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  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Havenga, Henno;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    DSc (Environmental Sciences), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Convective events over the South African Highveld are a frequent and often dangerous summer weather phenomenon. Features such as aerosols, land-use, and thermodynamics, which humans can unintentionally modify, change the nature of convective events. Radar data indicates that convective weather has a strong diurnal signal. The Highveld experiences the most severe convective weather in the late afternoon, and November has the highest number convective events. Media reports indicate that rainfall is the most impactful convective weather event over the region followed by hail. The number of reported heavy rainfall events suggests an increase in frequency of these events from the 1980’s, while hail reports for the same time have remained fairly consistent. Objective clustering methods indicate that both events are directly linked to characteristic mid- and early summer circulation patterns respectively. During mid-summer, tropical systems displace the westerlies and rainfall is the most significant event. During early summer, the presence of the westerlies at 500 hPa enhances conditional instability and wind shear, and favours hail formation. Simulations show that under high CCN loads, storms are less severe and less hail and precipitation reaches the surface. A high CCN environment results in a persistent stable layer that inhibits convection. A green city scenario simulates the most severe convective storms with the highest persistent CAPE and accumulated hail. Increased latent heat and local moisture could enhance precipitation processes under this scenario. Under low vegetation scenarios, there is a decrease in surface hail and rainfall and events are characteristics of tropical, short-lived, isolated thunderstorms. Trends show that the Highveld is favouring tropical circulation types more frequently. The thermodynamic environment shows signs of increasing instability and decreasing wind shear, characteristic of tropical storms. These observed changes are consistent with current projections of anthropogenic climate change. Doctoral

