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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

An article, co-authored by Kovsies’ own Miss World, Rolene Strauss, was published recently in a medical journal
2015-02-23

Rolene Strauss

The article, which deals with research on the incidence of multiple losses by children, was published in South African Family Practice.

The study was part of the third-year research project for medical students in our Faculty of Health Sciences. Rolene worked with fellow students, Leischen Branders, Mirandie Claassen, Darienne Saaiman, and Andrea van Staden. Prof Gina Joubert from the UFS’s Department of Biostatistics and Prof Hanneke Brits were the module and study leaders.

In this study, a number of cases involving Bloemfontein children experiencing loss, as well as their reaction to it, were examined.

They divided the incidents into categories in order to address the broad definition of ‘losses’.

Approximately 69% of the children in the study have experienced three or more instances of loss in their lives. About 29% of the children have experienced loss in the category Personal Loss (assault, chronic and terminal illness, amputation, malnutrition, disability, abortion, and miscarriage). The greatest number of losses occurred in the category Interpersonal Loss (87%). This group of children has had to deal with the death of one or more parents/caregivers, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, divorce, homelessness, and instability. In the category, Environmental Loss, xenophobia, unsafe living conditions, inadequate support, poverty, and unemployment were looked at. A total of 82% of the children in the group have experienced losses.

Prof Hanneke Brits, study leader of the group, says the extent of multiple losses by children is a topic that hasn’t been investigated widely.

“The study shows that children should receive special attention in order to help them process the trauma. Supportive care and inter-professional services play a major role in this regard.”

 

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