Thohoyandou, South Africa
Thohoyandou, South Africa

The University of Venda "UNIVEN" is a South African Comprehensive rural based university, located in Thohoyandou in Limpopo province. it was established in 1982 under the then Republic of Venda government. Wikipedia.

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Determining changes in land use/land cover (LULCC) can be used to assess and monitor habitat loss as one of the five global priority causes of biodiversity loss. In South Africa, two national land-cover (NLC) datasets have been developed from satellite imagery obtained in circa 1990 and 2013/2014. The Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (VBR), designated in 2009, is located in the north of the Limpopo Province in South Africa and has a surface area of 30,457 km2. The aim of biosphere reserves is to provide a landscape-scale framework for conservation and sustainable development of an area. The area within a biosphere reserve is prioritised by designating it into one of three zones 1) Core, 2) Buffer, and 3) Transitional Zones. Two national parks and six provincial reserves (PAs) are the current and form part of the proposed updated core areas (pCAs) of the VBR. Intensity analyses was used to assess LULCC in the VBR. The pCAs cover 39.7% of the surface area of the VBR. The PAs cover 39.7% and only 15.8% of the surface area of the pCAs and VBR respectively. Based on the NLC 2013/2014 a majority of the VBR, pCAs and PAs consisted of indigenous vegetation dominated by Woodland/Open bush, Grassland, and Thicket/Dense bush. The extent of transformed land in the VBR declined from 1990 to 2013 by 1697.7 km2. The total amount of change and mean annual change in the VBR was 53.1% and 2.31% respectively. The overexploitation of fuel wood by rural communities in rural areas of the VBR, was partly responsible for the targeted loss of Woodland/Open bush to Thicket/Dense bush and Grasslands. The unquantified presence of novel vegetation and alien invasive plants means that the NLC 1990 and 2013/2014 overestimates the quantity and distribution of the remaining indigenous vegetation in the VBR. In order to address this the distribution of alien and indigenous invasive plant species in the VBR needs to be determined and used to update future NLCs. Assuming a worse-case-scenario of all the coal deposits in the VBR, including the Kruger National Park, being mined it would amount to 24.7% of the surface area of the VBR. Only 6.8% of the area of all the coal deposits in the VBR was transformed with 93.2% currently remaining untransformed. It is recommended that transformation of indigenous vegetation to one of the seven transformed land cover categories and more specifically from coal mining should be restricted to the VBR's Transition Zones. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Matsea T.C.,University of Venda
Social Work in Health Care | Year: 2017

Stigma is a contributing factor to non-help-seeking behavior and social isolation of mental health-care users. The study examined social workers’ perspective regarding strategies that can be implemented to destigmatize mental illness in South Africa. A qualitative study method was adopted. Data were sourced through focus group discussions with social work students and telephone interviews with social workers working in hospitals. Data were analyzed using a thematic approach. Active involvement, education, and awareness campaigns, creating opportunities for improved well-being and constant support, were identified as relevant strategies. Given that stigma is multidimensional, various strategies are important if mental illness is to be destigmatized. © 2017 Taylor & Francis

News Article | November 1, 2016

Author Khoza Mduduzi has long noticed the economic plight of the African people, wherein they are forced to scrape by on meager earnings while their own country is being ransacked by foreign powers. In “The West Stole Africa's Wealth” (published by Xlibris) the author opens readers' eyes to the truth on how western countries have been monopolizing South African resources for years. “The West Stole Africa's Wealth” is a truly informative read that shows the dark side of western interference with South African affairs. It documents and proves once and for all the avarice and cruelty of the west towards the African people and the African continent. It also shows how the western powers were able to hold on to their ill-gotten gains and positions by sowing discord in the African countries, thus preventing them from being a united force. The information contained in this highly immersive read was predominantly gathered from African countries such as Zimbabwe, countries that have had a history of being used by foreign powers. It also shows the long history of slave trade conducted within the African continent. The author’s main aim is to open the reader’s eyes to the many injustices suffered by the African people under western hands and to show the African people their potential for political and economic growth. About the Author Khoza Mduduzi holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of Venda for Science and Technology and Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is an educator by profession and registered with the South African Council of Educators (SACE). He visited Zimbabwe prior the July 31, 2013 national elections and again visited Zimbabwe post the July 31, 2013 elections. He is a critical rationalist who has a keen interest in African politics and African affairs. This is his first book on the number of books that are still yet to be published. Xlibris Publishing, an Author Solutions, LLC imprint, is a self-publishing services provider created in 1997 by authors, for authors. By focusing on the needs of creative writers and artists and adopting the latest print-on-demand publishing technology and strategies, we provide expert publishing services with direct and personal access to quality publication in hardcover, trade paperback, custom leather-bound and full-color formats. To date, Xlibris has helped to publish more than 60,000 titles. For more information, visit or call 1-888-795-4274 to receive a free publishing guide. Follow us @XlibrisPub on Twitter for the latest news.

