Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Science]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0038-235320170003&lang=en vol. 113 num. 5-6 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The geopolitics of global warming: Some thoughts</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Humanities Book Award 2017: Deep scholarship in action</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Comments on 'The age of fossil StW573 ('Little Foot'): An alternative interpretation of <sup>26</sup>Al/<sup>10</sup>Be burial data'</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>The lost scholarship of changing curricula</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>From Third World to developing world: The changing face of science in the South</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Getting to grips with social media as an academic: Supplementing your scholarly process</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Exploring South Africa's southern frontier: A 20-year vision for polar research through the South African National Antarctic Programme</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>The function of a university in South Africa: Part 1</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en South African universities are under pressure to alter their institutional cultures and policies in order to provide compensation for the neglect of black academic staff and students during our apartheid past. This redress is interpreted by pressure groups and policymakers to entail giving priority to rectification goals within existing universities. What is ignored is the question of whether the first-order functions of every South African university - which are research and teaching - will be compromised. Elevating a second-order function like redress above what have historically been the defining features of a university for more than a thousand years, has probable destructive consequences overlooked by academic and administrative insiders and policymakers. But when viewed historically, educational compensation is a recent phenomenon, arising within the last century. Because of the large scale involved in the South African case, these pressures on local universities are an extreme version of what is locally called 'a concern with redress or social justice'. As such, these institutions are being pushed into a major historical experiment. Most important, it is a process without the needed research backing. So this lack of precedence and research must be accorded much greater recognition within South African universities themselves than is evident so far. If our institutions are facing an existential crisis, it must be acknowledged openly. If such an outcome remains an afterthought, recognised only once it is here, then the damage in many spheres of our national life will be extremely high. <![CDATA[<b>A probabilistic definition of a species, fuzzy boundaries and 'sigma taxonomy'</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en South African universities are under pressure to alter their institutional cultures and policies in order to provide compensation for the neglect of black academic staff and students during our apartheid past. This redress is interpreted by pressure groups and policymakers to entail giving priority to rectification goals within existing universities. What is ignored is the question of whether the first-order functions of every South African university - which are research and teaching - will be compromised. Elevating a second-order function like redress above what have historically been the defining features of a university for more than a thousand years, has probable destructive consequences overlooked by academic and administrative insiders and policymakers. But when viewed historically, educational compensation is a recent phenomenon, arising within the last century. Because of the large scale involved in the South African case, these pressures on local universities are an extreme version of what is locally called 'a concern with redress or social justice'. As such, these institutions are being pushed into a major historical experiment. Most important, it is a process without the needed research backing. So this lack of precedence and research must be accorded much greater recognition within South African universities themselves than is evident so far. If our institutions are facing an existential crisis, it must be acknowledged openly. If such an outcome remains an afterthought, recognised only once it is here, then the damage in many spheres of our national life will be extremely high. <![CDATA[<b>Issues of water quality in stormwater harvesting: Comments on Fisher-Jeffes et al. (2017)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en South African universities are under pressure to alter their institutional cultures and policies in order to provide compensation for the neglect of black academic staff and students during our apartheid past. This redress is interpreted by pressure groups and policymakers to entail giving priority to rectification goals within existing universities. What is ignored is the question of whether the first-order functions of every South African university - which are research and teaching - will be compromised. Elevating a second-order function like redress above what have historically been the defining features of a university for more than a thousand years, has probable destructive consequences overlooked by academic and administrative insiders and policymakers. But when viewed historically, educational compensation is a recent phenomenon, arising within the last century. Because of the large scale involved in the South African case, these pressures on local universities are an extreme version of what is locally called 'a concern with redress or social justice'. As such, these institutions are being pushed into a major historical experiment. Most important, it is a process without the needed research