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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

Twenty years of human rights - a call for reflection on the successes and challenges
2015-02-25

Back from the left are: Advocate Mohamed Shafie Ameermia, Commissioner, South African Human Rights Commission
Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission
 
Front from the left are: Honourable Mahube Molemela, Judge President of the Free State High court and Acting judge of the Constitutional Court of South
Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector External Relations, University of the Free State
Prof Caroline Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of the Free State

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Faculty of Law, and the Free State Department of Education hosted a gala dinner on 19 February 2015 to celebrate the launching of the Free State Provincial Division of the SAHRC, reaffirming their collaborative partnership, and confirming the commitment of the Free State Department of Education to community engagement, constitutional rights awareness, and youth advocacy.

The number of human rights abuses reported to the Human Rights Commission in recent years points to the complex nature of the challenges faced by South African communities. What is most disturbing is that the overwhelming majority of these offences are perpetrated by the youth, said Adv Lawrence Moshwana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission.  “The Human Rights Commission is in need of support from government in order to be able to reach all provinces of South Africa”. The expansion of the commission’s services in the Free State and its partnership with the Provincial Department of Education is a great step towards protecting the rights of the most vulnerable communities.

 

Twenty years of human rights (read the full story)

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