Rhodes University: In-person graduation brings about numerous firsts for Rhodes University

Following two years of virtual graduation ceremonies due to COVID-19, Rhodes University is to hold physical ceremonies for over 2000 graduands from 06 April, with numerous firsts in the line-up.

The Vice-Chancellor at Robert Gordon University in Scotland and an alumnus of Rhodes University, Professor Steve Olivier, will preside over the award of an honorary degree on Lord Peter Hain, one of the honorary doctorate awardees this year.

The event is to take place in London, and a recorded speech by Lord Hain will be delivered at the congregation.

Lord Hain, a fierce anti-Apartheid activist, has been a powerful voice against corruption and the looting of state resources detailed in the reports of the State Capture Commission delivered by the Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo.

Other recipients of the honorary awards are:

Professor Makhosazana Xaba – student activist, ANC combatant, poet and advocate for women’s reproductive health
Late Ambassador Lindiwe Mabuza – cultural activist, poet and liberation icon.
Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim – infectious diseases epidemiologist and an outstanding researcher in HIV prevention.
Over 40 percent of the 2022 graduands are postgraduates. Sixty-four percent are women, and 13 percent are international students.

“We have an exciting lineup of events ahead of us,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Sizwe Mabizela. “We have been waiting a long time for the warmth and connectedness that comes with having all our graduates and their loved ones on campus.”

The Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies’ 50th anniversary will be part of the special activities, with a host of parallel events planned, such as tours, a grand graduation party, exhibitions, and meeting and greeting with successful alumni.

The several breakaway venues where loved ones will sit to watch the live-streaming of the graduation will be well-decorated with lighting to create an exciting audio-visual experience.

A photography studio will be available in the Great Hall during the day, where graduates can have their photos taken by the professional team.

A pop-up shop at Alumni House will have stock of several limited-edition Graduation 2022 items. Several merchandise activations will be scattered around the campus to show visitors what is available for purchase.

An Alumni Grand Ball will take place on Friday 08 April – a black-tie event not to be missed. Tickets are on offer for R300 per person, and table bookings are encouraged. Interested parties must please email alumni@ru.ac.za for more information.

On Saturday, 09 April, a garden party will take place at the Great Field. This will allow graduates to mingle, share memories and spend time with former classmates and lecturers before starting their new lives as graduates.

“Get ready for four fun-packed days,” said Professor Adéle Moodly, Rhodes University’s Registrar. “We all deserve this.”


Rhodes University announced a vaccine mandate last year October, which came into effect in January 2022. All graduates, guests, staff and service suppliers present at the graduation ceremonies will have to produce valid vaccine certificates to be allowed on campus.

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