DUT LAUNCHES WRITING CENTRE
By Cassandra Zungu
“This institution has moulded me into the writer that I am today.”
These were words echoed by former Sunday Times editor Fred Khumalo. The award winning author spoke at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) official launch of the Writing Centre at Ritson campus on Wednesday.
Khumalo believes that writers should not use slang or text message language as a form of communication. “If you continue to use slang, it undermines your writing. It’s a lazy form of writing,” he said.
Addressing the current state of journalism, Khumalo described it as a calling rather than a career. He spoke of online journalism as a ‘monster’ to him and his colleagues who were journalists before online publishing became popular.
Khumalo also said that it’s a difficulty for some of his colleagues to accept that online media is taking over. “The print media side of things is dying. Online media has immediacy and print media can’t compete with it,” Khumalo said. He believes that young journalists have the power and the tools to seize the opportunity. “Information is not going to come to you, you have to get it, analyse it and publish what’s important,” he added.
Writing Centre’s Dr Gift Mheta stressed that the Writing Centre is there to impart writing skills to students and staff. “We do this by offering writing companionship to students and staff,” said Mheta.
He introduced White Smoke, software that is available at the Writing Centre for free, and helps improve spelling, grammar and punctuation. “It won’t solve our writing problems but it’s a resource worth utilising,” Mheta mentioned.
Mheta encouraged DUT staff and students to “spread the gospel and utilise the writing centre effectively”.
Meanwhile, the launch also released results for winners of the Writing Centre competition that was in honour of well-known author, Chinua Achebe who died in March this year. Award Winning Durban Taxi poet Marie Pete described him as the ‘Founding Father of Literature’. Marie along with other literature judges selected the winners of three categories including Short Story, Poetry and Opinion.
Out of 69 entries, 29 made it to the finals and 19 met the submission deadline.
DUT student Mufudzi Chihambakwe won 1st prize for Opinion category. For Short Stories, 2nd year Journalism student Thobele Nzama won 1st prize and 1st year Journalism student Sbongakonke Mbatha won 1st prize for Poetry category.
The Writing Centre has 21 tutors drawn from different courses such as Marketing and Engineering amongst many others.
It is available in three of the Durban based DUT campuses; Steve Biko, ML Sultan, City Campus. The Ndumiso and Riverside campuses in Pietermaritzburg also have Writing Centres.