October 2020

NWU – research for the modern world!

Welcome to 2020's seventh edition of the North-West University's newsletter, Research@NWU. The aim of the newsletter is to showcase research projects, researchers and related events. This newsletter is one of seven, distributed to academic staff and researchers during the year.


Getting the most out of medicinal plant extracts with nanotechnology

A NWU graduate is bringing together age-old plant knowledge and the latest nanotechnology to make the most of medicinal plant extracts.

According to a United States National Nanotechnology Initiative, nanotechnology is currently revolutionising the technology and industrial sectors.

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Project on swearing produces scientific knowledge

"To my mind, the project has progressed exceptionally well. Not only have technology and infrastructure been established for sound research in the years ahead, but we have also gained a large number of registered users." These are the words of the NWU's Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen, professor in Afrikaans and Dutch Linguistics, a year after the unique multidisciplinary research project on Afrikaans swear words was launched. He says the project not only produced new multidisciplinary insights into Afrikaans swear words and swearing behaviour, but also developed effective ways of presenting scientific knowledge in up-to-date ways.

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Pre-traumatic stress disorder and the Covid-19 conundrum

The impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on our mental health cannot be understated. From a South African perspective, months of a hard lockdown has changed the way we live, the way we work and the very way we operate. Mentally we have not escape unscarred. A new study by Afriforte and the WorkWell research unit at the NWU, in conjunction with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group and Mindful Revolution, investigated the psychological effects of the lockdown. According to a survey conducted among 1 656 employees, 46% of the respondents are experiencing high levels of psychological distress during the epidemic.

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People solve problems and anthropology is the right place to be

The NWU Anthropology subject group is growing from strength to strength, and aims to make the NWU one of the top universities at which to study this field. "Recognising that the complicated problems of our society can only be solved with people, the subject group has embarked on a process of recurriculation linked to cutting-edge research, and will soon be expanding," says Dr Jess Auerbach, who recently joined the subject group in the School of Social Sciences. Since arriving at the NWU in July, she has worked closely with colleagues to consolidate a culture of research and knowledge production.

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Understanding consensual non-monogamy (swinging) from a South African perspective

While some people consider it a taboo, swinging – the act of allowing one's partner to engage in sexual intercourse with other people – has been practised around the globe for decades.

A simple Google search gives thousands of results on the lifestyle, yet relatively little is known about swinging from a South African perspective.

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Please share your comments and input by sending an email to the newsletter editor, willie.duplessis@nwu.ac.za