The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Advancement and Alumni Relations and the Faculty of Arts and Design’s Journalism programme in the Department of Media, Language and Communication (DUT) held the first DUT Journalism Alumni Reunion on Wednesday, 14 November, 2018 at the Arthur Smith Hall, DUT City Campus.
Journalism former lecturers, alumni in the fields of Print, Radio, Television and Communications from Technikon Natal, ML Sultan and the former Durban Institute of Technology (DIT) converged to the event to engage in cross-cultural dialogues and reconnect.
Renowned Executive Producer/News Editor of the SABC, Salma Patel was the dynamic programme director for the auspicious occasion. Patel currently leads a team of journalists who provide cutting edge current affairs, news, analysis and talk for Lotus FM.
Welcoming the alumni to the event was Professor Sibusiso Moyo: Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, who thanked all who had made the concerted effort to attend the ‘first of its kind’ journalism reunion and be part of history at DUT. She delved more on the role alumni played as well as the challenges faced by the University in order to reconnect with alumni. “One of the challenges we (DUT) is facing is whether we know all our alumni? I don’t think so. You are just a fraction of a group. We need to meet with more alumni and strengthen that link and bond on a more regular basis,” she said.
Sharing her sentiments was the Zwakele Ngubane, Director: Advancement and Alumni Relations, who spoke about how vital a role alumni played at universities.
“Often, people come to a University and they go through their three years and they move on to greater things which is amazing, but I think if you look at other global universities like in the United States and the United Kingdom, you will find that there is a very important role that the alumni actually play in the life of the University. It’s not about giving and fundraising, but it’s really about trying to reconnect. It’s about making sure we talk to the alumni of DUT and find out how can we, the alma mater, partner together, collaborate and find ways of adding value to whatever you are doing,” he stressed.
Ngubane also added that the partnership is more about the mentorship opportunities that alumnis can provide to DUT students. “The field of journalism has changed drastically and you are the ones who are at the forefront of all these changes, and so the value that you can add, in terms of the academic programmes, is absolutely immense,” he added.
Speaking more on celebrating not only the alumni but former Journalism lecturers as well was Advocate Robin Sewlal, the Associate Director in Journalism.
“Although this function is more for the alumni, we also felt we should celebrate those who had lectured for us, whether full-time or part-time. So, it is the coming together to celebrate our alumni as well as our former and current staff. I think the very important thing is that we would like to connect with you more often than we actually have been doing in the recent years,” he added.
Sewlal also said that the alumnis are welcome to be part of the Advisory Board or guest speakers and come up with ideas and partner with DUT, going forward.
Recent DUT honorary graduate, Dr Welcome ‘Bhodloza’ Nzimande-Executive Director: Bhodloza Nzimande Foundation (BNF), spoke about the value alumni added to their workplace and the vital role they placed in nurturing their leadership roles, teamwork, accountability and leading by example.
Dr Nzimande added that alumni in positions of power played a vital role in making a difference in his or her organisation.
“I would say leadership is important but at the same time teamwork is important. If we work as a team it becomes easy to move forward together. Also, when we say teamwork, there is also accountability. If you plan accordingly, you can achieve great things but work with your team in order to achieve it. So, always think what value I can bring to that organisation, do your research and make that change,” he said.
Dr Nzimande joined the SABC’s biggest radio station, Ukhozi FM in 1978 as an announcer for 19 years and thereafter as the Station Manager for 13 years.
He took an early retirement from the SABC station, Ukhozi FM in March 2010 and joined Mvunonala Holdings (PTY) Ltd as an Executive Director. In February 2013 he was appointed by the Minister of Labour to be the Chairperson of the Unemployment Insurance Fund Board (UIF). In 2018 he was one of three Honorary graduands of DUT.
The general consensus from the alumni were to be more actively involved with the University, especially in providing mentoring opportunities and work integrated learning experiences in the Journalism field for the young, aspiring DUT students.
Pictured: Alumnis, former lecturers DUT Journalism staff, at the event.