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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).

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The beginning of the person you want to be
2015-02-03

Photo: Supplied

“The University of the Free State is a caring community where everybody counts.” With this message, Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations welcomed our first-years on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“Whether you are a first-year or a senior student, whether you are a cleaner or a research professor, we all have one thing in common: our humanity,” Dr Makhetha said.

“This is the stage where you are going to shape the person you want to be,” Dr Makhetha said to the audience of eager first-year students who had already spent a week undergoing a rigorous Gateway Orientation programme.

“A lot of things will happen during your stay here and one of them is making friends. Make friends with people from outside your comfort zone,” Dr Makhetha added. “Make friends with those who have a totally different background from yours so that you can learn, broaden and enrich your life.”

“Read broadly and ask questions – for questions will take you far beyond your area of study,” she said.

Zethu Mhlongo, Deputy President of the Qwaqwa Campus Student Representative Council (SRC) encouraged first-years to always remember why they chose our university in the first place.

“Enjoy your stay, get your degree and step up for success,” Mhlongo said.

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