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Sishuba, Anathi;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Biology), North-West University, Mahikeng Campus The current study focused on finding alternative bioactive compounds with the potentials to mitigate or control antimicrobial resistance. Natural products such as medicinal plants; are being studied for their therapeutic potentials in the race against antimicrobial resistance. The plant kingdom offers surfeit of biologically active compounds and most studied plants have been found to at least host one endophyte. In addition, studies on establishing the relationship between endophytes and plants and the products of their interaction have since gained traction. Endophytes are endosymbionts (bacterial or fungal) that produce bio-compounds that aid in plant protection and growth. The bioactive compounds produced by endophytes in symbiosis are used in the pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing secondary products. South Africa is well-known for its valuable and untapped information on medicinal plants. Since ancient times, people have been using plants for their essential wellbeing. This study centered around the medicinal plant, Sutherlandia frutescens, commonly known as cancer bush indigenous to Southern Africa, and produces bioactive compounds of medicinal value. The study aimed at evaluating the biodiversity and antimicrobial activity of possible endophytic fungi isolated from the plant. A total of fifty-one (51) fungal endophytes were isolated, identified and classified into various genera. The predominant genus found was Penicillium (25%), followed by the Mucor (12%), Alternaria (10%) and Coniochateta (10%) genera. The endophytes were further characterized to species-level based on known identities in the GenBank database, and their relatedness and evolutionary lines were determined by phylogenetic analysis with a total of four (4) clusters and six (6) sub-clusters constructed. The endophytes were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against environmental Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The antibacterial properties of the secondary metabolites were investigated using the disc diffusion and agar plug assays. A disk diffusion assay showed Salmonella enterica (environmental strain) was the most sensitive and with its growth being inhibited by the activity of the secondary metabolites from the sixteen (16) out of the fifty-one (51) endophytes isolated. In overall, 51% of the endophytic fungi produced bioactive compounds that exhibited antimicrobial activity against at least one tested bacterial. However, the agar plug assay showed less activity compared to the latter with only eight (8) endophytic fungal plugs that managed to inhibit the growth of four (4) bacteria. The largest zone of inhibition with a diameter of 21.0 mm was exhibited by Coniochaeta hoffmannii (CB016) observed against E. coli 017. Some fungal isolates were further tested for their antifungal activity against plant pathogenic fungi. The dual culture test gave 84% antifungal effectiveness against fungal pathogens, with Mucor, Penicillium genera and Aspergillus brasiliensis exhibing broad-spectrum antifungal activities for most plant pathogenic fungi tested in this assay. During the culture filtrate test, 78% showed inhibition activity against one or more pathogens. The culture filtrate of the endophytic fungus CB011 (Purpureocillium lilacinum) exhibited a broad range of antifungal activity against all the pathogens. Under salt conditions, most isolates were able to grow at a 3% concentration, giving a total of 90% fungal growth rate with a maximum within the range of 75-80.5 mm growth in diameter. At pH of 5, an overall 44% of the total fungal growth was observed, with most growth noted at a temperature of 25 °C. The antimicrobial activity showed 19% of growth activity. The results suggest endophytic fungi isolated from Sutherlandia frutescens may be good sources of bioactive molecules, including those capable of inhibiting or controlling both human and plant pathogens. Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Raven, Alan;
    Publisher: North-West University (South-Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    PhD (New Testament), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Diverse theological allegiances and conflicting voices concerning the relevance and role of God’s Law (i.e. the Torah)1 makes it a complex, confusing, and even a controversial issue in the church. This is a serious matter because the way Christians view the Law profoundly impact on how they interpret God’s will, discern between right and wrong, and how they relate to God and to other people. Clearly, sound teaching about the Law is critical for the unity, health, wellbeing, and witness of the Church. For their doctrine of the Law, many lean heavily on the evidence in Paul’s Letters, which can produce a rather negative view of the Law of God given through Moses (i.e. the Torah). James, however, speaks remarkably positively about the Law. And since he speaks infallibly as Scripture, his voice deserves to be heard. This Study carefully investigates James’s Epistle in order to determine the “meaning and teaching of ‘nómos’ (νόμος) in James”. The purpose is to work out what James means by “nómos” and what can be derived about his doctrine about “nómos”. This is done with the goal of gaining clarity about the Law of God from James, which in turn could clarify the New Testament’s position about it, and thus clarify the orthodox Christian position. Chapter 1 introduces the Study and outlines the Study plan. A three-pronged analytical approach is taken to answer the overarching research question, “What is James’s doctrine of the Law of God?”, with its five supporting questions. By answering them, the main aim of outlining James’s doctrine of the Law, with its five supporting objectives, is achieved. The analytical processes include: Thought Structure Analysis, Semantic Discourse Analysis, and a survey of the Old Testament biblical roots of James. The results are documented in the successive chapters of the Study. Chapter 2 documents the historical and literary context of James. This provides the framework within which to interpret the Letter. The framework includes the following key elements: (1) The author is James, the brother of Jesus, leading apostle and pillar of the church, presiding over the headquarters of early Christianity in Jerusalem, and being renowned for his justness and Torah observance. (2) The original recipients were predominantly Jewish Christians who met in their own synagogue where the Torah was doubtlessly cherished. 1 The terms “Law”, “Law of God”, and “Torah” will be used interchangeably in this Study. However, the preferred term is “Torah” because its Hebrew roots more accurately convey its true meaning than the English word “Law”, which could have overly “legal” connotations that could overshadow the more dominant sense of “God’s fatherly instructions”. Refer to “Torah” in the Glossary of Terms. (3) The Letter was likely written very early, to displaced believers who were vulnerable socially, and who were spiritually in danger of becoming like the world (i.e. being worldly), possibly due to antinomian tendencies. (4) Therefore, James wrote a passionate and pastoral Letter to them, replete with instructions, to protect and exhort them to avoid doubleness and strive for perfection and wholehearted devotion to God, in the face of trials and in the light of the coming judgment. (5) The Letter is thoroughly Jewish and thoroughly grounded in the Hebrew Scriptures and thought. (6) It is held together by the connecting themes of Law and wisdom at key locations. Chapter 3 determines the extent to which the Old Testament and especially the Torah feature in James and how the original readers’ conception of the OT and Torah would have most likely shaped their understanding of the word “nómos” in James. It is found that: • The OT was their “Bible”, with the Torah being foundational and central and the Prophets and Writings expanding and applying, rather than replacing or nullifying it. At the heart of the Torah is the Ten Commandments, which contain its most sacred, fundamental, absolute, and ultimate moral principles. Furthermore, the Greek Translation of the OT (i.e. LXX) was most likely their version of the “Bible”, according to which “nómos” (νόμος) stands for “Torah”. • James refers to Old Testament Scriptures no less than 60 times in 108 verses. Closer examination, however, reveals many more connections with the OT. Clearly, therefore, James’s teaching is deeply rooted and firmly anchored in the OT Scriptures. Six of James’s seven citations and quotations are from the Torah (mostly the Decalogue) and the seventh is within the context of the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. James’s most fundamental teachings are all rooted in the Torah, with allusions to the Shema, Holiness Code, Ten Commandments, and Abraham the father of faith. • While James is silent on the ritual commandments, he entirely focusses on the “weightier matters” of the Torah, so much so that the entire contents of the Letter can be divided into sections that all fall, either under “justice”/“mercy” (i.e. loving neighbour), or under “faith”/“faithfulness” (i.e. loving God). • It is concluded that James’s readers would most likely and most naturally have understood “nómos” (νόμος) to refer to “Torah”. Chapter 4 closely examines and meticulously exegetes each passage in James in which the word “nómos” (νόμος) is used (incl. Jas. 1:19-27; 2:8-13; 4:11-12). The purpose of the analysis is to determine the contextual and intended meaning of “nómos” in James and what James teaches about “nómos”. The analysis includes outlining the exegetical context, translating the Greek text into English, analysing the thought structure, establishing the meaning structure, highlighting the meaning indicators, explaining the meaning of words and phrases, and outlining the absolutes. The analysis is done with extensive consultation of and engagement with secondary resources, including scholarly works. The meanings of the five “nómos” terms are as follows: (1) “nómon téleion” (νόμον τέλειον) “tòn tēs eleutherías” (τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας) (Jas. 1:25), translated: “perfect Torah, that of freedom”, which means that the Torah is both perfect and liberating. (2) “nómon basilikòn” (νόμον … βασιλικὸν), translated: “Kingdom Torah” (Jas. 2:8), which means the Torah instructs/guides those in God’s Kingdom. (3) “toū nómou” (τοῦ νόμου) (Jas. 2:9) or “nómou” (νόμου) (Jas. 2:11; 4:11) simply, translated the “Torah”, which means God’s Law (originally given through Moses). (4) “hólon tòn nómon” (ὅλον τὸν νόμον) (Jas. 2:10), translated: “the whole Torah”, which again means Torah, with emphasis on its entire body of instruction; and (5) “nómou eleutherías” (νόμου ἐλευθερίας) (Jas. 2:12), translated: “Torah of freedom”, which means Torah is liberating. “Torah of freedom” (Jas. 2:12) is a short form of “perfect Torah, that of freedom” (Jas. 1:25). It is concluded that with the five terms James has essentially one and the same Torah in mind: God’s Torah given through Moses. James’s teaching about the Torah, as expounded in Chapter 4, is outlined below. Chapter 5 outlines the answer to the overarching research question, “What does James teach about the nature, content, and function of the Law of God?”. The answer can be summarised, as in Chapter 7, as follows: (1) Concerning the nature of the Torah: • God is the giver and source of the Torah. • It is perfect, righteous, and liberating in its essence. • And violation of it is sin. (2) Concerning the content of the Torah: • The Torah is God’s Torah given through Moses, the core of which is the Ten Commandments, the summary and purpose of which is the Two Greatest Commandments, the exposition and application of which are found in the rest of the Pentateuch and Scriptures as a whole, and the priority of which is to express and practice "justice", "mercy", and "faith". • James focuses on the “moral” commandments of the Torah and is silent on the “ceremonial” commandments. One has to look at the rest of the New Testament for clarity about the applicability of the latter. (3) Concerning the function of the Torah: • The Torah reflects God's character and the righteous standards of His kingdom, and it mirrors the true moral state of the believer. • It delineates pure and useful religion, it defines sin, and it outlines God’s standards for judgment. • The Torah instructs believers in their moral and social obligations, and trains them to practice “ḥesed” (or “lovingkindness”) and to be God’s merciful people. • Being implanted within, the Torah protects believers against transcendent danger, it is a means or guide for their own perfection, and a safeguard for their freedom. Chapter 6 compares James’s teaching concerning the Torah with that of the rest of the New Testament, in order to demonstrate the harmony between James and the rest of NT and to highlight James’s contribution to the NT’s teaching on the Law of God. For this, the following seven key NT passages are carefully exegeted: Matthew 5:17-20; 23:23-24; Romans 3:28, 31; 8:1-4; Hebrews 8:10-12; 1 John 3:4; and 5:1-4. These passages show remarkable agreement with James about the nature, content, and function of the Torah: (1) Concerning the nature of the Torah: • Jesus teaches that Torah is permanent and connects it with right living. • Paul affirms that Torah’s standards are righteous, and John defines sin as “Torah-lessness”. • By nature, Torah belongs in the hearts of God’s people, as Hebrews implies. • And John adds that, to the believer, it is not a burden but a liberating delight. (2) Concerning the content of the Torah: • Jesus’ purpose was not to empty Torah of its original content, but to fill it up by giving it its true and full meaning. • Its key ingredients include “justice”, “mercy”, and “faith”, without necessarily excluding the lesser matters such as giving. • And according to Hebrews, its core contents surely include the Decalogue. (3) Concerning the function of the Torah: • Jesus expects His followers to keep and teach the Torah. • And that is why, as Hebrews imply, the Torah is written on their hearts so that they might know, understand, love, and obey it. • But, as Paul implies, it is not Torah’s function to produce such obedience. • That is why Christ atoned for His people’s sin (to free them from guilt against and condemnation by the Torah) and secured the Holy Spirit for them to indwell, liberate, and empower them to finally live out God’s righteous standards (of the Torah) as they should. While there seems to be a tension between James and Paul about justification by faith (alone), and while James is fairly silent about the vitally important role of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification, these two matters are not contrary to James and can be harmonized with his teaching. The points of difference are found not to be contradictions but areas where they complement one another for a fuller understanding of the NT’s teaching about the Torah. Chapter 7 concludes the study by recapping the meaning and teaching of “nómos” in James, critiquing common interpretations of “nómos” in James, drawing practical implications from the Study, and making suggestions for possible further research. Of the nine common understandings of “nómos” listed in the Study Introduction, the first is found to be possible, the next four quite likely (with preference for Options 2 & 3), and the last four very unlikely. Since James’s meaning and teaching of “nómos” are reasonably well defined, the key implications from this Study are as follows: (1) James’s contribution to the NT’s teaching about the Torah is significant and indispensable. (2) Several common interpretations about “nómos” in James can and should be discounted. (3) Common questions about the role of the Torah in Christianity can be answered with reasonable certainty. (4) Commonly held doctrines about the Torah can be tested against James’s teaching. (5) James’s voice needs to be heard and heeded by the church in the face of increasing antinomianism and moral decline. Doctoral

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Maboeta, B.;
    Publisher: North-West University (South-Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSW, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus The availability and development of personal and job resources are substantial components of a positive work experience. This study aimed to explore women academics’ perceptions of workplace well-being in relation to personal and job resources. While the so-called digital, or fourth industrial revolution is already present in our global village with its new technologies to facilitate the development of new working modes (including constructing job demands-resources at work), many women academics are still facing “old challenges” in the workplace. Although these unique challenges within higher education such as gender bias, sexual harassment, the double burden of womanhood, and role overload were not overlooked, the main reason for the study was to investigate the resources that can act as a buffer for women academics to withstand these stressors and strains and contribute to a better understanding for Social Work practices within the workplace. There has been an active movement in Social Work towards the strength’s perspective. Social Work approaches clients from an eco-systemic perspective, with a focus on the strengths of ecosystems as a whole. Within the working environment, certain job resources provide buffering towards ill health for employees and employees again bring personal resources to their workspaces. Aim: This study aimed to elucidate and thereby gain in-depth insight into women academics’ perceptions of workplace well-being in relation to personal and job resources. The direct subjective perceptions of these women are considered a valid source of knowledge, which need to be acknowledged and examined. The research aim of this study was to qualitatively explore and describe the perceptions of workplace well-being of women academics on job and personal resources. Methodology: In this qualitative study, I used a descriptive, exploratory design in order to present a clear description of workplace well-being – particularly the role of personal and job resources - as experienced by women academics. Sampling was conducted through non-probability purposive sampling. Initially, I (the student researcher) identified a top university according to the Bricks rankings and obtained the necessary ethics, goodwill permission, and gatekeeper approvals. The participants consisted of 12 women academics who all voluntarily agreed to take part in the study. Data was gathered through a demographic questionnaire, field notes, reflective notes and semi-structured interviewing. Thematic data analysis was used for textual data as well as the qualitative software Atlas.ti 8.0. Findings: In terms of personal resources, the study revealed that women in higher education make use of various personal resources comprising of skills and strengths directed by well-being and positive functioning in the workplace. These sets of skills and strengths associated with well-being practices indicate self-care skills and communication skills and strengths, which include cognitive coping, affective coping, behavioural coping and the use of character strengths. In terms of job resources, the thematic analysis revealed the specific aspects of psychological, social, organisational and physical resources constituting job resources for women academics in the workplace. It is recommended that the development and sustaining of personal resources be promoted in workplaces and that further research need to be conducted on strength use within the workplace. It is further recommended that future research investigate job resources from an organisational perspective specifically within the South African context of higher education. This study provided valuable and rich data in terms of the perceptions of women academics of well-being concerning job and personal resources. This research contributes significantly to research in Occupational Social Work, sicne it represents a real-life example of worthy efforts to enhance employee and organisational well-being in order to provide desirable outcomes for both organisations and employees. It also supports interventions in the field of strengths-based frameworks aimed at a better understanding for employees to enjoy hedonic (happy) as well as eudaimonic (meaningful) workplace experiences. The fostering of well-being in the workplace includes purposeful and intentional actions from both Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Potgieter, Marius;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa). Mahikeng Campus
    Country: South Africa
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Moodley, Nageshwari;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa).
    Country: South Africa

    PhD (Education Leadership and Management), North-West University, Mafikeng Campus In recent years, changes in the South African school curriculum have ensured that the hangover of the apartheid colonial powers that adopted serious cultural imperialistic principles and brutal policies to overpower the inclusion of Afrocentric elements in the school curriculum are repealed. This has attracted considerable debate on the need for the South African education system to be decolonised so that the curricula adopt an Afrocentric decolonised flair. It is in this light that the purpose of this thesis was to explore the role of primary school managers or principals in curriculum decolonisation. The research is located in the pragmatic paradigm and utilised an exploratory sequential mixed methods as the specific design or strategy of inquiry and its target population comprised of members of the School Management Teams (constituted by the principals, deputy principals, heads of department, grade heads and senior educators) from South Africa’s primary schools. A total of 100 participants selected through non-random and random or purposeful and systematic sampling techniques constituted the sample size for the study. The data generation for the qualitative section of the study followed the use of focus group interviews and unstructured interviews while that of the quantitative section adopted a structured survey questionnaire or closed ended questionnaire. The analysis for the qualitative data sets was done in a manner consistent with the thematic and or content analysis aided by the qualitative data analysis computer software called Atlas Ti while that of the quantitative data was done using descriptive and inferential statistics and aided by the use of quantitative data analysis software called SPSS. Key among the findings of this study was the view that school managers have a key role to play in deconstructing and reconstructing the attitudes, values and mind-set that everything European or American is superior to everything African. The study concluded that unless these attitudes, beliefs and values in the school curriculum and pedagogy are deconstructed and reconstructed it would not be easy for classroom practitioners to begin to view the merits of a decolonised Afrocentric education system. The recommendation made from this study is that school managers need to step up effort towards promoting key Afrocentric elements in the school curriculum if a truly decolonised curriculum is to be realised. Doctoral

