UKZN Physiotherapy lecturer, Dr Hamilton Pharaoh, recently presented his post-doctoral work and chaired a session at the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies in Rome, Italy.

‘I am extremely proud of this accomplishment. Growing up in Paarl, a small town in the Western Cape, I would never have thought that it would be possible to present let alone chair a session at an international conference,’ said Pharaoh who was visibly elated.

He continued, ‘I am humbled by the congratulations and pride from my University and colleagues. I hope that in some small way, I was able to showcase the excellence that is present at UKZN.’

Pharaoh studied at the University of Western Cape where he obtained all his degrees including a PhD. He joined UKZN 14 months ago as a senior lecturer at the Physiotherapy Department. Through his work as an academic, Pharoah he has made a positive impact on many of the young physiotherapist coming through in national teams by sharing his experience with them.

Pharaoh dedicated his presentation to his late grandson, Josh, who died just after he began his studies at UKZN. ‘I am determined to live my life through his example of hope, faith and love. It is my wish that we can all live a life of meaning and the understanding that every possible moment is special. Creating memories is important as it will help sustain you when tragedy comes your way,’ he said.

Titled: The Comprehensive Youth Development Programme to combat health risk behaviour engagement among Grade 8 learners, Dr Pharaoh’s post-doctoral research was implemented in a high school in Paarl.

According to Pharaoh, his programme is designed to cater for each group of learners that it is implemented upon by catering for their specific current needs.

He said all stakeholders; including learners, teachers, life-skill coaches and other community members gave input as to what is needed within the programme in order to attempt to create meaningful change as well as taking of ownership for that change.

His future plans include taking the youth development programme and have it implemented at schools all over South Africa. ‘Through the pilot project implementation, many lessons have been learnt and I hope to use that to impact the lives of learners in the country. I am excited with the prospect that the research that is being done is attempting to create meaning and impact within the communities we serve,’ he said.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini