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21 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Ian van Straaten
Dr Thandi Gumede
Dr Thandi Gumede graduated with a PhD in Polymer Science. She is from Intabazwe, Harrismith.

The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State was a hive of activity on 17 and 18 May 2019, when over 800 degrees, diplomas, and certificates were conferred on deserving achievers. These included six PhDs and 14 master’s degrees across the four faculties.

Congratulating the graduates on both days, was Africa’s youngest PhD and Industrial Psychology lecturer, Dr Musawenkosi Saurombe, and Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

Be like heat

Dr Saurombe started her address by relating her school journey that saw her starting Grade 1 at age 5, thus later matriculating at the age of 15, having skipped Grades 3 and 10. She went on to emphasise the importance of building an honourable character.

“As a graduate, you will soon realise that your degree is useless if you do not have character,” she said to an attentive audience that continued to marvel at her remarkable school history. She encouraged graduates to be like heat that cannot be seen but can only be felt. “Noise can often be seen and heard, but it cannot be felt. However, while heat cannot always be seen, it is always felt. Be like heat and may your presence always be felt,” she said.

Do not focus on yourself

Prof Francis Petersen also encouraged graduates to look beyond their degrees by developing a set of critical values.
 
“For us as the university, this ceremony is not just about your degrees. It is about the values that you must live by,” he said. “As a graduate of the UFS, do not just believe what you are told. Ask questions and engage critically. Secondly, do not just focus on yourself. Remember that you are part of a community and it is your responsibility to make our world a better place for others. You need to be socially responsive to the needs of your community. Thirdly, remember that integrity plays a very important role. This will determine how others value you,” he said.

The two ceremonies also saw three current SRC members graduating. They are Lebohang Miya (BEd FET – Accounting and Business Studies), Duduzile Mhlongo (BA – Geography and isiZulu), and Mhlongo Sinemfundo (BA – Geography and isiZulu).

News Archive

Reconciliation ceremony brings a closure to the Reitz incident
2011-02-08

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the University of the Free State (UFS)
are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the Equality Court complaint against the four
former UFS students for their recording and dissemination of a video which demeaned and
humiliated five university workers in 2007.

The closure of the complaint culminated tonight in a moving reconciliation ceremony held on the
Main Campus of the UFS in Bloemfontein. The key event of the evening included the reading of
messages of apology from Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector, on behalf of the institution, and Mr
Danie Grobler, on behalf of the former students; and a message of acceptance of the apologies
from Ms Emmah Koko on behalf of the workers.

Deputy Chairperson of the SAHRC Commissioner, Pregs Govender, said of this historic event:
“The courage and compassion shown by the workers together with the students’ willingness to
embrace the spirit of change have enabled a process of justice, transformation and reconciliation
that is an inspiring example for South Africa. The process, led by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-
Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, whose term began just after this incident, has laid a significant
foundation for the future. It is significant, not just for this university, but for all educational
institutions, including schools.”

“The ceremony of apology, forgiveness, and reconciliation represents a historic event – not only for
our campus, but also for the country. It lays the groundwork for building a new university culture and
climate. “Reitz” hurt all of us, and we can finally close the book on the past and rebuild our
institution to be a truly non-racial university where we respect each other, first and foremost, for our
common humanity,” said Prof. Jansen.

Messages from among others former President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond
Tutu, and the Presidency, were also read.

The day started off with a seminar on reconciliation, hosted by the SAHRC, UFS and the Mangaung
Local Municipality. Former Chief Justice Pius Langa was the keynote speaker at this event. Other
participants in the seminar included Mr Lawrence Mushwana, Chairperson of the SAHRC; Mr Wally
Serote from the Freedom Park; and Mr John Samuel, Director of the International Institute for
Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS.


Media Release
25 February 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

 

 

 

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