News Article | January 7, 2016

The famous Ötzi, a man murdered about 5,300 years ago in the Italian Alps, had what's now considered the world's oldest known case of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause ulcers and gastric cancer, a new study finds. It's unclear whether the ancient iceman did, in fact, have ulcers or gastric cancer because his stomach tissue didn't survive. Today, about half of the world's human population has H. pylori in their gut, but only one in 10 people develop a condition from the bacteria, the researchers said. However, an analysis of tissues from Ötzi's gastrointestinal tract shows that his immune system had reacted to the potentially virulent strain, suggesting he might have felt ill from H. pylori symptoms on the day he died. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Secrets About Otzi the Iceman] "We showed the presence of marker proteins which we see today in patients infected with Helicobacter," study lead author Frank Maixner, a microbiologist at the European Academy in Bozen/Bolzano in Italy, said in a statement. The researchers also analyzed the specific H. pylori strain that Ötzi carried. They found that, although it was unique, it was strikingly similar to a strain seen in ancient Asia but not to those in northern Africa as the researchers had suspected. Hikers discovered Ötzi's mummified body in a glacier in 1991, and his remains now reside at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Studies on the Copper Age man suggest that Ötzi likely lived with aches and pains — during his lifetime, he had bad teeth and knees; a genetic predisposition to heart disease; lactose intolerance; arthritis; a possible case of Lyme disease; and wounds indicating that he suffered from an arrow injury and a blow to the head before he died at somewhere between 40 and 50 years old. Despite these maladies, Ötzi probably would have lived for another 10 to 20 years if he hadn't been murdered, study co-author Albert Zink, the head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy, said during a news conference yesterday (Jan. 6). The researchers were curious about whether Ötzi carried the ancient form of H. pylori, which research suggests has existed in humans for at least 100,000 years. But the new study was no easy undertaking. The scientists defrosted the heavily tattooed mummy and used an incision made by an earlier inspection of Ötzi to take tissue samples. The team extracted 12 biopsy samples from the stomach and intestine, and analyzed the genetic material from each. "We had to separate the Helicobacter pylori sequences from the other genetic material," which included the DNA from the iceman himself, food he had eaten, soil bacteria that invaded the body, and other material, study co-senior author Thomas Rattei, the head of the Division of Computational Systems Biology at the University of Vienna in Austria, said at the news conference. "This was like searching [for] a needle in the haystack." But they did find it. Moreover, Ötzi's H. pylori strain was heavily fragmented because of degradation, providing more evidence that it wasn't the result of modern contamination but rather the actual ancient strain that had infected him during the Copper Age, Rattei said. [Album: A New Face for Ötzi the Iceman Mummy] After sequencing the ancient H. pylori strain, the researchers compared it to other known strains of the pathogen. Interestingly, scientists can use H. pylori as a tool to study human migration. The human genome typically mutates slowly over time, but H. pylori mutates quickly. It changes so fast, in fact, that it's usually unique to each geographic population. What's more, if one group of people encounters another — by migrating to a new area, for instance — their H. pylori strains can mix, leaving genetic clues about the mixed strain's background. Furthermore, these H. pylori strains infect only humans, so it can't be carried by other animals, the researchers said. "That is why we studied Helicobacter pylori and why it's so important for illustrating all of these wonderful prehistoric human migrations," said co-senior author Yoshan Moodley, a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Venda in South Africa.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fat patterning, age and body composition, among urban South African children in Pretoria, Central. Methods: Samples for the study comprised 1136 participants (548 boys and 588 girls) and 581 black and 555 white drawn from 12 primary schools in Pretoria Central. Anthropometrical measurements include stature, body mass and eight skinfolds: triceps, subscapular, biceps, supraspinal, abdomen, front thigh, iliac crest and medial calf. Principal components analysis technique was applied to examine the components loadings. An eigenvalue of >1.0 was retained for analysis. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to determine the relationship of fat patterning scores, age and body composition measures. Findings: Three principal components emerged. The first principal component was a size component (fatness), accounting for 62.3% variance. The second component (central-peripheral patterning) accounted for the total variance of 14.1%. The third component (lower trunk-upper extremity) of relative subcutaneous fat distribution, explained about 10.2% of the total residual variance. Overall, the three components account approximately for 87.0% of the total variance. The correlation coefficients indicating probabilities demonstrated that the overall body fatness (PC1), but not PC2 or PC3 was significantly correlated with body mass index (r=0.745, P<0.01), FM (r=0.672, P<0.01), fat-free mass (r=0.583, P<0.01), Percentage body fat (r=0.701, P<0.01) and children's age (r=0.062, P<0.05). Conclusion: The central-peripheral and upper-lower body extremity fat patterning components are discernible among the sample of South African children in Pretoria. The results indicated that principal component 1, but not 2 and 3 was significantly correlated with body composition variables and age, suggesting that component 1 is truly an indicator of total body fatness and not fat patterning. © 2013 by Pediatrics Center of Excellence, Children's Medical Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, All rights reserved.

