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Analysing the impact of Covid-19 on the livelihoods of communities adjacent to Protected Areas: Machibini community and Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
(University of Zululand, 2022) Mkhize, Mawande
This study aims to analyse how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the livelihoods of the Machibini community adjacent to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HIP). Its objectives are to a) analyse the livelihood activities of the Machibini community before the Covid-19 pandemic, b) evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on the livelihood activities of the Machibini community, c) evaluate the local community’s access to resources found within the HIP during the pandemic, d) explore the coping strategies utilised by the community members to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 and, e) propose strategies which can be implemented to assist rural communities to respond to disasters. To achieve this a qualitative research methodology was used in which the community members, the traditional authority of the Machibini community as well as the HIP park official were interviewed. The findings show that the Machibini community engage in various livelihoods. While some livelihoods require resources from the HIP, others do not. The pandemic affected the livelihoods of the respondents in different measures. Some respondents lost their only income-generating schemes, while others managed to maintain their livelihoods. The results also show that the respondents were granted access to the park to extract the resources they needed although the harvesting period was cut short during the pandemic. To cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic, some respondents engaged in entirely new livelihoods such as selling chickens and fast foods. Based on these findings, the study recommends that the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park (HIP) and the traditional authority must work together to establish a system that will ensure that information about the availability of employment opportunities in the park is disseminated to every part of this community. In this way, everyone has a fair chance of getting employment. It is also imperative for the park to make their employees' contracts permanent. The Machibini community also needs life skills programmes and other necessary facilities that will foster their livelihoods. The community members, through the assistance of the park, can open an online store that is featured on the HIP’s website since there is a larger audience there to sell their handicrafts to. This way, even if the people’s crafts are not sold physically due to disruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic, they will be available and sold on this online platform.
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Indigenous knowledge, variation in morphology, nutritional composition and genetics of Strychnos spinosa morphotypes
(2023) Mbhele, Zoliswa
Strychnos spinosa Lam., commonly known as green monkey orange (English) and umHlala (isiZulu), belongs to the Loganiaceae family. It is of African origin, and in South Africa it grows predominantly in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Mpumalanga provinces. It is used for food, medicine and to improve the socio-economic status of rural communities. However, studies on indigenous knowledge, variation in morphology, nutritional composition, and genetics among S. spinosa morphotypes are limited. Thus, this study aimed to determine the indigenous knowledge, variation in morphology, nutrition, and genetics among S. spinosa morphotypes. Local indigenous knowledge on S. spinosa was documented from Oyemeni community in KwaZulu Natal, whereas variation in morphology, nutritional and genetic analysis were assesed from morphotypes at Bonamanzi Game Reserve in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. Indigenous uses of S. spinosa included direct fruit consumption; development of local and nutrient dense food products and drinks, such as fermented maize meal (umBhantshi), fermented porridge (amaHewu), alcohol, juice, and jam; various medicines; as well as for homestead protection, livestock increase and firewood. Oyemeni community gave the first report on umBhantshi preparation from S. spinosa, and indigenous knowledge on the morphological and organoleptic variations that exist within S. spinosa. Apparently, the whole study was the first evidence of variation among S. spinosa morphotypes based on morphological, nutritional, and genetic traits. This also included the first report on the existence of purple, pyriform, and rough fruits, as well as a purple tint on the juvenile leaves. Fruit and seed traits, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, fat, acid detergent fibre, neutral detergent fibre, sodium and crude protein nutrient, were the important traits used to determine variation among S. spinosa morphotypes, based on principal component analysis. In cluster analyses, morphotypes GRR-dGEO, GRxCP-GEF, GvRxCR-GEF, GRxCP-dGEF, PRR-dGRF, PRxCP-GEO, GvRR-dGEO, GvRR-GRO, GRxCR-dGEF, and GRxCR-dGEO were associated based on their rough pericarp texture, small-sized fruits, high nutrient content in fruits, and related genetic attributes. These morphotypes can be recommended for future breeding, domestication, use in various food products and commercialisation practices. This study also reported the first development and successful use of simple sequence repeat markers for genetic diversity and population structure of S. spinosa. Results on diversity in morphology and genetics of S. spinosa morphotypes can be used to improve these fruit species for commercialisation and enhanced food security, as they have a nutritional profile that is above well-known commericial fruits.
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Factors affecting the implementation and management of continuing professional teacher development in the Zululand District, South Africa.
(University of Zululand, 2020) Nsibande, Peter Emmanuel Nkosinathi.
The study investigated factors affecting the implementation of Continuous Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) programmes in the Zululand District. CPTD programmes are the universally accepted strategies used to improve the performance of teachers. Whereas the performance of teachers defines the performance of learners; at the same time, the performance of learners is used as an indication of the quality of the country’s education system. Therefore, the quality of CPTD programmes received by teachers determines the quality of an education system. It was established from literature that the reason why most CPTD programmes fail was that they were usually implemented using traditional methods. These methods included workshops, seminars, talks, and conferences which are brief and sporadic events in which teachers tend to be passive recipients of information, having no opportunities to collaborate with others. The researcher used qualitative approach in the study because he wanted to get the feelings and experiences of the participants in the implementation of CPTD programmes. The researcher used one-on-one interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis as research instruments. The study was conducted in all the five circuits of the Zululand District. The sample consisted of a district official, 2 principals, 12 School Management Team (SMT) members and 12 post level 1 teachers. The total number of participants was 27. An equal number of participants was drawn from primary and secondary schools. The key findings of the study were that district officials mostly used a traditional approach to implement CPTD programmes. Traditional programmes were characterised by once-off workshops which were not based on teachers’ needs. These CPTD programmes did not have follow-up programmes set up to check on the effectiveness of CPTD programmes in the development of learner performance. Teachers were never consulted about their needs. All CPTD programmes were not based on adult learning theories. Teachers were not involved in the planning of CPTD programmes. CPTD facilitators did not have appropriate facilitation skills. Teachers were not encouraged to form collaborative structures like Professional Learning Communities. The study recommends that before district officials implement CPTD programme, they must undergo training on facilitation skills. Collaborative methods must be used in the implementation of CPTD programmes. Teachers must be involved in all implementation stages of CPTD programmes.
