Monthly Archives: November 2014

Best Moments for MECS UKZN 2014

This time last year we remembered the top five moments of 2013, so it only seems appropriate to continue the tradition and remind you of some of MECS UKZN’s highlights for 2014.


Honours students at SACOMM with lecturer Dr Nicola Jones

1.  MECS Students Excel at National Conference This year, we were lucky enough to have five students and two lecturers accepted for the annual South African Communication (SACOMM) conference in Potchefstroom. Not only did our students impress lecturers from all over the country with their research, but Claire Keyworth and Merusha Naidoo were also featured in the conference’s special, 40th anniversary, newsletter.

Honours graduates Stephanie Sheik and Nikolai Pillay.

Honours graduates Stephanie Sheik and Nikolai Pillay.

2.  MECS Receives Most Distinctions at Graduation This year’s graduation ceremony showed off the excellence of our students. MECS UKZN demonstrated that they attract some of the most academically-gifted students and graduated the most number of undergraduates in the Schools of Arts and Social Science with distinctions. In addition, the only postgraduate distinction to be awarded in the School of Arts was given to MECS graduate Sarah Dawson for her Master’s degree entitled Capturing ghosts and making them speak: Genre and the Asian horror film remake.

PhD student Michelle Atagana

PhD student Michelle Atagana

3.  Google SA Invests in MECS Grad Student At the end of October, PhD student in MECS, Michelle Atagana announced that she would be joining Google South Africa as part of their communication and public affairs team. Atagana has, who after graduating with her MA from MECS UKZN, became one of South Africa’s most trusted authorities on technology and new media after working, for more than five years, as the managing editor for one of South Africa’s most popular online technology news sites,

Lecturer Sandra Pitcher

Lecturer Sandra Pitcher

4.  Lecturer Awarded Best Paper at National Conference On top of the excellence of our students, our lecturers showed that they are among best in South Africa as well. Ms Sandra Pitcher was awarded best paper at the South African Communication conference for her work on Zapiro’s representation of Nelson Mandela. The paper, which is based on Pitcher’s PhD, argued that South Africa’s most widely syndicated cartoonist helped enhance the legend of Mandela, and undermined the nature of good political cartooning.   5.  Honours Class Help Local NGOs This year has also seen our Honours Corporate Communication class work closely with local NGOs to help develop marketing and advertising plans that incorporate an active web presence. Students, guided by lecturer Dr Claire Scott, helped the KZN Language Institute, Justice and Women, the Pietermaritzburg and District Cerebral Palsy Association, RivLife Community Centre and Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society set up social media accounts, manage their existing online presence and strategized with each organisation on how to use the media effectively.

Flyer produced by Claire Keyworth for the KZN Language Institute.

Flyer produced by Claire Keyworth for the KZN Language Institute.

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of an amazing year. We can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring, but we can tell you to watch this space because there are going to be a few surprising changes happening very soon.


MECS Says Farewell to Honours 2014

Some of the Honours class in front of OMB.

On Friday last week, the MECS department said its final goodbyes to this year’s Honours class.  Hosted by Academic Leader Dr Nicola Jones, the farewell event paid tribute to the hard work done by both students and their supervisors throughout the year.

The evening began with an award presentation for the top achievers of the year .

Claire Keyworth and Mellisa Muchena with their final research projects.

Warwick Jones received “The Writer’s Award” for his excellent short story Sometimes I Run and travel piece, Toward Pondolandwhile Mellisa Muchena was awarded for her outstanding research presentation.

In addition, the hard work of Merusha Naidoo was recognised, winning her the “Most Improved Student” for 2014 and Claire Keyworth won the “Best Corporate Portfolio”, which also helped her get a job as the new marketing assistant at St Charles College.

However, the evening was not just about rewarding academic excellence as lecturers recapped some of the moments that will always remind them of 2014.  Tawanda Kahlari was presented with an alarm clock after requesting to write his final exam standing up, so he didn’t fall asleep, and Farah Sader was given ‘a happy pill box’ filled with Rescue tablets after the class voted her the most likely to panic in every situation.


Mellisa Muchena, Farah Sader, Sarah Muller, Tegan Mitchell and Claire Keyworth at the farewell party.


Journalism class with Academic Dr Nicola Jones.

Lecturer Sandra Pitcher, playing MC, thanked the class for everything that they had done during the year, stating that their sense of humour and personalities had been a “rays of sunshine” throughout a very challenging year.

When asked about the year, Tegan Mitchell said she loved the fact that “everyone was similar … which helped the class form quite a tight knit little group”.  She added that Honours has helped her grow as a person and that the practical nature of the courses have prepared her for the working world.

Sine Ngubane remarked that she values being “able to learn from such a knowledgeable group of lecturers and that their dedication to their students has been awesome”.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better year,” she said with a smile.

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