“Even though my legs hurt right now I would do it again – and again!”

This is how K-RITH work experience intern Ntemena Kapula summed up the K-RITH organised African Leadership Academy (ALA) outing to the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Kamberg Game Pass Shelter over the weekend.

K-RITH COO Costas Criticos led a tour which explored some of the history and the sights of the province with the ALA students, with the highlight being a hike to Game Pass Shelter to take in the ‘Rosetta Panel’ of San rock art.

“It was steep at some points – but it was beautiful because of all the water and the history,” said Ntemena.

Ntemena is one of four ALA students who are currently based at K-RITH, UKZN’s HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) and Caprisa. Every year K-RITH hosts students over the June/July period through its internship programme. Several come via the ALA, which seeks to identify and develop Africa’s next generation of leaders.

Ntemena, who has just finished her first year in Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester in the United States, says working under the supervision of K-RITH investigator Al Leslie has been an incredible experience.

She’s spent the past few weeks shadowing researchers and learning basic lab skills, and has had the opportunity to work on a mass spectrometer. “It’s heavy chemistry – and that’s really fun. I don’t think I’d have ever touched a mass spec at my school!”

“I feel like I am getting hands-on experience here that I would never get anywhere else,” she added.