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How African doctorates and doctoral candidates are changing

Michael Anthony Samuel, University of KwaZulu-Natal People’s attitudes towards and expectations of doctoral candidates have changed several times in Africa. During the 1960s and 1970s, as many colonial powers left the continent, doctoral graduates were valued as sophisticated scholars. They were hailed as indigenous shapers of their countries’ democratic break from colonial practices. Their education …

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