September 2021

NWU: Excellence through research

Welcome to the sixth 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.


In conversation with Prof Jeffrey Mphahlele, the NWU's new deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation

Prof Jeffrey Mphahlele, the new deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, shares his thoughts on research in Africa, and specifically in South Africa.

He highlights the importance of nurturing the next generation of researchers and talks about research at the NWU.


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Plants offer home-grown solutions to healthcare

Approximately 80% of South Africa's population depend on medicinal plants for their healthcare needs, leading to an increased interest in the commercialisation of plant-based remedies. Research by Tshepiso Ndhlovu, an NWU PhD candidate, is shedding light on the potential of medicinal plants in the skincare market and in the treatment of childhood diseases. His current study focuses on the use of medicinal plants in treating childhood diseases.


It's time to put environmental regulations to work

With calls for safer, cleaner environments, an NWU researcher suggests that local governments use and enforce existing environmental regulations to ensure a better quality of life for all. Maricélle Botes, part of the research team at the Faculty of Law's South African Research Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability (CLES), says that while regulations and instruments are available, they are not being utilised.


How families cope with mental health care issues

According to Tshepang Modise, nursing science master's graduate, the whole family can be affected when living with a family member with a mental disorder, disability or developmental delay. Mechanisms to cope with resulting stress include escape, avoidance, denial or looking to religion. His research is titled "Coping mechanisms used by families of mental health care users in Mahikeng sub-district, NW Province".


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Mines are contaminating useful plants in Limpopo

Chromium from mining activities has been found in high concentrations in plant species commonly grown in household gardens in Sekhukhuneland, Limpopo, representing a potential health hazard. These are some of the findings of doctoral student Sutapa Adhikari, who has been studying the contamination of food and medicinal plants by chromium (Cr) and platinum mine dust in Sekhukhuneland.


Wasps zoom in on metal contamination

Wasps are often viewed as pests but they can play a huge role in the ecosystem, from pollination to being a link in the food chain. NWU master's student Yasfir Tarif Nadat is now undertaking a study to show how wasps can be indicators of pollution. His study is inspired by a paper he and a team of NWU researchers from the NWU, Linköping University and the University of Zimbabwe worked on.


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Oyster mushrooms could make brown seaweed rich pickings

Brown seaweed is known to be a rich source of minerals such as calcium, sodium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sulphur and iron. Add oyster mushrooms to the mix and it could be a nutritious source of feed for indigenous chickens.
This is the thinking of NWU PhD student Godfrey Mhlongo.


Diversity is the bedrock – theology for the world

Diversity is the bedrock of the NWU and faith is a pillar of strength for many within the NWU and to billions of people around the globe. The Faculty of Theology has again shown that diversity and faith go well together by producing exceptional PhDs at the first PhD graduation ceremony of 2021.


Study into large-scale potential to store renewable hydrogen

Power fluctuations sometimes associated with renewable energy resources could become a thing of the past through research under way at the NWU on new and better ways to store hydrogen.
The HySA Centre of Competence (Coc) at the NWU explains the storage problem.


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