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Service quality in the academic libraries in Kenya
(University of Zululand, 2021) Mbua, Paul
The subject of service quality has been widely researched in various sectors, and academic libraries are no exception. It has become imperative that university libraries in Africa, Kenya in particular, re-examine their existence in academia, in order to justify the need for their services. This study seeks to establish the level of service quality in Kenyan academic libraries by analysing, evaluating, and assessing the service delivery of the academic libraries. It was guided by the following specific objectives: To evaluate the influence that the service parameters (human resource practices, technology, the library environment and infrastructure, information resources, etc.) have on the service quality in academic libraries; assess the library customer service orientation and its influence on service quality in the academic libraries; assess how the range of services/products offered by academic libraries influence service quality in the academic libraries; and analyse the level of library customer retention/attraction strategies and service delivery approaches and their influence on service quality in the academic libraries. The Gap model adopted for the current study suggests that customer satisfaction is often not achieved as a result of gaps/shortfalls in the service delivery process. Descriptive survey research method was employed, guided by the study’s research objectives. Mixed method approach was used to generate both the qualitative and quantitative data. From the entire list of accredited universities in Kenya, a sample of 10 (ten) institutions was selected. Systematic random sampling, random sampling, purposive methods were employed to identify the actual sample size for the different strata. In total seven hundred and fourteen (714) questionnaires were returned from the external library customers (55% males and 45% females); while for the internal library customers (librarians), 47 out of the 80 questionnaires administered were returned (43% males and 57% females). This gave an overall, 76% response rate. Purposive sampling procedure was used to identify the interview participants (who were the senior management of the academic libraries) using an interview schedule, in total 10 interviews were conducted; while observation was guided by an observation schedule that was obtrusively applied to capture information on the general state of each of the academic libraries, the facilities, and the service delivery processes. SPSS was used for data analysis, descriptive statistics, factor analysis and multiple regression. Findings of the study revealed that academic libraries in Kenya are faced with a myriad of challenges such as a growing and divergent population, limited range of information resources and services, poor infrastructure, inadequate staff working areas and tools, limited budgets, heavy bureaucratic tendencies, lack of top institutional management support, poor leadership by the departmental heads, and lack of clear market orientation strategies. The above concerns notwithstanding, the study showed that the academic libraries are endowed with a rich pool of well-trained information professionals, large market for services, and customers’ goodwill; all of which need to be fully exploited. Also noted was that the academic libraries are poorly equipped to cater for people with disabilities (PWDs). The study recommends the following: a radical shift in the management of the academic libraries; the creation of an enabling environment for optimal service delivery; greater supervision by the Commission for University Education (CUE), and a policy framework that will guide the overall operations of the academic libraries. This study has strong implications for the improvement of library and information services for customer satisfaction in Kenya, and perhaps, elsewhere.
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The development of a support framework for informal entrepreneurship in uMhlathuze Local Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa
(University of Zululand, 2022) Nkonde, Sipho David
The significance of informal entrepreneurship and the value of informal entrepreneurs have been widely acknowledged considering South Africa’s socio-economic challenges and the country’s economy’s incapacity to generate formal employment opportunities. These challenges emanates from several factors, which includes the legacy of apartheid, poor education system, Covid-19 regulations, and corruption on economic system. South Africa's extreme poverty and high unemployment rates have made it more necessary than ever for unemployed people to engage in informal entrepreneurship to support themselves and provide for their households. The South African government recognises the significance of small businesses in the economy and has set up both financial and non-financial support measures to support them become self-sustaining. However, research seems to indicate that there is still room for improvement, particularly regarding informal enterprises. This study argues that they is little scholarly attention that has been given to support mechanism for rural informal entrepreneurship. This constitutes a research gap, which this study seeks to address. It is against this background that the aim of the study is to develop a support framework for informal entrepreneurship in KwaZulu-Natal focusing on uMhlathuze Local Municipality. To achieve this purpose, a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach was adopted. The study administered 256 questionnaires to informal entrepreneurs at uMhlathuze local municipality and 4 officials from financial development institutions (FDIs) were sampled and interviewed using in-depth format. The findings indicate that most informal enterprises in uMhlathuze local municipality are owned by black females who are motivated by the high unemployment rate to engage in informal entrepreneurship. The study further discovered that lack of government support is the main challenge facing informal entrepreneurs in uMhlathuze local municipality. The study recommends a support framework for informal entrepreneurship in uMhlathuze local municipality whose goal is to help informal enterprises become sustainable and generate employment opportunities.