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Combrinck, Zené;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Urban and Regional Planning), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Nature is essential to urban quality of life, yet urban green spaces (UGSs) are continuously competing with other land-uses with explicit monetary contributions to the city economy. Indeed, the economic benefits delivered by UGSs are often underestimated. In an attempt to strengthen the case for urban greening and to reclaim nature in cities, this research considered urban green spaces from an economic spatial perspective. It reflected on planning-related challenges including urban expansion that will continue to threaten UGSs in future decades as urban areas will need to absorb most of the population due to the rapid rates of urbanisation on a global and regional scale, causing detrimental environmental effects. This research considered the proximity principle, an indicator of the economic benefits of urban green spaces, as part of a hedonic price analysis method to determine the impact of urban green spaces on property value across the socio-economic gradient in Potchefstroom, South Africa. This local case study was selected based on the assumption that context-specific conditions between different socio-economic groups would deliver contrasting results in terms of how UGSs influence property value. The primary data was gathered through statistical analyses that determined the applicability of the proximity principle across the socio-economic gradient in Potchefstroom. Supporting quantitative data was gathered through structured questionnaires and electronic interviews to gather local and professional perceptions of urban green space (UGS) benefits and UGS planning, as well as the process of compiling a municipal valuation roll. Results indicated distinct differences in proximity principle applicability between different socio-economic groups and planning contexts. Context-specific conditions and the socio-economic status of an area determine UGS characteristics and community needs, influencing willingness-to-pay and how UGSs influence property value. The research results contributed to the discourse on the economic benefits of UGSs and presented the trends of such benefits within the local case study of 2020, in comparison with the results of similar studies conducted in 2015 and 2019 respectively. The results emphasised the need to rethink the planning and design of UGSs while considering context-specific conditions and active community involvement. This research calls for greater acknowledgement towards UGS contributions to the city economy, urban environmental quality and human well-being by local municipalities, communities and private investors. Ultimately this research calls for UGS planning to be prioritised in mainstream planning approaches in an attempt to encourage sustainable urban development. Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Greyling, Nikita;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Urban and Regional Planning), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Sustainable development has been a worldwide trending term for years. Although the concept of sustainable development originally included a clear social directive, this human dimension has been ignored amongst numerous references to sustainability and has only received vague attention in terms of planning policy, practice and research. Though some research may refer to the concept of social sustainability, little to no research deliberates on how social sustainability may be achieved and enhanced through space transformation initiatives and urban planning practices. This research reflected upon the transformation of space from a social sustainability perspective, based on the results obtained through the Coligny Forward project, a South Africa Day initiative. Theory-based sampling was employed as a qualitative inquiry into the notion of social sustainability and placemaking as an approach to urban planning in order to identify elements and establish criteria that urban areas have to fulfil in order to be deemed socially sustainable. By means of further following a quantitative approach to a case study analysis, data was obtained through closed structured questionnaires handed out to community members in the greater Coligny area after completion of the Coligny Forward project. This data was then statistically analysed and interpreted accordingly. Most prominent findings of the research suggest that physical space transformation initiatives together with urban planning practices may aid in the creation of socially sustainable places thereby achieving and enhancing social sustainability within cities and towns. Based on the results of the research, further planning recommendations were made to guide broader social sustainability objectives linked to transformation of space and placemaking projects. Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Loots, H.;
    Publisher: North-West University (South-Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Pharmacology), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severely debilitating chronic mental disorder brought about by encountering an actual or perceived, life-threatening or traumatic experience or series of events, like violence or combat. Specifically, PTSD is intrinsically associated with dysregulated fear conditioning, a form of Pavlovian conditioning where a neutral conditioned stimulus is paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus. Lifetime prevalence of PTSD differs across regions of the world and is higher in countries emerging from conflict, with a reported lifetime PTSD prevalence of 2.3% in South Africa. Moreover, the pathophysiology of PTSD development is largely unknown and requires further examination. These hindrances necessitate innovative experimental apperception so that novel treatment strategies may be developed. One approach is to extend the range of translational model species used in PTSD research as to enable analysis of overlapping behavioural phenotypes. Because zebrafish exhibit evolutionary conserved homologies in neuronal circuitry and mediator systems with humans and rodents, this species has emerged as a useful model in translational research of complex neuropsychiatric disorders such as PTSD. Congruently, the advantages of using zebrafish in pre-clinical neuropsychiatric research also include homologous gene sequences and vertebrate-specific physiological processes, like organogenesis, shared with mammals. A commonly used animal model of PTSD is the predator exposure model (PEM), in which predator-related cues (visual or chemical) serve as warnings to animals about potential threats in the surrounding area. To this end, exposure to a pheromone-like exudate, conspecific alarm substance (CAS), mediates significant anti-predatory responses in zebrafish. CAS is produced by specialized epidermal club cells in the zebrafish skin whereupon it is secreted into the water consequent to skin damage. Released CAS is detected through olfaction by neighbouring zebrafish and alarm reactions are elicited. Accordingly, CAS-exposed zebrafish display exacerbated anxiety and fear behaviours and, thus, CAS may be useful in the analysis of fear and anxiety in zebrafish. In this study we aimed to develop a novel translational model of PTSD in zebrafish, in order to expand the PTSD research capabilities at the North West University (NWU). The primary objectives of the study were based on assessing the anxiety-like behavioural responses in zebrafish following CAS exposure. Furthermore, building on evidence in stress-restress models of PTSD in rodents, we aimed to explore the effect of re-experience in zebrafish. This would inform on whether CAS is capable of evoking a sustained anxiogenic response up to 2 days post stress exposure, with or without a visual reminder, thus emulating fear conditioned learning seen in clinical PTSD. In this regard, CAS was paired with contextual reminders to induce fear conditioning and perpetuated fear-like behaviour in the absence of the original stressor. Finally, we aimed to confer face (behavioural) validity to the model for future construct (biological) and predictive (treatment response) validity testing and subsequent application in pre-clinical drug screening initiatives at the NWU. A total of 72 zebrafish were employed in this study, of which 32 zebrafish were used as CAS donors. The remaining 40 fish were randomly divided into 4 groups (n = 10 per group), viz. ‘vehicle/no cue’, ‘CAS/no cue’, ‘vehicle/cue’ and ‘CAS/cue’. Zebrafish behaviour in the test tanks was recorded during both conditioning and re-experience. For conditioning on day 1, ensuing a 1-h habituation period, two groups were exposed to the vehicle (distilled water), and two groups were exposed to CAS. The exposure lasted for 6 min, with groups ‘vehicle/no cue’ and ‘CAS/no cue’ exposed in the absence of a specific visual cue, while groups ‘vehicle/cue’ and ‘CAS/cue’ were exposed in the presence of the visual cues (black and white stripes). For re-experience on day 2, zebrafish were returned to the test tanks for 6 min, groups ‘vehicle/no cue’ and ‘CAS/no cue’ in the absence of the visual cue, and groups ‘vehicle/cue’ and ‘CAS/cue’ in the presence of the visual cue, thereby allowing the conditioned stimulus to be assessed. Zebrafish were then captured and euthanised. The behavioural video recordings were analysed using EthoVision XT 14 tracking software to virtually divide the test tanks into 2 equal horizontal sections (bottom and top zones) and measuring frequency (number of entries) and total duration (s) in the top of the test tank. By that the position within the test tank was considered as a general index of anxiety with geotaxis indicative of greater anxiety. Further, total duration of immobility (s) and mean meandering (degrees/cm – degree of turning over distance travelled) were also scored as measurements of anxiety. CAS exposure significantly reduced frequency and time spent in the top zone, while immobility and meandering significantly increased following CAS exposure. Overall, this illustrates that CAS-exposed zebrafish displayed definite anxiety-like behaviour immediately after CAS exposure compared to non-exposed zebrafish. Thereon, the observed anxiety-like behaviour was sustained on day 2 under both cued and non-cued conditions. The current project establishes that CAS exposure evokes fear- and anxiety-like behaviour in zebrafish, not only during initial exposure, but also thereafter when zebrafish are presented with a contextual reminder in the absence of CAS. This ‘re-experiencing’ phenomenon is characteristic of PTSD-like fear conditioning and confirms the face validity of CAS ± contextual reminder as an effective stressor ± re-experience model of PTSD in zebrafish. That said, anxiety responses were independent of time and cue, implying that further development is required to firmly validate the perpetuation of behavioural fear responses over time using this protocol. Additionally, for future exploratory research to be meaningful, it is imperative that this model be assessed with respect Masters

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Daniels, Trevor; Schoeman, Gerhard; Ellis, Jan; Smith, P.; Johnson, E.S.K.;
    Publisher: Wiley
    Country: South Africa

    This approach is too simplified—focusing only on the return period of the design event—and ignores the complexity of drainage systems and the potential changes in catchment hydrology and the at-risk valuable assets within. Therefore, the current design approach is inherently an unsustainable practice that cannot deal with extreme uncertainties associated with urban drainage and flood resilience in changing climate and society.

