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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 starts lecture series on reconciliation and empathy
2012-02-28

 

Attending the inaugural Dialogue between Science and Society lecture were from left: Profs Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Jean Decety,Dr Melike Fourie, a researcher at the University of Cape Town,  and Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic.
Photo: Johan Roux
28 February 2012


The University of the Free State has begun with the first of a series of lectures that will deal with issues of humanity.

The Dialogue between Science and Society Lecture series, hosted by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, will bring together different disciplines such as Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Neuroscience and Literature to explore the broad field of reconciliation and empathy.
 
Prof. Jean Decety, a leading scholar in the social neuroscience of empathy at the University of Chicago delivered the inaugural lecture on 23 February 2012. He spoke about the social neuroscience of empathy and moral reasoning.
 
Drawing lessons from US president Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, Prof. Decety opened his speech with a quote on empathy as the glue that makes much of social life possible. He said a feeling of empathy means putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Prof. Decety discussed in depth the link between empathy and helping, saying that it linked to morality.
 
Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela, author of the bookA human being died that night: a South African story of forgiveness, on her interviews with convicted Vlakplaas murderer Eugene de Kock, recently joined our university.

 

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