backing. So this lack of precedence and research must be accorded much greater recognition within South African universities themselves than is evident so far. If our institutions are facing an existential crisis, it must be acknowledged openly. If such an outcome remains an afterthought, recognised only once it is here, then the damage in many spheres of our national life will be extremely high. <![CDATA[<b>Applying behavioural science to issues of public health in South Africa: The case for social norms intervention</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the effort to address behavioural risk factors - which contribute significantly to the global burden of disease - there is a growing movement in public health towards the use of interventions informed by behavioural science. These interventions have the benefit of being amenable to testing in randomised controlled trials, are cost-effective and, when scaled up, can have significant public health benefits. A subset of these interventions attempts to change behaviour by shifting social norms perception (what I think everyone else does and thinks). We surveyed the work on social norms intervention and considered its applicability to issues of public health in South Africa. Social norms interventions have widespread and significant potential to address issues of public health in South Africa; policymakers should look to these interventions as cost-effective tools to address key issues. More broadly, we advocate for an expansion of the use of behavioural science in developing public policy in South Africa. SIGNIFICANCE: • The application of behavioural science to issues of public health will contribute to evidence-based policy efforts in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Patterns of blunt force homicide in the West Metropole of the City of Cape Town, South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en There is currently a lack of information regarding the prevalence of and characteristics associated with blunt force trauma related homicides in South Africa. Information relating to the patterns of blunt force trauma could assist in the development and implementation of interventions targeted at specific areas or individuals as well as direct future research towards areas in need of investigation. This study is a 5-year retrospective review of autopsy reports obtained from Salt River Mortuary (Cape Town, South Africa). The prevalence of blunt force trauma was considered for unnatural deaths with a focus on homicide. The patterns of homicidal blunt force trauma are also presented. A total of 15 519 autopsy cases was analysed. In 1198 (7.72%) of these cases, the cause of death was found to be blunt force trauma and 828 (5.32%) of these cases were classified as homicides. Approximately 11% of blunt force homicide cases occurred in combination with sharp and/or ballistic trauma. Men from poor socio-economic areas were shown to be most at risk of blunt force homicide in the City of Cape Town. SIGNIFICANCE: • The prevalence of homicidal blunt force trauma in the Western Metropole of the City of Cape Town is comparable to other regions in South Africa. • The vast majority of victims sustained injury to the head, highlighting the need for further research in cranial blunt force trauma. • Interventions should target young men, particularly in low socio-economic regions. <![CDATA[<b>Isolation and characterisation of endocrine disruptor nonylphenol-using bacteria from South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic chemicals that alter the function of endocrine systems in animals including humans. EDCs are considered priority pollutants and worldwide research is ongoing to develop bioremediation strategies to remove EDCs from the environment. An understanding of indigenous microorganisms is important to design efficient bioremediation strategies. However, much of the information available on EDCs has been generated from developed regions. Recent studies have revealed the presence of different EDCs in South African natural resources, but, to date, studies analysing the capabilities of microorganisms to utilise/degrade EDCs have not been reported from South Africa. Here, we report for the first time on the isolation and enrichment of six bacterial strains from six different soil samples collected from the Mpumalanga Province, which are capable of utilising EDC nonylphenol as a carbon source. Furthermore, we performed a preliminary characterisation of isolates concerning their phylogenetic identification and capabilities to degrade nonylphenol. Phylogenetic analysis using 16S rRNA gene sequencing revealed that four isolates belonged to Pseudomonas and the remaining two belonged to Enterobacteria and Stenotrophomonas. All six bacterial species showed degradation of nonylphenol in broth cultures, as HPLC analysis revealed 41-46% degradation of nonylphenol 12 h after addition. The results of this study represent the beginning of identification of microorganisms capable of degrading nonylphenol, and pave the way for further exploration of EDC-degrading microorganisms from South Africa. SIGNIFICANCE: • First report of endocrine disruptor nonylphenol-using bacteria from South Africa • Six bacterial species capable of using nonylphenol as a carbon source were isolated • Results will pave the way for further exploration of endocrine disruptors degrading microbes from South Africa <![CDATA[<b>Proximate and fatty acid composition of cooked South African Cape snoek (<i>Thyrsites atun</i>)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cape snoek (Thyrsites atun) is an important source of protein for people in South Africa; however, nutritional information thereof is limited. The proximate and fatty acid compositions of raw and cooked (80 °C) snoek muscles were determined according to official AOAC methods. The mean moisture, ash, total lipids and protein for raw snoek were 72.8±1.86%, 1.3±0.09%, 4.0±1.16 and 21.5±1.35%, respectively. Cape snoek is very high