Bhat R.B.,University of Venda
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge | Year: 2014

An ethnobotanical survey was carried out in the former Transkei homeland to document the unwritten knowledge related to traditional uses of medicinal plants. The indigenous people of Transkei, Eastern Cape, South Africa depend on the natural plant resources from their environment for medicine, food, pastoral, cultural and religious needs. This area, mainly inhabited by the Xhosa people, has remained ethnobotanically unexplored until recently. The present investigation among the herbalist, traditional doctors, herb traders, tribal priests and other knowledgeable local people documented medicinal and other uses of 35 species of traditional medicinal plants belonging to 34 genera and 26 families. The study recorded the local, scientific and family names of the medicinal plants. The plant parts used and method of administration are also presented in this paper. This firsthand information points out the importance of local flora to tribal groups and non-tribal people of Transkei. In spite of western influence, the Xhosa people of Transkei still believe in the efficacy of herbal medicine, and prefer to use these traditional remedies. Further, scientific study will be required for validation of these ethnomedicines.

Sibiya J.E.,University of Venda
International journal of environmental research and public health | Year: 2013

This study assessed the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of learners on issues related to water, sanitation and hygiene in selected schools in Vhembe District, South Africa. The methodology relied on a questionnaire, an inspection of sanitary facilities and discussion with the school authorities. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science. The study revealed that the level of knowledge about waterborne diseases was relatively high (76.7 ± 1.75%), but knowledge on transmission routes was inadequate. The majority of the respondents had no knowledge when it comes to water-based diseases and their prevention (78.4 ± 1.71%).The attitude and practice on hygiene was also found to be high (91.40 ± 1.16%). Some schools from the urban area had proper handwashing facilities, but there was no soap available. The borehole water quality for rural schools appeared clear, but the microbial quality was unknown. The water supply and sanitation facilities were inadequate in rural schools, with no handwashing areas and no sanitary bins for girls. Some schools had toilets with broken doors which did not offer privacy. The only water tap, located at the centre of the school premises, was not enough for the whole school community.

Munyai T.C.,University of Venda | Foord S.H.,University of Venda
Journal of Insect Conservation | Year: 2012

Mountains are biodiversity hotspots and provide spatially compressed versions of regional and continental variation. They might be the most cost effective way to measure the environmental associations of regional biotic communities and their response to global climate change. We investigated spatial variation in epigeal ant diversity along a north-south elevational transect over the Soutpansberg Mountain in South Africa, to see to what extent these patterns can be related to spatial (regional) and environmental (local) variables and how restricted taxa are to altitudinal zones and vegetation types. A total of 40,294 ants, comprising 78 species were caught. Ant richness peaked at the lowest elevation of the southern aspect but had a hump-shaped pattern along the northern slope. Species richness, abundance and assemblage structure were associated with temperature and the proportion of bare ground. Local environment and spatially structured environmental variables comprised more than two-thirds of the variation explained in species richness, abundance and assemblage structure, while space alone (regional processes) was responsible for <10%. Species on the northern aspect were more specific to particular vegetation types, whereas the southern aspect's species were more generalist. Lower elevation species' distributions were more restricted. The significance of temperature as an explanatory variable of ant diversity across the mountain could provide a predictive surrogate for future changes. The effect of CO2-induced bush encroachment on the southern aspect could have indirect impacts complicating prediction, but ant species on the northern aspect should move uphill at a rate proportional to their thermal tolerance and the regional increases in temperature. Two species are identified that might be at risk of local extinction. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Mammino L.,University of Venda
Journal of Molecular Modeling | Year: 2013

