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News

Two students from the Department of Town and Regional Planning were among the winners of the #cocreateMYCITY Cape Town student challenge.

Nangamso Xulu and Chirsten Africa’s prize includes return tickets to the Netherlands.

The aim of the initiative was for multidisciplinary student groups to find smart solutions to real-life urban challenges in the sectors of water, transport and logistics, energy, agriculture and healthcare. The students received business training to stimulate their ideas and were exposed to the realities of the various sectors through site visits and engaging with experts.

The challenge was concluded by a showcase event in the Cape Town City Hall.

The five top teams (as selected by a panel of judges) delivered a two-minute pitch to an audience of more than 200, including the executive mayor of the City of Cape Town, Dan Plato and the premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde.

“One of the emerging research areas of the Department of Town and Regional Planning revolves around ‘transdisciplinary education’, which is based upon an elementary premise that societal problems are too complex to be solved by individual disciplines operating in silos,” said Dr Masilonyane Mokhele, Head of the Department of Town and Regional Planning.

“It goes without saying that universities are better placed to train future professionals who are able to collaborate with counterparts with diverse disciplinary lenses.”

The Department, spearheaded by Mokhele and technician Mzingisi Muluse, in collaboration with the Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships office, assisted with the recruitment of five CPUT students to partake in the #cocreateMYCITY Cape Town student challenge. The initiative was facilitated by the Dutch Foreign Missions in South Africa, in collaboration with Nuffic Neso South Africa, and included 40 students from seven higher education institutions.

These included four South African institutions: CPUT, University of Cape Town, TSIBA Business School, and Stellenbosch University and three from the Netherlands: Delft University of Technology, Fontys University of Applied Sciences and Breda University of Applied Sciences.

On their planned trip to the Netherlands, Nangamso and Chirsten will join their Dutch counterparts to learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Kudos to Nangamso and Chirsten. They displayed their ability to work in teams with students from various fields of study – this is a critical competency expected of urban and regional planners. This shows that staff of the department are on the right track in grooming future planners,” said Mokhele.

CPUT will be celebrating the success of hundreds of graduates during two digital graduation ceremonies later this month.

Friday, 13 December 2019

No pain, no gain

The vision and a bigger perseverance are what kept Abongile Vundle to study every time she wanted to throw in the towel.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Dream comes true for Dean’s Medalist

The dream of earning the Dean’s Medalist came true for an excelling student during the Faculty of Education graduation ceremony on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Summa Cum Laude success for Marco

A part-time student graduated Summa Cum Laude on Tuesday evening despite juggling his studies and a permanent job and undergoing two operations this year.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Student cheats poverty to obtain diploma

A dedicated student who lost her parents at a tender age has beaten poverty to graduate with her National Diploma in Tourism Management.

Monday, 09 December 2019

Thriving Despite Adversity

A freak accident which saw her mother lose multiple limbs in a train accident wasn’t enough to derail a CPUT student from her dreams of graduating with a Bachelor’s pass in Architectural Technology. The tragedy had an unexpected silver lining after the young architect ended up starting a small business based on cowhide accessories which took her all the way to the US on a scholarship tour.

Nomakhosazana Ncube or Zana as her friends call her has had an extra-long and bumpy road to the CPUT Summer graduation stage. On a daily basis, she struggled to complete assignments because of rolling blackouts in Zimbabwe, where she was completing the Open Architecture course via correspondence. To complete online critique sessions she was forced to connect a power cable from her car battery to her laptop and work from the backseat of her vehicle. Lecturers also made special allowances for Zana, and other Zimbabwean students, by scheduling critique sessions for around midnight because electricity usually kicked in for a few hours between 11 pm and 4 am.

“There you are at 2 am sitting on your backseat, occasionally running your battery so that it won’t go flat. You think maybe this is the universe telling you that maybe this isn’t for you,” says Zana.
“But then you look at how far you have come and you keep going.”

Unfortunately for her things were about to get much worse when her mother was involved in a near-fatal train accident in Victoria Falls in 2018 when she fell under a train and severed her legs.

“I remember that dreaded next-of-kin call. In a flash I went from excitedly waiting for mid-year block assessments to wondering if my mother would be a corpse,” says Zana.

After a three-month hospital stay, Zana’s mother was discharged from hospital and she dedicated herself exclusively to her caregiving. Eventually, she was forced to make the difficult decision to defer her studies until her mother had fully recovered.

The unexpected spare time frustrated Zana and she soon found a creative outlet that would allow her to stay home with her mother while also earning a living. She founded A Tribe Called Zimbabwe which is a range of fashion items based on Zimbabweans love for Nguni cattle.

“The goal of the company was to celebrate the rich history and culture of Zimbabweans and showcase our fashion identity,” she says.

“I would wheel my mother into the dining room to watch me work on the cow horns and hide and it gave us something else to talk about other than pain and hospital visits.”

Zana was later chosen for a Visitor Leadership Program for women in entrepreneurship and went to the US in December 2018.

The networking programme was a life-changing experience and exposed A Tribe Called Zimbabwe to an international audience. All the while Zana resumed her studies and is now on track to graduate with her classmates.

Today Zana’s mother Judith Maposa has recovered enough to travel to South Africa and will watch her daughter graduate during the Spring Grad series.

“She is such a strong character. It wasn’t easy to watch your mother nearly die and soldier on. I told her if my life is over then hers has to go on and I am so proud, that despite everything she went through she pulled through,” says Judith.