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The First International Conference on Sustainable Development was hosted by the Directorate for Research and Postgraduate Support at the Durban University of Technology on Microsoft Teams. This conference was held in collaboration with the eThekwini Municipality, the City of uMhlathuze Municipality and the International Education and Partnerships Directorate.

The conference was linked to the DUT ENVISION2030, and the inaugural edition of the international conference was centred on sustainable development across Africa. The online conference saw in attendance international collaborators and local participants. The integrated approach adopted by the conference organisers discussed key issues relating to the critical achievement of sustainable African goals and aspirations. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo, officially opened the conference through her welcome and introductory remarks. In her remarks she acknowledged and appreciated the keynote speaker and conference speakers, academic staff members, presenters, postgraduate students, and coordinators of the conference.

The keynote speaker at the conference, Professor Rubin Pillay, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, delivered his address on the perspectives of sustainable development in Africa. He titled his presentation “From Jetsons to Jugaad Innovations Defining the Future Sustainability”.

His address was centred around cost efficient innovation towards achieving a larger goal that will benefit the society, especially within Africa. He encouraged that African scientist and scholars should engage with Jugaad innovation to build a sustainable smart city which would be to benefit of every individual within the society.

The conference also had other keynote presentations and panel discussions on different sub-themes which included: “Partnering with local government: the unexpected marriage that emerged between DUT and the eThekwini Municipality during COVID-19”, “Zero-Waste and urban informality: learning in the markets of Warwick”, “Development of effective hydrogel nanocomposite materials for adsorptive removal of organic dyes in wastewater”, “Smart Infrastructures for Sustainable Cities”, “Managing Change for Sustainable Vegetable Value Chains”, “The need for cross sector and cross-country collaboration in pursuit of all the goals by the year 2030” and “Research opportunities at Mhlathuze Water aiming to address water and wastewater challenges”.

The presentation and panel discussion involved erudite and recognised researchers such as Professor Innocent Davidson (Durban University of Technology), Professor Sipho Seepe (University of Zululand), Professor Nokuthula Sibiya (Durban University of Technology), Professor Monique Marks (Durban University of Technology), Professor Motaung Tshwafo (University of South Africa), Dr Kira Erwin (Durban University of Technology), Dr Nthabiseng Motete (Agricultural Research Council), and Dr Blessing Thokozani Mncube (Umhlathuze Water). The panel discussions were facilitated by Dr Lavern Samuels (Durban University of Technology), Mr Puvendra Akkiah (eThekwini Municipality), and Mr Lulamile Mapholoba (City of uMhlathuze Municipality).

Pictured: Professor Rubin Pillay, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. (Photo Credit: Theophilus Adedokun).

Theophilus Adedokun, Ifedayo Ajimakin, Vaneshree Govender and Kunle Oparinde

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