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35 Research products, page 1 of 4
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Havenga, Henno;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    DSc (Environmental Sciences), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Convective events over the South African Highveld are a frequent and often dangerous summer weather phenomenon. Features such as aerosols, land-use, and thermodynamics, which humans can unintentionally modify, change the nature of convective events. Radar data indicates that convective weather has a strong diurnal signal. The Highveld experiences the most severe convective weather in the late afternoon, and November has the highest number convective events. Media reports indicate that rainfall is the most impactful convective weather event over the region followed by hail. The number of reported heavy rainfall events suggests an increase in frequency of these events from the 1980’s, while hail reports for the same time have remained fairly consistent. Objective clustering methods indicate that both events are directly linked to characteristic mid- and early summer circulation patterns respectively. During mid-summer, tropical systems displace the westerlies and rainfall is the most significant event. During early summer, the presence of the westerlies at 500 hPa enhances conditional instability and wind shear, and favours hail formation. Simulations show that under high CCN loads, storms are less severe and less hail and precipitation reaches the surface. A high CCN environment results in a persistent stable layer that inhibits convection. A green city scenario simulates the most severe convective storms with the highest persistent CAPE and accumulated hail. Increased latent heat and local moisture could enhance precipitation processes under this scenario. Under low vegetation scenarios, there is a decrease in surface hail and rainfall and events are characteristics of tropical, short-lived, isolated thunderstorms. Trends show that the Highveld is favouring tropical circulation types more frequently. The thermodynamic environment shows signs of increasing instability and decreasing wind shear, characteristic of tropical storms. These observed changes are consistent with current projections of anthropogenic climate change. Doctoral