in palmitic acid (24.65±1.43%), oleic acid (18.21±2.64%), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 9.11±2.06%) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 19.70±3.25%). With the exception of total lipids, cooking significantly reduced moisture (69.40±2.03%) and ash (1.12±0.12%), and increased protein (24.47±1.39%) content. It is concluded that Cape snoek is very high in protein and can be classified as a low-fat fish which is rich in EPA and DHA. SIGNIFICANCE: • Cape snoek is a low-fat fish, containing less than 4% fat, and is high in EPA (9.11±2.06%) and DHA (19.70±3.25%). • Cape snoek is thus a healthy, cheap and high-protein food source, with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids. <![CDATA[<b>Strengthening mutual accountability and performance in agriculture in Southern Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en We critically assessed experiences in the implementation of agricultural joint sector reviews in supporting mutual accountability in Southern Africa, focusing on the lessons learned, the challenges and recommendations for improvement. Empirical data were gathered from four countries that have implemented joint sector reviews: Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia. The results show that recent efforts to conduct joint sector review assessments in these countries have raised the quest for increased accountability for action and results. Despite progress to strengthen mutual accountability in the countries, monitoring and evaluation capacity remains a concern, especially at sub-national levels. The mutual accountability process and implementation of the agricultural joint sector review processes in the respective countries have come a long way in facilitating sector-wide engagement of stakeholders in planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of agricultural policies and programmes. These processes are critical to ensure effective implementation and realisation of development impacts of agricultural priorities in the national agricultural investment plans. SIGNIFICANCE: • The implementation of the CAADP mutual accountability framework is critical to ensure effective implementation and realisation of development impacts of agricultural priorities in the national agricultural investment plans. • Agriculture joint sector reviews facilitate sector-wide engagement of stakeholders in planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of agricultural policies and programmes. <![CDATA[<b>A case study from the southern Cape linefishery 1: The difficulty of fishing in a changing world</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Variability on multiple temporal and spatial scales exposes fishers and fishing communities to multiple stressors. The impact and interplay of these stressors need to be considered to improve our understanding of social-ecological linkages if sustainable livelihoods are to be promoted. To this end, participant-led research was conducted in the small-scale traditional commercial linefishery of the southern Cape (South Africa) between Witsand and Mossel Bay. Knowledge and perceptions regarding stressors responsible for changes in the social-ecological system, which ultimately affect the fishers' ability to fish successfully, were recorded using semi-formal interviews and focus groups with 50 participants. The results presented not only offer valuable insights into the day-to-day experiences of these fishers, but also expose knowledge gaps that exist in micro-scale interactions influencing the fishery system. An analysis of various stressors is presented, which includes the impacts of and responses to climate variability; challenges presented by fisheries policies and regulatory frameworks; social and economic considerations; inadequate infrastructure; and general political considerations. The development of a more comprehensive understanding of stressors that affect the social-ecological system at various scales provides valuable insights into a fishery system that is currently not well described, and provides the basis for analyses into vulnerability and resilience. SIGNIFICANCE: • Understanding the impact and interplay of stressors at multiple scales is important if sustainable livelihoods are to be promoted. • This research provides insight into the day-to-day experiences of fishers whilst exposing knowledge gaps that exist at a micro-scale. <![CDATA[<b>A case study from the southern Cape linefishery 2: Considering one's options when the fish leave</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Fishers in the small-scale, commercial linefishery in the southern Cape, South Africa, are exposed to variability and change in the marine social-ecological system of which they are a part. Faced with multi-scalar changes within this complex system, fishers employ a wide range of strategies in reaction to change. As part of a broader study of stressors that bring about change in these systems, this contribution examines the fishers' responses to these changes and is based on a participant-led, semi-structured interview process of skippers/boat owners, crew, processors and spouses/partners, in six communities in the southern Cape region, and has been supplemented with appropriate secondary data. The results are discussed using a resilience framework. The data were initially considered thematically by stressor, but results identified that a place-based analysis was equally important. Three major groupings were identified: (1) fishers who adapt and show clear business-orientation, (2) fishers who cope, and (3) fishers who react and are thus caught in a poverty trap. In addition to place-specific history, local feedback loops and indirect effects need to be better accounted for to understand these responses to change at various scales. The results of this study are expected to contribute to the basis of scenario planning in the region. SIGNIFICANCE: • Analysis of responses to change strategies provides insight into resilience