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DUT SIGNS HISTORIC MOU WITH THE TRADITIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS BUSINESS COUNCIL

DUT SIGNS HISTORIC MOU WITH THE TRADITIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS BUSINESS COUNCIL

In line with its ENVISION2030 strategy aimed at fostering mutually beneficial partnerships, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) officially entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Traditional Health Practitioners Business Council (THPBC). The signing ceremony took place at the Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology (IWWT), Steve Biko campus, on Tuesday, 13 February 2024.

The groundbreaking MoU was signed by THBC, led by Bishop Thulani Msomi whilst DUT was represented by Professor Fulufhelo Nemavhola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation, and Engagement.

The aim of the MoU is to provide for cooperation on joint training of students, exchange of information and expertise and joint projects, in the fields of education and training as well as research and development in all disciplines  of the two parties that will strengthen mutual understanding, foster friendly co-operation. The MoU further delves into promoting sustainable and productive academic collaboration and exchange between faculty, students and research of both the parties in integrated learning programmes.

Facilitating the signing ceremony was DUT’s Dr Themba Msukwini, Acting Director: Co-operative Education, who warmly welcomed the guests and shared his excitement on the partnership between DUT and the Traditional Health Practitioners Business Council. He expressed his confidence that the relationship will be mutually beneficial to both parties.

The welcome remarks were given by DUT lecturer and sangoma, Dr Innocentia Mkhize. She commented on an issue that pertained to spiritual gifted students who do not complete their studies because no one understands their gift within the faculties and departments.

“I am proposing that we consider having a Cultural Sensitivity Day because it’s not only about being a sangoma, maybe during Heritage Day we can wear our traditional clothing and host a networking session, under the leadership of THPBC,” she said.

Further into the discussion, Bishop Msomi emphasised the need to introduce traditional teaching and learning within the institute. He requested for DUT to establish the African or traditional identity within the institution. He also indicated the need for spiritual tourism which includes different cultures.

“Traditional healers, Muslims, Hindus, Jewish faiths are all pillars of society but there are no existing collaborations, we are all equal and need to stand together as a rainbow nation as Nelson Mandela had said,” he added.

Bishop Msomi also made mention of DUT introducing traditional medical herbs and for DUT to address the challenges that prevent the knowledge of information about traditional herbs.

Other discussions indicated a dire need to close the gap between traditional health practitioners and pharmacies, as well as plans to look at opening clinics for traditional health practitioners and to absorb DUT students (Horticulture students) to these facilities.

Also discussed were the issue of education decolonisation and collaborations with traditional health practitioners and DUT in creating traditional fashion designs.

Professor Fulufhelo Nemavhola, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation, and Engagement at DUT, warmly welcomed the Traditional Health Practitioners Business Council, noting the historic significance of the occasion. He emphasized the importance of collaboration in addressing the needs of society.

“We at DUT are immensely grateful for this opportunity because, as a university, our core ethos revolves around serving the community. Our ENVISION2030 initiative underscores the importance of societal impact, innovation, and entrepreneurship, areas where your expertise as the Traditional Health Practitioners Business Council is invaluable. It’s crucial not to underestimate the significance of this collaboration; moving forward, we should establish programmes that capitalise on our shared goals and strengths,” Prof Nemavhola replied.

“I recognise that African music has often been undervalued, but this presents an opportunity for us to address these longstanding issues. Your involvement couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re currently discussing ways to decolonise our curriculum, ensuring it’s not solely focused on Western perspectives but also incorporates African spirituality, values, and indigenous knowledge systems. I think that this inclusivity is crucial for a more balanced and representative educational approach,” he said.

Prof Nemavhola  expressed that from DUT, they are excited and are going to ensure that they involve all stakeholders. “Overall, I want to express my appreciation for everyone’s efforts and emphasize that by working together, we will achieve success. Let’s stay united and keep pushing forward,” said Prof Nemavhola.

Pictured: DUT delegates with the Traditional Health Practitioners Business Council (THPBC) representatives at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing.

Waheeda Peters

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