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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

One of the UFS's newest members welcomed at international organisation.
2011-03-13

Photo: Gerda-Marié Viviers
Prof. Hussein Solomon

One of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) newest members of excellence was recently welcomed as a new member at the relatively new, yet influential, internationally renowned Our Humanity in the Balance (OHIB) organisation. Prof. Hussein Solomon, a month old Senior Professor in Political Science at the university, said he has always wanted to have made a difference in people's lives and dreamt of becoming part of an organisation such as the OHIB. Proofing of Solomon's dedication to his roots, he believes his focus must remain with the African continent. ''I would like OHIB to focus on making the secession process in Sudan as peaceful as possible as well as focusing on ending the ongoing conflicts in Somalia, the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These are immediate goals. In the medium term we need to examine the issues of democratic transformation in countries like Swaziland and Zimbabwe.''

As this Kovsie has worked in peace NGOs, advised diplomats and acts as a serving officer in the South African Air Force and an academic, the compilation of the OHIB board consisting of academics, former senior diplomats and military people and peace activists would be nothing new to him. ''My role is essentially to bring these disparate communities together and to focus energies on a common project. At the moment much attention is being focused on current developments in Libya.''

Other accomplishments of this former Tuks lecturer include Visiting Professor at the Global Collaboration Centre at Osaka University in Japan, Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and also respective membership on the Security Council of the Gerhson Lehrman Group of Companies, the International Steering Committee of Global Action to Prevent War, and the International Advisory Council of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research in Hawaii. Prof. Solomon was selected in 2008 to serve on the Nelson Mandela Chair of African Studies at Jawahrlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India.

His current area of research expertise include conflict and conflict resolution in Africa; South African Foreign Policy; international relations theory; religious fundamentalism and population movements within the developing world. His publications have appeared in several countries around the world including Switzerland, The Russian Federation and Japan.

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