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Sishuba, Anathi;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Biology), North-West University, Mahikeng Campus The current study focused on finding alternative bioactive compounds with the potentials to mitigate or control antimicrobial resistance. Natural products such as medicinal plants; are being studied for their therapeutic potentials in the race against antimicrobial resistance. The plant kingdom offers surfeit of biologically active compounds and most studied plants have been found to at least host one endophyte. In addition, studies on establishing the relationship between endophytes and plants and the products of their interaction have since gained traction. Endophytes are endosymbionts (bacterial or fungal) that produce bio-compounds that aid in plant protection and growth. The bioactive compounds produced by endophytes in symbiosis are used in the pharmaceutical industry for manufacturing secondary products. South Africa is well-known for its valuable and untapped information on medicinal plants. Since ancient times, people have been using plants for their essential wellbeing. This study centered around the medicinal plant, Sutherlandia frutescens, commonly known as cancer bush indigenous to Southern Africa, and produces bioactive compounds of medicinal value. The study aimed at evaluating the biodiversity and antimicrobial activity of possible endophytic fungi isolated from the plant. A total of fifty-one (51) fungal endophytes were isolated, identified and classified into various genera. The predominant genus found was Penicillium (25%), followed by the Mucor (12%), Alternaria (10%) and Coniochateta (10%) genera. The endophytes were further characterized to species-level based on known identities in the GenBank database, and their relatedness and evolutionary lines were determined by phylogenetic analysis with a total of four (4) clusters and six (6) sub-clusters constructed. The endophytes were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against environmental Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The antibacterial properties of the secondary metabolites were investigated using the disc diffusion and agar plug assays. A disk diffusion assay showed Salmonella enterica (environmental strain) was the most sensitive and with its growth being inhibited by the activity of the secondary metabolites from the sixteen (16) out of the fifty-one (51) endophytes isolated. In overall, 51% of the endophytic fungi produced bioactive compounds that exhibited antimicrobial activity against at least one tested bacterial. However, the agar plug assay showed less activity compared to the latter with only eight (8) endophytic fungal plugs that managed to inhibit the growth of four (4) bacteria. The largest zone of inhibition with a diameter of 21.0 mm was exhibited by Coniochaeta hoffmannii (CB016) observed against E. coli 017. Some fungal isolates were further tested for their antifungal activity against plant pathogenic fungi. The dual culture test gave 84% antifungal effectiveness against fungal pathogens, with Mucor, Penicillium genera and Aspergillus brasiliensis exhibing broad-spectrum antifungal activities for most plant pathogenic fungi tested in this assay. During the culture filtrate test, 78% showed inhibition activity against one or more pathogens. The culture filtrate of the endophytic fungus CB011 (Purpureocillium lilacinum) exhibited a broad range of antifungal activity against all the pathogens. Under salt conditions, most isolates were able to grow at a 3% concentration, giving a total of 90% fungal growth rate with a maximum within the range of 75-80.5 mm growth in diameter. At pH of 5, an overall 44% of the total fungal growth was observed, with most growth noted at a temperature of 25 °C. The antimicrobial activity showed 19% of growth activity. The results suggest endophytic fungi isolated from Sutherlandia frutescens may be good sources of bioactive molecules, including those capable of inhibiting or controlling both human and plant pathogens. Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Raven, Alan;
    Publisher: North-West University (South-Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    PhD (New Testament), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Diverse theological allegiances and conflicting voices concerning the relevance and role of God’s Law (i.e. the Torah)1 makes it a complex, confusing, and even a controversial issue in the church. This is a serious matter because the way Christians view the Law profoundly impact on how they interpret God’s will, discern between right and wrong, and how they relate to God and to other people. Clearly, sound teaching about the Law is critical for the unity, health, wellbeing, and witness of the Church. For their doctrine of the Law, many lean heavily on the evidence in Paul’s Letters, which can produce a rather negative view of the Law of God given through Moses (i.e. the Torah). James, however, speaks remarkably positively about the Law. And since he speaks infallibly as Scripture, his voice deserves to be heard. This Study carefully investigates James’s Epistle in order to determine the “meaning and teaching of ‘nómos’ (νόμος) in James”. The purpose is to work out what James means by “nómos” and what can be derived about his doctrine about “nómos”. This is done with the goal of gaining clarity about the Law of God from James, which in turn could clarify the New Testament’s position about it, and thus clarify the orthodox Christian position. Chapter 1 introduces the Study and outlines the Study plan. A three-pronged analytical approach is taken to answer the overarching research question, “What is James’s doctrine of the Law of God?”, with its five supporting questions. By answering them, the main aim of outlining James’s doctrine of the Law, with its five supporting objectives, is achieved. The analytical processes include: Thought Structure Analysis, Semantic Discourse Analysis, and a survey of the Old Testament biblical roots of James. The results are documented in the successive chapters of the Study. Chapter 2 documents the historical and literary context of James. This provides the framework within which to interpret the Letter. The framework includes the following key elements: (1) The author is James, the brother of Jesus, leading apostle and pillar of the church, presiding over the headquarters of early Christianity in Jerusalem, and being renowned for his justness and Torah observance. (2) The original recipients were predominantly Jewish Christians who met in their own synagogue where the Torah was doubtlessly cherished. 1 The terms “Law”, “Law of God”, and “Torah” will be used interchangeably in this Study. However, the preferred term is “Torah” because its Hebrew roots more accurately convey its true meaning than the English word “Law”, which could have overly “legal” connotations that could overshadow the more dominant sense of “God’s fatherly instructions”. Refer to “Torah” in the Glossary of Terms. (3) The Letter was likely written very early, to displaced believers who were vulnerable socially, and who were spiritually in danger of becoming like the world (i.e. being worldly), possibly due to antinomian tendencies. (4) Therefore, James wrote a passionate and pastoral Letter to them, replete with instructions, to protect and exhort them to avoid doubleness and strive for perfection and wholehearted devotion to God, in the face of trials and in the light of the coming judgment. (5) The Letter is thoroughly Jewish and thoroughly grounded in the Hebrew Scriptures and thought. (6) It is held together by the connecting themes of Law and wisdom at key locations. Chapter 3 determines the extent to which the Old Testament and especially the Torah feature in James and how the original readers’ conception of the OT and Torah would have most likely shaped their understanding of the word “nómos” in James. It is found that: • The OT was their “Bible”, with the Torah being foundational and central and the Prophets and Writings expanding and applying, rather than replacing or nullifying it. At the heart of the Torah is the Ten Commandments, which contain its most sacred, fundamental, absolute, and ultimate moral principles. Furthermore, the Greek Translation of the OT (i.e. LXX) was most likely their version of the “Bible”, according to which “nómos” (νόμος) stands for “Torah”. • James refers to Old Testament Scriptures no less than 60 times in 108 verses. Closer examination, however, reveals many more connections with the OT. Clearly, therefore, James’s teaching is deeply rooted and firmly anchored in the OT Scriptures. Six of James’s seven citations and quotations are from the Torah (mostly the Decalogue) and the seventh is within the context of the Second Commandment of the Decalogue. James’s most fundamental teachings are all rooted in the Torah, with allusions to the Shema, Holiness Code, Ten Commandments, and Abraham the father of faith. • While James is silent on the ritual commandments, he entirely focusses on the “weightier matters” of the Torah, so much so that the entire contents of the Letter can be divided into sections that all fall, either under “justice”/“mercy” (i.e. loving neighbour), or under “faith”/“faithfulness” (i.e. loving God). • It is concluded that James’s readers would most likely and most naturally have understood “nómos” (νόμος) to refer to “Torah”. Chapter 4 closely examines and meticulously exegetes each passage in James in which the word “nómos” (νόμος) is used (incl. Jas. 1:19-27; 2:8-13; 4:11-12). The purpose of the analysis is to determine the contextual and intended meaning of “nómos” in James and what James teaches about “nómos”. The analysis includes outlining the exegetical context, translating the Greek text into English, analysing the thought structure, establishing the meaning structure, highlighting the meaning indicators, explaining the meaning of words and phrases, and outlining the absolutes. The analysis is done with extensive consultation of and engagement with secondary resources, including scholarly works. The meanings of the five “nómos” terms are as follows: (1) “nómon téleion” (νόμον τέλειον) “tòn tēs eleutherías” (τὸν τῆς ἐλευθερίας) (Jas. 1:25), translated: “perfect Torah, that of freedom”, which means that the Torah is both perfect and liberating. (2) “nómon basilikòn” (νόμον … βασιλικὸν), translated: “Kingdom Torah” (Jas. 2:8), which means the Torah instructs/guides those in God’s Kingdom. (3) “toū nómou” (τοῦ νόμου) (Jas. 2:9) or “nómou” (νόμου) (Jas. 2:11; 4:11) simply, translated the “Torah”, which means God’s Law (originally given through Moses). (4) “hólon tòn nómon” (ὅλον τὸν νόμον) (Jas. 2:10), translated: “the whole Torah”, which again means Torah, with emphasis on its entire body of instruction; and (5) “nómou eleutherías” (νόμου ἐλευθερίας) (Jas. 2:12), translated: “Torah of freedom”, which means Torah is liberating. “Torah of freedom” (Jas. 2:12) is a short form of “perfect Torah, that of freedom” (Jas. 1:25). It is concluded that with the five terms James has essentially one and the same Torah in mind: God’s Torah given through Moses. James’s teaching about the Torah, as expounded in Chapter 4, is outlined below. Chapter 5 outlines the answer to the overarching research question, “What does James teach about the nature, content, and function of the Law of God?”. The answer can be summarised, as in Chapter 7, as follows: (1) Concerning the nature of the Torah: • God is the giver and source of the Torah. • It is perfect, righteous, and liberating in its essence. • And violation of it is sin. (2) Concerning the content of the Torah: • The Torah is God’s Torah given through Moses, the core of which is the Ten Commandments, the summary and purpose of which is the Two Greatest Commandments, the exposition and application of which are found in the rest of the Pentateuch and Scriptures as a whole, and the priority of which is to express and practice "justice", "mercy", and "faith". • James focuses on the “moral” commandments of the Torah and is silent on the “ceremonial” commandments. One has to look at the rest of the New Testament for clarity about the applicability of the latter. (3) Concerning the function of the Torah: • The Torah reflects God's character and the righteous standards of His kingdom, and it mirrors the true moral state of the believer. • It delineates pure and useful religion, it defines sin, and it outlines God’s standards for judgment. • The Torah instructs believers in their moral and social obligations, and trains them to practice “ḥesed” (or “lovingkindness”) and to be God’s merciful people. • Being implanted within, the Torah protects believers against transcendent danger, it is a means or guide for their own perfection, and a safeguard for their freedom. Chapter 6 compares James’s teaching concerning the Torah with that of the rest of the New Testament, in order to demonstrate the harmony between James and the rest of NT and to highlight James’s contribution to the NT’s teaching on the Law of God. For this, the following seven key NT passages are carefully exegeted: Matthew 5:17-20; 23:23-24; Romans 3:28, 31; 8:1-4; Hebrews 8:10-12; 1 John 3:4; and 5:1-4. These passages show remarkable agreement with James about the nature, content, and function of the Torah: (1) Concerning the nature of the Torah: • Jesus teaches that Torah is permanent and connects it with right living. • Paul affirms that Torah’s standards are righteous, and John defines sin as “Torah-lessness”. • By nature, Torah belongs in the hearts of God’s people, as Hebrews implies. • And John adds that, to the believer, it is not a burden but a liberating delight. (2) Concerning the content of the Torah: • Jesus’ purpose was not to empty Torah of its original content, but to fill it up by giving it its true and full meaning. • Its key ingredients include “justice”, “mercy”, and “faith”, without necessarily excluding the lesser matters such as giving. • And according to Hebrews, its core contents surely include the Decalogue. (3) Concerning the function of the Torah: • Jesus expects His followers to keep and teach the Torah. • And that is why, as Hebrews imply, the Torah is written on their hearts so that they might know, understand, love, and obey it. • But, as Paul implies, it is not Torah’s function to produce such obedience. • That is why Christ atoned for His people’s sin (to free them from guilt against and condemnation by the Torah) and secured the Holy Spirit for them to indwell, liberate, and empower them to finally live out God’s righteous standards (of the Torah) as they should. While there seems to be a tension between James and Paul about justification by faith (alone), and while James is fairly silent about the vitally important role of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and sanctification, these two matters are not contrary to James and can be harmonized with his teaching. The points of difference are found not to be contradictions but areas where they complement one another for a fuller understanding of the NT’s teaching about the Torah. Chapter 7 concludes the study by recapping the meaning and teaching of “nómos” in James, critiquing common interpretations of “nómos” in James, drawing practical implications from the Study, and making suggestions for possible further research. Of the nine common understandings of “nómos” listed in the Study Introduction, the first is found to be possible, the next four quite likely (with preference for Options 2 & 3), and the last four very unlikely. Since James’s meaning and teaching of “nómos” are reasonably well defined, the key implications from this Study are as follows: (1) James’s contribution to the NT’s teaching about the Torah is significant and indispensable. (2) Several common interpretations about “nómos” in James can and should be discounted. (3) Common questions about the role of the Torah in Christianity can be answered with reasonable certainty. (4) Commonly held doctrines about the Torah can be tested against James’s teaching. (5) James’s voice needs to be heard and heeded by the church in the face of increasing antinomianism and moral decline. Doctoral

