The Disability Unit under the Student Services Department recently hosted an imbizo in the iconic King Bhekuzulu Hall KwaDlangezwa campus, to welcome students living with challenging abilities in the year 2023. The occasion was to create awareness on issues of disabilities and chronic challenges. It also aimed to create a platform for students to speak to about the issues that affect them socially and academically. The theme of the event: Letting Disabilities Evoke Abilities.
Professor Sewela Mabusela, the Director in the Teaching and Learning Centre, confirmed that the aimed to welcome first year students. She conveyed appreciation to new students and highlighted that the University of Zululand will constantly up its game to support students living with disabilities and wished that students to up their game as UNIZULU students. Prof Mabusela cautioned the students regarding the challenges and encouraged them to have creative thinking skills, decision making skills, have a strong span of ethics, good verbal and writing communication skills, in depth knowledge of their subject and transability of knowledge.
Yaya Khumalo, the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC), challenged students living with disabilities to progress academically. Khumalo inspired the students to enjoy life and the environment that UNIZULU has to offer them. He also highlighted the strategic planning of the SRC which includes programmes (awareness campaigns) that speak directly to students living with disabilities. He added that as the SRC, they challenge the institution to have blocks reserved for students living with disabilities, but they must not be limited to those specific blocks.
The president concluded by giving students accessibility details on how they can reach the SRC as a whole and the Disability Unit.
A healthy practitioner from the campus clinic, Sphamandla Mafuleka , counseled students that attended this gathering on how to practice safe and healthy lifestyle at the disability village on campus, he further alluded that the campus clinic provides basic services in the likes of prevention for women and men using condoms to practice healthy lifestyle.
Charles Sehlogo , the Director from the Protective Services Department(PSD) , focused on the role played by the PSD to students and the university. “Our role is to protect all students and the assets of the university. We make sure that the teaching and learning environment is conducive for students and do a reactive policing, maintenance, and deal with gender-based violence”, said Sehlogo. He also advised students to not have relatives at residences without university permission as there will be consequences of such action. He later closed off by expressing his future safety wishes for UNIZULU students.
The Dean of Students, Dr Teboho Ncokazi concluded by unpacking the services that students have from the Department of Student Services (SSD) whereby he mentioned the campus clinic, Guidance and counselling, Student Governance that works closely with the SRC, Housing department, Sports and Recreation, Disability office and Sports. All these benefits are provided to students living on and off campus to create a conducive environment until they complete their studies.
– Sinenhlanhla Ngcongo