displayed as well as costs and benefits of strategies. • The description of strategies provides valuable insights into the decision-making processes in linefishery in the southern Cape. • Cognitive and reflexive decision-making processes are shaped by individuals' and communities' experiences of past and present. • Practical implications of actions are not always the overriding concern in decision-making, which underscores the importance and influence of culture. • These results provide important insights into a system that is not well described, and highlight knowledge gaps that require further context-specific research. <![CDATA[<b>The medical device development landscape in South Africa: Institutions, sectors and collaboration</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A characterisation of the medical device development landscape in South Africa would be beneficial for future policy developments that encourage locally developed devices to address local healthcare needs. The landscape was explored through a bibliometric analysis (2000-2013) of relevant scientific papers using co-authorship as an indicator of collaboration. Collaborating institutions thus found were divided into four sectors: academia (A); healthcare (H); industry (I); and science and support (S). A collaboration network was drawn to show the links between the institutions and analysed using network analysis metrics. Centrality measures identified seven dominant local institutions from three sectors. Group densities were used to quantify the extent of collaboration: the A sector collaborated the most extensively both within and between sectors; local collaborations were more prevalent than international collaborations. Translational collaborations (AHI, HIS or AHIS) are considered to be pivotal in fostering medical device innovation that is both relevant and likely to be commercialised. Few such collaborations were found, suggesting room for increased collaboration of these types in South Africa. SIGNIFICANCE: • Results could inform the development of strategies and policies to promote certain types of medical device development. • Further studies could identify drivers and barriers to successful medical device development in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Stable isotope ( </b><i><b>δ</b> </i><b><sup>13</sup>C) profiling of xylitol and sugar in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Xylitol is an alternative sweetener to sucrose, glucose and fructose, and is available under a number of brands in South Africa. Carbon stable isotope values (δ13C) of a selection of commercially available xylitol products (n=28) were analysed and compared with sugar samples (n=29). Sugarcane (C4) and beet sugar (C3) derived sugar samples aligned with published values of source, although two samples that indicated a sugarcane origin suggested a beet sugar origin. Control corn-derived samples defined a stepwise xylose to xylitol discrimination of +0.7‰. The distinction between C3- and C4-derived xylitol was less clear with three samples difficult to define (range = -14.8 to -17.1‰). The values for a suite of xylitol samples (-22.3‰ to -19.7‰; n=8) that aligned closely with a suspected C3-derived xylose, were ~8‰ more positive than known birch isotope values. Some xylitol samples may thus represent (1) a mixture of C3- and C4-derived products, (2) derivation from a CAM species source or (3) different processing techniques in which the discrimination values of xylose from corn, and xylose from birch, may differ because of the respective chemical processing techniques. No samples that claimed a birch bark origin were within the range of samples suggested to be corn derived (i.e. -13.0‰ to -9.7‰, n=16). We suggest that the threshold values provided are relatively robust for defining the origins of xylitol and sugar, and can be used in determining the authenticity and claims of suppliers and producers. SIGNIFICANCE: • Stable isotope (δ13C) profiles of commercially available xylitol and sugar products in South Africa will enable the determination of authenticity. <![CDATA[<b>MeerKAT</b><b> time and frequency reference optical network: Preliminary design analysis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0038-23532017000300020&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The MeerKAT telescope is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array, which will rely on optical fibres to link the telescope receivers to a central processor point. The main aspects to consider for the fibre transport are astronomical data transmission as well as timing, monitoring and control. The astronomical data streams from individual dishes to a central building, while the clock signal is distributed from a central point to remote dishes in the telescope array. The MeerKAT telescope, for instance, demands highly accurate and stable clock distribution over up to 12 km of optical fibre to remote dishes. The clock distribution is required for digitisation of astronomical signals. Phase stability is thus critical both for short-term and long-term requirements. In this work, we focused on the short-term stability. Phase noise measurements were performed on optical transmitters used to distribute the clock signals so as to ascertain their contribution to the overall clock jitter of the system. A maximum jitter requirement of 130 fs for a 1.712-GHz clock signal for MeerKAT time and reference is achieved using a distributed feedback laser. We found that with optimised modulation depth, additional passive optical components in the link do not significantly degrade the phase noise response. A distributed feedback laser was proven to be a suitable optical source that will meet the performance and link budget requirements for the MeerKAT telescope. SIGNIFICANCE: • A distributed feedback laser is recommended for the design of the MeerKAT time and reference system as it is a suitable optical source that will meet the performance and link budget requirements.