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Maboeta, B.;
    Publisher: North-West University (South-Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSW, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus The availability and development of personal and job resources are substantial components of a positive work experience. This study aimed to explore women academics’ perceptions of workplace well-being in relation to personal and job resources. While the so-called digital, or fourth industrial revolution is already present in our global village with its new technologies to facilitate the development of new working modes (including constructing job demands-resources at work), many women academics are still facing “old challenges” in the workplace. Although these unique challenges within higher education such as gender bias, sexual harassment, the double burden of womanhood, and role overload were not overlooked, the main reason for the study was to investigate the resources that can act as a buffer for women academics to withstand these stressors and strains and contribute to a better understanding for Social Work practices within the workplace. There has been an active movement in Social Work towards the strength’s perspective. Social Work approaches clients from an eco-systemic perspective, with a focus on the strengths of ecosystems as a whole. Within the working environment, certain job resources provide buffering towards ill health for employees and employees again bring personal resources to their workspaces. Aim: This study aimed to elucidate and thereby gain in-depth insight into women academics’ perceptions of workplace well-being in relation to personal and job resources. The direct subjective perceptions of these women are considered a valid source of knowledge, which need to be acknowledged and examined. The research aim of this study was to qualitatively explore and describe the perceptions of workplace well-being of women academics on job and personal resources. Methodology: In this qualitative study, I used a descriptive, exploratory design in order to present a clear description of workplace well-being – particularly the role of personal and job resources - as experienced by women academics. Sampling was conducted through non-probability purposive sampling. Initially, I (the student researcher) identified a top university according to the Bricks rankings and obtained the necessary ethics, goodwill permission, and gatekeeper approvals. The participants consisted of 12 women academics who all voluntarily agreed to take part in the study. Data was gathered through a demographic questionnaire, field notes, reflective notes and semi-structured interviewing. Thematic data analysis was used for textual data as well as the qualitative software Atlas.ti 8.0. Findings: In terms of personal resources, the study revealed that women in higher education make use of various personal resources comprising of skills and strengths directed by well-being and positive functioning in the workplace. These sets of skills and strengths associated with well-being practices indicate self-care skills and communication skills and strengths, which include cognitive coping, affective coping, behavioural coping and the use of character strengths. In terms of job resources, the thematic analysis revealed the specific aspects of psychological, social, organisational and physical resources constituting job resources for women academics in the workplace. It is recommended that the development and sustaining of personal resources be promoted in workplaces and that further research need to be conducted on strength use within the workplace. It is further recommended that future research investigate job resources from an organisational perspective specifically within the South African context of higher education. This study provided valuable and rich data in terms of the perceptions of women academics of well-being concerning job and personal resources. This research contributes significantly to research in Occupational Social Work, sicne it represents a real-life example of worthy efforts to enhance employee and organisational well-being in order to provide desirable outcomes for both organisations and employees. It also supports interventions in the field of strengths-based frameworks aimed at a better understanding for employees to enjoy hedonic (happy) as well as eudaimonic (meaningful) workplace experiences. The fostering of well-being in the workplace includes purposeful and intentional actions from both Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Potgieter, Marius;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa). Mahikeng Campus
    Country: South Africa
  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Moodley, Nageshwari;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa).
    Country: South Africa

    PhD (Education Leadership and Management), North-West University, Mafikeng Campus In recent years, changes in the South African school curriculum have ensured that the hangover of the apartheid colonial powers that adopted serious cultural imperialistic principles and brutal policies to overpower the inclusion of Afrocentric elements in the school curriculum are repealed. This has attracted considerable debate on the need for the South African education system to be decolonised so that the curricula adopt an Afrocentric decolonised flair. It is in this light that the purpose of this thesis was to explore the role of primary school managers or principals in curriculum decolonisation. The research is located in the pragmatic paradigm and utilised an exploratory sequential mixed methods as the specific design or strategy of inquiry and its target population comprised of members of the School Management Teams (constituted by the principals, deputy principals, heads of department, grade heads and senior educators) from South Africa’s primary schools. A total of 100 participants selected through non-random and random or purposeful and systematic sampling techniques constituted the sample size for the study. The data generation for the qualitative section of the study followed the use of focus group interviews and unstructured interviews while that of the quantitative section adopted a structured survey questionnaire or closed ended questionnaire. The analysis for the qualitative data sets was done in a manner consistent with the thematic and or content analysis aided by the qualitative data analysis computer software called Atlas Ti while that of the quantitative data was done using descriptive and inferential statistics and aided by the use of quantitative data analysis software called SPSS. Key among the findings of this study was the view that school managers have a key role to play in deconstructing and reconstructing the attitudes, values and mind-set that everything European or American is superior to everything African. The study concluded that unless these attitudes, beliefs and values in the school curriculum and pedagogy are deconstructed and reconstructed it would not be easy for classroom practitioners to begin to view the merits of a decolonised Afrocentric education system. The recommendation made from this study is that school managers need to step up effort towards promoting key Afrocentric elements in the school curriculum if a truly decolonised curriculum is to be realised. Doctoral

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Combrinck, Zené;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Urban and Regional Planning), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Nature is essential to urban quality of life, yet urban green spaces (UGSs) are continuously competing with other land-uses with explicit monetary contributions to the city economy. Indeed, the economic benefits delivered by UGSs are often underestimated. In an attempt to strengthen the case for urban greening and to reclaim nature in cities, this research considered urban green spaces from an economic spatial perspective. It reflected on planning-related challenges including urban expansion that will continue to threaten UGSs in future decades as urban areas will need to absorb most of the population due to the rapid rates of urbanisation on a global and regional scale, causing detrimental environmental effects. This research considered the proximity principle, an indicator of the economic benefits of urban green spaces, as part of a hedonic price analysis method to determine the impact of urban green spaces on property value across the socio-economic gradient in Potchefstroom, South Africa. This local case study was selected based on the assumption that context-specific conditions between different socio-economic groups would deliver contrasting results in terms of how UGSs influence property value. The primary data was gathered through statistical analyses that determined the applicability of the proximity principle across the socio-economic gradient in Potchefstroom. Supporting quantitative data was gathered through structured questionnaires and electronic interviews to gather local and professional perceptions of urban green space (UGS) benefits and UGS planning, as well as the process of compiling a municipal valuation roll. Results indicated distinct differences in proximity principle applicability between different socio-economic groups and planning contexts. Context-specific conditions and the socio-economic status of an area determine UGS characteristics and community needs, influencing willingness-to-pay and how UGSs influence property value. The research results contributed to the discourse on the economic benefits of UGSs and presented the trends of such benefits within the local case study of 2020, in comparison with the results of similar studies conducted in 2015 and 2019 respectively. The results emphasised the need to rethink the planning and design of UGSs while considering context-specific conditions and active community involvement. This research calls for greater acknowledgement towards UGS contributions to the city economy, urban environmental quality and human well-being by local municipalities, communities and private investors. Ultimately this research calls for UGS planning to be prioritised in mainstream planning approaches in an attempt to encourage sustainable urban development. Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Greyling, Nikita;
    Publisher: North-West University (South Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Urban and Regional Planning), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Sustainable development has been a worldwide trending term for years. Although the concept of sustainable development originally included a clear social directive, this human dimension has been ignored amongst numerous references to sustainability and has only received vague attention in terms of planning policy, practice and research. Though some research may refer to the concept of social sustainability, little to no research deliberates on how social sustainability may be achieved and enhanced through space transformation initiatives and urban planning practices. This research reflected upon the transformation of space from a social sustainability perspective, based on the results obtained through the Coligny Forward project, a South Africa Day initiative. Theory-based sampling was employed as a qualitative inquiry into the notion of social sustainability and placemaking as an approach to urban planning in order to identify elements and establish criteria that urban areas have to fulfil in order to be deemed socially sustainable. By means of further following a quantitative approach to a case study analysis, data was obtained through closed structured questionnaires handed out to community members in the greater Coligny area after completion of the Coligny Forward project. This data was then statistically analysed and interpreted accordingly. Most prominent findings of the research suggest that physical space transformation initiatives together with urban planning practices may aid in the creation of socially sustainable places thereby achieving and enhancing social sustainability within cities and towns. Based on the results of the research, further planning recommendations were made to guide broader social sustainability objectives linked to transformation of space and placemaking projects. Masters

