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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

Law students triumph in Africa
2007-08-16

 

Pictured with the trophies they have won are, from the left: Ms Qaqamba Vellem (fourth-year LL.B. student), Prof. Johan Henning (Dean of the UFS Faculty of Law), Prof. Loot Pretorius (Head of the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law), Ms Lucy Nthotso (fourth-year LL.B. student), Ms Thapi Matsaneng (moot coach and lecturer in Corporate Law at the UFS) and Mr Johnny Modipa (third-year LL.B. student).
Photo: Stephen Collett

Law students triumph in Africa

A team of students from the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) has won the first prize at the 16th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition held in Senegal last week.

The UFS team consisted of three L.L .B. students, namely Ms Lucy Nthotso, Ms Qaqamba Vellem and Mr Johnny Modipa, and beat teams from numerous South African law faculties as well as from the rest of Africa.

The Moot Court Competition is an event where students from law faculties across Africa argue a hypothetical case on human rights issues pertinent to the continent. This year’s competition dealt with the issues of refugee status, nationality, HIV/AIDS and the right to education.

Over and above the UFS team’s success as the overall competition winners, the UFS team came first in the written memorials category (written substance of the argument of the particular party), beating seventy teams from both the English and French speaking African countries.

To further add to their splendid overall team performance, team members Ms Vellem and Ms Nthotso were selected amongst the top fifteen students for their oral arguments out of the hundred and forty who took part in the competition. Ms Vellem came tenth and Ms Ntshotso eleventh.

According to the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS, Prof. Johan Henning, the faculty is extremely proud of this achievement of its students in such a highly regarded competition.

“This success shows that the quality of legal education and training we provide here at the UFS, both through the 4- and 5-year L.L.B. options is rated among the best in Africa, if not the world,” Prof. Henning said.

He said it also showed that the faculty is committed to producing black law graduates of substance who are second to none.

The three students were coached by Ms Thapi Matsaneng, a UFS law graduate who is completing her Ph.D. at the University of London and who was groomed by the UFS as part of its Grow Our Own Timber programme, aimed at producing black academics.

Prof. Loot Pretorius, head of the department of constitutional law and philosophy of law at the UFS, acted as a consultant to the team. Ms Matsaneng also accompanied the three team members to Senegal.

The panel of judges who determined the winners comprised of the commissioners of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a South African Constitutional Court judge as well as other respected members of the legal community.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za
16 August 2007

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