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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

UFS talks directly to South African ambassador to Japan
2011-03-16

Direct conversation between the UFS and the South African ambassador to Japan
Photo: Gerda-Marie Viviers

During a direct conversation with the South African ambassador to Japan, Mr Gert Grobler, today, the University of the Free State (UFS) expressed its compassion and solidarity with the people of Japan. The university also stated that it intended to support the country and its citizens in various ways.

This came after Japan was plunged into chaos the past week as a result of various earthquakes and consequential disasters. Mr Grobler, who participated in the conversation via Skype from Tokyo, welcomed this talk initiative initiated by Mr Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs, and the Interim Student Committee (ISC). The talks formed part of a series of initiatives launched by students to promote solidarity with Japan, and which includes fund-raising projects and awareness campaigns.

Mr Grobler expressed his appreciation for the initiative: “The initiative by the UFS is greatly appreciated, and I shall do anything to promote partnerships between the UFS and Japan, particularly in collaboration with the ambassador for Japan in South Africa. The solidarity project is essential, because this is the worst crisis Japan has ever experienced in its history.”

In solidarity with Japan, the Student Committee envisages a mass march on Thursday, 17 March 2011 by means of which students will declare their unanimity with Japan and their support of human rights.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, also promised to send a message of support directly to the Japanese embassy in Pretoria, as well as extending a hand of support to Japanese universities in order to become part of discussions on how to render assistance, while making plans for students to visit the respective countries and share their experiences first-hand.

Mr Buys informed the ambassador that the university would support the rescue teams, which are departing for Japan in response to a request by Mr Grobler, by means of manpower.  In response to this, Mr Grobler, a Kovsie alumnus, welcomed this token of compassion and offer of assistance. “I am excited to see that South Africa cares so much for Japan.”
 

Media Release
15 March 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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