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Loots, H.;
    Publisher: North-West University (South-Africa)
    Country: South Africa

    MSc (Pharmacology), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severely debilitating chronic mental disorder brought about by encountering an actual or perceived, life-threatening or traumatic experience or series of events, like violence or combat. Specifically, PTSD is intrinsically associated with dysregulated fear conditioning, a form of Pavlovian conditioning where a neutral conditioned stimulus is paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus. Lifetime prevalence of PTSD differs across regions of the world and is higher in countries emerging from conflict, with a reported lifetime PTSD prevalence of 2.3% in South Africa. Moreover, the pathophysiology of PTSD development is largely unknown and requires further examination. These hindrances necessitate innovative experimental apperception so that novel treatment strategies may be developed. One approach is to extend the range of translational model species used in PTSD research as to enable analysis of overlapping behavioural phenotypes. Because zebrafish exhibit evolutionary conserved homologies in neuronal circuitry and mediator systems with humans and rodents, this species has emerged as a useful model in translational research of complex neuropsychiatric disorders such as PTSD. Congruently, the advantages of using zebrafish in pre-clinical neuropsychiatric research also include homologous gene sequences and vertebrate-specific physiological processes, like organogenesis, shared with mammals. A commonly used animal model of PTSD is the predator exposure model (PEM), in which predator-related cues (visual or chemical) serve as warnings to animals about potential threats in the surrounding area. To this end, exposure to a pheromone-like exudate, conspecific alarm substance (CAS), mediates significant anti-predatory responses in zebrafish. CAS is produced by specialized epidermal club cells in the zebrafish skin whereupon it is secreted into the water consequent to skin damage. Released CAS is detected through olfaction by neighbouring zebrafish and alarm reactions are elicited. Accordingly, CAS-exposed zebrafish display exacerbated anxiety and fear behaviours and, thus, CAS may be useful in the analysis of fear and anxiety in zebrafish. In this study we aimed to develop a novel translational model of PTSD in zebrafish, in order to expand the PTSD research capabilities at the North West University (NWU). The primary objectives of the study were based on assessing the anxiety-like behavioural responses in zebrafish following CAS exposure. Furthermore, building on evidence in stress-restress models of PTSD in rodents, we aimed to explore the effect of re-experience in zebrafish. This would inform on whether CAS is capable of evoking a sustained anxiogenic response up to 2 days post stress exposure, with or without a visual reminder, thus emulating fear conditioned learning seen in clinical PTSD. In this regard, CAS was paired with contextual reminders to induce fear conditioning and perpetuated fear-like behaviour in the absence of the original stressor. Finally, we aimed to confer face (behavioural) validity to the model for future construct (biological) and predictive (treatment response) validity testing and subsequent application in pre-clinical drug screening initiatives at the NWU. A total of 72 zebrafish were employed in this study, of which 32 zebrafish were used as CAS donors. The remaining 40 fish were randomly divided into 4 groups (n = 10 per group), viz. ‘vehicle/no cue’, ‘CAS/no cue’, ‘vehicle/cue’ and ‘CAS/cue’. Zebrafish behaviour in the test tanks was recorded during both conditioning and re-experience. For conditioning on day 1, ensuing a 1-h habituation period, two groups were exposed to the vehicle (distilled water), and two groups were exposed to CAS. The exposure lasted for 6 min, with groups ‘vehicle/no cue’ and ‘CAS/no cue’ exposed in the absence of a specific visual cue, while groups ‘vehicle/cue’ and ‘CAS/cue’ were exposed in the presence of the visual cues (black and white stripes). For re-experience on day 2, zebrafish were returned to the test tanks for 6 min, groups ‘vehicle/no cue’ and ‘CAS/no cue’ in the absence of the visual cue, and groups ‘vehicle/cue’ and ‘CAS/cue’ in the presence of the visual cue, thereby allowing the conditioned stimulus to be assessed. Zebrafish were then captured and euthanised. The behavioural video recordings were analysed using EthoVision XT 14 tracking software to virtually divide the test tanks into 2 equal horizontal sections (bottom and top zones) and measuring frequency (number of entries) and total duration (s) in the top of the test tank. By that the position within the test tank was considered as a general index of anxiety with geotaxis indicative of greater anxiety. Further, total duration of immobility (s) and mean meandering (degrees/cm – degree of turning over distance travelled) were also scored as measurements of anxiety. CAS exposure significantly reduced frequency and time spent in the top zone, while immobility and meandering significantly increased following CAS exposure. Overall, this illustrates that CAS-exposed zebrafish displayed definite anxiety-like behaviour immediately after CAS exposure compared to non-exposed zebrafish. Thereon, the observed anxiety-like behaviour was sustained on day 2 under both cued and non-cued conditions. The current project establishes that CAS exposure evokes fear- and anxiety-like behaviour in zebrafish, not only during initial exposure, but also thereafter when zebrafish are presented with a contextual reminder in the absence of CAS. This ‘re-experiencing’ phenomenon is characteristic of PTSD-like fear conditioning and confirms the face validity of CAS ± contextual reminder as an effective stressor ± re-experience model of PTSD in zebrafish. That said, anxiety responses were independent of time and cue, implying that further development is required to firmly validate the perpetuation of behavioural fear responses over time using this protocol. Additionally, for future exploratory research to be meaningful, it is imperative that this model be assessed with respect Masters

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Daniels, Trevor; Schoeman, Gerhard; Ellis, Jan; Smith, P.; Johnson, E.S.K.;
    Publisher: Wiley
    Country: South Africa

    This approach is too simplified—focusing only on the return period of the design event—and ignores the complexity of drainage systems and the potential changes in catchment hydrology and the at-risk valuable assets within. Therefore, the current design approach is inherently an unsustainable practice that cannot deal with extreme uncertainties associated with urban drainage and flood resilience in changing climate and society.

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