UWC Shines Bright: Summer Graduation Commemorates Excellence and Achievement

When Dyllan Joseph walks into The Jakes Gerwel Hall on Thursday, 14 December, and graduates, he carries with him the blessings of not only parents, but also the well wishes of many of the staff of the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

That is because Dyllan’s mother Olivia Joseph (fondly known as Aunty Livvy) is one of UWC’s much-loved support service cleaning staff members. With 15 years of service to the university, Aunty Livvy has been able to see Dyllan graduate with a BA Degree in Education and now a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). He is one of 183 students graduating with a PGCE.

UWC Summer Graduation by the numbers:

PHD 32
Masters 72
Degree 398
Adv Dip/Postgraduate 26
PGCE 183
Summer Grad Total: 711

Dyllan said his academic journey wasn’t always easy: “I wasn’t automatically accepted to study further after high school and I got the opportunity to study human resources at a private college. Things were tough but my mom knew how much I wanted to study. What kept me going is that my mom would give her last to ensure that I continued with my studies, even if it made our lives a bit uncomfortable.”

 Olivia Joseph, a cleaner at UWC and her son Dyllan Joseph who completed his Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

Born and raised in Delft, Dyllan has always wanted to give back to his community, and completed his practical training at schools in Delft. He said having his mom by his side at home and on campus was a privilege.

“I felt that being on campus was like a cheerleader for her. I felt like her seeing me going to the library and going to the Student Centre, made her proud. Knowing that her colleagues also saw me and got to know me, and that at the end of the semester I could share my results with her and that she had the support of her colleagues, made me happy,” he said.

Aunty Livvy said she is overjoyed with Dyllan’s achievements: “Because he is the baby and he finished school and proved that he wanted to study, when I first saw him on campus I was very proud.”

Dyllan and his mom are the true embodiment of the David Hlongwane sculpture The beginning and the end which depicts a female domestic worker and her graduant son side-by-side. The sculpture welcomes you as you pass through the arches as a first-year student coming to orientation. It represents the reality of many of UWC’s students – many of whom, like Dyllan, are first-generation students.

Aunty Livvy said: “I want the best for him and tried my best to make sure that he succeeds.”

Dyllan was able to benefit from a 100 percent rebate which UWC offers to support staff, including his mother.

“I’ve always dreamt of being a teacher and I didn’t want to stop with the BA Degree. I wanted to continue, because this is my purpose in life. I didn’t know at the beginning that there was a rebate, but I wanted to study and so I was determined to continue,” said Dyllan.

During his studies, Dyllan worked part-time in retail to support himself and his family. He has also been inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society, a testament to his academic achievements and leadership qualities.