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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

Understanding the nature of prominence
2014-03-14

 

What did Hendrik Verwoerd and Steve Biko have in common? Or perhaps Johannes Kerkorrel and Brenda Fassie?

“They all possessed a certain natural predisposition to prominence,” says Prof Paul Fouche, reseacher in psychobiography at the University of the Free State’s Department of Psychology.

Prof Fouche and a team of researchers from other South African universities released findings on psychobiographical studies done on personalities that played a great role in our history.

The studies show that notable historical figures were very often prolific readers with a passion for literature since childhood. Generally, they also had a great love for nature and a sense of the sacredness of it, as well as a love for the cosmos.

The study further reveals that many of them were forced to take up leadership roles in the family from a very young age and were driven to succeed in order to take care of their own.

In many of these cases, there was a strong partner who supported the leader while they went about the business of governing their world.

Psychobiography is the systematic and descriptively-rich case study of renowned, enigmatic or even contentious individuals in socio-historical contexts within a psychological frame of reference. Over the past decade, psychobiography has become an established research genre and a methodology used by various academics and scholars in the field of life history research.

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