Rhodes University: Registrar’s Division honours the Registrar in heart-warming Women’s Month celebration

It has become a tradition, as started by Rhodes University’s Registrar, Professor Adéle Moodly, to host a Women’s Day seminar within her Division and to honour women staff. This year, the Registrar’s Division flipped the script and celebrated her instead.

On 10 August 2022, several guests took their seats in the Eden Grove Blue Lecture Hall. Among the attendees were: the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sizwe Mabizela; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Peter Clayton; Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Student Affairs, Professor ‘Mabokang Monnapula-Mapesela; Director: Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Sue Smailes; and most of the staff from the Registrar’s Division.

Manager at the Student Bureau, Desiree Wicks, welcomed attendees and gave a brief background on the origin of Women’s Day in South Africa. “The first National Women’s Day was celebrated on 09 August 1995, after the first democratic elections of 1994. And that is why we are here today – to celebrate each other,” she said.

Manager of Academic Administration, Suzette Flanagan, then took the floor for a thought-provoking presentation on the nature of horses, what they can teach us and how they can and are used for emotional support therapy.

Flanagan was previously awarded Rhodes University Woman of the Year for her outstanding contribution as an administrative staff member and she has mentored several learners throughout her years at the University.

Flanagan, who has her own herd of horses on a small holding just outside of town, has spent many years getting to know them and how they function.

“I like to spend time with the horses. Connecting with horses is very powerful,” she said.

According to Flanagan, horses do not concern themselves with ego, physical appearance, or qualifications and have no ulterior motives. “They only care about how safe they feel,” she said.

She explained that horses are no longer used exclusively for transport, sport, and companionship. “Horses nowadays are widely used in therapy and treatments that promote physical, mental and occupational growth,” she stated. She illustrated how a horse could pick up a human heartbeat from about a metre away – and when we are with them, our hearts synchronise with the horse’s heart rate, which leads to feelings of peace and wellbeing.

After Flanagan’s inspirational talk, Smailes announced that only one woman would be honoured at the event today – Professor Moodly herself. “I know it’s become a tradition to profile and honour a few Registrar’s Division women staff members at these events, but today your Division wishes to celebrate you,” she told the Registrar.

After a standing round of applause, Professor Moodly was shown a video of heartfelt messages from her team.

At the end of the video, Professor Moodly addressed the room: “I have an amazing team. I didn’t expect this. There are no words – except to say thank you so much for all your support, love, and care. I look forward to moving forward with you,” she concluded.

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