Walter Sisulu University graduands seek scientific solutions to Eastern Cape challenges

MAY 5, 2015

PhD and Masters graduands in Walter Sisulu University’s faculties of education, natural sciences and health sciences have exemplified with great gusto the University’s tireless efforts to confront the multitude of problems facing the Eastern Cape using scientific-based solutions.

The theses and dissertations of the seven PhD, and 35 Masters graduands are premised largely on Eastern Cape-based issues and cover varied disciplines such as psychology, physiology, pathology, microbiology, education, chemistry, social work and geography.

Some of the research looked at pertinent issues such as:

  • Pulse amplitude tonometry and angiogenic factors in preeclampsia in rural African women;
  • Arterial tone in black women with preeclampsia from Transkei region;
  • The effect of diet on the pattern of gastro-oesophageal reflux in the rural setting of the Eastern Cape;
  • Prevalence and determinants of uncontrollable diabetes mellitus type 2 in Mthatha General Hospital;
  • Babies born before arrival: Risk factors associated with parents delivering their babies outside the health care facilities in O.O Tambo District;
  • Immune response to specific mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens among parasite infected school children in Mthatha;
  • Determinants and risk factors of cardiovascular diseases in urban adults of Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape;
  • Health impacts of Mthatha dumpsite on surrounding communities;
  • Investigating the impacts of sand mining on rural livelihoods and environmental management : A case study for O.R Tambo region;
  • An assessment of the management of the quality of education and its impact on learners’ academic performance in selected schools in Mthatha;
  • Factors that contribute to the poor response of the school-going adolescents to the HIV/Aids prevention programmes in the Mthatha Unit  in the Eastern Cape;
  • The effect of drug abuse on learners’ behaviour and academic performance in four selected senior secondary schools in Mthatha;
  • The effect of teenage pregnancy on learning and teaching in junior secondary schools of Butterworth.

WSU Acting Spokesperson Thando Cezula was quick to highlight the pertinence of the research being conducted by the graduands.

“As a largely rural-based institution working within this context, it’s absolutely critical that WSU, through its teaching, learning and research, produces graduates that possess the necessary skills and expertise to create workable solutions in varied arenas.”

“This will ensure we supplement government efforts and programmes aimed at addressing the upheavals facing many of our people who continue to exist in the peripheries of our society,” said Cezula.


  • Honorary graduate Sizwe Nxasana becomes the 45th honorary doctorate since 1985
  • A total of 4 534 students will be graduating 
  • Of these, 2 675 are female, whilst 1 859 are male
  • The 3 programmes with the biggest graduation numbers are: NHC Accounting, LLB, and BEd (EMS)
  • Students graduating with Honours (76); Masters (35); PhDs (7)
  • 102 students will be graduating Cum Laude

The University’s new, and 2nd ever Chancellor since the merger in 2005, Sheila M Sisulu, will cap the students.