Hyperjovinol A (2-methyl-1-(2,4,6-trihydroxy-3-(3-hydroxy-3,7-dimethyloct- 6-enyl)phen yl)propan-1-one) is an acylated phloroglucinol isolated from Hypericum Jovis and exhibiting antioxidant properties comparable with those of the most common antioxidant drugs. The study models the compound's antioxidant ability through its ability to coordinate a Cu2+ ion and reduce it to Cu+. Complexes with a Cu2+ ion were calculated for all the low energy and for representative high energy conformers of hyperjovinol A, placing the ion in turn near each of the electron-rich binding sites. The most stable complexes are those in which Cu2+ binds simultaneously to the O of the OH in the geranyl-type chain (R') and the C=C double bond at the end of R', or to the O of a phenol OH and the O of the OH in R'. The most stable complexes in which Cu2+ binds only to one site are those in which it binds to the C=C double bond at the end of R' or to the sp2 O of the COCH(CH3)2 acyl group. Cu2+ is reduced to Cu+ in all complexes. Comparisons with corresponding complexes of other molecular structures in which one or more of the structural features of hyperjovinol A are modified attempt to elucidate the role, for the antioxidant ability, of relevant features of hyperjovinol A, like the presence and position of the OH or the C=C double bond in R'. Calculations at the DFT/B3LYP/6-31+G(d, p) level were performed for all the structures considered. Calculations utilizing the LANL2DZ pseudopotential for the Cu2+ ion were also performed for hyperjovinol A. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012.

News Article | January 8, 2016

Researchers have detected a familiar pathogen in 5,300-year-old ice mummy Ötzi, raising speculations that the iceman had suffered from a stomach bug when he had been murdered. How does this hint at waves of human migration that are previously unknown? A paper published in the journal Science on Jan. 7 found that Ötzi was infected with Helicobacter pylori, which also currently affects humans. H. pylori bacteria are carried by about half of all modern humans and causes ulcers and stomach cancer in a small population. The iceman’s corpse was uncovered in 1991 by backpackers in Italy’s Tyrolean Alps, sheathed in ice at an altitude exceeding 3,000 meters. He is believed to have died from an arrow shot in the back, but studies also revealed that he suffered from cavities, hardened arteries and a range of other health issues. Back in 2010, researchers examining Ötzi's CT scan noticed that his stomach had been preserved, revealing that his last meal included ibex and wild grains. A team of researchers led by biomolecular archaeologist Albert Zink in Bolzano, Italy, further decided to probe the iceman's stomach and gut. In what was left of his digestive tract, the team found DNA from H. pylori, whose pattern of age-induced damage showed that the bacteria colonized the living Ötzi rather than his corpse. Too bad for Ötzi, the strain he carried was not the normally harmless one, but a type of H. pylori linked to abdominal inflammation and stomach disorders found in modern humans. Zink and his team used purification techniques to obtain genetic material from the iceman's stomach and discovered that it matched 92 percent of the modern bacterium's genome containing 1.6 million letters. The H. pylori bacterium in the iceman's stomach was found to have cellular toxin-producing genes which enable the modern bacterium to cause ulcers. The finding also showed that the iceman's stomach contains protein fragments similar to those seen in inflamed stomach tissues of infected people. Yoshan Moodley, study co-author and geneticist at the University of Venda in South Africa, said this bacterium was likely the original strain that resided in the stomach of the first Europeans. "This ancient HP strain has allowed us what is perhaps a unique opportunity to discover what populations of Helicobacter pylori existed in Europe during this copper age," he explained. Previous research has confirmed, for instance, that he was of European descent, with his closest kin now living in Sardinia and Corsica. He had brown hair and brown eyes, and the copper in his hair suggests that he might have worked in a metal or weapons production involving the use of copper. More importantly, the latest find may have solved a crucial question about the evolutionary movement of the H. pylori strain. Based on DNA amplification and targeted genome capture, scientists identified Ötzi's H. pylori infection as a certain Asian strain, which has only been detected three times in modern Europeans. This finding is the first proof that the strain had already inhabited Central Europe during the Copper Age, or from the fifth and third millennia BC. As the infection is more closely associated with Asian strains than with Asian-African hybrid strains existing today, the results suggested that Asian and African strains had yet to mix during the iceman’s lifespan. “We can say now that the waves of migration bringing African H. pylori into Europe had not occurred in earnest by the time the Iceman was around,” said Moodley, adding that the bacterium DNA in the wonderfully preserved specimen may not be extracted again elsewhere. The discovery is only a single sample detected in Ötzi, but it may be a piece of the complicated puzzle of research on other mummies worldwide. This does not involve ancient Egyptian mummies, though, as their stomachs are removed during mummification.

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