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Graduation: Faculties of Business and Management Sciences Official start: December 10 @ 9:00 am. Duration: 2h 30m

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.

Two CPUT students, who have been crowned Miss and Mr City of Cape Town respectively, are eyeing national titles.

A Masters student in Mechanical Engineering scooped the Best Research Paper and Best Presentation accolades at this year’s International Conference on New Energy and Future Energy Systems (NEFES 2019).

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Light years ahead

The ushering of first-year Chemical Engineering students into university learning has evolved significantly and culminated in major developments in student academic performance when four top teams recently competed in a thrilling final of the department’s design competition.

Two talented CPUT teams have qualified for the national round of the World Robot Olympiad (WRO).
The teams recently earned the second and third place respectively in the Advanced Robotics Challenge (ARC) category during the Western Cape leg of the WRO.

“The task for the 2019 ARC was for the students to design and program an autonomous robot with cameras and other sensors to perform QR code decoding, localisation, mapping and relocation of certain cubes randomly placed in the playfield. After performing the task the robot is expected to navigate autonomously back to its home position, said Inyeni Showers, the team’s robotics coach.

CPUT was represented by six students from the Mechatronics Department who formed two competing teams, Team Alpha and Team Sigma.
Team Alpha consisted of Hans Werner Tschohl, Ayabonga Pokwana and Adam Mbombole while Laila Kahn, Mikhail Solomons and Kandolo Christian were the members of Team Sigma.

Showers, a Master Student in the Adaptronics AMTL, said the team expanded their knowledge in programming because of the training they received before the competition and learnt from interacting with students from other universities.

The Adaptronics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Laboratory (AMTL), one of 19 Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Technology Stations, established a Robotics Programme towards the end of 2018. This was to heed the call for capacity building for the 4th Industrial Revolution with a focus on Robotics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The Adaptronics AMTL provided the training, resources and facilities for the students to prepare for the competition.

The World Robot Olympiad aims to bring together young people from all over the world to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills through organising challenging and educational robotics competitions.

CPUT PR student Zozibini Tunzi was in “absolute disbelief” when she was crowned Miss South Africa on Women’s Day.

Thursday, 08 August 2019

PR student in Miss SA finals

Zozibini Tunzi, a 25-year-old beauty completing her BTech degree in Public Relations (PR) Management, is one of 16 finalists vying for the coveted Miss South Africa crown.

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