University of the Western Cape: UWC Spring Graduation Brings Joy and Hope

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The institution paid tribute to innovative research by the 47 PhD and 92 Master’s graduates who have the potential to address the world’s pressing issues. It hosted some of its Banyana Banyana stars, who left the audience star struck and inspired. Today for the first time in over two years, the graduation ceremony was held in the Main Hall – recently renamed the Jakes Gerwel Hall.

The celebration did not end there: 85 honours, 343 undergraduate and 113 postgraduate degrees were also confirmed, alongside 18 certificates and five postgraduate certificates.

“South Africa is not an easy place to be in. Our country has been at a crossroads for quite some time. The promise of a new South Africa that we hoped for has dimmed since the arrival of democracy, and our belief in our leaders has diminished over the years,” UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, told the graduates in his welcome address.

“At the moment, we have a former president doing his level best to avoid facing corruption charges in a courtroom and another who cannot quite tell us the truth about what happened on a game farm in Limpopo. When we watch the television news, we see an opposition party’s news conference turn into a scene that resembles a bar fight. That is how much we are respected as citizens of this country.”

UWC Chancellor Dr Thabo Makgoba confers one of the 500-plus graduands


Prof Pretorius added that as one week turns into another, the country is constantly on the alert for load-shedding because Eskom’s power generation capabilities seem to change from one hour to the next. “We, as the South African nation, are in many ways kept in the dark about the true state of our country because we are no longer sure who is telling the truth and who will be exposed as a corrupt person.”

These and the many other challenges South Africa and the world are facing provide graduates with opportunities.

“This must leave you with the question – where do I fit in, and what difference can I make? I believe you can. You can make South Africa a better place. It starts with you and the values and beliefs that you hold dear. This means knowing you don’t have to bribe or accept a bribe to advance your career.

“It means holding yourself and others to account when there is a suggestion of taking a shortcut that isn’t above board. It means believing in yourself and putting in the time and commitment to get where you need to be. Live your lives with compassion, empathy and respect for others – no matter how different they are to you,” Prof Pretorius added.

The graduates welcomed the opportunity to finally celebrate their hard work.

Thuthuzelekani Siphilise Mvimbi, who graduated with a master’s degree in politics said: “A tough journey but at the same time it was a journey of resilience and endurance. I lack words to explain what this (graduation) means to me. I decided this morning that I should attend graduation because I think it’s important to show gratitude and appreciation, so I’m here for that.”

National basketball player Nkosinathi Chibi, who obtained his Bachelor of Administration, echoed Mvimbi’s sentiments, adding that it has been a long road which required hard work. “This is dedicated to doing well in class and doing well on the court. Excelling in the national basketball team and doing well academically,” said Chibi.

While the beautiful Spring day was filled with joy, the ceremonies came the day after the sudden passing of graduand Dean Athol Farrell, who was due to be conferred with his Bachelor of Theology. Prof Pretorius paid tribute to Farrell, and the attendees observed a minute of silence

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