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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

I-DENT-I-TIES tackles identity in an unusual story-telling style
2016-07-26

Description: I-DENT-I-TIES Tags: I-DENT-I-TIES

One of the leading performers, Baanetse Mokhotla.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

The I-DENT-I-TIES project has been an enormous experience for the Qwaqwa Campus students who were part of this large-scale interdisciplinary performance project. This is according to Baanetse Mokhotla, one of the leading performers.

“I have personally learnt a lot about performing arts and also grew as an individual,” Baanetse said about the production that was part of this year’s Vrystaat Arts Festival in Bloemfontein.

This massive interactive production of the 54-member student cast utilises music, song and dance in an unusual method of story-telling. It uses live video camera feeds on two big screens as well as recorded video clips of the cast itself and members of the community, some of whom were part of the audience during the two shows staged on the Qwaqwa Campus. The cast intermittently mingles with the audience, thus allowing the latter to be part of the narrative as well.

The main story line explores issues around identity while using the famous Basotho story of ‘Moshanyana Sankatana’ as a catalyst.

Two of the capturing features are the live interviews and the narration of the animated ‘Moshanyana Sankatana’ story, creating stories within a story.

Commenting about the project, SRC President Paseka Sikhosana said that he was happy to have led the student community during this proud moment.

“I loved how this show has exposed our enormously talented performers to the world. It was magical and we need more of such to ensure there will never be a dull moment on our campus,” he said.

Sociology lecturer Sivuyisiwe Magayana said: “I-DENT-I-TIES production was fresh fun. It exhibited the fact that we should be appreciative of other's differences. It also emphasised that we should move away from subscribing to an 'in-group' and 'out-group' mentality when it comes to issues of race, sexuality and identity.”

The international creative team behind this project included a New York-based Dutch director, Erwin Maas; Vienna-based Dutch theatre designer, Nico de Rooij; Djana Covic, a Serbian performance-craft-artist based in Vienna; and South African film and stage legend Jerry Mofokeng.

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